Food & Lifestyle Choices – It’s a Crap Shoot Either Way
While I was sitting down for a lunch break the day we did the garage clean out, my friend’s daughters were disagreeing about mayonnaise. One thought that eating mayo would invite an early death while the other enjoyed the condiment and had a generous amount on her sandwich. While mayonnaise may not be the healthiest food in the world, I don’t think it causes spontaneous expiration.
I don’t worry too much about deadly food other than I don’t spend a lot of time eating at fast food places. I don’t believe that a particular food will kill you (barring eating 20 pounds of it a day or severe allergic reaction). It’s healthier to make food choices based on moderation and a balanced diet than total avoidance of particular foods.
I was thinking about the food disagreement in the shower (where I usually do all of my critical thinking) the next morning and thought about two separate and opposite situations that I know about where lifestyle choices did not change the outcome of a person’s longevity.
The first is that my grandmother is 100 years old (actually 1 year + 1 month). She eats bacon with her breakfast several times a week at the nursing home where she lives. She insists upon it. Yet she has lived into the triple digits. The sin of eating bacon has not killed her. She doesn’t seem to have any diseases related to her diet and she happily enjoys her sodium nitrate laden breakfast snack often.
She has willfully eaten bacon in spite of the possible consequences and lived to do so for years!
The second scenario – I took a class a couple weekends ago on death scene clean up. Not a romantic sounding topic, but I find it interesting and wanted to at least learn a little more about it. While I was at the class, we had the opportunity to view and assess an apartment where someone had died alone and unnoticed for several days. As it happened, when we got to the property, there were relatives there waiting to see if they could access the property in order to begin the process of handling the man’s estate. We talked with them for a while and exchanged information on his health and how he had died as well as what we were trying to find out about what was necessary for the clean up.
Heart problems ran in his family and he suffered from congestive heart failure. As we viewed the living space (looking for a set of keys in addition to figuring out what needed cleaning up), I focused on the clean up area, but I was also trying to figure out the man who had lived there based on his possessions. It was obvious that he had tried very hard to overcome his congenital weakness by trying to stay fit and eat right.
All the food on his kitchen counters was healthy (no junk). He had an entire couch full of free weights and there were two bikes that he stored in a spare bedroom. It seemed like the man had done everything he could to stave off death and beat the issues he had with his heart, but died in his 50’s of a massive heart attack in spite of his healthy lifestyle.
I think the best any of us can do is enjoy our lives and make choices based on moderation. It’s cool that I have a grandmother who has lived such a long life (though I’m not sure that her bacon actually makes her happy). I think it’s tragic and sad that the man who’s apartment I saw tried so hard to beat death and died young(ish) anyway. I hope that he was happy during his life and that he enjoyed all those bike rides. I like to think that maybe he kept that second bike so that a friend could join him when he rode.