Yesterday was my birthday and it was glorious. It wasn't because of any crazy celebration I had, but simply because I did very little. Wow, so needed. It was a picture-perfect summer day and it was filled with seeing friends and floating lazily in a pool. Let me tell you, there are few better places in this world to fully appreciate life than floating in the middle of a pool on a tube decorated like a doughnut. Add a little music in the background, commit to only 2-3 Snaps/Instagram stories of yourself in said pool and it's a recipe for the ultimate relaxation.
My birthday has always felt like a measure of personal growth and reflection on what I still would like to do in life. Some people prefer not to make a big deal out of their day- but not I. I shamelessly have taken days off work (recommended,) thrown myself theme parties, and attempted to make it THEE unforgettable good time of summer. Granted, the ways and means of celebrating has changed throughout the years, but I've never let the day pass without gusto.
When I was young, I used to set my alarm (cute) for 6:18AM- three minutes before the actual moment of my birth at 6:21AM to wake up, see if I felt any older, and then of course go back to sleep immediately. Summer birthdays, baby! I was a weird kid. As I got older, I'd throw parties and invite all of my friends (including a super awkward all girls to 2 boys-ratio pool party in 5th grade.)
After I recovered from my Hampton's-themed 30th birthday party (not sorry, it was fabulous,) I started taking birthdays more seriously and more as a measure of my place in life, my health and my overall wellness. Two of those 30-something birthdays were overshadowed by keeping up with a baby. This year is the first year of my 30's where I feel like almost everything is "in place", except my overall health. When you're busy trying to tackle it all, I guess something has to suffer. For me, it's always been my health.
I'll be real honest about this. As I get older, I become more scared of dying. Especially with my daughter on this planet with me, I worry about whether or not I'll be around to be her mom and I can only hope, someday- a grandma to her kids if she chooses to have them. Not only that, but I hope to share a quality of life with her that I have often struggled with. At 34, I sit here concerned about a lump in my leg (already checked out and deemed "probably okay, but let us know if it grows,") my internal female *stuff*, weight, and the forever biggie- emotional well-being. That's a lot of things to worry about at 34, and the reason I worry is because I know I haven't been doing my best to take care of my mind and body for a few years now. No one wants to air their medical dirty laundry, but I also think a lot of people in my age group begin to worry about these things so much earlier thanks to a society filled with sick people. I think we need to talk about it. It's pushed me to re-examine what I believe makes for a healthy lifestyle, and I think I've found it.
When my dad started a program this year that filled his plate with more vegetables than he ever intended to eat, the results were staggering. Not only did her lose (?50?) pounds very quickly and naturally, his chronically, dangerously high cholesterol levels plummeted for the first time in his life. That even includes the other times he lost weight and when he was on the medicine designed to help him lower his cholesterol. He told me he felt different than he ever had before, and couldn't imagine reintroducing sugar, processed food, and a diet lacking in plants again. If you know my dad, this statement is A-MAZ-ING. He really, really loves sweets and always has.
I knew this before. I've seen it before with people I know, people in documentaries, and even in my own life. I believe that during this time of opioid addiction in America and the overprescribing of every medication under the sun, there is another way.
I think that food is medicine. Food may also be what's killing you- what's killing us all. This is why this weekend I will prepare my family to start making the shift to a whole foods, plant based diet. I don't think that meat is the devil, and for as much as I love animals, not eating them is not my driving force behind this decision. (Though it certainly factors in, along with the impact a carnivorous diet has on the environment). I think processed food is killing us. I think sugar is killing us. I think there is a high chance that animal byproducts might be contributing as well.
I'm considering documenting the journey as we go. Follow me at @thedailysampler on Twitter and Instagram to follow along to see if I actually film myself and post before deleting. I know the process won't be easy (the vegetables, not the video,) but in a way it feels like the simplest, most obvious decision I have made in a long time. I'm so excited to start feeling better, and showing my daughter what it really means to take care of yourself.
Next on the list for 34? I really need more days off like this, guys.