My life has been a balance between two of my most favorite, but at sometimes, most diametrically opposed pastimes. Eating and exercising. As my father has said in the past, he eats so that he has the energy to exercise. I, on the more self-indulgent and gluttonous side of our family, exercise so that I don't feel excessively fat when I eat whatever I can get my hands (and mouth) on. I love to be outside. I love to bike and ski and run. Though, not nearly as much as I love pig and cheese. I envy those with high metabolisms, though I do not feel that they wholly appreciate their circumstances in relation to food. I have to work to be able to indulge. The experience is therefore that much sweeter. I am also that much more pleased when I am in good shape. I feel like a proud craftsman having made my very own bookshelf in the garage. I consider the genesis of strenuous activity for means of exercise. As we as a world have gotten more sedentary, we have also began to eat more and more. The quality of the food has been inversely correlated to the quantity, and as a result: America the Swollen. It wasn't until 1949 that we truly discovered the connection between exercise (physical activity in general) and improvements in health. Meanwhile, we have consciously chosen to use cheaper methods and ingredients for our food, we have become too busy to be bothered with "unrealistic" activities such as growing or cooking our own food and we have invented more and more ways to have less and less human contact. We have, quite literally, created a world of issues for ourselves, yet we want the quick fix. For me, there are simple ways that we can stem the tide of this landslide. We'll call it the Human Race Redux: An Exercise Plan.
1. Create Community. Technically, I think this could be the only bullet point of our plan. It encompasses the solution to nearly every issue plaguing our society today. Most of our main issues have materialized due to a pulling away of people from each other. Eating alone, driving alone, living alone…it requires more of everything! From an eating perspective, there is no doubt in my mind that I eat more poorly when no one is judging me. When my girlfriend is here, it's very rare that I have my midnight-thirty useless peanut butter face shove parties. Eating with others not only celebrates the food and friends, but is way more utilitarian and energy efficient than cooking for one or two. The same goes for exercising…If I have a workout partner, its like having Mick from the Rocky movies shouting at the back of my head.
2. Eat Intentionally. Buy food that you have some general idea about where its going to end up. I buy nearly all of my veggies once or twice a week at the farmers market, and I have at least a loosely formed plan for where they will end up. Squash: Roasted to be eaten tonight and for probably a couple more meals -- The other half go to making fresh pickles. Green Beans: Sauteed with nearly every meal for the next three days. Its so easy to buy things and forget about them, and then they die. Or buy something, ala a box of Late July Organic "Oreo" cookies from Costco (therefore the size of a 1980s VCR) and feel the need to whittle away the purchase by shoving six of them in my mouth four times a day. By the way, they are one of the best cookies made…watch out Oreos. Buy food that wants to be wanted by you. You're the chef…and the diner.
3. Learn to Love Exercise. Find an activity that is really exciting and fun. Something that gets you outdoors, with friends or not, and just so happens to have the fringe benefit of keeping you looking and feeling sexy! Skiing, hiking and mountain biking are things that I would love to do even if they somehow were laden with saturated fat, high fructose corn syrup and made me a fat slob. I can see why people loathe their workout time when they are doing it at 24 hour Fitness. What a clusterfuck sweatbox of tight, toned, judgmental grunters, all of whom are too engaged in mirror looking and the Nickelback piped into their ears to have an actual human interaction. Enjoy the nature. Love the nature. It will certainly love you back. Nothing centers me more, (while also working off the 2 lbs of pork I consumed last night) than a great hike/trail run and then a swim with my dog in the river. Find something you dig, and do it. Then find some dope, delicious, GOOD food…and eat the hell out of it.