Where are you on life’s climb?
Firmly footed on the back side of the middle aged hill, I find myself thinking and pursuing, even more, those habits we all can control toward mind and body wellness. As we discussed earlier this month in our series of mind and body wellness habits, I’m focusing, stimulating my mind, exercising my body and practicing positive. But today it’s all about what we eat.
Maybe like me, it’s at times difficult to say no to donuts, fries or most things chocolate. Yet we must. I’m certainly not an advocate of depriving ourselves of life’s culinary pleasures, but we should be smart and selective. A slice of birthday cake (on our birthday, not everyone else’s) and the like are simple, celebratory pleasures of life. They create or add to the memories of our moments.
Whenever I eat a warm donut, I’m transported back to my Grandma’s kitchen making donuts with her on a Saturday afternoon. The yeasty smell, pillowy texture, warm temperature and of course, the sweet taste all combine for a lovely and cherished memory which I celebrate occasionally with a warm donut. Yet, I know I cannot make that food choice often and still maintain a healthy body and mind.
A recent study noted older adults who followed a Mediterranean or a modified version of it called the MIND diet did significantly better on cognitive testing than those who ate less healthy diets. Even moderately following these diets led to improved cognition. Now there’s some motivation to put down the fries and donuts!
It’s easy to slip into bad habits, but let’s be diligent about protecting our minds and bodies by what we eat. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans (legumes) nuts, olive oil, and fish. Red meat, whole fat dairy, and processed or fast foods are infrequent and avoided. This is the diet we recommend and teach about in all our programming. It can be seasonal, flexible and most of all, doable.
Certainly, life is to be enjoyed. But in order to enjoy our lives long into our later years, our habits and food choices need to be smart and selective.
It’s never too late! Let’s create and maintain healthy mind and body habits in all we do to make the second half of our climb enjoyable and memorable!