It's Memorial Day, and the two men I love most are war veterans. My dad was a Seabee in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and my husband was with the 101st Airborne Division during the war in Viet Nam. I once saw a T-shirt that read "Making War for Peace is like Making Love for Virginity." Something inside all of us knows that mankind's wars can never bring about peace, but we can't seem to help ourselves—or so it seems. Take a scary stroll through the centuries of world history for a reality check. No matter what form of government ruled the day—from dictatorships to democracies, war was consistently a part of the political agenda. Yet never once did any of these governments achieve lasting peace. Never. I find it quite ironic that even when the United Nations declared 1986 as the International Year of Peace, and representatives of every tribe, tongue and nation from around the globe assembled together in Assisi, Italy to pray to their various gods for blessings, the fighting in the world didn't stop for a single day! Not even for one hour! Isn't it way past time to seek out a means other than war to achieve peace?
I bring up this topic not only because it's Memorial Day, but because I've been thinking that, while we maybe can't change the way the world operates, we can change how we govern ourselves, specifically in the matter of health and wellness. My personal fallacy is sugar. In the same way that many people believe war is necessary to secure peace, I talk myself into the idea that I need sugar to feel good. As much as I want to believe it to be true, though, sugar depresses the immune system, destroys collagen and other protein tissues, and advances aging in the body. The pleasure it brings is momentary at best. Yet, even armed with this knowledge, I still find myself impulsively stockpiling chocolate ammo at my desk with all the faith and hope in the world that this is precisely what I need to be happy. I choose to believe the lie. And I'm not alone in this regard.
Recently I read a really interesting article outlining the seven most effective ways to keep the immune system strong. It was on a competitor's website; oh, I'll just say it—it was on Dr. Mercola's website. I don't really think of him as competition. I have too much to learn from him to be his enemy. Besides, we're all together in the fight for health, and he really has helped me undo a lot of erroneous thinking. Anyway, the seven ways are:
- Eliminate sugar (yep, there it is!)
- Exercise (anyone in the mood to start a new war?)
- Eat garlic on a regular basis
- Get adequate sleep
- Control stress
- Take a krill oil supplement
- Wash hands often
This morning I asked my husband which of these seven habits would be the hardest for him to do on a regular basis. Without even hesitating, he chose "eliminate sugar," while feasting on a blueberry filled doughnut. As far as the rest of the list is concerned, we both already take krill oil (#6), and we like fresh pressed garlic in salads and pasta, too (#3). I hate the feeling of dirty hands, so I always carry individually wrapped towelettes scented with organic essential oils in my purse (that covers #7). Sleep and stress management take effort, but they're both so pleasant and rewarding that it's well worth the time and attention (#4 and #5). And then there's exercise. I won't even say a word because, if you've read just about any other post in this blog, you already know what I'm thinking. Loving sugar and hating exercise are two notions that I must work very hard to root out of my thinking. If I can actually accomplish such an undertaking, peace can't be far behind.