Almost exactly two years ago I wrote this post about baking bread from scratch over at The Accidental Homeschooler (before I began avoiding gluten, but the principle remains). I have reflected a lot on the concept of starvation, and it came up again yesterday in my thoughts. I am currently reading Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution, and there are many references to starvation, both actual and perceived starvation, the latter of which leads to diabetes, insulin resistance, and the like. This would be the starvation that we Americans are experiencing, in epidemic proportions. There is also the starvation that people in Africa and third-world nations experience which comes from the body literally not having enough to eat for extended periods of time, but that is certainly not what we are seeing here around us. The reality is that both lead to an untimely death. A famine of any kind will kill--it's just a matter of time and technique.
Famine of Truth
Famine is defined as extreme scarcity of food, a shortage, or hunger. We Americans have hardly seen famine (in the classic sense) in our land in the last century, but I think that we are experiencing various kinds of famine on multiple levels at this very moment. One is for truth. We are are taught by government schools that the FDA food pyramid (backed by all of the agriculture companies) is best for our nutritional intake. T.V. ads convince us that drugs will protect and improve our health. We hear the message in pop-up ads daily, "Lose weight without diet or exercise with this one weird trick!" Hogwash. People are convinced that they are free to behave however they prefer, and that government health care will pick up the tab for the consequences. No one is telling them the truth that they and their children are fat because they are starving to death. No one is telling them that the lies they believe are going to take them to the grave.
Famine of Discipline
Why is the show The Biggest Loser so popular? Why are they bringing Jillian back to the show? Because no one kicks butt and yells like Jillian. No one. People either love her or hate her. I happen to love her for her butt-kicking ways. People who apply for that program are desperate for discipline. They know they have reached a point where they cannot help themselves in their obesity, and hope that someone will be tough on them, yell at them, and hopefully save their lives. They begin to understand that the only way to do it is by severe discipline and the horribly unfair tactic of kicking people out of the program for under-performance. No public school would dare do such a thing to/for the kids--they wouldn't dare! But we love to see it happen on t.v. because deep down inside we wish someone would do that for us.
Famine of Relationship
My husband and I were shopping in Costco the other day and we saw Thanksgiving in a box. Literally--24 pounds of food with a small turkey already roasted, potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce in a box. All you had to do is warm it up. We were pretty amazed--I mean, I know sometimes people want convenience, but seriously, what is happening to us? In other cultures, and in our own in times past, relationships, family, and friendship took root around the food that we ate. This still happens occasionally, but I don't think you have to work your brain too hard to think of all the little cracks in the foundations of our relationships. We are overworked, over-scheduled, over-exhausted, over-stimulated, overwhelmed. It is our relationships that are supposed to be the balm that soothes all of that, but we seem to be too exhausted or too busy or too ashamed to fall into the comfort that those close relationships are meant to provide! Very few people are willing to be authentic these days and share their strengths and weaknesses with each other. It just isn't cool.
One of my biggest struggles these days is figuring out what to have for meals and cooking them. The simple fact of the matter is that it takes time, and a lot of it. Finding good sources of uncontaminated food is expensive, and I have to work at new ways of preparing it that doesn't involve grains and sugars. But even so, eating these days has taken on a new dimension in the life of our family--we are home constantly, eating together, preparing food together, and enjoying one another. We have to clear our calendars and make room in the schedule to be home (doesn't that sound weird?)--running through a drive through is not an option. We are taking time to exercise and work our our bodies as they are meant to be used. We gather regularly with friends who share these same values and just hang out, sometimes pooling our resources and cooking together. There is usually a glass of wine and deep conversation involved. I am in a place of abundance and balance right now with a healthy understanding that this could change at any moment because there are no guarantees in life.
You might be wondering what CrossFit has to do with all of this, since that is what this blog is supposed to be about, but it has everything to do with it! When I walk into the box, there is honesty, discipline, and authenticity, all rolled into one package, but I have to want all three before I can even set foot in the place. When I show up for my workout, it is impossible to be dishonest--I have to bear the truth of myself when I go in. Everything in me is raw--if I haven't eaten enough or have eaten too much or the wrong things, not drunk enough water, or slept enough, it shows in my performance and my mood. If I do well or poorly in my WOD, I cannot hide it. The people around me are absolutely in the same boat. We want to see each other do well--we are helping each other compete against the same thing--our own weaknesses. CF encourages proper food consumption, proper use of the body, and relationship. I haven't been there long enough to say that I know these people well, but I already feel a sense of camaraderie growing each day that I go, and I like it. Some days it's hard to leave because I want to talk to someone a little more, get to know them a bit better, cheer them on a little more. It is no small thing, and I love what it is doing in my life.
All of this takes time. Even so, I only aim to claim back some of the time that the famines have stolen over the years, and to give it back to my kids with a good dose of healthy perspective.