– food and fitness –

I love food.

Real food.

I buy real butter, real cheese, real meat, real sugar. I refuse to buy fat-free anything, give up bacon, or join a gym.

Eating out is a special treat for us, not a weekly or daily occurrence.

We buy almost nothing that’s processed or packaged, and over half of our groceries come from the farmer’s market.

Micah and I cook real food, and our portions are reasonable, not super-sized. We eat meat and cheese, and we eat starchy foods, and we even eat sweets–but we also eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I bake my own bread with whole wheat flour. I’ll puree whatever farmer’s market fruits are about to turn and throw them into a muffin batter. We eat lots of vegetarian meals, partly because it’s cheaper and healthier, but mostly because veggies are just plain delicious (especially the local, seasonal ones).

We burn a lot of calories grocery shopping, slicing vegetables, trimming meats, stirring pots of soup or risotto, kneading bread, and cleaning up the kitchen. We burn calories walking the 1.8-mile-round-trip to Daily Grocery and back instead of driving.

People talk about fitness and nutrition as lifestyle changes. For a lot of folks, this means drinking a protein shake and running 3 miles every day for the rest of your life. I’m tired and hungry just thinking about it!

We might spend a little less time watching TV or playing on Facebook compared to other people our age, but the extra time we spend cooking, cleaning, or walking isn’t a sacrifice. It’s a gift, and a bountiful one too. Our bodies are healthier, our taste buds and tummies are thrilled, and our world is a little bit cleaner and nicer. We are caring for ourselves, but we’re also supporting small local farms and businesses, driving less, and wasting very little.

Our ancestors in the not-so-distant past cooked every day and walked where they needed to go. They’d never heard of Bodyplex, and they would have looked at you like you were crazy if you’d served them most of the food-like items people eat nowadays. They rarely ate out, and they spent more time with their families. They didn’t make time for exercise or count their calories, but they were much more fit and much less prone to obesity and diet-related illnesses than Americans are today. Their entire way of living was different and, in these ways, better.

I don’t want to be a phony. I don’t want to live off of vitamin-fortified calories from imitation foods full of ingredients I can’t pronounce. I don’t want to spend mindless hours performing artificial tasks like climbing a staircase to nowhere, riding a stationary bike towards the gym window, or running on a treadmill like a hamster in a wheel. I don’t want to be a slave to our society’s definition of fitness. I want to be the real me–a woman who loves her husband and family, who enjoys cooking and strolling around town, and who cherishes delicious food too much to pretend that it’s just calories in.

I am always full and satisfied after a meal, I haven’t set foot in a gym in years, and (most importantly) I’m happy.

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