Monday, February 28, 2011

Sad vs Glad?

I recently experienced a death which reminded me of my mother who passed away nine months ago and that of my father, six years ago.  It seems like eons since I lost them because I put it out of my mind.  This recent occurrence, however, brought everything back into painful focus.  It forces me to admit that my parents died of sadness.  Not sad in the traditional sense as my parents were two of the most wonderful, loving, chipper people I know...but sad in the food sense.  My parents fell prey to S.A.D. which stands for the Standard American Diet.


According to renowned pediatrician, Dr. William Sears, the standard american diet has everything that lead to just about any illness as it is:
  • High in animal fats
  • High in unhealthy fats: saturated, hydrogenated
  • Low in fiber
  • High in processed foods
  • Low in complex carbohydrates
  • Low in plant-based foods
Dr. Sears goes on to state that "the striking fact is that cultures that eat the reverse of SAD have lower incidence of disease and that the United States has spent more money on cancer research than any other country in the world yet the American diet contributes to the very diseases we are spending money to prevent".

Unfortunately, years of poor choices led to diet selections that ultimately claimed the quality and quantity of the lives of my parents.  I am now witnessing second and third generation family members beginning to suffer.  This history puts me at high risk diabetes, COPD(Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease),  heart failure, hypertension, cancer and stroke.  High risk if I choose it.  As much as it pains me to say, I must declare and speak this truth, "I am not my parent's daughter".  In order to leave a different health legacy for my children, I must lead by example, teach them, and show them a life away from sadness.  I choose not to be sad.  I choose to be glad.  I choose to educate, eat and change the quality of my life and that of those who choose to join me.

Be Happy....Be Glad

I've coined my own acronym.  I've chosen to be GLAD by consuming a plant based diet:

Growing   Living   Alternative   Diet

I pondered whether to use the word "amazing" or "alternative".  Although it really is amazing, the word "alternative"  seems better suited because it emphasizes the conscious choice it takes to reject sadness.  Most people do not wake up every morning ready to be sad.  I believe people genuinely want to be happy...they just don't know how.

Education is key.  Each of us must be willing to re-educate ourselves in order to redefine our definition of food in order to be glad.   For educational sources, look to those who have successfully done it!  One favorite example is Phillip McCluskey, a motivational speaker, author, and owner of, who changed his life from SAD to GLAD raw foods diet, losing 215 pounds improving both the quality and quantity of his life by just starting with simple education.  He now teaches and has several books to help educate others.  Another source is to just look at the vegan pyramid versus the sad one.  The side by side visual alone is a simple education in and of itself.  Just follow the pictures:

Finally, just ask.  Our pride, arrogance, or ignorance sometimes prohibit us from seeking assistance or guidance.  Get a coach or mentor!  I recently had the pleasure of meeting one brave soul, Angela who made the decision last week to let go of her sadness and embrace a lifestyle change to improve the quality of her life.  She sought out the help of a friend who is guiding her through her first juice fast and will help coach her to a life away from disease.  I applaud and admire her courage and strength.  All she did was ask.

Today, I thank my parents.  They sacrificed, worked hard, and gave me a wonderful, loving life. I am appreciative of their life lessons as they taught me all that they knew and for that, I am a better person.  In their deaths, they continue to teach as they have also taught me what not to do - that the choices I personally make will determine the quality of my life. Think and make your choice - will your life from this point on be  happy or sad?

Yoga:  Lotus Pose
The lotus pose is the most common posture people visualize when someone asks them to think of yoga.  It is also the pose used to calm the body prior to meditation.  Most practices begin or end with the lotus pose.

The purpose of the pose is to bring union of mind, body, and soul for it helps maintain proper posture, spinal alignment, and facilitate deep meditative breathing.

Considered one of the most sacred symbols, the lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises to the surface each day with beauty.  It represents honor, health, and long life. 



tainja said...

Excellent Blog- Tracy.. I really felt it when you spoke of your parents; we all have many loved ones we wish we could go back in time and help.

Yoga Girl said...

Most gracious Tainja. Healing occurs when we face our truths. Namaste.