The Sewer

When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me that “if you walk through the sewer, you’re bound to get some crap on you.”  Really and truly, that was just his version of Proverbs 13:20 “The one who associates with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”  I got the idea for this post a couple of weeks ago when a facebook friend posted something from the Secret.  Now I generally discount the Secret as a new age belief that treats the creation (the Universe) as the Creator, but in this case, it lines up with the Bible.  The point of her post was that you will become those with whom you hang out with.  The bible makes the point more clearly by showing that you can either become wise, and therefore improve yourself, or you will suffer harm.

I think the same holds true for people who are trying to live a healthier life, whether it be through a paleo diet or through something more neolithic like Weight Watchers.  No matter what program you are following, if you associate with people who constantly through their un-healthy food at you, you are bound to crack.

I am not saying that you should disassociate from all of your unhealthy friends or get a divorce because your spouse insists on bringing doughnuts and oreos in the house.  What I am saying is you have to control your environment the best that you can.  Let me give you an example.

I live in Texas.  So whenever anybody suggests you go out to eat, you can bet that there is at least a 50% chance you will be at a Mexican restaurant.  Of course the biggest temptation of all is waiting for you at your local restaurante, and that devil is called tortilla chips.  Shoot, they bring them out for FREE.  How can you resist?  For many people, chips are like the Borg…resistance is futile.  They really don’t sing a siren song for me, but for people like my wife, they are worse than the serpent in the garden.  So if your friends want to go Mexican, you have to get them to agree to skip the chips with you by agreeing to tell the waiter not to bring the chips to the table at all.  Here is where the companion of fools part comes in.  If your friends are unwilling to make that one small sacrifice for you, you simply don’t go.  And then you start to examine if they are truly your friends at all.  If you have explained to them that you are really trying to make changes that will improve your health and they can’t respect that, then you have to wonder how much they really care for you.

So maybe you have determined that your friends don’t give a hoot about you or your health.  That is where the first part of the Proverb comes in.  “The one who associates with the wise grows wise.”  You could change that to read, the one who associates with the healthy becomes healthy.  In todays connected world, you could start a meetup in your town by posting one on meetup.com.  Another option would be to start to get to know people at your gym.  It is kind of hard to do at your standard globo-gym, so maybe start doing crossfit. There is a real tight knit community of healthy people at every crossfit box that is very welcoming and friendly.  Even if you think you can’t crossfit, I promise you they will scale whatever workout they are doing to your fitness level. Any decent box will require you to go through an onramp class not only to teach you the movements but also to assess your fitness level so they can scale the workouts.  I also like to associate myself virtually with wise people by listening to podcasts.  I regularly listen to Jimmy Moores Livin La Vida Low Carb Show, Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution and Sean Croxton’s Underground Wellness Show.  These are all free on iTunes or if you are a Samsung person like me, on kiescast. Not only am I learning tons of information about health, exercise and nutrition, but I am filling my wisdom cup by listening to and being influenced by healthy people who have a lot of wisdom to share.

Spouses are a different thing altogether. There is not much you can do about them because at the end of the day, you have to go home to them.  Again, if they are not on board with living a healthy lifestyle, I bet if you sat down and had a real heart-to-heart with them about what you are trying to do and how certain triggers make that harder, you could convince them not to bring those things in the house.  Stress to them that you are not asking them to give up Reese’s Peanutbutter Cups. You are only asking them not to eat them at home.  Be sincere and non-judgmental.  Don’t come off like they are something less than you because they continue to eat those things.  Just let them know that you are trying to improve your health by not eating them because they are a problem for you.  Sure, they are really a problem for them, but we don’t want to make it about them.  We want to enlist them in helping us.

What are your ideas on how we can better guard our environment to make sure we don’t walk through the sewer and get fat on us?

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3 thoughts on “The Sewer

  1. I could be missing your point, but I think it’s okay that your friends don’t forego chips at a Mexican restaurant on your behalf. There are a couple of options–you could ask them to keep you accountable to your goals by not letting you partake with them, or maybe keep them at the other side of the table. Or you could moderately indulge on the chips with them. It’s obviously going to be an exception rather than a rule to your dieting practices. One need not be legalistic about it.

  2. You just equated your “friends,” Christian or not, to the sewer. Paleo dieters love to tout themselves as the pinnacle of self-control. If your identity and pride is in your ability to be self-controlled, you should have no problem controlling yourself from the bowl of chips in front of you.

    Your non-Paleo friends who like tortilla chips might also question whether you are really their friend if you are not willing to accept their food choices.

    Shame on you for using God’s words to condemn those who have not made the same diet choices as you. Excuse me, it’s “lifestyle” not diet, right? This is not an attitude of Christ who walked directly into the gutter to love those living in it. You might want to find a new name for this blog, or seriously take another look at how you chose to embrace and twist this Proverb.

  3. Mark, I get what you’re saying as our society lives a “heaven forbid I deny my wants and desires for you” mentality. Though I completely understand Brandon’s point of view. For those of us trying to break food habits, it is nearly the same as those trying to break smoking or drug habits. Sound drastic? Not really. A person can live their whole life never smoking or doing drugs. Can you go your whole life without eating? No. But, a food addiction controls a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions like drugs. It is emotional and chemical. Our brains like the feel good certain foods contain, especially corn and its by-products.

    “…with corn being the leading cause of chronic food addiction in this century.” The Addiction Pyramid by Theron G. Randolph, MDNOHA NEWS, Vol. XV, No. 1, Winter 1990, pages 1, 3-4. (http://superiorsites3.com/NNW90AddictionPyramid.htm)

    Not to mention that corn and its products can be as addictive as cocaine to the brain.
    http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/05/25/high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-causing-addiction-similar-to-cocaine/

    That said, I believe Brandon’s request for friends and family to assist in the process of elimination for health’s sake is valid. If a family member is diagnosed with lung cancer from years of smoking, don’t most people near and dear try to get the person to stop smoking? There is a very strong similarity to the situations. Just because foods are common and legal, it does not mean they don’t cause some types of health issues—obesity, congestive heart failure, cancer, arthritis, yeast infections, etc.

    Personally, I don’t think Brandon’s request in any way is legalistic. It is a request for understanding, care and concern. Not alot different from people not smoking around a baby or young child. It is all in how we present our request.

    As a person who eats, there are some foods which have an addictive hold on me. For those who love me to eat them around me is like me trying to be in rehab for cocaine addiction and they come over with some and snort it around me. Extreme, maybe. Realistic, definitely. The Scriptures speak of avoiding eating something in the presence of your brother if it would offend them. So, let’s look at this with kindness and respect each other’s needs.

    I am a firm believer that if we will not show compassion for someone who has special needs, God will allow a situation into our lives which causes us to need compassion. Someone close to me could not fathom how an old back injury could cause problems with just a small twist or unbalanced lift. Unfortunately, they injured their back and years later they now have compassion for me because they understand first hand the needs I had so many years before, until even now. I did not and do not ever wish this had happened to them, or anyone, because I know what they now have to live with. I am not saying God injured them on purpose. We all make choices and take chances, or think we are stronger than we are, and do something stupid, when we should have asked for help or carried/pulled/pushed less weight. I do not believe God ever hurts us on purpose like that. Our free will lets us do it to ourselves. And, more often than not, that still, small voice in our heads is Holy Spirit encouraging us to think a moment about what we are about to do. It is up to us to listen. God is really trying to protect us from ourselves!

    Thanks for your article, Brandon. It is a brave thing to “put it out there” for people to comment on. There are lots of us out there who have the same situations. You are not alone! God bless you!!

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