Daily Archives: June 2, 2008

Reading Good Books: Good for What Ails Ya

Just finished In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan yesterday. This is one of the best books I have read on the topic of food. He discusses “nutritionism” which is the “science” whereby scientists isolate individual substances in a food and then make pronouncements about them. They find out that beta-carotene is good, and suddenly you see label after label announcing that this product has beta-carotene in it! Much conventional or official wisdom which has been spread throughout the land has later been found to be incomplete in some way. Remember how margarine was supposed to be better than butter? And then, oops, we mean margarine that doesn’t have trans fats in it? Imagine how many people over the years, myself included, slathered on trans-fatty margarine thinking we/they were doing something healthy! Oops!

I am not a conspiracy theorist. Occasionally, I have books recommended to me that clearly fall in the conspiracy camp. I react as strongly to those as I would to be a bee sting. I go for reasonable and rational information. In Defense of Food is both reasonable and rational, and for me, completely believable. I could identify strongly with his assertion that going to the grocery store has become a pretty tough outing for someone who is trying to eat “right.” How many thousands of food items are there in the store? How many do we need to avoid if we are trying to eat healthy food? If you want to just avoid high-fructose corn syrup, that cuts out a HUGE number of foods.

His main thesis: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. He doesn’t advocate a strictly vegetarian diet, or any extremes, actually. The second half of the book expands on his thesis, in terms of what he means by “food,” (don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food — can you imagine her saying, GO-GURT? What in the world is GO-GURT?), what is not too much (how many times do we stop eating because the show is over, or the bag is empty, rather than based on whether or not we are hungry), and what he means by mostly plants.

For more info, go here.

Budgeting: Good for What Ails Ya

Friday morning, Greg and I had a meeting with some financial planners. We found out about these guys because they specialize in helping families with a special needs family member. I was so inspired after this meeting because these guys were just so personable.

One thing I was inspired to do was print out our check register from June 1 last year to May 31 this year and start looking at the actual numbers. Budgeting has eluded me, year after year, as I have started out with good intentions, but never been able to make all the numbers add up to satisfactory numbers. So, I’m nearing the point where I will be able to put a budget on paper that I believe will work.

The other thing I was inspired to do was to ask these two guys how one gets started in the business they are in. I would love to work with people in financial planning, and although I am a bit tied up at the moment, I can see this as being something I would like to work into in the future.

I highly recommend these guys to anyone, special needs or not. They clearly know what they are doing and I came away from the meeting with a REALLY good feeling about what we were doing.

Church: Good For What Ails Ya

So we’ve been going to this new church for about five weeks, or maybe six. Imagine my pleasure this morning as I walked through the church and heard someone call my name to greet me, and a little farther down the hall, I ran into someone I have known for about 8 years who said, “Are you attending this church?”, hugged me, and said, “I’m glad you’re going here. I like you.”

Instead of attending the main service this morning, I went with Eli to the junior high meeting. Although I missed being in the main service, I loved getting to know the youth pastor a little better. I loved it that he encouraged the kids to bring their Bibles to church as they would need them. I loved it that he taught on the book of Jonah and I learned some things! And I loved that Eli did not want to go in but had to since I forced him, and ended up having a positive experience.

I loved running into “Karen,” an acquaintance I’ve known for several years, who offered to show me where the junior high kids meet, made sure my son met her son, and introduced both myself and Eli to the youth pastor.

I’m glad we are there.

Bowling: Good for What Ails Ya

Recently, I realized that it had been approximately 827 months since Greg and I had gone upon an actual date. We usually get a couple of hours on a weekly basis to run errands to Lowe’s, etc., but that time is always spent in productive pursuits. Matthew Kelly talks about “Carefree Timelessness” in his book, The Seven Levels of Intimacy. Carefree Timelessness is the kind of time we spend with someone when we are young and in love. Remember spending hours on the phone with someone? Or going to a park and lying on a blanket looking at the amazing cloud formations? Well, I don’t much like talking on the phone anymore and lying on the ground sounds painful, but I do think our little bowling trip qualified as Carefree Timelessness. We spent big and paid for two games at the beginning ($21 including shoes). I realized after we had bowled a few frames that we weren’t talking about our kids, or any chores that needed to be done, or what driving we needed to do the next day to take people places. We were just hanging out together having fun. You can see from the photos that we are outstanding bowlers — look at our form — and that Greg scored his highest ever score, whereas I did not. So, here’s a plug for bowling. It’s great fun.