Wellness Part 1: Connecting with June Cleaver

Molly and Jen recently taught me to knit. It’s very exciting. During our weekly knitting lunch, I looked at Molly and exclaimed, “Ooh! I can make my own dishcloths! How domestic will that make me?”

To which Molly gently replied as only a good friend could, “Maybe you should just try making your husband dinner first.” Touché, Molly. Touché.

I have a tendency to get really busy and then really lazy about certain things. Between extra doses of travel and company this fall, Josh’s busy schedule, our very different diets, and me rarely being home before 6:30, we’ve pretty much kissed home-cooked meals goodbye. I was hardly June Cleaver to start with, so I’ve got some work to do. Molly and I laughed really hard at her joke, but I’m actually trying to put it into practice. At least a couple times a week, anyway.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living intentionally and about the most important things in life. Molly’s 30 list is inspiring me to take another look at my list and be a little more proactive about it. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about wellness and what that means. Is it possible that a homemade dinner at the table can contribute to wellness? I think so. Here are four areas of life I’ve been mulling over a lot lately.

In no particular order . . . except that food is first because that’s mostly what this blog is about . . . here are four areas that I want to really be intentional about in my life:

  1. Diet. Not the four-letter version of that word, as in “I’m on a diet.” If you’re on a diet, may I be blunt? Stop being on a diet. I mean “diet” as in what you eat and drink on a regular basis. Our well-being is so tied to what we put into our bodies. It’s actually shocking how this affects us, but hang on, I’ll address more about that in a minute.
  2. Exercise. Move it or lose it seems to be a pretty accurate adage. If you want to be mobile when you’re 80 you have to be mobile when you’re 30. That means I have got to stop hitting my snooze alarm.
  3. Spiritual and Emotional Health. This might be two, but I’m going to lump them together. For me, they are intricately connected. Two words: Be Still. I need so much work on this it’s ridiculous.
  4. Relational Health. Turns out people really affect us. And we affect them. It might as well be for good.

So let’s chat about the first one today.

1. Diet

If you’ve spent some time on this blog you know that Molly has to be gluten-free, Jen mostly has to be gluten-free, and I just tend to feel better when I’m gluten-free. But this is about more than not eating gluten; it’s also about eating things that are really good for you.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

That’s brilliant. And I believe it. It’s become my mom’s mantra as she is battling some severe health issues. I’ve seen it transform my dad’s life. Molly, Jen, Lisa. I could go on. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need actual medicine. But sometimes just changing what we eat and drink can be life changing.

Here’s the thing. Healthy diets can look a little different for everyone. It’s a matter of finding what works best for your body and being pretty diligent to live that way 85% of the time. Cut some bad stuff and add some good stuff.

Adding good stuff is key, but here are a few positive things I’ve experienced or heard of others who have experienced from cutting the gluten.

  • Weight loss and maintenance. I have been consistently 11 to 14 pounds lighter since I’ve cut most of the gluten from my diet ten months ago.
  • Allergy relief. Some people actually get relief from other allergies by cutting gluten from their diets.
  • Improved mental health. People with depression and even things like autism notice improvement from being gluten-free.
  • Being happy. One of my mom’s doctors told her recently that the human body’s intestinal tract has more serotonin receptors than the brain. Serotonin leads to feelings of well-being and happiness. Don’t smash your receptors! Don’t clog them, block them, or smother them. When I’m really dedicated and intentional about my diet (and for me that means being gluten-free), there are days you can’t smack the smile off my face. When I’m not, well, it’s touch and go.
  • Improved digestive health. If you have any kind of digestive problem, I highly recommend trying gluten-free living. Indigestion, heartburn, bloating, feeling too full. Whatever your problemo is, I have personally felt a lot better, and I know others who’ve had the same experience.

It’s not easy to change. It’s not easy to live intentionally. But life flies by so quickly. I want to soak up every last good drop of it. So I’m going to work to cook homemade meals at least twice a week. Pitiful? Yes, a little, but progress. June Cleaver? Hardly, but I like leftovers.

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I’m going to take a page from Molly’s book and do some crock-potting. That’s what I’ve done that last couple weeks, and it seems like a good fit for those of us who spend more time in the office than in the kitchen. Do any of you busy folks have some tricks and tips for preparing healthy meals on a regular basis? Do you have a life-changing food experience? I’d love to hear about them.

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6 thoughts on “Wellness Part 1: Connecting with June Cleaver

  1. I really just meant that you have to cook to really need the dishcloth 🙂 I’m jealous that your husband is such a good cook! Besides, you’ve totes knitted a dishcloth now if you just finish it off! its the perfect size!

  2. I’ve only been gluten free for almost three months but I’ve suffered from other food allergies, environmental allergies, asthma, eczema and all this other crap. I’ve heard so much positive stuff about going gluten-free and then feeling relief from these symptoms. I went gluten-free because of Celiac Disease, and unfortunately, I’ve noticed minimal relief on anything except GI issues and insomnia! 😦

    • I’m glad to hear that your GI and insomnia issues have seen improvement, but I’m sorry about the allergy part. My mom has a friend whose allergies have gotten much better, but like you, my mom hasn’t noticed a difference the times she’s tried cutting out gluten. Have you also tried cutting out dairy? I know that can sometimes have a big impact. I’ll say a prayer that you’ll find some solutions and relief soon.

      • I haven’t. I don’t positive as being allergic to dairy (though I did have an allergy as a child) and it breaks my heart to think of giving it up! I know it can affect sinus issues (and other things as well) but it’s so hard to give up other foods, when you’re already unable to eat so much! I should give it a try though to see what happens.

      • You may want to try cutting corn! That was one of the biggest difference makers for me. I had horrible hives every day and night, massive migraine headaches, and non-stop sinus infections. But cutting gluten and corn in tandem made a WORLD of difference. Good luck!!

    • I’m a little late to the party here, but I second Molly and MacKenzie’s suggestions! I didn’t think I could say goodbye to dairy when I initially altered my diet. I LOVE CHEESE and couldn’t imagine any kind of meaningful life without it. 🙂 BUT! After the initial withdrawal and misery, I began to feel so much better that I stopped missing the dairy. It’s an adjustment, no question, but it isn’t impossible. I became a huge fan of various goat cheeses and almond milk (as well as almond milk “ice cream”). The combo of cutting out gluten and dairy significantly impacted my sinuses, seasonal allergies, and skin. I’ll be praying that you get some answers and some relief. If you want to see what a diet without it still offers, take a peek at my post about phase 1: https://gfgluttons.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/a-day-in-the-life-phase-1/. Good luck!

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