I eat at least thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I avoid toxic chemicals as much as is within my power to do so. I rarely eat processed food, never anything with white sugar or white flour. My diet is free of gluten. I don’t have a stressful job. I drink two quarts of water per day (more in the summer).
I’ve spent years trying to convince people, via blogs, books and videos, that such habits are the way to go if you want to reduce your risk of getting sick.
Last year, the usual cashier at the local small grocery store was out sick. The flu, I found out later. Well, what did she expect? She had admitted to me that her diet was none too pristine. And she is overweight.
A few weeks ago, I saw that one of the assistant managers at the same store was sick, and I thought, “Tsk. Tsk. She doesn’t eat healthy; she asked for it.”
So, what happens to me a few days before the New Year?
I get the flu.
Or, at least, what the CDC calls an “influenza-like illness.” ILI for short.
Serves me right for judging.
Is it worth it?
You have to know that I had a moment where I asked myself, “Is it worth it?”
Is it worth the higher grocery bill? Is it worth all the work – not just of avoiding all the bad stuff and eating enough good, but of constantly trying to convince J and B the importance of eating healthy?
I almost answered, “No.”
But then I remembered some things. Beginning with: I haven’t been this sick for five years.
Many people get the flu – to the extent they feel miserable for an entire week or more – every single year.
I remembered that my symptoms weren’t as bad this time as they were five years ago. Coincidence? Or the result of either being under a lot less stress or eating a lot more fruits and vegetables?
I believe the latter is true.
I remembered that the flu is not a precursor to cancer, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, Hashimoto’s, or any of the other diseases which eating a whole foods, plant-based diet dramatically reduces the risk of developing.
Influenza is, instead, a virus. One that is fairly ubiquitous.
In other words, it’s impossible never to be exposed to it. And every once in a while, the exposure will be more than your immune system can handle quickly and quietly.
I remembered that – *SIGH* – I’m getting older. Like the rest of me, my immune system has slowed down a bit and has past its peak performance.
That being the case, how much more important is it for me to do everything within my power to boost my immune function? And not only my immune function, but all the other systems of my body?
How much worse might this bout of the flu have been, had I not been eating healthy? Avoiding toxic household cleaners, etc.?
Life isn’t perfect, BUT…
My conclusion: life isn’t perfect. Can’t be, no matter how hard I try.
There are certain things I can do to make certain aspects of life go more smoothly. My choices matter.
On the other hand, going forward I’m going to think twice before judging people who are suffering from an illness. Because sometimes, stuff happens despite our best efforts to prevent them.
And, a-hem, pride goes before destruction. Or, in this case, a nasty case of the flu.