I celebrated Christmas for the 41st time this year and, I have to say, of all the Christmas Days I’ve celebrated, this one came with the most emotion. 2018 was a wild year for us, and it seemed to build as the holidays approached. From moving across the state & spending quality time with my parents, to working through health issues and changing jobs, culminating with the celebration of the greatest miracle the world has ever known: the birth of Jesus, God in the flesh, who came to give His life as a ransom for ours.
And, although those experiences have elicited great emotion, both positive and negative, these aren’t the experiences that will shape my 2018. Through all of this, there were a few experiences that have ruined, er…altered, some of the key elements of my life, and it’s causing me grief, even as I write.
In September, my wife and I had the opportunity to get away on a much-needed vacation together. We left the girls with our parents and went away on a Caribbean cruise. As we boarded the ship and familiarized ourselves with the many food and drink options, we foolishly decided to go to the Lotus Spa fitness area, thinking our one-mile walk on the treadmill would somehow overshadow the multitude of trips to the buffet and the endless desserts. Our hearts were in the right place. That is, until our stomachs would overflow with chocolatey goodness and squeeze our heart right out of the way.
While at the spa, a nice, clean-cut, strong man name Igor told us about a seminar he was giving regarding health, and we decided to attend. During this seminar, Igor kindly explained to us the pH scale and how it relates to the body. I knew a little bit about pH from my days in school and as a chemistry teacher, but I never really took it to heart in terms of what I was eating & drinking. As Igor walked through the levels of acidity and alkaline of different foods (defined as either less than or greater than 7, respectively), he also mentioned that the body functions best with a pH level between 6-8, roughly.
Coffee, 4.5. No worries. I don’t drink coffee. That’s right, never had a cup of coffee a day in my life! Still not sure how I pulled all those all-nighters in college.
Beer, 4. Not a problem. Never had a drink of alcohol, and the closest I ever came was an embarrassing wine-tasting episode, which is a great story to tell at a party, but not here.
Apple juice, 3.8. All good. Haven’t had apple juice since grade school, I’m pretty sure.
Grapefruit, 3.2. Even better. I make a funny face whenever I try to force down some grapefruit, and that is usually the end of that.
And finally, Igor dropped the mega bomb I was not ready to hear. Soda, 2.5. Two point five, and just slightly above battery acid. What? Battery acid? Now, I knew a dirty, rusted penny could be cleaned by putting it in a glass and pouring Coke in the glass, which I thought was just a cool trick during science class. But Igor, in a fiery speech of righteous health, pleaded with us to stop drinking soda…forever. He repeatedly reminded us that it was the absolute worst thing one could put in his or her body outside of poisons and, apparently, battery acid.
At the time, I was drinking one, maybe two Diet Cokes a day, with the occasional lapse in which I was so busy throughout the day, I would forget to have one. I had already given up sweet tea because, well, it’s made with about a pound of sugar, and I hear that’s not good for you. I love chocolate milk, but that does some major damage to the waistline, especially coupled with some chocolate donuts, so I stay away from that as much as possible. So here’s where we’re at: no coffee, no alcohol, no sweet tea, no milk, and now, no soda. You know what that leaves me with? Water. WATER! The only drink I have left is water. What a way to ruin a vacation.
Two months later, as I’m doing some research to better understand some of the health concerns my wife and I were having, I come across an article that basically declares chocolate as one of the worst foods to put in the body. What? How about dark chocolate. Anti-oxidants. What happened to that? This can’t be so. Oh, it be so, my friend. It be so. Check this out.
- Chocolate causes weight gain. Thanks Einstein. I’m well aware of that one.
- Chocolate causes heartburn. Wasn’t aware of that, although I noticed increased activity out of the tailpipe after consuming significant amounts of chocolate. So probably true.
- Chocolate may cause cancer. Okay, I’m out.
- This is a triple negative on, literally, my favorite food. Chocolate donuts. Chocolate chips cookies. Chocolate ice cream. There is nothing chocolate I don’t like. I mean, what is a guy to do? Eat vegetables all day? Fruit for dessert. Give me a break!
At this point, I’m drinking water only, and seriously considering giving up chocolate for life. And then. And then, I learn that taking a long, hot shower every day is bad for you. How. Is. That. Possible? I grew up showering daily, and have for the majority of my life. And when I shower, it’s an event. It’s 20-30 minutes of warm water, often doing nothing but enjoying the rinse, singing some tunes and maybe coming up with a great idea or two. A little shampoo, and a little more rinse, and I’m good. But now, that is gone. Apparently, showering every day for long periods of time with super hot water is damaging to the skin, removing oils in the skin and what not. Blah, blah, blah.
So Merry Christmas, everyone, as I enjoy my 8 glasses of water, fruits and vegetables and my 2-minute shower every other day. Care to join me?