Eating right puts fun back into living

By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- In recent days, we have been reading and hearing a lot about children being obese and running toward the eventual goal of becoming diabetic.

While living at Wevaco up Cabin Creek, 30 miles east of Charleston, WV., in a coal mining community, I thought I enjoyed the very best life had to offer – and just maybe I did.

Each morning we had a delicious and nutritious breakfast. We usually had eggs, oatmeal, a piece or two of bacon, fruit or fruit juice, homemade biscuits and milk to drink.

My first four years in school, primer through the third grade, I could walk home in five minutes so it was a hot lunch for Marie and me. Our breakfast and lunch was similar to what Dad had for his lunch at the coalmines.

Mom might make a skillet of chocolate fudge once a month and we usually got one piece a day, but not every day. A bottle of soda was not on the menu, except for special days.

Normal daily diet included dried beans. Pinto bean soup with onions, cornbread and skim milk is still a favorite dish. Not much fat in beans. Lots of protein and dietary fiber. We also enjoyed food we could get out of the garden, eggs and meat from chickens, milk from the cow, pork from a pig and beef from cattle. We ate well and drank the best of drinks – water and milk.

Every day we walked to school, played vigorously at morning and afternoon recess. We had all a person could ever want. We drank spring water and it was delicious. We had running water as far back as I can remember – every time we needed water, Mom would ask me to “run” to the spring and bring in another bucket of water.

After I wrote to this point I read a side bar feature in the Sunday Gazette-Mail, Charleston, WV, February 12, 2012, by Dr. Pamela Murray, vice chairwoman of the Department of Pediatrics and chief of adolescent medicine at West Virginia University, who offered this advice for better health.

1. “Get sugar drinks – and other calorie-dense foods – out of the house.
2. Almost any regular physical activity will help you.
3. Eat breakfast. It should be a non-sugar meal.
4. Portion control is critical.
5. A little bit of fat is good for you.
6. Start with one thing you know you can do. You can’t change everything at once.
7. Starving yourself sets you up for failure.
8. Eat slowly. It takes the body at least 20 minutes to recognize that you have fed it and to feel full.
9. Don’t smoke.”

I think my Mother, with her eighth grade education, could have been a splendid hospital dietician. With gratitude to Dr. Murray for her “Tips for any age” and to my mother who put it into practice all of my life.

My good friend in the west, Cleo Carlile, says repeatedly, it is “Water, water, water” when talking about what to drink. He should be lecturing to health care professionals in all their conventions. Like me, he and I have never faced an audience that did not need to hear our message about health and living.

One of the most scholarly of all men, Paul who lived in Tarsus, and knew about Middle East and European diets, wrote, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).

Paul sounds a lot like my personal physician, Dr. Stephen Smith, “Do all things in moderation.” Just the correct amount or as Anacharsis, the Scythian sage of 600 B.C., put it, “Nothing to excess.” Do we need to learn again, what has been known for more than 2,500 years?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds.

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