Knowing what I know today…

One of my favorite questions to ask, and to be asked, is “knowing what you know today, what would you do differently?” For the eager seeker, the answers to this question can be game changers.

Happy Sunday morning. I would like to share what I would say if someone asked that question today.

Knowing what I know today, I wouldn’t wait for a diagnosis to make fundamental upgrades in my diet. Little by little, I have learned over the years the importance of nutrition. Most of my knowledge and ultimate shift, I credit my kids. They innately knew about the alternative foods. Based on new experiences and research, I made minor, incremental changes in my food selection. Looking back, I first learned the difference between nutritional carbs and empty carbs. Then, I learned about the benefits of cooking from scratch as much as possible. We decided to eliminate certain processed foods. We learned to read labels and select only processed foods that had a clean label. It was a grand day when I found I could buy canned tomatoes without added sugars and high sodium levels. I would become so upset with myself if one day I shopped and didn’t feel like reading labels, and came home with something that has MSG in it. I quickly became trained to read labels on anything new. This became a whole new challenge in Costa Rica. Some people learn Spanish by watching TV. Some learn by completing classes taught by locals. I should have taken that route, but didn’t. But I learned to read labels in Spanish. And, fortunately, we ate local, fresh foods for the most part. Please pardon my sidebar. Back to the intended path.

The path being, I wouldn’t wait for the diagnosis before making changes. I would have been more religious with my 3-day juicing fasts. I would do it more than twice a year. I would have fasted from alcohol more than once a year. I would suppress my inner voice’s rationalization that said, “yes, Judi, you can do all this and be the healthiest person in the world and have a heart attack while exercising.” This may be very true. True confession: I had to feel the symptoms of overindulgence and aging before I was motivated enough to follow through with fasts and cleanses that always made me feel better.

I am on this Unplanned journey with Howard and participating fully in our game-changing diet. The diagnosis of his cancer has changed both of our lifestyles for the better. Do our alternative methods support the traditional chemo methods? As I sit here and look at Howard, he doesn’t look like he has been through 7 cycles of potent chemo cocktails and a round of radiation. 90% of his days, he feels good.

The time pressure we feel while changing our nutritional game isn’t pleasant. The diagnosis was a great motivator, however. “Knowing what I know now, what would I do differently?” I would try to find something that would provide the same motivator without the diagnosis. Remember the 80/20 rule that applies to many situations? I would definitely flip my choices to be 80% healthy and 20% “let go and live it up”. Nutrition seems to be that important.

These are my observations from the caregiver’s corner. And this caregiver is now enjoying the benefits of a healthier lifestyle without a diagnosis. I am hoping the return on my investment is diagnosis-avoidance. Who knows? I surely do not.

What I know for sure today… I know I will walk in these shoes with Howard, because I believe that what we are doing is doing more good and no harm. And I want a lot of time and good health on our side as we continue to enjoy retirement life together.

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