---- — We are called upon to make choices every day. I have chosen three to focus on in this column.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
You may have noticed that some arguments are a waste of time. Things will not change, no matter what is said and, therefore, it’s useless energy expended. You get all worked up and your blood pressure rises. It’s not good for the health, so decide to let it go. But, you may want to put up a fight over certain principles, such as feeling mistreated by someone. You might fight back, up to a point, and then decide to back off, knowing you have at least expressed yourself.
Fighting with a loved one can be wearying when you are on opposite ends of a discussion. Round and round you go, with no one budging. In situations like this it is good to remember that old adage, “Do you want to be right, or do you want peace?” It is also helpful to consider if it is more important to the other person, or to you, to “win.” If you find you are not all that invested, it may be a good idea, for the sake of peace, to let them have their way, even if you both know you disagree. They will be happy with your generosity and may return the favor later.
PICK YOUR POISONS
We are confronted with choices of what to put into our bodies.
Some say meat is a poison. One of the latest foods to be thought detrimental to our health is our dearly desired sugar. We are asked now to eliminate all sugar found in processed foods, desserts, candy ... it is in just about everything. Chocolate is now in favor, but only if you have a tiny bit and it is dark and loaded with cacao.
Alcohol, especially when done in excess, will age us quicker. For one thing it is loaded with sugar. As aging boomers, our bodies and minds simply can no longer tolerate the same amount of alcohol as we once did. But a glass or two of red wine with dinner is said keep our hearts strong.
Wheat is thought to be bad for us by the latest scientific evidence, especially gluten. A book you can read to learn more about eliminating wheat from your diet is “Wheat Belly.” If we want to lose that bulging, bloated belly, we are advised to give up wheat. Try it and see the difference!
Seven foods one should not eat, especially those who have sensitivities leading to allergic reactions are: eggs, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, peanuts and, as mentioned, gluten.
So what is left if we are to be purists? Most experts agree we need to be eating a diet of nuts, legumes or beans, vegetables and fruits. Others believe we can include a little meat (but not red meat), chicken and fish. We can choose to change our diets completely, giving up all the possibly inflammatory foods, but that usually doesn’t happen unless we have had a severe health scare.
When we make up our mind to improve our diet, we can do so a little at a time starting with the really bad stuff — processed foods, soda, ice cream, etc. It is our decision to make as to how we nurture ourselves.
PICK YOUR CHARITY
At the end of each year, in particular, we often receive many solicitations from nonprofits asking us to share our wealth. Some of us may be immune to these requests, while others give a little or a lot. Some think of the tax write-off and are even more motivated to give.
Whenever our state and federal governments need to cut back on spending, it is often those who most in need of help who no longer receive adequate support. Donations from individuals or groups can often make the difference. If we have some sense of the feeling that “we are our brother’s keeper,” and we are all related in our basic desire to live as best we can then we have to reach out and help those less fortunate.
We can choose who to assist and how to give that help, whether its a financial donation or with our time and energy. When deciding who could use your help, consider the following, to name just a few:
Our veterans and their families
Special needs children and their parents
Victims of domestic violence
Elders living in isolation
Generosity can be thought of as “paying ahead,” for we never do know when we might need some extra help ourselves. May we stay aware of our conscious choices, for that is the best foundation to ensure all of our New Year’s resolutions will manifest in 2013.
Angelena Craig of Newburyport is the director of The New Aging Movement and a professional-level yoga instructor. Visit her website at www.thenewagingmovement.com or e-mail email@example.com.