Fed Up, Barton Springs on a Chilly Morning and the Wilder Life

In the early mornings I keep returning to the backyard. I take far more pictures than I share. I love how photography has taught me to slow down and take notice You don’t have to go far to be inspired.

like a bird on a wire

I recently saw a documentary on Netflix called, Fed Up. Highly recommended.

It shows how you can’t trust much when it comes to processed foods, regulatory government agencies beholden to big business, or either political party with all the money in politics drowning out the voices of people. Best of all, it shows how sugar and other sweeteners in processed foods are making us fat. Especially when the marketing states the product is vegan, vegetarian, low fat, or masquerading as healthy some other way. Chances are, if is a processed food, it is unhealthy. Read the ingredients on the product. There should be few, and you should know what they are.

Lastly this documentary shows how we are failing the greatest in our schools, where fast food and processed foods are now dominant. If ever there was a place to unzoo and defactory farm, or a place that needs a wilder life, it is schools.

Here is a good excerpt from a write up of Fed Up, in USA Today:

The documentary details how, since the U.S. government issued its first dietary guidelines 30 years ago, the rate of obesity has skyrocketed. Generations of kids will live shorter lives than their parents. The film upends the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and lays bare the misinformation put forth on how to lose it. It reveals that far more of the American public gets sick from what they eat than anyone realized. The film traces the history of processed foods adding dangerous levels of sugar and sweeteners to their roster of ingredients. (It began in the late 1970s with the rise of low-fat foods and has intensified since then.) Doctors bemoan the rise of adult-onset diabetes in young children, as well as children suffering strokes and heart attacks at a very young age, due to their excessive intake of sugar.

“One in three kids by midcentury in this country are going to have type 2 diabetes,” says David. “I could cry just saying that to you.”

Adds Couric: “In 1980 zero kids had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It used to be considered adult-onset diabetes. And then by 2010 it was close to 57,000.”

Related to a Wilder Life, here is an article I read in the Washington Post

“A major consequence of continued urbanization is that more people will be exposed to the health risks associated with city living. Urban nature could provide a cost-effective tool to reduce these health risks,” Danielle F. Shanahan from the University of Queensland in Australia and her colleagues wrote in the journal Bioscience on Wednesday.

Their goal, the researchers wrote, is “to understand how urban nature can be manipulated to enhance human health” and propose a framework for “measuring” nature doses such as the intensity (i.e. the number of street trees in a neighborhood or percentage of vegetation cover in a landscape), frequency or pattern and duration of exposure. They noted that there are some challenges in defining a dose “largely because it can be framed in a social context as well as an objective reality.”

I’m all for more green spaces. This blog is all about getting outside more. Get outside more, be more healthy, sleep better, express yourself, communicate with more people and more nature. As we grow wilder, we’ll appreciate wild things. Fresh food, wilder food, green spaces, playgrounds, preserves, parks, and healthy-organic farming.

Barton Springs Pool Austin, Tx. A natural springs pool. Barton Springs Pool Austin, Tx. A natural springs pool.

A Wilder Way

What is demonstrated in Fed Up, is what I’ve discovered as well. Eating well goes a long way in weight loss. This time around, all I’ve changed is what I eat, and I’ve been losing weight. I’ve only been at this since March, and I’ve lost inches. My jeans are way too big for me. My energy level is high. I feel great. Powerful. At this point, I want to be active. I find myself doing things, when before, I was the poster adult for how the average processed food diet make you feel lethargic, and like eating more.

Big Business started feeding crap to the livestock in their factory farms, and now they are feeding us those poor animals and that crap food. If you feel compassion for animals in factory farms, then also feel it for people like me who were trapped in the pen of the couch. No free range, getting pumped full of chemicals, and no quality of life. Dying, not living. A wilder life is about getting back a quality life.

A quick note, are my energy levels through the roof because I eat real food, or because I mainly drink water, and unsweetened teas? I’m guessing it is a bit of both, and a positive feed back loop. The more I eat real food, the more active I am, the more I want to eat more real food, the more active I grow, and more and more weight is loss, and the cycle goes on. That’s what we are after.

What I didn’t like about the other diets is the zoo-style exercise. I hate treadmills. If that’s all you have, then that’s good. But if you can get outside to walk, that’s better! So this time around, with this diet and plan for the Wilder Life, exercise is about play. I’ve been going to Barton Springs pool, a natural spring fed pool here in Austin, Tx.

Some mornings I’m in the mood for laps. Sometimes, I do stretches in the water, or float, or soak. Mostly, I snorkel around, looking at crawfish, red-eared sliders, snails,band all kinds of fish. There are even wildflowers, little white ones, underwater in the pool and tall swaying grasses.

It’s a transcendent moment for me when the morning sunlight streams through the deep water. Blue, black and aquamarine shades of cold spring water and I’m diving deep. Swimming underwater behind a turtle is heavenly. I’m have a good time, which makes me want to come back. This isn’t a chore. This isn’t drudgery, and hamster wheel exercise. I’m living a wilder way. Which means I’m more likely to keep doing it. I talk to people at the pool, and pool attendance is diversified. It’s great.

So whatever activity is calling you, listen to the call and go do it. Get outside. Play. If you are in the mood to train for a marathon, then train. If you want to work in the garden, do that. Ride your bike. Climb monkey bars, or trees, or hike, or walk. Go do it! Be wild!

When I eat healthy, real food, it energizes me. I feel great. That positive feedback keeps me coming back. When I play to get my exercise, that keeps me coming back. I’m not relying on will power. Meditation and positive feedback keeps me focused. I’m not depriving myself, I’m having fun and feeling great!

In the end I get a more abundant, thriving, wilder life.

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