Sunday, September 16, 2012

Serendipity and CNN's Sunjay Gupta for Breakfast!


Serendipity is great because it's almost always good, and it comes when you're least expecting - like a gift from the university as new agers might say.

I'd been up less than 5 minutes this morning when Sunjay Gupta of CNN's Fit Nation reached out through my tv screen with a dose of high powered serendipity

He was interviewing Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, whose latest claim to fame is getting the city to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces - take that you Big Gulps!

Bloomberg says very matter of factly that this year for the first time more people might die from obesity, having too much food, than from having too little.

I've been wanting to write about healthy eating, and how our sugar driven, meat laden diets not only are unhealthy and death dealing for us as individuals, but are also a threat to the sustainability of world agriculture. And here, at 6:30 am is Bloomberg giving me the lead-in to what will be a series of articles here over the coming months.

And I hadn't seen it coming - which is what makes it serendipity of course.

To his credit, CNN's resident doc and neurosurgeon, Sunjay Gupta, has become an advocate of all the good things we can do to make ourselves healthier, and isn't afraid to talk about such things as vegan diets, triathlons and daring to live a lot differently than most of your neighbours.

And that's when he zapped me the second time with a shot of serendipity.

As I was pouring my freshly made coffee, and enjoying my multi-grain porridge with bananas and blueberries - no added sugar or dairy, Sunjay describes his next guest as one of the world's top athleletes.

"This will be good," I thought, not realizing just how good.

When he mentioned his next guest's book, Finding Ultra, I almost sprayed my nearest cat with a mouthfull of coffee. (Sometimes serendipity leads to that kind of response.)

This serendipity was also a coincidence as it so happens I am in the middle of reading Rich Roll's book Finding Ultra. It's subtitled Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself. As chance would have it, I hadn't gone looking for Finding Ultra; it just happened to be on the new arrivals cart at my public library.
 
Roll told Sunjay Gupta how he had been overweight from over-eating, too much junk food, and a couch-based after-hours life style. When he couldn't get up the stairs in his house one night without pausing, breathing hard, and wondering if a coronary was on the way, he knew something had to change.

From reading the book, I know what changed was that he reached back into the memory of school years when he had been an avid, driven athlete on land and water, and began running again. Not only that, he soon changed his diet to a concentrated nutrient, plant based cornucopia of thoughtfully prepared, tastey ingridients. No more meat, dairy, or anything else which had come from the animal kingdom.

The serendipity, besides reading Roll's book, was that I had been going to write about it when the opportunity arose. And now it had been served up with my breakfat.

Also, serendipity because, after yeterday's post on Free Money Day, which was sponsored by Post Growth, an organization concerned about world financial issues and sustainability, I had been wondering how to start writing more intentionally about sustainability.

Diet, ecology, sustainability were all great interests of mine when I became a vegetarian 18 years ago, as was running. Time, poor choices, burnout had all conspired to dull those interests - although I have faithfully maintained my vegetarian diet.

Recently, I've become something of a foody, a devotee of the Food Network which often causes me to cringe because of the obscene amounts of butter and meat which are so often used in their recipes. But those negatives didn't stop me from becoming more interested in better ways of preparing the food I eat.

Over the summer I've read some recipe books, tried to learn good knife technique, and ways to prepare more dishes. The other night I made my own pancake mix from scratch, following the maxim of Canadian chef Michael Smith who says you don't have to be tied to a recipe.

So yesterday, my first step toward writing about these various interests and how they're inter-connected came from Australiam doctor Donnie Maclurcan, who wondered if I wanted to write about Free Money Day. I did, and you can find that article here.

And less than 24 hours later it came from Sunjay Gupta's one-two serendipity.

I urge people who are interested in health and fitness to see that show.

Likewise, Finding Ultra is a positive, joyous book about the amazing changes we can make when we decide that the time for life-altering, major transformation is at hand.

These changes aren't easy, and they require the ability to do certain things on a regular basis whether you feel like doing them or not. But as Roll points out in his book, one gets used to new ways of living, and they become a habit. Especially when you find yourself feeling greater health and increased happiness and well-being.

(To that end, I'll note my modest achievement toward change this week: This is the fourth day in a row which I have got up before 6:45 am, and after breakfast, immediately sat down to write. Though unplanned the serendipities have been most encouraging, so I thank Donnie, Sunjay, Mayor Blumberg, and Rich for their unknowing roles in the process.)

As former interests related to ecology, sustainability, individual health, well being, mindfulness, diet, etc became a greater part of my awareness in the last few months, I realized two things: These interests from one perspective could be viewed as an Exuberant Eclectic's grab bag of this, that, and the other thing.

Though that has a somewhat cynical sound to it, I wouldn't disagree.

But thanks to the passage of time, and what we've learned in the last 40 years, all of these interests are more interconnected  than we thought back then or than may be readily apparent today. In the context of what we know now, rather than being a grab bag so much, these interests are the warp and woof of a great human tapestry on living well on Earth, and treating our planet with the same love and compassion with which we would hope others would treat us. 

And, ideally, with which we should treat our own self.

If this post seems unfinished, with loose ends, and assertions made but not backed up, it's because it is. This, like each of our lives, is a work in progress.
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1 comment:


  1. If this post seems unfinished, with loose ends, and assertions made but not backed up, it's because it is. This, like each of our lives, is a work in progress.
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