Monday, June 1, 2009

"T" is for Temptation...."T" is for Temperance

As I walked down Front Street, here in Avalon (could be any-town, USA), I wondered how to present the topic of temperance. Surrounded by bars and restaurants, all serving up "something special,"just come on in! Temperance vs temptation.  Not a very popular topic. Not here. Not anywhere! None -the- less temperance is  critical aspect to optimum health. Mental health, physical health, spiritual health, community health... ALL aspect of true health. 
This is part of an approach to complete training, so it cannot be ignored. Lack of temperance effects your nutrition, exercise, sunshine, rest, water...all of the other elements of optimal health and performance. Sure, there is discipline involved, you have to fight the desire to be part of the crowd, you have to be true to yourself...but where you really want to be?What do you want to do with your life? Where has it gotten you se far? Are you, in your heart of hearts, all you can be? 
I used to live the life of complete "self-will run riot," as one of my former friends called it. I thought it was okay... everyone else was eating and drinking without a care in the world for what was taking place inside of their bodies, their minds, their souls. Hey, why not.  We call it "fun." Not to mention there are dozens and dozens of articles supporting alcohol. Everything from lower cholesterol to cancer prevention. (I wonder who paid for some of those studies- they don't seem to resonate with other clinical studies that I have been privy to!) Considering alcohol is a multi-billion dollar industry...well, what do you think!?)
 Everyone else also seems fine eating heavily ladened fatty foods, sugary substances. I mean what is a chocolate bar, or so? I work, I support myself, I'm not hurting any one, I even work out now....
There was one problem with all of that though, deep down inside my heart of hearts I knew my purpose was not being fulfilled. I knew I did not feel my best. My abilities were hampered, my mood less than great, many things were not GREAT.  Another drink, or whatever, was not making things "better."When I was younger I had the ability to become anything (still do, but that's a different discussion.) Straight A's- from athletic ability, to art , to law, to science  afforded me a scholarship. Wow! What happened? Well, universities DO have lounges. I needed to "relieve the stress of studying." I had long forgotten the virtues of running and exercise to relieve these fleeting stressful moments- studying is so much more important- right?! I had my family I needed to impress with my good grades, I needed to focus and get my PhD-yesterday! I needed to relax- then I could study. Just one drink, right? 
I was not aware of the fact that Alcohol affects young brain cells the most. Drinking before the age of 23 years of age for females, and 30 years of age for men is extremely damaging to the memory and learning centers of the brain. (They never told me that in psychology class!) Alcohol blocks electrical signals that travel within the brain during the learning process. (Proof Positive, Dr Neil Nedley, p 438) Also, further studies conducted at Duke University Medical Center, found that even just two drinks a day depress receptors in the brain, interfering with learning and memory! Well, I guess that explains a lot!
Alcohol also has a long lasting effect on the brain. MRI evidence shows that alcohol literally alters the physical structures of the brain. It weakens the structures and brain chemicals.  "Our heavy drinkers' sample was significantly impaired on measures of working memory, processing speed, attention, executive balance and function. (
So let's get this straight, by unwittingly walking into that lounge so long ago, I prevented my brain from proper physical and chemical function. Wow! Then I thought it was "cool"- so I managed to further damage my brain by the "social drinking" I did through out my life?! Interesting. And of course, as one the people that seems to metabolize alcohol a little differently by being converted quickly and neutralized slowly, my body adapted to the presence of alcohol..which is if you were wondering "poison."
There is not one cell in the human body that is NOT affected by alcohol. "Alcohol is a drug that can MODIFY one or more of the body's functions. From the MOMENT alcohol enters your body the tiny molecules need no digestion and are quickly absorbed. About 20 percent of the alcohol molecules are absorbed right through the walls of an empty stomach, and can reach the brain within one minute." (Jane Penz, PhD, Nutrition for Professional, 2009) Dr Jane goes on to say, "Alcohol disrupts the liver. The liver can package excess fatty acids into triglycerides and ship them to other tissues. (Triglycerides are stored energy for the body- very important.)When metabolizing alcohol, liver cells are forced to metabolize alcohol and fatty acids accumulate. The presence of alcohol can also alter  protein metabolism in the liver. Synthesis of some proteins important to the immune system slows down, weakens the body's defense against infection. With excessive alcohol consumption protein deficiency can develop."
The list seems to grow against this very popular pass time! It also seems that alcohol is non-nutritive, containing 7 calories per gram ( Carbs contain 4 calories per gram, as does protein. Fat contains 9 calories per gram.) I used to actually count alcohol into my daily calorie allowance. I did not realize that alcohol totally sabotages the diet process!! Alcohol has a catabolic effect on muscle tissue. "Alcohol actually damages skeletal muscle and is one of the most prevalent forms of skeletal muscle disorders, with a prevalence of 2,000 cases per 100,000 population. Although principally occurring in men (due to the greater prevalence of alcoholism in this gender) women appear to be particularly susceptible , and there is some evidence that malnutrition may exacerbate this disease. Predominant features of alcoholic myopathy include difficulties in gait, cramps, impaired muscle strength, and reduced whole body lean muscle tissue." ( Nutrition for Professional, Dr. Jane Penz)
Studies also indicate that even while I was sure I was making great food choices...maybe not!
Seems that alcohol crosses the blood- brain barrier and distorts our good judgement, and lowers our inhibitions. Seems that my choices really were skewed at best. Often I remember waking next to a bag (empty) of salty junk food...hardly a wise choice. Of course, I would crave bad foods all the next day as my body would scream for something to help it heal. Poison is poison.
I am very grateful for the second chance at life that I have received. I enjoy a fitness level that I do not deserve, I enjoy a new perspective on life and it's TRUE values, I enjoy many things, and endure things on a different level now.... I am so very blessed, and grateful. I know others out there are stuck in a negative cycle. It is your life. Truth must be accepted for change to occur. As for me..I prayed very hard.  The brain can be restored through proper diet, exercise, nutrition and temperance.. which is truly one of life's virtues. It is , of course, your choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment