Teaching a child the importance of good nutrition is giving them a good start in life. My three year old does not eat well and when she doesn’t eat and doesn’t drink, she isn’t merry. Instead, she is lethargic and moody. Perhaps when we as adults have those same feelings, instead of looking for some complex or medical cause, we should simply be looking at our diet.
“To eat, and to drink, and to be merry” is actually a phrase from the Old Testament (Ecclesiastes viii. 15) and if it was good advice back then, it is surely good advice now. But let me back up a little and revisit what I mean when I say that my three year old doesn’t eat well. She actually eats all organic food from Whole Foods, she eats no junk food, no fast food, no candy and has never had a soda in her life. But she goes through phases when she doesn’t eat enough and she doesn’t drink enough and the end result is Grumpy Grace.
Mary Ann Evans, the English novelist who used the pen name, George Eliot, said, “No man can be wise on an empty stomach”, and that is so true, but what is even more important is the quality of the food and drink that what we put in our stomachs when they are empty. In Grace’s defense, she is more of a grazer (see the article, “What Type of Eater Are You?) and during the course of a day will ultimately consume enough calories to sustain her activity level (she is affected both mentally and physically when she doesn’t), but what about you? Are you unwisely eating too few calories to fuel your basal metabolic rate and your day’s activities, are you unwisely consuming too many calories and allowing those extra calories to be stored as fat or are you simply making poor food choices with low quality that force you to eat more and more to get the nutrients that you need while at the same time getting all of those bad things that inevitably are found in fast food and junk food.
I am a big advocate of eating, drinking and being merry (along with getting quality sleep) because I know that I have to fuel and nourish my body and all four things – food, liquids, positive attitude and sleep – are essential nutrients. Do you think for a moment that the reference in the Old Testament to eating, drinking and being merry could ever be interpreted as anything but to eat the foods of the time, which were whole grains, fruits, vegetables and probably wild game as well as drinking homemade wines?
If you got this command, “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be joyful: for that shall abide with him in his labor all the days of his life” wouldn’t you do the best that you could to eat well, drink well and therefore be joyful. It works for my 3 year old when she follows that command and it will for you, too!