At the table one never grows old.

There’s a wonderful Italian saying, “a tavola non s’invecchia”, which translates as “at the table one never grows old.” My fondest memories are recalling family time at the dinner table, eating, laughing, and oohing and aahing over anything placed before me. No one ever ate alone or multitasked while eating. Why isn’t anyone gushing about their meals anymore? Why have we lost the ability to see food as a great source of pleasure? Most often our culture compartmentalizes food into categories that are either good or bad. As a child I never heard anyone say “Don’t eat that, it’s bad for you!”. They ate everything, but in moderation. Many of my relatives lived into their late nineties.
When we eat, we should act as if we’ve been given a blessing. Who knows if our cells just might be listening to what we’re saying. Don’t attach negative connotations to your meals. If you’ve overeaten or had too many fatty, rich, or sugary foods during the day, just accept it and move on. You can make corrections the next time. Nobody, including you, needs to hear over and over how disgusted you are with yourself, how bloated you look, or how little self-control you have. It doesn’t serve you in any way, and it’s incredible boring to everyone around you.
I’m a big believer in common sense, which is probably why a friend shared with me that my success was due to the fact that I have a fantastic natural ability to detect the ridiculous. I’m often blown away because of the stuff people blindly accept about health and happiness. It is so fabricated, that the original fabric seems to have disappeared.
I think I inherited the trait from my grandmother, who definitely had Sicilian intuition. She was a bemused skeptic and never would have sat in front of the tube believing some of the ludicrous information that’s presented by the diet gurus, who travel the media circuit selling their books and potions. Yet, millions have run out to purchase one useless book after another. And I certainly have gotten caught up in the craziness myself before I was able to work with some brilliant researchers in the field of nutrition. We’re out twenty dollars or more and the author accumulates royalties and is able to buy a house in the Caribbean while we continue to struggle with our weight.
Let’s face it, we all know how to eat moderately and that we should move our bodies as much as possible.Eating while you’re driving, sitting at your desk, or walking down the street does not help to create the most important part of eating: mindfulness. Which means you are aware of what you’re eating and how much. Take the time to chew slowly, so that you can savor texture and flavors. It will help you eat less and enjoy more.

Humor is the best medicine.

When I had my hip replaced, I went into the operation using my playfulness to ease the fear of going under the knife. Because I had previously held a workshop at that hospital, the nurses who prepped me were totally prepared for my banter and were ready to participate.
It was four days before Christmas, and they’d gotten funny hats to wear in my honor. They were all shocked by how low my blood pressure was just before surgery..but given the humorous situation and my outlook, it made sense. There’s scientific literature that supports the fact that when people laugh, “feel good” chemicals rush forth with each giggle and help the body stay well. Now there’s research that shows that laughter may even help prevent heart disease by expanding capillary function.
Life is always going to hand you lemons, there’s no question about that. But instead of making lemonade,as the cliche goes, you may be better off just laughing about it. Yes, finding comic relief in bad situations can be a life saver, but God knows, don’t wait for a dismal diagnosis to get started. You may have many opportunities to manifest humor in your day to day life. I often feel as if I’m in the middle of a sitcom as I go through the day. My observational skills have gone into high gear whenever my radar senses absurdity.
For example I’ve found myself laughing more at the TV commercials than during actual shows I’ve been watching. I crack up over the ads for toilet paper that use Bears to promote it. Really? How about the giant bee that is the representative for a medication for toe fungus? Why are bears and bees being chosen?
And why does every little product these days have to be treated as if it’s the result of decades of intense research? I went to buy a mattress and was helped by a “sleep consultant” who was dressed like an emergency room physician. He then proceeded to walk me through a ten page questionnaire to assess my sleep quotient. It felt more like a preparation for a CAT scan than buying a bed.
If you think humor is too difficult to in-corporate into your life, ease into it. We all have the ability to laugh unless we are biologically compromised. Getting upset over mountains of trivia can only lessen your ability to handle a real crisis. Humor can be an extraordinary method to build resiliency and to keep your perspective. Instead of becoming upset over the inevitable ups and downs that are part of life, try to find humor in some of them. Keep in mind that humor is the best medicine.