One thing about life that’s hopefully applicable to everyone is that you live and you learn. We all experience and learn things in life that have lasting effects. Don’t play with fire or you may get burned – literally and figuratively. Save for a rainy day. Education is the key to success. When it comes to eating and exercising, there are certain things that will work better for others than they will for you. Over the years, I’ve managed to figure out a few things that do not bode well with my body. Hence, two of these I have not indulged in almost 40 years and do not miss them.  Here they are.

First, it seems like I’m one of the few people east of the Mississippi, and who isn’t of the Muslim faith, that doesn’t consume any pork at all. Yes, that’s correct – none. The main reason why is at around twelve years young, I ate some pork for dinner and became very ill. Being the curious lad that I was, I wanted to know if it was the pork and why. After all, what’s the likelihood it could’ve been the spinach or sweet potato? Back then there was no internet, computers, etc., so I went to my World Book Encycopedia. I didn’t like what I read. Then, I began inquiring about pork to various people whose opinion and knowledge I respected and a few who were actually versed on the topic as nutritionists and a long time butcher. The information that I came away with was disconcerting to say the least, and left me with no doubt that not only was it the pork that made me feel so horribly, but also that I could and would do without it from that day on. In addition ,since it obviously didn’t do my digestive system well, there was every reason to discontinue eating it. Pork may be “the other white meat”. However, it pales in comparison to real, original white meat – chicken. (pun intended)

Secondly, even as a kid, jogging was not a favorite activity of mine. A few of my friends and I tried out for and made the town track team. Although all of the events I participated in were of the sprinting variety, some jogging during practice was required of me. I dreaded every second of it. Coach would yell, “Give me four laps.”  Much to my chagrin, there was no way out of it. I can’t recall ever asking one of my friends to go jogging. We either were engaged in some type of sport, or I’d coax them into doing some sprints via competitive races. To me, it was boring, slow, and made me wonder if any valuable fitness was gained from it. Of course, there was and is. Yet, I always felt like I got so much more out of sprinting and lifting weights. Turns out, that was and is the case. Some studies have shown that jogging at the same pace for long periods of time can have an adverse affect on your endocrine system. Not to mention the potential damage jogging on concrete can do to your back, knees, and ankles. Hey, if it seems to work well for you, then go for it.

Lastly, right around the same time I cut pork out of my eating plans, I also drank my last can of soda. What’s wrong with soda, you ask? Well, let’s see. It is full of sugar and syrup. It’s no wonder it’s said that those who drink soda gain on average 10-15 pounds per year. Not to mention the devastating effect it has on your blood sugar levels raising them high then crashing down low. With all the sugar and carbonation, soda makes you thirstier than before you consumed it. Soda also can leave you with a very uncomfortable bloated feeling. You may be aware of the damage soda can do to the paint on your vehicle.  Yet, did you know that soda is often used to clean truck engines?  So, if it’s being used, and quite effectively, to remove the oil, dirt, sludge, etc. from the engines of these large vehicles, then imagine what it could and might be doing to your insides. Hence, I’m hard pressed to come up with a reason to have a can or bottle.

While of course there are plenty more, these are three of the things that have stuck with me throughout my lifetime. After personally experiencing each of them via consuming or engaging in the activity, I made an educated choice to eradicate pork and soda from my eating plan, and to only use jogging as a rare warm-up tool. None of them are missed, and I’m extremely thankful those decisions were made way back then. They worked out well. Hopefully, you will make food and fitness decisions that will work well for you.

PS. Further details regarding the pork were omitted purposely due to their unpleasant nature. Per popular request, if more convincing is necessary, an addendum to this article will be published at a later date.