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IMG_0414Let’s face it.  Every few weeks we hear a new reason why we should have a glass of red wine with dinner. Not only is it good for our digestive system, WebMD claims it might be a key to anti-aging. A few days later, how about this headline in the   Moderate drinking IS bad for your health: Just two glasses of wine a day can cause problems. Do I believe both?  Discard one?  Depending on my mood or the day?

IMG_0412I love my morning coffee.  And like many of you I have a ritual that begins with buying my beans, grinding them, storing them in my freezer and carefully measuring out the right amount of coffee combined with fresh water.  Voila?  Heaven on earth in the morning as we walk the dogs.  So imagine my shock to find this article in the Huffington Post, Why you shouldn’t store your coffee in the freezer. I forced myself to read the piece, and then just had to brew myself another cup of coffee with my frozen grounds and take a walk.

Which made me wonder, am I the only one who will read advice – some well meaning, some downright condescending – and simply decide to ignore it?  I reached out to a stable of friends who I felt might be able to give me some clarity.  And you know what I found?  More rebels than anticipated.

Terry Spencer, self-identified as my paranoid friend, writes:

I don’t know why, but there my computer sits with so much knowledge just waiting for me to uncover with a simple key stroke—and surely someone has experienced the same twinge of a  joint, a headache that happens for no apparent reason, or stomach ache. My doctor and friends have told me countless times in big bold capital letters DO NOT GO ON THE INTERNET FOR MEDICAL ADVICE. But yet, with all their warnings and finger pointing I continue to do it.
Perhaps, I gain some level of comfort knowing that someone is experiencing the same feeling I have ? And for some reason, I continue to do the walk of shame into my doctors office and tell them I have researched my symptoms on the internet.

Yes, I’ve been there Terry. I feel it’s to help my doctor, don’t you?  If you wonder where I get my food issues from, look no further than my aunt Marie Melkonian:

I’ve read that using freezer bags more than once is not a good thing but I have been doing just that for years and it works perfectly.

I also eat stuff after the expiration date.  Like my yogurt as I cannot finish a 2 pound container that fast.

Just checked the sour cream in my refrigerator.  Expired, but no mold, so it stays.  With spring upon us, most of us are slathering on the sunscreen as we head outdoors.  Not  Barry Sharcot :

 When I was growing up during the 1950s, I was taught the importance of Vitamin D for healthy teeth and bones, absorption of nutrients, feelings of well-being, even protection from prostate cancer. Among sources of Vitamin D were dairy products and rays from the sun. I enjoyed milk and cheese and ice cream, and I loved playing outdoors. I inherited my father’s swarthy skin tones and never concerned myself with excessive sun exposure.

As an adult, I was bombarded with expert advice from scientific naysayers. who warned us about fat and cholesterol from dairy and prostate and skin cell carcinoma from unprotected sun exposure. The sunscreen industry was born. Someone even wrote a hit song about it which my wife can sing. She uses it religiously, and wears hats, and hides under big umbrellas. NOT for me. I abhor the feel of lotions on my skin, and sprays make me sneeze. I love outdoor activities–sports and beaches and pools, all conducive to socialization and exercise. I luxuriate in the feel of sunshine on my skin. I even like the way it makes me look. No sunscreen for this old boy. I defy.

Keeping with the rebel tone, Bill Forgione chimes in:

I am a lefty in a righty world.  From the early days of nuns in the Catholic school system trying to teach me proper Cursive / Penmanship, I have refused to buy into the lie that as a lefty I should hold my hand a certain way as my hand scrolls across the paper.  If I did what I was told to do, I would not be able to see what I was writing.  Imagine being a 6 year old and having a nun in a black habit looking over my shoulder barking orders about this.  I rebelled!

I also will not wait for the street light to change at 3 am when there is not a car on the streets.   Civil disobedience.

And then he cites Henry David Thoreau.  Finally, from Diana Bailey, a nurse:

 I don’t eat breakfast.  Even though every one says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I can’t even remember the last time I actually ate a real breakfast.  In fact, the only time I do eat breakfast is when I am staying at a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast buffet.  Most days my breakfast consists of sipping on coffee all morning.

My biggest meal of the day by far is dinner.  Experts say that one should eat a light dinner with larger meals earlier in the day, otherwise you will gain weight.  Experts also say to eat slowly, otherwise you will eat too much.  I am ashamed to say that left to my own devices, I could scarf down a delicious meal in a few short minutes.  I bet I could eat an Einstein’s bagel in 2 minutes.

Carbs are my friends.  I LOVE carbs.  Back in the day when I was an athlete, we used to carbo-load.  Boy, that was fun.  Now experts are saying to stay away from carbs.  Not me.

The moral of these stories is that I am over 55 years old and though I may struggle with many things, thankfully my weight is not one of them.  I tend to have good energy every day with an active schedule and I usually sleep very well at night.  I haven’t had a weight problem since I was in high school when I tried to follow the advice of “experts” on how to diet.  Ironic…just like your awesome coffee straight from the freezer.

Each and every one a rebel in their own way.  While I have strong opinions, I also know I will die if I stop learning. I’ve had great therapists, teachers, spiritual mentors, friends, children, and strangers who’ve helped me with profound pivots in my life. There are some incredible tips, suggestions, reminders, and warnings I’ve read and adopted on all sorts of issues.   But as we live through each day with so many ‘how to’ efforts bombarding us, there are times when I just want to sit back and sigh and leave everything up to moderation.  Maybe that’s what John Steinbeck was thinking when he wrote, “no one wants advice – only corroboration.”

1340905871078_8094113So I’ll continue to keep my ground coffee in the freezer, my friends will go online for medical advice, eat foods that have expired, disregard sunscreen, go through red lights at 3am, and eat carbs whenever.  And the next time someone asks you for advice?  Smile, tell them what you think, and know that they had their mind up before they even asked you.   Just sayin’.

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