Health Before Wealth

April 16, 2013

I’m sitting here at my desk at 5:00 AM, full of energy, contemplating the day ahead. Portland Fruit West — my grocery store since adopting a fruitarian lifestyle — opens at 9:00 AM and I’m almost out of food. At 7:00 AM I’m going to have a peanut butter sandwich* and a whole grapefruit and be on my way, since I have black beans being prepared and need to be back to cook them at 10:30 AM. As I leave PFW I’ll snack on two pears, and upon my return I’ll probably eat four bananas. My next meal will be two cups of the finished black beans and a tomato at 12:00 PM. I’ll follow up with four hours of sleep, and eat three oranges at 4:30 PM. At 7:00 PM, I’ll treat myself to two apples and a cucumber. At about 8:00 PM I’ll exercise until I’m tired, and fall asleep at 10:00 PM until probably 2:00 AM tomorrow.

Or something along those lines. I’m not fully sure of most of that order until my body tells me what it wants. I’ll actually probably end up eating more.

An interesting note is that, in-between all that food, I’ll be preparing for an interview for a really god job tomorrow, alongside preparing some ideas for next month’s newsletter at a little nonprofit which I’ve been recently signed onto. I’ll also be preparing for another interview at another nonprofit, writing blog entries, gearing up on the Processing coding language more, and hopefully getting a decent amount of exercise in. This type of day is unprecedented for me; I’m managing a perceived huge food intake (for me), exercise (something I never did), but most notably, recently acquired responsibilities and opportunities.

I know that my endless raving about the changes that I’ve seen since adopting a fruitarian lifestyle can get old, but at a month and a half in, I’m noticing so many differences in me physically, mentally, and professionally, that I feel I have valuable insight to offer.

Michael Arnstein, one of the best runners in the U.S., is a fruitarian and passionately advocates for the lifestyle. One thing he said [YouTube link] that was really inspiring to me was, that a fruitarian lifestyle can get expensive, but that it’s important to ignore the costs because the improved you will be more equipped to make more money. Instead of letting yourself deteriorate waiting for the ability to live healthily, try investing in your health first and make yourself better. Since hearing his words, I’ve upped my food intake by 4x, purchased a gym membership, either walk or jog to any destination less than 3.5 miles away from my starting point, and my professional life has begun to rapidly increase.

(Heck, and yesterday my bank increased my credit limit by $100. So obviously my credit rating is improving rather spontaneously.)

This means that I currently have no spare cash to spend anymore. Despite the fact that the majority of my food is local and cheap, my weekly food bill stands between $30 and $40. When I first started a fruitarian lifestyle my weekly bill was between $10 to $15, and I have no reason to believe that my cost-of-living will stop going up the more I exercise and the more I eat to offset it. Every penny I used to be able to save for movies, or songs, or anything I didn’t need, now goes explicitly to my health and fitness. The key word in the previous sentence is currently, and I expect even if one of the opportunities on my horizon comes to pass, I’ll have spare change again — which, admittedly, I’d probably put towards my continued health and fitness.

It’s important to note that I’m not a dietician and it would be irresponsible of me to tell you to adopt the lifestyle that I have. But I think the idea that you should try to be healthy before being wealthy is a good one. I feel like I’m living in a completely new body, and as I don’t believe in coincidences, these opportunities which now crop up regularly give credence to a health first strategy. And it makes sense; fruitarian or not, a healthier you is a more employable you.

* The peanut butter is homemade, with the ingredients being peanuts exclusively. I’ll be moving up to almond butter soon. Also, the bread is “Powerseed” (Dave’s Killer Bread). Both the bread and peanut butter fit into my fruits, nuts, grains, and beans diet.

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