Report Card

A Quarter of Change

The beautiful wife was out shopping the other day and decided to get a treat, some guilty pleasure.  "It was terrible," she wailed.  "All the treats I used to like don't look good anymore."  I couldn't tell if she was sad or glad that her tastes had improved, but it was clear that I was to blame.  I didn't dare say it, but her woeful tale brought to mind the biblical story about Lot's wife, and her longing look back at Babylon.  Or was it Sodom?  Whatever, it was an encouraging sign of change for Skip's wife, who remains more sweet than salty. 

We’ve said it before in this blog, but it’s worth saying again: Talk is easy—Change is hard.  The purpose of this blog isn’t only to entertain, but more to guide the reformation of your diet.  The tragedy of the 20th century wasn’t just the adulteration of our food supply by Food Inc, but the confusion about what to do next.  The purpose of the 52 Healthy Changes is to provide a roadmap to a better diet, based on an ordinary man's common sense use of science, food tradition, and scripture. 

We provided the Scorecard below at the end of the first quarter, to help you measure your progress.   We even offered a prize for the best score. 

Another Quarter of Change

Since then we’ve introduced 13 more Healthy Changes, listed below in brackets, following the title of the post, beginning with #14:

14.  Eggs and Fertility  (Enjoy eggs from healthy chickens, in moderation.)

15.  Omega-3 Essential Fats  (Include omega-3 fats in each meal.)

16.  Your Choice: Chaos or Order  (Shop with a menu-based grocery list.)

17.  Family Dinner  (Eat dinner together as a family.)

18.  Stretching  (Include stretching in your exercise regime.)

19.  Vitamin A  (Eat orange fruits and vegetables each day.)

20.  Vitamins From Food  (Get your vitamins the traditional way, with a whole food diet of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and a little meat—plus a little noontime sun for vitamin D.)

21.  The Joy of Fasting  (Consult your doctor about the wisdom of fasting for a day each month—being sure to drink adequate water.)

22.  The Milk Wars  (Until better milk is available, protect your health by drinking sparingly, if at all.)

23.  In Praise of Whole Grains  (Eat a variety of whole grains.)

24.  A Family Heritage  (Preserve your family recipes.)

25.  Animals Need Vegetables Too  (Include foods rich in vitamin K-2 in your diet.)

26.  Sleep, Blessed Sleep  (Get adequate sleep, 8-9 hours depending on the season, in the dark.)

Mid-Year Report Card

We've put together a report card (PDF format), listing all the Healthy Changes of the 1st and 2nd quarters. Print the card and give yourself a grade on how well you're doing (with a score of 1 to 5 points per Healthy Change). Once again, we'll have a prize for the reader with the best score. (In the next post I'll share my score, and confess to my shortcomings.)

Please comment:  Share your score for the first 26 Healthy Changes with a comment on how you've been helped by eating and living better.  Once again, the prize for the best score will be a copy of Mike Pollan's In Defense of Food

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    Lol, oh my god this is really a funny type blog as it was amusing to read such story. You sure have a quite weird wife I think but you know when it comes to ladies than it is common that they would try new dishes.

Reader Comments (8)

I definitely know what I need to work on after filling out my report card! My score is 108. I need to start making all of our bread again. I have found that the treats we used to love just don't taste as good to us anymore, either. We just created new favorites that we produce at home in our own kitchen.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Do you have a printable version of your 52 healthy changes?

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMychael-Ann

It's SO true. I feel like most of what I eat isn't good to me anymore. I can hardly stand to eat at many of the restaurants I used to love. It IS difficult because I feel like I'm harder to please (though I always gladly will eat anything someone cooks for me as a guest). But it has been worth it.

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

Hi Mychael-Ann

There isn't a list of the Healthy Changes at this point but there are good reasons:

First, it's an overwhelming task to behold all 52 at once—it really does take a year of patient, step-wise effort, to permanently transform your diet.

Years ago, I think it was about 1971, a young professor came to town and in a business talk mentioned 7 habits he thought important to success. As ambitious young guys, we begged to hear the list. He was reluctant, the list was not fully evolved and he said it was unlikely we could just implement them all at once. But we insisted and he shared the list. Years later, in 1989, he published them in a perennial best seller—The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We saw Covey's list early so had a head start but not much came of it—transformation need to happen in baby steps with lots of reinforcement to have a chance of becoming habit. This all came to mind because Steve Covey, a bright light to many, just passed away.

Second, though the list is written for this year, and has evolved over last year's list, I expect there to be more refinements. I don't think we had a complete answer for the issue of vitamin K2, needed to avoid paired problem of calcification and osteoporosis—calcium being deposited in the wrong places in your body. We really need more published information on the K2 level in foods. So I expect additional improvements.

Finally, I have promised that if there's real demand, I'd publish the 52 Healthy Changes in a book. So we're in the phase of determining just how much cooks care about the health of their families. Stay tuned.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterskip hellewell

I scored 123. I feel like I'm doing really well with eating good but need to improve on the exercising.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I scored myself 107. Like last time, I feel I'm doing way better than the average American but not as good as the average WoW reader :)

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee

That was fun! But then, I never have minded tests. ;-) Thanks for providing such a great way to evaluate how we're doing in the nutrition department. I scored lower than I thought I would--97--, but that's okay because it's really helped me see where I can improve. I got 5's on avoiding soda pop and deep-fried fats. I also got 5's for healthy cereals (we don't even buy cold cereal), making homemade bread every week (I'm very proud of myself for this one. It's a lot of work to keep homemade bread on hand constantly for a family of six!) Other 5's: Putting love into homemade cooking, eating dinner as a family, using meat sparingly, and avoiding milk. Areas of improvement: MENU PLANNING! Despite all of your wonderful help, I just can't seem to get myself to regularly write a menu. I've got to work on this one in a big way. I also need to calculate how many pounds of veggies my family needs per day. There are a lot of areas where I am pretty average, so there's much room for improvement. So, there you have a short summary. That was SO helpful. Thanks, Skip! I think I'll put this test up on my refrigerator to remind me...

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I scored what I feel is a miserable 103. I would like to blame it on being out of the country and not being totally in control of what we were eating. It is true, but the blame is still mine. However, this has recharged my commitment level to do better. It is hard in a house with other adults who do not share the same commitment. I know, I know, another excuse.

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

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