Guest post from Kristie Inman –
Bill and I have discussed this subject for quite a while because it’s very important to him, but he has been trepidatious about making it a blog because he doesn’t want the community to think he’s trying to convince them that his lifestyle is the only healthy one, or that he has it all figured out. Good health is way too complicated an endeavor to get completely figured out, but maybe some of his habits and ideas will help you in your quest for good health. After all, good health probably means more years to enjoy painting!
He is 51 years old, but he works and plays right next to twenty somethings and has more stamina than 90% of them. He’s adopted a lifestyle that has demonstrated longevity and health, and I think many people would love an inside look at his habits. He wants to live, paint, and play with his great-great-grandchildren into his 100s.
Eat Right (Right for YOU)
Our faith is the starting point because we are taught to live by a certain health code called the Word of Wisdom – we don’t drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or use tobacco. When we meet friends for ‘coffee’ we can usually be found sipping some delicious herbal tea or water. We have several health-conscious friends who drink coffee and tea regularly, or have an occasional alcoholic drink with dinner, and of course we don’t have a problem with the eating or drinking habits of others. We work hard to bring good things into our body and avoid addictive substances, but we know not all bodies, or belief systems, are the same so please take anything I share with a grain of salt (which is now considered healthy according to ‘science’ by the way), and as advice from one friend to another.
After David, our first child, was born Bill bought me a book from the campus store. It was a recipe book, but it also mentioned using ingredients that weren’t processed or bleached. We had never thought much about our food quality and were shocked once we started looking around our kitchen. All our white sugar and white flour had to go, and we stopped drinking pop (or soda depending on what area you’re from) and cut way down on fast food.
I eventually started grinding my own flour and making bread from scratch. With 7 children, it seemed both fiscally and physically wise for us. The ingredient list on things like bread, buns and tortillas were entirely too long with things we couldn’t pronounce, so ‘homemade’ became more and more typical in our home.
Meat has always been used sparingly in our family. We love animals and hate to think of one dying to add to our dinner menu, but that isn’t the whole reason we stopped. Several years ago we were enjoying a trip to Switzerland for my brother’s wedding, and the food tasted different there, more rich and flavorful. The guide who took us around Zurich and the Alps spoke 7 languages and was well educated in the cultural and dietary differences between America and Europe, and he told us Switzerland wouldn’t allow any American food, especially meat and dairy, into their country because of all the chemicals and hormones we use.
We’ve never fact checked what he told us on our Zurich tour, but we later learned that that he was right about most American meat and dairy being unhealthy. Because of poor living conditions the animals are constantly fighting infection and disease, which leads to a steady stream of antibiotics. To make matters worse it’s not uncommon for them to be fed hormones and steroids to fatten them up. Yum…
We would focus on finding sources that were grass fed and raised and in ‘happy’ living conditions. Then one day we just stopped altogether and decided we didn’t really need meat proteins since there are plenty of other ways to get the proper nutrients in our diet. We still enjoy eating eggs, and occasionally splurge on some cheese, but over the past 4 or 5 years of not eating meat we’ve felt incredible and don’t miss steak or hamburger as much as we anticipated.
Our children (and their spouses) have all decided to continue this semi-vegetarian lifestyle and have met with some interesting reactions from friends, colleagues, members of our church, and complete strangers that happen to overhear tidbits of our conversation. Their health, vigor, strength, and joy have helped quite a few change their views of vegetarians being frail and sickly.
About 8 years ago, Bill was reading a book about Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, who went back into competition at the age most swimmers had long since retired. Her coach insisted she eat her Living Fuel every morning for breakfast – it was mentioned so offhandedly in the story that Bill thought it was a recipe of theirs. It turns out Living Fuel was a whole food product available online. Dara Torres said it was instrumental in maintaining her energy and helping her survive the grueling preparation for the Olympics. Now Bill has Living Fuel on a daily basis, usually in the form of a smoothie with a plethora of other ingredients like organic peanut butter, avocados, and raw local honey. It’s important to note that we’re not affiliated with Living Fuel in any way, but we love their products!
Diet and food choice is such a touchy subject today, and research is constantly changing and adapting as seen by the Food Pyramid morphed over the years. The world isn’t likely to come out with the perfect diet for everyone, so just find the perfect way of eating for YOU.
Bill loves to play When we lived in Colorado we would go on ski trips with friends. We never ended up seeing our friends much while there though because they would ski down a run or two then head inside to warm up and get some hot cocoa and rest. We would ski straight back to the chairlift and go again and again until we had to leave. It didn’t make sense to stop and take a break when there was skiing to be done, especially since there was plenty of time on the chair lift to rest and eat. Water parks and theme parks are the same way.
He still meets with friends every Saturday morning for an hour of tennis during the non-icy and freezing months, and each Tuesday night he attends a yoga class that I instruct. Even our weekly dates usually take place at the park for a round of non-competitive frisbee golf or a bike ride. We both love the outdoors and much of the conversation invariably tends towards “the way the light is shining through the leaves” or on the “different hues of green in the distant bank of trees.”
If you’re having trouble finding time to incorporate physical activity into your schedule you might experiment with becoming a morning person. Bill wakes up hours before I do and is already having his first over-the-phone meeting with David (the ‘tech guy’) at 5:00 am before his workout begins. Bill has lifted weights for over 20 years and he usually has one or two of our kids with him.
Your physical activity doesn’t need to be skiing, tennis, weight lifting, yoga or Frisbee golf like Bill, but find something you enjoy to keep the blood pumping.
Find a Balance
This is an area Bill would tell you he hasn’t figured out all the way yet. How many people would consider 12 hour days Monday through Saturday in his studio a balance? But he knows it’s vitally important and is always working to improve the balance in his own life.
Since our kids were young Bill has made time in the morning for family scripture study at the breakfast table. Every other day he even makes the breakfast smoothie with Living fuel. After family study and prayer, he heads to his studio to do his personal scripture study. He never starts a day without it, and his days are filled from morning to night at the easel, editing videos, answering emails, or helping students.
Despite his crammed schedule he still comes home around 6:00 pm for dinner and family time before going back out to his studio. After everything from the day is wrapped up we like to try to fit in a show together (right now we’re watching Murdoch Mysteries) and drink some herbal tea. He ends his day with a prayer and tries his best to fit in 6-7 hours of sleep.
I have yet to talk with someone near the end of their life who said they wished they had spent less time with their family. While prayer, scripture study, and sipping herbal tea may not fit your prescription to a balanced life we encourage you to find what does and hold on tight. The world keeps spinning regardless of how much we load into our days, so make sure you enjoy it.
Bill still gets sick, but only once every other year or so, and he usually bounces back quickly. He isn’t Superman, but he could be a distant cousin. I don’t know anyone who loves life like he does, who cherishes every moment with his family like he does, or cares for others as he does. That kind of joy and love goes a long way in staying healthy and strong – I believe anyway.
What about you – What have you done to ensure your body and mind remain strong and able to paint for years to come?