It happens every year and it will happen again. Many people will be making New Year’s resolutions that will be broken by Valentine’s Day. But if you plan to keep one resolution this coming year, let it be this: Go against the grain.

Yeah, I know. “Not another article on the evils of bread and carbs!” you might be thinking. But I’m looking at it differently here.

Yes, bread, especially the highly processed, fiber-stripped white and other mass-produced, additive-laden garbage that is sold in the grocery store is one target of mine. This high-glycemic-index stuff (likely to raise blood insulin levels after eating) is to be avoided for sure. Whenever possible, the consumption of whole grains that still have their fiber husks and grains that are complex in their formulation is much more desirable and salutary. These grains cause the gradual rise in blood sugar and thus prevents the spike in insulin that so depletes our already assaulted pancreases, giving that vital organ a much-deserved rest.

But the other “going against the grain” advice is figurative. By that I mean go against the onslaught of Madison Avenue when it comes to your health. And go against the idea that your job or material things are more important than your health. The Ad Industry, hired by junk-food and fast-food companies, wants you to eat poorly and force you to compensate for your evils with medication courtesy of Big Pharma. Companies want to sell you health-killers—sugar-laden soft drinks, refined snacks and foods empty of any nutritional value, fat-laden fast food, you name it. Then, to clean up the mess created by eating this poison, the drug companies want to sell you their side-effect inducing treatments. (Notice I did not say “cure,” because that only you can do). What a mess!

With over 70% of us overweight and one in three American adults pre-diabetic, it is not hard to see the fix we are in. What I have called the “normalization of obesity and poor habits” has cost us dearly in health and dollars. This “normalization,” where it is assumed that poor lifestyle habits are part and parcel of daily living, along with the attitude that medicines are the natural and expected consequence of gluttony and sloth, is dangerous but avoidable.

By going against the grain—eating high fiber, lower fat, lower sugar, unrefined foods while getting one hour of exercise per day—we save our lives. We avoid or at least delay the illnesses that plague us.

I write about this over and over. Eat better. Move your body. Control your stress. These are the three pillars of better health. Focus more on that than “achievement.”

What good is a powerful job if you are sick?

What use are material things if you are not around to use them?

Is the cost to your health, your relationships and your well-being worth the things we chase and sacrifice in order to be, in society’s eyes, a “success”?

The best definition of blind consumerism (the chasing of which often leads to poor health habits) is this:

Spending money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.

In this New Year go against the grain. Don’t be Madison Avenue’s stooge or Big Pharma’s lemming. Think for yourself. It is not acceptable or desirable to do as others do—to overeat, to be lazy and to be careless with your most precious commodity.

This New Year, think for yourself. Save your own life. You will be glad to keep this resolution.

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