Life is Better If You Eat More Plants: I’m Grateful for Plants
September 4, 2022
by Dr. Plastic Picker
I’m sitting in the kitchen on labor day weekend and there is a heatwave in San Diego. It was >101 degrees in Mission Valley yesterday, as we were stuck in traffic trying to get past the 15 and 8 intersection. The new Snapdragon Stadium is up, and there was an Arizona versus SDSU football game. Young people were walking in the >100 heat on edgeways trying to get to the stadium and not pay for parking. The stadium is also bordered on the east by an asphalt parking lot. I know eventually there are some plans for green space, but from our CMAX Energi Hybrid that at some points was relatively fuel efficient for it’s day – it looked like literally a hot mess.
I had just last week been on a series of marathon interviews for the local news on extreme heat. Our HMO media person had reached out as I’m known in our organization to be “on call for the earth” and for these impactful opportunities – I certainly am. But after saying on the news multiple times hydrate, rest, get in the shade, and enact the climate action plan – I was watching our citizens walk over asphalt to get to a stadium and then to hit in the hot sun. Most of them were young and fit, but I did not see any reusable water bottles? Do you know if they are even allowed in the stadium? As a pediatrician, I just imagined San Diegan after San Diegan suffering heat exhaustion and maybe a few with heat stroke. I imagined the colleagues manning the health tent, and how frustrating it would be. But at some point, I’m able to disconnect and realize they are on – and I’m off. I did my duty and was on the news four times. I did my duty and was part of the grassroots movement to help pass $54 billion in California legislation that invests this sizable amount to helping bend the arc toward a sustainable future.
And now I’m in my house in the early morning with my daughter. She’s making us breakfast and adding an extra mushy banana to the pancake mix. In the relativeness of our imaginary place in the world, I know we are incredibly fortunate. We have air conditioning. We have solar panels. We have a garden that will survive the heat wave because I saved our extra bathwater and have been giving the plants a bit extra. But being a bit more fortunate in a world that still needs saving, means a need to do a little more. But I’m resting this weekend, and spending a gloriously slow weekend with my teen children.
Since finishing my Assistant Boss term a year early (I opted to leave at year 5 versus year 6) effective end of May, it’s been a gloriously long summer with my children. I missed so much when they were younger. Preschool costume parades, school award assemblies and the one time my daughter did ice skating camp and the end of camp performance – I remember crying in my office I was so frustrating that I couldn’t take that Friday afternoon off. Now looking back I would have told my younger self, just call in sick that day. If it was that important to you. I had not done that in fifteen years, and I 100% know it’s a common thing that is done. One day in 15 years, is not bad. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not human, or at least a dishonest one.
Hmmm, why did I start blogging? Oh yes. Just reminding myself and the readership to eat plants. Eat more plants. That is one of the easiest ways to heal yourself and heal the earth. The crazy thing is the world has made it so difficult for us to have the time to grow the plants, gather the plants, buy the plants and have time to cook the plants. The evil-doers of the world would rather take the plants, over process them, and wrap plastic in the them – and effectively make them cancer-causing agents and pollute the ocean with more plastic.
So I am sitting here in the morning and thinking of the beautiful banana that my daughter is adding to the pancake mix. I guess bananas have dopamine in them. Who knows what the mechanism is for the dopamine from the bananas effect on your health, or whether that dopamine is absorbed in the gut? We all do 100% know that eating more plants elevates your mood and gives us better health.
Grateful thoughts to the avocados we finished this last week, as our daughter made home-made guacamole to share. Grateful thoughts to the last of the tomatoes that we added to the stir frys an the pastas this week, and those tomatoes were from our garden. Grateful thoughts to the three large pumpkins we have in the back garden waiting for grandmother to come home from New York to decide when it’s time to take down the vines. Grateful to the Aerobin 400 composter that powers our garden, and helps us avert methane from landfill at the same time.
I’m one of the happiest pediatricians I know these days, and I think it’s simply because I’m eating more plants. I think my favorite dinosaur has got to be a brontosaurus! Yes it is, because they eat plants as well!