Twenty-seven, headed down hill fast, and a note on healthy eating

by Rob Tiller

Gabe Tiller at Telluride (February 9, 2011)

Gabe turned twenty-seven this week. I called to wish him a happy birthday, and felt more than usually happy myself. How wonderful to be twenty-seven! Particularly if you’re healthy, bright, athletic, good-looking, agreeable, upstanding, and employed, what could be more wonderful? Of course, that’s leaving aside all fears, insecurities, and uncertainties, of which there could be any number. But still, how marvelous to have traversed the perils of childhood and the agonies of adolescence, and stand no longer on the verge of adulthood, but actually there, strong, in your prime.

I told Gabe that it’s all down hill from here, but I was kidding. His first twenty-seven are, of course, my last twenty-seven, and I have to say that in many ways I feel healthier, more energetic, and happier than when he was born. How stressful it was to be a new parent. Also to be a grizzled veteran parent. And now, all that stress is gone! After all those years of parental anxiety and self-doubt, now he inspires me.

The picture above (which is Sally’s screen saver) reminds me of some of our skiing together the last couple of years. Even more vivid is his first POV ski video made at Telluride last March, which is exciting but I’m sure not nearly as hair-raising as the reality (such as that narrow chute). Seeing these images reminds me that I need to stay in really good shape so we can share more adventures next winter. As I mentioned to him this week, I’m thinking we should try heli-skiing (accessing backcountry powder by helicopter). He was definitely up for it.

The possibility of new adventures helps keep me focused with my continuing project to take good care of myself and eat healthy as much as reasonably possible. I’m trying to approach everyday eating in the spirit of doing a good, nourishing thing for my body — an act of kindness to my physical self. I’m steering clear of junk food, fast food, soda, and most processed food. It’s going pretty well.

Most days for breakfast I make a smoothie with dark green leafy plants (such as spinach, kale, collards, swiss chard, dandelion greens, etc.) and fruit (such as bananas and strawberries, or, this week, fresh pineapple and blueberries). In fact, I recently wore out our blender pitcher, which started leaking just outside the one-year warranty. Here’s a shout out to the good folks at Kitchen Aid, who did the right thing and agreed to replace it anyway! My smoothies are different every day and are mostly tasty (though sometimes less so — the mustard greens did not work for me) and always very green.

I’ve organized a system for addressing hunger pangs with healthy snacks such as unsalted cashews and almonds, apples, bananas, oranges, low-fat soy yogurt, and celery with peanut butter. For lunch, I typically have something like a microwave vegetarian Indian meal (Amy’s organic is good). And most nights Sally cooks a delicious vegetarian dinner, which just this week including Thai noodles with tofu (with whole wheat noodles) and Mom’s zucchini pie. She and I have gotten in the habit of having smaller portions. So my diet is mostly organic plant food of many types. I enjoy it very much.