My friend just died.

She was young. Younger than me. (40?) She ate well. By well, I mean she ate mostly real food. (Her husband is a chef.) She was a huge advocate for local sustainable food. She supported farms and was even on the board of a farm school for cooks. She loved our planet and it’s people. She took care of herself, mind and body. She was an amazing mother of a beautiful son who is just a toddler still.

But, now she is gone.

And, yes, this sucks on every level imaginable. Certain cancers just laugh in the face of all the chia seeds, grass-fed meats, kimchi, goji berries, juice fasts, cleanses, meditation retreats, self-help books, and kale that we consume. Some things just can’t be fought.

So, one can’t help to wonder. Why do we even bother? Why is it that some people can eat crap, be mad and stressed all the time, be hateful, smoke, do drugs, and really just hate themselves and the world, yet live to be 100? Why?

Am I an idiot because I try to eat good foods and live healthy? Why bother?

This probably sounds awful but I love the subject of death. I study and ponder it everyday. I talk very frankly about it to my young daughters. I think death is our biggest teacher. I have this practice I call “10 minutes to death” where I picture a person on their death bed and they know for sure they only have 10 minutes to live. Then I picture what would be important to this person at that time. Then I try to look at my world at this moment through their eyes. Would they think a grammatical error in this blog post as something important? Probably not. Would they think your stress about something your kids are doing as being important? Probably not.

No, they would tell you to enjoy all the moments. Good and bad. Be grateful for your life. You may not know when it will end. I use this practice to help me through situations all day long. Every day. But…..

….I have a paradox when it comes to food and health.

What would this person say about the way I eat? Would they tell me to say “screw it” go devour that pint of ice cream in the freezer because you may die tomorrow? Or would they say to eat really healthy so I can feel good and vibrant and do my best to make that “10 minutes to death” take as long as possible to come to fruition?

I really wish I had an answer to this.

For now I just go by this motto I made up.

Live like you will die tomorrow but eat like you will live forever.

That works for me. My food choices are what make me feel really good and will make me be able to keep up with my kids well into my 50’s, 60’s and beyond. I am a fairly older dad but nobody will ever know it. This feels good to me.

But, I will take the lesson my friend just reinforced and know it can all end today no matter what I do. I will cherish the moments…good and bad. I will have massive gratitude for everything…good and bad. I will take that lesson of perspective and try to hold on to it with all my heart. This is the gift that loved ones who die give us. Don’t waste it.

That moment when someone close to you dies and suddenly you see the world with totally different eyes. That is enlightenment. Meditate or go to church all you want but that is it. That is when you see it all. Trouble is to hold on to it as the grief fades.

LIve like you will die tomorrow but eat like you will live forever.

That about covers it for me.

Go with peace my friend. Thank you for everything. I don’t do friendships like most people do but I have always been and always will be there for you. I will live, cherish and notice all my moments from now on because of your teachings. Thank you.  Enjoy the mystery.

Much love,

Chef Greg

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