About this Site
Hello! Thank you for visiting my site. My name is Lauren and I am a vegetarian long-distance running (public) health nut, currently living and running in New England.
I started this site as a way to intersect two things I am very passionate about: public health and running.
Unfortunately, it is pretty well known that the state of America’s health is fairly poor. And even though we are bombarded with information about how to lead a healthy life, the sad fact of the matter is that our health is worse than ever. Chronic diseases (conditions like heart disease and diabetes) are now the number 1 cause of death and disability in our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 7 out of 10 deaths (that’s 70%!) each year are caused by a chronic condition. In addition, it is estimated that about 1 in 2 people have at least one type of chronic illness. What makes these numbers even worse is the fact that many of these conditions can be prevented. It is our own unhealthy choices, like smoking, eating poorly, and not getting nearly enough physical activity, that are leading to the majority of these problems.
One factor that has had a huge negative impact on our health is the dramatic rise in obesity over the last few decades. In fact, if you look at data that show how chronic diseases have increased over time, you will see that obesity rates across the country have grown right along with it. In the past 30 years, the amount of overweight and obese individuals in the United States has doubled! If you’ve never seen the CDC’s map of obesity from 1985 – 2008 (you have to scroll down the page a little bit), it’s worth taking a look. The speed at which the percentages increase in each state is pretty eye-opening. Today, Colorado is the only state where less than a quarter of its residents are obese.
While the weight of this issue can be overwhelming, I believe that we can start making a change for the better. Of course a lifetime of bad habits will not change overnight. But with small steps, we can choose to live each day a little better than the last. Before this can happen, however, we need to re-arrange our priorities. We live in a busy, fast-paced world where we are juggling a million and one things. With long commutes and even longer workdays, it’s no surprise that our health has suffered. At the end of the day, it is so easy to grab that quick, convenient meal at your favorite fast-food restaurant, to postpone your workout until another day when you aren’t so tired and to forget (for weeks on end) to call your doctor for that long overdue check-up. Even the best of us are guilty of not always making our health a top priority. And we get so bogged down by the ever-growing list of “dos” and “don’ts” that “healthy living” becomes synonymous with a regimented and restrictive lifestyle that is more about avoiding things (fats, carbs, alcohol, tv, relaxation) than anything else. When viewed this way, it’s no wonder that “healthy habits” don’t have much sticking power.
We need to stop thinking of health as a laundry-list of things we should and shouldn’t do and start looking at it as a type of lifestyle that allows us to be our best selves. With modern medicine helping us to lead longer and longer lives, it should be a top priority of ours to actually be healthy enough to enjoy it! The small changes we make every day can have a huge impact in the long run. Adding more fruits and vegetables to a meal, choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, parking just a few extra spaces away from the door — these simple actions can add up! It’s all about finding the balance, and finding the routine that works for you. I don’t believe that everyone should give up meat and start running marathons in order to reach their “best health” (though I think it’s awesome if you do!). Life is meant to be enjoyed, and if you can’t bear the thought of going an entire lifetime without eating another piece of steak, than by all means — eat the steak!! Chances are you aren’t going to die from enjoying red meat once in awhile. And if you focus all your energy on completely restricting yourself from enjoying things that you love, something will eventually break.
It is my hope that this site will be a place to share my own experiences on my path to a balanced life, as well as current research and news in the health, wellness, and fitness fields. While there will definitely be a big focus on vegetarian nutrition and running (since these are things I know well), I plan on including other information as well.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts — you can contact me by leaving a comment below, by using the contact form on the Contact Me page, or by emailing me at: lauren[@]healthontherun[.]net.
And if you would like to actually learn more about me as a person, please click here.