Whenever I’m asked to fill out those long health status forms, I feel so grateful that I’ve learned what I know about being vital and healthy when I can check the ‘No’ on all those scary maladies. And while I visit my family history, I reflect on my parents and their lifestyles, which I’m convinced drove them to an early grave. They chain-smoked Chesterfields, drank a nightly Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks or two, and ate everything fried without a second thought. It was Mad Men encapsulated. The only good to come of it was for me to have been a witness and vow the opposite for myself.

Ah but the slope is slippery! After 14 years of being vegetarian (fish as the exception) and wanting to rebel against the rigid rules of that choice, I began a food celebration. No things were off limits and I still have a love affair with beautiful food and spectacular wine. I enjoy the process of shopping at a local farmer’s market on Sunday mornings and then creating great meals and social events around them in my kitchen. While I know these sensory pleasures are part of living a graceful life, I’m developing a higher level of awareness of healthy organic ingredients and (hooray!) moderation in all things.

Ten days ago, I decided together with Jolie to do a great cleanse to kick off spring. We both decided that the Clean program by cardiologist Dr. Junger was the perfect one for us.

So the day before beginning the program I indulged in one last hurrah and I decided to give my blessings to the goddess of all cupcakes, Sprinkles! I bought the yummiest chocolate fudge cupcake and loved every bite. And now, day 11, we’re super committed and actually enjoying how well we feel already! I could go on and on about the specifics, colon hydrotherapy, etc. but I’ll let you research that for yourself!

Inhabiting a human body is miraculous. One day I was in Indio, California at a little tucked away Mexican restaurant that was nothing memorable. Except the clientele. An obese woman was spilling over 2 chairs at the table next to us and while I felt sorry, I was also amazed. How could one little heart, about the size of my 2 fists, pump blood into that enormous amount of fat and tissue and organs? The body has such a will to live, to thrive, that it will endure more than we can imagine.  I’ve never forgotten her. I can’t imagine she would be alive today, and I feel sad at a wasted life. No ability to run along the oceanside, to ride a bike or hike through the forest. No ability to slip on a wetsuit and slide into azure water and see a purple octopus up close. No ability to jump on a pair of skis and fly down a slope.  No ability to dance at her daughter’s wedding. How sad. So this cleanse is a blessing I’m giving my body, to take a break, regenerate and provide me with vitality and life far beyond where I’d be otherwise. I’m committed to experience my kids and their kids enjoy life, something my parents were unable to do.

I’m happy to declare (unto myself :) that exercise now is a necessity on my list of daily To Do’s. Several years ago I realized that exercise was the antidote to some tremendous stress I was experiencing and got a trainer, Marisol Penner, with whom I credit practically saving my life. We worked out hard and she was tough. But it created emotional strength for me. If I could lift more than my body weight over my head and then make it through a spin class, I could transfer that strength and endurance to the daily drama in my life. Plus the physical changes created chemical changes in my system and I’d walk out of there feeling invincible. Now I’m working out with an amazing trainer, Franz Snideman, owner of Revolution Fitness in La Jolla and he’s taught me so much about the body that the conversations we have while swinging kettelbells always wax philosophical and metaphorical. I want to share those things with you and so this will be the forum and I’ll be posting a series of Things Franz Knows. There’s a great movement toward health and vitality and we have available to us the greatest advantage of variety. Whether it’s hiking the scenic Torrey Pines Reserve here in La Jolla, taking a yoga class, Budokon with Cameron Shayne, swimming or kayaking, being physical is a privilege I don’t forget.

We have the most obese out of shape country in the world and I cringe when I see people give up on themselves. It’s never too late and deciding to change can happen in small deliberate steps. I find it’s one of the times I’m most happy with myself, when I eat right and exercise. It takes a commitment to get motivated and when the momentum kicks in, that’s a momentum in the right direction!