Posts Tagged ‘Eating healthy’

Just like life is filled with dreams and plans, so is it filled with transitions.

TheMac2Over the last 2 months, I’ve had a number. The most recent, though initially stressful, has been the now-happy upgrade of my beloved Mac, the primary tool of my trade.  Reliant as I am upon my Mac to make a living, I was not happy to find it behaving increasingly squirrelly as of late. It’s stood up to the test of time, but has missed a few OS upgrades as well as the accompanying program upgrades. My Mac superhero, Steve, told me that right about now is when hard drives often start to fail. Gulp.

It seemed the time had arrived. So off it went to Steve to have a new hard drive and double the memory installed as well as the latest OS and other upgrades. He brought it back, did his on-site magic, and then the biggest transition began, my learning all the (sometimes) improvements of the latest and greatest software. Trust me … a transition! (I’m much calmer now.)

But the bigger transition has been – and will be –  in my diet. While not really horrible by any means, my cholesterol was found to be sufficiently high that it needed addressing. Before you could say “lower your cholesterol,” I found myself plopped on 3 drugs — me who takes no meds at all, just vitamins and supplements, and eats largely organically, MainStreetVegan-VMoran2relatively low-fat and 99% vegetarian is suddenly infused with three. And so began a series of escalating side effects, med changes and so on … not a happy experience.

Meanwhile, at a recent picnic I was pleased and surprised that a friend bought me a book – Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. – which she read because of the benefit of the suggested diet to the prevention of cancer. I started reading. The regimen the author describes is beyond vegan in its restriction of fats, and a possibility, but has some very strong limitations. Still, I want to find a way to change my diet sufficiently to get off the meds, so I ordered additional books, one of which is pictured here, plus  2 cookbooks, Forks over Knives and the Joy of Vegan Baking and The Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps.

If I’m to consider going vegan, I need to know I have options … lots of them. I’m a bake it with butter, sugar and eggs kind of girl, and this is going to be a HUGE transition. And so I’ve begun reading, investigating, considering and shopping. That I already eat animals rarely makes one part easier, but giving up dairy? Now THAT’s tough. So I’m cutting out more dairy and animal fat than I already have and wading in.

I know plenty about the quality, or lack thereof, of our food supply and the toll it is taking on the health of millions of people as well as the planet and the horrendous suffering it is causing billions of animals. I’ve never wanted to be a part of that and have taken many steps over the years to limit my participation. Apparently, the next step – this transition – is mine to take.

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It happens to all of us at one time or another. We get stressed, overwhelmed, overworked or catch the latest bug that’s going around. Or several of the above.

And what’s one of the first things that falls by the wayside? Our good health habits. When you feel like crap, you don’t feel much like cooking the solid meals, getting the vitamins and supplements together, sticking with the exercise routine. I know I’m not alone when I say sometimes it’s just hard to keep it all together under duress.

Having a family and/or animals  staring you down on a regular schedule does keep the food prep moving, but any leftover energy is often devoted to recovering from that physical or mental stress. There are lots to ways to deal with it, but here’s an easy and convenient one that I find works for me. I pick up Spontaneous Healing by Dr. Andrew Weil. It’s a simple reminder for me to allow my life to heal and get back on track. A reminder to eat healing foods, those that support my best health, and reinvest myself at whatever rate I’m able into activities that support my well-being. Reading something inspirational – Wayne Dyer right now also has that effect for me, but it can just as easily be some other metaphysical teacher – can also be very healing.

It’s essential is to carve out some time for ourselves that soothes and heals us. Add calming music to that, light a candle, and enjoy a bit of space that is sacred, not to be encroached upon by others, family or not. Meditate, breathe, stretch.

It’s so easy in today’s world to become overwhelmed and hit that wall of exhaustion. But we owe it to ourselves to be kind to us. Being kind to ourselves isn’t selfish; it’s what allows us to recharge so we have the energy and the love available to be kind to others. When we’re worn to a nub we’re not much good to anyone. Taking proper care of our physical selves is important, as is caring for our emotional, mental and spiritual selves. We need to be whole.

So I dip into Spontaneous Healing as a reminder of what magnificent housing we live in – our bodies – which are always doing their best to heal themselves. If only we listen to what they need. Andrew Weil tells us and it’s not really what most of us are doing.

And then … I might try and find some time to read something purely for pleasure. At the moment I am reading a novel recommended by my friend’s husband, Homegoing. I’m having a difficult time, but I suspect it’s because I’m trying to cram in a little reading before it’s finally lights out at night; it’s rarely a good way to enjoy a book. Perhaps there’s a bit more time to find … somewhere, I don’t know where … but it’ll be after I cook a healthy meal, for sure.

Here’s to you and your health.

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How often do you go food shopping and find yourself looking at someone’s shopping cart filled to the brim with junk food and over-processed food? And often as not, with a child or two hanging onto the side of the cart. I don’t know about you, but I nearly fall over when I see all that heavily processed, chemicalized, sugared food … and fed to children. Yes, I know how busy we all are – I’m one of those people – but I also know that we are becoming an obese, increasingly unhealthy nation. Childhood obesity is at an all-time high, and stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are killing us all way too young.

I read a lot about the food we eat and try to eat as wholesomely and purely as I can. As much as I possibly can purchase or afford is organic. I make most of my choices in consideration of what has been added to our foods along the way, (hormones, antibiotics, pesticides), or how they have been altered, (GMO), the horrific cruelty involved in getting animal products to our plate, (most meat), how the environment is affected by the production of that food, and when possible, how the workers who produced the food are treated/compensated. I know most people are not as deeply concerned about what’s on their plate as I am. And I also know  it’s still quite possible to eat well without all the considerations that I choose to make.

I recently read am article in the March 2010 issue of Prevention magazine about the 50 healthiest everyday foods, and a simple pictorial guide as how to stay with the healthiest choice, and skip the highly processed choice, plus a health/shopping tip at the right. Each line had 3 columns, for example – 1st choice – an apple – 2nd choice – and somewhat processed – applesauce and 3rd choice to be limited and highly processed – apple toaster pastry.  Whole grain bread, wheat bread, fortified white bread. Fresh chicken breast, deli-sliced chicken and chicken nuggets. You get the idea.

Most people may know at this point there is next to no chicken in chicken nuggets, but did you know that pasture-raised eggs may have 35% less fat, 60% more Vitamin A, and 200% more omega 3’s? This article is a little gold mine of short, concise facts.

I was very disappointed that I could not find this article on Prevention’s web site to link to – I think for the average consumer, it provides a straightforward guide about how to make better food choices. That third column is what I see an awful lot of in shopping carts nowadays. So if you’re reading this, I may already be preaching to the choir, but eat whole foods … stay in the left column .. and maybe we’ll meet each other when we’re 90!

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