Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eat Consciously

What you are eating, might be eating you...

With today's hectic lifestyle so many of us don't eat consciously. How many of us are so harried by today run here and run there that we have lost the meaning behind the food: life, family, culture? If it isn't a quick bite to eat from a drive through restaurant then it is a handy "Hamburger Helper" from the kitchen cupboard or freezer. I know it is easier to feed the "Hungry Man," woman, or child processed food than to prepare a sustainable, organic, home-cooked meal. I know this for a fact; and am guilty of it myself, but at what expense does one continue to consume food "products" instead of real food?

Should you find yourself at a point in your life when you become aware of the need for a change in your "diet," I would like to suggest that before you put ANY plan into action DO SOME RESEARCH. I know it sounds tedious however in order for the change you make to stick it is important to understand the "why" that drives it. I suggest beginning with these two topics:
  1. Do not believe the diet hype! "Diets" are temporary, unsustainable and although you may loose weight it will most likely return tenfold. There is no magic pill, shake, sprinkle, etc... and portion control (AKA starving yourself, counting calories) is also NOT the answer. Still don't believe me?... read more HERE, HERE and HERE - and I am sure there is more proof out there, Google away!
  2. Understand what the products you consume are comprised of; yes is said "products" because much of the American diet these days is made up of food-like products not "real food." Understand what these products do to your body; over the short-term and long-term. You  really shouldn't be surprised that many of these chemicals have adverse effects on how you look and feel, then again you might be. According to
Some of the many additives included in processed foods are thought to have the ability to compromise the body's structure and function and are suggested to be related to the development of skin, pulmonary and psycho-behavioral conditions. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are currently being investigated for their potential to damage genetic material and therefore promote cancer. Sulfites have been found to aggravate asthma (hypertext) in certain children and adults. Artificial colorings have been noted to cause hypersensitivity reactions in sensitive persons promoting conditions such as ADHD (attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder), asthma and skin conditions such as urticaria and atopic dermatitis. Therefore, avoiding foods that contain these and other chemical additives may greatly contribute to health. 
Be aware of what is going into your body and more importantly know what your animal "food" is eating, its source and the ingredients that comprise the food. This is key. Much of the food available on super market shelves, meat/produce/dairy departments, and fast food restaurants, is sadly void of essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins, and latent with chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.  Still don't believe me? ... read more HERE, HERE and HERE.

Once you have done your homework and are ready to make a change I suggest starting with some small tests of change. Going hog-wild and changing everything at once may work for some, but for most it will just be a case of too much too soon; especially if you live with others who may not understand you "vision." Try eliminating some or all of the following items from your diet (and by "diet" I mean food habitually eaten NOT temporary food reduction):
  • All Sodas, Juices, and other sugar laden drinks (I suggests drinking only water and/or tea - organic green tea in particular - the occasional black coffee is okay)
  • All Cereal, Pasta and Breads (including whole wheat, gluten-free, etc - "All" means ALL!)
This is a good start. It should not be too much of a shocking change and yet if you abstain from these products for at least 30-60 days you will find it will make substantial changes in how you look and feel. Now please understand this is a life-style change, ideally you should eliminate these products FOREVER. The only reason I suggest the 30-60 days is because you will go though a withdrawal period. Yes, "withdrawal" as in from an addiction. Believe it or not those of us raised on these products have become physically addicted to them, therefore you WILL feel like crap for a period of time, push through it. You WILL feel better (even AWESOME) and you WILL  eventually loose the craving you have to eat these products. As Jonathan Bailor says... "It is simple, but not easy."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My 3Ms - Getting back on Track

Mind Matters

So the last few weeks have been really rough; stressful and frustrating.
The details (without putting too fine a point on it) involve 6 miserable days of Sacramento County Fair (my daughter shows boar goats for 4-H) which pushed my husband and me to the point of never returning unless they have a change in fair management. The other events are happy ones albeit still extremely taxing on my psyche: my son’s 18th birthday, his graduation from High School and pending move (1.5 hours away) for college; my daughter’s promotion from 8th grade; and my 23rd wedding anniversary. Not to mention a Cancun, Mexico vacation coming up in 3 weeks.

“Living” at fair for 6 days was tedious and taxing my ability to stay on track nutritionally. It was good for the first 3-4 days I packed food and water into the fair, but then I slowly backslid a bit and ate “fair food” the last 2 days there. I just got lazy and bored and decided that the experience was lacking without some “fair food.” It was definitely due to the desire to eat for emotional effect. I also neglected to do my eccentric exercise and yoga for the week.

I learned something from the experience though here are few important points that I recognized:
A.    I do not feel guilty about eating a corn dog, hamburger, a soda, and gelato – I celebrate the fact that I stayed 70%+ on track.
B.     I do not feel guilty about not doing my eccentric exercises I will get to them this week, besides I was much more active than usual while at fair (lots of walking and wrangling goats!) instead of work driving a desk.
C.     At the very least I wish had made more of an effort to fit my yoga – or at least some meditation – in during fair week.

The past weeks experiences helped me recognize what my priorities should be regarding my health. My 3-Ms:
1)      MIND…Be “Mind”ful – My psyche’s well-being must be my #1 priority over everything else. I need to carve out at least 10 minutes of time for yoga, meditation, or a leisurely walk every single day. This time to repair and recuperate my spirit is vital and the key to all else that follows.
2)      MUNCH…Eat for Life – continuing to eat whole foods while avoiding starches, sugars and processed foods as much as I possibly can (80-90% of the time). Aim for progress not perfection.
3)      MOVE…Exercise Deliberately & with Delight – exercise eccentrically at least once a week and be active as often as possible (take walks, bicycle rides, garden, dance, swim, etc).

As long as I remember my 3Ms the importance of Mind, Munch & Move I can relax and know that if I need to temporarily forego any of these in light of busy time in my life I can do so without guilt as long as I forego MOVE first, than MUNCH if necessary. Should MIND ever become railroaded by busyness, though, it is time to reevaluate and resume.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scaling it down

Learning to Live without IT

Are you a scale addict? I know I am. Right before I step on it I feel like I am at a slot machine getting ready to put my money in the mouth of the beast, hoping it will pay off, dreading the inevitable "bust."

I am one step closer to completely ridding myself of my arch nemesis; especially after reading Jason Seibs blog post. I don't know whether to thank him or scream bloody murder over all the lost years spent stepping on and off the beast. Maybe I'll do both.

"Sooooooooo", you ask, "what EXACTLY is 'one step closer'"...? Well, it involves moving the darn thing from MY bathroom to another bathroom or bedroom in the house that I seldom visit. Hopefully out of sight out of mind. If I can just get through the morning without stepping on it I know I am safe for the rest of the day. You see, I am addicted to stepping on it ONLY in the morning and ONLY while only wearing my skivvies and currently where it sits, by my bathroom sink next to my closet (like the WORST PLACE EVER!) I feel the lure of it every morning. However, if I miss that morning deadline I will not go near it at all until the following morning.

"Why not get rid of it completely? Throw it out? Sell it at a yard sale?" you ask. Well, honestly - I'm just not ready yet. I want to wean myself off it. I am confident that there WILL be a time in the future when I can wave g'bye to it and when THAT day comes I will be sure to savor the moment and share it with you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Listening to my Body Talk

Making more of a point to listen to my body lately and have for the last week or so allowed IT to dictate when I eat and how much. I always have “real” food available for consumption but I don’t eat just because it is “time to eat,” I eat because I am hungry. I have a desk job which makes eating when I am hungry fairly easy, mind you I am an Administrative Assistant therefore I am ALWAYS up and running around like a mad woman, but a bite here and a bite there keeps me satisfied. What I have noticed lately is that I am not consuming very much - yet I am not hungry either. Is this is a good or bad thing? There are those who swear by "portion control"...they might say it is a good thing; that over eating anything is bad, bad, bad. But according to SSOS I should be consuming 10 servings of leafy green veggies and 120 grams of lean protein every day. I am MAYBE at 2/3 that requirement.

I believe if I were to add in more activities (e.g. - walking, bicycling, yogaetc.) on a regular basis (instead of sporadically)  along with my weekly eccentric exercise I will probably be hungrier and actually eat the suggested amount of real food. However, as long as I am not too active beyond my usual daily movements eating less than the suggested SSOS amount would seem okay. Right? I guess I am going to find out....
A typical day might include the following foods:
  • Morning – Green Smoothie (spinach, citrus, strawberries, blueberries, whey protein powder, flax meal.)
  • Afternoon – a small amount of Protein (cottage cheese, beef, fish, or chicken) and about 2-3 cups of veggies (carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery, broccoli, etc)
  • Evening - a small amount of Protein (egg, beef, fish, or chicken) and a sautéed or steamed veggie side (1-2 cups)
  • Snack – Chocolate zucchini bread (Paleo - thank you Juli Bauer!)

I am still sleeping well, waking at dawn and not tired. Mood is good, energy level good and no aches or pains (other than my preexisting shoulder issue – bone spur and arthritis). I expect that there will be some positive changes in my periodontal health, which has been historically poor (fingers crossed – appointment next month).

Overall I am really happy with the results thus far and have seen enough change (albeit slow – but I have A LOT of damage to undo) to continue down this path. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Better Late then Never

Tempted to throw out the scale

So admittedly I should have done this WEEKS ago... but kept putting it off and forgetting. My measurements and weight. A few disclaimers first:

  1. Like many woman I LOATHE the demon spawn known as the bathroom scale ***shiver***. Therefore as much as I want to just toss the horrible thing out and concentrate on measurements I figured I would give it one last chance to redeem itself.
  2. You will notice that I did not include a "bust" measurement. Why? Because I don't imagine my rib cage will shrink and with regard to bra cup size ... well.... - I really don't care. I am currently a C borderline D-cup and to tell you the truth as long as they are shrinking I would be happy with a B-cup. Nuff Said!
  3. The instructions on how to take waist measurements are (what I consider to be) contradicting information. It explains that one must place the measuring tape about a 1/2 inch above the bellybutton at the narrowest part of your waist. (???) Well I don't know about you but the narrowest part of MY waist is quite a bit more then 1/2 inch above my bellybutton!. Honestly, I don't know if it much matters but I decided it didn't; as long as I measure at the same location every time.
  4. Since I went with the narrowest part of my waist for the "waist measurement" I decided to add an "abdominal" measurement, which is taken just below my bellybutton.

On to the "good stuff", ...or more like "not so good stuff that will soon be better stuff." Are you still with me? Okay here goes:

Whew... am I glad that's over.

Monday, April 29, 2013

You don't know it...but YOU ARE AN ADDICT!

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing."   – AbrahamLincoln

Sugar and Starch Withdrawals UGH... it took me 2-3 weeks just to get over them. I know the frustration. In the beginning the food choices seem boring and tasteless because we are so used to eating amp-ted up food-like products. But sometimes we need a motivating factor outside of just food, which (as I have often heard the lovely Carrie Brown say) is a VERY emotional bond. If you have read SSOS you know the science behind the choices... maybe it is not enough. Maybe becoming more emotional about your desire to change is key. For me I found that I needed to keep researching... I wanted to know more; I needed affirmation. 

I went on to read "Rich Food, Poor Food" (the entire book, not just the information on what and what not to buy), I watched "Food Matters" and "Hungry for Change" (available streaming on Netflix), and I listen to Jonathan and Carrie's pod-casts everyday, and on Facebook I look for (and "Like") other sites that ratify my choice (e.g. I "Liked" Metabolic Effect, EAT SANE, Food Renegade, among others) . This has helped me get past the emotional (and addictive) cravings I have for inSANE foods. I am now 7 weeks into my life change and I feel free! This is what it must feel like to be a recovering/recovered addict - JOYOUS and IN CONTROL!

Clothing is no longer "tight" and some of the bigger body lumps-n-bumps have all but gone away. I am on a mission!!!  I look for new recipes to try (not all of which work out but most have been successful and YUMMY) and "pin" them. Some of the "keepers" are Almond Parmesan Squash, Sour Cream and Chive Biscuits, and Cinnamon Raisin "Rice" Pudding

I was also recently given a cookbook called "The Food Lovers - Make it Paleo," which has a GORGEOUS picture for EVERY recipe - YAY! 

So am I motivated to keep going? YES!... there is no turning back now - this is my life AND I LOVE IT!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013