Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My lifestyle today

I want to share a little of what of my lifestyle is like now after 5 years.  It has evolved through medical training, clinical experience and simply gauging how things make me feel.   It has been 5 years since I made the decision to get healthy and I feel so, overwhelmingly, better than I used to, which motivates me to help others make the transformation to this side of things.  It's not always easy in the beginning but once you take control of your life, you realize you don't want to go back!  The transformation doesn't even have to do with weight loss, it involves putting the health of your body first and making choices based on that.  Frequent headaches, rashes, GERD/heart burn, IBS, fatigue are a few of the things that can be improved with lifestyle changes.  Personally, I had GERD, low energy and was moody, which all went away with the changes I implemented.

Nutrient Dense Food

It seems like common sense to eat more fruits and vegetables but it really does make a difference in how you feel day to day and the prevention of disease in the future.  Well sourced and researched supplements can be great, but food is always the best source.  It is not yet understood why but the body absorbs and utilizes nutrients from food better than a pill.  There are those nutrients that are difficult to get from food where supplements can be useful but that topic is for another day! The reason you need to consume a variety of nutrients each day is because they are all crucial to normal functions of the body.  When you're missing a piece (antioxidant/mineral/amino acid) to the whole puzzle (making enzymes, muscle movement, cell regeneration..) then that process won't happen as it should.  If this consistently occurs it can lead to current symptoms or future medical problems.  Crucial nutrients aren't only in fruits and vegetables but organic meats/ seafood, fats (butter, coconut oil, olive oil) and especially egg yolks!

To get the 6-9 cups of fruits and vegetables a day I make a smoothie each morning that has 2-3 fruits and a green leafy vegetable.  This week, for example, I mixed full fat (yes, it's good for you!) coconut milk, banana, mango and spinach with hard boiled eggs on the side.  Have a couple at lunch, this week is beef and bean chili stuffed peppers with salsa, and a couple more veggies with each dinner!  It's helpful to think ahead each week by meal planning to incorporate a variety of foods into each day!

Exercise

What started out as walking has changed to running 3-6 miles and weight training.  This won't work for everyone so find what you like to get your heart rate up and give your muscles a burn 4-5 days a week.  Walking, biking, pilates, tennis- endless options!

I only eat when I'm hungry.

This was a foreign thing to me before my transformation, I ate whenever I felt like it.  I remember coming back from a late class after dinner in college and making risotto at 10 o'clock at night because I craved some comfort carbs.  Don't get me wrong, risotto is great for a dinner, not for a before bed snack! I would eat dinner at 5 o'clock on the dot because that was dinner time in my head, not because I was actually hungry for dinner.  Now, I listen to my body and eat when I am hungry.  Since I end up eating less this way, I make each meal/snack count.  I don't choose something with no nutritional value like chips, pretzels or a sugar packed treat. For snacking I choose an apple and peanut butter, grapes and cheese, vegetables and hummus, hard boiled eggs, chips and salsa (there's at least some nutrients in the salsa!).  Though, I should admit that I will never give up my dark chocolate.

I avoid sugar at all costs, especially soda.

As a kid I remember drinking soda with cake at birthday parties and I remember it not even tasting good.  Why on earth did I ever even do that, I guess I was a sugar junkie.  The more sugar you have the less sweet it tastes so you need more to taste it.  I probably loved the short jolt of chaotic energy it provided me.  As soon as I cut processed sugar from my diet my mood, skin and fatigue really improved.  There is NO nutritional benefit of sugar.  Carbohydrates yes, and you get sufficient amounts from fruits and vegetables.  Since I've cut out sugar, bittersweet chocolate tastes sweet to me and soda is grossly too sweet, it makes it easier to stay away!  The reason I urge everyone to avoid it is because sugar creates a lot of inflammation in the body and inflammation is only good when it's short term and needed to heal an injury.  In a recent TIME article, it was said to be the culprit of heart disease rather than cholesterol from causing chronic inflammation of the vessels.  It has also been linked to mood and behavioral issues and acne.  I cut it out because it has helped me feel better, so I go by that.  Though, a little dessert here and there is completely necessary to enjoy life.  Moderation is key!

I went organic.

It took some research for me to believe that you do get what you pay for.  Yes, it's more expensive but I learned how to food shop at Whole Foods on a budget.  I once compared with a friend who does not shop at whole foods and we spent a comparable amount on food shopping each week!  Meal planning is everything, I plan out breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for the week and buy only what's on my list.  This way, each day has been thoughtfully planned to include nutritious food and I'm not impulse buying extras that can drive up the cost.  Organic food has been shown to have less pesticides, which means less toxic metals and chemicals.  It has also been shown to be more nutrient dense, so you pay more but get more nutrients!  I always make sure to choose the deepest colored produce in the bunch, get organic eggs, milk, cheeses and meats.

Just to touch on GMO, corn and soy are the most common GMO products and conveniently enough, most processed foods contain one or the other.  After doing some research, I am unsure if GMO is actually harmful but I refuse to buy it.  It has been shown that GMO products the have the highest pesticide use.  Just something to be aware of, if you buy processed foods, even corn chips, and it is not labeled nonGMO, then it most likely is.

          

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