Happy Thursday everyone! J We are only one day away from the weekend! *happy dance* I am hoping for a little fun this weekend personally. After the month we have had I think we could definitely use it. Not sure what Dan wants to do but I am hoping he will agree with me. Maybe we should go somewhere for the day just to change the scenery. What do you guys have planned for your weekend?
Is January speeding by for everyone or is it just because I am busy? My month has definitely had its ups and downs but we seem to be on an upward trend currently which is very nice. For those of you who are just joining us or here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how much we have covered during the first 18 days of January:
Day 1 – Defined Success and What is/was Holding Us Back
Day 2 – Determined our Purpose and Looked at Passion
Day 3 – Listed Our Goals for January
Day 4 – Listed the Things We Have Needed to Work on for a While
Day 5 – Looked at Optimism vs. Pessimism and Fear vs. Intuition
Day 6 – Practiced Conscious Eating
Day 7 – Hara Hachi Bu
Day 8 – Taking the Stress Out of Meal Time
Day 9 – Acknowledgments
Day 10 – No Excuses, Do it Anyway
Day 11 – Is it True?
Day 12 – Have You Really Connected With Someone Today?
Day 13 – Motivation is a Decision
Day 14 - Successfully Navigating Dinner at an Unfamiliar Restaurant
Day 15 - What Do You Want, Have You Asked?
Day 16 – Treating Others as You Wish to be Treated
Day 17 – Food as a Budget
Day 18 – Silence Your Inner Critic
Did you enjoy yesterday’s post on silencing your inner critic? That one was very personal for me because I have struggled with my inner critic for so long. I hope something that I wrote will help you if you also have an inner critic that you would like to quiet.
Replace I Have to With I Want to:
Most people think of making healthy lifestyle changes (or a diet if you prefer that terminology) as something that they have to do not something that they do willingly. When anyone does something out of force they are bound to resent it. I hear people all the time say things like “I can’t imagine giving up cheese” or “I couldn’t possibly give up oil”. Please notice how these statements are worded. In both cases these statements are negative, “I can’t” and “I couldn’t”. Additionally they both reference “giving something up.” Is it any wonder that people have difficulty making changes when they view them as negative and deprivation?
If you are serious about making a radical improvement in your health than you need to be not only willing but happy to make radical changes in your lifestyle choices. Yes you can actually be happy about these changes because we are happy about our choices which most of our friends can’t imagine. Let me explain what we think about things and why we think them so that you understand. I think our healthy mindset is why we are able to stay this dietary course.
We changed our diet in response to a health crisis. However we were able to continue eating this way because of all the research I have done on the topic of health and nutrition. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of studies that show that the lifestyle changes we have made will result in the best possible outcome. I have not said nor have I ever believed that diet alone would reverse an established cancer but I do believe it can prevent cancer in the first place. However there is research to show that a diet like ours can a) slow the doubling rate of the disease, b) give the body the maximum amount of nutrition necessary to ramp up its immune system and c) extend the healthy quality of life. The data is even better for people who are battling heart disease or diabetes, diet has been shown to reverse both of those given time. It is important to remember that diet doesn’t work like a medication. It took years for a poor diet to cause problems and it will also take years for an excellent diet to improve underlying chronic conditions.
Before we eat (either at home or out) the first question I ask myself is what is the healthiest option available right now. This is why you see me eat things like savory oatmeal. It is hard to deny that starting my morning with oatmeal, mushrooms and lightly cooked kale and broccoli is extremely healthy and that is the entire point. Dan prefers sweet oatmeal as you know. Given that his oatmeal “needs” to be sweet I approach it the same way, how can I make his oatmeal the healthiest. Thursday morning I did this by adding goji berries, wild blueberries, cinnamon, powdered ginger, stevia instead of a sweetener that would increase his blood sugar, walnuts, raw pumpkin seeds and hempseeds. Sure his oatmeal was sweet but it was also healthier than what most people have for breakfast. Do you see how my idea of “what is the most healthy option available now works?” We all have limits to what we will do regularly, and Dan draws the line at savory oatmeal every day. Given that constraint I can still make him something that is good for him.
We make the healthiest choice possible (within limits) because we both realize that “you literally are what you eat.” If you put unhealthy food into your body you shouldn’t expect to be healthy it really is that simple. As I said recently none of us can escape the law of cause and effect.
(chicken and olives which one of friends ordered one evening at dinner)
Let’s look as a food that 99% of America thinks is healthy and dissect it. Almost every person I know believes that chicken breast is healthy. They will tell you that it is low in fat and a good source of protein. But are these things true? Let’s look at the numbers:
Chicken breast (with skin on) roasted, no oil – amount 1 cup
Calories – 276Calories from fat (36%) – 98
Total fat – 11g
Sat fat – 3g
Cholesterol – 118g
Protein – 42g
Fiber – 0g
Chicken breast (with skin removed) roasted, no oil – amount 1 cup
Calories – 231Calories from fat (20%) – 45
Total fat – 5g
Sat fat – 1.4g
Cholesterol – 118g
Protein – 43g
Fiber – 0g
I wanted to make sure that everyone noticed that the numbers for the skinless chicken breast is without oil or skin, roasted dry. Do you really make you chicken that way or to do add oil to the skinless breasts? Remember every tablespoon of oil adds 120 calories of pure fat and 14grams of fat. Also don’t kid yourself that you can roast the chicken with the skin and throw that away before eating the chicken and get the numbers for the skinless breast, it doesn’t work that way. The fat in the chicken skin melts and some of that ends up on and in the chicken. What do you think is keeping the chicken moist (or juicy as they like to say on the Foodnetwork)? The juiciness in the meat is the fat; don’t kid yourself that it is something else.
I noticed a few things when I compared the two sets of numbers on the chicken. First the fat didn’t drop as much as expected when the skin was removed. Second the cholesterol didn’t change which I suspect shocks most people because it surprised me. Remember there is fat in the muscle tissue not just in the skin. But the thing that really struck me was the amount of protein. According the most sources I have seen women need on average 45 grams of protein per day. If you are eating a cup of skinless chicken breast (and other food since everything contains some protein) you are certainly getting more protein than you need. Not to mention that consuming animal flesh (like soy proteinisolates) increases your IGF-1 and that fuels tumor growth.
Now let’s compare the statistics on a cup of beans to see how they measure up. I decided to use chickpeas since those appear to be the favorite in America.
Chickpeas, cooked – amount 1 cup
Calories – 269Calories from fat (13%) – 36
Total fat – 4g
Sat fat – 0.4g
Cholesterol – 0g
Protein – 15g
Fiber – 12g
I don’t know how many of you have eaten a cup of chickpeas but that is difficult to do. I find beans to be much more filling than meat and that is probably due to the fiber content. I am sure at least a few you immediately focused on the calories and said if chickpeas have more calories then I might as well have the chicken. However that doesn’t take into account the fiber in the chickpeas actually keeps part of the calories from being absorbed. Additionally the chickpeas come with zero cholesterol (good for most Americans whose cholesterol is way too high), less than 30% of the saturated fat of the skinless chicken breast and a more moderate amount of protein at one time which allows you to spread your protein consumption over the entire day. Also the fiber in the chickpeas binds to some of the circulating cholesterol in your GI system so that it is flushed from your system. Not to mention that the plant protein (with soy protein isolate being the one exception) does not elevate IGF-1 like the chicken.
I hope the analysis and discussion above helps you to realize that there are many reasons to eat more plants and fewer (and preferably no) animal products. While I will be the first to admit that I liked the taste of animal-based foods when I ate them I can’t imagine consuming them now, I simply know too much about the health consequences to eat them or feed them to those I love. Fortunately my husband listens when I talk about nutrition that is the reason that he is on board with this lifestyle as well. *yay*
Both of us view our diet as the best fuel that we can feed our bodies. We think of food as fuel, not entertainment, not comfort, not love but fuel. Once we broke our addictions to sugar, fat and salt it became easy to eat to nourish ourselves. However I still remember when we were addicted and when we used food for reasons other than fuel. If we can break those habits and addictions I know that you can too.
I hope the next time you are making or ordering a meal you stop to ask yourself, what can I eat that will nourish my body. Eating for nourishment is a choice. When you commit to provide your body with the most nutritious food available so that you are as healthy as you can be it doesn’t feel like a chore, it is something that you want to do not something that you have to do. Doing things because you love yourself and are taking care of yourself is much different from doing things because you have to.
Did I explain this concept in a way that makes sense? If you need me to clarify anything please let me know. I will explain anything that I have written as many different ways as is necessary to help everyone understand. I want each of you to be the healthiest you can be so that you can avoid what we go through.
Today’s exercises require planning today and action tomorrow:
1. Commit to eating an extremely healthy breakfast tomorrow.
2. Plan what you will prepare for yourself and get as much ready the night before as possible. Preparation makes it more likely that you will stick with your plan.
3. About an hour after breakfast see how your body is feeling? Did the healthy breakfast agree with you? Maybe you feel lighter, happier or it is sticking with you longer because of the fiber content. Write down your answers in your journal.
4. Commit to eating an extremely healthy lunch tomorrow. Remember you definition of extremely healthy may be very different from mine. Start where ever you are and make the best choices that you can.
5. Plan what you will have and prep as much the night before as possible. If you don’t have food to take with plan where you will pick up lunch and what you will order.
6. Do the same exercise in item 3 above. Assess how it felt physically to have a healthy lunch.
7. Commit to an extremely healthy dinner tomorrow.
8. Make certain that you have everything you need to prepare the meal. Stop at the grocery store on the way home from work if necessary.
9. Do the same exercise in item 3 and 6 above. Now add how did it feel to eat healthy add day? Do you feel good about what you accomplished? Was it easy to eat this way because you had planned it out the night before? Can you continue doing this one day at a time? Maybe you want to try doing this for a week or even a month to see how it feels. Write your answers down in your journal.
I told you that I wasn’t finished talking about mindset yet and I can’t say that the topic will ever disappear completely from my blog. I am convinced that our minds are what get in the way most of the time when we consider making any type of change. People are so comfortable doing what they know that they won’t stop even when what they are doing is hurting them.
The best example I can give of this is someone who is overweight but clings to the notion that they “need” animal protein to get adequate nutrition. Sadly most Americans are overweight or worse. When we look around all we see are people who are above the normal weight range. However the problem is that seeing this all the time has skewed everyone’s idea of what normal looks like. I will give you an example so it makes more sense, my husband is just barely in the normal weight range (specifically a BMI of 24.78 and 25 is overweight). Yet when he lost weight everyone we knew said he was too thin. Really too thin, he is just barely in the normal weight range. All the “you are too thin comments” caused us to look around and we soon realized that most people we see aren’t in the normal weight range, it is extremely sad.
I mention this because seeing other heavy Americans has altered everyone’s perception of what a normal weight looks like. We think we are doing fine because we weigh less than most American but are we really doing fine or are we just thinner than they are? Do you see the distinction? It is a bit like the normal total cholesterol in this country is 200 but that is too damn high. Having normal cholesterol in America just means that you are likely to get the same diseases as most American’s (heart disease, cancer and diabetes). The bottom line is that being normal in America is being unhealthy.
I don’t say any of these things to upset anyone but rather to get you to look critically at what you can do for yourself. The only people that any of have control over is ourselves. We can’t change our spouse, or our friends and family as much as we would like to which has been hard for me to learn. However we also can’t change ourselves if we don’t recognize that there is something that needs to be changed. If something that I wrote has you feeling anxious please examine why. What is going on in your life that would cause this? Maybe subconsciously you know that you need to change but you don’t know how to get started. Try today’s exercises and see if that can jump start you down the right path. Please know that I don’t write any of this to upset anyone but rather to shake people out of their comfort zone. I realize that no one likes change, I am the same way. But if we aren’t willing to change our behavior we also can’t expect to get different results. Remember the old saying “insanity is continuing to do the same thing but expecting a different result.” Sending big cyber hugs to you. J
What did you think about this post? Did it make you think? Is it something that you are interesting is reading more about? Please let me know. If you don’t tell me I have no idea which topics are resonating with you and which ones are falling flat. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. J
Progress on my goals:
1. Newsletters – Wednesday was another productive day for me. *woo hoo* I am almost finished with the first newsletter and have a good start on the second one. Love that!
2. Body Bugg – I remembered to wear my bugg on Wednesday but I wasn’t very active so it didn’t have any information that I wanted to see. However information is power since we can’t change what we don’t know. I need to have both the positive and negative feedback.
3. Date with Dan – I wouldn’t call it a date but we spent a lot of time talking and enjoying each other’s company. It is very nice to have my hubby home.
4. Measuring calorie dense food – I didn’t have any fat in my breakfast which was bad. I knew that I needed to add some seeds or nuts and didn’t. This happens to me a lot. I need to be more focused on this.
5. Working on my business – I spent an hour on a webinar Wednesday night getting ideas of what other people are doing. This time I discovered a few things not to do which is also helpful. Any time I can learn from other people’s mistakes I do.
How are you feeling about your progress so far? If you are happy with your progress wonderful, don’t change a thing! However if you think you should have made more progress now you need to decide if a) you are being too much like me and are expecting yourself to be superhuman, or b) you have been slacking off and need to pick up the pace. Only you know the answer to this question.
Have you made any progress writing acknowledgements? I hope are working on this exercise. I find that it helps me stay positive and recognize the things that I do every day. Here are my acknowledgements for Tuesday:
· Dan asked for oatmeal again for breakfast and I was happy to comply. I would prefer that he have savory oatmeal occasionally but thought this probably isn’t the right time to push that. I can get savory oats into him later.
· Today I have started making our white tea triple strength so that we can get 6 cups in with less water. Today I used all white tea and triple strength was fine, not too bitter. I was a little surprised. I will let you know if adding green to the mix still works out well. Drinking our tea triple strength will make it easier to get our EGCG every day.
· Our lunch was a giant serving bowl salad. For those of you who are new when I say a serving bowl salad I literally make each of us a salad that fills a serving bowl. When I make these huge salads I know that we are getting our micronutrients. J
· Our dinner was something that Dan requested which I was very happy to prepare. He was in the mood for pasta so I made us an Asian inspired dish with whole wheat spaghetti, a simple walnut sauce from the Vitamix, lightly cooked broccoli, cilantro, sriracha and sesame seeds. Dan really enjoyed it probably because he has been eating hospital food for a too long. It was nice to see him enjoy eating so much.
· I am also working on a healthier version of tofu chocolate mousse. Dan sampled it tonight and thinks I am making great progress and that this is the closest that I have come to “real” chocolate mousse. Sad that we still remember what that is like isn’t it? I hope to have it perfected soon so that I can share with you. *fingers crossed*
· I listened to a webinar Wednesday night and definitely got some tips on what not to do. In hindsight learning what not to do is just as important as learning what to do. It was nice to have an hour to devote to business research this evening.
Breakfast for Dan was oatmeal similar to yesterday but this time I added frozen wild blueberries which are why the dish has a purple hue.
I had yesterday’s dinner leftovers mushrooms, and broccoli in tomato sauce only no quinoa since we ate it all. I should have added a few pine nuts but I forgot. This is why I have the goal to measure my nuts and seeds they are forgotten more than they should be.
Lunch for each of us was a giant salad consisting of mixed greens, fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, artichokes, avocado, no-salt seasoning and raw pumpkin seeds. Delicious and very filling
Dinner was a little whole wheat pasta (1/4 pound for the two of us and Dan got 2/3's of that), broccoli, walnut sauce, sriracha, cilantro and sesame seeds.
Have you gotten into the habit of writing your happy thoughts? I find it helpful to remind myself how often things go well and that I shouldn’t take these things for granted. Here are my happy thoughts:
· Dan is continuing to get great rest at home (another 10 hours today) and his mystery fever has stayed away. *woo hoo*
· Dan walked to the store to pick up an adaptor for my laptop headset so that I start using Dragon again. This trip was a twofer, he got some light movement in and I can use the program again.
· I checked on my parents today and they are both fine. Considering they are in their 80s fine is as much as we can expect.
· My sweet little angle Massimo let me cut some knots out of the long hair on his back legs. Masi has the silkiest hair of our three cats and that means he is most prone to mats. With me spending so much time at the hospital he wasn’t getting his daily brushing and mats was the result. He was a little sweetie about letting him trim him. If ever there were a cat who was destined for heaven it is this little guy. He is so gentle and loving all the time. Can you tell I am a proud cat mommy? LOL
· Luca took her asthma medication without much fighting or hiding too long. I swear my cats are too smart for their own good. Recently I have been using my phone alarm to remind me the see needs her meds because she is getting a dose every other day and that means we lose track. Even though I use my phone alarm for lots of things when it goes off every other evening Luca hides. There is definitely both a good and bad side to have cats as smart as these three. LOL
Thursday was another good day for us. Dan got extra rest and really is starting to seem like the man I have known for more than 20 years which is a huge relief. I tend to worry about my husband in case you had not picked up on that. ;-) LOL
As crazy as this sounds Dan’s mystery fever has not come back. It really is starting to look like he was “allergic” to hospital. I would love to know what caused the fever but right now I am happy it has gone away and isn’t coming back. Now if he can just get rid of the dry cough he came home with he will be good as new. J
How was your Thursday? Did you do anything fun or did you stay home? We thought about going for out for dinner but decided to say in because it was easier than getting “dressed” for dinner. I am very comfortable in my winter running pants, grey Hopkins Lacrosse T-shirt with my hair in a ponytail. Some days are just made for lounging and when it is cold outside I am content to hang out at home. Soon I need to start thinking about what to make for dinner.