Thursday, January 26, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 26

Happy Thursday!  *woo hoo*  We are getting very close to the weekend now.  Have you noticed that I love weekends yet?  LOL  ;-)  Are you as happy about the approaching weekend as I am? 

Fortunately Thursday wasn’t overbooked like most of my week.  I am very happy to have had a reasonably low key Thursday.  The only must do on my schedule today was webinar in the evening.  *yay*  Unfortunately today was cool, grey and rainy.  However you know me, I didn’t let the weather dampen my spirit.

What did you think of yesterday’s post?  I hope that something that I wrote caused you to reflect on the negative self talk that doesn’t serve you well.  I truly believe that the words that we use make a huge difference in how we process what happens each day.  For those of you who are just joining us here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how much we have covered during the first 25 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
Day 19 – Replace I Have to With I Want to
Day 20 – Identifying Your Rituals
Day 21 – Face Your Fears
Day 22 – Give Up the Diet Mentality
Day 23 – The Meaning and/or Purpose of Food
Day 24 – Trigger Foods/Situations/People
Day 25 – Words Have Meaning

What did you think of yesterday’s post about words have meaning?  Did you enjoy the exercises?  If you came up with a powerful personal slogan please share it with us. I am sure that I am not the only one who would love to read it.

Lose All-Or-Nothing Thinking:

This is a topic that is very meaningful for me because it used to describe how I approached most things in life including diet.  I would be very gung ho and follow rules to the letter, no deviation. Then when I did something “off plan” (which I considered wrong) I would throw in the towel, blow my “diet” and say I would start again the next day, next week, etc.  Needless to say this not the healthiest approach.  For years I thought I was the only one who did this. However based on the people whom I have talked with about food it is also very common which is why I wanted to address it on the blog.

Why would any of us ever think that we needed to follow a program exactly?  Where does this come from and why is it so common?  I blame diet books that demonize other diets for the dogmatic way that most people follow a new plan or program.  Life is not meant to be that rigid in my opinion.  It would be wonderful if we could all eat perfectly all the time but that isn’t real life.  Not to mention sometimes everyone needs a little splurge to make life worth living.  ;-)  To understand how we got here I am going to briefly review recent diet history in this country.

During the low-fat diet phase everyone avoided eating fats which were considered “bad”.  In response to this idea that “fats are bad” the food manufacturers developed fat-free baked good. Does anyone remember Snackwell cookies?  In the early 90’s those cookies sold like wild fire and when you read the nutrition panel they had similar calories to cookies with fat the difference was they had more sugar.  While this trend was bad there was merit to some of it. Saturated fat is not healthy and oil provides nothing but fat without any of the fiber or micronutrients which are present in whole foods.

Fast forward to the late 90’s and now we had the low-carb craze.  Suddenly fats were fine and sugar was bad.  Now we had people eating steak, bacon, and eggs and staying away from fruit and tomatoes.  The Snackwell cookies were replaced with ones that were high in fat.  These new cookies were made with copious amounts of fat, nut flours, sugar alcohols rather than wheat flour and sugar.  Like the low-fat phase this one also had valid points.  Consuming refined foods and foods which contain a lot of sugar is also bad for you.  However consuming whole fruit is not unhealthy.  As I mentioned to one of my friends who was following a low-carb diet and was worried about fruit, no one ever got fat eating a piece of fruit.

Today we have people who believe that raw food is the way to go.  Now people think they can eat anything as long as it is raw. This means that saturated fat, in the form of coconut oil, is fine as long as it is “raw”.  In this regime there is no concern about carbs in the form of produce.  Like the other two plans this one also has some merit.  Most people don’t eat enough raw produce.  Since some nutrients are heath sensitive eating part of your produce raw is important. However it is also important to remember that some nutrients are better absorbed when food has been cooked. 

What do all of these ideas have in common? They look at nutrition from a narrow perspective and set up a distinction between good and bad.  You can eat sugar but fats are bad.  No, fat is fine but sugar is bad.  Wait, raw is fine but cooked is bad.  STOP the diet merry-go-round I am getting off!  I am picturing some of you saying, “but wait a minute you have rules”.   Yes I absolutely do have rules, but mine are based on a ton of research and that research was combined using old-fashioned common sense.  Additionally I also leave room for bending (but not breaking) those rules from time to time which I will explain below.

When we changed our diet and lifestyle the reason was to improve our health.  Losing weight for us was a side effect of improved health but it wasn’t the reason we changed how we ate.  When I followed the science it because clear to me what we should concentrate on consuming more:  vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts and whole grains.  Things that were detrimental for our health:  meat, dairy, oil, sugar and salt were moved out of our food.  Then we had the grey area which included processed foods like flour (yes even whole wheat).  When we are eating at home it is easy to avoid those things which are detrimental (and by that I mean they are generally inflammatory) and include only healthy (anti-inflammatory) foods.  However when you are eating out this becomes nearly impossible even when you have a chef friend.  We recognize that when we eat out we are getting a little oil, some salt and sugar and that is okay as long as it is an occasional indulgence.  I now believe that your overall dietary pattern is what matters not any one specific meal.   

Since I am sure some of you are wondering I will explain the things that I try to remember when I making food decisions, these are:

·         Produce is always good, and I try to eat at least half of it raw (or lightly cooked) and half of it cooked.  Some nutrients are more easily absorbed in cooked food, and some are destroyed by heat.  By having some produce cooked and some raw you are covering your bases.  If you don’t like raw produce cook part of it very lightly to minimize nutrition loss.

·         Beans are a fantastic source of plant protein. They fill you up, contain a lot of fiber which binds to cholesterol in your GI system, and they are versatile. I try to include beans in our food every day.  This won’t work for everyone since some people have trouble digesting beans. If this is you one approach is to cook them very well (think super soft) and add them to your diet a little at a time.  Your digestive system may do fine with them after a little “bean training”.

·         Mushrooms are another food that we try to eat each day.  They help boost the immune system and have been studied for their ability to fight cancer.  Not to mention I love the taste and texture of mushrooms which is a bonus.  Mushrooms are a great whole food way to mimic meat which is nice.

·         All foods in the alium family (onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks) have also been shown to fight cancer.  They add a lot of flavor to food and work in every savory dish that I can think of.  We also eat these each day.  When you are going to cook them be certain to chop them and allow them to sit for 10 minutes before cooking so that the chemical reaction has time to take place.  If you are going to eat them they might as well be as nutritious as possible. I always cut my alliums set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes and come back when it beeps.  This has become a habit and I don’t even think about it now.

·         Add leafy green vegetables anywhere that you can.  I add raw kale to my savory oatmeal, shredded kale goes into salad, straight raw kales goes into the Vitamix to be included in our morning smoothies.  Basically if I can get a raw leafy green in I do.  Cooked kale is also good, but some of the nutrition is destroyed by heat so I try to eat this raw or lightly cooked whenever possible.

·         Quinoa is a wonderful substitute for pasta or rice.  I love that is cooks quickly.  Additionally it is a complete plant protein (contains all 8 of the essential amino acids).  Quinoa is something that I always keep in the house.  If you of a friend belong to Costco they sell 3 pound bags of organic quinoa for $9.99 and I always pick one up when I am there.

·         I know that I need to add nuts and seeds to my veggie meals to increase the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins and this something that I am working on. We are all a work in process when it comes to nutrition.  ;-)

I hope that helps to give you some ideas of what I try to include in our meals.  Our diet is essentially a whole food diet.  You won’t see us eating things like soy hot dogs, commercial faux meat, and commercial faux dairy because these items almost always contain soy protein isolates which we do not consume.  Additionally we stay away from high fructose corn syrup and agave since fructose is hard to digest.  As I think of other things that I think you should know I will include it in future posts but this gives you a good idea of how I make food decisions.

Today’s exercise is:

1.       Go back to your food journal that you started a few days ago and review what you have been eating. Does anything stand out as something that needs to be changed?  If it does make a note of it and put a plan into place to change what you are doing.

When I looked at my food journal I can easily see that I am eating too many grains and I am still not getting enough seeds and nuts. Additionally I know that I need to be eating more leafy greens and raw fruit. This is why it helps to have what you are doing on paper.  I am going to make it a point to have a salad for either lunch or dinner and to include seeds and nuts on that.  Also since it is citrus season I plan to have a piece of citrus every day.  These two changes should crowd out the grains.  If will reexamine my eating habits in a week and if I am still having too many grains I will make another change then.

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters - Wednesday was also hectic and the newsletters didn’t get any time.  L

2.       Body Bugg – I continue to wear my bugg and I have gotten back into using it the way I had intended when I purchased it.  Go me!  J

3.       Date with Dan – Dan and I have been going for a walk each night after dinner. We are using this time to get away and talk as well as to add some movement and fresh air to our day.  One of our neighbors was out late this evening and mentioned that we were making a habit of walking.  J

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – I am making a little progress on this but I really need to focus on it with every veggie meal to help my body absorb the fat soluble vitamins.

5.       Working on my business – My schedule got in the way of this too.  However, knowing that I will be sharing it with you on February 10th has definitely moved it up on my priority list.  I will be working on this over the weekend.  Accountability works for all of us, including me.  ;-)

How are you feeling about your progress so far?  I hope you feel like you have made a few lasting changes this month.  J

Random Thoughts:

The information continues to come out about the resveratrol research fraud  I wonder if everyone who claims to be drinking red wine for their health will now stop consuming it?  Somehow I doubt that will happen. Worse yet it appears the problem goes beyond the first group.  I still don’t understand why the researchers felt the need to commit fraud.  The only thing that I can think of is the research funding but it still doesn’t make any sense to me.  I guess I am just not wired that way.  *shakes head*

Dan and I are continuing to go for out evening walk and talk through the neighborhood. We also stopped at the grocery store this evening and picked up kale, bananas, frozen cherries and arugula.  The people at the grocery store only ever see us buy produce and tofu. They still must be trying to figure out why we are “so granola” as Ian puts it.  It is good to keep people guessing isn’t it?  LOL  ;-)

While we were out walking I couldn’t help but notice our neighbors recycling which included Whole Foods bags and organic packaging.  I always find that odd since she also gets Chem Lawn every few weeks from Spring thru Fall because I close up my house on that side the days when they come to spray.  Why doesn’t she make the connection that chemicals on your lawn is not a good idea since you kids and dog roll in the grass. Some people really aren’t good at connecting the dots.  *rolls eyes*


Have you made any progress writing acknowledgements?  I hope you are working on this exercise and enjoying it. I find that it helps me stay positive and recognize the things that I do every day.  Here are my acknowledgements:

·         I spent a few hours listening to RMT lectures and taking notes. I am definitely a little out of my element but in a challenging way.  At this time there is no thought of asking for my money back during the 30-day guarantee window. I love a good challenge in case you hadn’t noticed.  ;-)

·         Dan is enjoying having tofu lasagna in his lunch this week.  It is so nice to see him so happy about lunch.  I need to make tofu lasagna for his lunch more often since he loves it so much.

·         I have been getting a little better at adding seeds and nuts to veggie meals. I am still not perfect but I am improving.  J


My food on Wednesday was stuff that I could make quickly since I didn’t have much time.  Everything that I ate you have seen before. Given my time constraints I recycled pictures to save myself some time.

Breakfast for me was Italian savory oatmeal which is quick and nutritious.  Love that!

 Lunch was pizza veggies which is another favorite of mine. This is another super fast meal.  I use frozen veggies, top with red sauce, Italian seasonings, nutritional yeast and hulled hempseeds (or you could use pine nuts).  You can use any frozen veggies that you have on hand.

Dinner soba noodles with veggies in black bean sauce.  I cooked the soba noodles in a broth that consisted of dried mushrooms, thinly sliced red onion, sliced garlic, minced fresh ginger and a little fermented black bean sauce.  When the soba noodles were cooked I added shredded kale and thinly sliced celery for about 30 seconds. I used tongs and a spider to remove the noodles and veggies to a bowl and topped the dish with sesame seeds.  If you aren’t a fan of black bean sauce you could also use miso, vegetarian oyster sauce or a little chili oil instead.  This is one of those use what you have on hand meals.

Happy thoughts:

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.   As always there are so many things to be thankful for that I almost don’t know where to start. Here are my happy thoughts:

·         I am really enjoying RMT (Robbins-Madanes Training) so far.  It has definitely pulled me out of my comfort zone but in a very good way. I can’t wait to share some of the things I am learning with you.  I love to share.  J

·         Both last night and this evening I may quick and healthy dinners which Dan really enjoyed.  It makes me smile just to think that Dan and I both have embraced healthy food.  I still am amazed by how far we have come in our transition.  If we can do this anyone can.

·         We are both still going for our evening after dinner walks together and we use that time to talk, reconnect after being apart all day and get our heart rate up.  It is great to spend some time outside after dinner.  This evening it was still 49 degrees at almost 10pm.  We are enjoying the nicest weather; it doesn’t feel like winter at all.

·         Yesterday we had a beautiful day with blue skies and I even saw some spring flowers blooming.  It was one of those gorgeous days where it just great to be alive.  J

Signing Out:

Thursday was another busy day but it was also productive. I had appointments and quite a bit of study time.  I love staying busy so it was a good day. 

Sorry this post went up so late. I had a webinar from 8-9pm, then dinner, followed by a long walk and a trip to the grocery store. After all that I had to finish this post.  I definitely waited until the last minute to finalize this post.  I hope to have tomorrow’s post up much earlier in the evening.

Tomorrow is Friday!  *happy dance*  I am so happy that the weekend is almost here.  We don’t have any particular plans but I am just looking forward to 48 hours of time with my hubby.  I hope you are also looking forward to your weekend. Talk with you again tomorrow.  J

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