Saturday, November 21, 2009
Not that I am obsessive about living to a plan. But there are things I want (good health, slim body, happy attitude, clear skin, to celebrate a rich full holiday season) and to get them I’ve got to plan my steps – and then I’ve got to actually do what I’ve planned. I love the holiday season and want to honor it by fully enjoying it. I like to go to the choral concerts. I like to attend the Christmas Pageants. I like to go to parties and have parties and decorate my house, to buy presents, to wrap presents, to make and send cards … I love the whole thing, actually.
Now, it’s not as if my days are wide open with lots of unclaimed hours into which I can place each holiday activity jewel. Each new thing fitted into my day means there are routine activities that get dropped from it. In the past the first to go has been exercise – then cooked-at-home dinners – sometimes upstairs housecleaning.
Well. I guess the upstairs house cleaning can always get a lick and a promise, but this year, exercise and nutrition are standing on equal footing with revelries. So what’s the plan? It’s a three pronged effort to pay attention to diet, exercise and spiritual needs.
Continue following SP eating plan and calorie limits - with special attention to each weekly step in Phase 2. This week? Make each bite nutritious.
Add dark green leafy vegetables to my diet every day – think green smoothies?
Follow this rule to the letter: at every holiday event NO eating till I’ve spoken with everyone there. Once I’ve paid honor to the people, then I can turn my attention to the food. Who knows? By then, all the fattening stuff might have been eaten!
Schedule daily exercise in my Day-timer (Yes. My life is still scheduled with pen and paper) Mix up the routines so that some days are strenuous, some are merely elevating and one is gentle.
Make two of each week’s workouts walking at home, outdoors. I can think and pray and plan and find spiritual solace when I’m walking outdoors in a way I can’t do it at the gym. Beneath the heavenly dome of the sky, rimmed by the deep green and dark grey of the forest that surrounds my farm, I can find that deep connection with the greater universe.
To fit more time into an already full day I’m going to have to cut something somewhere and I think it will be morning computer time.I usually play on-line from about 5:30 to 8, catching up with friends, writing blog posts, posts to forums like Facebook and Ravelry, plus playing with all the other time sucks that a computer and Internet access present you with. At 8 o'clock I fix breakfast and get ready for work.
Well, I can wrestle an hour out of that computer time, so from now, through January I will get off the computer at 7 o’clock and do something that honors the season, my loved ones or myself. Maybe take a walk. Maybe address Christmas Cards. Maybe even clean the upstairs!!
Let’s see if I can transform those 7 extra hours a week into a healthier, fitter, happier me for the New Year.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
It suddenly it me as I was changing my status today, that LIFE has a way of derailing a lot of my intentions and I don't like that.
For 6 weeks I exercised almost daily and have reaped tremendous benefits from that but over the past week I have made it to the gym only 2 times and haven't done any exercise at home. This is Not Good. And it is all to common during the busy holiday season. LIFE, as I often think of it, intervenes, butting heads with my intentions and leaving me, weeks later, looking back regretfully. And a little resentfully.
I don't like that one little bit and by golly I am going to see if I can get LIFE to cooperate with me.
Or maybe I should learn to cooperate with LIFE, rather than to yield to it. LIFE is going to whoosh around me all the time, so I better figure out what I don't want to get whooshed away and find ways to hold on to them.
First is that daily exercise.
Second will be healthful eating.
Third will be quiet down time when I can recharge.
I love the holidays and I like to pack them full. This year I'll have more time off than ever before. There is a wealth of opportunity here and I do believe I can have it all. But I'm going to have to make a major change.
I must ditch the intentions and Make Plans. Scheduled, timed, committed to plans are what I'm going to need to make it to 2010 with no regrets - no resentment.
I'll be back in a day or two with those PLANS and I bet I'll be back in 6 weeks with a happy report.
Hooray for today.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
That's my ultimate goal - getting all the nutrition out of the foods I eat that I possibly can - but I'm having a hard time getting all the nutrition I am supposed to have with my present eating habits. I can see that, slowly, over time, I'm going to have to make some major eating changes. I know myself well enough to realize that I shan't do it all at once. But I'm going to have to get there if I want to move into my senior years with vigor, health and confidence. And belive me - I want that very much.
I'm operating under the assumption that if I eat the exact SP meals planned for a given day, I'll hit the target range for every nutrient but at this point I am swapping out enough meals and single food items to throw me off the track. I know I'm going to have to give up certain things I like - or severely limit them - like white rices. Not that I don't like the brown and wild rices - but sometimes a dish just doesn't work with the richer flavors of the whole grain rices. And dark leafy green vegetables. I can see that they are going to HAVE to become daily entries - not vegetable options. For some nutrients, there just isn't any other way to get them than to eat the dark greens.
At 57 I have a bunch of habit foods that I go to - foods I like, that are fairly low fat, filling, and quick to make. This is good - but the trouble with habit foods is that - you eat them to the exclusion of all else. I love pita with hummus - but that can't be my ONLY lunch or 1/4 of my meals will give me always and only the same nutrients.
Experts say "eat a variety of whole foods" and I am sure it's good advice. It's just that I haven't yet found a way to fit that into my life. I guess I like routines too much - I've been too swayed by the idea of efficiency in eating (and cooking and grocery shopping). Like multi-tasking - sometimes efficiency in eating leads to poor quality.
I'm going to spend the next week plotting and planning and devising ways to fit more nutritious food into my life. And I can't think of a better time to do this than the week before Thanksgiving and the begining of the wild food frenzied Holiday Season.
I'll be back with a second post about this in a few days.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Well – no sooner than I found out about folate, what it does and where to get it into my diet and I met my daily quota – for the very first time! I am sure it was those 2 cups of spinach for lunch and the collard greens for dinner. Yippee!
Now – I just fell below the healthy carbohydrate range by a hair but since I went just a hair over the healthy range yesterday I am calling it a draw. All in all yesterday was perhaps my most nutritionally packed day in 3 weeks but
And isn't there always a but?
In one category I am consistently deficient – and I know this to be so as well, because my doctor is always calling me after my annual check-up and saying “eat a banana”. The weak link in my line-up of healthy nutrients is potassium. So today we explore this elusive mineral and find out what it does, where it hides, and what I can do to make it a larger part of my life.
So the government's WomansHealth site womanshealth.gov says potassium is needed for
normal nerve and muscle function
keeping the right amounts of water in the different parts of your body
Oregon’s Linus Pualing Institute, lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocente
claims that potassium helps with high blood pressure – though some of the diuretics, which are used to treat high blood pressure, leach potassium from your body. In fact – this website is the best one I’ve found for both the rich quality of information about potassium and for clarity of writing. Give this one a click!
They claim that potassium is a powerful aid in preventing stroke, osteoporosis, hypertension and kidney stones. It’s a good friend to have watching your back, don’t you think?
According to a government recommended site FamilyDoctor.org familydoctor.org , the USDA recommends that the average American consume 4,044 milligrams of potassium each day.
Yes. 4,044 milligrams!!! That's a LOT! How ever am I going to put that much potassium into my diet Every Day?
Well – here are a few food suggestions, the first from Family Doctor.
Sweet potatoes (1 sweet potato = 694 milligrams) and regular potatoes (1 potato = 610 milligrams)
Beans such as white beans (1/2 cup = 595 milligrams), soybeans (1/2 cup = 485 milligrams), lima beans (1/2 cup = 484 milligrams) and kidney beans (1/2 cup = 358 milligrams)
Nonfat yogurt ( 8 ounces = 579 milligrams) or low-fat yogurt (8 ounces = 531 milligrams)
Skim milk (1 cup = 382 milligrams) or low-fat milk (1 cup = 366 milligrams)
Fruit such as bananas (1 medium banana = 422 milligrams), peaches (1/4 cup = 398 milligrams), cantaloupe (1/4 medium melon = 368 milligrams), and honeydew melon (1/8 medium melon = 365 milligrams)
Fish such as halibut ( 3 ounces = 490 milligrams), yellow fin tuna (3 ounces = 484 milligrams), rockfish (3 ounces = 442 milligrams) and cod (3 ounces = 439 milligrams) Tomato paste (1/4 cup = 664 milligrams), puree (1/2 cup = 549 milligrams), juice (3/4 cup = 417 milligrams) and sauce (1/2 cup = 405 milligrams)
and this second from the Linus Pauling Institute
Banana 1 medium 422
Potato, baked with skin 1 medium 926
Prune juice 6 fluid ounces 528
Plums, dried (prunes) 1/2 cup 637
Orange juice 6 fluid ounces 372
Orange 1 medium 237
Tomato juice 6 fluid ounces 417
Tomato 1 medium 292
Raisins 1/2 cup 598
Raisin bran cereal 1 cup 362
Artichoke, cooked 1 medium 343
Lima beans, cooked 1/2 cup 485
Acorn squash, cooked 1/2 cup (cubes) 448
Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup 420
Sunflower seeds 1 ounce 241
Almonds 1 ounce 200
Molasses 1 tablespoon 293
So if I do the math it means I need to fit in a banana, and one more fruit, a potato of some sort, one cup of beans, a serving of yogurt, some fish, some tomatoes, some spinach and a cup of skim milk every day.
Good thing those foods are full of other nutrients and even better, they’re some of my favorites. But knowing why I need to eat this varied diet, knowing how it is helping me, suddenly makes it easier to put in the effort to fit all these goodies into a daily menu.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This week's Daily Challenge topic is KNOWLEDGE IS POWER - and we're challenged to get more knowledge about what makes us healthy. It couldn't have come at a better time for me. As a part of my 6 week assessment I looked at the charts generated by my nutrition tracker. While I have not been the perfect little dieter, I have done well enough for a starter. At that early stage it was more important that I got into the habit of tracking things than that I actually ate exactly the right amount of everything.
But now I want to go another step ahead. I would like to do a little better. I would like to fuel my body with some better choices. I'd like to reap the benefits of a richer, more completely nutritious diet. And I want to understand some of the whys about what I'm trying to do, on the theory that if I know why I'm doing it, it'll be easier to succeed.
So - what the heck IS folate?
From the U. S. Depart. of Health and Human Services website WomansHealth.gov
I find that folate is one of the B vitamins and:
Folate helps your body make new cells.
Folate helps keep your blood healthy
Folate can also help prevent some birth defects
You find folate in:
•Beans and lentils
•Peas (black-eyed peas, chickpeas, green peas)
•Juices (orange, tomato, grapefruit, pineapple)
•Fruits (oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, avocado, papaya, raspberries)
•Vegetables (green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and Chinese cabbage; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; asparagus; artichokes; okra; corn; cauliflower; potato; beets; green onions; sweet red peppers)
•Peanuts and peanut butter
And magnesium? Why do I need it? Where can I find it?
Well, according to the National Institute of Health's Medline Encyclopedia,
olicacid.html magnesium is essential for these functions:
1. Contraction and relaxation of muscles
2. Function of certain enzymes in the body
3. Production and transport of energy
4. Production of protein
You can find it in these foods:
Fruits or vegetables (such as bananas, dried apricots, and avocados)
First off - in Dark green, leafy vegetables
Nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
Peas and beans (legumes), seeds
Soy products (such as soy flour and tofu)
Whole grains (such as brown rice and millet)
Hmmmm. Do you see something familiar about the sources of both folate and magnesium? Dark leafy green vegetables? Peas and beans? Nuts and seeds?
I do believe I can be sure I get at least some of these in my diet every day. I'm already looking forward to my white bean chili soup for dinner and I think I shall have that spinach salad for lunch today.
So - may your day be full of knowledge and make you feel very powerful! Happy Monday
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