Friday, July 29, 2011

Setting The Table

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates, 460 B.C.

As many of you know, this summer was my jump start on that healthy lifestyle change.  I had so many reasons, another birthday, another school year coming, feeling older than I should feel and many many more.

With each passing year, if not guarded carefully, our health will suffer from the lifestyles we choose.  It is so easy to eat quick meals from the grocery store.  It is so easy to sit and watch TV all day.  It is so easy to not take vitamins and other supplements. Its so easy to give into that Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream. These choices require very little on our part.  We simply do whatever we want to do and eat whatever we please.  But those years and those choices will begin speaking for themselves.  Maybe its high blood pressure, maybe its diabetes or maybe its something much worse.

For me it was high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, weight gain and as of late, leg and hip pain.  Each of them began restricting me from being a participant in my life.  Whenever I was up moving around, my heart would pounding and I was exhausted.  Then there was the pain in my leg that never seemed to go away.  Everything was keeping me from living, I was merely existing.  It was most unpleasant.  And worst of all, I felt old.  I remember thinking if this was what I had to look forward to......

So, five weeks before my birthday, I made the choice to change. I began making lifestyle changes.  First my diet.  I began recording what I ate on the Sparks People site, using my stability ball and upping my vitamin intake. You won't find me endorsing many things on this blog, but the Sparks People free site is used daily by me and  people I love.  We have all been on diets where we could never lose weight.  Using the Sparks People site showed us why.  In order to stay within the healthy range of calories, carb, fats, cholesterol and a host of vitamins and nutrients,  you have to know what you are eating.

If you've never given it a look, I encourage you to do so.  They have a massive quantity of recipes and a user friendly site that will give you insight into the foods you eat.  We can't be healthy if we eat blindly.  Best of all, we are losing weight. One friend started the same day that I did and lost 18lbs in 17days (confirmed by a scheduled doctor visit).  He continues to use the site and manages his nutrition and weight loss with success.

It has now been seven weeks since I began this journey and I am feeling better and dare i say,  younger.  Weight has come off, my heart no longer pounds and for the past three days, no pain in my hip and leg.

I fully understand that in order to feel good, it will take work on my part.  Using my stability ball has helped my flexibility and I've recouped some of my strength.  Aside from the hard work, it will take diligence and stamina.  I feel I have both.

Meal portions are important no doubt, but I think educating yourself on what is in the food that's on your plate is even more important.  Should you want to learn about the quality of the food purchased at your grocery store, I recommend the following videos.  Each available online to view for free :  Food Matters, Food, Inc, King Corn and Simply Raw.  A little googling will get you to these videos and start your journey to profound knowledge about whats in your individual pantries and freezers.

I wanted to bring in the healthy eating topic to my blog for many reasons.  Granted I only have about 5 people that read my words and about half of them are already on the road to eating with nutrition in mind.  But there is a social responsibility I feel to put FOOD on the table.  My blog table.  So periodically, I will share what I learn, what I've tried and any results I encounter.  Today I will even throw in a recipe.

I make no claims to be a nutritionist or a magical healer.  I am a middle aged woman with alot of reasons to stay alive.  I have learned along the way  from people that have shared information and knowledge with me.  It would feel good to pay that one forward by sharing what I know with others. To make others just stop and think about what they choose to eat.  We all must continue to learn, its part of life and if any of us thinks that we know it all, we are only fooling ourselves and chances are our current health is living proof of that.

My goal is and continues to be to live a life of eating nutritious, living foods. To always be mindful of  whats in my food.  To pursue a life free of medications and minimal doctor office visits.  Most importantly, I want to serve as an example for the children in my life so that they may live their lives eating responsibly and with an understanding that what they choose to eat today can and will affect their health, either positively or negatively, at some point.

As promised, here is the recipe for you Starbucks lovers....

Modified Healthy Frappichino (originally found on the Sparks People site)

This is a two parter so this first part is done first.

The recipe calls for some soy milk which i didn't have but I had almonds and knew how to make almond milk .  As it turns out, it was very good with this substitute.  I'll make this recipe for two servings

Almond milk -

1/2 cup almonds (or slightly less, soaked in water til soft then drained.) This took about an hour.
While you are at it make one cup of coffee (decaf) and let cool to room temp (you need that later)

In blender put almonds with one cup of water, blend til almonds are as dissolved as possible. Takes some time but if the almonds were softer it might have been faster.

Add one 1sp of vanilla and 1 tsp of honey (or stevia if you don't have honey)

Add one more cup of water, blend till you just cant stand it anymore.

Leave that in the blender.

When coffee is cooled, add to blender.

Add 2 tbs of cocoa powder or any chocolate you might have around, i know you have some.

Add 2 scoops of whey protein powder (optional)

Add 5 packs of stevia

Blend well.

Add 8-10 ice cubes and blend til ice is crushed.  Serve with a straw

This makes well over 16oz so you will have some left over.  Keep refrigerated and enjoy.

I continue to make this completely omitting the almond milk part and just use water and its fine.

The greatest incentive to good health is remembering  how bad poor health feels.

Bon Appetit!

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