Posts Tagged ‘Turning 50’

I woke up with so many things on my mind today, things related to this blog and the reasons I started it, that I just had to share. 

On the food front, I am still very much guzzling the purple kool-aid of the organic “real food” movement.   There is a difference between organic and non-organic food, and I think it’s important to avoid chemicals, hormones and other awful things in food.   I think the thing that makes it hard for people to embrace the “bad food” idea is that nothing bad happens to you immediately when you eat bad food.  Any ill effects will be later in life, like cancers.  And since you can’t point to it and say “Oh, I got that pancreatic cancer from eating _______ for 10 years,” then it just goes on and on.   A friend of mine (to whom I’ve been talking about bad food for six months) said a couple of weeks ago (about some food evils), “This is really bad, these companies need to be held responsible, the government should be involved, people need to be told what’s going on!”  And then I told him, people ARE being told what’s going on.  But until having a healthy dinner becomes more important than getting to the kid’s soccer practice on time, no one will care.  And then he said “No, I mean they need to REALLY be told, it needs to be all over the evening news and in the papers.”  Well, guess what?  It is!   All of the bad meat stories, e-coli stories, food recalls, health issues, good documentaries, websites, groups — how many times and ways do people need to be told something before they HEAR the information?   So then we concluded it does come down to taking care of your own family and conscious purchases/lifestyle.  When enough people are doing that, then it becomes a real movement and creates real change.

So, I continue to beat my friends over the head on Facebook and Twitter, and use my dollars to vote at the checkout stand – my small way of trying to make change.  

A fun thing I’m getting to do this week is to revamp a friend’s pantry.  He’s finding it complicated to sort out his diet, and I’ve accepted the challenge.  So I first assessed what he normally buys for home, and I’m going to have him replace his unhealthy choices with healthy ones as he needs to restock.  I’m pretty excited about it for a couple of reasons:  I can blog about it and help others do the same thing with their food, and it helps me document exactly how I eat.  I’ll end up with a very good view of my exact food choices, something I’ve sort of internalized lately as it has become habit.

On the fitness front, I’ve joined a gym with a friend where I do stationary bike, rowing machine, a couple of arm machines, and a crunch machine that is KILLER.  It’s a pay-as-you-go place, perfect for me when I just don’t want to work out at home or outdoors.  I’m also still walking, my usual five mile walk a few times a week.  I bought a Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred dvd and it punishes me regularly.

I have also signed up for a couple of challenges through Twitter this month, both for dieting and losing weight, to try to keep on track for a month at a time.  Here’s what I’ve learned from that:  if I think someone else is making me do something, or even paying attention to my success at all, I won’t do it.  It’s a personal flaw, seems like.  So, while I have slowly lost a few pounds, and while I am weighing on the scale more often which I think is a good thing, I think I am more successful when left to self-monitor and not report to anyone. 

Which leads me to my next idea:  I think I am reverting to only fruits and vegetables for the next seven days.  Those of you paying any attention to me at all will remember I’ve done this before.  My reasons are 1) it’s easy to remember what to eat and grab whatever I want, whenever   2) I get plenty of nutrition, while eating no wasteful calories  3) I LOVE fruits and vegetables, and I care less for grains and nuts and legumes.  I have always been a bit of a hobbyist dieter, and evidently if I’m not manipulating, restricting, or otherwise jumping through some kind of food hoops, I’m not happy.  This will keep me entertained for a while, and I hopefully will see some quicker weight loss.  I only want to lose around 10 to 15 pounds, and you would think that would be the easiest thing in the world to do, but as I add muscle (just go along with it) my weight has reached a true plateau.  So seven days of fruits and veggies it is!

And lastly, please friends, do everything you can to be more GREEN.  Cut back on packaged products, try to use recyclable packaging, no plastic, and use responsible home and body cleansers.  Bicycle and walk places with your friends and families.  Buy local food to save on the transportation energy usage.  Read, read, read online about being green and really implement the things you read about.   The environment is not outside of us, it IS us. 

And now I bid you adieu – I’ll be back in two weeks to pick up my regular blogging schedule.  I hope you and yours are well.  Big hugs to you all!

(Forgive any typos or nonsense, I’m on an 8″ netbook in a very cold coffee shop. )

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This weekend I attempted to give a boost to my exercise and healthy living routines through shopping.   I picked up a couple of pieces of workout clothing, a new gym ball and dvd, an interesting little heart health kit from Dr. Andrew Weil.  (Non-contributing things bought were two pairs of shoes and a cute sweater from Eddie Bauer – you can’t keep a girl down.)

I’m totally excited about the gym ball — I did the dvd routine this morning and it was surprisingly strenuous.  I’ve been using it as a chair at my desk, too, which requires me to balance and use my leg muscles rather than just sit here like a lump.  I’ve found that I need to switch out to my regular chair after about an hour, more for the need to lean back and rest my back than anything to do with my legs.

I’ve been walking an hour every other day for a few weeks now, but it’s not enough.   I’m trying to add things to my daily life so that just living causes me to exercise.  I have my standing desk, too, which I hope to get painted this week so I can put it to use.   Between the ball sitting and the desk standing, maybe I can turn being at the computer all day into something a bit less sluggish.

I picked up two shirts for walking/biking.  One is just a cute brown hoodie, but made of very lightweight cotton, so I won’t have to worry about getting too hot.  It has a cool kind of hippy-ish flower print on the front and back, too.  The shirt I’m most excited about has pockets!  Woohoo!   It turns out that I do not own one single pair of gym shorts, workout pants, or any t-shirts or biking shirts with pockets.  So when I walk, I have my keys in my hand, or tucked into my waistband, which is not ideal.  Sometimes I take my phone, too, in case a nice photo op presents itself (you know, like a really still squirrel or nice tree blossoms – important stuff that must be blogged).    Shirts with pockets rock!!

The Healthy Heart Kit by Andrew Weil is in a nice little box and has a 52-page workout, 2 audio CDs and 25 heart health cards.  I just got it for fun and because it was on deep sale, since it’s been for sale for a couple of years.  But, it’s also kind of cool.   The cards are made up of six diet/exercise cards with varying topics.   Other card categories are heart inspirations, mind body, and self care.   That will be something fun to play with and look at when I need a boost from boredom. 

Tonight when the temps cool down a bit (expected high of 94 today), I’ll go for my regular walk.   And I did the ball workout already, so I feel good about today’s bit of exercise.   I announced today on Facebook that I want to lose 10 pounds by July, which means dietary restrictions for me.   The plan is to eat only fruits and veggies, and my two eggs for breakfast.   Which leaves me with my usual coffee dilemma.  Coffee = sugar in my world.  We’ll see how it goes — I think my best option would be an “every third day” plan or something similar, where I have coffee every few days as a treat. 

Wish me luck!  I’ll keep you posted on the success or failure of my weight loss over the next month.

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This is part of turning 50 - juggling glasses (AND I wear contacts)

I HAVE HAD A VERY INTERESTING 3 months.   What a ride!  I started out on a diet and exercise plan and have ended up mostly vegetarian, almost vegan and raw, and completely wrapped up in agriculture, organics and going green.  But like a friend said who was at my house for a viewing of Food, Inc., one thing leads to another and another and before long, here you are. 

I am so glad I started this “get healthy by 50” plan as early as I did.   A slow evolution takes place on the road to health.   I have so many aspects I want to control along the diet/exercise/healthy living spectrum.   Just the eating and food aspect has taken up most of my time so far.  Only in the last couple of weeks have I truly started to exercise regularly.  I’m still wondering where my diet will end up, as I work my way through foods that make me feel good and are beneficial. 

Right now I eat vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts.    I don’t eat anything processed (if I do I guarantee it has few ingredients and only good stuff)  unless it’s a whole grain organic product, and grains are proving difficult for me, even though an occasional whole grain pasta is very satisfying.   I eat oatmeal with maples syrup and cinnamon.   And I eat eggs every morning.  That will never change – I love my eggs, they give me strength.  I don’t use any butter.  I eat vegetables plain and the flavors are so good!  I do eat organic chocolate occasionally, peanut butter, apple butter, and juices.    Lately I’ve tried some very high quality canned tuna and canned salmon.  When I eat out, I make concessions but I try very hard to be true to myself, knowing my body won’t react favorably to most restaurant processed foods. 

Lifestyle changes in the kitchen have been the result of reading about food contaminants such as plastics and BPA.  So I eliminated plastic from the kitchen, removing plastic cooking utensils and buying things in glass containers.  I stopped drinking water bottled in plastic and buy it bottled in glass.   We have high levels of arsenic in the water where I live, so the water is a concern.  

I stopped drinking diet coke, totally and permanently.  I still drink coffee in the morning, but not every morning.  I use evaporated cane sugar in my coffee and vanilla almond milk.  I also drink hot tea with honey or iced tea unsweetened.  I can’t give up caffeine — it’s my drug.  My brain goes crazy when I can’t have it. 

Exercise:  I walk an hour every two days.  I plan on increasing that to an hour every day (starting today? lol).   I want to get back to biking by the end of the year – love it.  Can’t wait to go on some long rides.  I used to do around 18 miles a trip, three times a week.  And that wasn’t even really pushing myself too much.  I look forward to being back at that level and maybe beyond.    I also found a good gym to go to, and that’s next on the list.  I think it’s important to keep the options open for variety.  I get bored soooo easily.  I hate routine.

This summer I want to grow food on my patio.  In fact, I need to get that going this weekend.  I’m going to go visit some gardens of friends and family for inspiration.  Naturally, I’ll share with you what I find.  I’m already behind for gardening here in Oklahoma, but it IS only April, for Pete’s sake.  I think I can still grow a tomato by October. 

I guess that’s about it on the update.  Not much to talk about — just living.  It takes a lot of planning and a lot of thought in the beginning,  but I enjoy making these changes.  I do feel better, I sleep better and I have more energy.   So, the odds are good for me reaching a great level of health by 50, but I do have 11 whole months to go . . . I could snap any minute.  We’ll see.

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I’m watching Dr. Oz and he’s got a shopping list for anti-cancer foods.  It’s nice to see them all listed and categorized:

Dr. Oz Video Anti-Cancer Shopping List

And then he also has several recipes using these foods:

Dr. Oz Video Anti-Cancer Cookbook

I need to eat more grains!

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Yay!  One month down!   I am very satisfied with my progress so far:  I’ve lost 6 pounds and one inch off my waist.  Hurray!    I can see a slight change in the mirror, but of course I’m still waiting for that skinny girl to appear in front of me.  It will happen eventually, I’m sure of it.   I like the rate that I’m losing weight, too.  A good healthy loss of one or two pounds per week is more likely to stay off than a sudden weight loss.  I feel good about that.  And five pounds per month will add up quickly, and should only take me a few months to reach my goal.  

I still need to build more muscles and use those to help me burn calories.  I’m getting there, slowly.  I am inspired by the weight loss to increase the physical activity.  The good health is its own reward, and just makes me want to do more and become even stronger.

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Another thing recommended in “You on a Diet” is that one or two of your meals be automated each day, that is, you should eat the same things every day for your breakfast and lunch.   Knowing exactly what you will be eating  for those meals eliminates any decision-making and keeps you completely on track.  Then you only make decisions for one meal each day, your dinner.  Once you have a few meals automated, your mindless eating can actually be a benefit for you.   I find that after only two weeks of healthy eating, when I’m confronted with some awful bad-for-me-food, my brain definitely says, “Does not compute.”   You’ll see — you, too, can be a food robot.

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No, not the fun kind of kitchen makeover — no granite was purchased or installed.  This is a food makeover:  remove all unwanted food from the kitchen (or anywhere else in the house for those of you who might hide things or keep them in your desk at work).

Rid your home and office of all foods you do not want to eat.  The good doctors (Roizen, Oz, and others) say that five ingredients “should be banned from your diet forever.”   They are hydrogenated oil, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour and bleached flour.    Eliminate those and you will remove your need to revisit most of the sections in your grocery store, I don’t care where you shop.    As you may have read elsewhere by now, the perimeter of the grocery story is where the good stuff is:   fruits, veggies, meat, good whole grains, and dairy.   A few good things are still in the middle of the store, depending on where you shop of course, but most of it is around the edges.  Live life on the edge! 

So,  I went to work cleaning out my kitchen.   I waited until I was almost out of food anyway (God forbid an American waste food, right?).   I had barely anything in the kitchen on January 17th, the day I went grocery shopping.    When I was done rearranging things in the cabinets and fridge, I ended up with the following bad foods to get rid of:

                      Mozzarella cheese

                      4 sticks of butter

                      1 bagel

                      A bottle of light salad dressing

                      Grape jelly

                      1 box of raisin bran

                      1 box of macaroni and cheese

I have given those foods to a friend who isn’t currently concerned about their own diet.

The unusual mix of odd things I then had on hand that were good foods to keep were:

                      2 cans of salmon

                      1 can of artichoke hearts

                      1 can of green chiles

                      2 cans of ranch beans

                      2 small and 1 large can of tomato paste

                      1 can sardines (I’ve never tasted a sardine, but I think I was

                      planning to)

                      3 cans diced tomatoes

                      1 cup of honey

                      1 cup of blueberries

                      1 tablespoon of peanut butter

                      19 eggs 

                      6 slices of whole grain bread

And I went to the grocery store and came home with the following:

                      8 organic apples

                      9 organic lemons

                      3.5 c. raw unsalted almonds

                      3 c. raw unsalted walnuts

                      3 c. red grapes

                      1 lb carrots

                      1 onion

                      2 lbs mushrooms

                      One bottle of akai cranberry concentrate

                      One large bottle of cranberry juice

                      One carton of orange juice

                      1 bag of precut salad

                      1 bag of cauliflower and broccoli

                      1 bag of broccoli

                      1 bag of shredded zucchini and cabbage

                      3 organic zucchinis

                      6 boneless chicken breasts

                      ½ gallon of 1% milk

                      12 cans of organic soups, all broth based  (for easy lunches with


 I returned a couple of days later and bought:

                      1 bottle of canola oil (mine was really old)

                      1 bottle of olive oil (I guess I was out – still haven’t found it if I

                      had any left)

                      1 bottle of balsamic vinegar 

                      Jar of local honey

                      Box of raw sugar

                      3.5 oz. bar 85% chocolate

                      3.5 oz. bar 70% chocolate 

The plan was this: 

                      Breakfast:  Omelet with vegetables,  coffee, water, or juice

                      Snack:  Fruit with nuts

                      Lunch:  Soup with a salad

                      Snack:  Fruit or veggie or nuts

                      Dinner:  Meat with veggies

That’s really my whole meal plan.  The foods will be prepared as simply as I can do it, and they are in as pure a state as I can handle at this time.   My meat the first two weeks was only chicken.  The only starches I had rice or potatoes in the canned soups.  All my carbs were in the form of fruits, vegetables and said noodles or rice.  I had four slices of bread, whole grain.  The canned soups were bought knowing that later I would make my own, but for now this was for convenience and ease so I wouldn’t get discouraged.

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January is here and all across America people are starting new diets and health plans. How is mine different? Maybe it’s not, but I believe my success will be greater if I have a nice place to store information and if I have someone watching what I do, holding me somewhat accountable. I’ve found that there is so much to remember about health, diet, exercise, food — it’s a lot to learn and a lot to share. So maybe now when someone asks “Why do you eat so much broccoli?” or “What does that exercise do for you?” I can come back here and find the answer for them or refer them to this blog.

Besides the new year beginning, why am I starting this now? In 14 months I will be turning 50. In the last few years I have gained a few unwanted pounds and lost a lot of good strong muscle. My goal is to be in top shape when I turn 50. We all know that lifestyle changing takes time. Fourteen months starts to seem like a short time for this endeavor and now that the first two weeks have flown by, I can see the months will tick off very quickly.

What are my goals? I want to lose x amount of weight (to be disclosed after I accomplish) and I want to be fit. By fit I mean I want to ride my bicycle 18 miles and it seem like nothing the way it used to. I want good muscle structure again. I want my cholesterol levels to be good. I want great overall health. And I want to look good — I want to like what I see in the mirror — who doesn’t want that?

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