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Merry Christmas, everyone!  It’s that time of the year!  Time to remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth, see friends and loved ones, gift giving, travel, and food, food, food.

Have you ever noticed that people associate food with just about every holiday, especially Christmas?  We have had so many cookies, treats, candies, cakes, and other yummy delicacies this past week at work.  My husband and I have come home laden with chocolate treats and caramel corn.  It’s crazy.  You know, we don’t get treats like this for Fourth of July or even Thanksgiving.  It’s just at Christmas.  Not to mention the many family gatherings everyone goes to where there is – you guessed it – food.

So what’s a healthy girl to do?  I don’t try to pretend like I have all the answers, but I can at least tell you what I plan to do.  Maybe you can take some of these tips and apply them to your own eating and celebration habits this Holiday Weekend.

1.  I plan on keeping my plate 3/4 vegetables and 1/4 meat.  Period.  I heard about this tip in a parenting magazine, and I tried it out the other week at a wedding reception.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.  I have thought in the past that meat = what makes me full.  Meat isn’t unhealthy, but it does pack a lot of protein and contains zero fiber.  While you need protein, you also need the nutrients of vegetables to make sure your body stays in working order.  If your plate contains 3/4 vegetables, you will be consuming the vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed to promote healthy digestion, while still getting the protein you need from the meat.  I came away from my “trial plate” as full as can be, thanks to the fiber.

2.  Try to cut back on the sweets.  I know you hear this a lot, and no one wants to hear it, but it’s necessary, I think.  A huge platefull of dessert most likely contains enough calories to substitute a meal, and after the calories you’ve just consumed at your holiday dinner, you don’t need to continue piling on the calories, not to mention the sugar.  Small portions of sweets are enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding too many unnecessary foodstuffs.

3.  Drink lots of water.  80 oz. a day is recommended.  Keeping water in your body will keep things moving through your digestive system, giving it less time to sit and have more calories absorbed into your body.  Water also helps you feel full, so if you don’t mind skipping to your loo later, you can drink a good bit before dinnertime to ensure you don’t overeat.

These are the three tips I’m going to keep in mind as I celebrate the holidays with my family in the coming week.  I think, with these tips, you too may have a less guilty Christmas (if you’re prone to that like I have been) knowing that you have done well to try and stay healthy.  I think you’ll feel better, too!

 

Merry Christmas!!!

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About a month and a half ago my entire family jumped onto the healthy living train, and we haven’t looked back since. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it’s a decision that’s well worth the time and extra effort.

How has eating and living healthy affected our lives since then? This is a loaded question in some ways.

Scott has had to change the way he cooks. For those of you who don’t know, Scott is the cook in our house. I cook some, but nothing more than helping out, and certainly not big, creative meals like Scott has cooked in the past. He has whined a little bit about how he’s not used to cooking with all this “new stuff” and that he’s used to frying everything, but he also makes sure we know he realizes that we all need to eat healthy from now on.

Restaurants are interesting. People now ask us “do they have stuff you can eat?” I have replied that I’ll figure something out if it’s not a particularly healthy joint. The good thing is most places offer salads or grilled options, so I haven’t had to resort to not eating in a restaurant yet.

I waaant grains, veggies, and fruits! Also, since I’m eating a lot of these, my family is able to introduce these foods to others. The other week we had my mom-in-law and sis-in-law over for dinner. We had whole grain rigatoni with spaghetti sauce and lean beef. They loved it! I think the unknown turns people off to healthy foods, because they think they have to sacrifice flavor.

This brings me to my next point – flavor. Have you had a nice big bowl of steamed veggies lately? When is the last time you had broccoli all by itself, with no cheese or sauce? Americans seem to have an unhealthy dependency on flavor enhancers. These may come in the form of high fructose corn syrup, MSG, or other flavor additives. These additives wreak havoc on a person’s body, and it’s really hard to get used to eating foods without these additives. People think healthy foods and raw veggies are gross or don’t taste right, and I believe this is due to the lack of flavor additives. Foreign countries don’t use nearly as many additives, if at all. Maybe this is why a Big Mac tastes different in France? Oh, but if you ween yourself off these additives, you learn to appreciate real foods for how they really taste.

Case in point: Noah has grown to love natural fiber bars, salmon, organic peanut butter, and whole grain bread. he begs us for fiber bars, and he makes sure I use the new peanut butter on his pb&j. Yesterday, he had pizza from a popular fast pizza chain. This resulted in a very bad stomach reaction to the grease, processed cheese, and sauce in the pizza. For over forty days Noah has been eating clean foods. Yesterday, when he ate junk, his body couldn’t take it. I looked up the sauce recipe and found, you guessed it, “accent”, which is a brand name for MSG. He also complained of a bad headache that went away after all that was out of his system. Hmmmm, I’m seeing a connection here!

We have grown to love natural, clean foods. Without all the extra stuff people dump on their food to “make it taste better”, we enjoy food for the way it is supposed to naturally taste. Whole grains are delicious, as are corn and green beans. We have learned to love real food.

As you can see, yes, eating and living healthy takes some adjusting, but it’s well worth it in the end. We will save big time in healthcare costs in the future, and we have learned to live without foods that are harmful to us.

Stay tuned for updates on exactly what I’ve been eating lately! I feel safer doing text only updates from my Blackberry since it has issues uploading images.

Thank you to all my readers – you are an inspiration to me as well!

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

I have done quite a bit of changing in the past several weeks, and every adjustment is adding up to a healthier me.  Here are some changes I have made in place of ordinary, everyday indulgences that many people make today.  Granted, many of these changes are indulgences in themselves, but a year ago, I would not have seen them as such.

Okay, so this one is a really recent change.  The previous two Grocery Store Relays (before the one this past Saturday), I brought home two boxes.  This week I only brought home one, but I think I packed enough in there to really fit two boxes.  I brought home several (and I mean a *lot*) of healthy snack bars, four boxes of whole wheat rigatoni pasta, three containers of pine nuts, a jug of 100% pure maple syrup, a bag of whole wheat flour, kashi cereal, another jar of the organic peanut butter that Noah has grown to love, and three tubes of toothpaste.  I did quite well, and we pigged out on healthy pasta last night!

Movie snacks.  I’m used to eating popcorn with extra butter… well, no more.  I take a Bora Bora Bar or this Kashi granola instead.  Keeps me full afterward, it’s healthy, and I don’t have to miss out on eating while everyone else is eating around me in the theatre.

Ice cream!!!  Again, what I am used to is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s that I would eat in one sitting (this makes me want to die of embarrassment now).  Scott wanted ice cream the other night so we stopped at the drugstore.  They had pints of ice cream that made me want to cringe, and then they had this little beauty.  This is a container of Skinny Cow ice cream.  150 calories per container, and it’s one serving of ice cream!  A serving of ice cream is much smaller than you think.  I enjoyed my ice cream while enjoying the fact that I was eating healthy even more.

I changed what I eat in restaurants.  At this particular place, I would have had fried chicken or something with a bunch of sauce or mayo.  This Sunday, I opted for grilled chicken, pinto beans, and mixed fruit.  This was served with broccoli cornbread that really should be a dessert.  It is very good!

I also changed my hair!  Not only that, I changed how I get it cut!  I cut my hair!  This is the before shot from last night, right before I went out onto our porch to cut my hair!  Here are the results:

I LOVE the results, and it took me all of five minutes!  Since I started wearing my hair curly, I have waaanted a circa 1920’s bob.  You know, the flapper vamp look with longer layers in the front than in the back.  Like Mary Pickford.  Unfortunately, trying to tell this to stylists is like trying to explain logarithmic functions in Japanese.  They are lost.  I’ve even taken pictures!   Then, finally, last night, by my own hand, I have the exact style I have been wanting for years!  I’m so happy I could cry.  Here are some shots of Mary Pickford, along with one of my new hairstyle, to give you a frame of reference.

So, as you can see, there’s been a whole lot of changing going on, but it’s all for the better.  My family is eating healthier, and we not only are saving money on food now, we are also saving money on my salon bill (by cutting it out entirely).  See, change can actually be a really, really good thing.

What are some good changes you have made recently?

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Weekend Challenge

Standing here at yet another Grocery Store Relay (Noah is eating us out of our health bars), I am reminded of those out there who think they can eat absolutely anything they want and lose weight.

I was one of those people for years. I thought portion control was everything. I could eat a hamburger meal with fries from a fast food joint because the meal is meant to be consumed by one person. I would have a reasonable amount of fried chicken, or even a reasonable amount of ramen noodles. If I ate per serving size, I would be just fine no matter what’s in the food, right?

Wrong. Common sense should have told me that no matter what the portion size, if there’s things in the food that are not beneficial to yout health, it’s still unhealthy. A person’s body may try to tell them it’s unhealthy by causing an upset stomach, an unusually sluggish feeling, heartburn, or a fitful night’s sleep. What does the average person do? Eat that food anyway and take a Tums, or eat it anyway and say “but it just tastes so gooood!” And don’t think of the potential damage they’re inflicting on their body.

Someone I know is trying to get into the business of selling a coffee that burns more fat than exercise. This raises some serious red flags for me! No coffee can let you eat whatever you want, not exercise, and still lose weight. This is a sad nation we live in if there are those out there who had rather not take responsibility for their own health.
A person cannot simply eat what they want, whenever they want. There is a reason there are healthy foods with plenty of nutrients for you. There’s a reason doctors will tell a heart attack patient to grill his chicken from now on. Human bodies, no matter what supplements you take, cannot handle the abuse that the average American consumes.

Our bodies need fiber, vitamins, potassium, calcium, and water daily in order to function properly. Our bodies were not meant to consume the high fat greasy creations of modern man. Would you put Crisco down your car’s gasoline valve? Of course not! You would put in the gasoline that’s recommended for your car, and our bodies are no different.

And don’t go fooling yourself that you can take supplements and get away with eating whatever you want. Remember, you’re still putting unhealthy foods in your body. I have foud that if you make a consious decision to eat healthy foods that you do need, you’ll cut out the foods you don’t.

I’m challenging my readers to choose to eat healthy instead of unhealthy. Try it for a few days and see how good you feel. I’m willing to bet you will.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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