Monday, June 21, 2010

Health Make-Over

Health, Part One

I have decided, after much thought and a little spurring on by Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, on cooking and eating vegan, to make some changes. I have further decided, as a kick in the butt, to try and keep an online journal of sorts, letting you guys know how it’s going, what I’m eating and what progress I’m making. So here are the reasons why I’ve decided to do a minor overhaul on what I’m eating:

1. I have noticed in the past few months that my stomach does not seem to be digesting well; it often gurgles and aches, I get sharp gas pains (if this is TMI, well, I don’t know what to tell you, if you skip ahead, you could miss something, so do so at your own risk!! Lol) and often felt tired. I just felt like I wasn’t digesting well. I definitely ate desserts and ice cream (half the fat though!!) almost every night and I don’t know if I am a bit lactose intolerant or what. I also felt like I was overeating and that my body wasn’t too keen if I ate too much red meat. I almost never ate fast food, so if/when I did, I’d get stomach cramps from that too. I just felt I needed to change what I was putting in my body if I wanted my body to function differently!

2. I had my gall bladder out the end of February and I suspect my body is still adjusting to functioning without it although the surgeon told me it would only take 2 weeks for my body to adjust.

3. After reading Alicia Silverstone’s book about going vegan, I decided to “dip a toe” as she says, into eating more vegetarian and more organic in the hopes that it would help my body.

4. I need to lose weight. I stil have baby fat on me and had just gotten back down to a size 6 right before I got pregnant with Morgan. Now I am between an 8 and a 10. I felt my best when I weighed 119lbs and I currently weigh 133.5 lbs. I was up to 165lbs when I gave birth!! I gained way too much weight! (nevermind that she weighed 9lbs. 10.3oz on her own!!). I have a belly I am determined to get rid of, winter clothes I had had altered at the waist and hems to fit me perfectly and currently cannot wear any of it!

As I may have previously mentioned, consistency is difficult for me….I think it might be for any human being, I don’t think it’s in our hardwiring, unless it directly relates to our survival. I don’t think fitting into those cool 70’s jeans can be classified as “relating to my survival” but how about saving my self esteem, boosting my energy and making my skin glow, (not to mention fitting into those altered clothes!!) which are worthy enough goals for me! ;)

Now, I’ll tell ya what I’ve done so far: (and of course, remember that I am not a medical professional in any way, I have no degree, I’m not being guided by a professional, this is just me, trying to clean up my eating!!)

Before reading Ms.Silverstone’s book:

1. I had actually been following some guidelines from Eat This Not That! and Eat This Not That for Kids! (there are a TON of varieties of this title) which are great books and generally give you good information, especially if you really look through the sections at the beginning and the end of the book. It doesn’t just tell you what to eat at different places but gives you guidelines on what are good foods to eat in general.

2. Begun utilizing out of sheer boredom. I just felt like I needed some help, I already meal-planned in the interest of saving time and money. I have become addicted to already knowing what I am having for dinner. There is nothing worse than being exhausted and staring, bleary-eyed, at your pantry….then your fridge….then your cabinet….repeat. Now I know and sometimes, at least once a week, I’m using my crockpot and THAT is really addicting!! I smell it cooking all day, it smells like I am some kind of a fabulous cook and I just have to decide what I’m having to drink and what plates to serve it on!!  I use the e-mealz for a family of 4-6, the low fat plan. My boys being hugely picky eaters, we have leftovers pretty much every night. I only cook like 3-4 times a week now and the food is delish!! We still have a pizza night and sometimes even an order-out night, but these recipes always include a variety of meal types: on the go, crock pot, kids’ favorites---not just sit-down meals. Love it!! Better yet: $15….for 3 MONTHS, that’s a $1.25 a week. Totally worth it!

3. Speaking of pizza, due to Eat this not that (which my husband, the junk food junky, caffeine king, curses) we have switched to Lean Pockets pepperoni pizzas (which my kids LOVE by the way!!) and salad or fresh veggie platter with low fat dip.

4. I went onto my Guide with DirecTv and DVR’d 3 shows I liked the look of (In Shape with Sharon Mann, Shimmy, and one on dancing whose title I cannot remember!) and they are on Fit TV and they come on daily. By the end of one week, I had 5 new episodes of each, which means 15 different workouts at my fingertips, they are all 30 I believe with commercials, so once you fast forward through those commercials, you’re talking a 20-25 minute work-out. And I don’t get bored. My favorite is Sharon Mann, she always has people in the back doing the work-out but for beginners or with alternative gear or without the gear she’s using, if you don’t have it. I do it whenever I feel like it, no pressure, so some weeks, it may only be 1 workout but other weeks, I might do 5. I’m also walking though….
Since I read Ms. Silverstone I have:
1. Made an effort to buy as much in the way of organic fruits and veggies as I can. I have also, quite bravely, perused the organics aisles at Giant. The only things I came away with were the self serve nuts (pumpkin seeds without the shells, walnuts halved, plain almonds) and some organic mac and cheese by Annie’s with a D.W./Arthur theme that Gabe picked out. I know Alicia (as I’ll call her, it’s shorter than typing her last name!) really talks up the rice milk ice cream treats, but there’s only so much I could bring myself to buy in one trip without feeling like I was wasting money because I didn’t know if we’d eat it. I’m not a daring and adventurous eater, did I mention that? I did buy boxes of falafel (not nearly as good eats as when I had it at Boma's at Animal Kingdom, but most likely this is because I didn't fry them in balls, but made flat patties that I skillet cooked with no oil...bummer!) as well as couscous (which I already really like!).

2. I couldn’t drop milk and (ack!!) cheese or even meat entirely for that matter, but again, I am just dipping a toe here, people, a toe I say, not a whole freakin foot! I have made a pact to eat as little meat as possible, basically only eating a small portion with dinner (or one meal a day of my choosing). I have other people who live with me, you see and they sort of object to the cessation of meat at meals entirely. Jay especially. I really think that too much meat was a big part of my problem, but we’ll see!

3. I kept yogurt too, I couldn’t help it. I feel like I need the live and active cultures for my girl parts and the calcium at my age is good too. Osteoporosis runs in my family. Gotta be careful of that! Plus, I started eating Activia in hopes the probiotics would help me!  (keep in mind, there are lots of people who hate this stuff and claim it's a scam.  My mother and sister both say it gives them stomach problems, but I have found a huge difference in my bloating and digestion, for the good, so I'm going to keep with it for now.  Additionally, I think it has to do with what else you may be eating.  You can't eat crap and then expect Activia to work miracles!  Also, I think your body has to have an adjustment period, but I found good changes within about 3 days, but that's just me...)

4. I used to walk pretty faithfully but when I got pregnant, I crapped out around 4 months---about 4 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. I live in an extremely hilly neighborhood and it would just kick my butt and trigger my asthma as I gained more weight, so I just stopped. Now that it’s summer time, the boys have enough energy to power a cell tower for a day. So I have begun getting right up and walking every morning. I have to get over the hurdle of the boys’ whining about how tired they are (even though I had to step in between them to stop them from running laps around the house before we left!) so I do this by telling them we’re on an adventure (as opposed to going the same route all the time) so they take turns choosing which way we’ll go as we get to a corner. It has the added bonus of helping my 3 year old go to sleep in the afternoons, when we’d begun to get wonky with his naps. This gives me some regular time to myself every afternoon. Love it!!

5. Whole grains, whole grains, whole grains. I got double fiber oatmeal (I actually have been eating that kind for a while, with raisins), double fiber English muffins, 12 grain bread, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts. Good stuff!

Ok, so note the link to to the right now. Check out Alicia’s book, although it is a bit, well, almost fanatic. I know it sounds kind of lame, but I’m just not into some of the more exotic fruits and veggies she’s into and some of the recipes sound totally unappetizing to me, so take what she offers with a grain of salt.

I’ll keep you updated on what I’m eating….every day if I can do it. I’ll update you on my weight and how my exercise regimen is going too. I’ll use the label “Health” for handy reference on the right hand side. I’ll number each blog entry too.

And by all means, let me know, what do you do? How do you feel about your health? How do you feel about making changes to your diet? Do you exercise? What do you do and what works for you (or doesn’t work?)

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