My New Way of Eating

My New Way of Eating

Could I please have a May do over please? It seems that I spent the whole month of May either in the hospital, feeling sick, going to the doctor or in pain! After I wrote the last update about how things were going after my appendectomy, I was back at the doctor having fluid drained from below my right lung! I am never sick and this has really taken it’s toll on me mentally as well as physically. I was so thrilled to be finished with my antibiotic, but am now back on antibiotics for a while longer. I’ll find out how long on Wednesday at my appointment with the infectious disease doctor (sounds terrifying). This has been a HUGE wakeup call for me! I want to live the rest of my life feeling good and having the energy to do the things I want to do! It’s all about quality of life. What’s the point in living a long life if you’re too sick and tired to do anything and a burden on the people around you?

I’ve been continuing to read and learn as much as I can about how to eat better and make sure that I’m healthy from now on. I really do believe that what we put in our bodies directly affects our health even more than genetics. Here are a few facts about how our diets have changed over the years in this country!

In this country, we went from eating about 10 pounds of sugar per person, per year in 1800 to 152 pounds of sugar (and 146 pounds of flour) per person, per year today. On average, that’s one pound of sugar every single day! Sugar is added to absolutely everything, including ketchup, so become a label reader!

Sugar is addictive and those sugar loaded foods literally become drugs that disrupt our metabolism and make us fat and sick. Since sugar is so addictive, our brains need to be rewired and this takes work and determination. It would be so easy to stay in the same patterns of eating convenience foods and brushing the facts under the rug, but our quality of life and health depends on our choices at the grocery store.

Let’s send the trillion-dollar junk food industry a message and eat real food. That means foods nature created, which don’t come with barcodes, fake ingredients, or an ingredient list at all. Let’s support local farmers by buying food from farmer’s markets when possible. It’s more nutritious and the money is directly supporting families in your community.

Our brain chemistry believe it or not…regulates our weight and metabolism. There is so much to learn about metabolism. We’ve all been taught that we want a fast metabolism, but actually, the opposite is true. When your metabolism is high, your body is working too hard to break down the bad foods that you’re putting into it. According to Dr. Steven R. Gundry who wrote the longevity paradox, a fast metabolism may not be what you want.

Have you always envied your friends with rocket-speed metabolisms? You know, the friends who can eat anything and still remain rail thin?

Well, the latest studies reveal that, although occasional increases in metabolic rate due to exercise are beneficial, a constantly higher metabolism may be harmful and lead to early mortality. So, the truth is, a lower metabolic rate is actually better for your health.

Life is a marathon. Not a sprint.

If you operate at high energy levels all the time, you’re sure to burn out. You’ll just be putting your body through too much oxidative stress. Of course, if you’re conserving more energy, you’ll likely be able to run longer running at a lower metabolic rate.

As Dr. Gundry says in The Longevity Paradox: It’s better to be a Prius than a Maserati. Don’t you want to be a more efficient fuel burner? Get 50 miles to the gallon instead of only 19? Makes sense, doesn’t it?”

Eating the right foods sends a message to your brain to shut down hunger and cravings so you burn fat and feel great . Sugary, processed foods send the opposite message.

Making the right choices to opt for real, whole, unprocessed foods becomes crucial to ditching the junk food habit, but so do your emotional triggers and emotional health.

Image from Zsa Zsa Bellagio Tumblr

Image from Zsa Zsa Bellagio Tumblr

Whenever you get a strong desire for a chocolate chip cookie or other junk food, ask yourself two questions: What am I feeling?, and What do I need?. What you need can never be gotten by stuffing your face with junk. Emotional eating as a way of self medicating and whether it’s food or drugs or alcohol, self medicating is never the answer.

Changing lifestyle habits and making better choices isn’t always easy, but if you’re someone who cares about quality of life as you age, it is crucial! You have a chance, right now, to make the decision today to stop and detox, not only from junk food, but also from junk thoughts. We must de-clutter our bodies and our minds in order to live our best lives!

Cutting way back on sugar consumption is one thing that I’ll be working on, but the other and equally important thing is going back to being vegetarian (I will eat fish). I was a vegetarian for 18 years and honestly looking back, I felt better. Maybe it was because I was younger, but I also think it was because I was consciously making better food choices. I had endless energy and don’t ever remember feeling tired or sluggish. According to The Longevity Paradox as well as many many other sources, vegetarians live longer, healthier lives. You can find research that supports nearly anything, but the truth is…when you get down to the facts, no matter whether you eat meat or don’t, it’s about the quality of the food that goes into your body. You can be a vegetarian and eat nothing but M&M’s all day long. If you’re a person who doesn’t want to give up eating meat, consider cutting back to once or twice a week and make sure that the meat you eat comes from a good source, preferably local and organic. To read more about the pros and cons of being vegetarian, read this article from Mind Body Green written by Dr. B.J. Hardick.

Changing the way you eat can be a huge time commitment, but think about it this way…Is your quality of life worth a little bit of time spent planning and cooking meals and being mindful about what goes into your body? It really is that simple!

I’ve also heard the argument that eating more fruits and vegetables and shopping for quality food is more expensive, but I promise… it is much much much cheaper than the doctor bills you’ll receive if you don’t take care of yourself!

If you’re looking for guidance and inspiration, here are some of the books and websites that I feel are very helpful with information as well as recipes and lifestyle suggestions. I believe these sources to be legitimate and give sound advice.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I love anything by Dr. Christiane Northrup. I have had several of her books, Including Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, for many years and use her as a reference regularly.

I’ve also mentioned The Longevity Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry - this book will make so much sense if you read it all the way through! Dr. Gundry includes recipes and the science behind intermittent fasting.

The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solutions by Dan Buettner - Bestselling author Dan Buettner reveals how to transform your health using smart nutrition, lifestyle, and fitness habits gleaned from longevity research on the diets, eating habits, and lifestyle practices of the communities he's identified as "Blue Zones"—those places with the world's longest-lived, and thus healthiest, people

Website - Dr. B. J. Hardick - organic foodie and fanatic for green living and earthly sustainability. You’ll find recipes and great articles on living a healthy lifestyle.

Some of my favorite cookbooks are A Year In a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.

Having said all of this, I will not be a total crazy fanatic about my diet. If someone offers me a slice of homemade pie or a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, I will say YES! I will also probably have the occasional slice of bacon with a garden fresh tomato in the summer and other “treats”, but for the most part, I will embrace and enjoy being a vegetarian, intermittent faster and all around healthy eater, knowing that I’m doing myself and those who love me the best favor ever!

You might enjoy these healthy recipes from past posts - Cilantro Lime Quinoa Bowls with Salmon, Strawberry Cocoa Energy Balls, Easy and Delicious Vegetarian Chili, and Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Bowls with Avocado.

I just want to mention one more thing. When I was a vegetarian before, I never felt as though I was depriving myself. Vegetables are delicious and there are so many ways to cook them. Combined with beans and grains and occasional pasta, you’ll never miss the meat!

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