Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Journey (and some cool health lists to get you started)

Well it seems to have been eons since I last posted on this blog site, but this doesn't mean I've been standing idly by, waiting for my health to improve. I have been actively trying to make myself healthier. It has been a long hard trek, but slowly I am getting results. Life gets hectic with 3 little ones and work, so I don't get to post as often as I'd like, but I am still healing heading in the right direction.

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not. - Mark Twain
My life for the past 5 months has changed completely. I have increased my movement (walking more and doing some VERY light exercise that doesn't affect my joints which are not happy chappies). I have eaten a whole lot of things that I thought I would never eat! See my blog post A Doctor's home cure for Arthritis. I have cut out sugar in all forms, wheat, gluten, carbs and alcohol and am eating mostly organic veggies and grass-fed meat wherever possible. I am also not eating any processed foods or foods that my grandmother would not be able to identify.
I have some tips for anyone wanting to follow the same sort of path. Be warned it is not easy, but well worth the effort.

1. Get your mind right 
If your mind isn't right, don't bother. Your mind is your strongest ally and your greatest enemy. If you are not 100% committed to do this, quite simply, you are setting yourself up for failure. You can get inspiration from others, but you are the only one who will be there, day after day, lifting you up or bringing you down.

2. Surround yourself with like-minded people
This is critical. You cannot do this on your own BUT this doesn't mean that you have to have support from those around you. Whaat? That doesn't make sense, does it? Well actually it does. When I say "surround yourself" it doesn't mean that you literally have to be surrounded, you can surround yourself with social media. My family are not very keen on doing what I'm doing, so I have joined some Facebook groups that inspire me, show me how others are battling with the same issues and how they have overcome them. There is one in particular that is awesome called Sleek Geek.

3. Prepare to fail
Again this may seem crazy but it isn't. Any strict eating plan cannot be adhered to 100% for the rest of your life without unhappiness or a complete change of friends. For me, the trick is to prepare for the failures and work them into your routine. For instance, if I go out for dinner to a restaurant or a friend's house and there is no organic food (that's pretty much every time), then I eat what is available to the best of my ability. I don't want to become a hermit and say no to invitations out, due to dietary restrictions that I have placed on myself for a disease that I have, so I prepare to fail FOR THAT MEAL ONLY.

4. Don't allow failure to become permanent
When I am invited out, I may have carbs and sugar and gluten but I don't go crazy and say "what the hell, I'm cheating anyway" and order fettuccine Alfredo. I try to eat as close as possible to what I am allowed.  I am aware of every mouthful of the items I'm not supposed to consume and I don't allow it to become a full on binge. Perhaps my host has prepared a lovely meal, then I eat the meal. If there is a beautifully homemade pudding as well, I will have a small helping, or maybe a large one, but that is it. Usually if I have "cheated" on the meal, then I will resist chocolate afterwards. It is imperative that I don't just let go, because then I will never get back on track. I am an addict so I can very easily slide back down that slippery slope.

5. Make each meal as nutritious as possible
If you are eating non-nutritious food, then what is the point? As I am typing this, I have just consumed 2 slices of amazing gluten-free bread. Wow it was amazing, I haven't had bread for months and this was like eating white bread. I was so excited to be given this as a gift, that I toasted and ate 2 slices with butter for breakfast. It was divine. It was allowed. But the nutrient value was pretty much zero. Therefore I won't be doing that again. Next time, I need to add an egg and some avo or something to make it more nutritious. So when I can do better, I will, but that doesn't make this breakfast any less enjoyable. It's over. It's not a failure, it's a learning curve and I am in charge. I saw it for what it was, I ate it and now I move on to be better next time.

6. Make your meals and your life more interesting
I struggle with this. I often eat the same thing over and over again due to convenience and then become bored. Spend time finding new ways of doing things and alternate meals. My downfall is sweet things, so I have to plan to avoid these. I know that if I sit and watch TV at night, then I want to eat chocolate but if I sit at my PC then I don't (see, I'm eating bread instead ha ha). I try to laugh more and do more interesting things than I used to do. This also keeps my mind off "comfort eating." There are also plenty of websites with avid cooks who give great ideas including healthy sweet things (it is best to avoid even natural sugars as they are addictive). Whichever way you want to eat, there is someone on the web who is dedicated to helping you live and cook in that way. Some are extremists, but do what resonates with you - find your own balance.

8. Plan
My absolute downfall is allowing myself to get too hungry. I get home and devour everything in the house. Getting too hungry without access to quick, good food is a disaster waiting to happen. Last week I allowed myself to get too hungry and everyone was having hot dogs, so I had one. It wasn't even nice and I felt bloated afterwards, so I hopped onto the walker and walked it off. It made me feel like I was repenting for the sin! I hadn't planned. Now I try to always have boiled, peeled eggs in the fridge and a quick handful of nuts to get me over the just-got-home starvation period. If I was orgaised I would have veggie sticks all cut up but hey I'm just not that organised! I also make egg muffins on Sunday, which last me quite a few days and now soup is my latest go-to-quick-fix for winter. (See the link to the lists of soup recipes - and everyting else - at the bottom of the page).

8.  Move and Sleep 
My motto is "You don't have to run a marathon, just move more than you did yesterday". I have a disease that many people do not understand, hell I don't even understand it properly. Some days I am pain-free and others I can hardly walk. So to tell me to go and join a club where I will be pushed to do certain exercises at a certain rate, is unrealistic. I understand that other people don't get this. Fortunately with age comes wisdom and I know what I can and can't do. Do I need motivation? Hell yes!! Do I need someone to tell me to do more? Definitely! But it is a tad difficult trying to explain to someone who saw me running yesterday, that I can't even walk today. So I need to be my own advocate. That being said, I also need accountability. Don't use not being able to do it as an excuse. Do something else, but do it. Get off your ass and join other like-minded people and get some accountability. My FitBit is my accountability and I strive to do as well as I can (because it has a great memory with a graph! Yikes I can hobble run but I can't hide! Moving intentionally is critical to success. Do something you enjoy. I compete with myself all the time - I'm weird that way. Along with movement comes sleep - huh? Isn't it just the opposite? Well yes it is, but without sufficient sleep you are sabotaging your efforts. Make sure you get enough sleep for your body otherwise you will be too tired to do any of the above and then emotional eating looks soooo good.

9. Be Brave
People are going to tell you that you can't do it. You've always been a certain way. You can't eat like that forever, it's not sustainable to eat that way, but it's not their life. You need to stand up for yourself in a way that you feel comfortable. That may mean speaking up and confronting the negativity or it may mean ignoring comments, keeping your head down and focused, depends on your personality. Look at yourself in the mirror and say "I will never be like this again. I have only one body and it deserves to be nourished and treated properly and that starts NOW!"

10. Health is a journey, not a destination
We will never "get there" and be able to eat unhealthily again. We will never be able to just lie on the couch all day eating chips. Health is a constant journey of choices. If we make too many bad choices, our health suffers, too many good choices and we may suffer socially (no Christmas pudding or birthday cake makes life dull). Life and health is a balancing act. We need to keep the balance right in order for our bodies and minds to function optimally. When you fail (and you will fail, no it's not negativity, it's reality), you get up. Don't look back, only look forward. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow hasn't happened yet, the only time you have is now. Choose wisely now and prepare to choose wisely tomorrow.

The human body is an amazing thing, it can be abused for years before showing signs of wear and tear, therefore one or two bad choices won't derail your healthy plan unless you allow those choices to lead to more bad choices.

The 3 things you can do as a first step are 1. Move more, 2. Eat real food and 3. Start NOW!

Sounds so easy! GET OFF THE COUCH!!!

I may not get it right every day and that's ok. Life happens. But I am important enough to keep trying, trying to be the best that I can be. For myself, for my family and to fulfil my purpose of being put here. I'm not here to exist, I'm here to live, love and experience life to the fullest! See my post On Purpose

Good luck on your journey! We all have different finishing lines, but we will all finish. Life is the strangest journey of all, the winner is the one who crosses the finish line last, in good health, sound mind and humour in tact.
I stumbled across this fabulous link that uses 24 diagrams showing how EVERYTHING works. How to make a quick soup, how to make a smoothie, what does one serving of fruit look like, what to use as substitutes in recipes. what is and isn't Paleo, everything you need to know to get started and keep going. I know that I will be referencing this often. Hope you enjoy it!

Ta da!! Here it is!!   Eating Health is Super Easy

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Coke vs Fruit Juice

How much sugar is in Coke
I found this disturbing picture when I was searching for some marketing material for my marketing lectures. I've never been a great Coke fan but when I was pregnant I would have sold my soul for a glass of ice cold Coke, so I understand the attraction. I am also married to a closet Coke addict, who given half a chance will have Coke every day.  When I met hubby waaaayyyy back in 1991 he was drinking more than 2 litres of Coke A DAY yikes!  We all know that Coke is not good for you but only when you see the sugar content in "real" terms does it really hit home. Hubby was consuming almost 30 tsp of sugar per day! Amazing what a young body can cope with and still function optimally.

I've read some real horror stories on how you can clean your toilet with Coke and how bad it is for you because it leeches all the calcium and nutrients from you bones and if you leave a tooth in Coke overnight it dissolves! So it's kind of a no-brainer that when you drink Coke your body is put under a large amount of strain, not only to accommodate all that sugar but also to digest and remove all those chemicals from your body.

But let's be honest, it's not only Coke, it's pretty much all sodas or cool drinks as we refer to them here in Sunny South Africa. But what is the alternative? Diet Coke? Reading about sugar substitutes makes it even scarier, especially for those with a history of cancer in the family, so you're pretty much screwed if you have a prominent "cancer gene" as well as a "fat gene" because, as my granny used to say, "you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't!" Read Sweet Poison if you haven't already.

Non-nutritive sweeteners are no-nos in our family, but the "fat gene" is an unwelcome visitor, so I am very frustrated. What do we give our kids to drink?

Fruit juices are laced with sugar, even when the label states "no sugar added". Did you know that 100% pure fruit juices are concentrated pure juice to ensure that the drinks are sweeter? That's how the manufacturers can claim that it is 100% pure! Only problem is that instead of drinking all the water that has been removed, which would fill you up so you can't drink tons of it, the remaining pulp has been turned into a syrup with a tiny bit of water added and then served as a health drink, or at least a healthy alternative! I always wondered how the fruit juices tasted better than the fruit! Sigh - where do we turn?

Let's all drink WINE!!