I know eating healthy isn’t as easy as it sounds. Giving up chips, Twinkies, and 3-meat pizza would be a challenge for many people. So where’s a good place to start? It’s really easier than you think. Let’s start with adding a new recipe a week. Did you know you can sign up for newsletters from Vegetarian Times that provide you with recipes and ideas for low-fat, gluten-free, and heart-healthy? You can also use this website, Everyday Health for a wide variety of recipes.
The biggest challenge, in my humble opinion, is just doing it. Intention and potential are wonderful, but unless you make it happen it just won’t work. There is so much surrounding us that pushes us to make poor choices - super-sizing, tight schedules, peer pressure, or lack of will - to mention a few. So what actually may work to force you into a change? Forced medical concerns (like high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes) lack of energy, new variety of healthy foods available, television advertising for organic foods and healthy choices can all prompt you to think twice.
Now that you’re here and I seem to have your attention, let’s think about a list of simple changes you can do. Before you know it, you’ll find you’re feeling better, doctor’s visits will be good news and you’ll find your energy level slowly increasing.
Walk. OK, that’s too simple, right? We all need to walk more and we all know it. So what stops us? Oh, I don’t know ... working on blogs? Dabbling in the kitchen? Petting the cat? Watching television? Reading? Shopping? Working? Going out to lunch/dinner? Tending to your family’s needs? I find walking to do any of those activities is still walking. So when you’re shopping, rather than scout the parking lot for the closest spot ... park in the boondocks and walk in. Working? Take a small break and walk around the building. It’s autumn ... it’s cooler ... you have no excuse! Working on a blog? On your way to the computer, suck in your stomach and stand up straight, stretch, and walk the long way to your chair. Cooking? What a great time to do deep knee bends, stretch, twist, bend, and flex all those muscles. Every considered baking your own bread? Kneading the bread is great exercise. While we’re at it, do you use kitchen convenience tools like food processors, meat slicers, etc.? Try doing those tasks by hand like our grandmothers did. I promise you’ll get a workout! Bottom line ... make yourself do things the long and hard way.
Breathe. Sounds simple enough but do you realize most of us rarely take deep cleansing breaths? If you pay close attention to your own breathing you may notice a few things that are quick and easy to change. First of all SIT UP STRAIGHT! I know you’re hunched over your computer reading this and your diaphragm is all scrunched up forcing you to take small, shallow breaths. Sit up and take a deep cleansing breath. Need the whole scoop on breathing correctly. Click BREATHE.
Stretch. As we age our muscles become weak and tight. Stretching is critical feel great. I love to stretch and stretch all the time. I don’t think you can stretch too much, do you? I love to stretch at my desk and do it often. It really releases some muscle stresses I didn’t even know were there!
Food. Switch from white rice to brown rice ... white pasta to whole grain pasta ... ground beef to ground turkey ... fruit instead of chips/cookies ... nuts and dried fruit instead of chips and dip.
Go ahead ... take the plunge ... one step at a time.
_Many people have come to me and asked, "How did you do it?" So, I thought I'd make a 'quick list' for those who haven't the time to read my whole blog - I understand!
So, here's the simple list. What isn't so simple is implementing the list:
I started with what I was eating. To stabilize my numbers, I removed all meat except the 'good for you' Omega-3 foods. After my second "let's take a look at your numbers visit" I added smart meats - research helped me decide what would be best for me. I began to watch my saturated fat intake and removed all inappropriate fats - again, research helped me decide what would work best for me.
I began to keep a food journal ... I visited Vegetarian Times to learn more and better ways to incorporate the much needed veggies into my diet. I eventually subscribed to their magazine - and I love it!!
I researched supplements and working with my doctor adjusted them to be more efficient. I discovered red yeast rice which my doctor hadn't heard of, but was amazed at my success in lowering my numbers. Some trial and error was required as I had a reaction when I mixed red yeast rice with Fresca or other grapefruit-laced foods. (Note: do not take red yeast rice and any grapefruit products). I added 500 mg of niacin and my doctor added another 500mg. Research indicated taking supplements or statin drugs were more effective if taken at night.
Now, exercise was my challenge. I'd much prefer to research, compute, read, do puzzles and science experiments with my grandson so exercise was a challenge. We own a Wii and have WiiFit and even WiiFit Plus, sports games, etc., but you have to actually turn them on to reap the benefits! One small success I have is with some little exercise CDs ... A Morning Cup of Yoga ... Stretching ... Balance ... TaiChi andmany others. This twelve to fifteen minutes routines fit very nicely into my day. Everybody has 15 minutes!! So, make the time ...you're THAT important!
I have toyed with a gym membership and even found a local one who offers a three-month contract rather than the full year. Still not sure since I'd much rather come home from a stressful day at work and chit-chat with my grandson! I'm working on doing both.
Equally important is staying in touch with your doctor. And, if you don't like him or feel he isn't a good listener or caregiver, for heaven's sake, find another doctor! Check out alternative ways to lower your cholesterol numbers ... community yoga classes, meditation, whatever it takes to de-stress you!! Stress plays a very significant role in high cholesterol numbers.
Our society is so stressed out we have acquired all sorts of maladies ... take time for YOU ... take time to do what you love ... breathe!!!
Stay tuned ... what does not work for me ...
I am ...
... a former blogger for a health site, which means eating healthy aka heart smart
which has become a passion for me. I will start at the beginning when I first
discovered I had high cholesterol.