Last month, I made a personal change I didn’t plan to make at all, and would not in a million years have predicted.
After reading one of the chapters in Dr. Christiane Northrup’s new book “Goddesses Never Age” about health (in particular the chapter on glycemic stress) I called a halt to my usual intake of grain, as a test trial, just to see what would happen. You know, in the spirit of discovery and all!
In two days I felt different — more happy and steady. And I thought to myself, “Wow!” On the third day I was dancing inside and felt pretty much giddy about the whole thing. On the fourth day, dancing outside began! And on the 5th day, I missed bread and muffins terribly!!! I felt a bit insane. I’m not kidding! It was a little sobering to say the least. When you skip grains, and the sugar that often goes with it (toast and jam with my morning eggs, a brownie later) you’re really throwing the sugar baby out with the bathwater! Apparently, I’m pretty hooked on sugar.
It’s been about a month now, and I’m blown away by my vacation from grain. Who knew? I guess some of us get along better without the amber waves of grain.
I had no idea this experiment would make such a speedy difference in how I feel. Given that I’ve never made any attempt to avoid sandwiches, pizza, or muffins, I figured that figuring out how to eat without grain would be difficult, but it isn’t at all. Go to this link on Bon Appetit. There are ideas, recipes, and even encouragement. And yes! They have a cookbook!
Since then, I’ve had grain here and there. I’m not crazy strict about it. But I have eliminated my usual fall back choices, the choices I made out of habit, or because I was in a hurry, or because I knew I’d be bored without brown rice to go with the stir fry. But the fact that I feel better keeps me going. Feeling better is its own reward. My energy is more steady and that means the world to me. I’m a cleaner burning machine, still sputtering a bit, but cleaner.
What’s interesting is that even after a month, I can still feel my body shifting gears (or is it my mind, ahem!) and I think that might continue for a while. Not eating so much grain or sugar is quite a diet overhaul, for me at least. I can tell you for sure that the big ship called “my eating habits” is still turning around — slowly, steadily, daily — and it requires vigilance. This change in eating is about creating a different set of habits, standards and priorities. That’s a big deal.
I do fine if I think in the direction of what I want (ease, delicious food, healthy body, feeling good) and what works for me vs. restriction. How we think makes a big difference.
This experiment reminds me of how people feel when they come to see me about relationships. They describe their situation and say “please help me.” They tell me how things are going and what they do now. I make suggestions about how to do things differently if they want a different outcome. And the difference between “what I’ve always done” and “what I could do instead” to enjoy new results comes front and center.
This week, author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a Facebook post about how her book Big Magic changed her own life. She joked that she wrote the book for her readers, not for herself. She wrote the book to help others with their creativity, and it never occurred to her that her advice could help her as well. As usual, the post is funny and well-written, in true Elizabeth style. It will give you a good chuckle! (thirty five hundred people liked it, you might, too! :–)
It’s good when advice givers get that light bulb moment to walk their talk, don’t you think? Or to give it a go on another subject, the one we’re not so expert in! It’s easy for me to make changes in my relationships, ’cause I’ve practiced that. (It wasn’t always easy.) But now, it’s what I do well. But my diet? Not so easy! But I’m hanging in there just fine, and learning as I go, I’m happy to report!
Thank you and hats off to all my clients, past and present, for being courageously focused and for making changes that weren’t exactly a piece of cake (so to speak) to make! You’re so amazing! You inspire me every day!
In this wonderfully decadent season of “Please pass the gravy” and “Yes, I’ll have another piece o’ that pie, thank you!” it’s good to remember what food really does for us.
Food is medicine. Natural food, grown in the ground is REALLY good for you.
So in honor of Thanksgiving leftovers and the beginning of yet another December season of FOOD, lots of food, heavenly food — today I’m writing about our relationship — with — hooray — FOOD!The first entry is about vision, which is of (personal, family, genetic) interest to me, and the one about celery is useful knowledge. The rest are more about what the Italians and French know that we Americans might not.
QUESTION: Do carrots really help vision?
Depends on who you talk to or what you read, but mostly, in a round about sort of way — yes. It’s easy to remember that carrotsrelate to vision because a cross cut carrotlooks like, well, an eye!
Good eyesight seems to be more connected to genetics, however, than to consumption of food. But carrotsseem to help maintain what you already have. So don’t leave out the carrots.
Most science says that carrotsgive eyes a boost because they contain beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, an essential vitamin for healthy vision.
Vitamin A, also called retinol, is key in fighting vision problems like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and night blindness. It is found most abundantly in fish oils, liver, eggs and fortified dairy products. However, if you don’t eat animal products (or eat enough of them), you can get plenty of vitamin A by eating fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids like beta-carotene, or “provitamin A.”
Bright yellow or orange fruits like carrots, apricots and sweetpotatoes are good sources of beta-carotene, while green leafy vegetables, especially broccoli, are rich in the carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin.
Of the 600-plus carotenoids found in nature, only lutein and zeaxanthin and their metabolites are located in macula of the eye.
Lutein is important if you have signs of macular degeneration — way more important than eating your carrots. One reason — Lutein absorbs blue light and acts as ‘internal sunglasses’ that may reduce photochemical damage caused by short-wavelength visible light.
And take Lutein that is labeled with the Flora-Glo trademark. The short story is that it’s better.
QUESTION: What do the French and Italians know about tomatoes that Americans may not?Big Hint: A tomatohas chambers and is red.
The heart has chambers and is red. Tomatoes— especially cooked — are one of the best sources of lycopene, which is the carotenoid pigment and antioxidant that gives tomatoestheir bright color. According to Harvard Medical School, one slice of raw tomatocontains approximately 515 micrograms of lycopene, while 2 tablespoons of tomatopaste contains 13,800 micrograms. Big difference.
Cooked is better, when it comes to lycopene.
In one European study, those who consumed the most lycopene cut their risk of heart attack and heart disease by 50%. With that in mind, it’s no surprise, that the Italians and the French, who love their tomatosauce, boast a much lower heart disease rate than the United States.
Besides, maybe the Italians and the French live a slower, less stressful lifestyle and enjoy life more than we do??? They certainly believe in luxurious meals, tastes and conversation. All of it helps!
Other lycopene foods include watermelon, pink & red grapefruit, papaya, guava and rose hips.
So when you’re thinking about your heart, think red!
Beets, for instance, protect your heart by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, and increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the blood.
Nice to know.
QUESTION: Are grapes just a handy sugar snack?Big Hint: Grapeshang in heart shaped cluster.
Grapesare good for many things other than their sweetness.
Grapesare an excellent source of health promoting flavonoids. Typically, the stronger the color of the grape, the higher the concentration of flavonoids. The regular consumption of wine and grapejuice by the French may explain the “French paradox.” The French eat a diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol and yet have a lower risk of heart disease than Americans.
(Or maybe the French just have more fun?)
Flavonoids in red wine and grapejuice seem to increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood, protect against vascular damage, and prevent blood platelets from clumping together and causing those pesky clots.
Grapesalso have something called resveratrol, which reduces the buildup of plaque in arteries. It has also been shown to have anti-cancer effects and anti-inflammatory action. Fresh grapeskin contains about 5 to 10 mg of resveratrol per serving, while red wine concentrations range from 1.5 to 3 mg per liter.
So go ahead, eat your grapes! Think red or black grapes, and think raw, which is pretty easy when it comes to grapes.
Unfortunately, you probably can’t depend on wine alone to get the flavonoids and resveratrol you need.
But here’s something wonderful, speaking of the French. Here is my all time favorite food blog, hands down, no question about it. It’s called Manger, and it’s written by Mimi Thorisson, who lives in Medoc, France.
Check it out. It’s totally, ridiculously gorgeous. Good Lord. The woman cooks all day, has children and looks like a model. Good Lord. (Yes, I know I’m repeating myself.)
QUESTION: How in the heck does silly ol’ crunchy celery help bone health?
Big hint: Think Calcium and Vitamin K.University of Maryland Medical Center says that vitamin K is vital for the proper utilization of calcium by your bones, and can improve bone health and help prevent fractures. High levels of vitamin K are associated with greater bone density; low levels often correspond with osteoporosis. Males over 19-years-old need 120 mcg a day of vitamin K, while women over 19 need 90 mcg.One large stalk of celerycontains 26 mg of the essential mineral calcium. Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is vital to the development and maintenance of strong bones. In order for calcium to be properly absorbed, vitamin K — along with the essential minerals magnesium and phosphorus — must be present. A celerystalk offers up to 7 mg of magnesium and 15 mg of phosphorus, thereby providing all the nutrients essential for bone health.And by the way, Bok Choyis right up there with celerywhen it comes to bones.
QUESTION: What’s the big deal about olives except that they taste oh-so-good?Big Hint: Think “good fat…”
Oliveshave really good fat.
Oliveshave very little carbohydrate and they are a great source of monosaturated fat. Olivesare a rich source of polyphenols which are critical as our body’s defense against cancer. Polyphenols have many good properties, and these elements (also the reason for the taste and the smell of the olives), can be anti-inflammatory as well.
ONIONS AND GARLIC
QUESTION: Besides the olfactory advantage — smelling great as they are sauteing — what do onions and garlic do for our bodies?
Big Hint: Think “anti.”
You could say that onions and garlic work against. Or you could say they stand for something that doesn’t allow other things — they are anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral.
That’s pretty “anti!”
And that works FOR us!
Onions and garlic also improve immune function, thin the blood (to control blood pressure), increase anti-oxidants, fight free radicals in blood, and increase blood circulation. They are rich in chromium, Vitamin C, B6 and selenium.
What do you know and appreciate most about eating good, healthy food? Do share in a comment below!
Listen up, city dwellers! You may need to know this someday. Calling all country folks! You may already know this….
What do snakes and blueberries have to do with each other?
Hint: How do you keep the birds from eating all your blueberries?
Ah, do you see it? Birds love berries, but are afraid of snakes. Put fake rubber snakes all over your blueberry bushes, and the word is that birds are generally not brave enough to come steal the berries. That’s the theory. We’ll let you know how abundant (i.e. protected) the crop is as the season progresses.
Right now, the new crop is just coming and it’s beautiful. We might all look blue ourselves by the end of the summer.
Below is a photo of what we picked yesterday. For now, forget a recipe. Wash them and eat them. Or if you’re feeling extra decadent, add raw cream and a cup of tea.
By later in the summer, we will need recipes. But for now, they are such a treat that eating them straight off the bush is good enough for me.
They say there a LOTS of blackberries on this property…..
Bye, gotta go hunting!
You’re broken down and tired Of living life on a merry go round And you can’t find the fighter But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out And move mountains We gonna walk it out And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again And I’ll rise up High like the waves I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
When the silence isn’t quiet And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe And I know you feel like dying But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet And move mountains Bring it to its feet And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
All we need, all we need is hope And for that we have each other And for that we have each other And we will rise We will rise We’ll rise, oh, oh We’ll rise
I’ll rise up Rise like the day I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I will rise a thousand times again And we’ll rise up High like the waves We’ll rise up In spite of the ache We’ll rise up And we’ll do it a thousand times again
During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.