More Ways to Get Energy

Today more than ever it’s imperative that we take care of ourselves.

Engaging in protest could drain us of energy. We don’t have time to wait to see progress. Today everyone’s tired of being told to wait. It takes a lot of physical stamina to march in the streets.

On the radio this week the disc jockey told listeners to take care of ourselves.

Each of us is possessed with a power bigger than our pain.

Yet sometimes the pain we feel–whether about injustice or our own illness or other things–can be overwhelming.

What do I think about how to take care of ourselves?

It comes down to conserving our energy for the tasks that are essential. Letting everything else slide.

I wrote in here recently about how to get energy. A Real Simple issue titled Find Your Balance has an article on The New Rules of Eating for Energy:

Eat protein for breakfast.

People who have a high-protein meal of about 30 grams first thing in the morning with low glycemic load food had the highest energy level.

Drink plenty of water.

I wrote about this in my last blog entry on getting energy.

Fatigue sets in when you get dehydrated.

Have a healthful snack during the day that has fiber protein and healthy fat.

This could be a handful of almonds or cashews or walnuts.

Eat more calories earlier in the day.

You have a food circadian rhythm. Having a moderate-sized meal for breakfast and lunch and a small meal for dinner could be the way to go.

Nix sugar as a source of energy.

After the initial blood-sugar spike you’ll be left drained.

Dine with friends.

As per the Real Simple energy article:

Social interaction has been shown to help people manage stress pain and sadness all of which are drains on energy.

There is a cookbook titled Protest Kitchen.

If I remember it caters to vegan recipes. You might be able to check it out of the library where you live. It’s available from the library system in Brooklyn NY.

Action Plan

I write this from my iPad on an early Saturday morning,

The tactics that have helped me were to email a friend and to listen to music.

The friend thinks that history will right itself.

The time is now. We cannot wait any longer for justice for our comrades.

To read the Action Plan see the https://www.blacklivesmattergreaterny.comBlack Lives Matter Greater NY website.

Listening to music is a way to heal. I recommend listening to music when you’re going through a hard time.

Music can power you through. I firmly believe in the healing power of music.

My Credo on Making a Difference

When you’re younger and have a disability or however old you are when you face a struggle your first priority is taking care of yourself so that you can recover.

A lot of people in society are barely surviving whether financially due to the pandemic or for whatever reason.

Compassion is owed to those of us who have a harder row to hoe.

As you get better that’s when you should consider taking up a cause outside of your pain.

The longer you’re able to live on earth the more time you have to make a difference while you’re here.

When you’re older and doing better it’s time to stop living only for self-gain with no regard for others.

I’m 55 years old. I have lived in New York City my whole life.

I remember Amadou Diallo whose life was cut short in 1999 by “41 shots” that cops fired at him.

A murder Bruce Springsteen protested against in his chilling song “41 Shots.”

So why has it taken so long to get to the point of mass outrage at the killing of George Floyd?

The point is we are all here today living on earth faced with this choice point to no longer turn a blind eye.

My goal had always been to bring people together. I chose early on not to divide people into those of us with disabilities versus those who are “normal.”

There’s nothing normal about hate killing and violence.

There’s nothing normal about judging people as being less than you because they’re different–have a different skin color or whatever marks them as Other than you.

Won’t you join me in speaking out?

I align with Black Lives Matter and always have. Everyone should.

Michael Jordan’s Winning Tactics

  1. Motivate yourself for the long-term.
  2. Bust yourself harder to achieve things than you expect others to do.
  3. Be completely present and focused on what you’re doing right now.

In a museum gift shop I bought a flat metal paperweight inscribed with this Michael Jordan quote:

Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.

You don’t need a pair of $100 sneakers to succeed in life.

Taking your lead from a champion is more like it to get empowered.

The tactic of focusing on the present moment I would say is the number-one strategy to adopt.

Come on how do you feel when you ruminate on the past or worry about the future?

It saps you of the energy to enjoy your life today.

As I’m fond of saying: today is how it is and tomorrow can be better.

Taking action today to move closer to your goal is a way to change how you feel about your current circumstances.

Focusing on doing one thing at a time on one day at a time is how you get to win 6 championships in 6 years.

It’s like what I wrote about in reviewing the Danica Patrick book Pretty Intense:

She tells readers to simply do One Healthy Thing. Then do the Next Healthy Thing. And the next healthy thing after that. And so on.

To be honest I’ve given up on thinking in terms of a 15-year goal. I do have a 15-year goal. I use a four-word mantra to talk about this long-term goal. That’s it.

Other than that I act like Michael Jordan and focus on what I can do today in the present moment to bring me closer to a goal.

I’m going to talk more about goals in coming blog entries.

Changing Habits

My epiphany with food and exercise occurred when I moved into a new apartment nine years ago.

In the 1q90s my weekly menu consisted of Velveeta mac-and-cheese (marginally OK when I added broccoli to it), hot dogs, hamburgers, frozen TV dinners and other cheap crap.

Not surprisingly I was 20 pounds overweight. That was my typical diet for too long. I kid you not I used to eat unhealthful food every week for years and years.

This hungry woman used to “treat” herself to Hungry Man TV dinners all the time.

So I can tell you that my story is living proof that it’s possible to change your exercise and eating habits at any point in your life.

I was 46 when I first started to lift weights and eat organic food.

I’m 55 now and feel better than ever.

I tell you this story to give readers hope.

I’ll end here with this:

Our lives are going to be too long not too short to put off doing what gives us joy and makes us feel good.

We should not have to live one minute longer in pain than we absolutely need to.

As a therapist once said: “Suffering for the sake of suffering is bullshit.”

The point is not that you have to be skinny or have six-pack abs.

The exclamation point is that feeling good feels so much better than being out of shape.

Good food as said can put you in a good mood.

I’m going to talk in the next blog entry about slowing down and focusing on the present moment.

A new documentary about Michael Jordan–the Last Dance–talks about 3 tactics he employed to win championships.

I’ll talk about them here because they can assist us in real life.

Getting Energy

Drinking water is universally touted as a cure-all for nearly everything.

One true thing is that drinking water gives you energy.

It’s too late when you’ve gotten dehydrated. Drinking water throughout the day can help you halt a drop in energy.

One other thing that helped me get my energy was to cook eggs for breakfast. Instead of relying on quickie granola mush as an everyday staple.

A surprise change that had the most effect was to exercise for a shorter duration in each workout session.

For five years I’d been lifting weights for 50 minutes or more in each session. This left me wired and tired at the same time.

In the last year I’ve exercised for 30 to 45 minutes in each workout. Since the routine is short I go at a more intense burst.

I can see that I’m more fit today than when I was dead lifting 205 pounds in 2014.

The older you get I think you will need to change how you exercise and the kind of exercise you do.

Strength training will help you maintain your weight.

Getting fresh air can give you energy too.

This can be taking a walk around the block. Or walking to a street where there’s a bench and sitting down for even just 10 minutes outdoors in the sun.

Pairing your protein food source with a whole grain can give you more energy too according to “10 Ways to get More Energy” in the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Foods rich in iron and iodine can help too as per this magazine article. Black beans, lentils, tofu, and kelp are iron-rich foods. Kelp also has iodine.

Interestingly, I read that sea salt is far better than the regular table salt so often used.

The Bailene fine sea salt can be poured into a salt shaker and used like regular salt.

Lastly I’ll quote the Bazaar article:

“A recent study found that consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables for just two weeks had significant mental health benefits with participants reporting that they felt more motivated.”

This according to Samantha Boardman, M.D.

The Real Deal About Pasta

Once I told an M.D. that I wanted to lose weight.

“Lay off the pasta.” He laughed.

As an Italian person I should not be against eating pasta.

However most white food like rice pasta and potatoes is not healthful.

I’ve decided to have pasta at most once or twice a month.

The health coach I hired told me whole-wheat pasta isn’t a heck of a lot better than regular pasta.

The solution to maintaining your weight is to understand that having a “treat” like pasta every so often–as opposed to every week–could be fine.

Thinking in terms of having a “cheat day” when you’re “on a diet” is a mistake.

Thinking in terms of food being “good” or “bad” sets you up to fail.

In this blog years ago I touted my own strategy: the 80 percent rule: to eat healthful food 80 percent of the time.

Which for me hovers at 90 percent right now.

I’m the odd girl out because I love vegetables.

And I’m odd because I’m Italian and I rarely eat pasta.

My contention is that food that’s good for you can taste good.

How do I feel after eating pasta? Sluggish.

In a coming blog entry I’ll talk about ways to get more energy.

Maple-Glazed Turnips and Carrots

The book above is my go-to year-round source for recipes.

Here’s the recipe for Maple-Glazed Turnips and Carrots:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 pound turnips (preferably small ones) peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

3 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2/3 cup vegetable stock

2 tablespoons maple syrup

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Melt the butter in large saute pan.

Add the turnips and cook over medium heat until lightly browned (about 8 minutes). Turn every so often.

Add the carrots, stock and maple syrup. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the turnips and carrots are tender (about 15 to 20 minutes or so).

Remove the cover. Raise the heat to high. Cook until the liquid in pan reduces to a thick glaze (about 2 minutes).

Serve immediately.

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I had to cook the liquid more than two minutes at the end.

Most people might need to serve this recipe with another item like chicken.

I find that the turnips-and-carrots dish is perfectly fine on its own as a meal for me.

Either way this is one of the tastiest vegetable recipes in my view.

Weekly Menu

I thought I’d share with you my food menu for one week.

In the hope of corroborating the research on how eating healthful food can improve a person’s mood.

This was the menu I recorded for last week.

The items on this week’s menu were different on most days except for the snacks. Breakfast is the same every day.

My experience having eggs for breakfast every day shows that eggs are OK to have every week as an alternative to a box of cereal

I don’t think you’re going to harm your health by having eggs. Step away from the Skinny Bitch diet book that tells you not to have eggs.

The alternative–chocolate Special K with artificial flavors–I beg you please no.

Breakfast:

Two or three organic eggs with diced tri-color peppers and mushroom slices.

Monday:

Lunch:

Amy’s Organic butternut squash soup.

Snack:

PetitPot organic chocolate pudding.

Dinner:

Shrimp ring with cocktail sauce and salad.

Tuesday:

Lunch:

Organic lettuce chock full of raspberries, chickpeas, olives, carrots, and cashews.

Dinner:

Salmon filet with cauliflower.

Wednesday:

Lunch:

Again a salad like the one on Tuesday.

Dinner:

Maple-glazed turnips-and-carrots recipe.

Thursday:

Lunch:

Ditto for the salad.

Dinner:

Scallops with roasted root vegetables.

Friday:

Lunch:

Roasted butternut squash.

Dinner:

Again a salad chock full of goodies.

Saturday:

Lunch:

Amy’s Organic Chunky tomato soup.

Dinner:

Chicken cutlet with green beans.

Sunday:

Lunch:

Salad.

Dinner:

Tofu and broccoli in sesame oil.

Daily Snacks:

Organic raspberries or blackberries.

Organic Fair Trade bananas.

Organic Fuji apples.

Other fruit when in season.

After a workout:

Fage plain Greek yogurt full-fat kind with organic blueberries and a drizzle of raw honey.

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I don’t believe the beef industry hype that red meat or any kind of meat is good for you.

The most I eat is chicken and turkey and fish and seafood.

I don’t like that Driscoll’s seems to be the only option in town for berries. As I’m aware that Driscoll’s might not treat their farm workers fairly or justly.

I’m in favor of giving so-called “migrant” farm workers U.S. citizenship and a livable wage.

In the coming blog entry I’ll give the Maple-glazed turnips-and-carrots recipe.

I was surprised to find turnips for sale in a food market. So they might be available where you are too.

Healthful Food Improves Mood

I write about healthful eating in the spirit of motivating readers to feel good.

With so much stress in life it’s nice to know that simply changing what you eat can reduce anxiety and depression.

The benefits of healthful eating extend to a person’s mood not only their waistline.

A 2010 study “found that women who ate diets high in vegetables, fruit, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of red meat were less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders than those who followed a typical Western diet: processed foods, pizza, fast food, white flour and sugary sodas and other sweet beverages.”

This according to research by Felice Jacka, PhD reported on in the TIME magazine special edition The Science of Nutrition.

The role of nutrition in mental health has seen the trend in Nutritional Psychiatry to focus on how food impacts mood.

The ideal “diet” might be the Mediterranean diet: “rich in vegetables, salads, fruits and legumes–such as chickpeas, lentils and tofu; whole grains and raw nuts; fish and lean red meats; and healthy fats like olive oil.””

Step away from the 700-calorie frozen meals passed off as Lean or Smart.

Pick up a frying pan and saute vegetables instead.

I’m constantly baffled by the pseudo-healthful behaviors women engage in to try to lose weight.

Not once did I go on a “diet” and I lost 20 pounds and kept off the weight. I’m 55 and I weigh 115 pounds–the same as when I was 29.

Pick up a dumbbell. Put down the diet books. In the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar an article talked about weight loss: it’s not a “one-and-done” activity.

You need to keep up these healthy habits for the rest of your life. Not just while you’re trying to lose weight.

Again I’ll refer you to the books Atomic Habits and Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

Alas, nothing worth having comes without effort.

No one wants to hear that it will take permanent effort to maintain weight loss.

Yet my life experiences are the living proof: I lift weights 2x per week for 30 to 45 minutes in each session. And I cook my own healthful dinners 5x per week.

My father had Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

This accounts for my commitment to healthful eating.

You can live to be 81 like my father did. Yet if you’re in ill health how will you be able to enjoy your long life?

More about my typical eating plan in coming blog entries. With a few of my favoriteĀ  recipes I like to cook for dinner.