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.

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.

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.

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.

_____________________

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.

 

Status of 3-Month Challenge – Update

Hmm _ forgot I scheduled this blog entry and wrote 2 entries with the same title šŸ™‚

On January 14, 2020 in this blog I wrote about the 3-Month Challenge I wanted to achieve.

My goal was to cook my own dinner 4x per week and do a walk-run on the treadmill 1x per week.

On March 17, 2020 the gyms in New York City were forced to shut down along with the retail stores.

As far as my goal of cooking dinners 4x per week this has been achieved.

In the time of the pandemic and living indoors it has been easier to cook dinner nearly every night.

My concern is how the changed nature of living life during the pandemic had disrupted anyone who was using the Changeology 5-Step 90-Day Action Plan to realize our goals and resolutions.

In this extraordinary time each of us needs to act kinder and gentler towards ourselves and others.

I live with the belief that everyone living on earth is doing the best we can with what we were given in life.

No judgments–that is the way to move forward–to live with no judgments.

Before the pandemic hit I had started to use the treadmill. I continued to lift weights.

Now that everything has changed I understand what it feels like to have your life upended by a circumstance outside your control.

I will talk about this more in the next blog entry.

Status of 3-Month Challenge

In January I wrote here my 3-month challenge:

To cook my own dinners 4x per week. To do a walk-run on the treadmill 1x per week.

On March 17, 2020 the gyms in New York City shut down because of the coronavirus.

My goal of using the treadmill was put on hold. I had been using the treadmill before that.

Since January I have been cooking my own dinners. Since March 15 I have cooked my own dinners at least 5x per week.

Forced to stay indoors it has been the perfect time to cook my own dinners.

It’s healthier to cook your own dinners. That is it’s healthier to cook nutritious food.

Red meat and other meat should be avoided.

I have chicken once a week. A salmon filet twice a week. Scallops once a week when I’m able to get them. Tofu-and-broccoli once a week. Some kind of squash once a week. That gives me one free night. With this main dish I have some kinds of vegetable.

I don’t ordinarily eat a lot of whole grains. I have a container of full-fat Fage plain Greek yogurt with organic blueberries and some honey after I do a workout routine.

In the morning I scramble organic eggs and veggies for breakfast. For lunch I have a salad–I try to have a salad at least 4x per week–or 5x per week when I’m able.

For a snack every day I have organic fruit–berries or a banana or a Fuji apple or a pear when in season.

In the coming blog entries I will talk about the current research that proves what I’ve been writingĀ  in here all along: the food you eat can improve your mood.

For more on this you can buy the TIME special edition magazine The Science of Nutrition.

Adapting and Being Flexible

I think now of the beauty and benefit of adapting to a challenge rather than expecting that things can go “Your Way” like they used to.

While the COVID-19 outbreak rages I make do–and sometimes that is all you can do–persevere in whatever fashion it comes to you to persist.

I’ve adapted in one specific way: I have a heightened sensitivity to the role of nutritious food and physical activity in promoting optimal health.

The crisis has turned out to be for me the catalyst in wanting to up my fitness game post-pandemic.

The unpredictability of getting food delivered has forced me to reconsider the food I’m able to eat right here right now.

For one I have had to buy regular produce not organic at times.

Being flexible in this regard will make all the difference. It reminds me to be grateful that after the crisis ends it will be easier to eat more healthfully.

In adapting and remaining flexible you hold the key to winning against a setback.

Which I will talk about more next.

It’s imperative to not lose sight of your life goals while experiencing a hardship.

Eating for Life

You can get weak if you don’t eat while staying indoors in the time of the pandemic.

I have the opposite dilemma. Most people snack on comfort food in times of stress. I don’t ordinarily feel like eating in this time.

Though I’m Italian I eat to live I don’t live to eat.

I urge everyone who must stay home to keep up with eating as healthfully as you can. Should you need to compromise remember that this is only a temporary setback.

I’m not a fan of having soup for lunch every day. I’d rather make a salad.

Since the availability of a food delivery is unpredictable I understand the need to make temporary adjustments.

In New York City you can dial 311 to request that food be delivered to you.

Though I miraculously was able to score a FreshDirect time slot I was shut out again after that.

Since living life in this pandemic is a week-by-week and often day-by-day reality this is where I say it pays to adapt and be flexible.

If readers can do only one thing, I would urge you to eat as healthfully as you can.

Sheltering in Place

My job has shut down indefinitely.

As others might be sheltering in place as well I would like to take about mental health in a time of crisis.

The number-one goal as I see it in this time of staying indoors is to eat as healthfully as possible.

The second critical goal is to keep up your mental health.

You can click on my home gym category to see how you can exercise at home.

I’ve been buying a CSA box of organic produce plus a mound of cheese and carton of eggs via FreshDirect online grocer in New York City.

Type in CSA box in the search bar.

PeaPod is available elsewhere.

As long as you can keep up buying food this is what is imperative.

What matters most as I see it is protecting your mental and physical health.

Today more than every nutritious food can elevate your mood.

I would tell others to stay inside. Only go out to the bank or food shopping or the laundry center should you have to. You might think nothing could happen because you’ve been inside a long time so far. I wouldn’t risk going out.

Stay 6 feet away from others as recommended to practice social distancing.

In a coming blog entry I’ll post a message I posted to my other blog.

It bears repeating that having compassion is the way to go.

Be kind to yourself when you’re holed up in your apartment or house.

The CO-VID19 outbreak will settle down. We will return to normal.