Lifestyle Change No. 1: First in a Two Part Series

joy of nesting

Beauty, exercise and nutrition have been of interest to me since in my early teens. What started off as youthful vanity paid off in health benefits later in life. I’ve worked hard at taking great care of myself since then but like most people I’ve had challenges.

Having said that, I’ve truly enjoyed the process. I’ve enjoyed reading Nicolas Perricone’s, Suzanne Somers’, and Diane Schwarzbein’s books on beauty and cutting edge, anti-aging solutions. And I’ve enjoyed following the nutritional documentaries on Netflix, particularly the ones on juicing and cancer prevention.

I’m more of a “maintenance” person. I haven’t allowed myself to get out of shape or more than ten pounds over weight since my teens. There is great news for women who haven’t been so diligent. It’s very simple. No matter what your age you can get your trim figure back, your health, and your beautiful skin by adopting the simple steps I’m going to lay out for you in today’s post.

Switch to a Plant Based Diet
Drink 64 Ounces of Filtered Water Daily
Eliminate all Packaged Foods and Fast Foods 
Exercise Moderately for Sixty Minutes Six Days a Week

For more details, read on…

I’m not trained as a nutritionist or personal trainer. The information I’m sharing with you is strictly from personal experience and reading lots of books on these subjects. I hope you’ll make a leap of faith like I’ve done at many times in my life. It’s so worth it.

My beauty, nutrition and exercise regime has varied over the years. As I’ve gotten older, I have found it necessary to “up my game” with a more rigid diet, less calories, and more activity. Currently I devote about an hour a day to fitness, six days a week. Broken down that means 25 minutes of sustained aerobics on the StairMaster or stationery bike and the rest is alternating Yoga one day and weights the next. If I play singles tennis I simply skip the aerobics.

Here goes…

Eliminate All Packaged and Fast Foods

Cut out all packaged and fast foods including diet foods and natural energy bars. I can’t tell you how important this is. It’s not just the calories, it’s also the junk that goes into these foods, the lies on the list of ingredients, the damage it does to your pancreas, and so much more. Eat real food.

Switch to a Plant Based Diet

Beans, Nuts and Sprouted Grains Replace Unhealthy Animal Protein. Kidney, garbanzo, cannellini, black beans, red beans and lentils are nutritious and delicious on salads, in soups and stews. Along with fruits, grains, vegetables and nuts they provide all the protein you need. Just make sure to use a wide variety of all of the above in order to get what you need. This has been proven from documented studies. There are numerous books and documentaries supporting it. Plant based diets are proven to be the cure for virtually every disease out there today. No one wants us to know this because too much money is being made in cattle ranching, pork and pharmaceuticals.

If you can’t convince your family otherwise, feed them lean animal proteins of turkey and chicken until they are ready to make the change themselves. Just make the rest of the meal plant based. This way there will be something for everyone and they’ll get their daily servings of produce. It’s a win-win situation.

Quinoa, barley, oats, millet and spelt are other great grains to try. Almonds, walnuts and cashews are the best nuts available nutritionally speaking. I love toasted walnuts in my oatmeal and on my salads.

Because nuts are high in fat and calories, you need to limit the amount. I usually do between one and one and a half ounces once or twice daily. You’ll need a food scale for this. I found mine at William-Sonoma for under $50.

Forget Diamonds, Salads are a Girl’s Best Friend. The easiest way to get lots and lots of produce in your diet is to make yourself a big salad every day for lunch. I’ve done this for many years. It’s a delicious way to make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables. I take a ten inch buffet plate and fill a little less than half of it up with fresh greens (sometimes romaine, sometimes spinach, and sometimes mixed greens); one to two servings of fruits such as golden mangoes, apples, berries, peaches or oranges diced into small bite sized chunks (I like a piece of fruit in every bite); vegetables such as cucumber, green beans, or asparagus; beans; toasted walnuts or cashews; chopped cilantro; lemon or lime juice or anything that you think might taste delicious together. I top it with either white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, and/or citrus juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Lemon juice tastes wonderful with balsamic vinegar.

And yes, you can have more than one salad a day! My family loves my big salads too. In fact, once a meat and potatoes guy, David raves about them and reminds me daily to make him one! The trick to a delicious salad is using the right flavor combinations. The sweetness of the fruit with the bitterness of the greens is especially tantalizing.

Sometimes I make what I call a salsa salad which just has chopped fruits and vegetables, beans, no lettuce, garlic, avocado, lime juice and cilantro. I especially love doing this with mango and tomatoes or peaches and tomatoes.

Juicy Skin with Juicy Beverages

Recently I did a post on juicing. I purchased online from Amazon the Breville Compact Juice Fountain for $99 plus shipping. It is a centrifugal juicer meaning it separates or extracts the juice from the pulp with a spinning, high velocity motor and grating blade. You can consume many more nutrients with freshly extracted juices than you could by eating one or two pieces of produce. Juicing has become more and more necessary in recent years with unhealthy, modern growing methods and poor soil conditions.

The Breville Compact juice extractor is easy to use and easy to clean up.

One 14 ounce fruit and vegetable juice a day is a great supplement to a healthy balanced diet. All fruit juices create insulin spikes and those are not good for you. You need to have vegetables in your juice too, especially fresh greens. I’ve come up with a great combination of fruits and vegetables that we drink every day. Drink them right away. The nutrients die off as the day progresses so don’t make them in advance.

For two 14 to 16 ounce glasses you’ll need about 6 large carrots, two to three apples, one raw beet, and two to three big leaves of kale. It’s really important to use organic produce, especially for juicing. Process the kale first. It won’t provide much juice and that’s okay. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals this way. Lastly, add the carrots, then beets, then apples. The carrots can go in whole but I quarter the apples and beets. Remove the apple seeds, they can be toxic.

Drink 64 oz. of Filtered Water a Day

All the hype is true. Water removes a myriad of sins from your system such as pollution in your air and water, additives and hormones in your food, and common air born virus’. It helps your liver filter all these things out so the rest of your body doesn’t have to work so hard.

I use a Brita water filter pitcher which filters out 60% of the impurities in my local water supply. I’m currently investigating a built in water filtration system however.

To find the ideal amount of water you should consume each day, take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. Now take that figure and use it as the amount of ounces of water you consume daily. Example: 130 pounds = 65 ounces daily water consumption needed.

60 Minutes/ Six Days a Week

Fitness requirements changed recently. They’ve been increased to six days a week with 25 to 40 minutes of cardio daily. If you work, have children and have never worked out I know this sounds next to impossible. It’s not. You will have to make some changes but the changes can and should involve the kids because they need exercise too.

When my now 29 year old son Christian was in grade school, at 7:30 a.m. I ran or rode the stationery bike for 20 minutes in the morning before work. I got off work at 4:00 and alternated doing Yoga at home and taking Christian to the gym with me. That meant just three days at the gym and the other three days at home doing Yoga.

Christian was required to stay active while we were at the fitness center. He could swim, lift weights, use the bike or treadmill, play basketball or racquetball. It didn’t matter as long as he kept moving. We were home by 5:30 with time to prepare dinner and eat together as a family. This is a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t leave much time for television and video games. But that’s a good thing right?

A Few Extra Tips…

Fats Can be Healthy Too

Avocado, walnuts, almonds, and olive oil are considered to be fats but the difference is they are good for you. Women need fat. It’s good for your skin and cartilage and most importantly it triggers appetite satisfaction or in other words, it keeps you from over eating! When you start eliminating all the bad foods from your diet, you will be amazed at how fresh, flavorful, real foods satisfy your hunger. For hours. Fats help with that and add a lot of flavor to salads and soups.

Sea salt

Years ago, I started using sea salt because my foodie friends were all raving about it. It was exotic to me. The stylish little jars. The tactile use of the fingers instead of a grinder. But then it started popping up in nutritional books I was reading. The books all said that regular table salt had anti-caking agents in it and that they were bad for you. Now I never use regular table salt. I have a grinder still but I fill it with sea salt that I buy at the health food store. It tastes much better to me than table salt.

Eliminate or cut back on sugar and caffeine. Try honey instead.

One of the hardest things for me since switching to a plant based diet was learning to prepare new foods. I didn’t do a lot of recipes with eggplant, Quinoa or kale. Now they are staples. It’s really not hard to do. Start out slow and plan on leftovers to save time and energy.

I post vegetarian recipes at least once a month on Joy of Nesting. Saveur has some great ones to choose from. Please pass this information along to other women in need, young and old. We need to look out for one another!

July 11, 2013

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Lifestyle Change No. 1: First in a Two Part Series

Lifestyle Change No. 1: First in a Two Part Series

Lifestyle Change No. 1: First in a Two Part Series