Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too much fruit? Guess so.

As much as I love fruit, I've never limited myself.  I was just boasting to some friends as I picked plums from their tree that I can eat as much fruit as I want and I don't have digestive problems.  Even plums?  Yes, even plums.  Cherries, blackberries, apricots, pomegranates, apples.  Whatever I pick fresh off a tree, I'm likely to eat and eat until their gone without a problem.  Well, not this week. 

I ate those tender plums by the bowl a few days ago and paid dearly in my poor stomach for the following few days . Okay, maybe "paid dearly" is an exaggeration.  It really wasn't that bad.  But it was uncomfortable and made me remember to practice variety and moderation in my eating. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Using a straw

I've made a new discovery about drinking green smoothies.  Using a straw makes them taste even better!  I'm not sure why, but of course I have my theories. 

First I think it may just be a mental connection.  I have memories of going with my dad in his lumber truck when I was little.  He'd always stop for a hamburger and would let me get a milkshake.  Even the way he talked about getting milkshake made it sound like it was the greatest privilege ever.  He loved them with fresh strawberries or peaches.  If I ever got strawberry, it was probably because I liked pink.  Nonetheless, I always thought it was fun to try to get that thick shake up a straw.  Very fun.

Now I take my kids to Jamba Juice and once again, we get to drink them with straws.  Makes it seem like more of a treat for some reason.

Yesterday I took a green smoothie with me to a friend's swimming pool.  I usually pour my smoothies into one of my stainless steel water bottles when I'm away from home. Often the smoothie comes down fast on my face and I end up with smoothie on my nose.  But it never bothers me.  I can find a napkin (and came to grips with being a clutz AGES ago).  But I couldn't find any of my stainless water bottles yesterday and resorted to using my daughter's Jamba Juice cup (not their disposable ones, but one she bought that has a hole in the middle of the lid for a straw).  I could see that it wouldn't work to just try to drink it out of that hole, so I somehow found a straw and took it with me.

My green smoothies usually taste better than ever away from home than in my own kitchen, but this time it was even better than better!  My second theory besides the good memories and the celebratory feel is that the straw allows the smoothie to hit the middle roof of your mouth only whereas a regular drink (or even using a spoon if it's really thick) puts it all over your mouth.  Maybe the taste bud sensor in that top center notices more sweet and not any greens to make it even tastier.  I don't know.  I just know that I experimented with it at the pool and took a sip with the straw, then opened up the lid, drank a little sans straw and the straw sip definitely won out.

Try it out.  You may just be loving it too!

P.S.  Here are the links to my favorite green smoothies and a few other posts about greens if you haven't seen them before:

Berry Green Smoothies
Citrus Green Smoothies
Faux Plum Green Smoothies
Dark Leafy Greens
Nutrient Density (Greens are the sure winners!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Disease Analogy -- Flies in the Trash

I recently attended a Holistic Conference in Utah and was struck by an analogy for disease.  The workshop presenter, Stephen Horne, was telling us that the reason disease takes hold in our bodies isn't because the germ was nearby, but because our bodies were in a weakened state that invited the germ in.

The analogy is that if there is no rotting food in the trash can, the flies won't attract.  They'll stay where they are and not wander over to the trash can.  If there is rotting food in the trash, the flies will find the smelly stuff, come hover and feed upon the trash.  Did the flies create the rotten food?  No.  Did the flies make the food go bad?  No.  The food was already rotten and attracted the flies, giving them them a place to nest and multiply.

Likewise, taught Stephen Horne, our bodies are like that trash can.  If our bodies are strong, healthy and uninviting to that bacteria or virus, the germs won't be able to come in and make themselves at home.  Our bodies will resist disease.  If we do get sick, did the germ make us sick?  No.  We were in a weakened state, whether by lack of sleep, too much mental stress, overworking physically, or poor nutrition.

Many may find this hard to believe, but I know when I've really taken care of my body (whole foods only, enough sleep, balance in my life), I've gone a whole year without getting sick.  My kids can pass a flu or cold from one to the other with me being their home care nurse and I wouldn't catch it.   If I ate poorly, it wouldn't take me long at all to end up in bed like they were.

I've heard people say, "Oh, she was run down" or "His immune system just got low" or in fitness circles, "She over-trained" to explain why someone got sick.   It's true.  When we don't care for our bodies properly, we can create an environment for illness.  When I went to a Raw Food Conference a few years ago, I met people who had been eating only whole or raw foods for many, many years and hadn't been sick at all.  One man hadn't been sick in over 25 years.  25 years!  Others had overcome asthma, allergies, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.  These aren't even the diseases we attribute to germs.  Pretty amazing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You know you're eating better when . . .

. . . you go on vacation and you prefer (and eat!) healthy foods the whole time.  I recently returned from a trip across two states through snowy mountain passes and onto a college campus full of cafeterias, ice cream shops and vending machines.  I mostly wanted to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.  I brought along some homemade wheat bread and ate bits from that bread bag almost every day.  I missed my green smoothies, but I drank a lot of water.  When I went out to eat, I scoured the menu for salads or soups and ohhhhh, they were wonderful.  The best was from a chain called Zupas -- it was a berry salad on romaine lettuce (I had them add in spinach) with fresh raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.  They also had some toasted cinnamon almonds on top.  It came with a poppy seed dressing, but I asked for it on the side and didn't end up using it.  The berries provided plenty of moisture.  Oh,was it good!

Do you ever stop and admire how your eating has improved?   I used to just set goals and see how I fell short, but now I look back and say things like "Well, I could have done better at that BBQ, but I'm eating so much healthier than I used to" and will look back to years past.

Vacations used to be the downfall of any diet changes I was making.  Now I do just fine.  My biggest trap is probably Christmas, BUT I don't usually fall into the trap now until Christmas eve or Christmas day where before I ate absolutely horribly from about Thanksgiving till Valentines Day or Easter.  (I could never get a grip on it right after New Year's despite all the magazine articles that told me I should be).

I find that if I measure my overall progress bit by bit, I'm much happier with myself and my results. Off to make progress on this fine summer day.  TTFN!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sugar Addiction

I can hardly believe I let a whole month go by without writing.  Well, maybe I can.  I've been on two out of state trips plus a few not quite as far away.  I'm home to stay for the next several weeks though, so I'm ready to write again!  Thanks for patiently sticking with me!

I've been contemplating sugar addiction today -- I always do when I feel it creeping up in my life.  Some people say they were born with a "sweet tooth" -- others just say they love sugar.  What I say is once some sugar goes in my mouth, I want to eat more, more, MORE!  It's definitely an addiction and I feel like a loser with not a lick of self-control. 

When I talk about sugar addiction, quite often a friend will tell me that fruit has a lot of sugar too (like I should be avoiding it as well).   But I'm not talking about whole foods that contain natural sugar.  Whole foods aren't addicting for me.  They make me feel alive!  My body signals work just swimmingly and let me know when I've had enough.  That's not the case when I'm eating sugar recipes whether my own or the store's.  As soon as I get a few bites of  sugar-laden goods in my body, I'm a mess.  I don't even enjoy what I'm eating because I'm too busy thinking about putting another cookie in my mouth or filling up the ice cream bowl with a few more scoops.  I walk through the house afterward unable to be productive because I just want to live in the kitchen near the goods! That's quite the opposite of living in the moment.  It's like sugar masks itself as a pleasure giver, but is actually robbing me of the pleasure of enjoying each moment and having control in my life.

I wrote a post awhile back about shopping for less refined sugars.  It's useful information if you want to add some unrefined sugar to recipes and don't think you can just jump completely away from the way you've been eating.  Be sure, however, to note at the very end when I advise keeping even these sugars to a minimum.  I rarely bake anymore, but I did last weekend and now I'm revisiting my inner conversation about sugar addictions.  Even with unrefined baked goods, my body's triggers aren't quite in tact.  I still want to eat more than I need and I stop wanting the whole foods that my body desperately needs.

The best way for me to avoid sugar is to not make or buy the beasty treats in the first place.  I love plenty of whole foods that there truly isn't enough time in the day, money in my bank, or room in my stomach for all of them every day anyway.  Why not just turn to those foods instead of going back to old habits? Old habits and addictions can keep us from reaching our goals which is just plain silly.  Take control and no longer be a victim of what you once started.  I get closer and closer to realizing that dream all the time.  One of these days, I won't even be able to remember the last time I ate sugar.  And I'll have a HUGE smile on my face.  Guaranteed!