Healthy Eating Series: Making healthy choices in life….
by Guest Author, Teresa Fullerton
When it comes to your diet and daily exercise, wow, it’s amazing the plethora of choices available on both topics. How does a person choose the right path for their own life? And, it really is a personal choice, a personal decision. Think about all the diets, or lifestyle options we’ve been exposed to over the last 20-25 years. We can be vegetarian, vegan, a ‘Weight-Watcher,” a ‘South-Beach-er,’ an ‘Atkins’ advocate, a ‘Master Cleanser,’ a ‘Cabbage patch-er,’ or, we can just eat ‘grapefruit.’ Or was it lemons? For whatever reason, when my brain hears ‘diet,’ I think of suffering and extremes. And, the amount of exercise options available, as the kids would text, “OMG,” there’s Zumba, Yoga, Jazzercise, running, walking, cardio, strength training, bicycling, swimming, and gardening, etc., etc. There is so much to choose from.
A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me, “What are doing to eat healthy and how much do you exercise?” (I’m glad she asked me about eating healthy versus ‘do you diet?’ I hate dieting, it’s so depressing). So, what is it that I do?
For starters, years ago, knew I needed to drink more water, which have you ever noticed that most medical doctors never ask you about your water consumption, or explain the benefits of water for your body. Why? It’s one of the easiest things we can do to improve our health and longevity. I hear people say all the time, “I hate water, can’t drink it.” Yes, you can! Start small and build on it. I enjoy a 22 oz. bottle first thing every morning, before coffee or breakfast and then consume another two bottles (22 oz. each) throughout the morning and afternoon. Your body will crave it once you’ve developed the habit.
Food, I like all things God has created and my aim is for balance. My goal is to incorporate protein (lean meats, nuts, beans, cheese, or eggs), vegetables, fruit, some whole grain, and good fat into each meal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect at it, but it’s what I aim for. I try to avoid pre-processed foods as much as possible and try to stay away from ‘bad’ carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, pasta, cookies, crackers…blah, blah, blah). Making my own salad dressings has become the ‘norm’ at our house. My favorites are a blue cheese dressing, compliments of Ina Garden, and whole-mustard vinaigrette, compliments of Rachel Ray, to name just a couple. Some of the simplest dishes are the best, like the vegetable dish we had with last night’s dinner: take one fennel bulb, sliced in ½ inch strips, two medium sized red-skinned potatoes, cut in wedges, three carrots, cleaned and cut in 1 ½ inch pieces, season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, then coat with extra virgin olive oil. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes at 400 degrees. This is an excellent accompaniment with a pork dish.
Exercise, where the ‘rubber meets the road,’ if you will. Again, this is such a personal choice but unless you have some type of physical limitation that prohibits you from exercising, there’s something you can do. I enjoy a variety. We don’t really have the extra money for a gym membership, or ability to join exercise classes, but have found maintaining a variety of exercise DVD’s works well. There are so many styles of DVD’s available and it really doesn’t require much room at home. Even my husband has been incorporating them into his exercise routine. My personal goal is to exercise at least 5-6 times a week, for 30-45 minutes, two to three days are strength building, a couple are cardio, and I end the week with Yoga. Not real ambitious as some but find it’s a good balance. My friends think I’m a little crazy since my typical work out time is 4:30 a.m. (during the work week), but after work, or during work, I don’t have to worry about having to fit in a work out.
Enjoy making healthy choices that will improve your life!