This is a summary of my health and dietary journey from July 2008 through January 2009.
A New Year is upon us! I hope you are doing wonderful and keeping up with good eating and exercise habits. Perhaps this is going to be the year that you begin to really take accountability for your health and create the health you desire.
No matter what level your health is at, we all have to remember that achieving and maintaining optimal health is not a one time process. It is not even about needing a particular day or date to start on. It is an ongoing journey.
While many of us seem to be more motivated to make some “big” changes when a new year starts, the truth is that unless we are truly internally ready, the date itself will make no difference. That is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why most new year’s resolutions made, get broken before January is even over.
As for my personal health and wellness, a few important changes have taken place in the past 6 months. As I keep perfecting and improving my dietary lifestyle consciously to keep reaching a higher quality state of being on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, I continue to transform my being.
If you are interested to know where I was at 6 months ago, you can read my Evolving Wellness in Action 2008 updates.
As for where I am now, well I have to tell you I am thrilled with the way my lifestyle changes, which started off very seriously about 2 years ago, have begun and taken off full swing. I have never been one for fast food or high amounts of heavily processed food, since growing up I was fortunate enough to have parents who cooked almost every meal from scratch. However having said that, to compare my definition of “healthy” then to my definition of “healthy” now is like comparing night to day.
It has been about a year and half since I have eaten any kind of meat, and yes this includes fish. I am free of all dairy now, which I recently removed completely. The last being the odd sprinkles of organic cheese to the odd meal.
I still eat eggs, only for the B12, as I have really lost most of my desire for them. I am in the process of researching this topic much more extensively to perhaps completely eliminate them from my diet within the year. I didn’t want to rely on supplements for attaining this very necessary vitamin, but may shift my views about this given the possible choices. Non-animal sources, like spirulina, are quoted in some sources as being a credible source of B12, but in other sources as not, stating that they contain mimicking compounds to the B12, not the actual B12 itself.
I have not opened a can of any kind of food, in I think about a year or longer, and I cannot tell you how good that feels. My freezer is almost always empty, aside from some whole wheat, low sodium flat breads that I sometimes like to have on hand.
I have not had a drop of alcohol in over a year and a half, and in the last 6 months have seriously decided to cut out all refined and processed sugar items from my diet – yes this includes conventional chocolate. I hear from people all the time, “oh but that is so hard” and “I could never do it”, but I can tell you as a previous chocolate lover that it is not that hard at all. It all comes down to a serious choice and getting real and honest about why we may be craving or desiring it at any given time. This will usually come once you understand your body’s physiology a little better and know how substances like that really do not offer any benefits to it, only unnecessary stress to our body. Unsweetened, raw cacao is a different story, but not something I am interested even in looking into at the present time.
I am happy to report that I do not visit the middle aisles of the grocery store anymore, except once every few months to stock up on dried beans and dried, whole grains.
I continue to be conscious of eating as much organic and raw fruits and vegetables as possible and of course always in their fresh form. Every meal is actually so easy to prepare as the general pattern that I am using each day is: a grain, a legume, and lots of fruits and veggies. So there is no worrying or over thinking of “what are we going to cook tonight.” You cannot imagine how creative one can get with grains, beans, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, fruits and vegetables, without making the same combination twice in months!
In terms of my weight, I am not a good example for most people in our society as I have had pretty much stable and optimal weight (which fluctuates by about 5 pounds the most) since I was a teenager. But this is not by “luck” or “genetics”. It is because my whole life I have taken my health and weight quite seriously. However in the past year, a couple pounds have come off too, which one will almost never complain about. However, I do know other people who have adopted a similar type of lifestyle and experienced some drastic weight loss.
The best part about all of this, aside of course from the amazing health benefits, is that I do not feel like I am missing anything or depriving myself of anything. The only thing my body is now deprived of is damage and stress caused intentionally by the poor diets that most of us eat.
So what does all this mean for you? It means that eating optimally healthy is not only possible, but so easy and so very much doable and most importantly worth it — especially if you are in love with life like I am!
If you need some more motivation or convincing, my health speaks for itself too. Two years ago I was in great health but would experience the odd energy fluctuations, get a cold twice a year, and perhaps the odd headache, as well as had elevated cholesterol. Nothing more, so yes I know I was very fortunate then too, but that was not optimal health by any means. Plus, I am still very young and eat generally healthy according to society’s standards, but I don’t want to just settle for the average, I want to create the best health possible! And so today, I can honestly say that I am enjoying optimal health—no colds, no headaches, and extremely well balanced and stabilized energy all day long, as well as cholesterol levels that are optimally low. I really cannot tell you how truly amazing that feels!
It means that I get to focus on living life and experiencing all the beauty and vibrancy that if offers us all the time. It means that I do not have to take “sick days” or “time out” days or feeling “off” days. It means that I do not get grumpy or have to deal with my body’s discomforts. Again, I cannot tell you how easy it actually is to live this way. All it takes is one conscious decision after another of how we want to nurture ourselves and it begins to take on incredible momentum that makes living this way so easy.
Believe it or not, my greatest health challenge for the past few years has been not drinking enough water. I love it, yet most of the time I do not feel thirsty, and hence go without it. I know, however, that my body needs it in much higher amounts than I am putting in.
So in the last 6 months I have stopped drinking processed/pasteurized fruit juice altogether. Even the best organic and unsweetened, so called 100% fruit juice, is jsut a form of processed sugar, empty calories, and not optimal for my body, as I once thought. Aside from the odd cup of herbal tea and usual fresh fruit and vegetable homemade smoothie, my only other beverage of choice now is water. I have really made myself more conscious of taking in this liquid throughout the day whether I feel the need for it or not, as I know the benefits and healing properties of water are almost too numerous to name!
My next desire to continue to improve my state of being is to incorporate a truly regular exercise routine. Don’t get me wrong I exercise, but not as regularly as I like, especially during the cold months. The only thing I have managed to do for a couple months now on a daily basis, is a stretching routine based on yoga, first thing every morning. And as great as that feels I crave something more intense and vigorous on a regular basis.
Not to be making excuses, but I am an outdoors type of person. Outdoors that is, when it is warm. During those months, I am doing all sorts of activities outside on a regular basis, including long walks, hikes, and bike rides. Unfortunately, as the climate in Canada goes, only 5 months out of the year can be called a comfortable warm, so since I cannot change my climate (for now), I need to change myself. And no matter what most people say, it is never a time factor and if I am to be truly honest with myself, not even a climate factor, but a priority factor. Either we make exercise a priority, like eating or washing ourselves, or we don’t. Unfortunately many of us don’t.
In terms of food, there is nothing more that I need to or want to give up for the sake of my body’s optimal health at this time, but simply desire to keep finding and adding in more nutritionally dense, whole, natural foods, and perfecting the balance and variety of the food I eat. There are still so many wonderful fruits and vegetables that I either have not yet tried or do not eat regularly that are amazing super foods with so many benefits to offer.
In the last 6 months, I am most happy to report about the incorporation of simple, home-made soups into my diet – inspired by Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live. It is the most enjoyable way for me currently, to incorporate nutritionally rich vegetables into my diet that I would otherwise have a hard time eating. These soups are so simple, that almost no recipe is needed. Just gently cook a few different veggies together in some water, throw that entire mixture with the water into a blender, and season with fresh herbs and spices and you are good to go. You can even try some raw, as appropriate. They provide outstanding nutrition and are so incredibly satisfying and delicious!
When I explain my lifestyle and the changes I am making at work, I am now often asked: “so what do you want to do, live to 150 or something?” To which my answer is no, not necessarily, although I am totally open to the idea. What I do want, is the years that I do spend on this Earth, whether it be 60, 80, or 150 to be lived out in the best quality of life possible. Not to be plagued by unnecessary pains, or taking pills, or wasting my time at doctors’ appointments and the like. I know that this is not only possible, but very attainable if one is serious about it. I want to age gracefully without anti-wrinkle creams. I want to be active to a ripe old age. I want to be responsible to myself and effectively deal with whatever comes my way, rather than blame genetics, society, the environment, or God.
All this is possible for each and every one of us, but again it takes a conscious choice and then action to follow that choice through in our lives. As I have stated many times before, we do not need to be part of any of the disease statistics out there, we can choose a different path for ourselves, which is what I am doing.
Many people are not yet convinced by how much one’s diet is directly linked to their state of health. It is unfortunate, as there is no coincidental or indirect link here. Statistically speaking, it is a directly proportional relationship. The better our health choices, the better our health. Of course it is just easier for many of us to suffer and blame external sources, rather than accountability. Ultimately, we each have our own free will and our own journey to experience. Just always know that if you do want any support or information on how to transform your life where your health and wellness is concerned, this is where you can depend on EvolvingWellness.com via which I intend to support you in any way I can.