Here’s a roundup of some of the natural health blogs I’ve written for Natural Healthy Concepts, a vitamin shop and ecommerce store based in Appleton, Wisconsin. Click on the images to follow the link to each article. Thanks for reading!
Here’s How I Did:
Raw Food Diet Day 1 [Started Monday, June 18, 2012]:
Breakfast: Wheat oat bagel, strawberry and banana smoothie, coffee with hazelnut creamer
Lunch: Rosemary sourdough and turkey sandwich with Dijon mustard, Baked Lays (chips), water
Dinner: Vegetable spaghetti, salad with Ranch dressing and Romano cheese, 1 glass Merlot wine
Snack: 1 Cutie orange, water
Total calories consumed (approximate): 1,910 calories
Total fat grams consumed (approximate): 29.5 grams
Raw Food Diet Day 2:
Breakfast: Maple and brown sugar oatmeal, 1 banana, coffee with hazelnut creamer
Lunch: Vegetable spaghetti leftovers, water
Dinner: 1 glass green smoothie via Vitamix (spinach, strawberries, blueberries), spinach salad with Ranch dressing
Snack: 1 piece aged Vermont cheddar cheese
Exercise: 45 minute Zumba (aerobics) class, lots of water
Total calories consumed (approximate, after exercise): 1,135 calories
Total fat grams consumed (approximate): 29 grams
Raw Food Diet Day 3:
Breakfast: 1 ½ bowls Kashi Go Lean cereal (contains as much protein as an egg) with skim milk, 2 Cutie oranges, coffee with hazelnut creamer, water
Lunch: Rosemary sourdough and turkey sandwich with Dijon mustard, water
Dinner: 1 glass (pear, apple, banana, strawberry, blueberry) smoothie via Vitamix, 1 piece Rosemary sourdough bread, 1 glass Merlot wine
Snack: 1 piece aged Vermont cheddar cheese, handful grape tomatoes, water
Exercise: 40 minute moderate walk on treadmill, lots of water
Total calories consumed (approximate): 1,390 calories
Total fat grams consumed (approximate): 18.5 grams
Raw Food Diet Day 4:
Breakfast: 1 glass smoothie via Vitamix (banana, apple, peach, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), coffee with hazelnut creamer, water
Lunch: Rosemary sourdough and turkey sandwich with Dijon mustard, 2 Cutie oranges, water
Dinner: Red potato soup smoothie with spinach, low fat cheddar cheese, and low fat sour cream via Vitamix, as well as 12 whole grain tortilla chips
Snack: 1 piece aged Vermont cheddar cheese, 1 banana, handful grape tomatoes, water, 1 cup jasmine rice, half an egg, spoonful of corn and onions
Total calories consumed (approximate): 1,530 calories
Total fat grams consumed (approximate): 35.5 grams
Okay, so I went a bit overboard during the weekend. After all, my body was just getting used to consuming more raw produce and less “real” food. I think I unknowingly rebelled a bit with my intake over these three days. I will attempt more discipline next weekend!
Raw Food Diet Day 5:
Breakfast: 1 glass smoothie (banana, apple, peach, strawberries and mixed berries), coffee with hazelnut creamer, water
Lunch: 1 cup jasmine rice, half an egg, spoonful of corn and onions, water
Dinner: Large spinach and romaine salad, Ranch dressing, carrots, onion, tomatoes, leftover rice, wine, water
Snack: Mini pecan roll, 1 large beer, licorice, 12 tortilla chips, 1/2 avacado
Exercise: 20 minute jog on treadmill
Total calories consumed (approximate): 2,425 calories
Total fat grams consumed (approximate): 62 grams
Raw Food Diet Day 6:
Breakfast: 1/2 egg, Kashi cereal, coffee with hazelnut creamer, water
Lunch: Pineapple and orange smoothie (core and all)
Dinner: Herbed French fries, grilled cheese and ham sandwich on pretzel breda, 38 oz beer
Snack: Pineapple smoothie with Malibu Coconut Rum
Exercise: Cleaned the house vigorously for four hours
Total calories consumed (approximate): 2,000 calories
Total fat grams consumed (approximate): 77 grams
Raw Food Diet Day 7:
Breakfast: Kashi cereal, coffee with hazelnut creamer, water
Lunch: 2 veggie burgers with slim buns, 2 pieces aged Vermont cheddar cheese
Dinner: 1 veggie burger with slim bun, 1 glass wine, 1 low-fat ice cream sandwich
Snack: 2 pieces string cheese, water, 2 low-fat ice cream sandwiches, 2 zucchini
Exercise: Short 15-minute walk
Total calories consumed (approximate): 1,960 calories
Total fat grams consumed (approximate): 41.5 grams
So when does the big disconnect happen between reasonably respecting every food group as a kid (thanks to mom and dad) to overindulging on fast food as an adult? For me, it was during college. The time crunch I was under left me not caring about cooking balanced meals; rather, I’d turn to quick fixes like single-serve pizza or Ramen noodles. And exercise? Forget about it! I was running around with so much “on my plate” that the thought of visiting a gym never crossed my mind.
That trend seemed to work at age 20, but ten years later … forget about it.
The Game of Numbers
At age 25, I vowed to make better food choices, and I actually held a gym membership off and on. Somehow, by sticking to basics like eating steamed veggies, chicken, and potatoes, I lost 30 pounds in a little over a year.
It was invigorating! I had so much energy that I joined a roller derby league, and I tried bellydance classes. However, high amounts of stress from my personal life suddenly crept on, and so did the weight. By 2010, I was back where I started.
What in the world could I do to get back to where I had been? What was I doing wrong? I blamed it on slower adult metabolism, work stress, and depression after having lost a close friend of mine. It was often hard to even get off the couch! So, I thought about it logically. Weight is all a game of numbers, right? The goal is to burn more calories than you take in. All I had to do was start counting calories!
This trick was something I had actually starting doing when my first dramatic weight loss occurred. Documenting what I ate allowed me to recognize patterns and omit bad habits when I saw them forming. After all, who needs dessert after every filling meal?
I also realized the “2,000 calories a day” guide on nutritional information labels do not mean every person should be taking in that much per day. In fact, women my height and age only burn about 1,400-1,500 calories a day on our own. To lose anything, we’d have to consume less than that, and combine it with exercise.
The Treadmill Doesn’t Scare Me!
There I was again—the gym. It was me versus the treadmill. At first, the treadmill won. I was too exhausted to run, and my knees hurt. But I soon realized any movement at this point would probably make a difference. So, I started walking. This moderate pace of walking raised my heart rate just slightly—enough to force me to breathe harder.
Then I picked up a Vitamix, a high-powered professional blender. This appliance does not come cheap! But, it was an investment for my health. So, I started a new meal plan. I was going to do what my mom had always told me as a child—eat more veggies!
By adopting a partial raw food diet, I began ingesting emulsified raw vegetables and fruits to absorb as many natural nutrients as possible, while fulfilling my hunger. I didn’t give up bread, cheese, or wine, of course (my favorite snack), but I did find myself buying more produce at the grocery store than anything else. I also started drinking more water.
After just four days of using the Vitamix, my new liquid meals were already making me feel more alert. Although their enzymes didn’t completely agree with my body at first, a few Beano supplements (and a walk on the treadmill) later, and I felt healthier than I had in years. All of a sudden, I had two “good hair days” in a row, and my skin seemed tauter than I had noticed in ages. I was off to a great start!
So, how did I start this new health regime? Here’s how:
What You’ll Need:
– Vitamix (http://www.vitamix.com): Any pro version will do; ranges from $440 to $650 and up
– Thermos: I picked up a sturdy, dishwasher safe and insulated version for $25 in the camping gear section at Target.
– Fruits and vegetables: I suggest getting a wide assortment from the grocery store; whatever organic raw food (fewer pesticides) is in season is best.
– Biokleen: Citric-based produce wash from any health food store (rinse all fresh produce with three drops off this in a bowl of water, let sit for two minutes, and then rinse off with clean water until all Biokleen is gone).
– Journal (woohoo – old school pen and paper!) or any calorie counting smartphone app to log what you eat and drink on a daily basis