Posts tagged ‘health’

August 12, 2011

Investing in your health

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about what it means to invest in your health, and invest in yourself. When I talk with people, one of the first things that comes up about eating balanced and healthy is that its expensive, and I get that, especially in this economy, but I often wonder if there are things we can adjust in our budgets to make eating health more financially feasible. In many other countries, people spend a large percentage of their money on buying food. Food in this country is produced and sold pretty cheaply, but we are quickly learning that the majority of food sold in the U.S. comes at much greater cost. If we spent less money on “things” like clothes, electronics, gadgets, entertainment and eating out, I think many would be able to fit shopping weekly at whole foods, or other better food stores, into our budgets. Recently I’ve been adjusting my own shopping habits and have been able to afford buying more organic produce and meat, and let me tell you, it is SO worth it. (The taste difference alone is worth it!) Some of the items that I try to always  buy organic are, eggs, milk, yogurt, chicken, fish, vegetables and fruits. Organic and local can be expensive, but think about how much you pay for prescriptions (in 08′ Americans spent 234  billion on pharmaceutical drugs), or how much you would pay to ensure your life is safe, because eating healthy is protecting your body.

Below is the link to an interesting video I just watched of John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) speaking about the state of nutrition in this country. It’s pretty eye opening and also carries some very unfortunate news. The thing about health in this country is it is one problem that CAN BE CHANGED, and relatively quickly if we strive to live this lifestyle, support and educate one another. The human body is an amazing machine that can be transformed very fast when given the fuel it needs to run efficiently.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, discussing food in America

So watch, listen, discuss, and self-reflect! Our bodies will always be with us, so treat your body right!

Gnash On!

-Michelle

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June 17, 2011

Thoughts, Updates, and more!

Hello Friends,

I know it has been quiet some time since I have updated, and I apologize. Like many, corporate world life has taken me in and eaten my energy to work on my goals. I have been working at an immigration law firm the past few weeks, and have decided to leave the firm to live my life. I have decided  to begin graduate school next winter and pursue a degree in Nutrition or Public Health. I know that giving up my stable job in this economy is a risk, but it is one I am willing to take to pursue happiness and fulfillment. I am working on some long term plans, getting my seeds in order to bloom. I have been teetering on the idea of graduate school, and have decided to commit after reading “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan.

Pollan’s book discusses the transition from our ancestors diets to the so-called Western diet. He focuses on where food regulation has brought us, and the faults of marketing certain things to be “nutritious” (i.e. omega-6s, antioxidants, high fiber, low-fat, etc.), missing the importance of balance and getting  those nutrients from the source. In a sense, Pollan talks a lot about how our diets have been replaced by processed foods that have to be fortified with extra nutrients, which can be harmful to our bodies. Pollan emphasizes the importance of questioning what is food and defending those things that people have been surviving on for thousands of years. I know when I look at a can of Cheese-Wiz, a frozen dinner, or even a granola bar, I myself often question if this is food. It seems that the Western diet is completely missing something (which I have be thinking about for quiet some time), a connection to the earth, to nature, and to culture. The food that has become most accessible and standard in the U.S. is also the food that is simply A LOT of empty calories. What I mean by that is its not nutritious, nourishing, digestible, or absorbable (all of which is essential to how our bodies run). “In Defense of Food” was able to bring together so many ideas, thoughts, and frustrations I have had with the Western diet for years. This book brought to light the importance of knowing your food, and feeling that connection with the earth. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that our earth nourishes our bodies. Towards the end of his book Pollan discusses a few rules he tries to live by, and I think they are some pretty important rules.

Eat food, Mostly Plants, Not too much!

  • Eat Food: as in, don’t eat anything your great grandma wouldn’t recognize, avoid products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, you cant pronounce, have more than five ingredients or that include High-Fructose Corn Syrup. He also suggest to avoid foods that make health claims and to shop the peripheries of the supermarket and avoid the middle, (or stay out of the supermarket all together).
  • Mostly Plants: Eat plants, mostly leaves. Leaves are full of so much fiber, Omega-3s, water and nutrients. Eat well grown food from healthy soils, because the food is going to be directly impacted by what’s in its soil. Eat wild foods when possible. And lastly, eat more like the French, Italians, Japanese, Indians or the Greeks (basically people who eat to the rules of any traditional food culture are generally not consuming the same creepy stuff that our food does).
  • Not too much: Lastly, Pollan talks about portion and eating habits. He discusses the importance of eating with others, sharing a meal, eating at a table (not a desk!), and slowing down the meal. Enjoying every bite and enjoying the company your with. There is nothing better than knowing that YOU are powering yourself to exist.
This book was everything I needed and re-iterated the importance of my long-term goals, my health, and how to take back the power of feeding our bodies. So, get in your kitchen and start empowering your body!
Gnash On,
Michelle
April 21, 2011

Journey to the bikini

So here we go, we’re going to talk about losing weight. Ugh, I know. Our society is extremely obsessed with weight, diet and bikini’s. I know I’m not alone when I say I think about weight loss almost hourly. It’s insane.

I have basically been overweight/chubby my entire life, and continue to struggle with it. From when I was a child till about age 20 I was pretty overweight, probably obese. I grew up on large portions and not much activity as a child. I’ve always been a big eater. When I was a child, as young as a toddler, I used to sit in the fridge and eat pickles. Food has always been a close friend, a life partner if you will. I had thought about losing weight for years, and would kind of try, but was never really ready for it.

In January 2008 I decided I was done. Done with being fat. Done with feeling guilty about my weight. Done with weight getting in the way of my life. I was young and I just wanted to experience a different life, one where I would have confidence and feel good. By June I had lost about 50lbs from my highest weight of 260lbs. Over that summer and fall I continued on Weight Watchers, with my lowest weight being about 60lbs lighter then my largest.

Losing that much weight is one hell of a transition to go through, and gaining some back fills me with ungodly amounts of Catholic guilt. So here I am, still substantially lighter and more fit then I once was but I’m not where I need to be yet. The past year has been a daily struggle to lose weight, knowing what I need to do, but being tempted by my life long friend, food. I have slowly been coming down from my holiday chunk, working out regularly, and trying to understand my eating patterns. I’m making daily goals, and weekly goals for myself, to help stay on track. For me, I have to stay accountable and picture how great it would feel to wear a bikini. My weight watchers leader always reminds us that this isn’t just about losing weight but about changing our lives and being empowered by our health. It’s a journey, and maybe I won’t make it into that bikini for a few summers, but if I hold myself accountable I can be in that bikini by mid-summer.

Me at my heaviest. (not the best picture)

Me at close to my lightest.

So, for those of you out there that know my experiences, stick to it, and know that taking it day-by-day is the way to stay on track. Losing weight may be one of the most challenging life experiences many of us will face, but the journey continues to be worth it. So cheers to your health.

-Michelle

March 27, 2011

The Benefits of Juicing (and eating raw).

After recently watching the documentary Food Matters (avilable to view on instant netflix!), I started to think a bit more about incorporating more raw foods in my diet. It has been said that if  51% of your diet is raw, you are consuming the optimal amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

You may be thinking, why do the fruits and vegetables I consume have to be raw? It’s pretty simple actually, our digestive systems are able to absorb every nutrient out of the produce much easier if it’s raw. When you cook vegetables, fruits, and nuts, the heat removes important digestive enzymes, bacteria, and antioxidants. Digestive enzymes are vital to easing digestion, breaking down fats, and maintaing a healthy pancreas. Bacteria is vital to helping your body breakdown foods, and keeping our immune systems strong. Antioxidants, especially in raw form, have the ability of not only keeping us from getting the common flu, but also build up as a defense to more serious illnesses.51% of our diets may seem like a substantial percentage, it’s actually not very difficult to get close to that. Daily juicing, eating a big salad, and filling in snacks with things like raw nuts (NOT ROASTED!), apples, pepper slices etc., can help you get pretty close to that 51% daily raw intake.

So, I decided to go for it and try juicing. Investing in a regular grade juicer is not too expensive ($150ish on Amazon), and what you get out of it is well worth it. After all, we SHOULD be investing in our health! I’ve been juicing a few times a week for the last 6 weeks or so, and love it! Some benefits I have noticed immediately are the energy boosts, regulating of the digestive system, and overall feeling strong to face common illnesses that go around this time of year. But bewared, just because you’re juicing does not mean you don’t have to get other fruit and vegetable intake. You also need to make sure you’re consuming the fiber from the produce. (Most juicers come with recipes to utilize the fibrous pulp in pies, meatloaf, breads, you name it). The regular juice in my house generally is carrots, apples, oranges, pineapple, kiwi, peach, lime, and berries. (I’m looking to start incorporating some more veggies soon). Juicing is a great way to get your vitamins and minerals in a way that you’re body can absorb more efficiently. Juicing diets are often used for cancer patients to boost immunity and cellular strength. To learn more about juicing diets I urge you to look into Gerson books and articles. In the meantime, Happy Gnashing!

Normal Juicing line-up

The Juicer ready to go.

Final Delicious Nutritious Drink!

March 23, 2011

Interactive Gnashing

So I’ve been grappling with where to start off talking about food. For me, food is interactive, hands-on and I think it’s valuable to explore the importance of that relationship. Okay, I know it may seem silly to think about having a relationship with food, but don’t be to quick to judge. Think about it this way, the food we prepare, are around and consume are the direct fuel for our lives. You know that feeling when you’ve had a greatly satisfying meal? There’s no better way to give back to your body then to give it the best food. The ability to connect our body and mind through food is a pretty phenomenal cycle in life.  Whether you’re religious or not, it’s beneficial to begin to think further about how the earth provides for us (which reinforces the importance of taking care of our earth). So today I urge you to self-reflect on what food means to you. How do you consume it? How are you connecting with the earth? What does feeding your body mean to you? These reflections are vital to maintain a healthy relationship with food. This all may seem a little vague, but take a few minutes to really think about it. After all, how you feed your body directly impacts your day-to-day life and long-term health.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”  -Native American Proverb


March 21, 2011

….All that matters is that we’re gnashing!

Hello World,

I woke up this morning and needed to get this up and running today. My life is food, I love to consume, observe, research, understand and be one with food. But I especially love gnashing  (I like a taste of everything, a girl can’t help it, trust). Food has been on my radar for 23 years now and it’s time to start discussing it. My hope is to bring some ideas, thoughts, alterations, creativity, and relationships to your gnashing. As I am pretty into nutrition, I will be talking a lot about other options, guidelines, and support to create some good refined gnashes. I will integrate a lot of the following topics as well: culture, health, holistic approaches, politics, access, community, fitness, do it your own ideas, visual art, music, and all things that involve life. My goals for this journey are beyond the web, with hopes of community building, and support. My favorite thing about food is the style, ritual, grove of the act of feeding your body, and my hope is to help everyone find this relationship to our bodies, the earth, and ourselves. Hope you can be part of the conversation.

Michelle

Here’s some China Gnashin for ya: