Thursday, July 26, 2012

# 80 - Facebook Advice

I posted my previous blog, #79 - Taking the Vegetable Challenge - to my Facebook page. I told my Facebook Friends the truth. I am vegetable-y challenged, and as I seek a healthier lifestyle, I need help in coming up with ideas to incorporate more vegetables into my life.
Their help was almost instantaneous - sending me everything from advice to recipes to articles that might guide me along.
Judy Simon wrote the praises of Kohlrabi. "It has that crunch of water chestnuts when eaten raw, and a very potatoey feel when cooked. Also, I have a recipe for kohlrabi kugel which tastes exactly like cauliflower kugel, but it's much cheaper and no bug issues."
And she sent me a recipe:
Judy's Kohlrabi and CarrotsPeel 1 large kohlrabi, and slice and slice it into sticks. Peel 4 carrots and slice into sticks. Toss veggies with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tsps salt and 1/2 tsp basil. Let sit in fridge 1/2 an hour before crunching away. Keeps in fridge for a day or 2. Also, I add a small kholrabi, chopped into cubes, into a regular salad. It adds a great crunch!
Nina Sapir suggested that has tons of recipes.
Miriam Goodman sent me a recipe for eggplant from her Miriam's Kitchen blog - She said that eggplant is fun. I've never heard it described quite like that.
Yocheved Golani shared a guest column that she wrote about Healthy Comfort Foods -
Rochie Hurwitz suggested making some basic salad ingredients, bagging them, and keeping them in the fridge to take out whenever the salad mood struck. Then I wouldn't have to peel, chop and shred all the time.
I received more responses and ideas. I thank everyone for helping me include more veggies in my day. You're not just good Facebook Friends, you're good friends, because you're helping me along my journey to good health.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

# 79 - Taking the Vegetable Challenge

I know I am vegetable-y challenged. I know it. If you've read my Aim Well Blog # 76, you know it. And from our round table discussions, all the women of the Efrat Women's Health Center know it. 
I have made many positive changes on my road to better health, but the most difficult one is eating more vegetables.
I try to have a giant salad most every day. I've given up Shabbat potato kugel - replacing it with different baked vegetables. But that's just too little. My nutritionist Judy Kizer would really like me to eat about seven servings of vegetables every day. SEVEN?? 
I've finally gotten up to about seven fruits a day, which is TOO MUCH. I know. But I'm eating fruit instead of cake, instead of cookies, instead of something less healthy.
When I eat a fruit, I feel sweet, tingly, happy...fruity. When I eat a vegetable, I feel a bit green and sometimes mushy. Not amazing, like that fruity-feel.
But Judy wants me to switch some of the fruit for some vegetables.
So, this week at the Women's Health Center, I decided to take THE VEGETABLE CHALLENGE.
BTW, I'm the only one participating (unless YOU join me :) ).
Judy and our Social Worker Alizah Shapiro had asked us to write down our goals for the next three months, and then share them with the gang.
I wrote - Eat more vegetables instead of other things.
Then we had to break down our plan. 
I wrote: 
* Prepare veggies in the morning (in plastic bags or containers). Truthfully, this is a task that I hate. I'm not the domestic type and I can't see wasting a half hour of my time, but then again... I want to be healthy, so I'll try.
* Ask husband to make salad if I have no time :) (well, why not? he's great in the kitchen!) My husband has been humongously helpful throughout my journey to good health, and he's always willing to pitch in to help me, so, I guess this one will be easy. 
* Buy more different kinds of vegetables so it's more interesting. Some folks like to make the same dinner every night to simplify things. I usually do too, but I'm not such a vegetable-o-phile. If I can try all kinds of great vegetables, perhaps I'll find some winners and build up a nice vegetable repertoire. (BTW, if you've got any suggestions, please send them to me.)
* Try to rotate vegetables (tonight string beans, tomorrow baked potato, the next day asparagus). 
* Bake veggies at the beginning of the week, so they're on hand at home.
* Buy extra vegetables on shopping trips.
So, I woke up on my first day of my Vegetable Challenge. I wanted to take my sweet daughter and granddaughters to the museum. I was running around the house like a whirling dervish, and I remembered the vegetables. I called upstairs to my daughter, "Would you mind peeling carrots for me?" Well, she did it happily. We put them in a bag and took them along for everyone to share.
Then I had my customary salad for lunch. And when I got home for dinner, I took out all the leftover vegetable side dishes that were in the fridge, heated them all up, and ate Chinese vegetables, sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower. Yum. I was going to put a protein in there, but it was such an interesting vegetable medley, I couldn't think of any protein that would fit. So, I ate my veggies, cleared my plate and am at my desk chatting with you.
Tomorrow, IY"H, I'll try to start the day cutting vegetables again. This time, I think I'll add in some cucumbers and celery. How's that for variety? Well, it's only the beginning.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

# 78 - I'm Not Lazy, But...

I'm not lazy. Really. I exercise when I can. I dance when I can. I walk when I can. Really. I do what I can. Of course, I wish I could do more, but such is life.
Today is one of my sitting-still-and-hardly-moving days. I am trying to finish this issue of Voices, a monthly publication of which I have been lucky enough to be editor for the past 16 years. I've got a lot of pressure on me today. So I'll be mostly sitting at my desk for many hours until I can finish my work.
Okay...I walked for 50 minutes on the treadmill first thing this morning, but I've been at the computer today since noon, and I'll probably be here until about midnight (with a short exercise class and a session of learning with my granddaughter in between).
In the background, I am listening to Fox News - - and suddenly I hear a news item that has made me stop my work and write to you.
Fox reporter Shepard Smith just said, "Laziness is killing you. A lack of exercise can lead to as many deaths as smoking. More than five million people around the world die every year of laziness. One in three adults is not getting enough physical activity. That results in deadly health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer."
An expert that was interviewed said that there's even a link between inactivity and breast cancer and colon cancer. The doctor said that we need cardiovascular exercise of least 20 minutes three times a week to raise our heart rates.
Of course, it's not just about activity, there's also eating well, having less stress, etc. But Shepard specifically spoke about physical inactivity.
So, folks, after you finish reading this, please get up and walk around a bit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

# 77 - Out of the Box Exercise

I literally jumped out of mine and into the exercise box of the other class at the Efrat Women's Health Center. The teacher Lainie Richler was great, smiley, filled with fun-ergetic routines, encouraging banter and equally important, florescent green shoe laces on her sneakers. Their group exercised, if you can believe it, to opera. That caught me off guard for a few minutes. I'm not used to pony-ing to La Traviata, or whatever it was. Hm, I wonder what Verdi would have thought about it. 
Lainie said that the group alternates ever week between Sixties Music and Classics. Today we sashayed and cha cha'd to all kinds of songs that I know, or that I should know. I hummed along in my heart, but I have no clue what they were. Then suddenly, "Orphee aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld)" came up and we jumped around a little to the Can Can (one of its music themes), and I found myself in my element. 
One of the ladies suggested we swish our skirts, and we were Can Canning, kind of, up and down the room. 
Meanwhile, Lainie kept calling out steps and instructions without a pause. At our rehearsals for our newest Raise Your Spirits theater production of ESTHER and the Secrets in the King's Court, we're always wondering how we'll dance and sing at the same time. Well, if Lainie can do Jump Squats and Grape Vines one after another without stopping her Exercise Dialogue, then dancing and singing should be a piece of cake. We shall see. 
Thanks to Lainie and her class for giving me a warm welcome.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

# 76 - Learning from Our Mistakes

I am correctable, I HOPE. I do some things right, and I want to fix things I do wrong.
So, on my way to a healthier life, I have made many positive changes, B"H. I have added exercise into my life on an almost daily basis. I have cut out junk food and super-unhealthy foods. I have self-imposed an earlier bedtime and an earlier morning-alarm time. I have ditched most calorie heavy kugels from my Shabbat menu.
I have also tried to make healthier foods, but I don't cook or bake too much ever.
I'll cut my salad for the half hour it takes, but I don't spend too much other time in the kitchen on a daily basis.
In my own way, I might have thought I was doing my best to be healthy, but you know what...I really wasn't.
Correcting Nutrition Mistakes
Since I began my journey on the road to good health, I have posted all kinds of wonderful positive hooray blogs. Today I am posting the corrections that my nutritionist Judy Kizer of the Efrat Women's Health Center made to my weekly Healthy Living Food/Exercise Log.
Yes, every week, I send Judy Kizer my fitness log. It includes how much I exercise every day, and exactly what I ate. She goes through the list, and makes comments. Thank you, Judy. Today she made more comments than ever. (I think that's because, while I am eating lower calorie menus, I have started not doing my best to make the right food choices.)
* Every day I try to eat a big salad. Judy pointed out that one salad is not enough vegetable intake for a day. Judy wrote, "That doesn't mean eat another salad necessarily. It means incorporate more veggies into the day. Ex: butternut squash in the microwave, veggie sticks, sliced tomato or pepper or lettuce with your cheese and rice cakes (I love cheese and rice cakes), baby carrots.
Okay, Judy, I've heard you and will try to incorporate more veggies into my day. (I'll let you know how it works.)
* Some days when I'm on the run, I don't eat real meals. I just grab. Yes, I grab lower calorie foods, but sitting down for a meal is a very important part of the day.
Okay, Judy, I will do my best to spend time at the kitchen table honoring my food and having a real meal.
* Sometimes I grab a fun food - yes, with lower calories, but fun anyway - a 67 calorie Free bar, a less than 100 calorie Skinny Cow ice cream, or other diet ice cream.
Judy said that some of my processed food choices may be low in calories, but they're also "low in nutrition." She suggested, "To get more nutrition, increase vegetables, also increase some nuts and seeds instead of a Free bar or a diet ice coffee drink. Try three times a week to have six to ten walnuts or cashews; 12-15 almonds, 30 pistachios with a fruit, vegetable or alone. They are much more nutritious, and if you limit the number of nuts (as I recommended), you stay under 100 calories).|
Okay, Judy, I'll do my best to grab a fruit or nuts instead of another under-100 calorie snack food.
I already had a nectarine today. You see, I am trainable.

Monday, July 9, 2012

# 75 - I Won a Prize

Two weeks ago at our meeting of the Efrat Women's Health Center, our nutritionist Judy Kizer and our social worker Alizah Shapiro gave each of us a test. They pointed out our individual most difficult health challenges, and then dared us to take on that challenge. Whoever succeeded in confronting her challenge and overcoming it would win a prize.
One of the women found it just about impossible to add in more exercise time. Another had trouble making a food journal. My trial was planning ahead.
Because of my busy schedule, I am always wondering, not even, what will I make for lunch today/dinner tonight, but what will we eat in two minutes. I am plan-ahead-challenged.
Judy and Alizah told me that I had to plan ahead for at least two meals, or was it two days. Well, let's say it was two meals, because you know what....I did it!!!
I planned ahead before Friday afternoon when we were all going to my son's house for a get-together, and I planned ahead before Sunday night when we were going to break our fast after the sad-holiday of 17 Tammuz. (Of course, I plan ahead for every Shabbat, but that's more or less a given in my crowd.)
So, tonight at the Efrat Women's Health Center, I excitedly accepted my prize. I just love winning prizes. But my biggest prize is finding out that even though I have a super-busy life, planning at least some meals is a possibility.
A) That makes me feel more in control of my life.
B) It makes me proud, because my family thinks that I'm a very competent home-maker. And maybe I really am getting there.
All good things.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

# 74 - Grab It!!

One of the downfalls for me of keeping up a healthy lifestyle has always been the running-out moment - running-out to carpool, running-out to a meeting, running-out to a rehearsal, running-out to shop.
You're running late and you're running out. Oops, but you forgot to eat. Suddenly, as you take the keys to the car in your hands, you are starving!! You've got to grab something for a running out moment.
There's no time to make a salad. Besides, think of how impossible it would be to eat a salad behind the steering wheel.
You could stop at a take-out food store, but what would you get? Fried chicken, a bagel. Um, no.
So, the only thing left is to grab something from the fridge, freezer or closet that can tide you over without weighing you under.
Now the really good-girl/good-boy health-conscious person would have something prepared in the refrigerator for just those moments!! But, let's be real. Most of you are like me, Last Minute Lil.
I don't know what the experts say, but here's what I grab for those running-out-moments:
** rice cakes and 9% cheese slices (I could take rice cakes and natural peanut butter, but this is a moment, when I can't even stop to spread the peanut butter)
** a bag of midget cut carrots (I could take carrots that I peel and cut myself, but this is a no-time moment)
** 67 calorie FREE bar
** a 100 calorie SKINNY COW ice cream
** a nectarine, peach or yummy fruit in season (they tell you to keep these in your bag, just in case, but they kind of mush, unless you've got a little square box that's fruit sized - hmm, maybe I should look for one)
** a yogurt (that you can drink with a straw, so you don't have to fuss with the spoon)
** a coffee (that you can put in the car holder - although this is probably not the healthiest options, what can I do, I love coffee)
** a bag of apple chips
** nuts and raisins, or nuts and craisins, or nuts and seeds
Hey, I've got to run right now. No time for cooking or baking or peeling. I think I'll grab a peach and get on my way.
Have a healthy day.