So, a couple of weeks ago, Jennifer (AKA MajorKnitter, whom I had no idea read this blog and I am extremely flattered that she does) suggested giving up processed sugar/sugar substitutes in order to help with my allergies. Since I was already trying three different OTC medications, lost my insurance when I graduated making prescriptions out of the question, and the only other suggestion I’d gotten was snorting lukewarm saltwater, I decided to give it a shot.
I already avoid sugar replacements like Splenda and Sweet’n’low, because the aftertaste is disgusting and it makes me feel kind of ill (also, Alice is allergic to fake sugar, so it usually never crosses our threshold). I figured that aside from the allergies, now would be a good time to cut out the processed bits, since I’ve been trying to get healthier.
I’ve set out several rules for myself. They’re based on one simple belief: All things in moderation. I’m not cutting out any food group completely (not even sweets). My goal is to find a balance in all things; balance that has been lacking from my life for the last four years. I’ve got enough stress in my life due to financial issues without adding what I eat to the list. I’m not going to punish myself or beat myself up if I slip. The goal is to find a balance somewhere between only having 15 minutes to eat and NOT eating from a vending machine, and working for hours at the computer but still making time to go for a walk or dance or do something.
Care to join me? Here are my “rules”:
1. No fake sugar. No sweetners, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Use the real stuff, and use cane sugar when you can.
2. Only fresh meat, cheese, vegetables, and bread. No wonderbread or anything like that. It has to come from the bakery, because it has fewer chemicals and is fresher. We usually get either Italian or wheat.
3. Frozen vegetables and fruits are good to have on hand as a stand by, but fresh is better.
4. Absolutely no dieting allowed. “Diet” items tend to be full of chemicals and fake sweetners. If you want a soda, go for regular. The Jones sodas are better (made with cane sugar and fewer chemicals), but water is best.
5. I love juice. I’m drinking only juices that are 100% juice.
6. I’m allowed one chocolate indulgence a day. I’m also letting myself have other candies and sweets, but there has to be a movie involved. Why? Because of money, movies are a special treat. So if we go to Blockbuster (maybe once every two weeks) or to a theater or whatever, then I can buy candy there (usually Sour Patch, because those are my favorite), but I can’t get it from the grocery store where it’s really accessible.
7.I’m trying to work out every day. I have a series of exercises that I’m doing every day. They’re just low impact things to help strengthen my muscles again. You remember my knee? Yeah. Caused by weak thigh muscles that couldn’t hold my patella in place anymore. I have awful periods and back pain because I don’t have any abdominal strength. And my carpal tunnel gets aggravated because I have no arm strength.
My list looks like this:
10-15 push ups (I do mine by bracing my hands on a hip-high counter; I’ve never been able to do them on the floor. My goal is to get there, though, by slowly lowing the thing I’m leaning on)
15-20 knee lifts (just sitting and lifting my legs straight out. I do this with a 1.5lb weight on each ankle. After doing 20 or so lifts, I hold my legs straight out for 30 seconds)
15-20 leg lifts (as in, laying on my side and lifting one leg at a time (again, with a weight)
After this, I switch the weights to my arms and do a “boxing dance” Basically, I punch the air in time to a song (my current favorite is “I Don’t Care” by FallOut Boy). The important thing is that the strokes are powerful, creating my own resistance. I go straight out, then straight up, and throw in a couple of lifts from the side as well.
8. I bought a DVD of a cardio workout, which I’m going to try to do at least once a week. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll probably start out doing just the first part, and work my way up from there. It’s danced based, and I love to dance, so it should be fun.
I think that’s all of it. I might add more if I realize I’ve forgotten something. As you can see, this is really basic. It’s not one of those “loose five pounds in a week” diets. I’m trying to change my lifestyle, so I’m not doing anything drastic, just little things here and there. Maybe my list isn’t for you, but you’re welcome to use it as a basis for your own small changes.
Basically, the healthiest I’ve been was actually in Italy, because I walked everywhere and it was almost impossible to even find processed foods. Our veggies came straight from the farmers, and even our “easy meals” were low in salt and preservatives, and didn’t come drowning in sauce or gravy. I’ve never seen butter, white bread, and even snacks that were so healthy. I’m trying to get back to that.
Care to join me? Let me know. Leave a comment. I don’t really have a support system for healthy living out here, especially since our choices for groceries are Walmart (mostly chemicals) and Kroger (where everything costs about twice as much as Walmart, and is out of my budget).
Wish me luck!