I loved to make fun of Oregon when I was growing up. Being from California, I thought all those people up north walked around in Birkenstocks all day and never shaved their armpits. Obviously, that’s not true. Some of them actually walk around barefoot. KIDDING!
I thought people who bought organic or cared about the environment were hippies. This stereotype persisted even after I moved to Washington. Slowly (like last week), I realized there are all different types of people no matter what state you live in. For example, not all Californians are blond and they don’t all say “dude” (except I do say “dude” a lot, but that’s not the point).
In 2009, I began a journey to get healthy. I started running and tracking my calories (not for the first time) to lose weight. I thought I was being so good about my food choices, even though now I know that SmartOnes and Lean Cuisines are not the way to a healthier body.
Here’s the thing I’m just recently realizing this: To feel and look healthy, you must pay attention to both the outside AND inside of your body.
In the spring, my husband expressed interest in eating a healthier more protein-focused diet. We didn’t cut out carbs, but we tried to balance them with protein, which I understood as chicken and beef. His goal was to lose weight. He’s not a person that enjoys exercise and he’s struggled with being overweight for a long time. He began, in January, just focusing on eating less and moving more, and he lost some weight. Our protein-focused diet in the spring helped. Then, he heard about Bob Harper’s book, The Skinny Rules. He bought it and listened to it on his commute.
I was skeptical, but he bought the hard copy of the book so I could read it and we could more easily use the recipes. I was struggling with losing my last 5-10 pounds. I read the book and it made a lot of sense, and it was reassuring that our protein-focused diet was sort of on the right track.
Among other things, Bob’s book taught us about other healthy sources of protein – like eggs, fish, tofu and beans – and how to balance carbs and proteins (plus, to try not to eat carbs at night since your body uses them too fast; it needs a slower source of energy like protein and veggies that it can use while you’re asleep – makes sense!).
My husband has lost nearly 30 pounds since January. More than half of that weight has come off since starting The Skinny Rules two months ago.
I’m still struggling with that last 5-10 pounds, however, I’m closer to the 5 now. Part of the reason why I struggled more (up to about 2 weeks ago), I think, is that I wasn’t tracking my calories. I felt it wasn’t helping any, but it turned out that I had configured my plan wrong and I was eating too few calories. I suck at math. I can’t keep track in my head. So I need to track calories. I’m the kind of person who will probably have to track her calories for the rest of her life. That’s just the way it is. If I want to look and feel good, I just need to do that.
Even though I’m still trying to take off those last few pounds, I’ve noticed improvements in the way I look and feel since eating…well, basically, eating clean. My stomach is firmer, my arms are more defined, and my insides seem to be working the best they ever have
We eat a lot of fruits and veggies. We eat beans and tofu, and fish. And we eat chicken and beef, too. I don’t put sugar or chemical creamer in my coffee anymore – I don’t even like the way it tastes with cream or sugar now! I mean, that creamer. It always made my tongue feel weird. Probably you shouldn’t eat things that make your tongue feel weird. I’m no food saint, though. I admit I still eat a lot of popcorn, but now I make it with just a small amount of oil and a very, very small amount of salt. I’ve discovered that too much salt really does a number on my body and the way I feel
I also try to buy organic whenever possible. I even buy organic popcorn! I buy the more expensive grass-fed beef and began purchasing organic chicken recently. It’s not cheaper, but it’s not that much more than I was spending on groceries already.
To be honest, I’m growing more concerned about pesticides, antibiotics and chemicals that are in our food supply. I know that’s a super hippie thing to say, but you can’t tell me the high rates of cancer and obesity in this country aren’t somehow tied to the agents that get sprayed on crops or the hormones injected in cows and chickens to make them bigger, faster. Have you seen the size of those frozen chicken breasts at Costco? Lord! Chickens are not that big. That cannot be “natural.”
It’s actually really scary if you think about it too much. I especially don’t want my son eating chemicals and antibiotics. I am realistic, though. I do want to give him what he wants…but within reason.
My son loved Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese. But I stopped buying it. The thing is, kids’ little bodies can’t handle that processed food. If it makes me feel yucky, then it’s going to be worse for him because it’s even more concentrated. So…I buy Annie’s Mac & Cheese instead. It’s not the most nutritious thing ever, but it doesn’t have chemicals in it, and he likes it. He doesn’t get it all the time either. It’s a treat for him (and it’s not that expensive; Fred Meyer had a deal: 10 for $10!).
His favorite thing I make him is whole grain pasta with chicken and broccoli (he doesn’t like chicken and broccoli, but we make him eat it – WE are the parents), a teaspoon of butter and some grated mozzarella on top (the butter and mozzarella melts). So cheap and easy. Of course, we want him to eat what we are having, but sometimes it’s too spicy and things like that.
Yes, I know we are going to have some “bad” stuff occasionally. Heck, I shared two Krusty Pups (corndogs) and some cotton candy with my son at the fair over the weekend. We also walked for 5 hours. And I like beer, and wine. Nobody’s perfect.
But I’m hoping that if we eat smart and clean and organic most of the time, that we will live better. I don’t know that we’ll live longer, but we’ll hopefully live better with less chance of getting diseases and illnesses.
Today, I was looking at organic shampoos. After doing some basic research on the ones I was looking at, I noticed that even some of the supposedly natural shampoos have toxins that harm the environment and things like petroleum-based fragrances in them. Um, gross. Then I actually thought, “Maybe I’ll make my own shampoo.”
I guess I should go ahead and get some Birkenstocks now because my hippie transformation is nearly complete. I draw the line at shaving my pits, though. That would seriously chafe on a long run.