Thursday, June 17, 2010

Foodz, Gwowious Foodz!

Being healthy makes me happy. I've struggled for years with maintaining a healthful lifestyle, and I've always been an all-or-nothing type of gal; case in point: exercising religiously for 3 months, only to drop off on a pizza and margarita binge, leading to a 3-month gym hiatus. Or that time two birthdays ago when I couldn't really afford groceries, and lost 15 lbs. I looked good! Took horrible care of myself - I was partying, drinking, not eating, sleeping odd hours. Making out with randos and inanimate objects.

For the first time in a LONG time, I've found a lifestyle change that's stuck with me, and that's through creating attainable short-term goals, exercising patience for my body to adapt to a new way of eating, and allowing myself to really get buck wild with the food I crave (see: PIZZA) once a month or so.

I'm not thin. I'll never be "skinny" - that's not my objective and I'm not built that way. I got junk in the trunk and I ain't cleanin' out my sedan any time soon. But I can proudly say that I take good care of my body and that I'm healthy - and can totally lift weights with the dudes at the gym. Which does not make my boyfriend uncomfortable.

Click "Read More" for the rest!

Vegetamables!

Vegetarianism certainly isn't for everyone (what I mean is, not everyone is awesome enough to be a vegetarian. Oooooh burnnnn!). I've had to answer to several testy people asking me WHY I am one; am I an animal rights activist? elitist? allergic? I'm really none of the above. Sure, I care about animal rights, and I'm appalled by the production methods of the meat industry, but that's not what lead me to cut meat out of my diet for the past 3 years. And, in fact, I think meat is delicious. There's nothing like a sweet cut of filet mignon with béarnaise sauce and a side of mashed potatoes - but that's not the point.

It actually started with a desire to make a tangible change in my life that I could commit to for the long term, given my track record, and to hopefully lose weight on the way. I started experimenting with fake meats, lots of soy products, and ways to get protein without the chicken, turkey, beef, fish, etc. It was tough - and the first year I actually gained weight. Which made me feel really good. Really good.

Along one of my bookstore perousings, I discovered the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, which ultimately became an entirely new way for me to look at food. The book's guidelines are super strict and, seemingly, for people who are independently wealthy who can stay home and prep food all day - but I took with me the basics and applied it to my life. It has become my bible of eating, and the first lifestyle plan that's really ever made practical sense to me. The breakdown: eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, using the formula Health=Nutrients/Calories. Choose the food you eat based on the nutrients, vitamins and benefits it brings your body - period. A lot of what we eat today (see, again: PIZZA) is purely to soothe some sort of mental craving, and carries no nutritional merit for your body. Doesn't mean it isn't freaking delicious and satisfying; and I believe that mental quelling is equally as important, which is why I allow myself to rampage on a pie every now and then.

Because my body has now adjusted to the different food I've been shoveling in, I'm satisfied with meals I used to think were kind of boring, and I now crave those things over junk (most of the time - please, I'm human). An example of what I usually eat:



  • EGG WHITES: usually scrambled with vitamin-packed veggies like spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes. Then, proceed to sing the jingle from the 1990s eggs commercials. I love eggs. From my head down to my legs.
  • OATS + GRAINS: Steel-cut oatmeal with fresh sliced fruit: strawberries, blueberries, bananas; Kashi cereals (Go Lean, Go Lean Crunch and Strawberry Fields are the BEST) with rice milk
  • VEGGIES + SALAD: Giant baby green salads with black beans and/or chickpeas, red beans, celery, avocado, vine ripe tomatoes, sunflower seeds and a mix of balsamic vinegar, EVOO, garlic powder and chives as dressing 
  • FRUITS: Watermelon, fresh berries, apples, bananas are great as snacks and in cereal, a bowl of soy yogurt, or on your lover. Wait. What?
  • NUTS + SEEDS: A handful of almonds now and then. Doesn't fill me up at all, but they're crunchy! I also throw sunflower seeds into my salads.
  • TEA: I drink a lot of low-calorie fruit juice and iced tea combos - my favorite is Fuze Black & Green Tea with Acai. I fill up a huge cup of ice with this stuff and it fills me up and makes me urinate like 52 times a day - which is always a good thing. Right? 
  • SPLURGES: Pop Chips, wine, hummus, Green + Blacks Mini dark chocolate bar,  Indian food (naan - mmmm), tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole, M&Ms (pretzel!!!), cucumber/avocado maki. I'm sure there's more. A lot more.
I don't believe you need to be a vegetarian to be healthy. Lean meats can be great for you in moderation, and are packed with protein (especially good if you're strength training). And I don't want to repeat all the info that's drilled into your head from those fitness and health magazines, because it gets redundant. More importantly, I'm not trying to preach to anyone to tell them how to live; I'm sharing what's worked for me and what's improved my life tenfold.

The clean-ish diet and exercise started as an attempt to LOOK better, to lose weight, and to boost my self esteem. But I think too many people use these changes for that reason only, while the real value comes from the way these changes make you FEEL. When you eat nutritionally, you feel GOOD. When you exercise, you feel GOOD. Your body starts digesting better, processing vitamins and nutrients more efficiently, your mind isn't plagued with the "did I just eat that?" guilt, you can climb the subway stairs without feeling like you need a chair-lift, and, all in all, your life is less littered with excess.

Next time: "I Like To Move It, Move It: Exer-ma-cise!"

2 comments:

Amy said...

Woo for vegetarianism! I started out as a vegetarian for ethical reasons a long, long time before I even understood the health and environmental background. If nothing else, it's a solid foundation for a good-feeling lifestyle. I'm glad it's working for you. You're gorgeous and you deserve to feel fabulous about yourself!

Adri Cowan said...

Amyyyyyy!!! Thank you so much, you are delightful! :)

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