Considering a Plant Based Diet

The Year of Health has become even more important with my husbands unexpected heart attack and need to quadruple bypass surgery. As he recovers from a surgery, that seems inconceivable to me, we are researching what we need to do to protect him from having to go through anything like this again. We also want to protect our son from being where his dad is in 30 years. The genetic risk lives on chromosome 19. I learned this this week. The idea that a 15 yearly boy has to be tested for high cholesterol is mind boggling to me. We had already dubbed 2020 as our “Year of Health” even before this event. Now it is even more important for our whole family.

Diet and exercise seem to be the two areas where we can make an impact. We had committed to at least 10,000 steps a day and 52 hikes this year. We may need to do some urban hiking to make this work. Today instead of the hike we had planned, Marty took his first walk down the hall on the intensive care unit. We may have to double up on hikes later in the year to make our 52, but we will get there.

As soon as my brother heard about Marty’s heart attack he suggested a plant based diet. My brother follows this type of diet and it prevented him from needing to be on medication for his cholesterol. It also probably prevented him from a fate similar to Marty’s, as we have family history of hear disease. I have been pescatarian since 2011. I travel for work so have been hesitant to give up dairy, eggs, and fish. Marty eats what I cook but when he eats separate from me, he eats the typical American diet. Wanting to protect our family from having this ever happen to anyone we love again, got us seriously looking at plant based diets. My 9 years eating things without legs has taught me how to cook some amazing meat free dishes. I am confident that I can bring this to the next level. But, does a plant based diet really work?

We started research by watching some documentaries on Netflix. What the HealthFork over Knife, and The Game Changers provided us with information that was so surprising. A friend recommended a YouTube Channel Krocks in the Kitchen, which led us to another one called, The Jardoui Family. The YouTube channels provide some great ideas as well as wonderful inspired recipes. The host of The Jardoui Family shared her story and it was just as my brother had said. eating a plant based diet restored health and prevented the need for the Statin drugs that are often used to reduce cholesterol. It confirmed what the documentaries had said.

Can we do this? Sure, why not! Planning ahead and cooking for ourselves will be key in being successful on a diet like this. More and more restaurants are offering plant based food. In the Twin Cities we have The Herbivorious Butcher, which has wonderful options.  When I first stopped eating animals back in 2011, I just tried it and thought, “I will see how long I can do this”. Now, 9 years later, I am looking at taking the next step for my health and the health of my family.

May you always have good health. I love you!

If you have any fabulous plant based recipes  or information you would like to share, please post them in the comments. Thank you. If you want a natural way to improve your health, I recommend you watch the documentaries.

 

Keeping Up With Healthy Initiatives When the Seasons Change

Healthy initiatives can seem energizing when you first start them. They give you hope of a better tomorrow and the good feeling in your heart of really doing something important for yourself. When Mother Nature sees fit to make changes in the seasons, it can throw a curve in your plans. Also seasonal holidays can seem like an excuse to no longer stay the course. Having a plan to combat these changes is the best way to not let them derail your progress.

If you follow my blog you probably know I have a number of healthy initiative all going at once. Taking Care of Me; Step By Step, is the blog that lays them all out if you are interested. My husband and I have been doing an excellent job getting our 10,000 steps in a day. We’re getting up and walking before work, then after work and again before bed, if we still need some more steps. This week we got snow here in MN. I wasn’t expecting it and upon waking discovered 3 inches of the pristine white stuff covering everything. I found it hard to want to get out an walk. I did eventually bundle up and head to the grocery store. I could have driven and it would have been quicker and warmer, but why not take care of 2 things at once. It was a nice sunny day. The bright sun reflected off the snow and I reflected on how to keep up with all that we are working on, despite time marching on.

I am a wonderful “justifier” and snow seems like a great reason to justify skipping a walk. Having a plan in place helps keep you on task. Just like with the intermittent fasting that we are working on. There is always a justified reason to not stay the course; family in town, a special gathering, or an appointment that throws a kink in things. Recently, when my brother visited, we met him early each morning for breakfast. I always look forward to this annual visit and our early morning breakfast and conversation. As his visit neared, I started to fret about what to do about the intermittent fasting and the fact the fact that I wait until 10am before I break my fast. In the end I had a conversation with my brother, who was gracious and understanding. I still met him for breakfast and I enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea, while we had our usual time together and great conversation. Having a plan helped me stay the course. I have so far lost 15.4 pounds by sticking to the intermittent fasting.

Finances is another healthy initiative we are working on. The holiday season is fast approaching. This is the time of year when people often try to spend money to show someone how much they love them. Buying someone a gift, that they may not need or want, will not necessarily communicate your love and appreciation of them. I encourage you to come up with a plan on how to handle this time of year. Start a savings account that you add to throughout the year. Set a budget for gifts and holiday groceries and stick to it. Find innovated ways to show your love and appreciation for those you care so dearly about. Start a conversation with your friends and family about other ways to celebrate your love and appreciation like agreeing to volunteer together as a family. Make an understanding about gifts and a cost limit. Give homemade gifts infused with good intentions and lots of love. There are so many options.

As soon as you decide to focus on a healthy initiative, something will come up to throw you off course. Try to think about what these things may be. Make a plan for them. Remember that healthy initiates are not things we do just for today or tomorrow. These are things we incorporate into our life an become our new standard of living. To ensure success at improving our life, we need to think about how to remain faithful to ourselves. We need to make ourselves a priority by having a plan to keep our momentum moving forward.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May all your plans come easily, so that you stay the course, and reach the goals you set for yourself, as if by magic.

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Taking Care of Me; Step By Step

I keep plodding along trying to get to a better version of me. What can I do to improve myself a little more each day? I recently wrote a blog inspired by a friend called; How Do You Eat an Elephant or (in this case) a Dinosaur? It was all about doing things step by step to improve yourself.

Well, I put that into practice and started working towards the best me I can be, step by step.

  • I have been a Pescatarian since April 2012 – This was the first major health improvement I made. (What is healthy for me may not be healthy for you.)
  • 5 plus years of avoiding processed sugar – It does not make me feel good when I eat processed sugar because of my gastric bypass. Even more than that though, I have realized it causes me joint pain as well.
  • 4 months of intermittent fasting – I have been doing intermittent fasting since the beginning of July. There have been some weeks when I have not been focused on this or even stayed the course, but I am back solidly in the seat of intermittent fasting now and learning so much more about my eating and emotions and how they are connected. I have lost 14 pounds in that time.
  • 2.5 months of decreasing complaining Wellness is about mind, body, and soul improvements. Working towards 21 days complaint free is a way to improve my mind and soul. I did make it to day #2 once and I believe that if today keeps going well, I will make day #2 for a second time.
  • 27 days without Alcohol – Originally I only wanted to go 28 days without alcohol. I can almost taste the success of accomplishing that. Do you know what it has taught me? I do not need it and look at all the money I am saving by not having my nightly glass or two of wine.
  • 2 weeks of increased activity – 10,000 steps a day is my goal. I have made it 8 of the last 14 days. My September step average was about 5,500 steps but the last 2 weeks the average has been over 9,000.
  • 11 days without diet soda – Oddly, this has been much harder for me to give up than wine. I am making it though. Sparkling water gives me the same bubbly sensation and tea helps make up for the caffeine.
  • 7 days since refocusing on awareness of finances – Financial health is also an important part of wellness. How can we have peace of mind if our finances are giving us stress. I read Dave Ramseys book, The Total Money Makeover. I found myself inspired to refocus on getting to a place of financial freedom. I do not want money worries to rule my life.
  • 4 days of daily meditation – I was making great headway on resuming a daily meditation practice. I did four consecutive days and then a missed the next 3 days. Today I started again!

These are 9 great initiatives I took towards being the best me, I can be. If I had added them all to my routine at one time it would have been to overwhelming. Step by step additions of each of the various initiatives seems reasonable and it gives me time to get one under control before the next one is added.

What are you doing to take care of you? How are you improving your wellness? What would you like to do to be the best version of you?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your wellness initiative(s) be successful, as if by magic.

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11 Reasons to Exercise

We hear all the time how exercise is good for us and important to a healthy life style. Those of us who struggle with our weight can spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince ourself to exercise. When we do not exercise we beat ourselves up and feel pretty poorly about ourselves. What if we looked at exercise in a new way. Instead of something we “should” do or something we “must” do? What if we had reason to “want” to exercise? What if exercise became more than just about the battle of the bulge? Here are 11 reason to exercise to benefit and care for you!

  1. It feels great – Going for an early morning run or walk. The fresh air on your face as the sun makes his appearance for the day. As your body moves briskly along your route you can feel all your muscles coming to life. I have always said the hardest part of running is getting from the bed to the pavement. Once I am on my way it really does feel great.
  2. Meditative – Exercise can be a very meditative experience. Whether you are dance to music, doing a plank challenge, or going for a hike, it helps you stay in the now. The usual whirlwind of thoughts seems to quiet while you and your body become one and focus on the task at hand.
  3. Your body loves it – Your body really does love to exercise. It can get your heart pumping and your lung capacity improved. Bone can become denser and muscle grow stronger. Your body will thank you.
  4. Improved endurance – You will see that your ability to go longer and farther will improve as your commitment to working out increases. When I travel, I love to be able to climb the winding stair cases to the top of bell towers and see the panoramic views. Whether it is dancing, love making, or canoeing, you will find your ability to keep going better.
  5. Self esteem – Think how proud you feel when you complete something. Every time you complete a sweat session, your self esteem will be boosted. As you see other improvements in your body, your self-esteem will continue to climb.
  6. Creativity – During Yoga classes I have written children’s books in my mind. On hikes I have planned creative projects. While doing strength training, I have gotten writing ideas. There is just something about using your body that allows creativity to flow.
  7. Metal Health – All those feel good endorphins are more wonderful than any anxieties or antidepressants. Put the endorphins and your improving self esteem together and you may just find that smiling comes easier with a pep in your step.
  8. Self worth – When you don’t feel good about your self it is easy to put yourself down. While you are putting yourself down, the next thing that can happen is you allow others to put you down as well. When you put energy into caring for yourself you can learn to love yourself again. Other people who do not show you the love and respect you deserve better watch out. You may put them in their place or send them packing.
  9. Energy – I am always looking to manifest endless energy and plenty of time. This is one of the ways to improve energy. With improved energy, I am more likely to use my time to get something accomplished rather than plopping down in front of the boob tube. Thus getting more energy and more time.
  10. You time – I am an introvert by nature. I need time to myself. This is a great way to get it, while also doing something that truly benefits me in so many ways. Going for a brisk walk around a lake is an amazing way to get a little space for myself.
  11. It gets easier – The more you do things to care for your body, the more your body responds. It gets stronger and your endurance improves. You remember how much you love being active. Young children play and run without any thoughts to it being something they “have to do”. You can embrace your inner child and let them out to play.

I hope you find these reasons motivating. My intention is, that in at least some small way, they make the hardest part of exercise easier. The dreaded walk from the bed to the trail. May your life improve with your body.

What do you love about exercise, no matter how small? What would you tell others to help them feel more motivated?

Blessings! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please follow me at StacyCrep.com and/or @BWCAdventureSisters on FaceBook. Have a great day!