Nutrition, Food & Health ……

Several things have happened this year that have really made me take a closer look at nutrition.  I’ve realized that most people have no idea what it means to eat healthy.  I’ve realized that many people who want to eat healthy struggle with food addictions that derail them at every turn.  I’ve realized that food companies are not our friend.  I’ve realized that the entire concept of nutrition has become muddied by people/companies who want to sell us something without regard to our wellbeing and overall long term health.  The bottom line is that if you want to be healthy, and I mean really healthy without just going thru the motions, you need to do your own research.  Invest the time.  Make your own decisions.  Health is not a one size fits all proposition but if you put some time into your nutrition, you can be healthy.  And please don’t confuse being healthy with being the “perfect” dress size.  While for some, that my go hand in hand, that’s not the case for all.  The focus here is on nutrition and ultimately health.

Nutrition

Confession.  This post has been in queue for months.  First paragraph drafted & left to sit.  Why?  Not because I didn’t think it was important but because I didn’t feel as if I had enough knowledge to bring it to you.  I’m not a nutritionist.  I’m not a coach.  I’m not a trainer.  I’m not the person with all my ducks in a row with regards to food or fitness.  I’m not anyone other than a regular person who is passionate about food and exercise.  I want to be healthy.  I want my kids and family to be healthy. I want you to be healthy.   So I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned.  Give some tips on a few things you can do that might help you to feel a little better.   And I’ll leave you with a list of documentaries that might peak your interest and help you get started in really thinking about yourself, your food and where you want to be health wise in the years to come.  How’s that sound?  I’m not selling anything.  I’m advocating for real food, real health & a real future.

A few things I do that help me to feel good are listed below.  I don’t have my nutrition 100%.  I’m still tired sometimes.  I’m grumpy a lot (especially now that schools out for the summer & full blown chaos has ensued).  I don’t recover from workouts/races the way I used to but for the most part, I feel pretty good. 

  • Cook real food.  Avoid take outs & fast food when possible. 
  • Eat less meat & more fruits and veggies (aka:  freggies).  Lunches should be fresh and appetizing!  I usually have one or two “meatless” meals each day.

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  • Drink water.  Avoid soda, processed fruit/veggie juices, caffeinated sugary drinks & alcohol.
  • Prep dinners (Hello, Crockpot!!) and snacks ahead of time so that good choices can be made when everyone is starving. 

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  • Traveling?  Pack a cooler with snacks & bottled water.
  • Try to avoid processed snacks:  chips, bars, juice boxes, cookies.  Embrace snack baggies full of your kids favorite freggies.  Or make your own granola or energy bars as a family project.
  • Buy local via the local farmers market or food co-op.  Buy organic, non-gmo foods.  If that’s not an option, shop the outer aisles of the grocery store and try to pick as many fresh options as possible. 

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  • Cook seasonal fruits & veggies in new and different ways.  Just because the kiddos don’t like red peppers raw, doesn’t mean they won’t like them as the base for crockpot fajitas!  Asparagus or Zucchini anyone?  Let’s try it on the grill, you’ll find it in abundance at the local farmers market for the next several months! 

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  • Experiment with getting nutrients thru real foods.  I’ve been taking in less supplements and utilizing more vitamins/minerals in real food.  Anyone try juicing?  Its fun.  Its easy.  I’ve taken in a lot of nutrients thru the juicer that I wouldn’t have consumed previously.

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  • If I have extra or don’t like a particular veggie in the juicer, I roast them in the oven.  Sea Salt & Olive Oil will make anything yummy!

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I’ve changed a lot of things this year and its mostly about my food.  I buy as many local organics as possible.  I don’t like to go to the supermarket.  I go to the co-op first, then supplement at the grocery.  I still struggle with the fact that my kids are not on board with my fruit & veggie movement.  They still want pop tarts for breakfast & cheetos in the afternoon.  But I’m making an effort.  They complain a lot about there being “no real food in the house”, so I know I’m making an impact.  If they choose an apple or strawberries one time over something processed, then that’s a mini win for me.  Smile 

Everything in moderation, right?  That’s the saying but overall, I think eating real food, without chemicals & hidden ingredients will lead to better health for me and my family.  There are many who believe that overeating, in conjunction with consuming processed & “fast” foods are killing this nation.  Each year, the pharmaceutical & food companies are making a killing.  Healthcare conglomerates are growing bigger and bigger.  Yet, each day people are dying from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a plethora of other diseases that never used to exist.  Maybe we should think about getting back to basics.  If you can’t grow your own food,  make sure you know where your food is coming from and whether the person growing it actually cares about their consumers.  That’s why I buy  local.  I want to know who is growing the food that I’m eating.  And I’ve even started growing a few things myself.  Normally I plant flowers.  This year, Michael, Aby & I planted non-gmo veggie plants.  Red peppers, cucumbers, zucchini & tomatoes.  We’ll see what kind of yield this brings.  We’ve already seen some decent growth over the last month.

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So, that’s a little bit about what I’ve been doing lately.  I know nutrition and food isn’t interesting to everyone. I’ve had friends specifically tell me that they do NOT want to know where their food is coming from and/or how it gets to the supermarket.  That’s certainly their prerogative.  If you want to know more about food, how it relates to health, nutrition and what’s in the supermarket, then consider watching a few of the documentaries listed below.  All are on Netflix and available for streaming. 

If you have any other documentaries that you think would be helpful for us to learn more about food & nutrition, then please share!  I have several others I’ve heard are good but I haven’t watched because they aren’t on Netflix.  I need to expand my streaming capabilities!

**  Eat REAL Food ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Self-Destructive Habits…..

As I was walking to work today, one too many people blew smoke in my face.  I was irritated.  Smoking seems to be the one bad habit of OTHERS that I can’t avoid.  I hope that I am wrong but smokers seem to just not care about the rest of us in their quest to get high off their nicotine.  They don’t care that they smell bad, or that their clothes and cars reek, that the smell of smoke lingers in an aura around them following them everywhere:  into their house, into their bedrooms, onto the train, into the office, on their children and everything they touch.  They not only smell bad but if you have had a relationship with a smoker you know the taste is also horrid.  It comes out of their lungs when they breathe, it’s not just on their breath, it’s INSIDE OF THEM and it’s impossible to get away from it.

Since I work downtown, I encounter a lot more people in a normal day than say somebody who just drives to their job, parks in the parking lot and walks inside.  Over the course of a 15 minute walk from the train to my office, I may encounter several thousands of people.  Those people are all shapes, sizes and have different interests and habits.  Those of us who take the train, know that we have smokers who are standing by the doors to disembark first and they light up immediately as the train doors open.  They take that first puff, which must be an amazing high since they can’t even wait to get off the train, and then they blow that smoke right back at all of us who are behind them.  Wow, great way to start my day by having to suck in somebody else’s smoke.  Somebody I don’t know, somebody I don’t like/love so I shouldn’t have to deal.  It sucks. I’m tired of it. 

The smoking issue got me thinking about habits in general and specifically self-destructive habits.  Some of us have self-destructive habits that don’t affect others as much as say smoking.

Can you think of a few self-destructive habits that are somewhat common?  Here is the list which immediately popped up for me:

  • Smoking – Yuck, nobody likes this except the smoker themselves.  It’s a disgusting habit, uncleanly and affects others, it’s an addiction that apparently people can’t control, it kills the addict one day at a time.  Click HERE to find out more about how smoking is killing you or your loved ones.
  • Drinking in Excess – Alcohol leads to some good times…..sometimes too good!  I like it a lot; it doesn’t like me.  I have to be very careful with alcohol because my brain doesn’t have a stop button.  I’m probably considered an addict since my brain just keeps telling me to drink more and never gives me the stop signal.  Therefore, I have cut it out of “most” of my life.  Alcohol kills brain cells, leads to bad decisions, impairs memory/judgment/reactions.  It destroys the person from the inside out.  If you use alcohol every day and have been doing so for a prolonged period of time, click HERE to see what other people see in you:  slurred & slow speech even when you are sober, poor memory, difficult learning.  If you are a woman, you are even more susceptible to alcohol disease than men.  If you are a man and are taking your lady to the bar all the time for “dates”, you are killing her.  Maybe go for a walk, a bike ride, to a movie, or check out a local museum or festival.   Don’t be afraid to get creative; we like adventure! 
  • Overeating –  Another one of my favorites!  I am a total overeater.  I am better now than I used to be but I still binge on holiday candy and overeat at meals.  According to WomenFitness.netFor some women overeating means bingeing and for others it means consuming more or other than planned. Most of us are overeating for a hundred different reasons. We are eating due to stress, irritation and frustration. It may be worry or overwork. We eat because our stomach feels ‘blah’. We are eating out of habit and with no real direction or thoughts about what we are doing with our face in the fridge.  Obviously, this is bad, it’s not healthy, and we can’t use food or smoking or alcohol to fix our problems, it just causes different problems!  Please go to the WomenFitness article HERE to identify overeating triggers and tips on how to avoid overeating.
  • Negative Thinking – Did you realize that negative thoughts are self-destructive?  Are you the person that see the glass half empty rather than half full?  I try to keep my family focused on thinking positive, which is really a full-time job.  I am constantly reminding them to “Think Happy Thoughts!”, “Be Happy”, “Smile”, “Be Nice”, “Tell me one HAPPY thing about today!”.  This is as much about me as it is about them.  I know that nobody is going to conquer the world by negative pessimism.  Click HERE to find out how to conquer negative thinking. You can honestly change your life by changing the way you approach things and by maintaining a happy, positive outlook on life. Don’t assume things are going to go poorly, assume that you are going to kick ass at everything you attempt!  You don’t have to be the best, but you will be BETTER by knowing that you are AWESOME!
  • Sleep Deprivation – Ha, Ha!  Yep, this too is self-destructive!  Not something that us busy people want to hear but we absolutely need to sleep.  While we are sleeping our body is repairing the damage we did during the day.  Your brain neurons and muscles are regenerating, your body is revitalizing itself to work hard for you when you awake.  Sleep Deprivation can cause memory loss, headaches, weakened immune system, and depression to name a few.  It was hard to find an article that was not “too” scientific in regard to sleep deprivation but if you need more information, there is a plethora of info and details HERE.

We could go on and on identifying self-destructive habits/behavior but the bottom line is that you get to choose your habits.  You pick.  Rule your life, don’t let your additions and bad habits rule you. Stop making excuses and using vices, or food, to provide temporary comfort.  Nobody is perfect so just deal with the situation and move on, you’ll be happier for it in the long run.  Speaking of “run”, lots of problems get sorted out when you exercise.  Go burn some calories and you may be surprised at how the problem that was so horrid “before the run” becomes just a bump in the road after a mile or two.  Take time to step back, cool off and focus on the “positive”.    

What bad habits do you have that you are planning to kick to the curb?  Any advice for those of us who are struggling with some of the above habits?

Take Control of YOUR Life,                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz

Drink Your Water!!

If you know me in real life or have been following for a while, you already know that I’m a water pusher.  I drink it all the time, all day long.  No soda for me, just water and beer.  I had a bottle with me non-stop roaming the streets of Miami and sitting on the beach.  I take a bottle of water to lunch with when I’m going out.  I’ve even been known to pull it out of my purse at a restaurant.  I have no shame.  I drink my water. 

As the temps in the  CHI are particularly warm this week, I wanted to remind all of you to drink your water too.  Water is not only good for hydration but it also is a natural way to flush toxins from the body.  So put down the coffee and grab a bottle of water!  If you aren’t a water drinker, then this may be tough for you, so just start by focusing on getting 2 liters down per day.   Then as you get used to it, you can increase the volume if you like.  My preference is to drink 4 liters a day.  Usually I get in 3 and the 4th is questionable but the goal is 4.  I drink out of liter bottles, which I refill, so I know exactly how much I’ve had. 

So as you go into this holiday weekend where alcohol consumption may be the center of your celebration, go in hydrated.  And don’t forget to get your long run in on Saturday so you don’t have to worry about it on Sunday after “celebrating” Saint Patrick’s Day. 

Please see the article below to learn more about the benefits of water.

                        Top 11 Health Benefits of Drinking Water by Mangosteen Natural Remedies

You will be amazed of the benefits of drinking water as follows: 

Benefits of Drinking Water

  1. Lose weight: Drinking water helps you lose weight because it flushes down the by-products of fat breakdown. Drinking water reduces hunger, it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less. Plus, water has zero calories. Here are the further details on how to achieve fat loss by drinking water.
  2. Natural Remedy for Headache: Helps to relieve headache and back pains due to dehydration. Although many reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one.
  3. Look Younger with Healthier Skin: You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increases skin elasticity.
  4. Better Productivity at Work: Your brain is mostly made up of water, thus drinking water helps you think better, be more alert and more concentrated.
  5. Better Exercise: Drinking water regulates your body temperature. That means you’ll feel more energetic when doing exercises. Water also helps to fuel your muscle.
  6. Helps in Digestion and Constipation: Drinking water raises your metabolism because it helps in digestion. Fiber and water goes hand in hand so that you can have your daily bowel movement.
  7. Less Cramps and Sprains: Proper hydration helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, so you’ll less likely get cramps and sprains.
  8. Less Likely to Get Sick and Feel Healthy: Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu and other ailments like kidney stones and heart attack. Water with lemon is used for ailments like respiratory disease, intestinal problems, rheumatism and arthritis etc. In other words one of the benefits of drinking water is that it can improve your immune system. Follow this link for further information on how lemon water can improve your health.
  9. Relieves Fatigue: Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. If your body lacks water, your heart, for instance, needs to work harder to pump out the oxygenated blood to all cells, so are the rest of the vital organs, your organs will be exhausted and so will you.
  10. Good Mood: Your body feels very good and that’s why you feel happy.
  11. Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Related to the digestive system, some studies show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. Water dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with bladder lining.

Can you see the importance of water to your body after understanding the above benefits of drinking water?

That is such a great article and full of reasons why you should go refill your water bottle now! 

On a totally unrelated sidenote, the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts giveaway is going on thru the weekend and I will draw a winner on Monday morning at 9am.  If you would like a chance to win but have yet to jump thru the hoops, please go to the link HERE and do so now.  If you can’t wait for the win but need a pair now, click on the Aspaeris link above and use the coupon code:  PC2012 for 25% off.  Go get yourself a pair!

Happy  Water Drinking,                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

I Don’t Have Time……

Time…..that is the issue.  Each of us struggles with the time management issue on a daily basis.  What do you have time for in your life?  Or more importantly, let’s just be honest, what do you MAKE time for in your life?

No time for workouts?  No time for reading?  No time to take care of yourself?  No time to cook healthy for your family?  No time to blog?  No time to keep up on Facebook?  No time to clean your house?  No time to play with your kids?  No time to sit and smell the roses?  Well, what DID you have time to do today?

I think moderation is key but I must admit that I try to fit in as much as I can each and every day.  I don’t have time for everything, and I screw mess things up a lot, but I do what I can.  I feel as if each day I am living on borrowed time.  The clock is ticking.  Time is running out. 

Please forgive me if I sometimes seem distracted.  Please forgive me if I appear to be rushing.  Please forgive me if I am tired because I was working, or cuddling my baby, while you were sleeping.  Some days there are things I must do, things which may not be important to you but matter to me.  I strongly urge you to think for a minute and figure out what you must to do today?  What needs to be done tomorrow?  Please figure out what is really important.  I guarantee that if it is REALLY important, then you will make the time.  No more excuses.  No more “next year”.  Make It Happen.  For you.  For your family.  For your life.  There is always someone willing to help you get where you are going.  It’s okay to be unsure, or not fully understand the where/why/how, just know that somebody will be there to carry you when you need it.  Now make some time for yourself.  Get your shit together.  Get healthy, or stick to your current routine to stay healthy, so that you can be there to carry somebody else when they need you.  If you are bored and tired of what you are doing, stop bitching change it and make time to make a difference.

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Back to Reality…..

Although today I am confronted by going back to work reality, yesterday was a busy and productive day on the home front as we tried to squeeze in as much as possible on our last day off.  I was fortunate that Hubby took one for the team watched the kiddos so I was able to meet up early, but not too early, with the F’N Running Club for a Monday morning run.  This was a total luxury for me because I am usually sitting on my ass at my desk early each Monday.  The Monday morning New Year Crew:  Julie, Joe, Jeni, Susan & Jennifer E.I want to give a huge shout out to all of these runners, as well as sending them a great big THANK YOU for getting up and out of their cozy beds to come for a run.  I laid in bed all night listening to the 50 mph winds and rain/sleet pelting the windows.  When I got up it was snowing, we had freezing temps and MORE wind, so I was surprised that anyone besides Susan show up.  Thanks, you crazy F’N Runners!  I would have never been able to do it without you yesterday and had already copped out of my Jan 1 run due to wind/cold so I really needed this!

The temps were around 20 degrees in the early morn but felt much colder due to the wind.  However, being on the trail, the trees provided us with a lot of wind cover and it really wasn’t bad after that first mile.  It was snowing pretty good at times too but there wasn’t any accumulation, the trail was in good condition with good footing.  Not too slippery.  

  Julie & Susan looking strong as they are approaching the turnaround: 

Joe, Julie & Me at the turnaround.

The group ran between 3 and 7 miles at a leisurely pace.  A few stops for road crossings and turnaround/meet-ups.  I never stop my watch cuz I will forget to restart it so I had 7.01 miles in 1:10:48.  Great run!

After my car defrosted from the snow and ice which had accumulated during our run, I returned home and hubby and I set up my dining workout room again.  The workout equipment had been evicted to the basement while trying to fruitlessly sell the house, then to make room for Tacky Christmas.  I am back in business now! 

I even managed to squeeze in some bike miles and a short weight workout during Michael’s nap! 

So the NEW year is going strong for me so far.   I am trying to refocus on fresh foods and veggies to lose those extra 5 lbs, core/weight work, and more cross training.  I am sore today so something must be working. 

Are you off to a good start this year?  Are you doing anything different or just refocusing on some good habits which may have fallen to the way side over the holidays?

Think and BE Healthy this year!

Amanda – TooTallFritz