personal philosophy

Health: Little By Little

Since starting on my smoothie journey, I have to admit to becoming 100% addicted to it. Right now, I need to have a smoothie every day. I try to make one in the morning or at least after lunch. That provides a fair amount of energy and I can drink it throughout the day. Usually, it’s good for 1 1/2 servings which means morning breakfast and possibly evening snack. I’m trying to add new ingredients and am looking into a few alternative recipes.

My favorite thus far has been the strawberry, raspberry, blackberry smoothie. I add almonds and a multi-vitamin on top. I started on non-fat milk but recently I bought almond milk and will start transitioning over once I’m done with my current milk. The thing that I really like so far is that I haven’t wasted anything. In the past, I would buy strawberries, milk, etc. and most of it would just sit in my refrigerator. Then I would forget about them and let them rot, wasting my money and effort.

However, I freeze most of my fruits and I find that the milk and yogurt go pretty fast. Freezing fruits provides two neat benefits of 1) preserving them a little longer; 2) giving a nice, natural, icy texture to the smoothie. So far I’ve been devouring packs of these things and it’s made me quite happy.

Another thing is that I’ve read on some of the positive health effects of these things. Lowering cholesterol, improving short term memory, fighting cancer, fighting diabetes, preventing inflammation of the joints, etc. I will say that I can definitely feel the difference. My brain feels more awake, my joints aren’t as achy, my wrists isn’t as riddled with arthritis in the morning and I have more energy throughout the day.

Next, my plan is to try a few new fruits. I did try an apple recipe. While it tasted okay, it made my stomach feel weird so I never finished it. Instead, I’m going to see what I can do by combining apples with other fruits, perhaps oranges, berries and/or peaches. Also, I’m looking into an orange smoothie recipe. I’m missing bananas but I wanted to see how a basic orange smoothie with perhaps a few other fruits might go first before diving into bananas. When I was younger, I had issues digesting bananas so I’m a little cautious. But if all goes well, I’ll try to keep an open mind and give bananas another go.

One other item I’ve purchased recently was kale. According to all my friends, kale is something you cannot taste. Some people do it for the fiber. But after doing some research, I’ve come to realize that kale is great because of how it’s nutrient dense. So it might be like almonds where you gain a lot without the problem of dealing with a weird taste. So when I have a chance tomorrow, I’m going to throw a few leaves in.

Throughout these past two weeks, I learned that the important thing is to figure out what works for me. The biggest trepidation was being consistent and finding a good routine to make this work out. I found that if I do this at a certain time and clean up immediately, then this routine works. But I’ve started to extend this routine to increasing a small workout regime. So I’ll try to have a small snack in the late afternoon to give myself some energy. If I’m not too tired, I’ll go downstairs to the little gym and do some cardio on the elliptical. Right now, I’m trying to do between 30-45 minutes of cardio. Below 30 minutes is too little while over 45 minutes end up tiring me out badly for the next day. So between that period is good. And I’m trying to increase the resistance so I sweat a little more, even though I can’t do as much. But it’s helping to vary the workout a little.

Another thing I’m doing is eating at this Greek place after hitting Trader Joe’s in picking up my organics and foods for the week. It’s nice because the food isn’t that expensive and I get a salad, humus and some decent meat. So I find it healthy enough while I pick up whatever is missing from my shopping list.

The ultimate story here is that I’m finding things to make this health thing work for me. I’m avoiding dealing with numbers whenever possible like losing XXX number of pounds or burning XXX amount of calories. Instead, I’m focused on how I feel. I’ve come to realize that I’m far from perfect but before I would mentally sabotage myself. For instance, if I couldn’t do 1 hour of cardio, I would think I’d suck. So if I didn’t feel as though I could do 1 hour of cardio, I would do nothing. And doing nothing is far worse than getting some cardio in and trying. Same thing with foods. I still eat bad but rather than mentally demolishing myself for eating bad at that point in time, I’ll just try to eat good a few more times that week. Also, if I feel something wrong with my body like my eye twitching or getting major eye strain, I’ll force myself to hit the gym. Doing exercise I’ve found definitely cures those issues.

All this summarizes to my goal of just finding that right balance. I’m never going to be a hardcore weight lifter or have a six pack. And I’m not going to eat perfect 100% of the time. But I can at least eat decent more often than not while doing some exercise to keep myself going. Add to doing a little writing, coding and things that make me feel productive for my personal life, then I feel as though I’m accomplishing something for myself and having that sense of balance.

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