Living a Healthy Lifestyle
“Honestly, if I hear one more word about FAT being the new ‘inʼ thing,
I am going to be forced to eat a cookie.”
– The Uphill Skater –
Okay, of course no one is touting that being overweight is now healthy, but things about body weight have been redefined lately in a way I feel is positive. Magazines have started including heavier women in fashion photo shoots. Department stores have new, “bigger-boned” mannequins. Medically, Body Mass Index (BMI) is no longer considered the be-all and end-all number to define obesity, and insurance companies are reevaluating guidelines for their definitions of healthy weights. However, none of this means being overweight is good for you.
Being active and maintaining a healthy weight is still best for your body. But advice from health care providers is changing. More and more health professionals are advocating for a more plant-based diet. Going meatless once a week, adopting protein sources other than meat, or looking at fiber rather than carb content are some of the new mantras out there. Fiber actually can expand your gut and make you feel fuller for longer. It also has benefits for production of good bacteria that affects gut health.
I mention plant-based protein as an alternative to meats, and the variety is endless. I have been a vegetarian for many years and recently expanded my food intake to include fish and shellfish. I like soy products, too, and have several favorite brands. I enjoy Morning Star Farms, and I particularly like a product called Quorn. It is the largest selling meat substitute in England and not made of soy. Instead, it’s made from processed wheat and a milk by-product called whey—as in curds and whey! I have mentioned this product before, and it is getting easier to find these days.
Other sources of frequently mentioned plant-based protein are the ancient grain products like quinoa, tofu, farro and spelt. But don’t forget beans—just plain old beans. Black beans have more protein than beef and much more fiber, too. I make a dish I copied from Panera Bread called the Baja Bowl. I layer brown rice, pinto beans, lettuce and cheese, top it with sour cream and avocado, and add salsa for dressing. It has few calories and tons of other good nutritional values. If you don’t like these sorts of foods, try nuts, seeds, or fruit.
Speaking of fruit, it is a sweet and wonderful part of plant-based eating. I make smoothies with blueberries, strawberries, yogurt, and a banana most mornings. I add a scoop of whey protein and use five-calorie cranberry juice for liquid. You will go a long way to find a better, all-around healthy food than a banana or an apple. Fiber, protein, potassium, and many trace nutrients are packed in these two favorites. Just between you and me, you can’t beat green seedless grapes—no added sugar, natural sweetness, and big fiber. Don’t peel vegetables or fruit unless you really feel you must. For example, I always peel peaches; I just do!
Finally, if you are new to all of this, here are a few tips:
Think about at least one plant-based meal as you plan your weekly menus then make your grocery list. Start your shopping in the produce department and see if you can base a meal around what you find there.
• Make overnight oats. The recipe is available online in many forms.
• Don’t be afraid to add beans to recipes (remember to look for low sodium).
• Make a big salad for lunch. Add a can of tuna on top when you sit down to eat.
Try a few of these easy ideas and see if your weight drops and your outlook—and energy—perks up. Help Mother Earth and help your lovely self!
Visit www.skatinguphill.com blog for new recipes, daily thoughts and décor ideas. Also find reprints of Pink articles and shared comments. Blogging is fun and easy.
Judith Lawrenson is a former Hilton Head Island resident who has a huge heart and is loved by all who meet her. She has served and volunteered with numerous charitable organizations while living in the Lowcontry making an impact wherever she went. She and her husband recently moved to the wild hills of West Virginia to be closer to grandchildren. Judith is an avid sailor, a retired reading resource specialist, and a children's TV host whose local show originated from the Boys and Girls' Club. Judith is also a long-time seeker of healthy, happy living and a lifestyle dedicated to service to others, balanced with love of God and love of self. Check out her blog www.skatinguphill.com for fun info, recipes and nutrition ideas, current updates on nearly everything in the world, and lots of comments and opinions.
Though I do tons of research, and have done so for many years, I am not a doctor and I share only my opinions. I enjoy research and subscribe to several magazines and publications and read up on all new trends. I hope you do, too!