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Time & Money

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There are a lot of empty excuses out there for not taking care of yourself.

I’m not good at taking responsibility…

I don’t know what’s in the food I eat…

I don’t like the taste of water…

Then there’s the excuse about Time and Money.

It takes too much time…

It costs too much…

A lot of people will frown upon those last two excuses.  I used to be one of those people.  My response was, “you can make the time” and “can you put a price on your health and well-being?”  I was taken aback when several people, including my father, pointed out that saying things like “make the time” and “it’s cheaper than being unhealthy” were narrow-minded, insensitive and, to put it not so nicely, ignorant.

No matter how the economy is doing, there are people who struggle simply to put food on the dinner table and clothes on the backs of their families; this while working 12, 14, 16 hour days.

Yes, your health is important.  True, if being fit is an overwhelming priority, you will make time for it.  No doubt that being healthy is less expensive over the long haul than being sick – but here’s the question, at what cost?  I love how many of the “experts” out there will whip people they see on the street over and over again about their unhealthy life-style, how they’re killing themselves and their kids, how cancer is a choice and blah, blah, blah, and as it ultimately turns out, they, the “experts”, have never had to take care of anyone other than themselves – they have no family; they have no real responsibility other than to themselves and their business.

Yes, family health matters, but you want to know what matters more?  Children spending quality time with mom and dad; children going to bed with a belly full of food; children having clothes and shoes that fit to wear to school; children having an environment where they feel safe – these things take both Time AND Money.

So though I agree that people will often use Time and Money as empty excuses to avoid the perceived hard work of becoming fit and healthy, I believe we in the health & fitness profession need to think a little more sensitively about those who are struggling simply to get by – offer real solutions (like family walks) as opposed to generalized judgements (like “if you care, you will make the time and spend more wisely.”).

Not everyone is as fortunate or as well off as many seem to assume they are.

My one piece of advice to those struggling to feel better overall?  Start small – whether that’s a promise to yourself to drink more water or take the stairs instead of the elevator (don’t start with 20 flights!!!) or eat out one meal less per week or play tag with your kids…whatever it is, start small.  Give yourself a true opportunity to succeed and then, after a few weeks of that, fold something else in and then another and then another and then another…before you know it, a year or two will have gone by and you won’t recognize yourself or your family from a year before.

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cant_say_that

There are some words that, in my humble opinion, should rarely, if ever, be used – the list is relatively short.  You can probably come up with them all on your own – the “n” word, the “r” word, the “c” word…I’m sure there are a few others, but suffice it to say, that these words are frowned upon because as a society we have realized that they are hurtful in more ways than just hurt feelings.

It seems that there are some in the health industry who would like to take a few more words away from your vocabulary – the most prevalent one being “moderation”.  Why do they want to take this word away from you?  Simply put, because it’s a crutch; an excuse for poor choices; it means different things to different people; and my personal favorite people are too dumb to know what moderation really means.

Andy Bellatti, a register dietician, recently wrote on the Huffington Post that “Everything in moderation,” is another way of unnecessarily and inaccurately equalizing all foods. It operates on the inane and utterly insane notion that peaches, Pop-Tarts, muffins, soda, lentils and tomatoes should all be approached the same way.

Um…really?

He goes on to imply that you, the public, are not intelligent enough to understand that three cups of mixed greens as part of a salad are not the same thing as three cups of chocolate pudding.

And that you are too clueless to realize a large Dunkin’ Donuts Mountain Dew Coolatta should not be consumed with the same frequency as unsweetened green tea.

And that you have no idea that eating a pint of blueberries in one sitting is very different from eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs.

Hmmm…is that you?

Personally, I think most people actually do understand that.

Do you really think that three cups of mixed greens is the same as three cups of chocolate pudding?  If I were to say to you that you’re okay to eat chocolate pudding occasionally, as long as it’s in moderation, would you interpret that as “I can eat 3 cups of chocolate pudding every single day!”?

Do you, as many of these health experts believe you do, believe that drinking a 32 oz soda slushy is the same as drinking unsweetened green tea?

In your mind is eating a pint of blueberries the same as eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Now, Bellatti does have a point.  Ask 20 people what moderation means and you will probably get 20 different answers, but you can bet next week’s paycheck that the majority (and to be specific I’ll say 80%) of the answers will be lumped together like a giant bell curve, varying only minutely.

Perhaps Bellatti and those of his ilk are former food addicts in a past life and feel they must go to extreme measures to keep their past behaviors under control.  You know what?  That’s not fair, I don’t know him at all, but perhaps Bellatti and his followers simply need to do a better job of reminding themselves what “moderation” actually means and relearn that a moderate amount of food A is not is not going to be the same as a moderate amount of food B…

Here’s a little help:

mod·er·a·tion
ˌmädəˈrāSHən/
noun
noun: moderation
1.  the avoidance of excess or extremes, esp. in one’s behavior or political opinions.

synonyms: self-restraint, restraint, self-control, self-command, self-discipline, temperance

Notice the synonyms?

I’m not a dietician.  I don’t even play one on TV, in part, well, because I’m not on TV, but I’m pretty sure that someone who has worked hard for their RD status can work with individual clients and help those who want to know what a moderate amount of chocolate pudding would be…it’s certainly going to be a significantly less amount, in both volume and frequency, than a moderate amount of salad greens.

…but of course, most of us already knew that.

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Today’s recipe is actually a modification of one of my favorite recipes.  The original recipe is from Loren Cordian’s The Paleo Diet Cookbook.  To be clear, I am NOT an adherent to any “diet”.  My personal belief is that if it is yummy and relatively healthful?  I’ll eat it!  The original recipe calls for shrimp, but with cost in mind, I went with chicken tenders that were on sale for $2.99 per pound.

Here are the ingredients:

2 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes slice in half (I like to use a full cup)
1 pound of chicken tenders, cut lengthwise then chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 teaspoon of paprika
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (I use a handful)
Juice from 1/2 lime
Cayenne Pepper, to taste

It’s pretty straightforward.

1. Heat oil over a medium heat

2. Add garlic and sauté for one minute.

3. Add tomatoes and continue cooking for 2 more minutes.

4. Toss in chicken, stir for a couple of minutes and then cover for two more until chicken is cooked through.

5. Turn off heat and toss with paprika and cilantro.

6. Squeeze lime juice over the chicken and sprinkle with cayenne.

7. Serve either over or next to one cup of cooked quinoa

Serves 4

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Going forward I am going to have to assume that you have supplied your kitchen with a few essentials – olive oil, butter, spices like paprika, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper.  These will not be included in my pricing in part because they are investments that should last you at least a month or two even with daily use.  So this is how the pricing breaks down for this meal.

$2.99 – one pound of chicken tenders$0.66 – 1/3 of a bunch of cilantro ($1.99 per bunch)
$2.00 – cherub tomatoes (a little less than 1/2 a package at $3.99 per package)
$0.25 – juice from 1/2 lime at 50¢ per lime
$0.30 – one clove of garlic at $2.99 per bulb
$2.35 – 1/2 package of TruRoots Quinoa at $4.69 per package

GRAND TOTAL – $8.55

If you still have the salad supplies from earlier, you can make a nice side salad somewhere between $1.50 ~ $2.00 bringing you total to just a touch over $10.

The final numbers (per serving):

Calories: 370 cal
Fat: 8 g
Cholesterol: 65 mg
Sodium: 105 mg
Carbs: 44 g
Dietary Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 35 g
Iron: 25%
Vitamin A: 68%
Vitamin C: 41%

As always, let me know what you think! If you have a recipe you think I could use for this series, please let me know.

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Tomorrow is the last day of January, the first month of 2013. Some have managed to stick to their Healthful New Year’s Resolutions while others have, well, to put it nicely, fallen off the wagon.

Here’s the cool thing – just like the change from December 31st to January 1st, tomorrow night at midnight the calendar turns once again. For those who want a “clean” beginning, February 1st offers the same “magic” that January 1st does, giving you a second chance to start again, this time hopefully learning from any mistakes you may have made over the last month.

So if you have fallen, you CAN get up, dust yourself off and try, try again.  If you stumbled and stopped running, going to the gym, eating clean, meditating daily, whatever your healthful resolution was, think about it today and tomorrow; ask yourself where you fell short and on February 1st, wake up and take back what is rightfully yours.

And if you’ve been strong and steady in your resolution, then take tomorrow to pat yourself on the back and then resolve to do it again for another month!

DO IT!

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Assorted Junk Food

Last Tuesday I was undone by one of the few food weaknesses I have – shortbread cookies.  Jess had had a little get together over the weekend with some friends and one of the items brought was an oversized Costco package of chocolate dipped shortbread cookies.

I held out for as long as I could, even throwing out much of what had been brought into my house, my kitchen; but I had been unable to bring myself to toss the shortbread.  Well, I paid for it.  On Tuesday, along with only running 1 mile for my designated #AutismStreaks rest day, I ended up eating a huge stack of those shortbread cookies.

All that yummy shortbread goodness.

All that sugar and flour.

By the end of the day I felt like doodie!

And you know what?  It was a good thing, because it made me realize just how well I take care of myself on a regular basis.  I realized that “this crappy feeling” is how a large majority of society unwittingly feels ALL the time!  No wonder kids don’t go out and play anymore!  No wonder adults come home from work and reach for the vino, the remote and the couch!  If I hadn’t run my mile earlier in the day, #AutismStreaks would have been in serious, serious jeopardy!

***

Every once in a while, if you are a generally clean eater, it’s not a bad idea to pump your body full of crap; to shock the system if you will, because it’s a good reminder of why you are a clean eater.

Try it!

You will feel like shit!  And you will so appreciate it!

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Don't worry!  You can catch the next one!

Don’t worry! You can catch the next one!

Did you miss the train?

Did you get to the station platform just to see the train pulling out?

***

I’ve run across a few people recently who, despite it only being the third week of the New Year, feel they missed their chance to embrace a New Year’s Resolution; that they missed their opportunity to change their habits from bad to good.

Well, guess what people!  The “change my life for the better” train leaves every day, every hour, every minute, every second!  So if you’ve missed it, it’s not too late to hop on board because the next one is leaving now, and now, and now – and due to a strange quirk of quantum physics and the universal magic of platform 9 3/4, once you hop on the train, you’re on the SAME train as the people who hopped on on January 1st!

So don’t delay – do something…today!  Substitute an apple for the cookies, some carrots and hummus for the potato chips, a walk with the dog for the post-dinner TV, the stair for the elevator – every little bit counts.

All aboard!!!

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I recently saw this on Instagram:

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It was followed by a comment by the poster saying: lol January Joiners.

It really chapped my ass.

Listen, I do get the sentiment.  January Joiners make January difficult and frustrating for regular gym goers.  I know all too well the disappointment of getting to the gym to put some miles in on a treadmill because the weather is just awful, only to find every single one is taken.

But here’s the thing, I also find the idea of every treadmill being occupied to be a beautiful, wonderful thing.  It means that there are people, at least momentarily, wanting to make a change for the better.  The sad truth is that the vast majority of them will disappear within two weeks and the vast majority of those who remain will disappear within another two months.

Shouldn’t we be encouraging people instead of discouraging them?  Shouldn’t we be reaching out to those January Joiners, those unfamiliar faces and letting them know that they are doing a good thing, not just for themselves but for their families and friends?  Studies have shown that fitness and obesity can be contagious.  Should we not be encouraging the former?

One more healthy individual, makes society just a little better, just like one drop of rain helps fill a bucket of water.  It may not seem like a lot, but it DOES make a difference.  Imagine how much less money we as a society would have to spend on healthcare if we were able to eliminate 50% of the self-inflicted obesity related illnesses?  It’s billions of dollars back in our pockets to help drive the economy.

We should be embracing and encouraging the January Joiners, not dissing and insulting them.

If you are a regular gym goer, I hope that you will do your part to reach out and encourage those who have resolved to make a change…a simple thumbs up or a “way to go!’ as someone steps off the treadmill.  Give them a sense of pride, a sense of community, and try to remember what it was like the first time you stepped into a gym.

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