Beating obesity the healthy way

The beauty of human physiology is that it is designed for health.  Focusing on disease treatment, such as pain fixes, fever reducers, and surgical procedures we deem as “miraculous”, is medicine done backwards.  The optimal strategy is to adopt the natural physiological approach, which is to avoid disease by consuming foods that deliver the highest nutrient impact, allowing the best tools — the ones inherent in human physiology — to fend off disease, or in cases where disease enters the body, to minimize it while the body gathers its own natural resources to rid itself of the invasive disease.

The quote below addresses the particular cause of, and remedy for, one of the greatest contributors to poor health, obesity.

Nearly all weight problems are resolvable through the adoption of a diet derived from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.  If you are currently overweight, it is not necessary to utilize restraint on portion size, only on portion content.  Heroic exercise is not required, though moderate exercise is helpful.  If the appropriate foods are eaten, the body will naturally shed excessive fat and restore the body to health and fitness.

—–The Pleasure Trap, Douglas Lisle

Follow me on Twitter, too, @toddwrite.

 

Before and after picture (Eat to Live)

Eating a nutrient-rich diet for the past 10 weeks has had some results I’m proud of. The first picture was taken at a Christmas party in December. The second picture was taken on March 30 with my wife and mother. Happy about the progress!

Before

image

After

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KIKU Apples…possibly a new favorite

Wow!  Quite by accident last night, I knocked an apple off of a display at the produce counter.  Not wanting to leave it there with a likely bruise for some unknowing consumer after me, karma being what it is, I decided to buy it.  It was huge, a full pound in weight.

When I buy apples, I usually buy small ones, and they are usually New Zealand Galas.  Seasonally, I enjoy the occasional Honey Crisp, though they are very large, about the same size as the Kiku.  Honey Crisps have a delicious, sweet flavor and are filled with juice.  The Kiku is very similar, maybe not as sweet, but very delicious and crisp.

Not being a connoisseur of apples, per se, it’s always good to know what kind to look for, or knock one off on the floor and try your luck!

See this: Cultivation – KIKU.

Cara Cara oranges…yum!

I’ve become a big fan of Cara Cara oranges of late.  This red-meated orange is amazingly sweet and juicy and lower in acid than others.  According to the wikipedia entry, it is an early season orange, available from California from November through April.

I’ve been finding these in the Dallas market at Central Market, Whole Foods, and Market Street.  My local Tom Thumb/Safeway isn’t carrying them…maybe next year.

For breakfast tomorrow, I think I’ll try a bowl of Cara Cara orange slices, some fresh blueberries, and a couple of leaves of mint, maybe even making them into a smoothie with some soy milk.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

(image borrowed from Apples and Onions)

Cheat meals work against us

I don’t believe in building a “cheat” meal into a diet program.  When I have fallen off the diets in the past it has always started with allowing some “bad” foods back into my diet on an occasional basis.  A bite of cheese becomes a plate of cheese and crackers; a lean piece of red meat becomes a Sonic burger or Big Mac; a taste of chocolate cake becomes pie and ice cream — it’s always just a matter of time.

Watching the scales is not a great way to solve the problem.  If you’ve lost 50+ pounds, a pound gained doesn’t look like much.  If at the end of a week, the one pound becomes two, it’s just a matter of time before you stop watching the scales at all.

And, those new clothes you just bought because you lost a lot of weight and want to wear smaller, sometimes more fashionable, clothes, they get a little tighter, and eventually, you can’t be comfortable in them any more.  You finally have to yield to your weight gains and put on clothes that are more comfortable, the ones you wore before you decided to get healthier.

The problem with cheat meals is that they give us a taste of what we really want to leave behind us.  Breaking up with “the old you” is a very emotional and traumatic divorce, one that can only be successful if it is clean and sure.  The more we cling to it, the more we are slaves to the past, the past we want to leave behind.

We tell ourselves, “Putting on a few more pounds isn’t the end of the world.  I can relax for a awhile.”  Months, or sometimes, years later, we go through the shame and the self-loathing, and we know that the motivation to try again is almost impossible to get back.  If we’ve done the cycle more than two or three times, the length of time between our efforts lengthens further, and eventually, we end up with health conditions and diseases that could have been avoided.  We only have a few chances to do it again and to make it a permanent life change.

Cheat meals aren’t the cause of our failures in dieting; they are symptomatic of the problem that played a huge role in our obesity to start with, the lack of self-discipline.  While green veggies and terrific salad combinations taste great, it’s hard for them to compete with  cheesy, fat-loaded casseroles, if these are the foods we enjoyed in our past.  The lack of self-discipline is the real culprit; developing self-discipline works in our favor.

There are ways to develop it.  Meditation, journaling, yoga, are all things we can do to heal ourselves and to give ourselves the power to say “no.”  Scheduling a cheat meal takes our focus away from healing ourselves and puts it upon how we can keep the old obese self alive.

Early garden report

I’m growing some of this fiero radicchio in my organic garden in the backyard, and I pinched a few leaves off of it today for my dinner salad.  I liked it.  Radichhio is pungent, maybe too bitter for some people, but when added to a salad, it really gives a standard salad of lettuce a new dimension of flavor.  The picture here is from another blog (Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens), not from my garden.  My plants aren’t mature yet.

The prolonged cool weather in Texas this year has stalled the growth of the seeds I planted over a month ago, but a few days of Texas sunshine and rising temperatures will make them take off, reaching for the sky.  The lettuce and spinach are about an inch or so above the soil right now, so I expect to have some to eat in about four weeks.  The radicchio, along with some yellow swiss chard, and kale, I am growing from plants, not seeds, this year.  Tonight was my first taste of those plantings.

My heirloom tomato plants and peppers will be arriving early next week from Seedsavers.  I am planting several varieties, eight plants in all.  The bed is ready.  I call it my “salsa garden.”  I’ll post pictures when I have something to show off.

Busy weeknight routine

Since adopting my new lifestyle of eating healthily and doing Bikram yoga, I have had some adjustments to make in my weeknight schedule.  I was having to choose between a 6:30 class and an 8:15 class at Bikram.  Since I’m not supposed to eat anything about 8 or 8:30 p.m., and I need to eat about two hours ahead of yoga, I was trying to see which way would work best, 6:30 or 8:15.

I’ve been doing the 8:30 for the last week, getting home by 5:45, in time to fix a big salad and some veggies.  I eat my grains and legumes at lunch on these days.  It’s working great, with enough time to rest, do some kitchen work for next day prep, or just sit down and empty my mind from the very demanding work of the day.

Tonight’s fare was the best yet.  I had two collard green wraps, with a stick of celery and fresh guacamole, lemon juice, and my fave condiment, Louisiana Hot Sauce.  I ate this with a large leaf salad, cherry tomatoes, and ping-pong size radishes, sliced thin.  I topped it off with a handful of fresh blackberries and walnut halves.  Time to spare: 1 hr, 45 minutes until mat time.

Lovin’ it.