Our bodies are the most valuable real estate we will ever own. This blog was created for all of us who care about ourselves, our families and our quality of life. The past few years have been an amazing journey and adventure (complete with plenty of bumps in the road!) for me in learning what enormous power we have over our health, happiness and life. To wake up in the morning and live with energy, joy, clarity and vitality is pure bliss..and most important, it is something we can all experience.
I started out 2008 with a commitment to change myself physically. I was 38 and lived and worked in New York City. I have never been obese, but was the heaviest I have ever been. It was time for a change. None of my clothes fit. Whoa. I have always worked out and I belonged to a great gym, which I used, but thought my “lifestyle” had clearly gotten a bit out of hand. I wasn’t 20 anymore and thought I needed to really cut back the cocktailing, the late night dinners and get on more of a regular sleep schedule.
Eating wise….I was a poster-ad for SAD, the Standard American Diet. Didn’t eat breakfast regularly. Occasionally eggs, bacon, pancakes, or bagel, but that was more social and could really hold off til lunch I never drank coffee. I drank at least 6 Diet Mtn Dew’s a day. Yes, you read that right. As soon as I woke up, the can would pop and the ice would hit the glass…on the rocks first thing in the am. I would have two before I left the apartment to go to work.
Vegetables? My idea of a vegetable was a casear salad, a baked potato or spinach dip. I think I fell in the very large group of people who believed that if it’s good for you, it must taste horrible. All those over-cooked cafeteria vegetables at school growing up would be enough to make anyone join that group! I was a huge meat eater: burgers, lamb, steak, steak tartar, veal – oh how I loved veal, chicken and let’s not forget the goose liver.
And cheese. Oh my. Believe me when I tell you I would always ask the waiter to leave the parmesean at the table or if he wouldn’t, I would make him stand there and grate a 5 inch snowfall of parmesean over my plate of pasta. I would eat pimento cheese and crackers all day long. In France, I would choose the cheesecart over dessert and go to town on it.
That winter of 2008, I lived in a small NYC studio and like many others, used the stove for storage. No stovetop or microwave but I did have access to a blender. I started making fruit smoothies for breakfast. (In addition to my Diet Mtn Dews). I got some soy protein powder (must be good for you, right? that’s another post) from Whole Foods and started blending that with blueberries and bananas. I usually had a salad or sandwich (with chips) at lunch and same for dinner.
This was a great first step for me. All this plus spending less time in PJ Clarke’s and more time in Equinox = the weight was starting to come off. By March, I could tell a difference: clothes were fitting again.
In early April, I seemed to have hit a plateau and could not figure out for the life of me why the last 10-12 lbs was not coming off. I became a nutritional detective and kept a food journal. I started reading labels and looking up the nutritional content of EVERYTHING. I was shocked what I was discovering. I was trying to find out how much fat, sugar, protein, carbs we should be having in a day. Getting mixed info but learning so much. Especially about milk and dairy.
That spring Oprah did a special web class featuring Eckart Tolle’s great book “A New Earth“….which was very enlightening for me. It really opened up a level of conscious living I had not experienced before. In May, Oprah had Kathy Freston on and committed to going “vegan” for a month. I didn’t even know what that meant!! She spelled it out on the show: no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no gluten, no alcohol, no caffiene or processed anything. Whoa. Something Kathy said rang a bell for me and truly was my wake-up call, particularly coming on the heels of Eckhart’s book. She said “you can’t truly live consciously without consideration of what your food is and how it is prepared and gets to your plate”. I immediately got on the message boards and was absorbing all the info like a sponge. People talking about chickens, meat, dairy, soy (the protein powder I had been using for 4 months!) , milk and sugar. They were sharing their experiences and providing book / blog recommendations. It was fantastic! Two things I read really changed my path. One was to start adding “greens” to my smoothies and the other was a book recommendation: Dr. Joel Furhman’s “Eat to Live“. I went straight to the Border’s at Columbus Circle after work and got that book. Yay me!
By the end of the introduction, I had committed to myself to follow Dr. Furhman’s plan (minus the caffine). I decided I did not want to “wait for an illness or disease” to be healthy. Be proactive, not reactive. I felt that I could do with out the dairy, meat, alcohol, sugar, but wasn’t prepared to give up the dew’s. I changed my morning smoothie’s to incorporate greens and stopped the protein powder. Changed my lunch salads to greens and vegetables…no more chicken, cheese and blue cheese dressing.
Interestingly enough, each week the soda tapered itself…the more whole foods I ate, the more the diet mtn dew tasted like a chemical to me. After six weeks, I poured one in the morning, took one sip (which tasted like gasoline) and threw it out. I knew I that would be my last soda. What a wonderful feeling … my body was so grateful!
Here we are almost three years later … I have traded in the Diet Mtn Dews for wheatgrass shots and green juices, smoothies are my beloved breakfast and my most treasured kitchen appliance is my Vitamix, which is used several times a day. I have made lots of changes and learned so much about our bodies, how they function/heal, health, holistic practices and oh, the list goes on. Have loved every minute of this wellness journey, which incorporates so many things other than food (which I will share on this blog). Most important lesson: I have learned to build myself up, not beat myself up … about anything.
Also, learning about eastern medicine and the body’s capacity and ability to heal itself has had an enormous effect on how I live. The eastern concept of “going to the doctor when you are already sick being akin to digging a well when you are already thirsty” pretty much sums up how I view health now.
I look forward to continuing this journey here; to sharing ideas, techniques, thoughts, recipes and tips with you, with the hope of learning from and with you. If you have anything to share, please do! All are welcome.
To our health … and, may we always lift each other up.