healthy eating is a way of life
Most Americans are unhealthy. The USA spends twice as much on heathcare as the average OECD country, yet has the lowest life expectancy and highest suicide rate among the 11 OECD countries. Almost half of adult Americans are obese, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, and almost 35 million Americans have been diagnosed to have diabetes. Most of these illnesses can be put down to unhealthy lifestyles ~ about one third of Americans are classified as ‘physically inactive’, and the US Department of Health says 80% do not take enough exercise to be even moderately fit and healthy. Things are not much better here in England.
To eat a healthy diet, to live with a healthy lifestyle, isn’t difficult. It does mean giving up a couple of things; drinking and smoking chief among them. There are also some things we should consume a lot less of; refined sugar, caffeine, stuff made with white flour, dairy, canned food, fast food, processed food, take out meals, sugary carbonated drinks, and anything and everything with high fructose corn syrup in it, (HFCS).
Now that I have to control my recently diagnosed high blood pressure, the kinds of dishes I’ll be eating are shown here.
Petra at Food Eat Love has a great recipe for Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit. Beef is more than just OK, and both ginger and grapefruit are great for keeping one’s blood pressure under control.
Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit
Oily fish is very good for our health and so are cilantro and citrus. Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb combines these ingredients in her Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil. An easy and healthy 30 minute dish. Supposedly, honey has some surprising health benefits.
Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil
A good breakfast is important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Jessica Merchant has a collection of her 10 Favorite Weekday Breakfasts. From that I’m featuring these Pumpkin Protein Pancakes, so easy and so healthy.
Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
A healthy hearty diet need not be lots and lots of salads, we can also eat comfort food and Holly at Spend With Pennies has a great side dish of Colcannon ~ mashed potatoes and cabbage, fabulous served with corned beef. Potato and cruciferous vegetables are good for helping to control one’s blood pressure. (there is the obvious farting issue when it comes to eating lots of cruciferous vegetables)
Joy the baker has this very interesting dish; Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash. Brussel Sprouts are cruciferous vegetables and really good for us, and mushrooms have lots of potential benefits when it comes to preventing cardio vascular diseases.
Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this very attractive recipe for Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken. I have just got to try this easy, healthy dish ~ using brown / wild rice.
Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken
but a glass of good red wine is probably beneficial most evenings of the week
life is not merely being alive, but being well
It still behoves me to search out recipes which will help me to live a healthier life ~ to be fit and well. And in all honesty, that isn’t hard, there are plenty of very tasty, good-looking, and very healthy recipes out there, including on many of the cookery blogs I have been following for ages. Not only that, some of the cooks I follow feature mostly very healthy, allergen-free, and gluten-free dishes.
For me, the three main things I need to concentrate on are to eat much leaner meats, eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, and use much less salt. That shouldn’t be too hard, should it? Actually, I’m finding the much less salt thing quite difficult. Oh well, nothing worthwhile is ever that easy.
First this week we have Diane’s recipe for vegetable rice soup ~ and if you ask me this dish is fantastic. This looks easy, nutritious, and very healthy, perfect for a weekend lunch or a light dinner.
Vegetable Rice Soup
Next, from that specialist in wholesome food, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest there is this citrus avocado salad with orange tahini vinaigrette. This is a very simple recipe, but so good looking that I’m prepared to bet good money that it’s delicious.
Citrus Avocado Salad with Orange Tahini Vinaigrette
From Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin we have an easy, healthy, and juicy crockpot Mexican chicken. You can make this with chicken breasts or thighs, depending what’s good in your supermarket today. Looks great.
Crockpot Mexican Chicken
Another chicken dish, this time classic chicken noodle soup from Holly at Spend with Pennies. Easily made from scratch Holly says it’s cozy, comforting and delicious ~ it looks it.
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, how about this smoky butternut kale salad with goat cheese and apricot vinaigrette ~ and it’s not just another boring butternut squash kale salad either. (except I might be tempted to use Wensleydale instead of goat cheese)
Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette
Our collection this week is from Good Housekeeping; 16 healthy salmon recipes that are beyond tasty. These are all fabulous dinner recipes, and not just midweek either. From the list I’ve chosen to feature this very easy roasted salmon and beets with herb vinaigrette. I must try this recipe this weekend.
Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette
poor Marmaduke only has healthy eggs for his dinner tonight
take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live
appetising, but not healthy at all
All is not well on the dietary front, all around us we see evidence of eating and drinking problems. Until recently, I myself was suffering with a binge drinking problem. In the West, alcoholism, eating disorders, obesity, and diabetes are all on the increase. Cheap drink fills our supermarkets, and fast food outlets are on almost every street corner. It’s disingenuous to say you’re living a great life when you’re ill with diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, or cancers.
There are always going to be people seeking the instant gratification to be gained from alcohol and the carefree consumption of fast food and takeout meals. But usually, delayed gratification and the careful choice of what we eat and drink will lead to a longer and healthier life ~ and if you’re still young and beautiful, then does it matter? Actually it does, and choose carefully because there are few second chances.
The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not. ~ Mark Twain.
Assuming that eating and drinking only healthy and organic produce, and always staying totally sober is out of the question, then the secret is everything in moderation. If possible, avoid food and drinks that are obviously unhealthy, stay away from alcohol, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and very fatty foods. These things increase your risk of; fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes, cancers, harmful inflammations, and contain no essential nutrients whatsoever.
Try and develop some new healthy habits;
- drink plenty of water, about 6 pints a day, (US).
- Always eat something for breakfast.
- Have your 5 portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Cut out wheat and dairy products, (no cheese and crackers, no milk, no bread).
- Never, ever, buy a sandwich or a wrap.
- Only eat good quality meats, and no processed meats at all.
- Never, ever, have second helpings.
- Never, ever, eat late at night.
Whatever you eat and drink, avoid too much of one thing, cut out fast foods, stay away from high fructose corn syrup, and don’t drink more than about a bottle of red wine a week.
Some say that we are what we eat. And that a little booze never did anyone any harm at all. All I know is that most people in the West treat their bodies like trash cans.
simple tomato and avocado salad
I will respect this liver. After all it’s not mine. ~ George Best
So, I’m working on this healthier eating plan, with the avowed aim of being fitter, healthier, and detoxing my body ~ especially detoxing my liver, which is the body’s chemical factory.
The most important thing for most of us to do if we want to be fitter, healthier, and have a cleaner liver is to give up booze. If you take a drink the liver will stop whatever it’s doing and start to process alcohol, and your liver will do bugger-all else until all the booze has been flushed from your system. George Best, was one of the greatest soccer players of all time, he died in 2005 of alcoholism after having a liver transplant.
As well as giving up booze I’m also not going to eat dairy, including eggs, and I won’t touch anything at all containing wheat flour, or high-fructose corn syrup. I don’t want to consume the weedkiller that’s routinely sprayed on those crops and persists right up to the point we take the glyphosate into our bodies.
First this week we have a very healthy looking dish from Simply Recipes; green bean salad with lemon and dill by Summer Miller. I guess for most of us this would be a side-dish, but I’d be pleased to have just this for lunch, (maybe with some cherry tomatoes).
Green Bean Salad with Lemon and Dill
From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats how about this cool looking crispy baked Parmesan chicken with lemon arugula. I know I said I wasn’t eating dairy, but a little Parmesan is more than just OK, it makes this dish. Chicken is a very low-fat meat, and I’m trying for a low-fat diet.
Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Arugula
Another brilliant chicken dish, this time from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb. This one pan garlic herb chicken and asparagus looks brilliant, and if I’m so minded I guess I would use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. I love one pan meals, so easy to clean up afterwards.
One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus
Heidi at Foodie Crush has posted this Thai basil chicken, (Pad Krapow Gai). I must try this, Heidi says it’s easy and I really like all the ingredients she’s listed. Especially I want to try cooking with coconut milk. I think I’d serve this with wild rice and quinoa, which I can get at my favourite supermarket.
Thai Basil Chicken
Dana Shultz, the Minimalist Baker, has these ultra-healthy sounding crispy miso chickpea bowls with garlic sesame dressing. It seems this is a 10 ingredient bowl ~ I can cope with that.
Crispy Miso Chickpea Bowls with Garlic Sesame Dressing
And, finally for this week, Teigan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest offers us these weeknight 30 minute coconut curry chicken meatballs. Never mind weeknight, these would be great to serve when you have friends around.
Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs
healthy eating needs oily fish
We are each our own devil, and we make the world our hell.
You decide what to eat, how much alcohol you’re going to drink, how much rest and sleep you are going to get, whether you’re going to smoke cigarettes, how much fresh air and exercise you’re going to have, whether or not you’re going to take drugs (illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over the counter medication), and how much stress you’re going to put yourself under before you stop and maybe meditate for a while.
And, more likely than not, you know what you should be doing for a healthier and longer life, as opposed to what you are actually doing with your life every day. The chances are that every day you’re putting your body, mind, and spirit under extreme stress by doing exactly the wrong things on purpose.
Our bodies are designed to self-heal, but if we keep putting our body, mind, and spirit under stress, then we are going to degenerate, get sick, get old, look old, become unfit and overweight, and die painfully long before we should.
Yet I know that everyone reading this wants to be fit, healthy, and happy ~ so why do so many people subject themselves to so much
fucking crap, every single day?
- Be your own best carer. Too many of us spend too much time taking care of other people, when what they should be doing is practicing self-care and putting themselves first. If you make yourself ill, unfit, mentally sick, stressed-out, then you’re not going to be of much use to anyone else.
- Get back to nature. Get outdoors, get some fresh air and sunshine, breathe deeply of clean air, drink at least 3 pints of fresh clean water a day, enjoy the far horizons. If you spend a lot of time indoors, using a computer, drinking coffee, then the tiny electrical signals that actually operate your mind and body get screwed, so you’re tired and can’t think properly by the end of the day.
- Get plenty of sleep. Most people need 7 to 9 hours of good quality deep REM sleep. Don’t fall asleep in a chair in front of the TV. Make your bedroom a blackout zone. Go to bed the day before you get up. Don’t drink too much booze right before bedtime.
- Eat the right amount of good quality, healthy, organic food. Avoid processed foods. Drink those 3 pints of good clean water every day. Eat a high water content diet.
- Stop sabotaging yourself. Commit to self-care and practice it every single day. If you are addicted to anything: cigarettes, booze, drugs, gambling, binge eating, self-harm, anger, stress then find a cure. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to recover from your addiction.
Some say that they hate themselves. And, some people act as though they really do hate themselves. All I know is that these days I am a very cool guy, living a really great life.
recently I stayed at the best B & B in all America
A dog, a wife, and a walnut tree, they more you beat them the better they be.
It looks like a simple change to our diet, like eating a few walnuts a day, boosts our health in some amazing ways.
I’ve long thought that eating nuts was a good idea, and now some scientists at the Louisiana State University agree with me. After some experiments they say that eating a couple of ounces of walnuts a day improves your digestive health. Seems it’s all to do with prebiotics again, and that walnuts have their beneficial effects by nourishing the friendly bacteria in our gut, helping them to thrive and multiply.
These good bacteria have anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation is now thought to be central to the onset of arthritis, various cancers including prostate and breast cancer, depression, early aging, various heart / circulatory diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
It’s better to get the nutrients for healthy skin from food, not supplements. Salmon, walnuts, blueberries, spinach… lots of my favorite foods happen to be amazing for skin too. ~ Gail Simmons
Scientists and nutritionists say that the health of our digestive tract is central to the health of our whole body. Walnuts act as a prebiotic, meaning that eating these nuts helps keep our digestive system healthy.
Gut health is an emerging research area, but we are seeing greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. ~ Professor Lauri Byerley.
Walnuts and hazelnuts are just about the oldest tree foods known to man; their importance going at least at far back as 7,000 BC. Walnuts in particular;
- Help with weight loss.
- Improve good sleep if eaten late at night~ walnuts contain lots of melatonin.
- Are good for your hair, in fact eating walnuts may help prevent hair loss.
- Are very good for your heart and circulation.
- Help to lower your bad cholesterol.
- Help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Makes your skin healthier.
- Can keep senile dementia at bay.
- Help to prevent various cancers, especially breast and pancreatic cancers.
- Will help you to live a longer, healthier, and less stressful life.
Personally, I firmly believe that eating almost any type of nuts and seeds is a beneficial addition to one’s diet, but walnuts may be better than most as they are the only nut that contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acid. And, as we already know, omega-3 fatty acids are good for us. Walnuts also have a lot of protein, fibre, phytochemicals, and antioxidants in them.
Walnuts are a tree nut, along with Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, pine nuts and pistachios ~ each of these has it’s own nutritional properties, (I can’t abide macadamia nuts and I hate pecan pie).
Walnuts have the vitally important amino acid l-arginine, which give loads of benefits to people with heart diseases, or who may become prone to suffering from heart and circulatory problems.
These almost magical nuts also contain neuroprotective compounds, such as vitamin E, folate, and melatonin. Research shows that eating a half a cup of walnuts a day may stave off senile dementia.
Allegedly, walnuts also make men more sexually potent, and are good for pregnant women…..
There is one nut which is not generally thought to be quite so healthy; peanuts. These are legumes anyhow, and basically legumes are either peas or cattle food. The main reason that early farmers grew legumes is that they improve the soil, and not because they’re good to eat.
Nevertheless, there are health benefits to be found from the humble peanut; they’re full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, the anti-aging molecule resveratrol, and phytosterols that help reduce bad cholesterol.
Nuts and seeds are a far better snack than the other disgusting crap many people munch on, especially late at night. So don’t snack on potato chips, crackers, popcorn, blue cheese, ice cream, doughnuts, pretzels, candy, chocolate, cookies, cake, s’mores… have some walnuts instead, or almonds, or hazelnuts, (or any nuts and seeds).
The good news is, that glass of red wine you like late at night is good for you too.
always buy organic walnuts
Life is not merely being alive, but being well.
If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel better, you will also add ten or more years to your life. But, what is a healthy lifestyle? Turns out that not smoking, (nor abusing prescription or street drugs), drinking booze only in pretty strict moderation, and keeping to a healthy weight are the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
Smoking and drinking may look cool, for a short while, but after a short while those pastimes will turn an attractive women into a cackling, wrinkled, old hag.
The reason fat men are good-natured is that they can neither fight nor run. ~ Theodore Roosevelt.
Personally, I would add another three things we should all do if we want to be fit and healthy well into our senior years; get plenty of good quality sleep, get plenty of appropriate exercise, and eat a good, healthy diet. Therefore, if you don’t want to suffer a horrible and early death, from this moment on you should;
- Stop smoking. Stop smoking weed too. Smoking is dirty, disgusting, anti-social, and it will kill you in a selection of particularly nasty ways.
- Drink only in moderation. If you regularly take more than a couple of drinks in an evening, if you empty a bottle of wine in a couple of days, if you have a cupboard full of half-empty bottles of spirits ~ then you have a drink problem, and eventually it will make you very ill.
- Don’t be fat, don’t be obese. It is very easy to stuff yourself with burgers, take-outs, canned food, and other unhealthy crap calories. Type 2 diabetes will make you very ill, and then it will kill you. There are three foods / ingredients you should never, ever, knowingly have in your diet; sugar-free / diet soda, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, wheat flour, wheat products.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired and grumpy. Lack of enough proper sleep causes accidents, makes you stupid, kills your sex drive, and puts you at greater risk of; heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
- Take enough appropriate exercise. Just a daily walk can add 7 years to your life. You don’t need to join an gym and lift heavy weights. Both yoga and tai chi have a myriad of health benefits, improving your balance, control, fitness, flexibility, reducing the risks of falls, sprains, and other injuries, easing pain, and reducing the symptoms of depression.
- Have a good quality and healthy diet. And, there are lots of cool diets to choose from; Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean, Pritikin… The key is don’t eat junk, have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat slowly and chew your food properly, and don’t stuff yourself at every opportunity.
Americans and the British are much less likely to live long and healthy lives than do the inhabitants of most industrialised western countries, and it has nothing at all to do with the standards of medical care in the USA and the UK. In fact, the Japanese have the highest average healthy life expectancy in the world ~ and it doesn’t have anything to do with either sushi or rice.
Japanese people give attention to health in all aspects of their daily life. Professor Kenji Shibuya.
Some things you can do today to work towards that fitter, healthier, happier life in your senior years are;
- Change your attitude ~ tell yourself, convince yourself, that you will be fitter, healthier, stronger, more capable, filled with self-confidence, and more self-aware.
- Get your blood pressure checked.
- Eat a better diet ~ stop eating junk.
- Stop knocking back the booze in the evenings. Especially DO NOT drink just before you go to bed.
- Stop smoking.
- Start exercising. There are both mental and physical benefits to regular exercise ~ at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. Walk, (at least) 10,000 steps every day.
- Walk don’t drive. Learn to drive in a slower, calmer, more relaxed manner.
- Don’t get stressed. Practice meditation and mindfulness ~ just relax.
- Don’t hang out with people who eat junk, smoke, drink, and slob about just watching sports TV all day. Stay out of pubs, bars, and down-market restaurants. If you can’t do those things you need to get to an AA meeting.
- And for goodness sake, stay out of hospital. Hospitals are incredibly unhealthy places to be for very long.
These are all simple lifestyle changes, and each one is pretty easy on it’s own. Taken together these lifestyle changes will make a massive difference to your health, fitness, and happiness. As a side effect you will stop throwing huge hunks of change down the drain.
A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~ Paul Dudley White.
Being angry, hateful, jealous, negative, stressed…, will all damage your physical, mental, and emotional health. In fact, just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of an early death by three-quarters.
Mens sana in corpore sano ~ a healthy mind in a healthy body.
you can buy this book from Amazon
Office work is injurious to your health.
If you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, your health will suffer, your fitness will suffer, and you may be heading to an early grave. In fact over a 20 year period you are 60% more likely to die than someone who leads an active life, (defined as a couple of hours physical activity a day). A sedentary lifestyle can kill you.
A deskbound, sedentary lifestyle means that you will be far more likely to suffer from all kinds of nasty illnesses, including; heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, insomnia, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain, brittle bones, arthritis, gout, obesity, stomach problems…
However, there are some fairly easy changes you can make to your deskbound lifestyle to make up for the fact that for eight hours a day you’re mostly a potato. All you really need is a little bit of self-discipline, and you could transform your life by following some, (or all), of these simple suggestions.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift, (elevator). It’s far better for your health, elevators are full of germs, and I got trapped in a full elevator, which isn’t fun.
- Stand up at your desk. Don’t worry what others in the office think, stand up whenever you’re not actually typing on your screen. Anyway, I always used to stand while making phone calls ~ it adds empowerment to your voice. Stand on one leg, shift your weight, lift yourself on your toes and rock back on your heels.
- Take a five-minute break every hour just to walk around the office, make a coffee, go to the bathroom.
- Clean your desk and tidy your environment. The chances are that your desk has more germs on it than a toilet seat. A messy desk and your immediate environs makes you feel stressed ~ and you will be judged on your workspace. Remember, a tidy desk is a happy desk, and a happy desk is an efficient desk.
- Avoid stress by being organised ~ you probably need to learn some effective time management skills, and I’ll write another post on just that topic.
- Don’t eat or drink to relieve stress. Don’t snack on sweet stuffs, you may get bowel cancer. You aren’t actually hungry, you’re just stuffing your face because it makes you feel a little better for a little while. Emotional eating will just make you fat and unhealthy.
- Take a packed lunch to work ~ at least you’ll know what’s in it. Eating out every day, or buying your lunch from a fast food cart or take-out place is very bad for your health. You will get fat, you may get type 2 diabetes, you may get bowel cancer.
- Stay hydrated ~drink water, about a dozen cups, 3 litres, 6 pints or so, every day. Anything with caffeine in it is a diuretic and makes you lose water. Drinking a lot of water gives you a reminder to get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom.
- Get outside at lunchtime and during breaks ~ for a start your body needs the vitamin D you get from sunshine.
- Walk, don’t drive. Walking is one of the best exercises you can get, walking meditation is good, and driving is stressful. For Gods’ sakes, don’t take up power walking, it will make you look stupid.
- Move around whenever you can, and however you find it possible. Exercise at your desk. Stretch at your desk. Stand up at your desk and stretch. Go outside and stretch
- Practice breathing exercises and brief meditation.
- Don’t go to the pub / bar with colleagues after work. Drinking after work is dangerous and it marks you out as a drunkard / wastrel / slut / player.
- Go home and eat a healthy dinner. Your evening meal is very important for a healthy life.
- Don’t sit in front of the television in the evenings. Watching television is very bad for your mental and physical health, it also turns you into a boring vegetable. Under no circumstances sit in front of the television eating, drinking, and smoking ~ that will kill you.
- Ditch social media, (or most of it anyway). Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc are all very bad for your health. They also turn your brain into mouldy old dough. Only narcissists use twitter, and only egotists use Facebook anyway.
- Get plenty of quality sleep. You may need between 7 to 9 hours good quality sleep a night. You can make up for sleep afterwards, but you cannot store sleep in advance. Get a routine, go to bed at the same time every night and get up and moving at the same time every morning.
- Have an outdoors active hobby / recreation at the weekends. Go for long walks, play golf, enjoy gardening, the list of outdoors things you can do at weekends is long, varied, and interesting.
Seems like a lot of fuss and effort, doesn’t it? OK, don’t bother to do any of this. Don’t make any changes to your sedentary life. Be a boring person, get sick, feel terrible, die before you should. With one exception I don’t give a damn if you follow any of this advice or not. It’s your life, such as it is, you are free to be a desk potato, if that’s what you really want.
But remember, if you just sit at your desk for eight hours a day, then you have to do a solid hour’s exercise in the evenings just to undo all the harm you’ve done to your body, mind, and spirit during the working day.
Get more exercise and have a nice life.