Those who read my blog regularly know that this past semester, especially reently, I've been putting up a lot of guest posts. It's been a rough semester and besides my school work, I've had a chronic cold that goes away and comes back for much of the semester. You who read regularly also know that I've been posting about health lately. So, I asked Hedva to write a guest post for me since she eats healthier than anyone I know. Please note that this is not the guest poster who has written most of the recent posts. This is actually her first guest post for me.
You can be thin and still be unhealthy. If your sole goal is to be thin, don’t waste your time reading this. If your goal in life is to be healthy, then read on!
I try to BE healthy, and I try to drag my family with me. To me, BEING healthy means:
1) Managing my time well so that I get enough sleep and eliminate as much stress as possible from my life. That means no TV, no playing computer games, and limiting time on email, social networking sites, etc.
2) Getting enough exercise. This does not necessarily mean joining a gym. To me, it means walking whenever possible, using the stairs instead of the elevator, running around with my kids, and doing a few minutes of yoga every night.
3) Eating healthy foods and drinking lots of water.
Healthy eating is what Michal wanted me to focus on, and it is undoubtedly the most important aspect of healthy living. I don’t count calories and I don’t look at the fat content. I simply eat as many whole foods as possible, and avoid the processed foods.
When I leave the grocery store, my shopping cart is full of vegetables, fruit, eggs, unprocessed cheese, fresh fish, plain yogurt, meat, and poultry. These are whole foods. I buy whole wheat bread with no sugar added (my goal is to one day use my bread machine and make my own bread!), and I buy 100% whole wheat pasta and rice. I buy quinoa. I do buy whole wheat crackers and whole wheat pretzels for the kids, but I try to limit their snacks to whole foods, like raisins, fruit, veggies, etc.
It’s really that simple. I cringe when I see other moms loading their carts up with soda, candy, potato chips, frozen chicken nuggets, white bread, white pasta, American cheese (aka, processed garbage), that yogurt that comes with the cookies and chocolate on top, etc. This stuff is not food. Some parts of it used to be food, until a corporation got its hands on it, added lots of garbage to it, packaged it nicely, and is now passing it off as food.
I try to serve eggs and hot cereal for breakfast, but my kids like cereal with milk too. So I buy the 100% whole grain cereals that don’t have any chemical preservatives and have less sugar. It’s still processed garbage, but it’s a little better than Fruit Loops.
We drink water. Lots of it. We never bring soda into the house (that stuff is poison). We have 100% juice only on Shabbos as we eat plenty of fresh fruits. My kids get OJ when they are sick and I’m trying to entice them to drink more. If you don’t like the taste of water, learn to like it. Eliminate all other drinks from your diet and within a couple of weeks, you will relish the taste of water. It’s a must for a healthy lifestyle.
Are we 100% healthy all the time? Of course not. We eat challah every Shabbos, which is our weekly dose of refined white flour. I give the kids a special Shabbos treat, be it a cookie or a fruit strip (made from real fruit). We eat dessert on Shabbos and Yom Tov (although I always substitute whole wheat flour for white flour). We go out to eat sometimes, and indulge in the white bread and the white pasta. But we usually eat real food.
And let me tell you - we eat well. Very well. My fresh vegetable salads are extremely yummy. I make fish or chicken every night, and it’s always good. My vegetable dishes have lured in even the most anti-healthy people (yes, asparagus and broccoli CAN taste good). We never go hungry and we never eat bland, gross food.
Cooking takes a lot of time and effort. It requires a lot of planning. Every Sunday morning, I sit down and write out a meal plan for the week. I then write up a shopping list and send the hubby shopping. I prep as much as I can the night before for dinner the next day. I’ll cut up the vegetables, prepare the marinade, etc. Having everything ready in advance makes it so much easier to put the meal together quickly.
Some people don’t have the time, or are simply unwilling to devote that time to cooking healthfully. In my opinion, if eating healthfully is a priority, you’ll find the time to cook. Cut out the television watching, reading blogs (except Michal’s, of course), and the time you spend on Facebook, and you’ll have time to cook a healthy meal!