Good morning and Happy Sunday January 12, 2020
Greetings friends! I hope you are all doing well; keeping your mind calm and body strong. We are nearly two weeks into 2020 and there is plenty occurring in the world. It may be a new and exciting year, but life continues to happen. My question is, what are you doing to process and deal with everything that comes your way? Is it causing new stress, pain, anxiety or trauma? The reality of the world and life events can create stress and bring on depression. Together, we have to remain strong and healthy; physically, mentally and spiritually. Stay positive, keep your negative thoughts in check and focus on happiness and longevity.
Enjoying health, happiness and love brings so many rewards and benefits. Less stress, peace of mind, a healthy body and gentle spirit are all amazing. Physical strength, self-confidence and positive thinking are highly desired too. All these begin with a balance of several key factors. Food, exercise, sleep, nature, self-care and love are key components to the balance. I want to focus on nutrition in maintaining the healthy life puzzle. So what is nutrition? Most of us immediately think of food, right? Yes, food is a major component of it, but there is more. Nutrition encompasses everything we put into our bodies. Whether we ingest food, liquid, drugs, smoke, music, visual images, sights, sounds and emotion; all have an influence on our health. It really encompasses all of our senses, including physical, mental and spiritual. What we fuel our bodies and minds with, sets the course for much of how we feel, what we do, think and say. Good health and nutrition is not a fad or a diet. It is about living a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining good health should be an investment in yourself. It should be something you take seriously every day. We save money by putting it into bank accounts, investment or retirement funds. Why aren’t we doing the same with our health. We should be banking on our good health at every opportunity. It should be one of our top priorities. If you eat junk or unhealthy food day after day, don’t exercise and aren’t coping with stress, your mind and body will suffer. The accumulation of stress and poor health will impact you mentally, physically and spiritually. This will potentially create health issues with harmful consequences. I realize we are all different physically and mentally. Our bodies process changes differently, but negative influences will ultimately impact you adversely. I want to be around as long as possible to enjoy life. Life is far too short not to enjoy the people that we love and cherish! I want to be here to walk my daughter down the aisle and play with grandkids someday. Every day spent negatively impacted by increased stress, lack of a healthy life style and lack of inner happiness is causing you harm. It’s time to turn that around and move into positive territory. I know dealing with a stressful life day in and day out takes a toll on us. I lived that life for far too many years. I ultimately learned how to deflect stress, get healthy and happy again. Now I feel energized and vibrant. It’s amazing how happy you and your life can be with just a few simple adjustments. Your health investment needs to start now.
When I was growing up, my Mom cooked relatively healthy, or so we thought. Along with all the Italian favorites, my Dad enjoyed meat, potato’s and vegetables. Processed food weaved into our diet in the 60’s. TV dinners were the rave and a treat. Now I am well aware of all the processed additives that go into those meals. Yuck! I know it was fun for us at the time, but not so healthy. Happily, those days are in my past. I learned to cool and refined my skills as I grew.
Now fast forward to my career in law enforcement. It is after midnight and my partner and I have been running our butts off from incident to incident. We are exhausted and have not had the opportunity to eat since we began our shift nearly eight hours ago. At this hour in Los Angeles food choices are limited, especially for cops. We are near downtown, so we drive into Rampart Division and stop at the Original Tommy’s Hamburger. It is a popular spot at any hour for many people. We both opt for a double chili cheese burger, chili cheese fries and a soda. Our dining table is the warm hood of our police car. Standing in the middle of a parking lot eating is not my first choice. Our food disappears in a matter of minutes! My body tells me I will regret eating this. I feel the effects the next day. It was a poor choice and my body obviously knows best. Unfortunately, poor food choices occurred often, especially when selection is slim. As the years pass I realize, I am in control of what I put into my body. I begin to make adjustments, make better choices and opting for healthy food. My body rewards me with better health and mental clarity. Food can be a crutch without us realizing it. This is when we need to recognize what choices we make and what we put into our bodies. Healthier is better. Eating fresh healthy foods builds our body, fuels our mind and enriches our soul. Food is such an important part of this balancing puzzle. I am a firm believer eating healthy food is a top priority to a better life. Food coupled with exercise, self-care, rest, nature, mindfulness and love lead us along a path of happiness and longevity.
When my daughter did a semester abroad for college, she lived in Florence, Italy. She enjoyed how different shopping for food and eating was there; as compared to here in the United States. Food for meals was shopped fresh each day. The farm to table concept was a reality. Typically, that isn’t the case in the U.S., where so many foods may be shipped across the country or from outside the US. There were also far fewer processed foods in Italy. Here in the U.S. we have entire sections of the grocery stores devoted to frozen, canned, bagged, bottled or boxed processed foods. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting parts of Italy on three different occasions. Meals are much less rushed and more enjoyed by friends and family. Yes, fast food chains have invaded Italy; and the world; but luckily most people still realize the importance of eating healthy. My daughter and I can now laugh about some of the foods we consumed when she was young. One such item, and yes there were a few, was Entenmann’s donut holes. She loved those things; except an entire box was a bit much for a young girl over several days. I was always there to assist and help with the donut holes seeing their demise. Yes, it is a good thing I was younger then; ran and worked out regularly. Fun times to remember, laugh about and definitely not do again now. My daughter was great incentive to eat and live healthier. My goal now is to eat as healthy as I can. I am happy she picked up healthy living skills too.
When it comes to eating healthy, there are so many unhealthy choices out there. Fast food has to be one of the worst. I did eat quite a bit in my younger days until I finally realized how poorly it made me feel. There are so many foods today filled with chemicals, preservatives and additives that can cause negative health issues. Pesticides are often used on fruit and vegetables. Many foods are being genetically modified. There are so many things associated with the production of our food we do not have the ability to control. Foods cooked or fried in vegetable or refined oils are not healthy. In addition, those foods are typically loaded with other unhealthy additives. My suggestion, make healthier choices when eating at restaurants and avoid fast food joints. I avoid products that are labeled “low fat” or “heart healthy.” I have nearly eliminated all sugar and many processed foods from my diet. Sugar and added sugars under various names, has to be the single handed worst additive. I suggest you read ingredient labels before you buy. Added sugar is in just about everything. It is not good for you or your health.
What we can control is educating ourselves and making healthier choices. Today, my diet includes plenty of fresh, organic and non-GMO foods. Vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, grains and many types of fruit are always included in my diet. I have slowly been reducing the amount of meat I consume; especially red meat. When I do eat meat (including fish and chicken), I eat specific cuts that are organic, healthy and fresh. I still enjoy cheese, but have eliminated most dairy products. I use coconut or almond milk for healthy protein shakes. A good quality olive oil is best, as is coconut oil for cooking.
Water comprises approximately 60% of the body. Keeping our bodies hydrated each day is of paramount importance. Water is the key component. My body lets me know when I am not drinking enough to maintain good hydration. I typically feel sluggish and begin to get a headache. Drinking water throughout the day is significant in maintaining proper bodily functions. There are many energy and hydration drinks available. They can provide benefits at the right time. Many contain large amounts of sugar or other additives that can have a negative effect as well. Be cautious as to how much you consume. My suggestion is to always read the label for contents. Be better informed as to what you are putting into your body.
Alcohol and spirits are another source of sugar and added chemicals. We tend to drink alcoholic beverages for enjoyment or to influence our mental state. I used alcohol as a crutch for many years. In college it masked my pain from anxiety and self-confidence. In law enforcement it masked my pain from trauma and depression. When my daughter was born, I grew in many ways. I eventually drank alcohol less and less. I learned I did not need the crutch. My body felt so much better, alive and vibrant. I do enjoy a glass of wine, so opt for organic, biodynamic and clean-crafted wines. I use one particular company for my wines purchases. If you would like more information, please feel free to reach out with a comment or message. I am happy to divulge my source.
I want to live healthier and longer. There are so many amazing things life has to offer. There is no time like the present to make a positive change in your life. Don’t wait! Don’t procrastinate! This is the time for action! Set some goals for better health and eating habits. Write your goals down on paper. When you do this it is like making a blue print in your brain. Goals can be simple, like trimming your waist, eating more plant based foods, walking a little more, better communication or clarity. It can increase your ability to follow through and achieve success. I enjoy planning things out. It makes them visible to strive for.
Many times the unhealthy habits we indulge in are a result of the stress or depression induced from a life event. These events could be something significant like the death of a family member, a relationship issue or a work situation. There are many variables that can cause these feelings and emotions that push us to the edge. This is when we reach for a way to cope. If we do not know or understand how to cope or deal with these correctly, we may reach for unhealthy self-cures that only mask the issues and feelings for a short time. This is the time you need physical and mental stimulation to get yourself aligned and moving forward. This is your life. Make it what you want it to be. I know it is not always an easy or pleasant process. There can be pain and sadness along the way. I know you can get through it. Together we can stay strong and focused. Never doubt yourself or what you are capable of achieving. This is all about creating change and making a better, happier and healthier life. We can do this!
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! I will continue the discussion on balancing all aspects of the healthy life puzzle.
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!