New Year, New Food

Every year, many of us make the new year’s resolution to eat healthier and exercise more. It’s a worthy goal to be sure. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years about making well-meaning resolutions, it’s the fact that resolutions without staying power won’t succeed. Not even with the best intentions.

What do I mean by staying power?

Simple. Have you chosen a method of exercise or diet with the allure of holding your attention? Your desire? If not, don’t bother wasting the effort. It won’t work. One look at any gym membership contract should convince you. They don’t offer you a month-by-month deal for a reason. Most people don’t enjoy going to the gym. Pay for the year, attend for a month or two. Why? It becomes tedious, monotonous, and a chore in and of itself.

No good. Despite my teenage son’s conviction that “Mom loves chores” — I don’t. No one does! But I do like to dance (a GREAT way to get the heart pumping and the calories burning). I also like to eat. Chocolate, cheese, and of course, ice cream. Fortunately for me, I also like salads, vegetables, hummus, juice–I love it all!

So this year I’m going to share some of my secrets to staying slim and healthy. First and foremost, look for something you enjoy doing–dancing, walking, jogging, gardening–and do it. Just do it. Every day, every other day, start small and work your way up to bigger and better workouts. For me, cranking up the music and dancing around my house for a half an hour works wonders. In fact, I enjoy it so much, I’ll keep the music playing and clean the house. Check mark: chores!

When it comes to food, I eat what I want–chocolate, cheese, ice cream–but I do so in small increments throughout the day. The key to eating smart is to eat early and eat often. Eight small meals a day will serve you better than 3-4 big meals. Why? Because you’re eating all of the time so you’ll NEVER feel deprived–an important aspect when it comes to changing dietary habits. You’re also avoiding the pitfall of fighting a hungry belly. Eventually, your stomach will shrink in size and feel full sooner. A good thing!

What should you eat?

Good question. Below are a few of my favorite healthy alternatives, beginning with my ever-popular belly-cleansing ulcer-easing juice recipe, Cabbage-Carrot-Apple juice.

A bowl of yogurt and berries works wonders for your digestion, too, including a powerful punch of antioxidants. Did you know that raspberries have one of the highest content of fiber among fruits? They do!

As does a freshly-plucked salad from the garden. I love chickpeas–for protein AND regularity.

Speaking of chickpeas, homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is always a winner with me. I devour mine on the end of a pretzel stick, celery stalk or cracker.

Tomato Sauce will please the entire family at dinner time…

I like a healthy dose of pesto, as well.

Garlic is good!! And with all the tomatoes bursting in my garden, I need to find LOTS of ways to consume them.

Need more ideas? Check the Heart Healthy tab of my recipe section. Surely there’s something with staying power for you to enjoy. Happy New Year!

Garden Bikini Bodies?

Yes, ladies, embrace the power of gardening.  Your body will thank you!

With spring in full sprint, I’ve been tilling my beds, amending my soil, planting my seeds, mulching my rows, and let me tell you–my muscles are looking good!  They don’t feel good, but they look good and if given the choice–I’ll take the latter, thank you very much.  I’d rather be fit, fantastic and forty than flabby, forgettable and *my age*. 

Who wouldn’t? And now I can finally fit into my shorts. My skinny shorts. 

What?  Don’t you have three sizes of clothes in your closet at all times?  I do.  They are:  skinny, normal, carrying a bit extra.  A girl has to have hope, doesn’t she? That one day she might fit back into those old clothes?  I mean, it’s no fun living in “realistic land” all the time.  Ugh.  And today, I can wear the slims!

You can, too–if you take up gardening–and replace that bothersome exercise bicycle (or relegate it to towel holder), because you’ll be getting all the exercise you need–and the vitamin D–from working in your garden.  In fact, keep it up through your golden years and you’ll be the picture of health.  You can even reach centenarian status!  It’s true.  Read an article about it in the newspaper. 

Of course staying fit also entails healthy eating choices–which you’ll have plenty to choose from in your garden.  Greens, reds, oranges, blues…  A veritable rainbow of delectables can be found at your fingertips.  Be sure to clean them first–and your veggies–else you die from some horrific parasite.  Not good.  Especially after all your hard work!

Believe me, after a while, you’ll feel stronger, have more energy, and you’ll look great.  And when you run out of rows to hoe, toss some wildflower seed around your garden.  It’s easy to do (put a check mark in the “can do” column!) and the scenery will do wonders for your state of mind.  And isn’t that half the battle?

Life is hard enough without a little beauty to appease our senses, soothe our frazzled minds, as we stop and smell the roses, so to speak.  I know “they” say attitude is everything, but when your positive attitude cap is drenched in sweat, your muscles fatigued, your back aching and your throat tight and dry, take a water break and enjoy the view. 

Sometimes ambiance makes all the difference in the world. 🙂