Red line shows the original path, now long forgotten.
Sometime last year, during one of the sudden, violent, thunderstorms that we occasionally experience in Texas, a small tree crashed across a path in our beloved park. Getting around it was no easy task. Waist-high, thick, scratchy, bull thistle and burclover attacked us as we circumnavigated begrudgingly. “Surely, someone will bring a chainsaw and clear this path soon,” I thought. But this was not one of the main trails; only a path worn by neighbors who knew the secret park entrance close to our house. Days, weeks, months, went by and no tree removal. Instead, step by step, the weeds were trampled, turned brown, and ground into dirt. As the new path slowly formed, the old one was quietly disappearing.
Today there is no trace of the original path, but Something today prompted me to take a photo and consider how establishing new, healthier habits is just like this. Uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and sometimes downright painful at first. The more we tread the new path, the easier and more comfortable it becomes until we forget about the way we used to go. Maybe we could even place our own felled trees to block those unhealthy old ways.
Psalm 139: 23, 24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”
Every Wednesday I have to resist the urge to run out and hug my Farmhouse delivery guy! We began with a small bushel every other week and have loved it so much we just can’t get enough. We are up to two large bushels every week – and honestly, we’re talking about three.
I feel like a kid on Christmas morning as I anticipate the moment of the Veggie Santa’s arrival. I “oooo” and “awwww” over each item as I lovingly take it out of the box. Who knew that bell pepper and eggplant came in such gorgeous diversity?
Fresh! We’re talking local, farm, seasonal, just-picked freshness! There is a difference. I confess I’ve eaten the entire head of butter lettuce the day it arrives (usually within minutes ). Words fail me to describe the tender, sweet, melt-in-my-mouth yumminess.
I’ve always struggled with incorporating enough veggies into my diet – but now it’s so easy, fun and educational. I love learning about new foods and experiencing new taste sensations. And knowing how to properly prepare a veggie, can turn, for example, the disgusting and dreaded beet (my former opinion) into my current fav. Try Perfect Baked Beets.
It”s now a breeze to make half my plate fruits and veggies.
What does consuming more fresh produce do for our bodies?
Vegetables and Fruits:
- Are naturally low in calories, and help us feel full faster
- Provide valuable fiber that helps regulate our digestion
- Decrease our risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers
- Are valuable sources of tons of nutrients that are hard to get anywhere else. (Such as folate, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, just to name a few)
Oh, I feel so healthy. Gimme more! Is it Wednesday yet??
This December marks the 24th anniversary of my father’s death. For those of us who have lost loved ones around the holidays, this time of year brings a mix of emotions. Losing my father at a young age shaped my life in many ways, especially my vocational journey. His long battle with heart disease was intimately linked to his diet and lifestyle, though he seemed unmindful of the connection.
Heart disease is the foremost preventable cause of death in our country, with one out of every four deaths attributed to it. In addition to the physical and emotional suffering, it costs the U.S. well over 100 billion dollars every year. About half of all Americans have at least one risk factor that increases their chances of having heart disease: smoking, high LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, overweight, poor diet, physical inactivity, diabetes, and excessive alcohol use. From teenagers on up, there is hardly a person in our country who does not already have the beginning stages of vascular disease. Our unhealthy diets damage our blood vessels and over the years the processes designed to heal the inflammation can’t keep up with our destructive lifestyles. This is atherosclerosis.
Most of us know these things. We know that we would be healthier if we ate a better diet and exercised more. But it usually takes a drastic event to shake us out of our complacency. I know it did for me.
The holidays can often be a time when we are bombarded with unhealthy food choices, but it is a fallacy to believe that we cannot enjoy this season without them. The pleasure obtained from indulging unwisely is frivolous compared to the pleasure received from feeling vibrant and full of good health, combined with the joy of being with healthy loved ones. The best gift we could give to our loved ones and ourselves this Christmas is take action to improve our diets and lifestyles.
Watch my digital story: Lunch on Mondays
The holidays are almost upon us and with them comes much feasting! So it’s no wonder that New Year’s resolutions often reflect a desire to improve our diet and exercise habits. The older I get, the less confidence I have that my New Year’s plans will be effective or sustainable. We are living in a time when most Americans struggle to achieve or maintain a healthy weight. A plethora of unscrupulous merchants have added to our misery by selling us 60 billion dollars a year of weight loss products that don’t work. It’s easy to want to believe in the latest, quick and painless, guaranteed effective, pill, method, gadget, diet . . . because making consistent, gradual but lifelong, changes is very difficult.
Difficult, yes, but doable with the right tools. If we feel like we have “tried everything,” we may be wondering if there IS anything that really does work. The best research reassures us that there are proven strategies that are effective for most people. According to the National Weight Control Registry, which is the largest prospective study of long-term weight maintenance, individuals who have been successful in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight have six things in common:
- They eat breakfast daily.
- They track their food intake.
- They monitor and record their weight weekly.
- They watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
- They exercise an average of 60 minutes daily.
- They have an accountability partner.
Regular self-monitoring of diet and weight is one of the most effective strategies, and the technologies at our fingertips are excuse busters. Gone are the days of having to hand-write tedious food logs and look up calories. Apps such as My Fitness Pal, and Livestrong Calorie Tracker, are not only easy, but fun and free! Who knows? We may not want to even wait for January. 🙂