February 5, 2010

The Journey for Health - Benefits

I am becoming friends with my elliptical machine again. Monday starts the big Olympic challenge at work. It will be fun. Left to ourselves a lot of us may not participate, but thanks to my competitive boss, we are now a team. We basically commit to 20-30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week to earn miles down a ski slope course. We have a cute little chart to track our miles. There is a wide variety of health promoting activities to earn extra miles along the way also such as: eating a vegan meal, tracking your calories, cutting out caffeine, bringing a healthy treat to work, etc. This is the kind of friendly motivation I need. I was doing pretty well with the exercise and weight loss before I broke my ankle last June, but haven't gotten back on that horse very well since.

So let's talk about food. The meals I make on the weekend usually last us for about four days of lunches and dinners. One of the things I really like about eating vegetarian is that we seem to eat all the food I purchase and prepare. I don't see leftovers going to waste very often. When we ate meat I remember throwing out the last portions of fish, chicken or pork chops, etc. It's Friday and we still have enough salad from the large one we made Monday night for our lunches today. Yesterday before work I put some white beans and black beans to soak together, About 3/4 of a cup of each. Beans are a main staple in our diet, so I challenge myself to come up with different flavors combination's all the time, don't want to get bored.

I sauteed diced onion and celery in some coconut oil until tender. I like to add the seasoning and herbs while the vegetables are cooking. I used freshly ground Celtic sea salt, pepper, garlic, dried dill, and some crushed lavender. I added the beans, some organic baby carrots, and chopped up two portabello mushroom caps. I don't use processed food very much, but I do like to have low sodium, organic vegetable broth around for my beans. I used a quart of organic vegetable broth and a quart of water. This all simmered together for about an hour. It made a nice rich vegetable bean soup. Looking forward to lunch today.

The transformation to whole foods has been a process, it took a few years. I think my kitchen is finally transformed.  There isn't too much processed food in my kitchen and when I come across a recipe I would like to try much of time, I already have most, if not all, the ingredients. I also noticed some benefits of eating this way very quickly. As my main goal to eating this way is health there are some benefits I didn't think about.

Since last January when we went head on into more raw foods and vegan meals, we both lost 30 pounds and my cholesterol level decreased. Not as much as I would like, but it did decrease. But, hey, I strive for progress not perfection, I'll get there.

Our small part for the environment; we are not contributing to the landfill as much. Our garbage can is never more than half full and usually not even half. By shopping in the produce section only and growing our own vegetables, we don't buy many products that have packaging. Most the natural packaging on our food is compostable, it becomes next year's garden.

Since we began only shopping in the produce section, our grocery bill was cut by more than half of what it used to be even when we were learning to be vegetarian and still buying processed food like tofu and the vegetarian meats. These are great transition foods, but still over-processed food. They should be used in moderation and are expensive. It also saves time. It only takes about 20 minutes to gather a week's worth of groceries. We spent even less since we were so lucky with our garden last year. I am starting our garden in our basement this year. This weekend it's time to start artichokes.

Our electricity consumption went down by about one third. We eat a lot of raw foods so we cook much less. We pay attention to buy local, we also have a CSA share with a local farm. We are cutting down on transportation costs and fuel usage as well as helping out our local farmers. What I don't grow, my friends at Willow Grove Gardens do and I get lots of gardening advice as well as organic starts for my own garden.

It's wear RED for heart health awareness day.

Not only does a plant-based diet prevent heart disease and cancer, but it also can lead to a gentler menopause and prevent other life-altering diseases such as diabetes. Centering your meals around fruits and vegetables will not only help you stay vibrant and full of life, but it will help you steer clear of many of the diseases our parents suffered from.

Limit your intake of animal products. The American Cancer Society’s number one recommendations for the prevention of cancer is to eat more plant based foods, the number two recommendation for the prevention of breast cancer: eat fewer animal-based foods. According to T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study, the people around the world who eat the most animal protein have the most cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Cholesterol, which only comes from animal products, contributes directly to an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease. It is not about completely eliminating anything out of your life, except for the some things that could take your life: diabetes, heart disease, cancer. Center your meals around fruits and vegetables and prepare to be amazed how your health changes for the better! 

Our Harvest 
July 16, 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment