20 February 2011

Diary of a Healthy Day

This isn't really a reflective essay or strictly a how-to.  It's more a diary of habits that keep me healthier in the day-to-day.  And I want to share them with you.  I'd also like to hear about your healthy habits too!

In the morning, while my rolled oats are microwaving, I do a few simple sun salutations (kind of like this, but without the beach). It gets my blood flowing and starts waking me up.  It is especially good if it is a sunny day, because then I can face the sun.  I open the blinds.  I connect with the greater world.  I am humbled by it’s greatness.  And I am ready to move through it, and to be part of it.  It’s sounds cheesy.  And maybe it is.  But it definitely makes me feel better as I approach my day.  That’s pretty much as far as I've gotten with yoga.  I got a little disheartened with the tree pose when my trees kept falling over, but I would like to try more, and you should try it too!

The oatmeal ritual.  (My parents set the example of the morning oatmeal habit.)  I add a little vegan spread, chopped nuts--like walnuts or almonds, honey, berries--either dried or fresh, and a little 8th Continent soy milk (which is yummy plain, too).  This breakfast is very balanced.  It contains protein, carbohydrates  and vitamins.  It is light yet substantial, which means it keeps me full until lunch time, without that heavy feeling.  I usually have some black tea or coffee, and a multi-vitamin.  I'll add additional vitamins if I feel like I need them.  Like if I feel weak, I might add an iron supplement.

For lunch, I usually have a sandwich--like PB&J:  organic peanut butter (just ground-up peanuts) and organic jam (basically just smashed fruit).  I try to use a bread from the bakery section with a relatively short list of ingredients.  I usually have more nuts on the side.  And a Clementine orange.  (They're so juicy.  They make the perfect snack.)  Try not to put things a lot of things in your body that aren't nutritionally useful--like preservatives.  You need to make friends with the produce section.  Make raw things a part of your everyday.  It's a great way to get your dietary fiber.  There's also something very pure in the experience of biting through skin and encountering those natural, unadulterated flavors.  ...Sometimes I'll take a cup of green/herbal tea back to work with me then.  Also, I drink water throughout the day.  Caffeine is dehydrating, so if you don't drink it at all, that's great, but if you do, tempering it with water is important.  Try to avoid carbonated beverages too.  In addition to dehydrating you, they don't do your body much good.

After work is the moment of truth.  I'm usually tired and hungry and don't feel like cooking, and there's a Jimmy Johns between me and home.  I break down often.  I'm a little bit addicted to the #6 Vegetarian sandwich, with oregano, onion, and extra oil and vinegar.  And I get the salt and vinegar chips.  Vinegar to me  is a sweet, sweet nectar.  (I blame my Mom, who loves vinegar too.)  But if I can manage to get past Jimmy Johns, I like to keep things on hand which don't require a lot of work.  I'll make a big pot of stew/soup and then freeze most of it in little containers to be thawed as needed.  This makes me feel like I have viable alternatives to Jimmy Johns.  I also try to keep fresh things on hand as much as possible.  If I already have rice and lentils made, and fresh veggies to add, then that's easy.  Or I'll saute some veggies with fresh garlic and onion and throw them over pasta with olive oil.  Lemon juice and zest are transformative.  They're like sunshine for the tastebuds.  Sometimes I'll boil a whole artichoke as a yummy snack.  (A treat my Mom acquired an appreciation for in California.)  I like to finish with fruit.

Before bed, I'll do some Pilates, which is a program of toning exercises, especially focused on the core:  abdominals, gluteals, and lower back.  I feel like the lower back is especially important.  A lot of aerobics programs neglect it.  It is important to your health to have a strong lower back.  I also think its good for your personal appearance as well.  Having toned lower back muscles will give you a smaller waistline, and will help you stand up straighter.  There's something about good posture that conveys confidence.  My Pilates routine also includes push-ups (and diamond push-ups--Form a diamond with your hands while doing push-ups.  This will work the triceps.  Normal push-ups work the biceps on the other side of your upper arms).  I usually follow this up with some supplemental crunches, being sure to include the side muscles (obliques).  I have been using Brooke Siler's The Pilates Body book as a guide for ten years and highly recommend it.  If you find this sort of workout boring, and I often do too, you can try working out to music.  Or for something different, try a belly-dancing video.  This style of dance isolates and works the core.  And it's fun.  Kick-boxing is also very fun.


I do a lot of walking during the week, so I don't make a special point of doing extra cario.  I occasionally do some running.  But forever and forever, my favorite aerobic work-out will always be to just turn on some music and dance.

I moisturize.  See my Four-Fold Path To Silky Smooth Skin post for more ideas on healthier skin.

I try to sleep eight hours a day.  

If I need a snack, I like to pop some popcorn in canola oil on the stove and then dust it with sea-salt.  It's light, tasty, and fibrous.  (Popcorn-on-the-stove is a warm, wintertime ritual that I learned from my Mom.)

I make of point of including happy things in my day, like good music and a happy book at bedtime.  

Also, I have to say it, I think regular masturbation is important for overall health.  Orgasm is great for the circulatory system.  It releases a flood of endorphins in the brain, making you feel happy, relaxed, and confident.  I can't recommend it enough, especially to women, who tend to masturbate less often than men.  It is your body.  It is your sexuality.  It's natural and healthy.  You can buy sex toys online, like at Amazon.com.  They arrive in discrete packaging.   

These are my tips for a healthier day.  I would love to hear yours!






01 February 2011

Keeping Winter Bright

Imbolc is the Celtic festival of hearth and home.  It falls midway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, and is celebrated with the lighting of candles and hearth fires to celebrate the return of warmer, brighter days.  According to Celtic folklore, Cailleach, the old woman of winter, ventures forth if it is sunny, to gather firewood for a long winter still-to-come.  But if the weather’s bad, Cailleach will remain tucked up in her bed, and winter will soon end.  The forecast in the Midwest is for a blizzard, so be of good cheer, spring is near!  

Until then, light some candles.  A berry-scented candle that my youngest sister made me for Christmas is keeping me company right now.  I’ve been lighting a candle every night.  It travels around the apartment with me in the evening as I work on things.  

It is a big, beautiful star that we have up in our sky.  But until you see it again, you can make your own light!

"...[I]t is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow.  Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?" -- Tumnus the Faun to Lucy Pevensie, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Friends are bright too!  Say "yes" to tea!