Fortunately by wielding our power of choice, we can mindfully choose what we eat and how we move our bodies, enhancing our quality of life. In the late 1970s, I was propelled into a healthy lifestyle while co-managing a natural food grocery store. Already quite active physically, my diet drastically improved as I voraciously studied all things related to nutrition; those studies continue today. While I have read widely on the topic and found what works for me, I’m not a medical professional.
My approach is pretty simple. I avoid most processed foods preferring whole and nutrient-dense foods. I spend most of my time at the grocery store shopping on the perimeter; spend ample time in the produce and health food sections and very little time among the stacks of processed food in the center aisles. I’m an avid label reader and avoid high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, food enhancers, artificial ingredients, and saturated fats. I buy organics as financially able, eat very little meat, and avoid products made from genetically modified organisms (GMO) with a vengeance. Fortunately, it seems my taste buds have evolved along during this process, as I love vegetables and crave healthy foods. That’s good because the closest I come to dieting is limiting my dark chocolate intake!
I feel my best when I exercise regularly, usually a rigorous walk every other day. I have found, if I get too busy and forget to exercise, my stress level increases so I get back out there and walk. I start and stop, still striving to commit to a weight-lifting regimen as it’s empowering when I feel strong. I also stay quite active while involved with what I like to do. Outdoors is always alluring as I immensely enjoy nature and hiking. I have a large yard to maintain, Food Bank shelves to stock, and litter and cigarette butts always need to be picked up.
I recently watched “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan and highly recommend it, as I like his approach to food. Here are some of his recommendations – Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants; Eat only foods that will eventually rot; Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans; Avoid foods you see advertised on television; Make water your beverage of choice; Stop eating before you are full; Fill your plate with color, without artificial colors; Eat slowly to maximize the pleasure of food; Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food; Break the rules once in a while – what matters is not the special occasions but the everyday default practices; and cultivate a relaxed, non-punitive attitude toward food.