One of the changes that happened in my life this past year was general health improvement. There were basically three things that occurred:
The big S: That would be Sugar. I am not talking about cutting out ALL sugar from my diet, but rather just the added sugary foods: candy, cookies, desserts, and sodas. This is probably the easiest healthy change for me to make since I never had a sweet-tooth to begin with. But I think this may have been the biggest benefit to my health. Once in a while I might have something sweet, but that is pretty much because of social pressure (how can I refuse a piece of birthday cake?). But the cool thing is that I don’t have any craving for sweets or sodas at all!
Exercise: In January I joined a gym and have used it pretty regularly throughout the year. Overall, I’ve not really lost any weight, but instead replaced much of the fat with muscle. It’s kind of nice, but I think what I like most is that I have more energy and more endurance to do things like biking or throwing the football around with the kids. Speaking of biking, I’ve also been riding my bike a lot more during the year. We have some nice hike & bike trails nearby and it is good to take advantage of them. Also, exercise is a good stress reducer, and when I am finished exercising I feel a nice sense of accomplishment!
Smoothies: In the summer, we bought a serious blender for making smoothies and other healthy foods. By serious, I mean one that cost a few hundred dollars. At this level, you have something that is the real deal. In our case, we got a Blentec model and it is fantastic! We are making “green” smoothies quite a bit now, and the nutrition and energy one of those drinks provides is great. The blender makes it so easy too (and cleanup is a snap). I have a base recipe I use, and then just add in different raw veggies, fruit, plus flax seed if we have it. They taste pretty good, and fill you up! The blender is one of my best purchases ever. Plus, it came with an 8-year warranty standard!
Lastly, I have to add one other simple change I have made: I drink a big glass of water as soon as I wake up. Besides re-hydrating my body, it helps to get the metabolism jump-started.
For 2014 I am going to continue these activities, but I am going to quit my gym membership. It is purely financial. But in lieu of going to the gym, I am going to bump up my running in the neighborhood. We’ll see how that goes!
Our Blendtec blender (which is awesome, btw) just blended its 100th smoothie. I know this because it has a digital counter on it. That is 100 blends in about 4 months. And since each blend makes at least 2 good-sized servings, that means we’ve had A LOT of smoothies! And the fact that I always make “green” smoothies, means that I’ve eaten so many more veggies that I have had in the prior months. Here’s to a healthy lifestyle!