There a lot of ways we can make our stay on this Earth better. One of the most important and one that contributes to the amount of time we're here is taking care of ourselves.
Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, and Diane Wolf the focus of this blog hop is to bring awareness to disease prevention and early detection, as well as touching on things we can do to improve our overall health.
I don't really have a "cause" to discuss, per se', but I do want to talk about one of the greatest means of preventative medicine.
Eating right and exercising.
About a year ago, my wife and I watched Hungry for Change on Netflix and it really changed our life. For the first time we really started paying attention to what we were eating. This was just the start of our journey, though. We then checked out Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead , which was another eye opener. The success stories we saw motivated us to give juicing a try and, while we could never get the full grasp of the "juice cleanse" (the furthest we got was four days), we still gave it a shot and it helped build on the foundation of getting healthy.
Then, about two months ago, my wife's job hosted a health fare for their employees (and spouses...which would be me), so we went. They gave us a battery of tests from circulation to cholesterol, to heart and stomach screening. We also talked to nutritionists and health coaches about diet and exercise.
All in all it was a good experience....until we got our test results. Most of the results were within 'normal' ranges, but there were some high numbers there. Cholesterol and blood pressure, which was deemed "pre hyper tension" and something to keep an eye on. While my wife's numbers were better, we decided to make some drastic changes....starting with how we eat.
We had flirted with the "Paleo" diet in the past, but it was a short romance and all that meat wasn't settling well with our digestion. After some more discussing and research, we decided to go with what I can only describe as "Vegan-esque". True vegans abstain from all animal products. If it comes from an animal, they don't eat it. For us, though, this means no red meat or chicken and no diary products. We're still eating fish and eggs, but the staple of our diet is fruits and vegetables. I've found that I don't really miss meat and there are tons of great alternatives for dairy...from coconut milk to Natural Balance butter. We're wanting to get to the point where we can ditch the processed substitutes and all that sodium, but that's further down the road.
Right now, we're transitioning nicely and losing weight as we go.
They say that the key to being healthy is "80% what you eat and 20% exercising", so you can't really talk about getting (and staying) healthy without discussing exercising. On that front, we've been doing a lot of walking (neither one of us have ever been big on running) and we bought Fitbits to help us track our progress. We've also been working with kettlebells and our Total Body gym to help cover the 'weights' portion of our regimen.
In my mind, enough cannot be said about eating right and exercising as preventative measures for getting and staying healthy.
So, I wish you all good health and I'll leave you with a couple of things that have really helped me in my journey for wellness: (I know I've mentioned these before, but they bear repeating)
1. MyFitnessPal: Experts are always saying that you should keep a 'food diary' if you want to lose weight, and they're right. MFP is an excellent tool to not only help you keep track of what you're eating (calories, sodium, etc.), but it's also a great way to keep track of your progress. You can also have 'friends' to help you along. I know I've posted this before, but you can find me here.
2. After researching a few of the 'smart pedometers', we decided to go with the FitBit to help us keep tabs on how far we're walking and being active each day. I also like it because it can track your sleep patterns. You can also link it up with MyFitnessPal to get a bigger picture of your goals and progress.
3. If you don't feel like putting a ton of money into weights or just don't have a lot of room for a bench and bar, kettlebells are a good alternative. We've been starting slow with the below video:
It's a nice primer and even includes warm-ups and cool-downs. I've also mentioned the kettlebells a few posts ago, if you want to check that out, as well.
Best of luck and stay healthy!