Friday, September 28, 2012

Food Snob

I am one of those people who is just obsessed with food.  I use all of my senses when eating a meal or just browsing the grocery store.  Although I am a vegetarian, I like to think that I have a very open mind and admire all sorts of food-related lifestyles that people have.

I am a health nut and sometimes I can get carried away, but I never want to come across as a food snob.  Through a Facebook post today, I felt as though someone thought I was trying to push vegetarianism on them.  That is not the case at all!  I write this blog and post about what I have researched and found to be healthy to help those who are interested in food like I am.  I am not here to preach or to be one of those people who talk until they are blue in the face about why "you should be a save the animals!"  No way!  That is just not me in any way, shape or form.

Please, if I come across this way to any one, let me know so I can reword my thoughts.  My goal in life is to spread the word about healthy eating and living, not to turn people away by forcing a lifestyle on them.

Life is about living the way that you feel most healthy and at your best.  Who am I to say what one can and can not eat?  Only I can make those decisions for myself, I can not make them for anyone else.  The information I post about is just information that I have found interesting and beneficial for myself, and would like to share with other people.  I don't want to offend anyone, so please let me know if I ever come across this way.

Enjoy your weekend!  A fun post about my new job will be coming early next week.

Luana ola!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nutrition and Wellness

     Through any piece of media that you can imagine, we hear about fad diets and new ways to lose weight.  No one knows how your body feels besides you, it is your machine and you know it best.  That being said, there are many scientists out there who have studied countless people and have learned a general sense of how the human body can be fueled and run at an optimal level.  We all know that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but there is always something holding us back...time?  money?  preparation?  knowledge?  You name it!  Now, it would be really easy for me to tell you to just give up the excuses, and live a healthy life, but you and I both know that rarely works for anyone.  I'll tell you what, share this post on Facebook, leave a comment on what your reason for not eating as well as you could, and I'll devote an entire post to your specific reason!    Learning and living healthy is easier with a community.

     While you are thinking of that, I'm going to side track and let you know about the fun things that are going on in my life.  First things first, Andrew took me on a dinner cruise in Chicago last night for my birthday!  We were on the Spirit of Chicago, it was a beautiful evening, and we had lots of fun!  The only problem was the price for parking...$24!!


 Dessert!  The carrot cake was amazing!!

     I apologize for the extensive post, but I just have to tell you about this book I am reading (besides the ones for class...I know, I know I'm crazy in love with books...)  It is called Raw Food:  Weight loss and Vitality.  Now, I am not into losing weight, per say, I am just very interested in what this guy has to say about raw diets.  I heard of him through a podcast and decided to get his book because he was so right about so many things pertaining to food!

     In Chapter 2, he compared a bunch of studies that had been done on the typical diets of the longest-lived people, their culture, and lifestyle.  The two that stuck out the most to me were the Okinawans and Kenyans.  The Okinawan people (part of Japan) are known for being thin, long-lived, and practically disease free.  They typically eat food in a ratio of 85/9/6 (carbohydrates, protein, fat respectively) and seem to have a longer lifespan than any one; 5 times as many Okinawan reach 100 years of age as to the rest of Japan!  We could seriously learn from these people...
     As for the Kenyans, did you know that they typically eat a plant-centered diet with little protein and fat (77/10/13).  Besides the fact that the elite Kenyan runners have a vigorous training program, it is easy to see that these people can be very healthy.

     I think that more research should be done on these two populations because they just outshine the rest in terms of health and longevity.  I have already felt a sense of lightness after becoming vegetarian, I wonder how I would feel after adopting a more similar lifestyle to one of those two populations?  More research on my part is needed, but I am definitely int the market to learn all I can, so if you have any resources for me please let me know!

Don't forget to share and comment on your reason for not eating more healthy.

Luana ola!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lazy Exercise

Ok, it's finally time to write this post!  I said I was going to write about laziness in exercise and nutrition, so here is the exercise portion...

I have noticed, in my own life, that when I go more than 2 or 3 days without exercise, I already begin to get into a "rut".  I find tons of other things to do (like cook, clean, take care of the house, blog, and work on school things) and then the lack the motivation to work out kicks in.  Time just seems to slip away!  When this starts to happen, I try to put those things aside and JUST DO IT.  It is important to remember that all the excuses you have for not getting exercise will still be there after the 30 to 60 minutes; and I promise you will feel better afterwards.

For every excuse to do exercise, there are probably 5 more excuses as to why you shouldn't.  Always remember that the excuses for not getting activity every day are better off to ignore and think of the benefits you will reap.  Whether your excuse is not enough time, no equipment, or that you are too tired, I have news for you:
    1. not enough time- all you need is 3-4 ten minute bursts of exercise to reap the benefits, just make it count!  Wear comfortable work clothes so you can get up and move around during your break and take a walk after lunch.
    2. no equipment- You a body, so use it!  Ever try pull-ups, push-ups, hand stands, squats, jumping jacks, plank, hand stands, etc?  Those are all done with the best type of equipment; your body!
    3. too tired- every time I am exhausted after a busy and stressful day, a good 20-30 minute walk with Andrew always puts me in a better mood and gives me energy.  Why?  Because our bodies were made to be moved and endorphins are released when we exercise (and yes, walking is exercise!)

There is no excuse for not getting 30 minutes of exercise/physical activity every day.  Play with your kids, walk the dog, walk with your significant other, go for a bike ride, shoot some hoops, dance in your living room, act like kids and just play!  The most wonderful feeling is acting like a child!  It lifts your spirit and makes your heart lite.

The next time you hear yourself giving an excuse for not getting up and being active, remember that God gave you a body to love and use, so just start exercising for 10 minutes and you will see that 90% of the time, you will want to continue exercising because of how good you feel during and after!

What is your favorite form of exercise?

Luana ola!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Meat is a big deal

Dinner last night consisted of freshly roasted acorn squash with leftover black beans and mushrooms.  I can not tell you how much I love squash of all kinds!  Pumpkin is by far my favorite, but I love them all from Acorn squash to Zucchini!
The ironic thing about my vegetarianism and slowly converting Andrew is a class I had this morning.  It is a nutrition class and is mostly about food preparation.  We couldn't find a good schedule to fit for everyone, so we had to be at a meat packing plant by 6am (for me, that meant getting up at 4:30 to leave the house by 5:10...)  Not too bad with a big mug of hot green tea, but not something I want to do every morning; especially when it is so dark out.  Now back to my story...

Since learning a lot about the meat industry, I have become a strict vegetarian and am even thinking vegan.  Considering what the animals go though, I can not imagine eating one.  There are many studies and diets out there saying that meat is bad and others saying that meat is good because we have eaten it since the beginning of time.  I would like to add here that, yes, humans have eaten meat for hundreds of years, but not in the quantities that we do today.  When we first began introducing meat into our diets, it was scarce and was usually dead before we got to it (i.e. humans rarely killed for food).  Once we discovered fire and cooking, we also began to hunt for meat; essentially becoming hunter-gatherers.  During this time, one large animal was killed and used to feed an entire tribe for weeks or even months; the entire body was used for supplies; and the animal was respected and thanked for being a source of food for the hungry people.  Sadly, meat has come a long way since then and we now raise cattle, hogs, chickens, fish, etc. to be slaughtered and eaten; which has resulted in a surplus of meat that many people consume multiple times throughout the day.

Being in the field of nutrition, I educate people on the health benefits of consuming less meat,   It is so easy to do!  Think about all of the wonderful, natural foods that Mother Nature has provided for us (and the animals) to enjoy and fill our bodies with healthy, living energy!  Things like, beans, nuts, legumes, even vegetables and grains have protein!!  All of these foods are so good for your body and make you feel alive and happy.

It was hard for me to go through that butcher shop, seeing all of the different parts of beef lying on boards and waiting to be further sliced, but I treated it as an educational tool and learned.  The harder part will be the "tasting" that we are having later in lab Note: I did NOT partake in any of that...

So please, take the first step in a healthier diet and slowly begin to cut out meat.  Start by buying a bunch of beans or nuts at the store instead of 1/2 the meat you typically buy and see how much money you save!  After you see how easy it is and how good you feel, replace more meat if you want.  Take this challenge for the next 2 weeks and let me know how it goes.  You can do anything for just 14 days!

Luana ola!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Work and Play

I know I said I was going to do 4 different posts, but I thought that the two pairs went so well together that they should share a post. That being said, I apologize now for the lengthy posts; I can get long winded...

After listening to a podcast by Trish Blackwell, I got a new surge of energy to write posts about general health, which prompted this series (heck, if all goes well, I might start my own podcast!)  In one segment, she talked about laziness in life.  It is so true that if we are lazy in life, we are missing out on so many great opportunities, even at work!  Think about it, if you put heart into your job or career, people notice and appreciate you.  We all know that one person in the office who just can't stand being at work and he/she makes the day drag for everyone else.  Well, I'm here to ask you to be that other person who brings joy and excitement to work!  You will get noticed by your boss and colleagues will want to work with you. Before you know it, the rest of your life may seem to take a turn for the better.  It all starts with a gentle smile and "Good morning".  If you are not the one to offer the time of day, make sure you respond back.

It is common courtesy to greet your colleagues and interact with them.  Not only does this make the day run much more smooth, but it also keeps your spirits and energy high.  That reminds me, this weekend, Andrew and I went to Willow Creek for church and the sermon was about being present at work and being a diligent worker.  Being diligent can be broken down into many aspects, including, but not limited to the following:

  1. being early, not just on time
  2. going above and beyond the job description
  3. owning mistakes
  4. helping colleagues
  5. take on non-mandatory responsibilities
The list can go on and on; it all boils down to being present in your job/career and making the most out of every day.  If you are unhappy where you are, reflect on your life and see what changes may need to be made.  Everyone has their struggles, but it is those who find that the glass is half full who get out of that struggle stronger than before.

This is Andrew and I being diligent in studying for big exams (and sharing lunch).

 With a pretty view :)

This morning's breakfast was whipped oats for 2 with a pear mid-morning.

Lunch was a fabulous concoction of banana, cashews and whole wheat bread!  Take a look:  I mashed the banana, slathered it on the bread, and poked in come raw cashews.  It was like a crunchy cashew sandwich; must try with peanuts/walnuts soon!
And finally, dinner was astounding, if I do say so myself:  black beans sauteed with chard, onions, and jalapeno.  Sliced tomato on the side and garnished with nutritional yeast. MMMMM!
Now to listen to the rain and do some reading; OH!  I am through week 1 of my 21 day yoga challenge :)

Luana ola!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I heard a great podcast today about laziness.  The truth is, we are all lazy at one point or another; the difference is whether or not we own up to it and do something about it.  Generally speaking, the term lazy is a pretty ugly word.  I don't like to use it and I don't like to hear it.  Sometimes, though, I need to tell myself I am being lazy in order to own up and just do something.

In the next few posts (I hope to do at least one a week) I am going to dive into the things that we humans are most lazy about:  work, play, exercise, and nutrition.  At one point or another, we have all been guilty of being lazy in each of these areas (and maybe more).  I have come to realize that the only way to fix laziness is to own it.  Think about it, the last time you skipped a workout or picked up fast food was probably because you "had too much going on" or you were "too tired".  Am I right?  I know I've used those excises over and over again.  Own it!  The best thing I have learned (but have not perfected) is to step back and take a few deep breaths (yoga/meditation work too), open your heart, and tell yourself to start doing the dreaded task for just 5-10 minutes.  I can almost guarantee that you will feel better and might even keep going once those first few minutes are over.  The theory here is that once you start the task, your mind has switched on and your focus is now on the new task; you no longer have a reason to fear the task because you are already doing it.

I will start with work tomorrow.  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Luana ola!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yoga in the Sun

Since I didn't get to practice yesterday, I woke up early to do a few sun salutations and a really good routine from Yoga Journal's 21 day Fitness Challenge!!

Yesterday's agenda: class, pick up a part for Uncle Larry at Ripley Automotive, hang out with parents, come home and make dinner, bike ride with Andrew, watch Smallville, relax and browse the internet.  Whew, that even took a lot of brain power to think about and write.  I put too many things into my daily life sometimes...

So, today ended up being a very relaxing day with a lot of studying and being outside.  I got to roam the yard and pick apples from the tree.  I really wish I knew what type they are, but no one knows.  They start off green, and turn red as the season continues.  They are great for baking/cooking and have a nice sweet flavor with a little tart and are crisp and juicy.

 We also gave Gus a bath and rubbed a mixture of Coconut and Sunflower oils on her shell.  Through research, we found that when a tortoise's shell is looking dry, you can rub it with some oil to help keep it soft.  We did look into buying "turtle wax", but when I read the ingredients, I noticed that it was just a mixture of a bunch of different oils.  Being the crafty and frugal person I am, I decided to mix together a couple oils from home.  I know that sunflower is good and I used the coconut to made it solid so the application was easier.  Note:  after melting the coconut oil and mixing it with sunflower, the mixture did not come to a solid form even after putting the mixture in the freezer for a couple minutes.

 Agenda for the rest of the day:  study, read, Whole Foods for dinner, and hopefully another post about this great book that I just finished reading!

Luana ola!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When you want it the most

Love comes to those who believe it!

I heard this song today at work, and I just had to make it the title for today's post.  No reason, just love the song!

Now for the really good stuff, food safety...In one of my nutrition classes, we are studying a chapter about food safety.  It amazes me how little many people (including myself) know about this topic.  I mean, we should all know it like the back of our hand because it is about keeping what fuels us as safe for us to consume as possible!

As you can see from the picture above, food safety is not all about just washing your fruits and vegetables.  It is about keeping them at appropriate temperatures and good personal hygiene as well!

Here are a few good tips to remember when handling any type of food (or just being near food for that matter):
1.  ALWAYS have freshly cleaned hands.  You can not wash your hands enough.  Wash after you go to the bathroom, after you handle meat, after changing a diaper, after handling pets (especially reptiles), and before touching any type of food whether it will be cooked or not.

2. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.  The "Danger Zone" is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Please especially remember this for packing school and/or work lunches!  Soups need to be kept above 140 degrees and meats, dairy products, and mayonnaise-based salads and dips need to be kept colder than 40 degrees.  This danger zone is the range of temperatures in which most bacteria thrive!

3.  Never cut fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked) on the same cutting boards as meats.  Or just don't keep meat in your kitchen! My favorite option is to use a nice wooden cutting board for produce and plastic/glass for anything else.  This way, I always know my food is safe (and wood is porous so it would just soak up any of the bacteria...)

4.  Use a clean knife; rinse it before and after each time you cut a new item.

Well, that's all I can think of for now, do you have any food safety procedures you would like to add/share?

Luana ola!