Posts Tagged ‘Laura Levesque Page’

Scale Obsessed

When I was twenty, the day after Halloween—after gorging myself on candy—I told my family and friends something like, “That’s it! I’m going on a diet and I’m going to be 120 pounds again if it kills me.” For awhile, I weighed my food, counted every calorie and told restaurant servers I was allergic to oil and egg yolks.  

What I had failed to remember was I hadn’t weighed in at 120 pounds since before my growth spurt, before I was a teenager. Why did I think 120 pounds was my ideal weight?

I weigh 147 pounds! Wow, did I just write that out loud? Yes, I did. That’s right! I’ll spell it out for everyone to hear … I weigh one-hundred and forty-seven pounds (at the moment)! I suppose I could weigh less. I’m guessing many women at a height of 5.8½ inches weigh less than me. Who cares? I’m fine with it! Like for real, fine with it. I used to obsess about my figure but just don’t anyone. I’m well within my targeted healthy weight and best of all … I’m healthy.   

Many of us are obsessed with the scale. We’re consumed and miserable about our weight. We continue on with the same unhealthy lifestyles and somehow expect the dial to change. We attempt diet after diet, digging ourselves deeper into the quicksand of the diet conundrum.

With ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­75% of Americans overweight or obese, and 61% of the Canadian population at an unhealthy weight, North American bodies are hungering more than ever for nutrition. How is it possible with the prevalence of the scale and the relentless surge of new diets, we’ve become fatter than ever?   

I don’t know about you, but I find counting calories and weighing food depressing. Of course portion control is necessary. But what’s more important is the type of food we’re choosing to ingest: No need to control portions of vegetables. For almost all of us, once we start eating for health—only vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean meats—our bodies come into balance. Our bodies find a healthy weight. It’s what our bodies want to do. It’s what our bodies are programmed to do.

I no longer worry about my weight (well almost never) because I eat well and exercise regularly. I’ve noticed the only time I complain about my weight and figure is when I stop putting the energy and effort into my health. I no longer look to the scale for answers. I look within for answers. I may never be model-skinny-like, but I sure am healthy-like.

Another Eat Healthy Challenge Bites the Dust

This is my fourth Eat Healthy Challenge and I’m not ready for it to be over. How can today mark the 28th day, the end, when I feel like we’re just getting started? On the other hand, it’s hard to believe I’ve spent 112 days, more than 30% of my time out of this last year on this Challenge. Having spent this much time completely clean—without hydrogenated / processed foods, sugar, white flour, caffeine, dairy and alcohol—how do I feel you ask? Amazing! I feel healthier than ever. I feel grounded and stable, energetic and full of life, clear-minded and sharp, strong and sure … and thin. That’s right—I feel thin.

Another thing I’ve noticed is these Challenges get easier with experience. I spent the first three withdrawing from caffeine for the first two weeks. It seems I’m a slow leaner. I knew I was committed to putting myself through these Challenges every three months for 28 days, but would rush right back to my coffee routine the day after each Challenge ended. Big mistake! Sure enough, three months later, I was in another bout of coffee withdrawal torture. After the May Challenge, I decided to limit my intake to one dreamy soy latte per week. Of course, the one crept up to about three per week by the beginning of this current challenge, but I stuck to the “ultimate why bother”; a one-shot, decaf, soy latte and didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms. Instead, I experienced the positive side effects from the Eat Healthy Challenge immediately.

Also this time around, I didn’t encounter my usual cheese envy. Friends would eat their camembert and aged cheddar and I wasn’t at all disturbed. Everything in my system is flowing magically and I’m feeling trimmer than ever. I attribute this, in part, to the lack of cheese in my current routine. I’m going to try to limit the cheese from now on … however, we do have reservations at a restaurant that serves fresh-pulled, warm mozzarella this Thursday. I said limit, not eliminate.

As for my third regular indulgence—wine and beer—I’m beginning to see the absolute benefit in us taking time off from each other. Sometimes in taking long vacations from those we love, we begin to see their true colors. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a heavy drinker and I’m certainly not a lush. But truth be told, I feel better—less bloated, clear-headed, not stuffed up, digestively more fit and all around lighter—when I’m not hanging out with Mr. and Mrs. Alcohol. This being said, please promise you won’t judge me if you see me flirting with them in the near future. What I’m learning is I actually like socializing without them. They’re going to be invited out less often from now on.     

Congratulations to all you Healthy Junkies who participated (on all levels and for any length of time). Remember, if my schedule doesn’t suit you and you want to begin this Challenge at a different moment, great! Use the facebook page or blog if you need encouragement or just want to comment and feel connected.

The next Eat Healthy Challenge begins January 3rd, 2011.

Processed Food

What is processed food? This question has come up more than a few times over the past couple of weeks. Processed Food (along with Hydrogenated Oils) is the number one item everyone is asked to eliminate on the Eat Healthy Challenge.   

“Does this include all packaged foods?” my friend Mark asked frowning. “Do my brown rice crackers and veggie burgers fall into the processed foods category? I sure hope not, because I can’t make it without them.”   

A distinction is in order. Some foods, like Mark’s tasty brown rice crackers and particular brand of veggie burgers, are healthy commercially prepared, convenience foods. The evidence is in the ingredients. In order to understand the difference between a healthy packaged food and a processed food, we must read labels.  

What we want to avoid are food products that have been chemically treated or stripped of nutrients. Examples of chemicals added to foods are; aspartame, MSG, nitrites, nitrates, colors (e.g. red dye #40, blue #2, green #3), BHA, acetasulfame potassium, artificial flavor, added sulfites and so on.

Examples of foods that have been altered include; white sugar, white flour, white rice, and salt (use sea salt). These foods have been stripped of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, vitamins and minerals must be stolen from the body to metabolize them effectively. A food is whole when it has all its parts. White flour and white rice are not whole foods given the fiber—bran and germ—has been removed.

“So I can eat my store-bought hummus and canned soups?” Mark asked again without waiting for me to answer. “I realize in a perfect world, it would be better for me to make all my own food from scratch, but I just don’t have the time. I cook way more often while on the Eat Healthy Challenge, but there’s no way I’m going to bake my own bread or make my own pasta noodles.”

“That’s great,” I said. “Buy whole grain bread and use whole wheat, kamut or brown rice noodles. Just read labels and make sure the ingredients in your packaged products are whole foods without added chemicals.”

Radio Interview

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Kellie Fuller, from THE VINE, a local radio station here in Napa, CA, to talk about my story of cancer and healing and promote this month’s Eat Healthy Challenge.

This ignited my passion for radio and newfound respect for what it means to be on air—live—where nothing can be taken back or changed. We can’t alter what we said or didn’t say and we can’t edit out the insidious “ums”. Kellie suggested I relax and pretend I was having coffee with a long-time friend. She has a remarkable ability to make one feel completely safe and at ease.

When I got home, Jay asked me how it went. “I love radio,” I said, my cheeks still feeling warm. “I love the enormous microphone; head-set; large, leather, swivel chair; dimmed lighting in the room; and intimacy of the interview. I want to do it again and become proficient at it, like really good at it. Maybe they’d even let me DJ next time,” I smiled. Just in case, I’ve started compiling my list of songs.

You can listen to the interview by clicking on the You Tube Link. This is Part 1 of 2. You can listen to Part 2 on Youtube.

Brown Fried Veggie Rice

Brown Fried Veggie Rice (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 cups green cabbage
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ bunch green onions
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/8 cup of Braggs Amino Acid (tamari or soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil—adds a mild coconut flavor)
  • 1 small pat of butter

 Method

  1. Cook brown rice and let sit to cool and dry out.
  2. Chop all vegetables into small pieces.
  3. Remove seeds from jalapeno and chop finely.
  4. Sautee all vegetables and cooked brown rice together in olive oil until the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Beat the eggs and lightly scramble in separate frying pan in butter.
  6. Add the eggs to the veggies and brown rice, mix and heat.
  7. Add Braggs Amino Acids (tamari or soy sauce)
  8. Garnish with extra green onions.
  9. Enjoy.

Whatever Floats Your Nutritional Boat

With boat loads of information and conflicting viewpoints, it’s hard not to be confused about nutrition. Many of us are overwhelmed. What should we eat? What shouldn’t we eat? What’s healthy? What’s necessary? What’s good? What’s bad? Lately, I’ve been approached by many Healthy Junkies who are confused, annoyed and weighed down with information.  Some have stepped off the boat and given up on finding their way to better nutrition. Many have bought into the unattainable concept I like to call the “Nutritional Martha Stewart.” That is unless we’re eating only hand-picked, farmed-fresh, from our own backyard produce and meats, we’re simply not cutting it.  If we allow our vessel to be tipped over, and attempt to abide by every rule, we may find ourselves hard-pressed to find anything perfect enough to eat.

My first piece of advice is, relax! Cruising toward good health is not made any easier by stressing. However, incorporating healthier foods and cutting out the sludge can make us feel better and increase our energy. It’s really not that complicated to row our boats many waves closer to improved health. If we exclude non-foods from our diet and incorporate clean, whole foods, we’re sailing on the boat to healthy.

If we focus our attention on the structure we already know, our boat can afford a little sugary and non-nutritious cargo. Eat a range of foods; proteins like nuts, seeds, wild fish, organic eggs (the whole egg),clean meats that are free-range and not injected with hormones or antibiotics, and plain yogurt; whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet and oats; legumes such as black, pinto, garbanzo and adzuki beans; fruits (especially berries); and vegetables (the focus). It’s worth repeating—eat LOTS of veggies every day (no joke—this is key). If you’re already doing all this, good for you! Your boat can handle a mild storm of cupcakes, or too much wine, every once in awhile.

Regardless, we can all benefit from the Eat Healthy Challenge. It’s designed to help us really step into a healthier way of looking at food and ourselves. Some of us Healthy Junkies are making it more difficult this time by eliminating gluten for the twenty-eight days. But remember, health is not a competition. Go one stroke further ahead from where you are right now and forget about the other boats. It’s your boat that matters!

Non-Foods, Kind of Like My i-Phone

“Laura, have a Doritos,” my friend said as the bag was passed around the table.

“No thanks,” I replied.

“How can you turn down Doritos?” he asked. “They’re delicious.”

“I don’t know, I guess it’s the same way I refuse to ingest fast food hamburgers, diet drinks, deli meats with nitrosamines, and French fries. I simply don’t consider them food. It would be like picking up my phone and eating it,” I shrugged.

“Now that’s will-power,” he laughed and popped another Doritos into his mouth.

“I don’t really consider it will-power,” I said. “I know most people enjoy Doritos and I used to eat them by the bag—the large bag of course—but I don’t consider them food anymore. Like I said, it would be like eating my phone.” I pointed to my cell. “They’re not hard to say no to, because I’ve made up my mind and they don’t exist in my repertoire of what constitutes food. Plus, this way of being keeps my trim figure in check,” I joked.

 “Well, I’d eat my i-phone before I’d give up Doritos,” my friend said and licked the orange coating from his fingers. “They sure are tasty.”

I nodded, remembering the yummy taste of Doritos cheesiness. “I’m glad you’re enjoying them,” I chuckled. “I see you’ve made your choice and I respect that.”

I’ve spent many years reading and pondering labels. I’ve studied nutrition and given the experiences in my life—having had tumors and cancer three times—I think most would agree it would be absurd for me to ignore what I’ve learned and continue to eat non-foods. I have no desire to be sick again. I’ve come up with a way to rationalize my food choices based on nutritional value and a sort of risk and reward mentality that suits me. I don’t believe my body wants to tolerate chemicalized or nutrient-dead foods, so I avoid them. It’s as simple as that.

As soon as I see monosodium glutamate; hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated anything; artificial colors, like yellow #5,# 6, red #40, or any other color of the rainbow; aspartame, Nutra Sweet, Splenda; and nitrates or nitrites— I’m out. I wouldn’t eat spoonfuls of chemicals on their own, so why would I eat them in my food?

Deep frying alters the molecular composition of the nutrients, especially in potatoes, and is known to render the compounds carcinogenic. Why would I willingly eat foods that promote cancer—that chomp away at the antioxidants in my body, like a Pac-Man game gone rogue? I’m not going to say I never steal a fry, but it’s pretty darn rare. I feel these “non-foods” are dangerous and I don’t want to roll the dice. Sometimes I reconsider and eat sweet potato fries. You see, we all make choices!

What choices are you contemplating or making healthy junkies? Feel free to share on facebook at The Healthy Junkie fan page.

Next week, I’ll blog about demystifying food—making sense of the abundance of nutritional information. We don’t have to be perfect to be healthy!