Friday, March 15, 2013

Making Healthy Choices

       Health is Wealth. And this isn't an understatement. I have just come to realize that I need to start having a more consistently healthy lifestyle. If you ask me the reason why, it's really simple. I want to live long enough to be there for my kids, all the way through until they start having their own children. Don't you think it would be great to get to know your grandkids and actually be able to play with them? :) And since I have girls, I want to be there when they get married (and we all get to gush about how beautiful their wedding gowns are), when they get pregnant and when they finally have their own babies. Such exciting times! 

       The Bible says,

                             “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged”                       
                                                                                                                    - Proverbs 17:6 NLT

       And I definitely want to be walking this earth when the time comes for me to be called grandma J That would be roughly about 25-30 years from now, hopefully. So that means my husband and I have a long way to go. And it would be wise for us to take care of ourselves in as much as it is within our control. A healthy body is not something you get overnight – it’s a result of making healthy choices every single day. So it is my hope that you would also be encouraged to take healthy steps in your day to day life so you can be there for your family longer. And this is true not just for parents, but for everyone.
     Among the first few steps that I’ve decided to take in becoming a healthier individual is improving my diet. Although I would eat healthy foods every now and then, it just hasn’t been a consistent habit of mine. This time though, I want to be able to make it part of my regular routine, and especially my family's.
       I’ve actually already started by taking fruit and veggie smoothies. Our diets usually lack the necessary vitamins and minerals, especially when we get too busy or are constantly on the go. Sometimes we may not be able to prepare vegetable dishes to go with our meals so drinking them raw as a smoothie is a good idea. Just combine a number of fruits and vegetables in one drink – all you need is a blender or a juicer. If you have a high powered blender, you can blend fresh fruits and add ice for a nice cold smoothie - but if not, you can just freeze fruits such as bananas, mangoes, melons, guyabano, pineapples and make your own cool fruity combinations. You can even add vegetables to this concoction like romaine lettuce, celery, cucumber or carrots (apple carrot juice is the best!), or even add malunggay too (good for breastfeeding moms like me!). If the fruits you end up getting aren’t exactly as sweet as you want them to be, you can just add some organic honey to your drink.

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      Another healthy step that I’ve decided to take is switching from white to brown. White rice has been processed and milled, and don’t offer the same nutritional benefits and dietary fiber as its brown counterpart. White bread and white flour are the same, as the wheat used to make them have been processed and stripped of most of its nutrients. Choosing to eat whole grains such as brown rice has been linked to a lower risk of diabetes and aids in better digestion. To add variety, we also eat organic pearled barley, quinoa and couscous from time to time. We’ve also switched to whole wheat bread – both loaf and pan de sal. It’s actually quite good! Just remember to check ingredients and make sure flour used was whole wheat flour and not just wheat flour. Another one of our white favorites is now a whole wheat version as well – pasta! So now our every day menu includes these heart-friendly and blood sugar friendly carbohydrates.

       But besides adding or switching to healthier alternatives in our diet, we also need to remember to eliminate those that are not good for our health. Now this is the hard part. Say goodbye to canned goods and fast foods if you want to lower your cholesterol. And if you can't completely do away with sweets (I know I can't!), then at least lower your intake of soda, cakes, pastries and chocolates (sniff!). And always choose natural, organic (if budget permits) and especially preservative free foods as much as possible. 
      And last but not least of the first few steps to a healthier lifestyle for me is exercise. Before I became a mom, I had a regular exercise routine which consisted of going to the gym, and attending Pilates and yoga classes at least 3x a week. I still had the luxury of time then so it was easy. But now that I have 2 kids, I need to be more creative and find alternatives just so I can get back to exercising again. I do get to swim from time to time but since I don’t get to do it regularly, I needed to find other options. I just started to do Pilates here again at home and will be bringing out my Barre 3 dvd for some sessions here as well ;P
      Changing our usual routines or practices may prove to be hard at first, but if we are changing for the better, then it is well worth it. I know I have to make more changes in my diet, but I’m starting out with these ones first. A few steps at a time are better than none at all. And when I think about the long term benefits of making healthy choices which includes more years to spend with my family, then it doesn’t seem so hard at all.

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