I Am Dying! And So Are You!
Or… Health Advice (Because you’re too lazy to Google it)
OK, so let, me precede this by saying that if you’re big and sexy, then that’s great. However, if you’re 5’2”, 250 lbs, and a diabetic, then odds are you need to reevaluate your life choices.
Take me for example…
In the past 18 months, I got a sedentary job, and have also been making some poor dietary choices due to stress. I also recently turned 30, and my system has been slowing down as a result. Because of all this, I gained 25 pounds, and it all went straight to my belly. In addition, I have a history of bad diet and poor exercise. Now, when I say poor exercise, I mean no exercise, except for sex, and I’m charming, but not charming enough to sustain an all-sex workout regime.
To top it off, I’ve developed hypertension blood pressure, which if left untreated can develop into kidney disease, arterial disease, and stroke from really minor causes, including sex, getting out of a hot tub too fast, or passing an excessively large bowel movement.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to die on the toilet when I’m 40 of a stroke after taking a huge constipated dump from a piece of chocolate cake.
Based on medical advice, I employed a Nutritionist/Dietician from EatRight.org for multiple reasons; first, every body is different based on blood type, allergies, medical history, and family history, and there’s no guarantee that an internet article (or even a series of internet articles) will give you the detailed information specific to your body; second, the internet is full of crap and click-bait.
I’m writing this article out to help me process this experience, but also in the hopes that what I’m going through will help others in similar situations. While this may not be the best resource for you, I have linked to other helpful websites in the hopes that this will be a jumping off point for people to better themselves.
So, let’s jump into it!
- A good way to start any health program is by getting an app like LiveStrong. It has a web interface that syncs with your phone and other devices, and also gives you a lot of resources to track calories, fiber intake, and exercise, as well as blog articles and community involvement. Because I walk and run a lot, I also use an app called MapMyWalk which helps me track the distance I walked, as well as pacing, elevation, etc. Then I just enter the calories burnt into LiveStrong. There are other apps that sync directly with LiveStrong and don’t require manual entry, but this works for me.
Eat More of…
According to EatRight.org, “Fiber is best known for helping to keep food moving efficiently through your body. This is only one of the many ways fiber contributes to good health. Fiber helps prevent: Heart Disease, Diabetes, Digestive Problems, Weight Gain… You can meet your daily fiber needs with 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day, along with whole grains and beans. Add vegetables to stews and casseroles and add oats to meat loaf, breads and cookies. Add fruit to cereal or eat it as a snack and in salads.” The majority of our diet lacks in fiber, as well as the other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. As a result, our body fills up on empty calories such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and empty carbs. When you eat more fiber, you eat healthier, and also eat less, because your stomach is filled up quicker.
Hummus began as a dish in the Middle East around 750 CE. It mainly consist of chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic, and comes in a variety of flavors. According to the USDA database it is rich in iron and Vitamin C, as well as Vitamin B6 and dietary fiber. Long story short, it’s a lot healthier for you than mayonnaise.
Eat More Fish & Seafood
That’s it. It’s healthy, boosts your brain power (according to some studies), and it will piss off Republicans. — There can be a lot of debate about which fish is healthier, or healthiest, but ultimately those debates can be inconsequential unless you’re training for the Olympics. What’s important is that you do it, and get that healthy food into your diet.
The Squash Question
Many people believe squash to be a single vegetable, but this is a misnomer. Squash is a large family of vegetables, and varies widely. While winter-squash can be high-starch, other varieties of squash can be high in fiber.
One good dietary decision you can make is to cut out starchy vegetables. Yes, vegetables are healthy, but some starchy vegetables are more calorie-dense than non-starchy, water-rich varieties. Examples of starchy vegetables include potatoes, corn, and green peas. Examples of non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, green-salads, and radicchio. That being said, starchy vegetables are still better than no vegetables. Some of my favorite vegetables include:
- * Asparagus
- * Black beans
- * Black-eyed peas (also a great band)
- * Kidney beans
- * Broccoli
- * Herbs and spices
- * Kale
- * Lettuce Lactuca sativa
- * Corn
- * Sweetcorn (actually a grain)
- * Mushrooms (actually a fungus, not a plant)
- * Mustard greens
- * Garlic
- * Peppers (actually fruits, but treated as vegetables)
- * Green pepper and Red pepper == bell pepper == pimento
- * Chili pepper == Capsicum
- * Jalapeno
- * Habanero
- * Tabasco pepper
- * Cayenne pepper
- * Radicchio
- * Ginger (DOES NOT COUNT AS HEALTHY IF IT’S GOING UP YOUR ASS)
- * Wasabi
- * Potato
Now, I know there’s a lot of debate right now about some allergies, like Gluten allergies. I don’t know if I believe in Gluten allergies except for cases where it affects Celiac Disease and Violent Hypoglycemia, but I do know that even though my lifelong diet consisted of an average of a sandwich a day, when I cut out those sandwiches, I felt healthier within the first week. If you are not in a position to cut out bread entirely for whatever reason, switch to Whole Wheat or Double Fiber Bread.
Many of us who don’t have non-stick pans use butter or Pam to spray on our cooking-ware. However, that shit can really fuck up your cholesterol. Olive oil is a natural chemical that adds flavoring, and healthy calories to our diet. However, use them in moderation. After you’re done coating your pans, poor the excess back into the container with the help of a funnel.
The truth is that carbohydrates are essential for health and are your body’s preferred form of fuel. We can’t live without them — but we’d be healthier if we got most of our carbohydrates from “smart carbs” like fruits, vegetables, legumes, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. The bottom line: White, refined foods can be part of a healthy diet, but moderation is key. However, if you believe you have a problem with moderation, it might be best to substitute white flour for whole wheat, or any number of other flours listed in this 2013 Washington Post Article. And also, the more whole grains you eat, the better you’ll be, and the more you can sneak in on your cheat days.
Cut Out Sugar
The affects of sugar, and all its related products (soda, candy, cookies, cake, ice cream) are addictive. Just now, mentioning them in this blog, is probably making you drool, isn’t it? As I said above, it’s better to substitute sugar products for “smart carbs” and if you get a sweet craving in the middle of the day, focus on fruits. It’s easy to get sliced fruits from home, and leave them in a Tupperware in your fridge at work (just label them so Pam from accounting doesn’t snag them). Some of my favorite fruits are:
- * Apple (Remember that most of the fiber is in the peel)
- * Banana
- * Blueberry
- * Dragonfruit
- * Fig
- * Goji berry
- * Gooseberry
- * Grape
- * Honeydew
- * Olive (yeah, I know right)
- * Pepper
- * Chili pepper
- * Bell pepper
- * Strawberry
Margarine Instead of Butter
According to the Mayo Clinic Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. Margarine is also higher in “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated — than butter is. These types of fats help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol when substituted for saturated fat. Butter, on the other hand, is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat.
The Junk Food That You Know is Bad, But Keep Eating Anyway
You know what I’m talking about! The chocolate covered strawberries at the orgy. The cookies at the dungeon party. The candy bar in between meetings at work. The soda we have at lunch. We know it’s bad for us, but we eat it anyway. So, cut that shit out. Substitute it with something your body needs, but isn’t communicating correctly; and we all know how important communication is. See THIS FOOD CRAVING CHART for more specific examples.
For some, Mayonnaise makes everything taste better, but in reality, it is clogging up your arteries, and filled with 99% fat. That’s not an exaggeration. Look at the nutritional table on mayonnaise and you’ll see what I mean.
The most basic thing you can do to warm up for exercise is to just get up and walk around the block 3 to 7 times a day, but eventually you want to progress from there.
In the meanwhile, take a look at this healthy eating plate from Harvard school of public health.
As the image shows, ideally, you want about half of your plate to be the non starchy vegetables we discussed: broccoli, leafy greens, salads, tomatoes, asparagus, etc.
You might find this useful:
Fiber content of common foods:
Here is the USDA database which gives the nutrient content of all whole foods (vegetables, meats, etc).
You can download excel files from there grouped however you like. Here is the file for vegetables attached.
Check out this site to learn more about nutrition and find some recipes: http://www.foodandnutrition.org/
Do you think you could try at least 3 new vegetables or beans before we see each other again? Try each one in two different preparations (e.g., cooked spinach in an omelet, and raw spinach in a salad).
Just remember, there are people out there who don’t want you to be healthy. There are people who want you to be fat, unhealthy, and depressed, and if you give up, and continue to eat Twinkies, in the dark, at 3 am, while watching the Food Network, dreaming of a body you think you don’t deserve, then the terrorists win.