Today is the final week of my "Keep It Real" series! We talked about real simple, real food, and real interesting, and today we're going to talk about real YOU!
In all things health & fitness, if it's ain't you, it ain't gonna work! I'm going to talk about this regarding how you exercise and eat, but also in who you are. I think this last one matters most.
"Oh, working out isn't me, so I'm not going to do it!", that's not what I'm saying when I say to be the real you in fitness.
What I'm saying is this: if you know you should be working out, then get working at it and find out what kind of health & fitness person you are!
Do you love running? Swimming? Boxing? Jumping rope? Step-class? HIIT workout videos? Jazzercise? Sweating To The Oldies?!?!
As long as you're moving, then it's good!!!
Do try new things though, because you can't be certain what kind of fitness person you are until you've tried a few things. I, for instance, don't like Zumba. I've tried it, it wasn't my cup of tea, so I've moved on. I can still find a ba-zillion other ways to work out beyond Zumba. But if I was thinking, "gee, it's Zumba or nothing", then I would likely be doing nothing! If I was forcing myself to do Zumba, I would hate it & get bored. Both hate and boredom are classic reasons to quit working out!
Talking food and nutrition; if you really hate eating steamed veggies, but are forcing yourself to because you want to eat healthier, well, just stop! Eating raw veggies is great for you too, and if it means you still love vegetables, well then that's awesome!
You probably wouldn't enjoy being a vegetarian if you are a die hard meat lover, and if you hate meat, don't go on a low carb/high protein diet!
You know (as an adult) you should try new foods, and of course I would agree with that. But don't force yourself to eat things that make you feel sick to your stomach from repulsion just because they are good for you! A personal example is how much I despise lychee fruit! Seriously, I popped one in my mouth once because I had heard a lot of good things about this berry, and immediately spat it out because it felt the way I might imagine an eyeball would feel in my mouth!!! Bleh, it still makes my skin crawl thinking about it now! And pomegranate, although I know how good it is for you, has never been a favourite of mine because I can't stand the crunch of the seeds, and choosing to just try to eat the fruit off the seeds seems pointless and frustrating, and I don't even enjoy the taste enough to want to bother!!! Wow, what a run-on sentence! : )
The point though? I tried!
Add variety to your workouts and foods, but don't go forcing something that you deep down hate!
Now, here's what matters most.......I think most of you know this stuff I've been saying, right? Maybe some information I've given has been new, but a lot of it hasn't been, I'm sure.
So, what's wrong? What's happening where we know so much, but are succeeding so little?
No, not "it's you" as in it's your fault, but "it's you" as in, it's the stuff we can't write about. That thing that you can't buy a book or DVD about....it's that thing you can't quite pin down to help you reach whatever goal you have.
In an article I really appreciated reading from Rebooted Body, they said:
"The reason people can have the right information and still fail — or the right information and never start — is because of that intangible component. If our job as mentors, coaches, program-designers, gym owners, fitness instructors, yoginis, and nutritionists was to program robots to live, eat, sleep, and exercise according to a blueprint we’d all have a 100% success rate.
Robots aren’t human. They don’t have an inner child. In other words, they don’t have meaningful history and the fear, insecurity, self-doubt, self-sabotage, anger, sadness, and shame that are attached to that history.
Humans have all of those emotions and those emotions act as roadblocks to success whether you’re operating with the right information on not
Food is the easiest drug to access. On top of that, processed foods are designed to be addictive. We know that hard drugs and alcohol are a coping mechanism. We need to understand that food is not just a similar coping mechanism, it’s the most popular and most easily accessible one.
The health and fitness industry is dead because health (nutrition and lifestyle education) and fitness are no longer adequate for addressing the issues of body image, disordered eating, addiction, and all of our metabolic concerns. It’s all about the psychology and mindset of the individual.
People who are trapped in the cycle of addiction and dependency — which is far more pervasive than anyone realizes — can’t simply be informed to change".
Well said, yes?
It is my hope here, on this Bushel & A Peck Health & Fitness blog that I can inform you, but most importantly, challenge you to think, and think hard, about why you're doing what you're doing.
All the information in the world can't confront and defeat the enemies of addiction, dependency, low self-worth, unhealthy body image, low confidence, depression, anxiety, and learned helplessness. It can’t correct the consequences of physical, mental, and emotional abuse, which in varying degrees is far more pervasive than anyone wants to admit.
You are a person who is here because you are interested in health & fitness in one way or another. But expand your definition of "health & fitness" to mean all of you. Your mind, body and soul.
Be real with yourself. Be real for yourself. Keep It Real: Real YOU!
The reason we think "I must do Zumba and I must eat steamed veggies!" is because we're unsure about what to do (not in the information sense--we're bogged down with information!!--, but in the sense that we still feel lost), and society/industry wants to keep it that way. It keeps us from seeing who we are, seeing where we hurt, and that keeps us buying more videos and diet plans we don't need.
Can I say one last thing? Don't be afraid of who you are and the hurts you've suffered. Don't be afraid to set those suitcases of issues down, open them up, and sort that stuff out.
Depending on who you are, these suitcases will be heavier or lighter, and filled with varying degrees of hurts.....
I am still sorting through my junk I've been carrying around....I know I need to because I still struggle with food and my relationship with it. But I want to be real with myself so that I can be real with others.
I hope that you can be encouraged and know that wherever you are in your journey of health & fitness (mind, body, soul), you are not alone.
Teddy Roosevelt once said, ‘Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.’
Friends, here is your chance. Being real and sorting through all you carry around can be scary because it requires hard work, soul searching, and commitment.....but it'll be worth it. It will be worth it.
Weeks 1 & 2 of my February long "Keep It Real" series we talked about "real simple" and "real food".
Today let's talk about keeping health & fitness real interesting!
I know grammatically the word should be "really", but I live in the sticks, and saying something like, "real interesting" isn't uncommon, and I like it!
Grammar aside, let's talk about keeping things interesting in health & fitness!
If there is anything I've learned on this journey through health & fitness, it's that what you eat and how you workout need to be interesting. If you do the same thing over and over and over and over and over (you get it), then you'll get bored and quit!
There are often times where you naturally fall into a routine, and that sameness can be comforting. But you need to be listening to yourself. A comfortable routine can slowly turn into feeling trapped. That little voice in your head that says, "ugh....more salad....." as you're prepping your 15th salad in a row for dinner. Or that same voice that says, "I am so not looking forward to my workout today because I've done the same one for the last month...."
That voice is the voice of health & fitness boredom, and that voice is not your friend!!! It's like the little angel and devil sitting on your shoulders telling you the right and wrong things to do, except one of these little creatures would be an unhealthy, sickly thing, and then there would be a healthy & happy one. Well, the "this is boring" voice is coming from the sick and unhealthy one. After thinking up this clever notion I Googled "angel and devil on shoulder", and found the images below. So much for being original! Haha...fail.
One key in keeping it interesting is being willing to try new things. If you keep saying, "I only really like (fill in the blank), and so that's all you ever try, eventually you will become bored of it.
If you like having a workout video, see if a friend has one too and ask if you can borrow it or swap with one you have for a time.
If you need new recipes (and have the internet....which I feel I can safely assume you do because you are reading this...), then decide to look up 3 new, healthy recipes to try in the next 3 weeks. Or you can go to a local library and see what healthy recipe books or magazines they have that you can borrow to try out some new things (you may also find some workout videos there too!).
So, allow me to share with you some of my favourite recipes and workouts and maybe you can add them to your life to keep things "real interesting!"
Favourite Healthy Recipes
Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad from Cafe Delites
There is brown sugar in the marinade/dressing that I have omitted and the salad was still amazing!
Cauliflower Chowder from Yes, More Please!
Super yummy, super filling, super-duper!
Chicken with Rosemary & Mushrooms from Paleo Foodie Kitchen
Such a simple recipe, but really full of flavour!
A 20 minute workout from POPSUGAR Fitness
10 Minute Jump Rope with Tony Horton
15 Minute Power Yoga with Yoga by Candace
A great way to find variety in YouTube without feeling overwhelmed is by finding a few channels you like (the 3 above are my favourites), and then just start working through their videos, and liking (clicking the thumbs up icon) the ones you really enjoyed to have as a reference for later use.
The other thing about workouts and keeping them real is to keep them challenging too. You will get bored if you consistently choose workouts that are too easy for you. Challenge yourself and your brain won't get so bored!
A few other ways to keep workouts interesting is to workout with a friend. I personally prefer working out alone, but if you're more social, than maybe having a friend to workout with will give you the boost you need in your workouts. Another thing you can do is to add new music to a playlist you might use while working out. Even just adding 3 new songs can add up to 15 more minutes of music that will be keeping you moving!
So my friends, don't get stuck in a rut! There is no reason to in this day and age where we have so many resources available to us! Arm yourself with new and interesting recipes and workouts so that you can succeed in being the healthiest you possible!
Last Monday I talked about Keep It Real: Real Simple. That post expressed my feelings about how health & fitness shouldn't be such a confusing endeavour!
Today I want to chitty-chat about food!
***Warning! I'm about to go to a rant!!!*** ; ) ........no, but really.....
I saw the ingredients recently for a "healthy" protein shake.....good grief (Charlie Brown), it was the most ridiculous list of ingredients I had EVER read for a "healthy" shake! Seriously, it made my blood boil a little! I was so upset that someone, somewhere in a big company thought, "hey, well, people trust us, they think we're cutting edge in what we do, let's expand into "health foods", but instead of them being healthy, we'll actually load it with so much garbage that they aren't actually being healthy at all (insert evil, corporate heads laughter here)!!! Ok, not all corporations operate like that, and perhaps my scenario of how this particular company developed their food line is not quite accurate. Still, I can't help but wonder......how did anyone who gave a crap at that company let this protein shake go to market???
Let me share the ingredients:
This particular shake consists of a "special protein blend" of pea protein isolate, which, by the way, is NOT the same as plain old pea protein! In fact, pea protein isolate has had very little research done on it's safety and pea protein isolate is a highly purified chemical extract, dramatically increasing the protein content of the unprocessed pea from around 10-15% to upwards of 90% in the isolate (info from Todd Caldecotte, who is a medical herbalist).
Geez!!! After that ingredient is cranberry protein.....yes, you read that right. Did you know cranberries had protein...? It's because they don't! Ok, over-reaction....they have trace amounts of protein (about 0.4 grams per 100 grams of cranberries), and I've read that the seeds contain more protein than that, but that idea is very confusing to me. If they test cranberries for protein, they take the seeds out first? I don't know much at all about this cranberry protein, and it's so new it's hard (borderline impossible, actually) to find sufficient information about where it comes from, how it's extracted, and so on. So, I can't say much about it except that it seems a little gimmicky in this mis-leading shake. But hey, maybe I'm wrong and it's an amazing thing?
Next comes rice protein. Now, rice protein perhaps isn't the very, very absolute worst protein out there....but it sure is the cheapest (in price and quality of protein). It isn't even a complete protein until it's combined with another protein (like pea, or hemp). So.....why add it at all? Why not use hemp protein instead, which is in itself a near-complete plant based protein. Especially if you're selling this particular shake at $20-$30 more than other shakes......?
Besides the added-in vitamins & minerals (you have to add them in when the foods you've used don't really contain much at all) the last few ingredients are cane sugar (there is palm, coconut, beet, brown and maybe a few more types of sugar, but what they're trying to trick you into thinking is that the sugar they used is special. It's not. It's just plain on white sugar made from canes instead of the other things I just mentioned.
Next comes sunflower oil (ahhhhhhh! What!?!?! Read this article, this article, or this article to find out why exactly you should not be consuming sunflower oil. If you don't feel like reading those, let me just say to you STOP EATING SUNFLOWER OIL!!!!!!.
Natural vanilla flavour is next. Well, this seems innocent enough! But, wait.....why not just real vanilla, or pure vanilla? Oh, it's because it isn't real at all. Just the flavour of natural vanilla??? Can I tell you an alarming thing I read recently? "Natural Vanilla Flavour" can actually contain beaver anal secretions (here's the article I read from Mercola, and here's another good one from national Geographic). The spray beavers use to mark their territory smell like vanilla, and because it's technically "natural" it doesn't needed to be specifically listed in the ingredients list of "natural vanilla flavour"......just let this info sink in......
...ok, moving on with the ingredients...
Corn starch (because we all needed another reason to consume more corn products!), inulin (found naturally mostly in root vegetables, although tiny amounts are found in onions and garlic, while much larger amounts are found in starchy roots such as chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes, read more about it here. I can't figure out why it's even in here), Xanthan gum (used for thickening), flax seed (the only food in this shake worth eating!!!), stevia leaf extract (a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana). Looking at the other ingredients listed, I'm going to guess they didn't use a high quality product, but I think I'm just feeling bitter---side note, too much Stevia and you no longer taste sweetness, but have a bitter taste instead. Weir, huh? Also, we already know they added sugar, so why even add the Stevia???
The last two ingredients are gum acacia and guar gum.....both "gums", which as we already saw 2 ingredients ago is used for thickening. Add the cornstarch from earlier, which has no nutritional value so I can only assume is there as a thickener, that makes 4 thickeners in this product! They really want you to feel like you've got a thick, satisfying healthy shake in your hand!
Oh, and the real kicker?!? The last bit of goodness is the statement made below the list of crappy ingredients: "Made in a facility that processes milk, eggs, tree nuts, soy and wheat". So, if you have allergies to any of those things.....you can't have this shake. Well, lucky you, actually! Most companies who give a care about their health food actually being healthy endeavour to make their health foods as allergen friendly as possible. This company couldn't even be bothered to try.
I feel so upset over companies who are tricking & swindling people out of their hard earned cash for stuff that shouldn't be going into their bodies! I hate that a lot of the ingredients are terrible food items, and that there are things in there that are intended to mis-lead people or catch their eye and make them go, "oh, I've heard of this, it's good for you/healthy/whatever". Using words like "special" in their protein blend is to remind you that this company wants you to feel like you're receiving some exclusive, top-of-the-line product. Their protein blend is "special", I suppose, because they are maybe the only ones doing this particular blend...but it's not a blend worth duplicating, so, yeah, I suppose it is special? "Cane" sugar is meant to make people think it's healthier than it really is. Adding Stevia (I believe) is purely for the purpose of catching peoples' eye because a lot of people have heard of Stevia and how it's a "health food", so it seems flashy and cutting edge to be in this shake.
I know a lot of people need protein shakes (mainly vegetarians and vegans), and there are a few good brands on the market, like this one, but unfortunately, most people are using protein shakes as a substitute for real food.
My (unprofessional, not medically trained) advice is this: unless you're a vegetarian or vegan, or your doctor specifically said that you need to be on a protein shake for some reason, don't even bother going after a protein shake!
Don't get caught up in the lies most companies offer up regarding their "superior" product. Don't spend (far too much) money on something that is just a synthetic version of a real food.
Instead, just keep it real--with real food!
I got this image from Mike over at The Iron You. He says:
This is rule #19 in Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. One of my favourites.
It stresses the importance of eating real food, not creations of the food-industrial complex. Real food doesn’t have a long ingredient list, isn’t advertised on national television, and doesn’t contain stuff you can’t even pronounce the name.
Part of being healthy means consciously choosing wisely what you put in your mouth. So do eat food that comes from plants not that is made in plants!
I totally agree.....except I would also add that if it ATE a plant, eat it! : ) I'm talking meat here people!
I know the image above shows a Twinkie, but it could just as easily show an image for the protein shake I tore apart!
If you're thinking, "I need to start eating right", don't think of anything that was made my man. I know a lot of people who think, "I should eat better", and then they replace all of their man-made blatant junk food for man-made secret junk food. Food made in a plant.
Instead, try real food. Go through your produce isles with new eyes. See all of the colours, all the one ingredient foods, the flavour and texture varieties, and try a few things you've never had before!
I love that "Eat Right Rule" above: If your food can go bad, it's good for you. And if your food can't go bad, it's bad for you. I mean, I eat my fair share of junk food on my treat day, but I do so knowing that what I am eating is a treat and isn't a great food at all! When I'm eating Swedish Berries (the candies), I'm not thinking, "oh boy! These are made with real fruit juice and are fat free? Hot dog! They're practically healthy!!". But, unfortunately, that's often why such facts are plastered on the packages because someone, somewhere is thinking, "wow, what a good choice for a little treat!". I personally choose them because they are so freakin' delicious, but I know they are a food void of any benefit to my body whatsoever!
Swedish Berries (the candy) shan't ever go bad, even if I left them in my pantry for 10 years! Now, if I stuck a handful of real berries in my pantry, well, they would be getting squishy and moldy at least within a week.
Please take away from this post the simple message of eating real, simple foods. I feel like I've been bouncing all over and not really making the point I want to!
Don't let eating real, whole, and healthy foods become a scary thing! It's not, it really couldn't even be more simple! If you start an eating program that starts you off by saying you need to buy their food products (bars, shakes, cereals, whatever)-they are using you to make money, while misleading you about healthy food!!!
When's the last time an orange in the grocery store was like, "hey.....pssst! Hey you! Yeah, you! You should just start eating only oranges and nothing else. And you should also only buy them from the company named on my sticker"......I"m going to guess this has never happened?
Real food (as mentioned in the one photo above) won't be advertised on national television, because no one person/company can make a fortune on real foods. For example, I don't care what apples I buy, as long as they are the least expensive, I have no loyalty to my apple brand. But, if I was buying an apple cereal bar, I would probably look for a specific brand because I've been told it's the healthiest. Do you see what's happening?
The next time you walk into your grocery store, think "did this come from a plant (or did it eat a plant?), or is it made in a plant?
Eat well, eat simple, live long and prosper : )
It's Me, Amy-Lyn!
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