Monthly Archives: August 2010

Food combinations

The more I learn about diet and nutrition, the more I realize how absolutely little I know about the whole thing. Never mind simply trying to eat mainly healthy, nutritious foods – apparently there’s a whole science behind what type of foods should and shouldn’t be eaten with each other, what order to eat foods in and a whole lotta talk about digestive times and why you shouldn’t eat melon after a meal. Just as I thought I was getting the hang of this!

Similar to the reason why I semi attempt to track foods and calories/nutritional value, I started reading about food combinations and ideal order of eating foods because I thought it was all quite fascinating. And while I know I’m not going to overhaul my eating – again – I might learn a thing or two that may stick.

Some things I’ve learned:

  • Fruits and vegetables digest the quickest, so should be eaten first. If you eat a steak and then a fruit salad for dessert, the fruit will get digested in your stomach, but have to wait until the steak’s completely digested before it can move on. That can cause fermentation, gas, etc.
  • Carbs and acids don’t play well together since carbs need an alkaline environment to properly digest. If you usually have a grapefruit or orange with your cereal in the morning, try having the fruit first and then carbs about 20-30 minutes later, when the fruit has digested. Your stomach should be much happier.
  • Acids aren’t great with proteins, either.
  • Non-starchy vegetables mix well with proteins, sweets and starches.
  • Milk get digested in the duodenum, not the stomach, so should be taken completely by itself if you want it to digest properly.

Basically, most foods don’t play well with each other, unless you’re talking about non-starchy vegetables, which seem to do well with everything. Also, you should eat your plate in order, finishing one food before moving on to the next, in order from quickest/easiest digested to hardest.

General digestion times: fruits (20-30 min), raw veggies (30-40 min), fish (30 min), cooked veggies (40 min), starches (60 min), grains (90 min), skim milk (90 min), legumes & beans (90-120 min), chicken (2 hr) seeds & nuts (2.5-3 hr), beef/lamb/pork (3-5 hr) and, finally, hard cheese (4-5 hr).

…you can see why I’m not suddenly jumping into this program headfirst! Can you imagine trying to remember all the little details of what combines well with what and how long everything takes to digest?!
That said, though, I think I actually managed to stick with the general rules with my lunch today:

Om nom nom!

Raw carrots, cucumber, yellow pepper and cherry tomatoes, which were all mostly eaten before the chicken. The grapes are still there, for now. I’m pretty satisfied with the veggies and chicken and am saving them for a little sugary pick-me-up in an hour or so.

Do you eat foods in a particular order? Would you be able to follow such an intricate structure of what, when and how to eat?

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Filed under Diet, Photos

Pumping iron

I’m very excited to announce that – I went to the gym on Sunday!

This is basically what I look like when I clean.

The original plan was to go to the 11:15 am yoga class on Saturday, but Andrew was in a bad mood after waking up to some work drama and I didn’t want to go alone. So, instead, I went a little OCD and spent about 3 hours cleaning our bedroom and the guest room. One of those pull everything out of the dresser and closet and put them all back, re-folded and neatly organized (possibly by colour), followed by a good vacuuming, dusting and general tidy up. I figure, in the end, that must have been close to a one-hour yoga session. Plus, it’s just so much nicer to walk into a neat, clean room.

Andrew promised me he’d go with me on Sunday and, sure enough, we woke up and he looked over and said “Let’s go to the gym!”. (Ok, maybe it was more like “Let’s go to the gym and get it over with!” but you get the idea…)

We got there around 10:30 and there were a whopping 4 other people working out. I did a 10 minute warmup on the elliptical as Andrew headed straight for the weights. Then we did some weights together – working on machines next to each other or taking turns on the same machine. We then hopped on the treadmills for a 10 minute jog and capped it all off with some basic stretching. It ended up being about an hour’s workout and we both felt great afterwards. Andrew even mentioned that he really liked the gym and how laidback it was. Score! We made a pact that, regardless of what else happens during the week, we will work out at least every Sunday morning.

Does standing on your toes help?

The one thing that brought me down a little, though? The damn scale at the gym. Now, granted, when I weighed myself at home it was in the nude and first thing in the morning. I weighed myself mid-workout (after Andrew saw the scale and wanted to know how much he weighed) and it said 59.5 kg/131 lbs!! What the what!?! That’s .5 kg heavier than my starting weight and 1.5 kg/3.5 lbs heavier than my weigh-in one month in. AAAARGHHHHHHH!!!

I’m trying not to let it get to me. I’m trying to convince myself that, really, my shoes and workout clothes weigh at least 3 lbs and I had easily downed at least another pound of water during my workout. Or, uh, something.

That might be my new weight measuring system, though. I don’t have a scale at home, so I might start using the gym scale – extra weight and all. Though maybe I’ll take my shoes off next time…

Here’s to many more great workouts and making the gym part of my regular routine!

What did you get up to this weekend?

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A confession…

I’ve been bottling this up for a while now. Hiding it away. Pretending it wasn’t there. But, I suppose, it’s time I come out with it.

Yes – this blog is about motivation and accountability on my process of leading a healthier lifestyle.
Yes – I want to get fit and healthy to improve my blood glucose and cholesterol and to balance my hormones, all naturally.
Yes –  Looking and feeling great is a huge, huge motivation.

But there’s something else, too. Something that really kind of triggered this all and continues to be a driving force, though less strong now than it was off the bat. Something seemingly ridiculous and silly and… shallow.

The thing that really kicked this all into gear and got me motivated to actually start eating better and exercising more and generally getting into shape? Short shorts.

Ridiculous? Completely. But let me explain… My friend was selling off a whole lot of clothing that she never wears anymore. Lots of things still had tags on them and there was heaps of great pieces. I was trying on all sorts of things and tossing them into “Buy” and “Put back” piles when I got to the most adorable, well-tailored, gorgeous pair of short shorts. I put them on and fell in love. They were PERFECT! Um, ok, they would be perfect if I could do them up. Even with my mightiest stomach sucking-in, they was still about an inch to go before the button would do up.

Most sensible people would’ve sighed, taken them off and places them in the “Put back” pile. I’m not necessarily known as sensible, and I slipped them off, tossed them in the “Buy” pile and confidently announced that they would fit by summer. Plus, they were $5, so there was no way I could pass them up.

So there it is. The original, honest reason why I initially started this whole thing – to fit in a pair of shorts.

Of course, all the other factors came in as I started. I found my blood test results and read over the dr recommendations. I thought about wanting to have more energy and be able to do more physically challenging things this summer. The hundreds and hundreds of reasons anyone has to lose some weight and get healthier. They are all in the driving forces now, but it all started with a pair of short shorts. Which, might I add, I can now button and zip up fully when I suck in. I consider that progress!

What was the thing that caused you to say “Yes. I’m going to change and this time, it’s going to stick!”?

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I ate what now!?

I’ve been generally very excited about my new little discovery of MyFitnessPal.com and the accompanying app for my iPod. (I swear, they aren’t giving me any money or free things – um, other than everything they provide, but that’s free to everyone! Anyhoo…)

So over the last week or so I’ve been starting to get into this whole tracking thing. It’s all very new to me and I find it quite fascinating. I set it all up so that if I stick to my net calories each day, I should lose about 0.5 lbs/week or about 1 kg/month. Nice.

Yesterday was the first day I actually tracked everything. Usually I’m quite good at inputing everything from when I wake up until around 5 pm. Foods, drinks and walks – all neatly added at their respective times of the day. And since I eat mainly fresh fruits, veggies and a corn cake or three smeared with PB&J, I usually still have around 800-900 calories left before I hit my recommended limit. That, I think, is MORE than enough for a good dinner and even a little post-dinner evening snack. Right?

Um, apparently not! At least, not yesterday. No, no. My dinner: 2 open-faced tuna sandwiches topped with some homemade guacamole with small salad (homemade oil & vinegar dressing) followed by a bowl of natural, unsweetened yoghurt with muesli and popped rice? 898 calories. Plus, I was hungry again around 8:30 so had a few almonds and 2 PB&J corn cakes. Another 173 calories. So between 5-9:30 pm I ate a 1071 calories. 1071 calories!

Now, I’m not really upset about that. I think the best description would be shocked. Again, this shows how very new this whole tracking thing is to me – I’m sure people who’ve been tracking for a while would know that food would all come out to about that many calories, but to me, I would’ve never guessed it would amount to that much! The avocado in the guacamole and the muesli were the biggest culprits, I’ve learned.

Just for fun, for 1071 calories or less, I could’ve had…
– Big Mac, medium fries and apple pie from McDonalds. (1057 cal)
– 6 slices of Toni Pepperoni pizza from Dominos Pizza (1002 cal)
– 2 original recipe chicken, 1 reg. popcorn chicken, 1 potato & gravy and 1 coleslaw from KFC (1040 cal)

Obviously, the food I ate was FAR better for me and had much more nutritional value than any of those combos I just mentioned, but it’s still kind of interesting. This is one of the reason I’ve never been super into calorie counting. I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking 100 calories = 100 calories, regardless of the source.

Do you track? Have you ever been shocked with the caloric content (high or low) of any of your favourite foods? Did it change your eating habits?

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I did it!

I knew it was going to happen. I’d been planning for it. For a few weeks, to be honest. But even though I knew it was a done-deal, definitely happening, bet-your-life-on-it thing, I didn’t want to post about it until it had actually happened. And it did, last night.

That’s right. Last night, after work, I walked my butt down to the gym and signed up for a 3 month membership. Booyah!

If a baby can do it...

I also signed Andrew up, while I was there. He wanted to go to a different gym – one a few of our friends go to – but it has a minimum 12 month contract and costs about twice as much per week. Plus, the one I signed us up at is down the street from his work. I figure if we really get in the routine of going regularly, when our 3 months are up we can join up at the other gym, knowing we’ll stick with it and the money is worth it. Or we can just renew and stay at our current gym. He agreed with my logic. (Or agree with me so I would stop carrying on about it). I’m excited that he ended up joining with me. While we won’t workout side by side or anything, it’ll be a nice thing we can do together and will be much easier to stay motivated knowing he’s in this with me.

Since work’s still crazy busy for Andrew this week, I asked them to start our memberships on Saturday. When you’re only signing up for 3 months, every day counts! There’s an 11:15 yoga class Saturday morning that I might try to get to. I’m hoping to do yoga at least once a week. Ideally, I’d like to get that up to about 3 times a week, if possible, with maybe another day or two or just working out on my own. (Very ambitious. And now written down, so I’ll have to acknowledge my success or failure at said ambitious plan here at some point.)

So there you have it. After weeks of talking about it, it’s done. Contract’s signed. Money’s paid. Access pass is in wallet. And hopefully I’ll have an exciting post Monday morning talking all about it!

Have you followed through on anything you’ve been meaning to get to for a while? Is there anything still on your “to do” list that you’re determined to check off this week?

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TMI? Probably…

Apologies up front if this is TMI. Or if you get squeamish reading about body functions. (Actually, if that’s the case, maybe you should skip this post and just go here instead).

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Ouch!

The weekend went well. Another Friday night, another successful sushi and Top Model get together. I took a tour of the gym – will post about that tomorrow – and generally had anice, relaxing weekend. And then there was this morning… The walk to work was worse than most days, and not just because it’s Monday.

There were 2 new staff starting today and I wanted to make sure I was at the office a little bit early to make sure everything was set up and ready to go when they arrived. I got my things together and was out the door by 7:55. (A little later than I’d hoped, but not bad).

I decided to take the quick route to work – and thank goodness I did! 5 minutes into my walk and it starts pouring. The type of downpour that floods gutter within minutes and creates little rivers and ponds along the street. And possibly some hail. It eases up slightly for moments but generally carried on for the remainder of my walk. The bottom 1/4 of my pants are still wet.

I don’t actually mind rain all that much, to be honest. Especially if, like today, the clouds part to gorgeous blue skies and sun an hour later. No, the rain wasn’t the worst part of my walk. The worst part was when my left hip, suddenly and without reason, decided it hated me. I stopped to cross the road and next thing I knew my hip was in a huge amount of pain. It felt like it wasn’t sitting in the socket properly or something. So the majority of my walk was more of a hobble – little baby steps, wincing along, up and down hills with streams of water everywhere.

Thankfully, it seems like both the weather and my hip have decided they’re done throwing tantrums for the day. Good thing, too, because I need to do a fair bit of walking today – both in the office and around outside – and I don’t want to be in pain, or soaked, the entire time.

Oh, and I’ve been having fun with the MyFitnessPal app and have been tracking foods – when I remember – and adding some of my foods/nutritional info and recipes. Passometer, on the other hand, turned out to be a big bust. It spazes out after about 5 minutes and shuts itself off. It also doesn’t seem to have much rhyme or reason behind when it decides to count footsteps. So I’ve deleted it and am in search for a new, similar (but working) application. Any suggestions?

How was your weekend? Did you stay on track? Do better than planned? Or are you looking forward to Monday and its “fresh start”?

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