Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A habit challenge

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve gotten into a good habit of eating more vegetables this month, and it got me thinking that I have other habits—ones I want, and ones I want to lose—that I would like to address, maybe as sort of a theme for 2018. Maybe in a monthly challenge sort of sense. Maybe without going overboard and driving myself insane in the process.

But really. The first thing that comes to mind is that, while I’m a water conservation zealot in every other aspect of my life, I have a habit of taking long, hot showers. The longness of my showers makes me a hypocrite, which is bad, but the hotness of my showers may be even worse, because it’s really tough on my skin, especially in this climate, especially in the winter.

So a goal for February: Get into the habit of taking short, cool showers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Possible beginning of a new obsession

I’m still sticking to my Plant Paradox–approved diet, but that was a tiny change for me, honestly, and I don’t really feel any different after four weeks. (Maybe, possibly, I’m a little bit narrower in the waist and sleeping a little bit better?) But I am definitely eating a lot more vegetables, which seems like a good habit to have acquired, and I’ve decided to just take it on faith that some sort of internal healing is in fact occurring.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I’ve encountered a lot of information lately about light, and how energy-efficient bulbs and lack of sunlight are really bad for us. I heard one guru say that he believed health was about 10 percent related to diet, 10 percent related to exercise/sleep/lifestyle, and the rest was light, water, and electromagnetic fields. I haven’t had the chance yet to really dig into any of this, but naturally that didn’t stop me from making some immediate lifestyle changes:
  • Every morning that the sun is out, I get outside as close to sunrise as possible for a morning walk, sans glasses or contacts—apparently you need that morning sunlight right smack on your retinas with nothing in the way.
  • I started keeping my phone in airplane mode almost all the time, unless I’m actually expecting a call.
  • I’ve been trying to do as much as possible with the lights in the house off—seeing if I can read near a window, for example, or even doing things by candlelight.
It would sort of suck if it turns out that diet really is of minimal importance to health, because that’s the part I have dialed IN. That doesn’t seem like it can possibly be true, but I do like to keep an open mind and play with new ideas…

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Vegetable mania

Turns out my exciting new way of eating is actually not that exciting to write about, except that I can report that you certainly can pop sorghum, and that I found the air popper the best way to do that. It tastes exactly like popcorn but better because you can just eat any unpopped kernels. You have to eat it with a spoon because it’s so teensy, but that is kind of fun.

I’m also eating a ton of vegetables and continuing to branch out a bit. I even bought another jicama. This one I just threw into a giant stir-fry with every other vegetable under the sun, and it was quite good. Tastes exactly like a water chestnut in that context. Other vegetables I’ve eaten in recent days: carrots, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, kale, escarole, romaine lettuce, spinach, bok choy, chard, parsnips, parsnip greens, radishes, radish greens, two kinds of onions, three kinds of mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, scallions, cilantro, garlic, ginger, chives, and avocado, which is actually a fruit. (I know I’m bragging, but I’m also counting. 30!)

I’m a vegetable fiend now; ask me anything.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fun and excitement on the menu

So after those three days of really restricted eating, things have loosened up a bit on this Plant Paradox plan. But I didn’t want to just go back to eating exactly the way I was before (minus tomatoes and cucumbers and a couple of other foods with the dreaded lectins) so I decided to try some other things the author had talked about.

  • First off was nuts. I had decided they were bad for me, but apparently that’s because I was eating the wrong ones. (Cashews and peanuts bad. Macadamias, almonds, pistachios, and pecans goooood.) The book says to limit nuts to about a quarter-cup a day, which isn’t much, but it has been fun having them back on the menu at all.
  • Another thing I had given up was cheese, but the book talked a bit about how certain European cheeses were less problematic because of the fact that the milk comes from different breeds of cows. I noticed that my store had real Parmesan cheese, from Italy, that met all the requirements, so I brought home a little block of it. YUM. I’ve been making huge green salads as an excuse to shave cheese onto them. It’s probably good that it is so expensive, because otherwise I would just make a meal-replacement shake out of it.
  • Third, radishes. I used to eat them raw sometimes as a kid, but they were not my favorite. But I had heard that cooking mellows them out, so I added some to a stir-fry I was making (along with all their greens). I was surprised at just how mellow they got—in fact they were really delicious that way. So that’s a no-brainer to add to the veggie rotation.
  • Finally, sorghum. Apparently it’s one of only a couple of grains without a hull, so it doesn’t have the problematic aspects of most grains, PLUS YOU CAN POP IT LIKE POPCORN. I haven’t actually tried that yet, but I just wanted to you to brace yourselves.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 4

I’m feeling pretty chipper for someone who has 48 hours to do approximately 50 hours of work to meet a deadline that was originally supposed to be today. And that’s if I take Saturday off as planned. I can’t decide if it would be stupider to do it or not do it. Simple math says I should work. But my heart says if I make an exception now, I’ll be making exceptions all the time, and then what’s the point?

So I could really use tomorrow to be a magical day of energy and productivity so that I can get enough done to be comfortable taking a day off. But like I said I am actually feeling pretty good, especially for having spent so much time in a chair, staring at a screen. I have to wonder if it’s the fancy diet—probably too early to claim so.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

January 2

New Life Plan(s) update:
  • Plant Paradox diet: Day 2, and it surprised me how full I could stay on vegetables, avocado oil, a handful of nuts, and a tiny bit of chicken. The book claims that excess animal protein stimulates your appetite, so maybe there’s something to that. I’m open to the idea of permanently altering my diet to include less meat; it would be cheaper, for one thing.
  • Social media fast: Day 2, and I’ve hardly noticed I’m abstaining from anything. Which is funny, because in December when I tried to stay off Twitter and Facebook one day a week, I caved every time. That addicted, can’t-stop-checking feeling is horrible—and it’s most of the reason why I’m taking another month off.
  • Yoga with Adrienne: Day 1 of the official 30-days-of-yoga was today, although I did another one of her videos on Jan. 1. The major difference between Adrienne’s choreography and mine is that I almost never hold a pose to the point where my muscles start shaking—that’s one way to infuse fresh life into my home practice, I guess.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Plant Paradox program

It was so ridiculously cold here last night that my parents had to cancel their annual New Year’s party, and as a result I was in bed before 10 (with two extra blankets piled on) and slept for ten hours straight. I woke up feeling amazing and, because the days are so short, I still got to see the sun rise on 2018. That is how you start off a new year.

I used the morning to reread the relevant chapter in “The Plant Paradox” and make a shopping list. I held off on eating until M.H. woke up and could get to the grocery store—what, me leave the house?—and then I cooked up a bunch of stuff:

  • A stir-fry with chicken, bok choy, onions, leeks, broccoli, and mushrooms
  • Guacamole with half a red onion, cilantro, avocado, salt, and lemon juice
  • Asparagus roasted in avocado oil
  • Kale chips

This diet starts off with a three-day “modified fast” in which you eat only certain vegetables, nuts, avocados, and a small amount of chicken or fish. As you can see, I had quite a bit of cooking to do so that I’d have compliant foods around the house (not to mention the chopping I did for future salads).

I thought it would be fun to chronicle what if anything happens as I go through the program, which is supposed to be six weeks after this three-day phase. I think my diet was already pretty good, so I’m not expecting a ton of change, but maybe I will be surprised.