Sunday, May 17, 2009

Healthy In, Healthy Out: Be Careful Of Eating Meat

Once I decided to be a vegetarian, I was very proud of myself. At the time, I wasn't really sure about doing it, but thought I'd give it a try. That was about 35 years ago (wow! Am I that old??). I did slip back into the meat-eating world for a few years, early on (and I have to say, I enjoyed it!). But for the last 30 years I could call myself a vegetarian. I do eat fish. I believe in healthy eating, and the vegetarian lifestyle. I'll tell you why.

I basically try to be a healthy guy. Especially since I'm getting "older," I want to pay more attention to my genetic predispositions, effects of cumulative stress, possible danger lurking in the drugs and food products that people make ga-zillions of dollars selling to us, and my own bad habits. I also feel a responsibility to my family to be as healthy as I can be.

So with all of that in mind, here's what I think. Meat is not good for you. If you're a meat-eater, eat it in moderation. I'm not saying that it's totally bad, obviously it's not. But there are enough bad things about it to pay attention to how much of it you eat. Much of the meat that's sold comes from animals that have been given antibiotics, and other drugs to help them survive unhealthy living conditions. Meat generally has a lot of saturated fat (and if you're going to eat fat, you don't want it to be "saturated"). It's high in cholesterol. It causes an increase in blood pressure that a vegetarian diet does not. The vegetarian diet is high in complex carbohydrates and fiber (found in plant foods), and low in fat and sugar. These are very important things for people concerned about (or having a family history of) diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. Also pay attention to this if you are overweight, because that can be harmful long term.

All I'm saying is to think about what you eat before you eat it. Especially think about the meat that you eat. While I've got your attention,think about including more fruits and vegetables in your diet. They can be quite tasty, and have long term health benefits. I'll discuss that more in the future. HEALTHY IN, HEALTHY OUT!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Change Your Mind... (Managing Job Stress, part 2)

I wrote last time about changing some of your behaviors to reduce stress in your life, and manage your job stress better. There are some things that you can think about differently at work, which will make your job (and your life) more enjoyable. Could you believe that you could enjoy your job, instead of just suffering through it everyday? You definitely can. These are some of the things that I try to do, and that I suggest to people trying to manage their job stress better. (from Don't Stress The Small Stuff at Work, by Richard Carlson).

  1. Dare To Be Happy. Most of us wish we didn't have to work. Fortunately you have a job, enjoy it. People often assume that someone who is relaxed or happy at work must not be a hard worker, or lacks motivation. Happy people are usually highly motivated, creative, enthusiastic, and fun to be around. Give it a try. Don't worry, be happy!

  2. Create a Bridge Between Your Spirituality and Your Work. Take the essence of who you are and what you believe into your daily work. If kindness, patience, honesty, forgiveness, and generosity are spiritual qualities that you believe in, make an effort to practice these qualities at work. Even if you must reprimand or confront someone, do it with love and respect.

  3. Examine Your Rituals and Habits (And Be Willing To Change Some Of Them). Sometimes our habits (which we may not even be aware of) cause us additional stress. For example, always being in a hurry, drinking too much caffeine and feeling nervous a lot, being grumpy in the morning instead of friendly to the people you work with, going to bed too late or too early, etc. See if it helps to change them.

  4. Pat Yourself On The Back. Your mistakes get pointed out enough. Give yourself credit for the good stuff that you do.

  5. Recover Quickly. We all mess up sometimes. It's important that you recover quickly, and learn from your mistakes.

  6. Let go of battles that can't be won. Continuously beating your head against the wall will only give you a headache.

  7. Don't Let Your Own Thoughts Stress You Out. We sometimes forget that thoughts are only thoughts, not reality. Our worries can stress us out just like the real thing. Also our worries interfere with our focus and concentration.

Think about changing your mindset regarding your job. Try making a small change, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Plan Your Summer (Now)

Isn't it time you took a vacation? Or planted that garden? Or even got in touch with that relative that you've been angry at, and agree to forgive and forget? Hey, maybe it's time to check on your progress with those New Year's resolutions that you made a few months ago. Recently, there's been a lot of things to feel bad about. Of course you could get into a negative head. DON'T DO IT!! [see my posting of 3/11/08, The Glass Is Not Empty] Use this summer to do something good for yourself.

For example, for the past couple of years I've suggested that parents plan a summer in which they work with their kids on overcoming an obstacle, or developing a skill (Summer Play School, 5/11/08; School's Out, What To Do, 5/20/07). How about we all choose something to work on this summer. PLEASE take my word for it, some small change, for a few weeks can have long lasting, beneficial results. Here are some examples...

  1. Let's say, you're a smoker. You know it's not good for you, but you like it. How about you see if you can survive for 30 days, smoking 1 less cigarette per day. So if you smoke a pack-a-day, try smoking 1 less per day (19 instead of 20) for a month. In about 3 weeks you'll have saved a pack's worth (about $5?). If you can reduce 1 more cigarette (per day) per month for 9 more months, you'll be down to 1/2 a pack-a-day. At that point you could just enjoy feeling more energy (maybe less coughing and throat irritation, improved skin tone, etc.), or decide about quitting completely.

  2. If you're trying to drop some weight, like me, then perhaps you can use these next 2 months to experiment with some eating, and/or exercise changes. Make a goal of losing 1 pound per week. That's a good small step. 10 pounds by September 1. Then decide if the diet/exercise change is too much to maintain. If not, you could be down 20 lbs. by the end of November. Down 25 lbs. by the end of the year.

  3. You know how important I think stress management is (Stress, It Adds Up, 9/28/08; Take A Moment, ..Breathe, 10/10/07; A Happy Marriage..., 6/25/07 ; Managing Stress At The Job, 3/16/07) Try something new to manage your stress for the summer. Keep a journal and see what ideas come to you about getting unstuck in an area of your life (see The "Jump Start Your Life" Plan..., 2/6/09).

  4. Have a Summer Date Night once a week.

  5. Take a computer course.

Take the opportunity this summer to do something different, fun, and life enhancing...