Thursday, January 10, 2013

Transitioning to a Healthy Vegan Lifestyle - Step One

(Venice from the Rialto Bridge, there is a tie in to this post though it isn't obvious at first)  ;-)

I have been in the series writing mood lately and decided to start yet another one.   In case you were wondering having multiple series going gives me flexibility and allows me to switch things up so I don’t get bored. This new series will be about easing into a healthy vegan lifestyle.  While I dove into this lifestyle with both feet I know that most people do better easing into a big change like this.  This series, which I will write once per week on Thursday, will give you suggestions for the changes to make, and the order in which I suggest making them, with the ultimate goal of living a healthy whole-food plant-based lifestyle.

This is a topic that I have given a lot of thought to for obvious reasons.  The first step that I suggest is going to surprise many of you but it is one that I think makes a big difference fairly quickly.  I recommend that the first change everyone makes is to drink more water.   You are shocked right? I bet you were expecting something much more extreme.  Fooled you!  ;-)   

The amount of water that we need is dependent on a lot of factors including body weight, activity level, and diet to name a few.   The easiest way to tell if you are drinking enough water is the color of your urine. Gross I know but that is only way to know for sure.  The next time you urinate check the toilet. If there is only a touch of a pale yellow color, or an imperceptible color then you are drinking enough water. However if you see an obvious yellow color then you are not drinking enough water.  There is one other common thing that can influence the color of your urine and that is B vitamins.  If you are taking a B complex you will see an almost electric yellow color early in the day. However this won’t last all day so check the color of your urine later in the day to know if you are properly hydrated.

Why does water make such a big difference?

(A Lionfish at the National Aquarium in Baltimore)

Did you realize that your body needs water to perform most of its bodily functions?  Without adequate water you body simply cannot function at peak efficiency. Many years ago I learned from my pharmacist buddy that many headaches are caused by dehydration.  Now when I get a headache the first thing I do is drink more water and 9 times out of 10 my headache will go away with no meds required.

Think of it this way. Your body is 60% water and your brain is 70%.  The amount of water in our bodies is 10 gallons or more depending on size.  Throughout the day we will lose 48 ounces of water through urination, perspiration and respiration and that is before we exercise.   It is easy to see why consuming water regularly is important right?

(Acgua Fresca Lemon Green Tea with Chia Seeds)

Something else to bear in mind is that you need water to dissolve those wonderful water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C.  Water is also how waste is carried to your kidneys for elimination. Water also helps to move the solid waste out of your GI track more easily and quickly.  Water is a component of the blood in your body as well all your cells.  Basically we all need water for a multitude of reasons.

The problem is that most people are chronically dehydrated and they don’t even know it.  However now you will know because you are going to look the next time you are in the bathroom.  Right? 

Did you know that dehydration may also trick you into thinking you are hungry when really all you need is water? That’s right, dehydration leads to overeating.  If you want to lose weight drink more water.  I specifically recommend a cup every hour or two.  Another idea is to carry a water bottle with you all the time and sip all day long.  Once you are drinking an adequate amount of water for you not only will your body function more effectively but you won’t be misinterpreting dehydration for hunger.

My day:

It has been another one of those days where a few too many unanticipated things popped up.  Isn’t that always what happens?  Luckily I started this post yesterday or I have no idea how I would have gotten this written today.

Today was one of those days where I was lucky to get breakfast and lunch.  I was so rushed my breakfast was salad (romaine, artichokes and hulled hemp seeds) and lunch was veggie chili that I made yesterday for Dan’s lunch.  I also had a grapefruit, seaweed and Brazil nuts but nothing else other than green and white tea.

This was definitely one of those days where food was fuel and nothing more.  I need to add that to my file of potential blog posts.   For those of you who also blog I found that keeping an ongoing list of ideas as I think of them helped me a lot when the time comes to write and I am drawing a blank.

For all the cat owners don’t make the mistake I did and allow your felines to try roasted seaweed. Remember how I told you that Nicco (Binky) loves roasted cashews? Well we can now add roasted seaweed to the list of things he loves.  Our little baby woke up from a nap today when I cut open the seaweed package and demanded to share my seaweed.  If this continues Dan and I will be going outside to eat our seaweed.  Think carefully before you do what I did and allow your cat to try seaweed.

Happy thoughts:

  1. I walked to the grocery store today and stocked up on more kale, collards, grapefruit, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and bell peppers.  As usual I bought too much given that I walked to the store.  While what I bought might not sound like a lot it was a volume issue as well as weight because it included:  5 pounds of grapefruit, 5 pounds of carrots, 3 pounds of kale, 2 pounds of collards,  3 cucumbers, 2 pints of tomatoes, and 6 bell peppers.  I always forget that things add up fast when I am walking and all the stuff is in one big canvas bag.  I do this all the time you would think I would learn but apparently not.  Maybe I should take the cats to the store with me since they are brains of this operation.  LOL  ;-)
  2. Our weather today was very nice. Today I ran a few errands on foot for my parents and was comfortable in a light jacket and jeans which is amazing this time of year.  I enjoy walking to take care of things and like to monitor my activity level and track it.  I guess the financial part of me never completely went away since I still like numbers. The current activity monitor that I am using is the Fitbit One.  This was one of my Christmas presents and so far I like it. I will write a post about this sometime too.
  3. Dan has been running a fever the last two days and while he went to work this morning.  However at least he had the good sense to come home before 5 so I could take care of him.  Why are husband’s blasted stubborn?  *rolls eyes*  At least Dan didn’t work late like usual so I guess we are making progress.  He is resistant to go to the doctor because he doesn’t want a repeat of January 2012 where a mystery fever had him in the hospital for a week. I can’t say that I blame him but I am more cautious and would like to get it checked out.  *sigh*  Being married is always a compromise isn’t it?
  4. I did some good work today which always makes me happy.  I really enjoy helping people.  It is so rewarding when the light bulb goes off for people and they understand what good nutrition can do.
  5. Early in the day I had a chance to check on my parents and run two errands for them.  I am grateful for the time I have to look in on them and that they are still with me since so many of my friends have lost one or both of their parents by now.
  6. I almost forgot to say that I am grateful that the 2.2 pounds I gained in DC were all gone by Wednesday and they took another 0.4 with them when they left. This is what I mean by not letting these little indiscretions stick around too long.  Where most people get in trouble is gaining a pound here and there and not getting it back off right away.  This is one of those reasons that I get on the scale every morning.  
Signing out:

Today has been another long and stressful day and I am really tired.  Please don’t be surprised if tomorrow’s post is relatively brief.

I hope your day was terrific and that we get a chance to chat tomorrow. Ciao for now.

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