Archive for January 2011 | Monthly archive page
The “Food Rules” book by Michael Pollan is such a great little read. I’ve really enjoyed going through all of these with you because they are great little “rules” to get into your head to help us navigate the diet and food jungle as we shop for our families. A couple days ago we were out of water here at the house so I went by Wal-Mart on the way home to get some Reverse Osmosis water from their filling station in the back. Cindy and I have been eating organic for several years now and I actually haven’t been to a Wal-Mart to get any type of food for a long time. Walking through the food department to get to the water was such an eye opener and reminder as to why we do this. There were just rows upon rows upon rows of processed foods that had every type of health claim on the front of the box. Sad that the processed foods are the ones that are the worst for you, but they’re also the cheapest so many people are really cornered (they feel like) into buying food from there because they don’t think they can afford real, organic food. So in light of that, let’s continue with some new rules.
Lately we’ve had so many families going through sickness and illness with their children. I’ve received countless emails and facebook messages about different kids who have been ill and what to do about it. So I’m going to cover some of the top issues in the next 2 or 3 blog posts to give you (parents) some tips and ideas on things to try with your children to help them get through their health struggles. So lets cover one of the most common issues in childhood: Fever.
One of the scariest things as a new parent is to pick up your baby (who is by this point super fussy and not nursing correctly or not sleeping) and they feel like they’re on fire. Not knowing what to do can be even scarier in this situation, so let’s talk about things you can do as a parent to relieve you child’s suffering.
Before we really dig into what to do at home to help with a fever, what exactly is a fever anyway?? I mean, we need to know what exactly is going on to understand when or if we need to do something about it, right? Well, a fever is when the body recognizes there are foreign invaders that have made it into your system and it raises the internal temperature of the body (past 98.6 deg) to try and kill off whatever you have contracted. This temperature increase is regulated by the Hypothalamus, a part of the brain that acts like the thermostat. As your child’s temperature starts to rise, they will feel colder initially because the body pulls all the blood from the skin and pushes it back into the body to use to increase the core temperature and they will get the shakes because the body is using the muscles to create yet more heat on the inside.
So what temperatures are considered to be feverish and what levels are considered too high?? For children, a temperature of 100-102 degrees (Fahrenheit) is considered a “low grade” fever. A temp of 102-104 is considered “moderate”. Temperatures of 104-106 are considered “high” and anything over 106 is considered “severe”. The incredible thing about the body though is that I’ve seen young children run a consistent fever of 107 and not even act like they’re sick!! This one particular little girl was running around my office playing like they normally do and wasn’t fussy at all and had been running 105-107 for a couple days. Now, that’s not to say that your child will do that, but the point is that instead of looking at and worrying about a specific number when it comes to the fever…you need to look at your child and pay attention to their physical symptoms and their reaction to the fever to see what, if anything, you need to do about it.
It’s nice to have some “ground rules” to go by when trying to lead your family down the path to health and wellness. The rules don’t always apply obviously, but they help to focus us all the same. Let’s continue on with a few more rules out of Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules”
Food Rule # 12: Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
Many of you have probably heard this rule before. Most of the fresh produce, dairy products, and fresh meats are on the outside of the store while more of the processed foods make up the majority of the center of the store. This will help you to make it out of the store with the least amount of processed foods possible. This isn’t always the case however. Take Wal-Mart for example. When you go to the dairy section, they have many different choices of yogurts also in this section. If you look closely, many of these yogurts (especially if they’re labeled “Light”) contain artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. So watch out for those. But as a general rule, look to the outskirts of the stores to be the most “alive”.
Food Rule # 13: Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
Real food is alive and should eventually rot. The reason the food goes “bad” is because bacteria and fungi that we compete with for our food get to it before we do. That’s a good sign!! The longer your food will go without breaking down is usually a sign of being highly processed.
Food Rule #14: Eat food made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.
You want to be able to read the ingredients of a food you are going to consume and imagine it growing on a hillside or in a field somewhere. Like if one ingredient to your food (like the hummus I make) is parsley, then you can imagine this herb growing wild or in your herb garden. Take a twinkie and read the ingredients and try to imagine some of those ingredients growing wild….not going to happen!!
Food Rule #15: Get out of the supermarket whenever you can.
You won’t find (or at least not as much hopefully) high fructose corn syrup at the farmers market. You also won’t find any foods from so far away that they can’t be fresh, or anything that needs to be put in the microwave! All you will find is fresh produce picked locally at the peak of freshness. If you don’t live next to a farmers market, join a co-op. By joining a co-op, you’re able to get farmers market fresh foods delivered to a location near you so that you are able to just pick it up.
Well, I finished the 60 Day Challenge with Hallelujah Acres. All told I lost just shy of 30 pounds and just over 5% body fat in the process. I didn’t lose my 40 pounds like I was shooting for, but I’d say it was still a success!
I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I’m going to do now that I’ve finished the program. If I’m going to stay on the vegan train, or go back to eating normal or what. To be honest, I feel so good and my body has performed so well through this process that I’m not going to change that much. This lifestyle is not hard for me to do (especially with the results) and I still want/need to lose another 10-15 pounds so I’m going to mostly eat exactly like I have been. I will add in some meats 1 day a week for probably 1 meal on that day. I’m also going to continue on the barley grass and beet juice drinks every day because they help to balance my blood sugar to well and I just like them! Amazingly this has truly been a lifestyle changing experience for me and I’m excited to stick with it and see what happens over the next few months.
Now just because this program has been so beneficial for me do I think everyone should do it as a lifestyle?? Not necessarily. I think everyone could benefit from a period of time where they don’t eat breads and sweets and anything else and just focus on raw fruits and veggies in order to less their body reset and heal. That I think is really vital. But not everyone could do as well on this dietary style for a lifetime. For example, Cindy really thrives better off of some animal protein. If she doesn’t have at least a small amount, then her blood sugar doesn’t stabilize as easily and she doesn’t feel as good. So for her, vegan raw for long periods of time wouldn’t be as beneficial. You really just have to see what works for you and your body and then stick with that. And that’s not to say that further down the road my body changes again and I switch this program up some more to meat the needs of my body. I’m open to anything I feel I need to do, but right now I’m staying on this program indefinitely.
Countless people have come up to me through this process and exclaimed, “You’ve lost how much weight?!? Wow, I need to lose weight, maybe I’ll do this program too!!” The weight loss is an awesome side benefit and it is an easy tracker of progress….but don’t do a program like this just to lose weight. Why?? Because if you do it merely to lose weight you won’t eat enough, you won’t feel as good, and as soon as the “diet” is over then you’ll go right back to eating like you did before and gain all your weight back and be frustrated that once again a diet didn’t work for you. Do a program like this because you want to improve your health and the health of your family with the hope of losing weight, but without the obsession with it. Give yourself a goal of weight loss but really pay attention to all the other incredible heath benefits you’re getting from feeding your body incredible, living food. For me, yes, I’ve lost 28 pounds so far, but the better things are the fact that I sleep better, I can breath better, my blood sugar is more stable, my feet don’t hurt at all anymore, my energy levels are through the roof, and my temperament has totally calmed down. Those are great changes that I’m just as proud of as the weight loss. With that being said you will lose weight on this program because it is the natural thing that will happen when you decrease the amount of harmful, dead foods you are consuming and add in more healthy, live foods.
If you are interested in starting a program like this to try and reclaim your health then go to the Hallelujah Acres website and look up the 60 Day Challenges. Pick the one you want (there are two) and get signed up for the emails. This part is totally free! I do recommend getting on a B-Complex during the program and they have a very good one. I have used their powder mixes for the barley grass, beet juice, and carrot juice drinks so unless you have time to juice all of those all the time then this is a good investment. The last product I took was the Digestive Enzyme from HAcres and would recommend it to help your digestive system handle the food as you switch. Other than that all you need is a good fish oil supplement to keep your healthy fats up.
Another thing I would highly recommend is to find a mentor or accountability partner to help you do this. I had one for me and I also had another friend go through the program with me and that made all the difference in the world to be able to text them on specific days to encourage one another and get ideas from them. One couple I know, respect and refer to a lot for this is Jim and Monica Brown (Jim was my accountability partner!). They own and run an organic food co-op that delivers fresh, organic produce all over the metroplex. They are a wealth of knowledge and are great people to get hooked up with.
Well, thank you guys so much for going on this journey with me! It’s not over yet for sure so I’ll still post from time to time things I’m doing with the diet and weight changes as I check them. Hopefully this blog series has given you a little inspiration that you too can do a program like this!
Here’s to praying for you that your 2011 is healthy and happy!