Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's not just food. The good life also means exercise and stress relief!

I'll bet you thought that if you had a healthy diet that's all you had to do to live the good, long life. Wrong! When I first began researching a healthy diet, I thought that picking out the right foods was all that was needed. Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of white flour, the right kinds of fats, water but no soda, little sugar and salt.

Very quickly, as I researched the topic, I learned that healthy eating must also include exercise and stress relief . Bummer. But eventually I saw that the body is a system:  Using the food we put into it that creates energy; combining with the movements we make to use that energy; and with the calming strategies that promote the integration of that system. Our "system" needs every part working together to be healthy.

In the book, Even You Can Be Healthy! I was writing to:
  • busy people who think it's impossible to have a healthy life because of their other "more important" goals, the immediate needs of their families, and many other obligations;
  • people who don't know or care what it means to lead a healthy life, who think the consequences won't affect them;
  • people who believe they can't do much to help themselves because of aging or disabilities and then give up. People not unlike me.

So I wanted to make living a healthy life as easy as possible for that group of people, who are like you and me, so it would become second nature. With that in mind, here's a couple of hints for including exercise and stress relief in our daily lives: (I'll expand on these at a later date.)

  1. Get up from the computer every 45 minutes or so and walk around. Go to get something cool to drink (not soda). Do knee bends at your desk. Do wall pushups while you are seated.
  2. Go outside for 15 to 20 minutes and just walk. Around your garden, around the neighborhood, around the block.
  3.  Clean the house or apartment and work in the garden 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Vacuum, rake the leaves, dust, change the sheets, bathe the dog. Any number of tasks will count toward exercising.
  4.  Start out exercising 10 minutes at a time till it adds up to 30 minutes a day. Your stamina will increase amazingly fast.

Stress relief
  1. Stop. Take three deep breaths. Focus on what you are doing right NOW.
  2.  Focus. Picture a scene that calms you--the forest, ocean, baseball game. Whatever. You decide. Just for a moment. You can use these first two techniques throughout the day and whenever you feel overwhelmed.
  3.  Meditate. Find a regular time you can sit or lie down to just be. You can meditate in any of several ways, but the purpose is to focus on your inner being. Don't worry about what you have to do. The sounds around you have no meaning. Listen to them. Let them layer in your consciousness. Relax. Deep breathe.

But it all begins with what you put into your body and here's your healthy, delicious, easy recipe for the day, a cool summer salad: 

Summer Tuna Fish Salad

Summer Tuna Fish Salad for Two
Super Easy
"It's really delicious and works both as a salad or sandwich filling. Terrific lunch on a hot day with a glass of iced tea." Carol Wills, recipe tester
Serves 2
2 6.4-ounce packets or cans dark meat tuna packed in water
1 pre-washed packaged celery or 1 stalk celery, chopped
1 teaspoon powdered or dried minced onion or 1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 apple, such as gala, Granny Smith, delicious, seeded and cut into pieces about the size of the celery
Juice of 1 lemon or 1 tablespoon bottled pure lemon juice or 2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons lite mayonnaise
2 teaspoons plain or Greek yogurt, low-fat or fat-free
4 whole lettuce leaves, washed and drained
Salt to taste
1. Combine tuna, onion, celery, and apple and toss. Pour lemon juice or vinegar over ingredients. Toss.
2. Add mayonnaise and yogurt and toss until all ingredients are well combined. Serve over lettuce leaves spread on plates. Season with salt, to taste. Offer crackers or pita bread to accompany.
This dish can also be made without the mayonnaise and yogurt.


1 comment:

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