Add in the good stuff. Crowd out the bad stuff. Small steps for a big difference

Contrary to what many may think, when it comes to nutrition, I have been more of a “do as I say, not as I eat” person. With my vigorous activity / exercise regimen, I’ve been able to “get away” with it. But what exactly have I gotten away with by not properly fueling and hydrating my body? The reality is I’ve sabotaged my race performances and suffered some health consequences.

The appearance of physical fitness does not equate with health.

I’ve had many bouts of kidney stones from chronic dehydration that I’ve brought on myself (too much sweating, too little water intake). Something as simple as drinking the 8 glasses of water a day has been a real challenge for me. I’m also guilty of chronic neglect of adequate daily veggie and fruit intake. My good intentions too often transform into science experiments in my fridge.

Truth is, while I am an exercise fiend, I am lazy in the dietary department. It’s my turn to commit to get fit from the inside out. We all know what comprises the good, bad and the ugly of our diets, change is a challenge for everyone―even me.

When my regular workouts (swimming 3-4 times a week, biking 2 times a week, deep sand running) came to a sudden halt due to a cycling accident, there were 2-3 weeks of little to no physical activity and 2 months of very mild activity. This has been down time for me in more ways than one―plenty of time to take stock of my habits and how they are affecting me. As addicted as I am to exercise, I am equally addicted to chocolate, sugar and empty carbs. And I have never been good with moderation. Since I wasn’t getting my exercise endorphin fix, I found myself over-indulging in the “bad stuff”.  Like an addict, chasing an elusive high. I realized not only was it not helping me feel any better, it was making me feel worse emotionally and physically.  (No brainer I know– that’s what the nutrition experts tell you.) I just had never really felt it so dramatically.

Notably past the midlife point, it’s clearly time to for me to start eating and drinking like a responsible adult. I know I will feel better and let’s face it; my body is not as forgiving as it once was

Inspired by the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead in which the Australian, Joe Cross, transforms his health and his life by going on a juice fast, I’ve decided to try juicing myself. Nothing radical— I’m starting small – introducing one 16 ounce glass of veggies & fruit juice a day. Not a fan of V-8 or pure carrot juice, I know I need to be creative, forgiving and patient with myself. To fool my sweet tooth, my strategy is to begin with a couple of carrots and lots of fruit and slowly change the ratios adding more green veggies and carrots and less fruit as my taste buds allow. So 2 carrots, 2 apples, 1/2 pear, and a handful of grapes later, this juicing newbie is off to a sweet start. It was easy, quick and kind of fun. It’s all about making small, incremental positive choices as you minimize the not so great choices. That’s the strategy—add in the good stuff and eventually, you’ll crowd out the bad.

Any juice concoction I make will be more fruits and veggies than I would otherwise have had on that given day. It will also helps increase my daily fluid intake.  So cheers to better health and fitness day by day. What changes did you make today?

2 thoughts on “Add in the good stuff. Crowd out the bad stuff. Small steps for a big difference

  1. I was also really inspired by Joe Cross’ documentary and tried to juice with my Vitamixer — I couldn’t force that thick stuff down my throat. After three hours I had hardly swallowed any of it and I LOVE veggies. I would actually prefer to eat the vegetables instead of juicing them – do you think that the nutrient uptake is that different if the veggies are solid as opposed to juiced?

  2. Thanks for your comment, Mary. If you love veggies, it is ALWAYS better to eat whole vegetables raw for maximum nutrients & critical fiber (which is lost in juicing). Raw is better because micronutients are lost when veggies are cooked & processed. Sounds like you are one of the fewer than 15% of Americans who eat the minimum recommended amount of vegetables and fruits every day. Kudos! For those of us who find eating 6-8 portions (2 1/2 – 6 1/2cups) of veggies a day daunting – juicing makes it quicker, easier and less painful to meet our rda (provided we find a “green” juicing mix we find palatable). Veggie juice is definitely an acquired taste. I have been going heavy on the carrots, but they aren’t optimal given their high fructose content so I am going to have to graduate into greener territory.

    Also, good thing you didn’t drink that juice after 3 hours – you should drink your veggie juice down as soon as you make it. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, freshly squeezed juice can quickly develop potentially harmful bacteria since it is not pasteurized.

    Bottom line – eating whole, raw vegetables and fruits is ideal. Juicing is a second / supplemental choice. Whether you drink and / or eat them, adding daily vegetables is the healthy way to go. And juicing offers athletes who neglect hydration (like me) another alternative to h2o and sport’s drinks.
    I’m curious Mary,how did you come to “LOVE” veggies – just naturally or did you eat healthy growing up?

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