The 80 Percent Rule

Years ago I had written in here about the 80 Percent Rule I adhered to: eating healthful food 80 percent of the time.

Devorah the health coach vetted that eating well 80-to-90 percent of the time was perfectly fine.

She believed that my indulgence in a pastry 2 or 3 times a month was okay too.

No– we should not think of treating ourselves to food as “cheating.” We should think of doing this as an “indulgence.”

There’s a difference: labeling food as good or bad is a moral judgment that sets us up to feel like we’re a good or bad person for eating the kind of food we do.

I have discovered chocolate souffle pots that I can order with my weekly groceries delivery.

The ceramic pots can be repurposed for ramekins to use for melted butter when you cook lobster for dinner.

Trying to be a saint 100 percent of the time will set us up to fail.

I can’t resist a cannoli on occasion : )

Hello Healthy Fat

The Health Coach I hired zoomed in on how I could boost my energy that had tanked:

“Have more protein and healthy fat at lunch and in the afternoon.”

Devorah said: “The carbohydrate bucket should be low.”

The exception is that sweet potatoes are a healthy carbohydrate.

How auspicious it was that 2 weeks before talking to the Health Coach I started buying the sweet potato chips seen in the photo above.

You can order them from Fresh Direct online in New York City. Or ask at your local food market if they stock this product or could start getting it.

The simple ingredients: sweet potato olive oil sea salt.

Devorah vetted that this is a great snack to have in the afternoon with a little hummus to help extend my energy later in the day.

Other food to elevate my energy:

Have an avocado or hummus with my salad at lunch. Or have celery with peanut butter.

I tipped Devorah off to Hope brand plain hummus. It uses olive oil not natural flavor.

Natural flavor is a chemical additive found in Sabra hummus.

The better option is the Hope brand plain hummus.

I steer clear of natural flavor in food and drink products.

I steer clear of food products with unhealthy fats like sunflower or safflower oil or corn or canola or vegetable oil.

I steer clear of potato chips and pretzels except every so often.

Devorah vetted that it’s okay for me to have a pastry 2 to 3 times a month. Plus a hot chocolate a few times a month.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk more about what Devorah told me.

The Fruited Plain

Two years ago I hired a Health Coach to help me design a better eating plan.

Goodbye, granola mush morning breakfast. Hello, scrambled eggs with shitake mushrooms.

This was in 2019. Since then I had regained my energy through fall 2020.

Stress lack of sleep and depression can cause fatigue.

“Sugar can exacerbate anxiety and depression,” Devorah the Health Coach told me.

Fruit grains and beans break down into sugar.

Devorah told me I could have 1 to 2 small pieces of fruit a day.

I add organic raspberries to my salad for lunch. Mix in organic blueberries with whole-fat plain Greek yogurt after I exercise.

For breakfast I have an organic navel orange. That’s all in terms of fruit.

Yes–sugar is the culprit in ill health more than any other substance is.

A lot of us had become depressed while sheltering indoors during the pandemic. Not only this a person can be depressed because they’re under stress.

Whatever the root of what you’re going through as I’ve written in here before healthful food can improve a person’s mood.

How am I climbing my way out of the recent fatigue I’ve experienced?

First I have started to focus on living for today. Not worrying about what might happen in the future.

Hiring Devorah was the strategy that helped me start to regain my energy.

Though I paid her you will get her action plan for free courtesy of what I’ll be covering in the coming blog entries.

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month.

As of today I have only two months until Greenmarket season starts in New York City.

Some Grow NYC markets are open year-round in NYC.

In the coming blog entries I’ll give recipes for coleslaw and mustard greens.

In the first four months of the shutdown in New York City in 2020 I had been buying organic CSA produce boxes. Cooking my own meals with the vegetables.

This month in here I will focus on recipes again.

Too I want to talk about surviving a setback like the pandemic or living through a challenge that threatens to throw your health out of focus.

Stay tuned.

Trusting Your Intuition

Trusting your intuition is key when making changes to improve your health.

Over the years I’ve decided to do things long before I read that an expert said to do these things.

A lot of times it comes down to common sense. In the coming blog entry I’ll talk about a book that has cutting-edge health information for those of us over 40.

Some of the changes I figured out to make were these:

  1. Only have yogurt 2 to 3 times a week. Make it full-fat plain Fage yogurt mixed in with organic blueberries.
  2. Eat mostly vegetables and make most of them organic.
  3. Cook my own dinners more often every week.
  4. Change how often and how long I work out. After I turned 53 I started to lift weights at home 2x per week for 30 to 40 minutes. Instead of using machines at the gym 3 days a week for 50 minutes each session.
  5. Rarely drink milk.
  6. Have a pastry or other “treat” every so often. Progress not perfection is the goal.
  7. Scramble organic eggs and veggies for breakfast.

After making these changes I lost 12 pounds in one year. I’m also fitter today than I was 7 years ago dead lifting 205 pounds at the gym.

My trainer gave me new Upper and Lower Body routines to do. I’ll post them here in a couple of weeks.

Coming up soon a few recipes as well.

How to Reset

I’m going to reset in a slow and steady fashion.

Tweaking things a little that have gotten out of hand–like eating Christmas cookies on Saturday : )

The Changeology book 90-day action plan has always worked for me with the 5 steps you execute one after the other.

Focusing on one or two habits at a time to change is the difference.

My goal is to return to eating organic raspberries and blackberries. To add in having organic green apple slices with unsweetened almond butter.

Just nix having bananas. They are high in sugar.

Not all fruit and vegetables are created equal. White food isn’t healthful. Cauliflower is the exception to this rule.

My goal this week is to start to reset my routine.

To this end I bought from Macy’s a gold-and-white striped small bowl with black letters inside that shout: Happy Everything!

To make eating berries a cheerful experience.

As well as changing up what I’ve been eating I’m continuing to modify my workout routines.

More in the coming blog entry about changing how I exercised post-50.

Using My Experience to Empower Readers

It’s January and too often people join a gym exercise madly for 2 months then quit when they don’t see progress.

The fixation on weight loss disturbs me. The fact is that when a person adopts consistent healthy habits permanently they will naturally lose weight.

Without having to go on a restrictive diet or any kind of “diet” written about in the plethora of diet books published every year like clockwork.

I’m compelled to write about my experience to empower readers. I lost 15 pounds and that hadn’t been my goal.

My goal was to eat more healthful food and continue to lift weights 2x per week as often as I could.

Would you like to know how I lost 15 pounds without even trying to?

I’m 55 years old and living in menopause. Yet I haven’t gained weight.

What I propose is a simple plan. It might not be easy to adopt at first if a person is totally out of shape.

Only it will work especially for those of us who are older.

Should you want to dive right into the details you can buy the Frank Lipman, M.D. book The New Rules of Aging Well.

Before I checked out of the library this book I had already been doing the things Dr. Lipman advised us older folk to do.

A preview of what I’ve done over the years:

Have yogurt only 2 or 3 times a week.

Stop eating meat of any kind that comes from a CAFO.

Not eat a lot of food every day.

Engage in intermittent fasting: have dinner between 6:00-7:30 p.m. Wait 16 hours to eat again when I’m at home the next day. Scramble eggs for breakfast after this fast.

Have only 2 meals a day every so often.

Make my “3 square meals” small ones.

Cut out eating granola and grains.

Cook my own dinners more often every week.

Change the frequency and duration of my workout routines. Lift weights in my living room. Use lower weight and higher reps for each exercise.

Have the cannoli on New Year’s Eve because I’m not perfect : )

Portable Snacks – Part Two

The Hope hummus and organic carrot sticks shown are sold on FreshDirect.

I buy this brand because it doesn’t contain natural flavor as an ingredient like other hummus does.

The term natural flavor is a euphenism for chemicals whose real names the government doesn’t require to be listed on the nutrition label.

So rest assured if you’re consuming food and drink products with “natural flavor” you’re loading your body up with chemicals.

At times I do buy and use a product that has natural flavor. Only not as an every week occurrence. Not as an every few weeks occurrence.

FreshDirect sells their own brand of vegetable stock that doesn’t contain natural flavor like every other boxed vegetable stock brand does.

So I buy 2 containers of the FreshDirect vegetable stock as a time.

The combo shown above is the perfect 3:00 p.m. snack when you’re at an office job or other job where you can store things in a refrigerator.

Portable Snacks – Part One

The first photo is of the box the stainless steel containers with silicon lids were packaged in. The last photo is of the “trail mix” I created in the portable tin.

The cashews, coconut chips, and chocolate chips are sold on FreshDirect.

The mini chips list cane sugar as the first ingredient so should be eaten in moderation.

Otherwise once or twice a week it could be okay to make this trail mix to take on the go.

I’ll post a carnival of portable snacks blog entries today. The next one is a far better option than a candy bar.

The Tavva stainless steel containers are sold on Amazon.

Minus the mini chips cashews and coconut chips are fine on their own.

Feeding the Hungry

The NY Common Pantry sent me a tax receipt letter for $270 in donations to this nonprofit in 2020.

The meals I bought for people in need I hadn’t realized would total over $200 in 7 months.

I did this via “buying” two $5 donations when I ordered groceries via FreshDirect each week. One $5 donation provides 4 pantry meals for a person in need.

Beto O’Rourke in the article I link to at the end of this blog entry wrote with two other authors that expanding and fortifying the food stamps / SNAP benefits program is cost-effective.

Whereas forcing people to use food pantries is wasteful.

O’Rourke and the two other authors’ rationale for the beauty of the SNAP program makes perfect sense to me.

For now I’m OK with donating money for meals to NY Common Pantry.

It’s because in our right-wing political climate nothing has been “right” in terms of fostering social justice.

50 million Americans are estimated to live with food insecurity.

Since Mr. Toupee (my nickname for the former president) and his ilk were keen only to tamp down on programs that benefit citizens in economic need I think my funding of the food bank is an OK stopgap measure for now.

I had no idea that my weekly donations would add up so high so quickly.

In the time of the pandemic I’ve had a refrigerator bursting with food.

I’m able-bodied and strong enough to have carried home from a market 50-pound bags of groceries when I couldn’t get an online food delivery.

Now that LL Cool Joe (my nickname for Joe Biden) takes office I pray that real lasting effective change comes to our country.

No American should go hungry. No American should live in poverty.

The article about the rationale of expanding the SNAP benefits is here:

Food Stamp / Snap Benefits Article