Happy Birthday!

This week my blog is 4 years old! 

 

 I started the blog in February, 2010 with this post:

I went to the gym today, as a matter of fact I exercised today, for the first time in 38 days.  Will this be the day I restart my fitness-centered life?  Let me back up.  I had been exercising regularly and rigorously for 20 years (minus the last 3 years).  I used to run 20 miles a week, I lifted weights, ran three half marathons, three 10 mile races, and countless 10K and 5K races.  I skied, snowboarded, ice skated, hiked, roller-bladed.  I had a house full of fitness equipment.  I easily exceeded the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

But then I stopped.  A combination of personal issues led me to alter every aspect of my life, including my fitness routine.  I’ve been trying to get back into it ever since.  In the past 3 years I joined 3 different gyms.  In total I’ve gone a total of 7 times  I even started running.  I was up to 4 miles three times a week, but then I stopped.

But, I went to the gym today…

I am happy to report that over the past 4 years I have indeed gotten back into fitness and into healthy eating.  I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol and other health risk factors through exercise and healthy eating.  I’ve run some road races including two half marathons, got back into weight training and started practicing yoga.

This blog is called, Let’s Get in Shape Together, and as the name implies, the blog is meant to encourage you, my readers to also start, or continue, on your own health and wellness journey.  I like to share news and information that I find on healthy living, I try not to get too preachy…. And, I try to adopt the healthy habits that I write about.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I have adopted a near vegan diet, and I have never felt healthier or stronger!  I have several posts on the health advantages of a plant based diet, the health risks of milk and dairy, and the dangers of genetically modified foods.

Lately I’ve begun to change other aspects of my daily life.  I have been using less and less plastic in favor of glass for food storage.  I now use a non-toxic alternative to dryer sheets.  I am even attempting to change my make up and skin care products and make-up to those without toxic chemicals.

I’d love to hear from you on healthy changes you’ve made in your life, or health/wellness goals you have for yourself.

 

 

 

My Journey to Better Health

I haven’t posted in a while as I felt I was getting “preachy”.  Perhaps too much information about the dangers of animal protein, diet soda, sugar and dairy.  But it is hard not to share what I’ve learned about nutrition and health.  To me it seems so basic — healthy eating leads to a healthy body, and I want everyone to know the information that is out there and to live healthier lives.

 But, frequently I am met with comments such as the one I heard recently, “Yeah, I know all about what is good to eat and what isn’t, I’m just not going to eat that way.”  I simply said OK and stopped talking.  What I wanted to say was, “What???  You’d rather get sick and take pills that may or may not lea to ther problems??  Do you think it will be easier to eat healthy once your doctor ‘orders’ you to??”,  Oops, there I go again….

Rather than spew statistics about dairy consumption and cancer rates, meat and hear disease, or broccoli and it’s cancer preventative properties, I will share with you my real life experience.  Maybe it will give someone encouragement to take nutrition seriously!

I always ate “healthy”, that is I ate a  healthy Western diet — not too much red meat, plenty of chicken, fish and dairy, fruit and vegetables, and not too much dessert.  But I had gained 10 extra pounds that I wasn’t losing and more disturbing, my indicators for heart disease weren’t good:

  • Cholesterol 220 (healthy range is under 200)
  • Triglycerides  a whopping 182 (healthy range under 150)
  • C-Reactive Protein (a measure of inflammation in the body) 5.5 (low cardio-vascular risk is under 1.0!)

So I made some changes.  As with any new situation, the first place I turned was some reading material.  I highly recommend Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, The China Study by Dr. T.Colin Campbell, and the documentary, Forks Over Knives.    I also started seeing a physician who practices not only conventional medicine, but also integrates complementary medicine, balancing medicine with healthy nutrition, lifestyle and exercise.  (Shout out to Sage Integrative Medicine and Dr. Marney Roemmelt, MD).

Now, 18 months later, after eating a near-Vegan diet of mostly veggies, beans, grains, fruits, nuts and no dairy (no milk, cheese, butter or eggs),  my health is substantially better.  I lost those pesky 10 pounds easily, and my risk for heart disease has gone down dramatically:

  • Cholesterol 180
  • Triglycerides 78
  • C-Reactive Protein 0.5

Plus, my sports performance has improved.  (check out No Meat Athlete for information on athletic training and performance on a vegan diet).  I also have more energy, am more alert and have far less colds than before.

While this approach may not work for everyone, the research clearly shows that people in countries who eat less meat and dairy have far less incidence of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and auto-immune diseases that are so prevalent in western countries.  And, before you say, maybe it’s in their genes; research shows that when people from those mainly plant-based cultures move to our western meat and dairy eating countries, within 1 generation their incidence of the “western diseases” matches those of the native population.

So, I encourage everyone to at least incorporate more vegetables and fruits into their diet, to cut way down on meat (including chicken, pork and fish), perhaps to only 3 times a week, and a small portion at that (3 oz) — substitute other protein sources such as quinoa, tofu, tempeh, beans, more vegetables (yes vegetables have protein) and nuts, and cut out dairy!

Preventing the Leading Causes of Death in the US

I wanted to share this powerful video on how we can prevent the leading causes of death.  Important stuff, right?  I highly recommend watching all (or at least part) of this video.  To summarize and hopefully encourage you to watch it, Dr. Michael Greger presents scientific facts on how we can prevent 14 of the 15 leading causes of death. In the US, the 15 leading causes of death (in order) are:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Respiratory Disease, (COPD, Emphysema)
  4. Stroke
  5. Accidents
  6. Alzheimer’s Disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Kidney Failure
  9. Influenza
  10. Suicide
  11. Blood Infection
  12. Liver Disease
  13. High Blood Pressure
  14. Parkinson’s Disease
  15. Pneumonia

And interestingly enough, the medical system, when you look at side pill-bottles-684648effects from prescription drugs, medical mistakes and hospital acquired infections, results in 187,000 deaths per year making it the 3rd leading cause of death in the US!  (Good reason to avoid unnecessary doctor visits).

CSA 2 ALL of these leading causes of death, with the exception of accidents, can be prevented or combated with a strict vegetarian (i.e.: vegan) diet.

Don’t worry if you are a devoted meat eater.  Small changes in your diet like adding in greens at every meal and cutting out meat a few days a week will still have a positive influence on your health.

But, for me, I have found the vegan route to be the best option.  For example, in one year, my cholesterol has dropped 38 points, and my triglycerides (the measure of fat in the blood) dropped 104 points!  That’s proof enough for me.

Here is the link to the video   http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/

Vitamins and Minerals on a Vegan Diet

You can get plenty of calcium (as well as other vitamins and minerals) on a vegan diet.

This is a great “cheat sheet” for identifying non meat sources of important vitamins and minerals.  This was provided by No Meat Athlete, one of my favorite blogs for nutritional information. No-Meat-Athlete-Cheat-Sheet1

Veganville

A little levity to start the week!