Update

I guess I’m not a very disciplined blogger!

Fortunately, I’ve been moderately disciplined with the other stuff :).

Exercise

I bought a bicycle and I’m using it for short trips (<30 mins). I actually prefer it to driving because I don’t need to hunt (and pay!) for parking. I was a bit worried about biking in the rain, but I have good breathable rain pants and jacket, and to my surprise, I don’t find it that unpleasant. I also downloaded Cyclemeter to my iphone. It allows me to track my times on regular trips & see that I’m getting faster and it shows overall distances per month. This keeps me motivated!

Sleep

I had a few long distance trips (8 hours time difference), which turned this one into a train wreck. After one trip I was sick for a week. Like completely wiped out. I suppose this just shows how important sleep is! I have myself back to going to bed almost every day at 10:30, then getting up at 7:30. This allows me plenty of time to fall asleep. I also made the bedroom darker. It has a roller blind which lets a lot of light through. I used a really cheap solution – gift wrapping paper which is silvered on one side. I taped this into a big square, the size of the blind, then attached it to the back of the blind, so it rolls up and down with the blind. This has made a huge difference, as my bedroom faces east and I was waking up very early!

Food

Let me confess first that I have cheated a lot! However, most of my diet is now macrobiotic, using organic food. Strangely, the weekly grocery bill is about the same as before. The organic produce is more expensive, but I’m no longer buying pop, chips, cheese etc which really add up!
I started out with classic macrobiotic books from the local library. These are based on the traditional rural Japanese diet, so some “weird” ingredients – seaweed, tofu, pickled plums and the like. I just bought a few of these as I went along. I also saw a macrobiotic counsellor. He said I was in pretty good shape :). He recommended cutting down/out sugar and dairy. He also recommended buying a propane stove, to stop cooking on electric. You read this a lot in the macrobiotic books, but I don’t think I’ll be following up on it. I would definitely like to see some sort of research demonstrating differences between food cooked on gas/charcoal/elephant droppings versus electricity before I’m ready to remodel my kitchen or start cooking on the balcony!

The basic macrobiotic principles are 30 – 50% whole grains, plus 25% veggies plus 25% protein. Red meat, chicken are on the “avoid list”. Fish is ok occasionally, say once a week. To avoid it turning into tofu-tofu-tofu, I’ve been using a lot of seitan, tempeh and I’m starting to experiment with beans. Yes, I know…. What can I say…. I’m only making them when I have no social engagements for the next 12 hours or so. Also soaking for twice the recommended time (minimum 12 hours). I just read that adding kombu when cooking can help, so I’ll try that. And starting with small quantities, to allow my digestive system to adjust – and limit the, ahem, consequences, in the meantime.

I’m currently trying recipes from these cookbooks, which are not marketed as macrobiotic, but the recipes look macrobiotic to me:
– Thug Kitchen (lots of very tasty food – warning: “adult” language used throughout!)
– Vegan bowls by Zsu Dever (plenty of colour photos and the recipes I tried so far have been excellent).

Results

The main thing I’ve noticed is that I’m starting to wake naturally feeling pretty good (as opposed to crawling out of bed after reaching the snooze-button limit).

I can now get up hills on the bike that I had to walk up before, so I guess I’m getting fitter.

I seem to be getting less headaches than before I started this crusade, though I suspect that this is due to my Alexander Technique efforts. More about this in the next post…. Which will be …erm… Sometime….. :)

Create Natural Health

This is my blog about sustaining and enhancing health through nutrition, sleep, exercise and using the body as designed.

I’ve had all the right intentions, and even acted on lots of them! I’ve been getting my fruit and vegetables –  mostly. I self identify as a vegetarian, despite evidence to the contrary, so to be accurate I should call myself a “fish-eating, I’m-starving-look-there’s-a-burger-joint, I-can’t-inconvenience-my-poor-mom etc-etc vegetarian”. And let’s not  get started on the sugar.

I’ve had the odd foray into various exercise regimes. Just never managed to keep any of them up for very long.

I’ve always prioritized the stuff I need to get DONE in my life over what I NEED. Skip lunch to finish a work assignment? Sure! Exercise, food, even sleep all fall by the wayside when there’s something more important that needs doing right now.

The amazing thing is that I’m still in reasonable shape – no scary wake-up calls! However, this can’t last forever, so I need to start walking the talk! I’ve always believed that health can be created easily and naturally by getting enough sleep, a good diet (whatever that is) and exercise. Recently I’ve added a new one – how I use my body. I think good relationships and finding meaning in life are important too, but that would be a whole different blog!

I’ve always been an all-or-nothing sort of person, so I’m going to jump in and tackle them all at the same time.

Here’s my plan:

  • Eating: adopt a macrobiotic diet.
  • Sleeping: 8 hours a night of quality sleep.
  • Exercise: crawl-walk-run, or in my case, walk, bike (oh boy) and then add something else.
  • Body use: figure out which aches and pains I am causing myself, by not following my body’s user manual. Then correct the problem areas. I’ll be using the Alexander Technique for this.