Clean living seems to be all the rage. Everyday there is some new super food we should be eating, the latest diet trend or how to de-stress in 5 minutes or less. Worse still the recommendations keep changing…fats are bad, no carbs are bad and fat is good, but only the “good” fats, sugar is poison so avoid fruit and don’t even get me started on soy! It is beyond confusing…no wonder no one has any idea what they should be eating! When did eating become so difficult? I really doubt our ancestors spent hours a day thinking about what to eat. When they were hungry they ate and that was the end of it. Granted our lifestyles have evolved greatly since the time of the cave man and we have more choices than we know what to do with, but I really do think that we are making things way too complicated. Sometimes healthy living feels like a second job!
Although we still do see those crazy fad diets like drink only lemon water for 3 days to detox, there has been a perceptible shift towards healthful eating and general well-being. We understand the connection between stress and our health, so we strive to live a more Zen existence. However in typical American fashion, we want to snap our fingers and instantly change course or we manically try everything possible all that once hoping that by sheer volume alone something will work. Which when you think about it, kind of is the antithesis of Zen.
The scenario goes something like this: get up early to do my deep breathing and meditation, although by the end of the week it usually ends up being about 5 minutes total (if I am lucky), but at least I can check it off the list! Then I make myself a green smoothie with maca powder, chia seeds and a dash of reishi for good measure and no coffee, because coffee is BAD! Maybe some eggs if I need something heartier, if eggs are okay this week. Do I eat whole eggs or only egg whites? Confused, I opt for a little almond butter on gluten free toast and race out the door. Work is crazy hectic so what that morning meditation did I have no idea and of course I work in an office, which freaks me out because I read an article the other day about how our desks jobs are killing us. Although afraid to ask, my colleagues are all secretly wondering why I make about 3 laps around the floor every hour on the hour; little do they know I have an alarm set on my phone for my “movement” breaks. Also an excuse to refill the water container (BPA-free of course) or take the umpteenth bathroom run.
Lunch is its own drama. Is there really time today to walk 15 blocks to the vegan place over on 8th Ave? Plan B is the salad bar, but is that produce organic? Of course I bring my own salad dressing, as god only knows if there will be any gluten free, non dairy, good oil only dressings available. Naturally I get off the subway one stop early on the way home to get my required daily step quota in, as tracked by my nifty pedometer. Quick change and I am off to the gym – now is tonight cardio, strength training, Zumba, spinning…although after the crazy day I had I probably should do yoga. But is yoga really a workout? Plus it's 90 minutes… instead I opt for spinning, as 45 minutes in/out and I am good to go.
I am home in time to eat a healthy meal before 8pm, if I am lucky, so I ensure that I have at least 2 hours to digest my meal before bed. Or maybe just a juice would be better, but is juice as good as eating the whole food, fiber and all? Good thing I spent $600 on that Vitamix! In bed by 10pm, so I get that 8 hours of sleep, but how do I fit in my nighttime meditation? Maybe a few deeps breaths will be good enough. When my alarm goes off, all I can think is “I have to do that all again??!”
Healthy living is supposed to makes us feel better, not stress us out! I try to follow a few simple rules and anything additional beyond that is just a bonus:
1. Eat whole, real food as much as possible
2. Move (at least a little) each day
3. Laugh often; great stress reducer!