Johnson City Press Thursday, October 30, 2014
TriCityMom

Invest a week in a healthier you

March 26th, 2014 8:50 am by Paula Sirois

Invest a week in a healthier you

www.NationalOak.com

(MCT)

Healthy people are annoying, right? They wear yoga pants everywhere and talk about chia seeds and drink green juices and brag about their latest 5K. Ugh, sounds exhausting. But secretly, you want to be a healthy person, too. Where's the healthy without the bragging option? It's right here. And it takes only seven — maybe eight — days.

If you're up to making some easy-as-pie changes, they'll lead to positive results. You may just find that, come the end of the week, you're a whole new you, and healthy and happy to boot.

There are two rules for the next week: First, you will skip all drive-through and dine-in restaurants, opting to eat home cooking only. Second, you will turn off your TV, radio, iPods and computers (except for those necessary for working hours, and where noted below). Come on, it's only a week. Surely you'll live without another repeat of "Jersey Shore" and your millionth drive-through coffee with fake flavoring, right?

— Day 1: Get up and hit the farmers market, if you have one. If not, head to the grocery store and stock up on all things that have one ingredient. That's right, one ingredient. It's pretty easy, actually: Things that are made with one thing are good, and things that are made with two or more things are suspect. No matter where you fall on the spectrum from vegetarian to meat-eater, you'll find lots of choices: from vegetables to eggs to chicken and steak. See, now you're cooking with food — real food, that is.

— Day 2: Surrounded by your one-ingredient goodies, get to work. Prepare some meals, as many as you wish, and get as creative as possible. Sure you can make the standby steak and potato with some corn on the side. Or spice up baked eggplant with slices of Roma tomatoes and feta cheese sprinkled on top. Top a side arugula salad with almond slivers and peaches. Yum. Keep mixing and matching and testing. Make many meals today to prepare for the week.

— Day 3: Movie night! Rent "Fast Food Nation," then sit back and prepare to be shocked. Feel free to pop some organic kernels in a brown paper bag for a few minutes in the microwave — yes, you can do that. Toss with some ground cinnamon or cocoa powder.

— Day 4: Spend a few minutes looking into community-supported agriculture (CSA) efforts in your area. Local farmers who produce food will sell you a share of their farm through a CSA. You basically pre-pay so the farmer can use the income to grow the produce. Then you get a box of fabulous, fresh, local and varied yummies every week. It's a great way to be introduced to new foods. Did you know some lettuce is spicy hot? So find a CSA, talk with growers and sign up.

— Day 5: Today is a reading day. Head to the library or go online — to the library or a retailer — and download Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food." While you're reading, sip some organic wine and nosh on some artisanal cheeses and breads. Yes, I said bread. It's OK to eat bread if it's made well — meaning without chemicals. Look for whole grains or exotic grain breads, like ciabatta or focaccia or sweet potato bread. Artisanal cheeses are made by hand, in old-fashioned ways. Choices abound, from cow's milk cheddars to cheeses made with sheep's or goat's milk.

— Day 6: Gather up family and friends for a feast of yummy proportions. Prepare some of the new dishes you've discovered and serve up a healthful feast. Have some fun, play some games and host some great conversations. This is what it's all about: connections and sharing and fun.

— Day 7: Today you're going to donate your excess stuff — the stuff that has been holding you down. Get up early and prepare to purge (while sipping organic coffee or yerba matte). Collect boxes and bins and start sorting. If the object at hand does not bring you bliss or joy or hope or laughter, you must give it away or toss it today. Go from room to room until you're done.

— Day 8: Just as you started the previous week by bringing in only one-ingredient food items, bookend it by tossing all your multi-ingredient household items. Box up and donate or toss any cleaning supplies from your kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room that have more than one ingredient. That's right. That means the dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoos and even toothpaste. Yes, ma'am. There are safe, healthful cleaning alternatives, such as fresh lemon juice or vinegar, to use around and on your body.

When you're done with all that, rest. You deserve it. Guess what? After just one week, you really are refreshed and healthier. Congratulations and welcome to the world of healthy, happy, social, organic and wonderful!

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