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Friday, April 6, 2012

Hard Work. Dedication. Part 2

Or...why I eat clean and green.

As I thought about my last post, I realized I have soo much more to say about my health/fitness journey.  So here is why I eat clean and green--an important component in how I got to where I am today.

I mentioned at the end of my last post that part of my journey has been INCREDIBLY frustrating.  I would specifically categorize the first 8 months as “Banging My Head Against A Wall.”  I had started p90x and was going to Zumba twice a week on top of it.  I was changing my eating habits to include more fruits and vegetables and less refined sugars.  But I still wasn’t seeing the results I felt like I should be seeing.

Then, three things happened ALMOST simultaneously.  First, I read Jillian Michaels Master Your Metabolism on recommendation from a friend.

I went into it expecting a diet book.  It is SOOO much more than that.  Jillian explains how the non-nutrients in food actually mess with our metabolism.  She gets very scienc-y in the book and I actually skipped a lot of the technical stuff, but the gist is this:  Processed and non-organic foods (and even your household items) have chemicals in them.  These chemicals get into your body and your endocrine system (the system that regulates all the hormones).  Your endocrine system doesn’t know what to do with these chemicals and so starts producing EXTRA hormones to reach a level of homeostasis.  These extra hormones do everything from making you hungrier to keeping you up at night, from making you bloated to NOT BEING ABLE TO LOSE FAT CELLS.

Almost as soon as I finished the book, I happened to catch the documentary Food, Inc on television.  If you have never seen it, STOP READING THIS BLOG POST AND GO WATCH IT.  (Then come back and finish reading, please.)  Food, Inc talks about the effects of industrialization on our food supply.  What do big companies have to do to food to make it shelf stable, to make it cheap enough that they will turn a profit, to make it so that the American supermarket has no seasons?  They add chemicals.  They produce it in such a way that it breeds foodborne illness and that it barely resembles food at the end of the conveyor belt.

The NEXT morning (no lie) I woke up to a recall in the newspaper of ground turkey because of traces of salmonella.

Ok, so to bring it all full circle...these three things in conjunction with one another made me decide to go as green and clean as our budget will allow.  And I immediately started losing weight.  Let me be crystal clear:  Switching from non-organic to organic food products was the only thing I changed.  Within a week I started seeing the results from my workouts that I felt I should have been seeing all along.

Other side effects from making the switch:  My hair immediately started growing faster and thicker.  My skin cleared up and looks firmer.  My overall general mental health is more stable.  Some people might argue that these side effects just could have been from eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising more.  BUT I WAS ALREADY DOING THOSE THINGS.  These effects came from switching to organic foods.

(Yeah, Yeah....eating organic is better for the planet.  Eco-friendly.  All that.  But let’s be honest here, my decision to switch was PURELY selfish!!!)

I know a lot of people say they can’t afford organic.  It is too expensive.  Soon, I will post about how we buy organic on a budget (keep checking back!).  Remember, we are on one teacher’s salary and one day-to-day substitute teacher’s salary.  And we do it.  It is possible to eat organic without breaking the bank.  And the trade offs are soooooooo worth it.

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