Well, one way to dedicate yourself to changing your lifestyle is to basically be ORDERED to do so by your doctor. Calvin’s seeing a heart specialist because he’s been having weird, random palpitations. He’s got hypertension and (very) high cholesterol, and the doc has basically told him, “Change your diet and exercise habits, OR ELSE.”
So he and I have been talking a lot about the small, gradual changes that we can start making together (since healthy eating is my goal as well), in order to ease him into a pretty significant overall lifestyle change. Gradual adjustments are best, since changes that are adopted over time tend to stick.
First off is the beer. Calvin and I both tend to prefer the darks, the lagers and porters, ala 1554 and Black Butte. The carbs in those types of beers are off the chart, so we’re switching to lights and ultras. And then cutting back on the overall consumption of alcohol, in general. Strangely enough, the doctor advised against quitting altogether – he understands that one should not cut all the things he or she enjoys out of their lives entirely. Moderation is the name of the game. Calvin has already significantly increased the amount of plain old water that he drinks every day, which is a HUGE step for him.
Next is the salt. We’re foregoing the salt shaker altogether (the doc says we should just throw it out!), and we will no longer purchase packaged, sodium-filled foods. The biggest culprit in our pantry is the boxed rice pilaf dishes, so I came up with a brown rice cooked in sauteed garlic and chicken broth that more than adequately replaces Near East. I have become a Certified Label Reader, now, checking the sodium on everything.
Then we’ll tackle eliminating the simple carbohydrates – or, “The Whites”. White bread, pasta, white rice, corn, and potatoes. This is very much in keeping with the South Beach diet plan, which I’m quite familiar with. Calvin has expressed a (TINY) bit of interest in accompanying me to the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, so that we can explore more fruit and vegetable additions to our diet. Getting him to eat wheat bread is going to be a bitch, though. And we practically LIVE off of potatoes. Le sigh.
Following that is food preparation. Roasting instead of pan frying. Olive oil instead of butter. Sauteed, braised, or broiled, instead of coated in flour. Our consumption of red meats will be reduced, and our consumption of fish will be increased. And I’m going to start exploring various recipes for beans that can be prepared in the crock pot.
Calvin needs to be reminded to eat at least three meals a day during the week – he’s always been one to skip breakfast altogether, and sometimes he gets so busy at work that he plows right through lunch, as well. So, often times dinner is the ONLY meal he’s eaten in a day. Which, as we all know, is Not Good. The problem is, he’s on the road so much that his typical lunch option is a drive-thru, which is pretty much opposite of the kind of food he should be eating. He doesn’t want me to pack his lunch, but I’m willing. It’s hard to make healthy choices when you’re faced with a never ending repetition of Wendy’s, McDonalds, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell.
The only thing we’re not too clear on at the moment is increasing his exercise. He works so physically hard at his job every day that he’s wiped when he gets home – but the exercise he gets on the job isn’t cardio, which is what the doc wants him to increase. We have the bikes, which we’ll ride on the weekends when the weather cools off. We really need a treadmill, but we can’t really afford one at the moment, and have no place to put one, anyway. AcronymCo has a gym that’s free to employees and their family, but that would require actually going somewhere, which is something neither one of us are interested in. So. That’s still something to work on. We have the tools at our disposal, we just have to get off our asses.
It’s going to be an interesting few months as we get used to all of this, I think.