Diet and fitness: Simple ways to be healthier for yourself, your family and the kingdom PLUS bonus smoothie recipe update

Health and fitness aren’t just about appearance.  It is about feeling better, having more energy, being less of a burden to your family, saving money (health problems are very expensive), being a better servant for the kingdom, and more.

Nobody likes diet tips from lean people, so I never give them in person.  Hopefully it will be a safe thing to do via a blog.  I was blessed with a high metabolism, so I don’t assume that it is easy for everyone.  But I eat what I want, when I want, and never gain weight.  That was a real drag when I was young and obsessed with gaining weight, but it isn’t so bad now.

These may seem like obvious tips, but consider that there are so many horrible diet programs out there that promote all sorts of counterproductive behavior.

It is all about habits.  Going on and off diets makes the problem worse.  Obsessing about food also makes it worse.

Just do a lot of small things: Eat often (yea!), eat healthy things first, eat a little less, eat a little healthier and exercise a little more.  No fad diets.  No extreme workouts.  Just make some small but permanent changes to your habits.

Eat often.  Seriously, when I eat often I eat pretty healthy foods and don’t crave junk.  But the hungrier I get the more I crave things like McDonald’s.  Don’t let yourself get too hungry.

Eat healthy foods first.  They fill you up so you don’t eat as many bad things.  You can enjoy treats, but don’t start with them.

Eat smaller portions.  Humans were not meant to eat giant plate fulls of fatty foods along with multiple high-calorie beverages.  You should have leftovers from 90% of restaurant meals.

Getting regular exercise and sleep help your metabolism.  Exercise burns calories, increases metabolism and reduces your appetite, so even a little bit it helps you in three ways.  Ironically, sleeping too little has been shown to decrease your metabolism.  Exercise can be as simple as going for a walk a few times a week.  People set themselves up for failure when they assume it has to be an intense, daily, 90 minute ritual.

Find something you like well enough and do that.  It won’t feel so much like exercise.  My wife and I took up ballroom dancing a few years back.  It isn’t my primary exercise, but it does have a lot of benefits.  My point here is that I never think about it as exercise, just as one of my hobbies.  I’ve seen people lose tons of weight and get much more fit by ballroom dancing.

Eat breakfast – its the 4th most important meal of the day!  Apparently skipping breakfast is bad for your metabolism as well.  I love breakfast foods.  I could eat them three times a day.

If you just eat a little less and a little healthier and exercise a  little more, many positive things will happen.

BONUS: Here’s the latest incarnation of my Veggie Boy smoothie recipe.  One of my first posts ten years ago (have I been blogging that long?!) was about my not-quite-patented Veggie Boy smoothies. I figured I was due for an update.

I’ve been making health smoothies for almost 40 years and have now achieved the state of the art. Here is the used-to-be secret recipe for my Veggie Boy protein smoothie. (For you Cheers fans, you’ll remember this is the name of the health drink Woody was hypnotized into liking. “You can really taste the kale!”).  Yeah, there are fruits in it as well, but “Fruity boy” just doesn’t have the same ring.

It is really, really healthy. Vitamins, protein, fiber, low fat, all natural, etc. Drink it for breakfast and you can eat Snickers the rest of the day.  I have a couple glasses for breakfast and some more for lunch or after I work out.  I never eat cooked vegetables and am fairly unlikely to eat them raw, so consuming them in smoothie form is a gigantic plus.

It helps to have a powerful blender to chop up the carrots and frozen stuff, but a simple one will suffice. We splurged and got a Vita Mix a few years back and I couldn’t be happier.  It gets used at least once per day.  (It replaced a 2 HP Waring blender.  It was nice and powerful, but didn’t blend quite as well on frozen things.  Oh, and it turns out that those blue sparks coming out of the bottom meant that it was “arcing,” which apparently is a bad electrical thingy.)

It used to be more of a production to make the smoothies it so I’d skip it when I was busy, but with the extra power I can use more frozen things.  For example, it saves a lot of time to use frozen fruit so I can just drop them in instead of cutting them up each morning.

And it saves you money as well.  If fruit, such as bananas, starts to go bad you can freeze it for smoothies instead of throwing it away.  I hate to waste things.  And when a local fruit stand was selling older bananas at 1/3 the regular price I bought a lot and froze them.

The rest of the family uses it often to make more normal (read: tastier) but still quite nutritious drinks.

Here’s the current recipe.  Believe it or not, it tastes OK.

  • Plain Greek yogurt — very high in protein — the generic kinds are much cheaper than Chobani and such
  • Milk (preferably whole milk)
  • Baby carrots
  • Baby spinach
  • Yellow squash
  • Frozen beets (though not too many, as they have a strong taste)
  • Bananas
  • Some frozen mixed fruit – strawberries / blueberries / raspberries / blackberries – Wal-Mart has a good deal on these and it is easier than buying them fresh.
  • Any other fruit we’ve got. I’m not picky.

Don’t tell CPS, but when Daughter #1 was young I told her one Halloween that she could eat all the candy she wanted if she had a small glass of Veggie Boy first. I thought she actually liked it (it is rather sweet tasting), but I learned years later that she choked it down. I would have let her eat as much candy as she wanted anyway. Fortunately, she is the forgiving type, and she and her sister turned out fabulously despite many parenting moments like that.

P.S. I never understood the juicer concept. Seems like you are throwing out all the good stuff.

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