About 7 years ago, I was in the best shape ever when it came to my outer appearance: 5 foot 3 inches, 110 pound beach body- but I had one major problem. As healthy and polished as I looked on the outside, I was not exactly healthy on the inside.
Why? Well, to start, I would get one or two head colds in a given year that would drag out for a month, taking away weeks of my work and life productivity, and my seasonal allergies were even worse!
To make a long story short, I met Dr. Eric Berg who completely changed my diet and my relationship with food. What I discovered from him was that I was overworking my body and stressing it out. Working 60+ hour weeks in heels, going dancing and hosting social gatherings at least four nights a week , drinking champagne, indulging in sweets (chocolates and pastries are my favorites), and sleeping less than 5 hours per night was taking its toll. That lifestyle made me so tired that I would consume on average at least 5 cups of coffee within 24 hours to stay awake and energized. No wonder I was always sick! I deserved it, though, because I was not taking care of my body or giving it the right fuel to keep moving. I went from one extreme to the other, being hyper and full of energy one moment and completely drained the next. My family and close friends would joke that I was such an actress because it seemed fake to them, but it actually was all real. It was how I felt at that time. Some days at work and after lunch, I wished I could take a quick siesta just like when I was in Mexico or Vietnam to get my energy back.
After this complete overhaul, my life changed. I have not had a cold for more than 5 years (or really been sick at all) and today, I probably have more energy than a bunch of teenagers put together! Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the point.
There are many suggestions I can give you from personal experience that would help improve health and energy level and the relationship you have with food, but doing so would entail me writing a book to share all the details. For now, check out my typical daily diet below for when I am not traveling abroad. (I love food and culture, so when I do go abroad, I am not very disciplined when it comes to what I eat. I like to try everything, even when I know it’s not the best for my body!) Here we go…
BREAKFAST- After my morning rituals and cup of coffee (see #5 from last week’s blog) with just 2% milk, I would go for scrambled eggs with sprinkles of cheddar cheese, a banana, or a yogurt parfait. (See photo to the right.) I like to put it in a wine glass because presentation is important to me, and I think it makes everything taste better. What is in it?
Nonfat Greek yogurt, granola, sunflower seeds, fresh blueberries, and fresh strawberries. Keep it simple and all natural, and organic is even better!
MID MORNING SNACK – Have you heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? It’s true! I actually eat at least one apple a day and up to about 8 each week. Apples are great for you and they don’t have that much sugar. It is the one fruit that Dr. Berg said I could eat unlimited quantities of without worrying about the sugar.
LUNCH – I love salads! Especially during the warm weather days. They are so light and fresh. Even when I eat alone, I still make sure the presentation looks good because it makes me happy and helps me to enjoy my meal. (See photo to the right for my spicy minced chicken salad) What is in it?
Fresh lettuce, fresh mint leaves from the garden, Persian cucumbers, red onion, pepper, salt, fresh lemon squeezed on top, chili powder, and cilantro, one of my favorite herbs. Oh don’t forget the cooked minced chicken,too! The drink is actually unsweetened organic cranberry juice with sparkling water mixed. The roses are from my garden to add a nice visual touch.
DINNER- Salmon! Easy to cook – (see photo) Grilled with sea salt, garlic powder, butter, and fresh dill on top. Another option I like is grilled shrimp and scallops on skewers and fresh cucumbers. Same flavoring and for some sweetness, use honey instead of sugar. I love fish and seafood and I only really eat red meat about once a week. I also use fresh lemon in everything. It’s good for you.
WHAT TO DRINK – Water, hot green tea with nothing in it (see photo to the left for one of my favorite teas to help keep my immune system up), two small cups of coffee (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), and unsweetened cranberry juice mixed with sparkling water.
I hope what I shared at least somewhat inspires you to start on a new path of healthy eating and living. I don’t get tired after lunch anymore and I have so much energy sometimes that I don’t know what to do with myself! I may not have the perfect 110 pound beach body like my 34-year-old self, but I know how confident, great and healthy I feel today. And this, I would not trade for the world! My body feels amazing!!!! No more toxins and “junk” that contribute to the few wrinkles on my face. 🙂
Remember, when you eliminate unhealthy food from your diet, you will not only feel better and have more energy to help your productivity at work, but you will look better. Keep it simple and don’t over cook everything, especially your veggies; they are better for you raw. Some of my favorite places for groceries are Whole Foods, Healthways, Mom’s Organic Market, Trader Joes, and occasionally the Asian grocery stores to get my exotic spices and certain things that I can not get at the others.
Try it out, have fun with experimenting with the diet. Share your stories with me and Let me know if you have any questions! or even suggestions. Love to hear from you. And for next week’s post, let’s talk about relationships, everyone’s favorite topic…