Sunday, June 1, 2014

Healthy Summer Lovin

My new love....Chia pudding. So good you'll think it's dessert!

I have to start this post with a huge thank you!! Thank you to everyone who purchased our newest issue of Mini-ologie, it means the world to us that you share in the joy of our miniature decorating magazine! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! 

Now I'm fulfilling a promise to post about my dive into new health. As I've said before , I really thought I ate pretty healthy. But, in truth, I was consuming way too many meals with added sugar, eating too many packaged and non organic items and definitely not eating enough vegetables. My vegetables would (in the past) consist of a salad at lunch , and maybe one side veggy a day (if I was being good) with a packaged side dish of some sort and what I considered a healthy chicken cutlet with panko bread crumbs. I've come soooo far ;) And as a side effect I've lost weight I wanted , but most importantly my doctors say all my numbers have went down hugely! And in a quick 2-3 months too! I didn't think I had bad numbers till I went to my doctor (at the time) and wasn't feeling well all winter, he said he wanted to lower my cholesterol with medication because it was higher than it should be, and that that should do it. Well, needless to say, after hearing about how medication is thrown around these days, I ran home, made an appointment with a new doctor, and went to google like a crazy woman looking for a natural cure , and enough fear if converted to energy that would have lit up a small planet. 

Enjoying fresh flowers in the summer, right by the cooking area, remind me to stay natural and healthy while cooking.

The first thing I came across, sort of by accident, was when I actually googled something to the effect of "should I be scared?" .... Secretly hoping google would yell back and say "you're perfect, have no fear"!!!. Well, if you've done this before, you probably know what happened to me. Suddenly I had every disease known to man and didn't have much longer before I was in the hospital. So long story short, I felt I honestly had every symptom , of every thing. Ok , some of my symptoms WERE  because I wasn't internally perfect, but others, were fears run rampet. So after seeing many new doctors and finally finding one that asked me to consider changing the way I go about my day with food and exercise, I felt that was number one: The right way , an easy way, and most importantly the healthy way. So, I began my little journey. 

Lots of berries, coconut flakes, seeds and nuts, and deliciousness make breakfast sweet!

So back to google I went, but this time, with a new "entry" in that fabulous rectangle box that's replaced a library these days. What I came upon was actually a movie (documentary) that began my life changing habits. You might say it was there all the time , as most people I talked to have said "oh that movie?, yeah saw it years ago", but for me it was pretty new. Now this is very important to remember , I did not decide to convert everything in my life and join in some huge new movement (although lol, that's still a possible) but I took what I needed to hear and off I went to the organic vegetable isle with much more conviction and excited confidence. I'm talking about "Food Inc." I don't have time to tell you the whole movie, (you might have seen it, I think I'm the only one who didn't ) but if you need motivation or are looking to see something to help you change your ways, this is a good one. That one on Netflix, led me to a full rainy day of health and "food as medicine" documentaries. After that, it was Forks over Knives, Vegucated , and Food Matters. All amazing and eye opening. So I think it's proper to say that's where my change began. 

If someone had told me I could have pancakes every week or day for that matter, lol, I'd be right there! Now I can, just made a little differently :) Oat flour, banana, and almond flour does the trick. See my "Healthy Life" board on pinterest for the recipe!

Important side note: This blog is usually about my creative side, but like all woman , I have lots of sides. And after a few mentions of my new love of healthy eating and mentioning it here, I received so many emails asking what I "do" or "did". And since I'm one of the women who love to know myself, I decided to make a post specifically about it. Most importantly, I think it took me an entire month of full time work to weed out the wacky food diets and fads, to find what worked for me. So I wanted a place where if you're looking for advice, you won't be yelled at , or felt poisoned by eating bread or something new they come up with to write about this year and lead you to so much confusion you give up. That had happened to me too many times to count. Having said this, there ARE people who are learning they cannot eat gluten (or have allergies to foods) and their journeys will have to be slightly different. Only your doctor and nutritionist can help guide you in that direction if you have food issues as such.  

Planting my own vegetable garden was both rewarding and economically perfect for organic veggies!

So basically , for me, a couple days of watching the documentaries, then researching online for a food plan and recipes that took some of that advice, turned into 3 months later and I'm finally here. My skin has never felt so good and glowly, I have never felt so healthy and had so much energy, my weight is where I'm happy,  my doctor loves my numbers, so all is good. Finally, I get it :)!! 

It's really simple after all. Eat healthy, not too much, lots of veggies a day, organic, not too much meat (for me) , get lots of vitamin D, (the real way. I was very low), add some nuts and replace high glycemic foods with lower ones, stick with a whole foods diet, add some "super foods", and try yoga and exercise that gets you moving every day! 

Because I'm not a nutritionist (yet lol), I am not going to do a verbatim diet of what anyone should have daily, but because you've asked and I want everyone to feel as good as they can, I've given links to the ones I live by and cook by now. 

Lots of Italian Arugula and baby lettuce this week! 

The way that I came to my basic eating plan is, I used a little common sense mixed with a lot of research and weeding out fads. For instance, because I'm not allergic to bread, or gluten, or anything for that matter, I knew better than to cut them out. After all, my ancestors in the Mediterranean have been eating bread (not wonderbread lol - enriched white flours overly processed) for centuries and living till a ripe old age, for a very long time! So I'm not giving up bread darn it lol. Unless of course, I had to. And I knew while I didn't eat a lot of meat, that I wouldn't say no to it forever either. So after all my research, it seemed the "Mediterranean way" was going to be it. It would also have to include a few new "super foods" too. Like flax seeds, chia seeds, and wonderful ways of using coconut oil etc. ;) But that's because I love how I feel when I eat them, and what they do for me. Dr. Weil seemed to have the easiest to follow plan and advice. His version of the food chart worked perfectly for me. I'll leave the link here because even though I have the pyramid here (scroll down) , he goes into great detail about each section in the printable link... Then I've also studied Dan Buettner's Blue Zones. Which are a collection of studies that showed the diets and habits of places where a large (the largest actually) of centenarians live and live healthfully. Which, the Mediterranean diet fell into also. So that's how I came up with my own plan. 

All diets and food plans only work in conjunction with finding time to enjoy ourselves and take a little time each day to be at peace.

What I found and researched that was most important to me, was the amount of cookbooks and recipes on Pinterest etc, that provided delicious (and I mean hugely delicious) food ideas that I could eat often and love too. So after I knew how I wanted to eat, I filled in the blanks with yummy ideas. And trust me, there are a ton! 

Yes ice cream comes in many healthy forms! :)

If you want to see a collection of some of my favorite recipes I live by now, head over to the link on my side bar for my Pinterest account. My A Healthy Life board has so many great recipes and perfect motivation and it's another go-to of mine when I'm looking for something to cook or bake.

Even my miniatures lately have started reflecting my love of hearty breads, fruits and veggies! ;) 

I also take "regular" fabulous cookbooks, and just change a few ingredients if I have to... I love this cookbook below (and have adored the style of Ralph Lauren forever!) but I'll replace some white flours with hearty ones like sourdough, or seed and nutty flours. And because of all the new proven research that some of the healthy fats are good for us, I'll use those oils in place of some of the ones suggested in my older books. This book below is wonderful for many reasons, but I plan on some wonderful Clam Bakes this Summer, so it was just want I needed. Remember, "whole foods" made as much as possible from scratch and you'll be feeling so much healthier for it!

I bought a few vegan friendly cookbooks lately, I happen to love "Clean Eats" (below) and any cookbook with vegan choices. It's not because I'm a Vegan either, but because I want the "majority" of my choices to be plant based. So I need to keep up the interest with menus and learn fun and delicious ways to cook them. Having the organic garden right off the kitchen really helps, it's not huge, but you can pack a lot if greens into a small space when you want! Plus, that helps with organic prices too ;) 

"Clean eating" fits right in there with all the things I love to read about too! And keeping a "Food Journal" has helped me be accountable to my eating habits.

Here's a copy of the chart and link to Dr. Weil's site. I really love almost everything he has worked for and towards. And agree with 99% of it. But again, everything has to fit your own life ,like for me, I've found I can't eat too much Soy. (Without tmi, it messes with my estrogen in a negative way). So I have very little in my diet. Plus, I'm not not a tofu kinda girl either. So that worked out lol.

Here's another chart below that interestingly and simply , shows the habits of Dan Buettner's BlueZones and what the common factors (in the center of the circle) were that gave them longer lives that were lower in heart conditions and disease. If you get a chance, read about them with the link. I found it very interesting and fascinating!
And finally last but not least, here (below) is a quickly put together chart of what I like to eat. I love cooking and preparing meals from scratch, so that was already on my side, but as you can see, sometimes the best thing for me is a "quick" healthy meal. I'm not a fan of eating a big lunch, so personally I want as little time spent as possible on that and my choices reflect that. I like to make my own bread from scratch, but certainly a local baker can make my favorite bread (sourdough) and I would buy it there too. Btw, I read a lot of "anti-grain" books, pro-carb, against-carb, pro-protien, etc books...and after a lot of research  I found that sourdough bread was going to be my healthy bread of choice. Make sure any bread you buy is made from very few, all organic ingredients if you're buying it.

I wish I could say that organic isn't important, but it really is. And thankfully, finally, big chain stores are starting to realize we want what goes into our bodies to help them flourish, and not work against us. So I hope and pray we are on the verge of a big food revolution and this will become a more affordable norm.  In the meantime, I water my little garden, find local farmers markets, and cook like my Grandmother did way back when everything had 3-4 ingredients. And , I get my fanny up and moving as much as possible. And that my friends, is how I've decided it's best to roll. :)

My printable , very simple , food chart

One last note, my little chart above is again, put as simply as possible. Very basic. But one of the ways I vary things, and create interest is, I look up a fun way to make the "basics" when I have time. Meaning if it says: "Dinner: Chicken, veggies, and a new potato", I'll go to my Italian recipe box or Mediterranean cookbook, and look up a chicken and veggy dinner and cook it as they do in the book as long as it follows my way of eating. ** They say that people buy lots of clothes, and end up only wearing a few of those pieces in all different ways.  It's what we become accustom to..... That's how I feel about food and cooking. Considering "time" , I tend to make the same basics. Or eat a common lunch or breakfast a lot. But I change it up (from the basics in my chart above) when I want and just keep the idea somewhat the same. That's easiest for me and hopefully less time consuming. I've also found that months ago when I wasn't feeling good (which started this journey) and I took this change on, that keeping a food journal really helped! That way, when I ate something that made me feel good,  I could find it again and go back through my pages. That has been a wonderful way to keep everything in one place! Try it, I think you'll find it helps too!

So there you have it.....I hope I've helped those who emailed and even friends I've seen in person who've asked. Now it's all in one place :) Now it's on to a wonderful healthy Summer, I hope you all are having a great week! Thank you again for always being such wonderful friends!

Hugs and love, Cynthia xo


Susan said...

What an absolutely wonderful post, Cynthia! Thank you SO MUCH.

I'm so happy you feel so much better and you are totally adorable, both before and now!

I'm very inspired! Susan

Ruth said...

I love Chia Pudding too! I follow a blog called Oh She Glows and her recipe is almond milk (or canned coconut milk if you want to be decadent), chia seeds, cocoa and maple syrup. I once had it with homemade stevia sweetened rhubarb compote on top, it was so yummy! Good for you for making healthier food choices

NanaDiana said...

OMGosh- Cynthia! What a post! Good for you! This post is as good as reading a health book. Thank you for writing it-amazing and I am actually copying this over to print out so I can read it more in depth! xo Diana

Deb said...

I loved this post. I actually got to hear Dr. Andrew Weil speak in person a number of years back. I still lived in the desert of Nevada then. He gives the most amazing, intelligent & commonsense advice. Kinda like you did with this post! Also, it was nice getting a teeny little peek at some of your wonderful minis. That's one craving I don't have to curb! Give me more!!!!!

12Create said...

Thank you for this post Cynthia. I have read it over a number of times and I am about to check out all your links. I have a serious weight problem and have had since I was about 8 years old but now I am in my fifties (just) it isn't the weight that bothers me as much as I just want to feel good in my body and feel energetic and healthy. I also have a young daughter who I want to be around for for many years to come. What you have said in your post makes so much sense and I am going to sensibly undertake some research and work out a plan that will work for me - no fads. I am keen to try some of the recipes on your Pinterest board and feel you have given me a starting point to living a healthier life. I am happy that you are feeling so good and that you were kind enough to share your journey and research with us.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I found this post most interesting! I gave Ricky Lauren's book to my friend for her birthday. Great book! Thanks for the banana ice cream recipe. I can't wait to try it. You have been so helpful!

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Thank you so much everyone!! I really appreciate your sweet words and comments! And it's nice to know we're all journeying together! Ruth, I have her book too, it has great recipes also! And Deb , I would have loved to hear him speak. I'm
Hoping Dr. Weil will make a NY trip soon so I can! ;) Thank you everyone again, hopefully soon I'll be posting a few recipes and I'll keep you updated! I love hearing everyone else's walks into good health so keep me updated!! If you have an Instagram, I update there on my page a little more often than I blog, so add me if you're there! It's Cynthia Lauren Sperin and I'll follow u back!! Have a great week everyone! Xox!

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Thank you Judy!! See my comment below! Hugs! Xo

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Thank you 12create, see my comment below! Xo

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Thank you Clarice!! It's nice to know we have other friends doing it together! Big hugs sweetie! Xo

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Thank you Deb!! See my comment below ;) xo

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Hi Diana! It's so good to see/hear from you again! Thank you so much! I hope all is well and wish you a great summer!! Xox

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Hi Ruth! See my reply below. Happy Summer! Xo

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Hi Susan! I'm so happy you enjoyed it! You're so kind! Wishing you a wonderful summer!! Xo

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Unknown said...

Hi, Cynthia!
What a great post. I have recently done the same thing. I don't have a garden, but I do shop the organic veggie aisle a lot more now. I have lost 15 lbs. and feel great! I did have to cut out all sugar and bread. Maybe once I'm at the weight I want to be I can re-introduce bread in moderation.

Like you, I feel so much better. In fact I didn't even know I felt bad, until I felt good! :)

Keep up the great work! You look beautiful! :)

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