A Fun Fact

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has shown that healthy eating and exercise habits can substantially cut the risk of heart disease events, even in people who inherit high risk for these events.

The researchers looked at four studies involving 55,685 participants.   Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle (no current smoking, no obesity, regular physical activity and a healthy diet) was associated with a 46% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than an unfavorable lifestyle.

In English this means that no matter what crap genetic cards you were dealt, you have the power to change your destiny.  And that, my friends, is a very good thing.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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Not So Drought Resistant

Here in CA there’s always talk of the drought.  Or, rather “The Drought”. We are told to shorten our showers; urged to let our lawns die or replace them with drought resistant plants; turn off the faucet; allow our yellow to mellow,etc.

And that’s all good.  I’m all for conserving where we can and help lessen the strain on our water reserves.  Because, according to the people who know this stuff (aka the Scientists), our water tables in the Golden State are being rapidly depleted.

Yes, we did have an amazing rainy winter.  And because of that there still is a lot of snow in the Sierras that will melt and flow into our streams, rivers and reservoirs.  This is great news,  but we need a lot more rainy winters to make a huge, long-term impact.

So because we’re good stewards of our planet we continue doing what we’ve been advised to do and helping our state with water conservation!  But there are other things we can do that will help even more.

And it’s all about what we choose to eat.   See, every food source has a  “water footprint”.  This is how many gallons of water it takes to produce one serving of the food.

I don’t know about you, but I never really equated how much water it took to produce food.  I mean, I go to Safeway or the farmer’s market and buy stuff.  It’s just there for me.  I don’t garden (very well or very much) so have no clue about what fruits, veggies, cows or pigs require.

Lucky for me there are people who study this stuff and can help simpletons like myself.

In the October 2015 issue of the Nutrition Action Newsletter there was a great infographic (see below) identifying the water footprint of 15 food items provided by www.waterfootprint.org

I was surprised to learn it takes 464 gallons of water to produce on serving of beef.  One serving is not a steak, it’s not a pound, its 4 ounces.  I don’t know the math, but how many 4 ounce servings can you obtain from a cow? Yeah, wow.

But you like meat, right?  You like steaks and burgers.  And while it sucks that it takes that much water to make a chicken or the egg that’s a bummer because these things are tasty.  I get it.  But even if you don’t entirely change your eating habits, you can still make a difference.

You’ve heard of Meatless Monday, right?  It’s a very simple way to eliminate meat one day a week and increase your fruit, veggie, legume, bean and grain input at the same time!  Brilliant!   Bean and rice burritos for dinner.  Veggie and rice soup for lunch. Oatmeal, cereal or avocado toast for breakfast.

Who knows, you may like it enough to do it more than just Mondays.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Breaking Bad (Habits)

Over the summer I posted that I was going to try clean up some bad eating habits I’d fallen back into (http://wp.me/pnw73-Lk).   I received some great feed back, got some good real-world tips and in doing some research stumbled across a trick that I thought I’d try.

Studies show that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit so my first task was identifying the one habit that I wanted to break.  (Note:  tackling one habit at a time is much easier than an entire overhaul).  So my plan was to eliminate my little penchant for sweets.  A “kiss” from the office candy basket, a cookie (or more) in the afternoon, a treat from the coffee shop all add up to unnecessary sugar, calories and fat.

In order to track my progress I affixed 21 post it flags along the side of my computer monitor.  On each flag I put the date (8/5, 8/6…all the way to 8/25).  At the end of each day I would pull a flag off the monitor.  Sounds too simple to work, right?

Well,  the funny thing is that it mattered to me that I was able to pull off a post it note with a clear conscious.  I substituted my processed sugar fix with fresh fruit.  I enjoyed pineapple, juicy peaches, melons and berries.

But wait!  Fruit has sugar, right?  That’s true but fruit has fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and a host of other benefits.  And let’s be really honest.  I don’t know ANYONE who is overweight because they have a problem with apples.

About halfway through my experiment I was starting to notice that my processed sugar cravings were ceasing.  Sure I would  have a hankering for a cupcake or a cookie but I was able to let the thought roll through my brain without it becoming actionable.

At the end of my experiment I was able to look back on my 21 days with some serious pride.  I can say without a doubt that my cravings had dropped and I no longer went on auto-pilot when muffins were served at a meeting or a cookie was in view.

Was I able to abstain for the full 21 days?  In truth there were 2 or 3 days where I slipped up but I was able to course-correct and move forward.

The bottom line is that maintaining a new, healthy habit requires attention and diligence.  One needs to keep working that new “habit” muscle so that the old, firmly established habit doesn’t pop back up.

So if you need to break an old habit or create a new, healthier habit, give the 21 day post it note experiment a try.   Let me know how it works for you!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂