A real conversation between Ray and I when I was asked to speak on nutrition and exercise, “I am not an expert in nutrition and exercise.”
“Are you kidding me? You have spent hours and hours over the course of years studying nutrition and exercise. Why do you think you are no expert?”
This begs a question for me. “Do you have to have a formal education, degree, or certification to be an expert? I am not an ‘nutritionist’ and I am not a ‘personal trainer.’ In fact, I know how much I don’t know, have, and would turn to those experts for advice on many, many things.”
On the other hand, I’ve had doctors, nutritionists, and personal trainers come to me for advice too. And so, yes, I am here to talk about nutrition and exercise not as an expert but as a woman who cares about health!
Here’s what I know.
We will never have it all right, and we can never know all the answers. Every single person’s body, needs, and abilities are different. The theories are too vast. BUT…we can always make our own best choices today with the knowledge we have. And we can have grace for ourselves when we do not. Tomorrow is always a new day!
Every single one of us wants a healthy life. Health used to be something that I thought I understood, but as with everything else in life, I have learned that health has many different meanings.
The truth is that wherever we are, each of us want to be healthier. How do you do that?
Make one choice at a time. I started about 15 years ago with a New Year’s resolution. That resolution was to try one new vegetable each month. I didn’t really like vegetables back then and that was a HUGE goal for me. I have since learned to LOVE vegetables and typically plan my meals around vegetables as the main source of food. I’ve learned to reach WAY beyond salads. Although salads are yummy too!
Since the days of hating vegetables, I have tried something new each January to add or take something away from my life to move one step closer to health. Sometimes that is exercise. Sometimes it is a personal growth area. Sometimes it is food. One year it was to rid our home of plastics. I have found that by doing one thing at a time, I find more success in long term change. That’s not to say there haven’t been pushes towards big change. But the long term changes always stick when I do one thing at a time!
This photo is a list of personal daily goals. Every day that I accomplish most of the things on this list, I have a much better day all around. The most difficult for me to achieve daily is laughter, water, and intentional God time. I spend time with God daily, but I often “fit it in” rather than to take the time to ‘sit with him.’ (even as I type this, my Bible and journal are to the left of my screen waiting for my attention – yikes) What about you? What intentions do you have that you find the most difficult to accomplish?
I was specifically asked to talk about nutrition and exercise in a 10 minute block of time which took me 17 — oops. Rather than to just leave it in a video, I am writing my long notes here to share with you in long form. Each of the sections below could be there own one hour or even semester long class in and of themselves. My notes are from my head. I’ve done tons of research, taken classes, and have benefited from many who have gone before me. I don’t have references at this time, but if any of the topics speak to you, I encourage you to do your own research. One of my favorite learning experiences of all time was a semester long class I did with my daughter Emma from Food Renegade.
Here’s the video whose content is similar but NOT the same!
Let’s talk about Nutrition
1. The thing I have learned more than anything is that WATER is the most important part of our nutrition. A minimum of 2 liters of water a day is going to help all the systems of your body. Better sleep, healthier skin, more balanced hormones, less hunger, beat the sugar cravings, increased oxygen, and so many more benefits come from this ONE FREE thing!
Some tricks I have learned to get my water intake up include:
- I drink from a 1 liter water bottle. If I drink 2 a day, I have my minimum water intake
- Adding citrus essential oils to my water gives me a flavor burst AND I also know it is detoxing my body and lifting my spirits!
- Sometimes I drink a liter quickly. Even though this is not the most recommended, I figure it’s better than not getting my water in.
2. Two-Thirds of our food intake should be Fruits and Vegetables (with vegetables being in higher portion than fruit). I have learned to love vegetables steamed, grilled, sauteed, chopped and added to meat, and so many more ways. For most of us, we are not going to get enough fruits and vegetables in our diets, so supplements and healthy snacks become important.
- Dice mushrooms and add them up to 50% into your ground meat — you won’t even taste the difference but you WILL get some great nutrients.
- Take 30 minutes once a week to chop up vegetables for the week and then you can add them to most anything you are making.
- Drink 2-4 ounces of Ningxia Red daily (notice the graphic which shows the value of fruits and vegetables contained in just 2 oz)
- Take multigreens capsules
- Drink a Pure Protein Complete or Balance Complete Shake full of superfoods that will fill you up and give you amazing nutrients.
- Enjoy the Protein Power Bites
- Pack boiled eggs, carrots, celery, and nuts as snacks and bring them along with you.
- Don’t forget Enzymes and Probiotics to help your body break down the nutrients of the foods and help you get the most benefit from them!
3. Choose whole, real food whenever possible. There is just no replacement for the God-given, grown foods packed full of nutrients. Do your best to avoid prepackaged foods.
4. Good fats are GOOD for you! Olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil are my personal favorites. They are the only cooking oils you will find in our home. Seed, corn, soy, and canola oils are NOT good for you. This is another reason we avoid prepackaged foods. Most prepackaged foods use all of these cheaper, not good for you oils.
- Another way to be sure you are getting good fats is getting supplements that have them. OmegaGize and Olive Essentials are two products that have great benefits.
- This is especially important for brain function!!!
Let’s Talk Exercise
There are a ton of excuses to not fit exercise into my daily life but they are ALL excuses. When I make it a priority, there is ALWAYS time! No matter your stage of life or your budget, you can find a solution to any excuse.
- Time – multitask – walk while on a meeting; drop kids at an activity and walk; wake up 30 minutes early or go to bed 30 minutes later; say ‘NO’ to something less important
- Injury – unless you are strictly on bedrest, there is some exercise you can do even when injured. Yep, I’m speaking to my often injured, self-pitied self here! Swim, walk, bike, arm row, arm weights, leg weights, head lifts, bridges….there’s something!
- Kids – have them join you or swap childcare with someone else
- Money – soup cans, body weight, and putting your two feet in front of you count
- I don’t want to – well, at least your being honest. I will admit that in 2013, this was actually a prayer of mine. “God, I want to want to exercise 5 times a week.” Guess what, I do. I WANT to exercise. When I don’t, I don’t like it. So, being honest with yourself is a great place to start!
- Ningxia Red honestly helps me sleep AND gives me energy – it’s a win-win – I need less sleep and when I’m asleep, I sleep deeper – it easily gives me 30 extra minutes a day
- Using oils to help stretch – Aromaease, Ravintsara, and Frankincense essential oils are all great to breathe in and stretch into
- Weight Lifting – a drop of Valor essential oil under the tongue to increase your ‘can do’, Panaway and Peppermint essential oils on your muscles before and after will help your muscles relax and prepare
- Cardio – put RC or Raven across your sinuses to breathe deeper; put peppermint on the back of your neck to cool down; bring Panaway with a roller or Deep Relief to roll on sore muscles as you need it during a workout
- Nutrition – You want a drink that is going to hydrate, replenish, and repair muscles before, during, and after your workout. I personally use Aminowise for this. I LOVE IT! For long-distance or competition, you’ll definitely want Ningxia Nitro for an extra boost along the way too!
I believe with all of my being that health is a Mind – Body – Spirit connection. When one area of our life is not healthy, it’s hard for any other part to be healthy as well. Take a moment and answer this question – for yourself or for all of us –
What is one thing you can do for your mind?
What is one thing you can do for your body?
What is one thing you can do for your spirit?
Take the time to make a plan for each of these areas. Implement them one at a time and watch yourself grow in health!