Small Change Net Big Results

While browsing the frozen section of the grocery store for my son for real ice cream as opposed to my liking for natural homemade natural ice cream, I stumbled on, a blast from my past.  🙂

At age 23 Chunky Monkey was my prescribed best friend! Who doesn’t know about Ben & Jerry’s delicious, unorthodox, and addictive flavored ice cream!  I was pregnant with my daughter and was under doctor’s orders to gain weight, which was an enormous challenge for me.  My Obstetrician, Dr. Chong, told me that I was too skinny.  Dr. Chong wrapped his child-sized hand completely around my upper arm and pointed to my branch like boney limbs,

“You need to eat.!  You too skinny!”

Since supersized servings of collard greens weren’t doing the trick, I resorted to fudge sundaes during the daytime at work and Chunky Monkey ice cream at night.  :).  I still didn’t gain weight but continued on with my love for the fatty delectable dessert.

Until recently, when I saw my old treat in the freezer, I had forgotten all about it.  I was curious about the nutritional label and had to sneak a peek at the label.  Back then, I don’t think I noticed food labels. My girl Oprah says it best.  “When you know better, you do better.”  She’s right.

Twenty-nine years later, I finally read the jaw-dropping label. Hoooooly Moly!!

28 grams of sugar X  4  servings is 112 grams of sugar!!!!

300 calories per servings X  4 servings = 1,200 calories!!

300 grams of fat per servings X 4 servings – 112 grams of fat!!!

I’m dying thinking about this… mouth wide open…. thinking about how many times I ate a full pint and what the contents were doing to my body.  It makes me wanna barf.  Ugh!

Looking at me then, I appeared to be the epitome of health, and for the most part, I was healthy, or so I think.  However, my metabolism was high, my body processed the food quickly and at almost 5’9, I weighed 125-130 pounds.   Surely had I continued to eat Chunky Money at this pace with a few other bad food habits, I was on my way to being overweight and dealing with health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease and more.

Back then, even though I overindulged in sugary treats like this, I also balanced out my diet with daily servings of fruits and vegetables.   A high metabolism and good genetics kept me slim and trim, and I did not have any health issues. But the fact is, my diet exceeded the daily recommendation for… well. Everything.

Today I thank God for putting me on a path to a better place where I learned to make smarter choices about my health and well-being.

Too frequently though many people wait until a medical condition dictates a lifestyle change.  Particularly women.  Women of color.

In 2014, the CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention) reported the leading causes of death in ALL black females ALL ages were:

Heart disease – 23.2%

Cancer – 22.5%

Stroke – 6.2%

Diabetes – 4.6%

Chronic lower respiratory disease – 3.2%

Alzheimer’s disease – 3.1%

Unintentional injuries – 3.0%

Kidney disease – 2.0%

Septicemia – 2.3%

Hypertension – 1.9%

Heart disease (22.3%) and cancer (21.6%) remained at the top of the list for ALL females, ALL ages.

When you consider the fact that lifestyle behaviors can significantly reduce women’s risk factors for these illnesses it is disturbing.

If you have prediabetes, research shows that losing 5%-7% of your body weight and getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity like brisk walking can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

(CDC)

Why do women wait until a doctor tells them that a lifestyle change is in order?  If we learn to listen to our body, it usually sends signals by responding to the food we eat, the beverages we drink, and other behaviors. If you walk up a flight of stairs and you are out of breath, that means something.  When was the last time you had an annual check up?

Take a pledge to live a healthier lifestyle.  Even better, commit to a better lifestyle with a family member, a friend, or a colleague. Try a new recipe, join or start a walking club, take a yoga class, take a strength training class, or something else, just get busy moving.   Please!

Oh and… if you’re gonna get down with Ben & Jerry’s, remember portion control or better yet, try making your own healthy chocolate ice creamAvocado Ice Cream or a quick frozen strawberry yogurt. Making your own is healthier and more fun.

Making small changes in your life can net significant health benefits. Instead of attacking your health with major changes, start with minor changes like drinking more water and less juice or soda, reducing the amount of sugar you put in your coffee or substituting one high-fat food item with a lower fat food item. Take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators or do jumping jacks or pushups during commercials of your favorite TV show.  Over time, you will experience big gains. Whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself because I won’t give up on you.

Grad school is slowing my posts, but I’m still here.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Smooches!  🙂

Thanksgiving Food Prep

Three days from now and around this time (8:27 p.m.), most people will be rubbing their bellies trying to digest dinner. Maybe even contemplating second or third helpings, or another trip to the desert table.

I was not feelin the kitchen after work this evening, but I’ve been on a roll cooking my share of Thanksgiving dinner, so just like I push myself to go to the gym some days, I pushed myself to cook another dish.

This year’s Thanksgiving eve, I just want to chill and don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen. Everything, except the salmon will be cooked in advance.

Here is six pounds of a blend of collard greens and kale. I wanted to cook the greens vegan style, but my peeps wouldn’t have that. But I think for Christmas dinner, I am just going to cook them without the smoked meat.  That stuff is bad for you! :0(

greens

I cooked them using smoked turkey legs. However, I just couldn’t contribute too much to the clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and added fat. I’m serious! I parboiled the four (4) smoked turkey legs in a handful of fresh garlic cloves and crushed red pepper.

The legs boiled until the skin begin to fall off. I then remove them from the pot and take off the skin, fat, and bones. It’s still unhealthy, but slightly better than with the excess fat.

I layered the greens in the pot with a little of the broth from turkey legs, sweet onions, and this seasoning.

seasoning

The outcome is amazing! I compromise this way because I understand that 20+ folks coming for dinner have not interested in eating clean. A small section of the kitchen counter will be dedicated to clean eating.

I am just about done my cooking.

freezer

The garage freezer!

On Saturday, I cooked six pounds of mac and cheese and  B’Dazzle helped me with 15 pounds of yams by peeling them for me. I’m so lucky! He’s an awesome kid and did a super-duper job. :0)

tailor peeling

On my way home today, I was deeply saddened when I saw a long line at the local food bank. The parking lot was full, an attendant directed traffic, and a long line of cars sat along side a busy roadway waiting for their turn to pick up donated food. I haven’t seen it like this before. A recent and sudden surge of casino closings in Atlantic City has many families struggling… struggling to find work… struggling to provide food for the family… struggling to pay rent/mortgage… heat… electricity… etc…

Regardless of where you live, if you are blessed to enjoy the festivities of a holiday dinner or a daily meal, heat, or a warm and safe place to sleep, I urge you to help someone in need. Invite them to dinner or give food, clothing, or whatever it is you can offer. Every bit of help can make a difference to someone in need.

Don’t judge, be kind, and be generous.

giving

Sweet dreams!