“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
I went into my last doctor’s visit at the insistence of a colleague after one of our friends had a serious and unexpected health situation come up. The visit was quick – you know how annual exams go, so I won’t bore you with the details. Two weeks later, it turned out that my assumptions about my “relatively good diet” weren’t necessarily on par with the results of my blood tests.
My cholesterol/triglycerides were high; a fact worth worrying about given both my age and my family’s long checklist of health issues. God bless genetics.
What did that mean for me? It meant getting my act together. It meant research… and diet… and exercise. It meant doing everything I knew I should be doing, but with the added motivational kick of preventing an unhealthy future.
According to a health article by Harvard Medical School, different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. ” Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.” Their recommended foods? Oats. Barley and other whole grains. Beans. Eggplant and okra. Nuts. Vegetable oils. Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Soy. Fatty fish. Fiber supplements.
After the visit with the doctor and the warnings from my family, my mind was reeling – exactly the reason why webMD is bad and having a friend in a medical profession is good. Esteban, one of my good friends since high school, is a pharmacist that always tells me things as they are. I didn’t know how I was going to eat all of the recommended foods, but he gave me some awesome recommendations for simple diet changes and his own daily breakfast shake that I adapted for my needs.
The shake includes green super foods, fiber, protein and many of the foods that the Harvard study recommended. When it comes to the flavor, anyone that knows me knows I’m partial to chocolate, but obviously one could cut that out and substitute ingredients. On top of this I take a fish oil supplement (which I’m NOT throwing in the blender!) and a probiotic. Breakfast prep is a breeze and I’m happy to say this recipe is well-worth sharing.
One other thing? I’ve found that lifestyle changes are more of an attitude adjustment than anything else. It’s amazing how much good a mental switch can do. Instead of thinking about deprivation, my food choices are now revolving around the question of how I can include more fresh fruits and vegetables. There’s something about the tartness of a cold green apple or the sweetness of ripe cherries that processed foods just can’t match up to. Cooking has become more fun because I’m trying recipes with new selections. Let’s just say that this has been an enjoyable (and delectable) learning process.
Here’s the recipe:
Chocolate Protein Breakfast Shake
|Royal Sport LTD. WHEY Ultra Clean 100™ (Chocolate Cupcake)||1 scoop|
|Steel Cut Oats, Raw (you can use Old Fashioned Oats)||2 tbsp|
|Green SuperFood Chocolate Infusion||1 packet|
|HEB Brand Physillium Husk Fiber Capsules||6 capsules|
|PB2 Peanut Butter Powder||2 tbsp|
|Frozen Banana||1 Banana|
|Frozen Townsend Triple Berry Blend||1/4 cup|
|Sprouts Organic Vanilla Soy Milk||1 cup|
Instructions: I put all the dry ingredients in the bottom of my Ninja Blender, which I follow with the liquids and the fruit. After that it’s as simple as closing the lid, blending and pouring. I prep about a week in advance, so I place all of the dry ingredients for one serving in small containers so I have them ready to grab every morning. Note that, since I use steel cut oats, I actually use my coffee grinder to grind the fiber capsules and the steel cut oats into a powder first, before mixing it in with all the other dry ingredients.
|Royal Sport LTD. WHEY Ultra Clean 100™ (Chocolate Cupcake)||1 scoop||100||20||1||0||4|
|Green SuperFood Chocolate Infusion||1 packet||30||2||2||1||2|
|Steel Cut Oats, Raw||1 tbsp||89||2.5||2||.25||13.5|
|PB2 Peanut Butter Powder||1 tbsp||30||2.5||1||0||2.5|
|HEB Brand Psyllium Husk Fiber Capsules||6 capsules||10||0||2.4||0||4|
|Townsend Triple Berry Blend||1/2 cup||40||0||4.5||0||10.5|
I’m also exercising daily and consciously choosing smaller, healthy meals that consist of lean proteins and vegetables for lunch and dinner. We’ll see how it goes I’ll definitely share here.
What healthy eating/lifestyle habits do you enjoy? How do you stay healthy?
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