Paving Your Way to a Greener You

It’s a hot topic right now: a push toward a greener earth, a rapprochement with international green thumb agencies, a call to redefine and rediscover our energy methods. I get it. Vegetables and dietary supplements help you achieve your weight loss goal fastI find it silly, though, that in the wake of this wave, we are getting less and less fit. We find ourselves caring about the dumps in which we throw our fast-food wrappers more than the corporal wrapper we’ve worn since birth. The average American consumes fast food over 150 times a year, which is about 3 times a week.[1] I don’t know about you, but the last time I went to a drive-thru I did not order a salad. If I did, I ordered some nuggets atop the salad, in a sweet, faux French accent to legitimize my pitiful gluttony. I was under the impression that as long as nuggets are contiguous—or touching—greens then they are transformed into healthy morsels, and the calories average out between the two foods. No? This is news to me. Versus this statistic, we visit the other end of the stem: How do I compare to the average intake of vegetables? Well, if you eat more than 1.5 cups of vegetables a day, you are in the upper-half echelon of Americans, at least according to your intake of greens.[2] You are the cream of the crop (like, some of the crop). Now, if you are there, Is that a manageable intake? Could it be easier, or more difficult?   The cake is a lie.

It’s not cake. (The cake is a lie.)

I reckon it depends on several factors: your work, your social structure, your habits and upbringing, and your supplemental help. I’ll get to that in a second. Take, for example, a young buck (a smaller human), and look at his/her dietary habits. Eh, I’ll just recall my habits from “a few” years ago: Breakfast: Some type of cereal, either one with or… with sugar. Top that off with some fruit (that has natural sugar, like grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe, etc). Brunch: Poptart. Sometimes I’d deviate, but I would almost always choose the Strawberry one, because it was adorned with a galaxy of sprinkles that put me in Candyland with each bite. Lunch: Chicken or a sandwich, or a chicken sandwich; or chicken and a sandwich. You may have been more disciplined, with a guardian sneaking green mutant trees (broccoli) into your lunch; or you just preferred to eat leaves (salad) like the rabbits  that run too fast for you to pet them. But you get the gist. Unless you have the genes of a leek or the restraint of an acolyte, you’re gonna have a hard time getting all the vegetables you need. Here is probably the greatest of factors that will either help or inhibit your input of greens.  

Work, lurk.

Unfortunately, the bulk of your eating habits–your potential to be green–revolves around what you do during the week. And if you’re like the most of us, you frequent something of a 9-5. Most workers are in two categories: solid or fluid, as I call ’em. If you have a solid work schedule, you are likely stationed in the same spot and are given the option to buy food around your work vicinity on lunch break (and doing so you may befriend the vending machine), or bring your own food from home (a sack lunch/Power Rangers lunch pail). For the first scenario, I’ll just tell you: I’ve seen only one salad vending machine in my life. You may get up, squeeze that tight 30-60 minute time frame, get in your car, drive a mile and hustle to the nearest grocery store for a pre-packaged meal; or you may with ground-gazing eyes leer at the McDonald’s at the corner of the street (it’s only, like, 50 steps away).
Monday is like eaten, burnt toast: sad, dejected, and gross tasting.
A candid picture of Monday.
You’re going to have a bad time. But here you can also pack your lunch, provided you have the right foods at home (that were bought from the store when you weren’t hungry). I’d always recommend either shopping with an Allura Trim on you or packing one in your lunch. Work days are long (about half as long as Monday work days). Then there’s the the fluid work schedule: the one in flux. Like molecules in the fluid state that fill and conform to their container, so a worker with a fluid schedule fits her lunch to her time frame. This avails her hardly any time to tactfully buy and consume food. What’s near me? Oh, seventeen fast food chains? Nice. I’ll eat water (maybe choose a safer way…).  

The verdict.

Incorporating greens in your diet is difficult. It’s going to take time and discipline–and failure and discipline, and then some failure–and then SUCCESS (with drops of failure, of course). But we know you can do it. What’s beautiful is that greens act as a natural detoxifier. They may not be so “gentle,” but they will assist in your daily bowel movements and bodily health. And when you hike up the green intake, your body will react at first a bit strangely: “Why are you feeding me rabbit food?” Just kidding. It will put your weight loss and your overall bodily health in hyper mode!   So what are your green goals?   [1] [2]

Killing Sugar with a Water Bottle

When I realized I was wrong…. there I was, standing in a labyrinthine line that stretched seemingly from the East to the West, and it boasted a grand reward at the end. ‘Twas a booth that offered free trips to the Caribbean! No, it was a roller coaster. Three hours… for a cart hoisted on tracks to spurn me into a ride of endorphin overload. It jolted my limbs as a surrogate masseuse, yes, but it’s not what caught my eye. The people-watching: ever amusing; the cacophonous mixture of laughs and screams giving the amusement park a well-needed ambiance: adorable. The heat and dearth of anything remarkably close to healthy: a death knell. When you go to an amusement park—while you believe you are the most prepared person to ever foot a park—within one hour you realize that you forgot to bring a hat. Then you look down and see you’re wearing jeans with hot, fluffy socks that in no way aerate your sweaty soles. Most sweetly, you brought one 16oz water bottle to sate your thirst for about 20 minutes. Good job.

Sugar holds us captive. Avoid sugar and choose healthy alternatives.

There you are, sweating like a golden retriever in a summer dog park; you’re a mess, but, since you’ve had an affair with soda pop for the last ten years—you’re not a very hot mess. I mean, you can see your feet, but you’re at a juncture in life where your fitness expectations have not been met.


Mapping your habits

You need a map to navigate this whole “health” thing. I was there, and I tried several things. Let me give you some tips not how to create yourself a new body, but to help you map yourself a structure of healthy habits.

Step 0

Avoid amusement parks. I haven’t met a soul who can resist a churro. (If you have that power, please comment below how you are a superhero.)

Step 1

Drink water; and then drink more water. Ditch the sodas and other water-alternatives entirely. Sodas on average have upward of 36 grams of sugars, which will spike your blood sugar immediately and grant you some temporary energy—but they will render you listless and lacking in viable nutrients you need for the day. Water is a paramount need to your daily and active lifestyle (If you really want to tackle the whole sugar problem, begin tapering the sugar/additives you use in your coffee in the morning. One packet of sugar contains 5-10 grams, and if you add several to your Vente Caramel Macchiato with Skim Milk and [Only] 2 Pumps of Extra Caramel, those simple carbohydrates will add up, tower over you, and consume you like the sun consumes the happy faces on a hot day at an amusement park while in line for 3 hours…)

Step 1.5

If you’re having trouble getting that energy while you’re ditching soda, try an energy booster. A boost in your energy and metabolism will not only steer you from unhealthy alternatives but also give you the power to make healthier eating decisions.

Step 2

Purchase active shoes/wear (if you don’t have any). Start small, but carve out a small slot of time a couple times a week to walk. Not everyone is dauntless enough to embark on a rigorous regime and start running daily. That’s for those superheroes in Step 0. Maybe it’s before or after dinner—and even if it’s only in 10 or 15-minute increments—it will release endorphins, make you happy, and cause you to crave just a little more exercise each day. Endorphins (released by any type of physical activity, especially the enduring kind) even acts as an analgesic, a fancy word for a pain-reliever!

Step 3

Don’t reward yourself too prematurely. I know that when I experience relatively minor victories in my healthy habits, I will go to the store, isle 10 (memorized by now), to the 3rd freezer at the end and buy some cheap 100-calorie creams. BUT IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Resist the temptation to pat yourself on the back all the time. It’s good to feel good about yourself, but sometimes we have to teach our bodies the hard way. Breaking and replacing habits take at least 3 weeks to settle in. Remember that.

Step 4

Interact with your friends/family. No, not in the form of “Hey, I just starting eating healthily and taking this new fitness drink; and I’m gonna stick to it this time!” Instead, encourage them without even telling them you’re working out. “Hey, how have you been pruning your habits recently?” “Is that supplement helping you?” “We should get some veggie tortas instead of waffles tomorrow at breakfast.” Of course, this is optional, but I find (and maybe you have!) that when I work on my habits without broadcasting them, it somehow incentivizes me to continue them regardless of what people say. It’s like preparing for a beach trip two months before it happens just so you can reap the unforeseen compliments when you arrive clad in your favorite, scantier-than-before-but-modest beach apparel 😊.   Ask yourself, friend: how many steps do you really need?