Cuz I Eats Me Spinach

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is it rough for you to squeeze enough roughage into your diet? I've compiled a list some of the helpful tips that I've accumulated from various magazines, news outlets and other sources. These pointers make obtaining your five-a-day quota of fruits and vegetables as simple as possible:

1. Start at the Beginning: Begin each meal with a fruit or vegetable. When you fill up on salad or fruit cocktail, you'll be less likely to eat as much of the heavier fare that follows.

2. Snack Attack: If you need a snack, start with a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables. If you need more, move on to something else. But always start here. Training yourself to grab ripe produce when the hunger pangs strike is a much better habit to form than reaching for any chip bag that's within reach.

3. Supper Solution: Consider vegetables to be the main course of dinner with a side of meat. In fact, conventional wisdom dictates that your plate should be divided into 1 part whole grain, 1 part low-fat meat/protein and 2 parts vegetables.

4. Seeing Clearly: Research shows that storing food in see-through containers in the fridge will make you more likely to eat it. Chop up some of your favorites into bite-size pieces on Sunday and graze on them throughout the week. Place less healthful options in opaque containers.

5. Jump in Fruit First: Store those fresh picks in the front of the fridge, freezer or pantry and bury junk food in the back to make yourself more likely to nosh on better nourishment.

6. Color Wheel: Challenge yourself to put a new fruit or vegetable on your shopping list. Incorporating a larger variety of colors and tastes into your diet gives you a more well-rounded dose of vitamins and antioxidants.

7. An Apple a Day: A study I recently read about from Penn State said that people ate about 200 calories less at lunch when they ate an apple 15 minutes prior than when they didn't snack on anything.

8. Drink to Your Health: Some low-sodium veggie drinks provide you with an extra serving of vegetables without even trying! Protect your ticker. Duh, you could have a V8!

9. When making frozen dinners, whether personal-sized or family-sized, bulk them up with extra servings of complementary frozen vegetables. Simple and cheap! You can do this with canned soups, homemade soups or other dinners as well. Train your mind to pick out places where vegetables can be snuck in. Ever tried cauliflower in your mashed potatoes or applesauce in your muffins? Shhhhhh. They'll never know!

Backyard Healthcare Reform

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I watched a small blip on the news (the news isn't TV, right?) about a movement for the reform of school lunches, spurred by Michelle Obama. Flashback to 1990-something and memories of cheese globs, Cheetos, and fake pizza runs through my mind. Lunch came with a main dish, two sides, chips, a drink and dessert. I mean, seriously? The chips and dessert alone were enough to quiver at, let alone the "side" choices (i.e. fries, Ranch-drenched get the idea). Do you really think I chose the heated canned peas? Um....I'll pass. I literally still cringe when I think about how I ate a bag of Cheetos! This foundation of childhood obesity not only carries a red flag, it features flashing red lights, glows in the dark and bellows at decibels that can be heard across the country.

Jump ahead a few years to an angst-ridden college student with weight problems faced with all-you-can-eat buffet-style cafeteria food. I can't even go there because the memories are too painful. Obviously, Houston, we have a mightily enlarged problem.

Needless to say, I whole-heartedly back this healthy school lunch movement. In fact, my mind also rolls back to the greenhouse in my high school and the surrounding school grounds--aka, fertile grounds for vegetable planting accompanied by horticulture, botany, and biology lessons. A huge money-saving win-win! I mean there's something so meaningful about a student growing tomatoes with their own hands and seeing them being served in their very own cafeteria, tasting them with each bite of said salad and developing healthy habits that will hopefully stick with them for a lifetime. Perhaps healthcare costs would be reduced by a much-healthier upcoming generation. Why haven't we thought of this/done something sooner?

Carrying it All

Friday, September 3, 2010

So, I started ink sketching again. Something I haven't done since...oh, my college days. I'm not really sure why I ever abandoned it, but some new sources of inspiration have rekindled my desire to put pen to paper. I can even be productive in front of the tube. Wait, did I just say that? I'm not watching TV anymore remember? Anyway... I've been going in several other directions lately too, such as a paper bag tag project, the novel-in-progress, word bits and pieces that will one day form a poem, collage art, and so much more.

So, what's an artist to do? Sometimes on my work lunch breaks I feel like sketching and sometimes I want to write. Reading by the water is another favorite past time. Magazines tell me to keep a gratitude journal, an exercise log, a food tracker and a memory keeper. Writers like to keep journals to stay in the practice of writing and artists carry around sketchbooks whenever the mood strikes. Gurus and life coaches preach the powers of visualization and vision boards. What should an artist/writer/grateful human/dreamer/runner/healthy eater do? Carry around a backpack full of journals that weigh them down instead of lift them off? I think this is why artists always appear fragmented, disheveled and disorganized. It must be!

I can feel the invention wheels rolling in my head again. Something to reel in the restlessness yet fulfill all those roles.