Posted in know better do better, mindset, physical health

Just say no…?

This popped up recently in my Facebook memories. I was going to rewrite it, but it’s succinct and to the point as-is.

(The year this was written, Halloween was on the upcoming Friday.)

It’s red ribbon week (AIDS? heart disease? hemophilia? no—substance abuse!). As part of celebrating (?) at school, some information is included in the morning announcements.

This morning, a bunch of nasty long-term side effects of tobacco was rattled off.

All but one are also nasty long-term side effects of sugar.

But on Friday, we’re going to distribute that generously. (Don’t even attempt to argue “It’s just one day” because you know that’s BS.)

I’d be attacked for suggesting we just pass out cigarettes for Halloween…

 

Posted in food, physical health

What is this mysterious vegetable?

This vegetable provides 21% of your daily potassium. Potassium is critical in our bodies, helping to regulate muscle contractions, nerve signals, and fluid balance. Potassium is an electrolyte—one of those things that people talk about needing to replenish when they exercise (though most people don’t really know what it means). Also keep in mind that your heart is a muscle, so “muscle contractions” is not just talking about arms and legs and such.

(For reference, an avocado provides 20%, a cup of white beans: 18%, a sweet potato or a cup of spinach: 12%, bananas: 9%.)

This vegetable is also weighing in at 45% of your daily vitamin C! That’s not as much as an orange or a cup of strawberries, but it’s still a solid serving.

You also get some fiber, some protein, and a little iron.

What package brings you all this goodness?

A potato.

This package is for gold potatoes, but other types are similar. (The nutrition facts panel is for “one medium potato.”)

Potatoes get a bad rap, and they shouldn’t.

You’ll want to eat the whole potato (including the skin!) and eat potatoes together with a little more protein and some fat, for staying power and to avoid a blood sugar crash.

Some of the most-loved ways to eat potatoes aren’t ideal and would be best considered “sometimes (or less) foods” — like fries, home fries, hash browns, chips.

But a baked potato? Or some skin-on mashed potatoes? Nutritionally beneficial.

Posted in food, know better do better, physical health

The sad adult-y-ness of limiting snacks

Dried mango and macadamia nuts.

These are my two current favorite snacks.

I can eat them together or separately, and I can eat them in significant quantity.

Costco sells both.

For a while, I stopped buying the mango altogether—it’s easier when it’s just not in the house—and I was just reintroduced to macadamia nuts a couple of weeks ago. They’re much more delicious than they were when I was a kid.

Earlier this week, I bought a bag of each at Costco. Yum!

But, in an effort not to exist solely on these two things, I measured out portions based on the nutrition facts panel. Put the nuts in little jars. Put the mango in repurposed tomato paste jars.

I have taught and written about portion control many times, and yet I was still astounded at how little there was in my servings.

It’s for the best. And most days, I’ve only had one jar of each.

Eating things like chips, popcorn, nuts, cereal out of the container is dicey for many people. Measure it out, put the bag away, and stick to the portion you measured.

The bonus to this is that the original container will last much longer. Fend off a little overindulgence, save a few pesos. Not an entirely bad deal.

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, food, physical health

The former deliciousness of peanut brittle

For a long time, peanut brittle was one of my favorites. And it was an infrequent treat, which made it even more delightful.

It’s been years, maybe decades, since I had peanut brittle.

There was some at work the other day.

I took a piece. Or two…

And you know what? It wasn’t that delicious.

I relayed this story to a friend who reacted with sadness, but no! It’s not sad at all!

Peanut brittle is crap. It’s (formerly) tasty crap, but it’s still crap.

And now, if it shows up in the teachers’ lounge again, I won’t have to expend any energy to pass it by, because it’s not delicious.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The list of things that are no longer delicious just got one thing longer.

And yes, there have been a few things that I had for the first time in years and yes, they were still amazing. (A cream doughnut from McMillan’s Bakery immediately comes to mind. Only ate a couple of bites but YUM.)

But it’s OK to let your taste buds get pickier about junk food. Your body will thank you for it.

Posted in audience participation, connections, differences, hope, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, parenting, physical health, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Workplace wellness

Today’s post is full of broad sweeping statements. Of course they are not true for every individual in every category. But I’m not going to make a disclaimer in every paragraph because it’s unwieldy to read.

Many companies are introducing (or have already introduced) wellness incentive plans regarding various biomarkers of their employees (with questionable legality).

But stress is seemingly worse for your health than any of the markers they’re measuring.

How many employers are actively seeking to reduce their employees’ stress levels?

None? Benefit of the doubt and say a few?

This embodies so many facets of America.

1. We’re unhealthy. We eat badly; we move insufficiently; we’re overweight and underslept; we lack meaningful community; we view vulnerability—necessary for connection—as a weakness; we prioritize work over play, over rest, over family; in addition to all of the -isms that culturally define us.

2. We don’t believe in health care as a right. Which, on a tangent, is mostly sick care. (For more details on that, see point #1.) Only people who work the right jobs for the right people for the right number of hours get to have health insurance. And even then, many of those people still have to pay for it. Sometimes a lot. And pay even more for their families to be covered. Which doesn’t even cover all of what’s potentially needed.

3. Companies are not interested in their people. They are interested in money. So they do whatever they can to siphon more money to the top people. (Because, despite current mindset, companies are not actually in themselves people. They’re just run by people. So we could more accurately say that the people at the top of companies are disinterested in everyone else in the company, so long as they continue to live large.)

Whether that’s hiring fewer salaried employees and expecting them to work more (sometimes way more) than 40 hours per week, or hiring more hourly employees part time so they don’t have to pay for benefits, or paying as little as possible, or countless other possibilities, the money needs to pour up.

It’s a giant mindset problem. A cultural problem. A mental health problem. A shaming problem. A physical health problem. An economic problem.

I don’t know how to fix it.

But I do know that I can contact people in charge of stuff (whether it’s government officials or company leaders), and I can vote. (Are you registered? If not, open another browser window and go do it now! People taking it all for themselves depend on your apathy to maintain or advance their position.)

And I can do my best to be the change I want to see, live my life out loud, and hope others join me. (And they do. They always do.)

Be the change. Be self-aware, even (especially) when it sucks. Be open. Be vulnerable. But be fierce.

(Except on the days that you just need to lay on the couch. Then just lay.)