It's a hot topic. Especially as we're watching this year's flu virus hit with a vengence. It doesn't seem to be stopping with the young or elderly or those with compromised immune systems either...the biggest hit have been men and women in their 30's, 40's and 50's. I'm not going to try and sway you either way. In fact, I hope you won't be able to figure out my opinion at all. Because flu shots and immunizations are very personal choices. But it's important for you to be informed about what exactly a flu shot is. Simply put, it's a dead virus. So when it gets into your system, your body fights it off and in doing so builds an immunity to the flu if and when you actually get exposed to it. It's been said that each year, the flu shot is effective between 55% and 75% of the time. And if you do get the flu, there's a good chance your symptoms will be much less severe than those who have not gotten the flu shot. If you'd rather not get a flu shot, there's always ways to boost your immune system naturally. And it's all stuff you know...eat a diet rich in fruit, veggies and whole grains, get enough sleep, don't smoke, drink alcohol in moderation, exercise regularly...all that kind of stuff. I think, most importantly...WASH YOUR HANDS! And not that hand sanitizer stuff. Get in front of a sink, turn on the water, get the soap on your hands and wash. And keep washing...sing Happy Birthday, sing Yankee Doodle Dandee...but keep washing for a good amount of time. Between your fingers, on the backs of your hands and if you can...go up to your wrist. And have a tissue ready if you need to itch your eye or a toothpick ready if your lunch is still hanging around, because the minute you put your fingers into your eyes or your mouth...you've opened the door for millions of germs. If you're interested in getting a flu shot you can definitely head to your doctor's or local pharmacy to get that done. And if you do get sick...for Pete's sake, stay home!!
How much calcium per day are you getting? How much calcium per day SHOULD you be getting? I think most people take some sort of multi-vitamin and assume most of it is covered in that. I know I was under the assumption that a glass of milk or two, plus some yogurt each day and I was good. WRONG. Your multi-vitamin probably has between 150 and 200 mg of Calcium in it. I was dumbfounded by that...because after you realize that you should have somewhere around 1,000-1,200 mg of Calcium per day...you've got a lot more work to do than just a glass of milk and some yogurt. There's calcium-fortified orange juice that has a couple hundred mgs, but then just watch out for the sugar that OJ comes with. If you're not a milk drinker, there are veggies that are higher in Calcium than others...soybeans, okra, avocados and spinach are good to include in your diet to up your Calcium intake. If you want a quick way to get more Calcium, you can buy a supplement or pop a Tums. It's just so important to get your Calcium. You and your bones will be so happy you started good habits now. Start today...seriously.
So here we are facing holiday number three in just over a month. Have you been able to stay away from the sugar and fat and carbs? If not...well...JOIN THE CLUB! Now I'm not saying go ahead and binge. I'm just saying don't beat yourself up for it. You're an adult, you made your choice to sit down in front of the TV with that tin of caramel popcorn and wash it down with the yummiest red wine you ever tasted. Don't dwell on it. There was that day that your office had that little holiday party and when no one was looking, you finished off that cheesy, ooey, gooey dip with the french bread. That's fine! And all of those mornings you slept in and didn't head to the gym because your tummy was still so full and you felt so guilty for all the bad food and drink choices you made the day before. Well...it happened, get over it. You're human. Start reminding yourself about how good you're going to feel once you get back on track. Tell yourself you're worth the time and effort to make a healthy dinner for your family. And set that alarm so that you can get a workout in. Feel free to start slow...but start, just start.
I found this awesome quote in a parenting article I was reading, 'A need when met will go away. A need unmet is here to stay.' I thought well that can be applied to SO many things! Right away I thought about the fact that I'm an emotional eater. It's hard to not grab a fork and dive into the frozen pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving that you didn't bother to defrost because you need it NOW!! Sometimes it's way deeper than just making an unhealthy choice...it's emotional, psychological and spirtual. It's as simple as emotions rather than hunger triggering your eating...if that sounds familiar, you're an emotional eater. So there's a need not being met somewhere. Whether it's at work or with a relationship or something you're battling within...you've got to figure it out and face it. Because choosing to lead a healthy life can be tough at times and you need all of the strength you can find. If you've got the blocks stacked against you before even trying to make healthy choices...you're not going to succeed. Period. Meet the need.
So we just had a chili cook-off here at work. It was awesome...some made with beef, others with pork, a couple with chicken and one with ground turkey. So I was eating a scoop of this and a spoonful of that trying to decipher what I was tasting. Most of the time I was thinking...okay this is NOT healthy. But people love their chili recipes and it'd be close to impossible to get someone to change their recipe to a healthier alternative. So here's a challenge...take one thing and change it out. Take a look at a recipe or a dish that you always make and change out one ingredient to make it healthier. You could put Greek Yogurt in for sour cream or skim milk in for cream. Maybe try ground turkey or buffalo meat in place of beef, or applesauce instead of of oil. Sometimes you can even just leave something out...like rice or pasta. Could you put it on a bed of lettuce instead of rice? You have to want to, and it may take some time to think about it...but it's worth it...SO worth it!