Changes

 

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My last four weeks have been some of the most eventful of my entire life. Two and a half weeks ago, I started this blog, and with the help of each of you that are reading this, I consider it a success. Three weeks ago, I completed my first major project after 15 months of blood, sweat and tears, and put my stamp on a piece of the construction industry that no one will ever be able to take from me. One month ago tomorrow, I quit my two-pack-per-day habit cold turkey after waking up in the middle of the night craving a cigarette. The same day I decided to quit smoking is the same day I made the commitment to change my eating habits and to begin, ‘Going Blue’.

Sitting here on the cusp of what I’ll consider a milestone (one month), I’m taking some time to reflect on where I am and what I’ve done. While I will spare you all of the daily miscellaneous victories and defeats, one thing I do need to say is this: without a shadow of a doubt, it has been harder for me to change my eating habits by eating healthier foods as well of less food in general, than it has been for me to quit smoking. 

Even today, I got angry (hangry) on the way home from work, because all I wanted to do was drive straight to the corner pizza joint and eat half of a Sicilian pizza with pepperoni (extra grease), and an order of two-dozen wings. I was more angry at the fact that I was not going to have that food as I ever was at not having a cigarette. Also, the smoking-related cravings have already stopped as of about a week ago.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a relatively tall guy. Growing up, I was always able to rationalize eating as much as I wanted of whatever food I wanted because my weight never caught up to my height. In addition, I was an athlete, so I burned calories at a high rate. Then once my athletic career ended, I worked in construction and spent six to eight hours a day on my feet. All of those things allowed me to eat what I wanted with no consequences. It wasnt until twelve months ago that the issues I outline in my “About” page showed up. Then, it wasn’t until four weeks ago that I really started to take my health seriously. Twenty-seven years of stuffing one’s face is hard thing to quit!

The benefits I’ve felt are really the only thing that stopped me from getting that pizza on the way home today. My energy level really is much higher with the increased servings of fruits and vegetable. On the day following a low fruit / veg day, I feel symptoms I can only equate to a food hangover. I feel tired, full, and mentally dull. Also, I’ve cut my coffee intake town to 0-2 cups per day, and have begun drinking 2-3 cups of green tea daily. This has eased my morning headaches and given me energy coffee never did. I laugh more, I sleep better, I enjoy small things that I never lent any weight to before… It really is amazing. Changing your diet opens you up to a new perspective of yourself. If you don’t believe me, try this. Go to your local market. Buy a handful of limes. Now, every morning for one week, sqeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime into a glass of water each morning and have that as part of your morning routine before you reach for the coffee. Even the small addition of this shot of Vitamin C and a glass of water first thing in the morning made me feel more energetic and mentally sharper.

The challenges I have undertaken have all been well worth it, even with the stress, frustration and agrivation that have gone along with them. If I wasn’t before, I am now certain that my wife is a saint for putting up with my through the last month.

I understand that all of this is self imposed, and that any bitching about hunger that I may do can all be silenced with a trip down to Main Street.  However, I am certain that with the help of my friends and family, I’ll be able to continue discovering a part of life that I was never interested (enlightened) enough to explore before.

Thank you all for visiting my page and following my journey! It means more than you know.

ENJOY!

 

 

Slipped

So, we have gone out to eat the last two nights, and I’m really starting to feeling it today. Regardless of how careful you are with what you order, it’s just not the same as rolling up the sleeves and making yourself a meal that you know is going to be good for you, while listening to some good tunes and sharpening your kitchen skills (bad pun intended).

That said, my wife and I have had some major career decisions to discuss, so at least the time not spent in the kitchen with Gary Clark Jr. blasting has been well spent.

Tonight’s challenge: make dinner with whatever we have in the fridge, incorporating as many colors as possible.

Hopefully this will snap me out of the funk I’m in today. It’s absolutely amazing to me how quickly your energy level drops when your intake of fruits / vegetables declines. It’s brought my entire demeanor down today. The good news: I can feel the change and now I know what it is and how to fix it. PROGRESS!

Welcome

Welcome to my blog! My name is Lou and I’m  a 27 yo native of New Jersey, though my professional career has carried me to several other states over the past few years.

Very simply; I Love Food! I have always loved eating (though that sounds ridiculous now that I write it), and in the past 5 or 6 six years, my love of cooking what I eat has grown. Then, around twelve months ago, the journey started…

A few weeks before Thanksgiving of last year, I woke up one morning with a terrible pain in one of the toes on my right foot. I didn’t realize just how bad the pain was until I attempted to put my sock on, and it felt as if I were piercing the joint of my toe with an ice pick. Gout is something your grandfather complains about at holidays. “The disease of kings” most commonly comes from a diet too rich in, well, rich foods, and lacking balance with the required vitamins and trace minerals. It is not something that any 26 yo man should ever wake up to (in fact, I wish it on No One!). After gallons of black cherry juice and fewer summer sausages, the symptoms subsided. I continued on with my routine otherwise. My wife and I traveled home from FL to see our friends and family for Christmas, and, as one is want to do at that time of year, I ate EVERYTHING. Shortly after we returned to FL, I realized that I felt terrible. I got on the scale (which had to be dug out from under the sink, and dusted off) and realized that I weighed over 250lbs! Thirty pounds more than I ever weighed at the height of my athletic “endeavours”. I decided at that point, following my battle with gout and my struggle coming to grips with the sudden lack of holes towards the wrong end of my belt, that I was going to drastically change my diet. Since that time, it has been research, note-taking, more research, wins, losses, do-agains and WTF-was-that?s. That road has led me to, two weeks ago, give up my two-pack-a-day habit after 8 years of smoking. I have not had a flare up of gout since my wake-up call last year. I was able to drop 35 pounds in approximately two months on my new diet, though my weight continues to fluctuate as my adherence to making time to cook or to pack lunch ebbs and flows.

With all of that said, the man who has been known to eat an entire lg. pizza, and who has invited his friends over for “Slider Fest”, is going to spend the next 365 days devoted to finding his version of a “Blue Zone Diet”. For those of you who do not already know what that means, the link below will explain to you what it is, and why the idea of following certain guidelines sounds less like a challenge and more like a sound investment.

http://www.bluezones.com/about-blue-zones/

In summary, I am extremely excited for this new phase of my life, to increase the beautiful vitality  which I have begun to feel as my diet and routine and habits have slowly changed, to meet new friends and to maybe inspire some old ones, and to prove my wife right; vegetables are really good for you, you can make them taste really good, and you should eat more of them! I hope to hear from you if you have any ideas or suggestions, comments or questions!

ENJOY!