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  • Cassie Sheffey

February First

Does anyone else feel like January lasted way longer than just a month? Maybe it was the Whole30 that I was doing. Anyways, this week, I wanted to talk about small healthy changes that may beneficial to you if you cannot commit to one of the more radical lifestyle diets. I mentioned in a previous blog post, that I had went "Paleo" after finding out about my thyroid issues. Paleo itself is pretty drastic, eliminating out dairy and grains, but still allowing more natural sugars. That was do-able for me, but that may be to drastic of a change for some of you so I wanted to go over a few suggestions. At the end of the blog post, I am going to answer some questions I received after last week's post on Vegan versus Vegetarian. As always please email me or comment on a blog post with any questions that you have. So let's get started. Some simple, small changes can go a long way in improving your health.

1. The first and for most change is going to be drinking more water. We all know that soda is bad. Sugar free or regular soda, all of it is bad. Try pronouncing some of those ingredients on processed beverages. There are hundreds of thousands of scientific studies proving that soda is bad. No further explanation than that. So what is the recommended amount of water you need to drink? If you are wanting to lose weight and/or workout for 150minutes or more a week, you should be drinking half your weight in ounces of water. So I am 160lbs I should be drinking 80ounces of water daily. That sounds like a crazy amount, so start slow. The recommended guideline for just normal body function is 64 ounces of water which is half a gallon. That seems more attainable right?

2. Get some lab work. In my health care experience, it is crazy how many people have blood work completed at their doctor's office and have never had a thyroid function completed, vitamin D, B12, or folate checked. At my current job over 80% of the people I have seen have severely decreased vitamin D levels which play a huge part in metabolism and muscle recovery. Get some basic labs!!

3. Take a multivitamin. Notice this comes after getting some basic labs. A lot of people take supplements that they don't need and all they do is have expensive urine because your body just metabolizes it out. It is much better to get your nutrients from the food we eat, however, some people are deficient in their nutrients, so know your levels and take a good multivitamin. I personally take a thyroid support vitamin that has zinc, selenium, iodine, and b12. I also take a vitamin d once weekly because I know I am deficient (through) labs. I do not take iron, because I know my level is normal. Do not take extra supplements if you do not need them. Now that I am on my soap box, I want to tell each of you that now matter what you put in your body, whether it be prescription drugs, or over the counter medication or supplements... IT ALL HAS SIDE-EFFECTS! Most supplements are metabolized by kidneys and liver, so they too can cause harmful side-effects. That is why I say, if you do not have to take a supplement, don't.

4. Eat more vegetables. You all do not know how much I hear this on a daily basis. When I ask a patient how their diet is at home, a common reply is "I know I need to eat more vegetables." What is holding you back? You know you need to eat more, why haven't you started. Brad, my life partner/baby daddy/husband, absolutely hated vegetables. Ketchup was the only "vegetable" he ate. So I started easy, I made broccoli and put cheese on it. Of course he loved it, then you just cut back on the cheese, until he likes the broccoli. I would also make dinner and fix a vegetable he never had before and make him try a little of it (just like a kid). Slowly but surely he began to like vegetables. Later on, we are going to talk about about vegans and vegetarians. Just know that vegetables should be the main course of your meals, no matter if you are paleo, whole30, keto, or low carb. Vegetables provide all the nutrients and 9 amino acids that our bodies need and can't produce on their own. So when building your plate, the biggest section should be vegetables.

5. Limit sugary sweets. Candy, cookies, cake oh my.. Cut back on these tempting treats and you are likely to see that your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, and waist line will shrink. I know I have said it in a previous blog post, but it is worth mentioning again. THERE IS NO STUDY, SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL, OR OPINIONATED POST THAT SAYS SUGAR IS HEALTHY!

6. Get more exercise. You do not have to crossfit. You do not have to run. Take a walk. Use the stairs. Just move more. Start small and the exercise seed will grow. I have never considered myself an athlete, but over the past 2 years, I truly enjoy exercising over an hour a day, and have learned to love moving my body. You do not have to be an American Ninja Warrior to do it, just get moving. A little bit goes a long way.

So six tips that are common sense and most of you know to do it. What is holding you back? Scared? Food Addiction? Set your goals. You owe it to yourself to follow through. If you won't take care of you, who will?

VEGAN AND VEGETARIANS

Moving on, I had a lot of questions about veganism and vegetarians last week. I also had some recommendations to watch "The Gamechanger's," a documentary on Netflix about professional athletes. If you haven't watched, it is definitely a very thorough documentary that has some valid points, whether you believe in the movement or not. I am going to preface this post, by saying that I was raised on a farm and live in the South. "Beef, its whats for dinner" was how I grew up and literally bred into the culture. So I am sure that my Paw Paw, Danny Umberger, who drove a truck, hauling cattle to and from the farm to the slaughter house is rolling over in his grave as I type out what vegans and vegetarians believe in. Sorry Paw Paw!

Vegans eat a plant based diet that does not include dairy, eggs, or fish. Vegetarians eat a plant based diet that may incorporate dairy, eggs, or fish products. Vegans typically do not eat any animal products. Vegetarians may consume some. Protein comes from plant based sources as well as calcium which were the 2 big questions. I have never been a vegan. I did do the Daniel Fast last January for Church which is likely the closest I have ever come to that lifestyle. For those of you who do not know what the Daniel Fast is, it is a period of time, typically 3 weeks, where you do not eat meat, wine, or other rich foods, leaving just vegetables, some grains, and water. The Daniel Fast brings you closer to God and is not typically done for weight or health reasons.

Gluten can be consumed if eating a vegan or vegetarian diet, however a good proportion of the followers, are gluten free. Positives for going vegan or vegetarian is the huge decrease in heart disease. It also naturally lowers cholesterol significantly. A lot of cardiologist recommend a vegan diet for patients coronary artery disease. There is also mixed research that by eating a plant based diet, global warming could be improved. The cost of a plant based diet is also nearly half of that compared to omnivores that eat meat.

I have never consciously tried to be a vegetarian or vegan because honestly, I love meat. I love beef, chicken, pork, fish, venison, all the things. I can find an argument for both sides of the eat meat, don't eat meat fight. I am just pro-meat at this time. I may try to eat only plant based one day and I may do that and record my findings on here as it may help one of you all. The awesome thing about America is we have the choice of what to put in our bodies. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Choice. So you can be pro-meat or pro-plant, it doesn't matter because that is your right to chose. Food so ingrained in our culture that it can be hard to make huge changes. Start small. Set yourself up for success. As always, I love you guys and I look forward to your questions and comments. Next week, I am going to kick over some sacred cows on alcohol. I hope y'all have an awesome blessed week. Until next time...

This is one of our Rhode Island Red girls. They are free range hens. We have 5 chickens and 2 guineas. They have a very nice chicken coop that Brad fixed for them. They prefer to camp outside at night in the kid's play set. We got them for eggs. They are too spoiled to lay eggs. They prefer to chase the dogs, the mailman, and the UPS man. Beware if you come to the house. They may want you to pick them up for some chicken snuggles.

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