Do You Want to Lose Weight, Don’t Go on a Diet!

I’m nutty for nutrition. I’ve become one of those people who can’t stop talking about the connection between food and health. Now that I know how much changing what you eat can transform your life, I can’t stop proselytizing.   –Robin Quivers

The word diet spelled out in vegetables on a wooden board.

Dieting is a $20 billion a year business! Just think about that for a second, $20 billion dollars is a lot of money. That equals the GDP of the Dominican Republic. Yes, Americans spend roughly the equivalency of the Dominican Republic’s GDP on diet aids and fads. That is still hard for me to wrap my head around.

Diets are dumb!

In life most people go on a 30-day diet, lose a few pounds and get excited and celebrate with a donut or whatever your guilty pleasure might be, on a side note I LOVE donuts, but I know not to eat half a dozen. Then think they can eat like they did before the diet and poof all the weight comes back and then some. Which in turn leads to more dieting and then more celebrating and anguish. The term for this type of dieting is called Yo-yo dieting.

Fresh & Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

This is one of the biggest reasons why I think diets are dumb! Just think about this for a second, what kind of food did you grow up eating? Was it healthy with plenty of fruits, veggies and lean meats or did you eat red meat, processed foods, soda and candy. Do you really think going on a 30-day diet will work? Sure you will lose around 10 to 15 pounds, but studies have shown the first 10 pounds is mainly water weight, you are basically losing the water that diets and diet pills suck out of you. That is not healthy at all!

How can I change?

I believe the only real way to lose weight and to keep it off is a lifestyle change. You must WANT to change and stick with it or it will not work. Eating healthy is a mindset and in order to succeed you have to change your life. I for one used to eat a less than healthy diet. But, over time I realized eating processed foods and drinking soda really made me sluggish and irritable, I needed a change. So I started researching what might cause these conditions and voilà it’s bad food, especially processed foods, you know what I am talking about chips, cookies, ice cream, packaged meals etc., all the stuff that tastes so good. After researching this and coming to the conclusion that my diet was the root cause I changed my diet and started eating a healthier. Now I feel great and look good too.

This of course did not happen overnight, it does take time to switch to a healthy diet, it’s not a quick fix or at least it was not for me. Some of the things I cut back on or quit all together were soda (I quit), sugar, processed foods, red meat, alcohol and I started eating many more veggies and fruits, nuts, lean cuts of meat sparingly throughout the week, and more fish. I try to cook every night and only eat what I can grow or the local farmer can grow. Granted Farmer John cannot grow tortillas, cheese, chips (yes they are processed foods, it’s my one guilty pleasure) for me, I wish he could that would be great and probably much healthier too.

Speaking of eating healthy, if everyone would take the $20 billion we spend on diets that fail and instead invest it in good healthy organic foods from a local farmer’s market, we could all live healthier and cut the cost of medical care in half if not more. No more weekly visits to the doctor, no more spending hundreds of dollars a month on meds. Because we all know the pharmaceutical business is out to make money; they need you as a guinea pig. They do not want to cure your illness, they want to treat it and have you as a customer for life. Not just for a one-time fix!

What do I eat?

You might wonder what does the Semi Frugal dude eat to stay healthy. Well I am glad you asked, there are so many foods to choose from and with Facebook, Pinterest, All Recipes, the ideas are endless. I have a few favorites I have made over and over again, I mainly try variations of them. My most favorite dish of which I had tonight would have to be veggie fajitas, I cook up a pan of red, orange and yellow peppers throw in a jalapeño for an added kick with some onions, my mouth is watering now just thinking about that, they are delicious! Or if you are feeling adventurous and want to try another variation on the delicious veggie fajitas recipe try these Smoky Vegetarian fajitas by The Picky Eater, you will not be disappointed. Another favorite I got from another great blog over at The Comfort of Cooking is made with a sweet potato stuffed with bbq chicken I also love to add some sauteed onions and a little shredded cheese thrown on top for good measure. Most days though I usually just stick with anything I can cook with onions and peppers, I can eat those delicious vegetables by the bushel.

I hope this article has opened your eyes to the dangers of diets. Diets are a waste of time, if you really want to change your life you must change the way you eat and exercise daily. Eating healthy is a mindset not a quick fix. I guarantee you, your life will be much richer and more fulfilling with a healthy diet.

What’s the Buzz? Honey Bee Disappearance!

What’s the Buzz? Honey Bee Disappearance!

Santa Barbara, California, USA --- Honey bee hovering near blue-eyed grass flower --- Image by © Ralph Clevenger/Corbis

The only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you’re a bee…The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey….and the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.
~ Winnie the Pooh in A.A. Milne’s ‘The House at Pooh Corner’

Honey bees are dying at an alarming rate across North America and Europe, courtesy of the “Colony Collapse Disorder”. This disorder is described as a phenomenon in which worker bees from a hive or colony suddenly disappear. Scientists are working hard to find out why the honey bee is dying off so quickly.

Today I would like to focus on an insect that is so vital to our food supply, that if it disappeared our lives would never be the same again.

Honeybees are perhaps one of the least recognized workers in the agricultural industry. They contribute $15 billion in annual agriculture revenue to the U.S. economy alone; a full one-third of the U.S. food supply depends on them pollinating cropsMercola

Could you imagine losing $15 billion in annual income? That is hard for me to fathom. Especially since the lost revenue, comes in the form of lost fruits and vegetables, of which yours truly loves to eat. Actually a large part of my diet comes from fruits and veggies. Below is a short list of some of the plants that bees pollinate:

  • Almonds         Asparagus
  • Apples             Broccoli
  • Apples             Broccoli
  • Blueberries    Onions
  • Grapes            Squash
  • Nectarines      Carrots
  • Peaches           Watermelons

As you can see there are many plants these lively little creatures pollinate. And this is only a fraction of the list. One of the most important crops honey bees pollinate is almonds. Did you know that California produces 80% of the world’s supply of almonds? If honey bees die off so will the almonds. That is a scary scenario to me!

Their pollination of plants is responsible for the existence of nearly a third of the food we eat and has a similar impact on wildlife food supplies. National Geographic

To me these are staggering numbers. I mean nearly a third of what we eat, honey bees pollinate. Could you imagine if that was taken away? That is why we need to take a stand now and make sure the little honey bee survives or we may not like life without them. I don’t want to imagine a life without honey bees or all the delicious foods they pollinate.

The honey bee has intrigued me and I hope this post opens your eyes to the fight the honey bee is going through for survival. I am going to start a weekly series on the honey bee.

I hope you enjoyed this article. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment on any post!

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara, California, USA — Honey bee hovering near blue-eyed grass flower — Image by © Ralph Clevenger/Corbis

New Years Resolutions are a Waste of Time!

New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. – Mark Twain

Photo by iStock

New Year’s resolutions are the topic of the day and apparently the blogosphere as well. Everyone wants to add their 2 cents to the mix and I am no different.

First off let me clear the air here. I am not trying to sound negative, although it may seem this way. I just believe that NY resolutions are a waste of time. If you want to change your life for the better, why wait until Jan 1 to take action. Start when the mood strikes, not when the calendar flips over to a new year. If you have not guessed yet, I do not keep or make resolutions. I do make changes throughout the year to better myself.

One of the biggest resolutions and one that usually gets dropped first is going to the gym, this time of year gym memberships spike and gyms are filled with excited new members who are going to change their lives and exercise daily. A quote from US News-Health sums it up perfectly “By the second week of February, some 80 percent of those resolution-ers are back home with a new kind of remorse staring back at them in the mirror – the remorse of disappointment.” By mid-February most people have had enough time to come up with a few good excuses as to why they can’t go to the gym anymore. Most revolve around time constraints or lack of motivation.

Another side to this famed resolution is the cost. Most gyms require a monthly membership fee and most make you sign a year’s contract, which locks you in for an entire year at around $50-80 per month. If you only use the gym once or twice a week for a few months, then this becomes a very expensive, broken resolution. The typical person will have spent between $600 to almost $1000 for a VERY expensive workout. Why not take that money and invest it in a good dividend paying stock or boost up your 401K or if you really want to dump the money, give it to me. I know what to do with it!

Photo by Jamie Hamel-Smith

Another of the resolutions that doesn’t last long is eating healthy/dieting. Of all the resolutions made, this should be one of the easiest to keep, it just requires the proper motivation and self-control. I can hear the whining now, it’s too hard or too expensive; I don’t have time and a million other excuses. I say hogwash to this!

Most grocery stores these days have caught on to the healthy eating idea and they stock their Produce department with delicious treats. In my research, it is cheaper to shop the outer isles and stock up on fruits, veggies and other healthy snacks, than it is to buy junk food and processed foods. We were not built to eat processed foods, excess sugars and drink sodas all the time. This is why the average American is blowing up like a hot air balloon. I believe eating healthy should be a regular part of life. There is no need to make it a resolution, make it a lifestyle change. Make it an everyday habit. I promise you, you will start to lose weight and feel better than ever before, plus you’ll have more energy and the mental fogginess and mid-day slumber will go away. As the old saying goes you will feel like a million bucks!

The 2 resolutions above are a few of the more popular choices and 2 that are broken the quickest. With that being said, there are ways to try and keep those resolutions or ideas fresh in your head throughout the year. How, you might ask? One word…Technology or more specifically the popular saying from years past, “There’s an App for that”.

A few of the more popular weight loss/dieting and exercise apps I found are:

MyNetDiary: This app lets you track the food you eat and the various exercises you do all while keeping you motivated and on track for your goals.

FitStar Personal Trainer: FitStar puts convenience, control, and the change you want to see in yourself back in your hands. Want to get flexible, strong, lean, or just want to get moving? Our yoga or personal trainer apps—with more on the way—will craft your perfect routine and challenge you when you’ve hit a plateau.

These are just a couple of the thousands of apps you can choose from. Anyone today can search the web and find the next greatest app. It just takes a few minutes of work.

To sum up this post, I believe New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time. In order to really change your life you need to make these ideas into real heart-felt lifestyle changes. They should become an everyday habit in your life. Stop spending thousands of dollars on gym memberships and unhealthy eating. Instead focus more on what is important in life, you can exercise at home for free or next to free, when grocery shopping shop the outer isles of the grocery store where the real foods are, fruits, veggies and the least processed foods. Enjoy life, explore this great country we live in and be thankful for what you’ve got!