Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

6May/104

Stick That Label Elsewhere

Yesterday I spent National Children's Day with my kids at a local park and had a great barbecue--loads of fun! On the menu we had: onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, bread, potatoes, eggplant, fish, and sausages. We had 100% fruit juice for the kids and beer for my wife and me.
Now I know that some of you are thinking that I'm going back on my word about not eating meat and all that. I tried to figure out what name I should take on to describe my eating habits, but nothing I could find fit what I am doing.

I don't eat dairy products but I'm not vegan because I eat eggs.
I don't eat red meat and chicken, but I'm not vegetarian because I eat fish.

But people don't give up trying to label me! "are you really a vegetarian?" "you're not truly vegan because blah, blah blah!"

I'm getting tired of being labeled and put in a box!

I've met some people calling themselves vegetarian who seem to believe that their life's mission is to tell everyone else how badly they are polluting their bodies and preaching that their way is best and I'd imagine that many vegans may come across the same way.

I don't want to be like that. I respect each person's decisions about what they choose to eat, and I expect them to respect mine. I don't need a title to tell me what I should or shouldn't eat, because I can make my own rules!
Yes, I have cut down on alcohol, I've eliminated caffeine and eliminated all meat with the exception of fish. I've eliminated processed foods and anything containing MSG, which includes commercial curry. Potato chips and 99% of food found in a convenience store is out also.
BUT, the above is only MOST of the time. I want my commitment to be long-term, and I also want to have the freedom to give myself exceptions whenever I feel like it, such as a BBQ on children's day. When I'm a guest, then I'll eat what's served, I just might not take a very big serving of certain foods. I want the freedom to celebrate when I feel like it, and have a beer while I'm at it.
No rules or labels for me please! I prefer guidelines.
So far it's been a 90% / 10% ratio of times I am strict on myself about the food I eat, to times that I am not, and it's working out pretty well so far.

To put it in a nutshell: I'm not vegetarian, I'm not vegan, I'm not stupid. I'm a 90/10!

31Mar/109

Are You Fit? Or Are You Healthy?

It's funny how many of us these days equate fitness with health. Although I'll stop short of saying that it couldn't be farther from the truth, I will say that there is a big difference.

The dictionary defines fitness as: [capability of the body of distributing inhaled oxygen to muscle tissue during increased physical effort] and health as: [the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor]
For the record, I would like to have both, but health comes first, if there is a choice.

There are finely tuned athletes who have had the endurance of a camel, or the strength of a gorilla, but have collapsed and been hospitalized during competition or training. I would not call that healthy. There are also those who claim to be healthy because they are not sick. This is also a misnomer for the term healthy. Being free from sickness and ailments is only half of it. If you lack vigor and energy in your life, then you are not healthy. If you are depressed, discouraged or angry frequently then you are not healthy. If you are a fit athlete who relies on unsustainable supplements and diet systems then you are not healthy.

The first step to good health is to have a healthy mind.
A healthy body depends on a healthy mind, and by that I mean that you must fill you mind with positive thoughts. Thoughts of gratitude, love and passion. It's what you focus on that you will ultimately become. You must also have a strong driving force or idea that determines and gives meaning to everything you do in life and how you live your life.

Of course your thoughts alone will not do the job of giving you a healthy life but it's the foundation on which you must build all else pertaining to health and well-being.

The second step to becoming truly healthy is education. There is plenty of information both accurate & inaccurate available online nowadays and it's hard to choose which path to follow, which is why some common sense is necessary in deciding on what you want to do.

One thing I do when researching health topics online is to dig a little deeper into articles I read and find out about the author and his/her history and any affiliation with either food, health, or pharmaceutical companies. Reports on 'scientific data' are generally sponsored. Find out who the sponsors are, and the sponsor's parent company or affiliates.

For example in the documentary "Supersize Me" the McDonald's company did their own research with professional (meaning they get PAID) health experts who agreed that a McDonald's meal can be a part of a healthy diet. However, when Morgan (the host and guinea pig) conducted his own random interview with health experts nationwide the vast majority agreed that a McDonald's meal should be avoided in order to maintain a healthy diet.

The third step, exercise, should come naturally if you have the other two in order. You are thinking positively, are motivated and driven and have a reason to live.

You also have the education that helps define what you will or will not put into your body, and what activities you will or will not engage in, and what type of exercise is suitable for yourself.
Just put the pieces together and start over.

This is the first day of the rest of your life, so make the most of it.
Don't hesitate!

I used to be a procratinator, but Tony shook me up at UPW and I've since decided on a few meaningful changes in my life. In short, I've become vegan -- no meat and no dairy products in my life 90% of the time, and I'm sticking to vegetable proteins instead, which are free of acids and other harmful elements.

I'm also drastically limiting all "whites" in my diet. White rice, white flour, and white sugar.

Drinking a minimum of 2.5 liters of water daily (if my pee has any color, I know I'm not drinking enough). Caffeine is out too, along with hard liquor, but an occasional beer or wine is okay.

The great thing is that I no longer feel the need for my morning fix of coffee, since making all the other adjustments has given me more than enough energy in the mornings to compensate.