27 In Beauty/ Style/ Wellness

Health is Wealth. Health is Style.

French Market Produce

I’m a health freak.  I’ve always been a health freak. When I was a child, I remember going to the health food store with a rustic vegetarian cafe (the only one) in the small town where I lived, and being thrilled by the unusual, delicious food.  I particularly loved one sandwich they did: whole wheat pita bread with alfalfa sprouts, raw vegetables, and a sharp lemony yoghurt and tahini spread (not so ground-breaking now, but this was the 70’s in a small town in the South).  They had home-made date bars and barely-sweet fig cookies.  And carrot juice!  That such a thing as carrot juice even existed blew my young mind.  Don’t get me wrong, I still loved home-made chocolate chip cookies and ice cream and other ‘unhealthy’ things (oh, the things I would do for a good coconut cake…), but I’ve always had a very strong preference for all things healthy and vegetarian, and a real dislike (bordering on hatred) for processed and ‘fast’ food.

Now that I’m an old hag (!) I find that eating healthy unprocessed food simply makes me feel better.  When I eat raw food, I feel like I am literally feeding life into my body. I have loads more energy, I sleep better, my mood is better, my eyes are clear in the mornings, and (importantly, from a style perspective), I look better.

Nutritionists and scientists often refer to the stomach and gut as the ‘second brain’ in a human’s body.  We have more than 100 million nerve cells there…surprisingly, more than in our spinal cord or even our peripheral nervous system.  These neurons send a LOT of information about what we have eaten back to the brain, and give it the freedom to not concern itself with digestion, but instead allow it the higher tasks of thinking and reasoning (and in my case, figuring out how to rationalise ridiculous shoe purchases).  If we have so many neurons holding down the fort in our digestive tracts, food and digestion is obviously critically important to our health. Given all the health issues we have due to poor modern diets, we are clearly very good at ignoring the information our second brain is sending to us.  In my experience the more effort I put into eating well (especially raw foods), the bigger dividends it pays back. Since I have a four year old son, having energy and wanting to be not just alive but in glowing health for as long as possible is a huge motivating factor for me to keep nutrition a top priority (and hopefully not to become too Gwyneth Paltrow about it).

What exactly does this have to do with a style blog?  Well, mainly that a key component of style is vitality, or health.  Each of the of Fabulous Fashionistas that I’ve met says that eating healthy and exercising regularly are the two most important factors in how they look and feel.  It doesn’t surprise me; we all know that style takes some effort, and effort requires energy.  If you don’t feel full of energy, style is probably going to fall pretty far down on the priority list of what to you expend your effort on. Vitality and style go hand in hand; they are both lifelong pursuits.

All of this is a long and anecdotally-laden way of saying, wherever you are on the spectrum of healthy eating, there is always a little room for improvement, and that little bit can make a big difference to how you look and feel.  If you already eat well, try raw one day a week.  If you already eat a lot of raw food, try juicing for a few meals a week, or try cutting out meat, dairy, or sugar for a week.  Just start where you are, make an improvement that feels right and sustainable for you, and pay close attention to what improvements you see and feel.

This post is an old one which I had forgotten about, but the lovely Melissa of Fresh Air and False Lashes reminded me of it when she shared it on Facebook.  I still like everything I had to say in it, and recently I’ve been taking my own advice!  Inspired by my sister in law, I’ve cut out sugar, flour, and alcohol entirely for a few weeks.  I’m on day 11 today, and I feel great.  It is weird.  I don’t even miss sugar at all (even right before my monthly cycle, which is usually when I’m especially driven to find something sweet).  I was strengthened to try this no-sugar path by taking the two herbs that I mentioned in this post.  I’m going to do a very comprehensive blog post, where I share all of the (sometimes personal) details of why and how I did this no-sugar no-flour no-alcohol regime, but I need to give it some time to have more data and information for you.  It has been a very enlightening process for me; I’ve learned so much and I’ll be sharing it with you soon.  xx

 

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    mummy here and there
    June 3, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    I adore that women, she is fun and gives a no fuck attitude. I love no age is a factor and just go with it X #brilliantblogposts

  • Reply
    melissa
    July 20, 2017 at 8:04 PM

    OMG- this is a FABULOUS post! SO inspiring! Sharing this. 🙂
    ~Melissa
    https://freshairandfalselashes.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 20, 2017 at 9:09 PM

      Thanks so much, darling. I’m pleased you like it. Gosh, this is an old post, from the earrrrrrrly days of my blog. I still feel exactly the same today as when I wrote it; good food = good life!

  • Reply
    Ann
    July 30, 2017 at 6:49 PM

    Lisa, I’m so pleased to learn you’re a health freak. And that you’re benefitting from and enjoying your current dietary/nutritional regimen. I look forward to your findings when you report them.

    After a lifetime of fighting overweight and, eventually, obesity and near-immobility, I lost 100 pounds (over 18 months) and have maintained all of that weight loss for the last two years. The lifestyle changes I’ve made have required great commitment, consistency, and mindfulness. I have never, ever felt better in my whole life (I’m 71 years old). I look fabulous, feel better, have immense energy, am so much calmer, etc. Then there’s the yoga and aquarobics and walking and gardening and … and … and ….

    I am full of gratitude and joy that I finally found the time to focus on myself and my needs and not only on others. It’s never too late to become healthier and happier. Life is a banquet!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 30, 2017 at 9:54 PM

      WOW, Ann, that is SO IMPRESSIVE that you lost 100 pounds and have kept it off for two years. That makes you (from what I have learned) the incredibly rare 1% of 1% of people who lose the weight, and then keep that weight off for a year or more. Well done, you. You should run a class!

      I’ve always been a health freak, but unfortunately one with a very strong sweet tooth. I might be eating wholesome sugars, but there is still just far too much of it in my diet. I’m not normal enough to do the ‘everything in moderation’ thing, so I just have to cut it out completely. I’m really discovering what my sugar triggers are. I’m also learning to make the commitment and consistency you wrote about completely automated, which is so liberating.

      It makes my heart soar to hear that you’ve never ever felt better in your whole life. I’m so thrilled for and proud of you! xx

      • Reply
        Ann
        August 2, 2017 at 12:03 AM

        Thank you, Lisa. I continue to learn what works for me and what doesn’t. I really could talk forever about all this, but I’ll spare everyone. Do you know what started my return to good health? Five years ago, my primary care physician (our family doctor) advised me to find a good therapist and “figure out why you can’t care for yourself.” It was brilliant advice. Self-care. Big topic. Good topic. 🙂

        • Reply
          Lisa
          August 2, 2017 at 8:29 PM

          Yes, I’m on a similar path, learning what works and what doesn’t. What I can do, and what is a dangerous slope for me. What great advice from your family doctor. I’m so pleased he said that, that it resonated with you, and that you did the work. I’m so pleased for and inspired by you. xx

  • Reply
    Northwest Mountain Living & Style
    July 31, 2017 at 1:06 PM

    This is a great post! I’m a health nut too! I have always loved anything healthy. When I was a child my mom told me I was weird because I would open a can of spinach and eat it cold. Now out of the can wasn’t probably that good but where I lived it was the only way to get it most of the year. Anyway, thanks for sharing! Your healthy lifestyle shows! Peace!
    Cheryl
    http://www.northwestmountainliving.com

  • Reply
    RetroChicMama
    July 31, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    I’m so glad you re-published this Lisa as I missed it first time around. I really need to up my fitness game, I’m feeling wobbly at the moment because I sit in front of a computer so much now. Thanks for the encouragement, I needed a poke in the jelly belly 😉
    p.s. Pleeez don’t become like GP from what I read about her the other day she’s completely ott…
    xxx

  • Reply
    Mithra Ballesteros
    July 31, 2017 at 2:59 PM

    Bravo Lisa, old post or not, this is a wonderful read. I think this explains your dewy complexion. Obviously your skin is a testament to your good habits. I have been alcohol and sugar free for 3 months now. I feel really good!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 31, 2017 at 10:23 PM

      Oh, thank you Mithra! Wow, three months is really really good going! I bet you DO feel really good… it is incentive to stick with it when you feel so fantastic, isn’t it? I know I could add alcohol back in and be ok, but for me sugar is SUCH a slipper y slope, I’m really terrified to ever add it back in. xx

  • Reply
    LA CONTESSA
    July 31, 2017 at 3:21 PM

    I CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR………………
    INFORM US!
    ANY HINTS ON HAIR LOSS?MY HAIR IS FALLING……………like FALLING BIG TIME OUT OF MY HEAD!
    XX

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 31, 2017 at 10:21 PM

      I SHALL keep you informed, I promise! I’ll have a look into it. I know a lot of people swear by using exactly the same thing that men use (Rogaine). Have you tried that? I’m sure there may be a more herbal way though… xx

  • Reply
    Nancys Fashion Style (@nancybaten1)
    July 31, 2017 at 5:02 PM

    And can you add then how you eat raw food! Sounds pretty silly, but how do you make a meal of it?

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 31, 2017 at 9:20 PM

      Yes, of course! I’ll cover it a lot more in my next post on this topic, but I make sure to eat 8 ounces (or 225 grams) of salad every night with dinner. That is a LOT of salad! I usually do lettuce mixed with a few other raw vegetables, like cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, spring onions, etc. I also like to add a protein (like lentils) on top of the salad. My other favourite way to get raw veg into my diet is to spiralize them. I do this a lot with courgette and then make a raw tomato/garlic/chilli/olive oil salsa to put on top as a sauce. It feels like a healthy summer pasta, and it is a whole lot nicer than chewing on a raw carrot or celery stick. xx

  • Reply
    melissa
    July 31, 2017 at 6:28 PM

    Thanks so much for the shout out love! All of these comments are great too. WOW Ann- that is so inspiring!!! I LOL @ Retrochicmamas comment- (“jelly belly” and GP bahaha!) I feel like y’all are going to guilt me into giving up alcohol- OMG What am I saying?! 😀 I am completely intrigued w/ the raw foods thing. Its actually one thing Ive never tried- I enjoy trying out different ways of eating and exercising and just seeing what makes me feel and look the best. I am really looking forward to hearing more.
    Thanks again for shouting out my little fledgling blog, sista!
    xx
    Melissa

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 31, 2017 at 10:18 PM

      Oh, you’re so welcome, Melissa! I love your blog. Maybe do the raw thing for a week or two and see what changes you notice. For me, the skin benefits are visible after only a few days. Alcohol is tough to give up, but honestly, for me sugar was the hardest. I didn’t realise just how addicted I was! xx

  • Reply
    Abby@Midlifecrisisnut
    August 1, 2017 at 2:31 PM

    I’m with you 100% on this one, Lisa! In fact, I’m sipping my organic carrot juice as we speak. However, as you know my love for healthy food is a very recent one. For years I’ve been neglecting that side of my being until it was almost if not too late and I developed a cluster of nasty diseases. I became vegetarian, gave up sugar and turned to gluten-free diet. I still don’t have my old energy back and probably never will but at least I know I’m not killing myself anymore with nasty stuff. Sending you lots of love! xx Abby

    • Reply
      Lisa
      August 2, 2017 at 8:43 PM

      I just want you back to 100%, Miss Abby! You have to much to offer to be spending time battling with these annoying diseases. I just know that you’ll have a turnaround when your body is ready. Love back to you xx

  • Reply
    Suzy Turner
    August 1, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    Such great advice, Lisa! I did a week long sugar / alcohol / dairy, etc, etc detox about five years ago (I ate nothing but raw veg, salad and fruit). And I went through hell… back and leg pain like nobody’s business. I couldn’t sleep for more then 20 minutes at a time either. But by the end of of it, I felt amazing. I continued being healthy for the next few months and I lost loads of weight too (too much, to be honest). But I’d never felt better. But slowly, I started back to my old ways lol. Although I continue to be much healthier than a lot of people, sometimes I think I do overindulge just a bit too much. I really ought to take a leaf out of your book!
    Suzy
    xx
    Suzy Turner
    Yogadocious

    • Reply
      Lisa
      August 2, 2017 at 8:39 PM

      I got headaches for a few days when I first cut everything out, really severe headaches. It was interesting to hear about your pain and sleep issue when you did a detox.

      I don’t think any of us can be perfect food-wise, but always trying to improve here and there (and for me, grappling with my sugar demon) is still good to do. I certainly feel so much better without sugar and flour in my life. It is EVERYWHERE though, so it is so hard to avoid, isn’t it? xx

  • Reply
    Suzi Grant
    August 1, 2017 at 5:30 PM

    I am very much on the same page as you. I trained as a Nutritionist years ago, (after years in TV & Radio), to learn all I could but am not at ally Gwyneth like! Great post & photo and love the sentiment. Suzi (Alternative Ageing)

    • Reply
      Lisa
      August 2, 2017 at 8:33 PM

      Thank you, Suzi. You’re probably a lot smarter about sugar than I have been, given your background. I’m just trying to break that sugar addiction. I’m really sure that sugar is the ‘smoking’ of our generation. xx

  • Reply
    Anastasia Nicole
    August 3, 2017 at 3:47 PM

    I completely agree with you about eating raw, fresh and clean. I’ve been too busy to shop lately so I’ve been eating a lot of processed, convenience foods. Not only am I lethargic and irritable, but I just don’t look as great as I do when I’m getting water, fresh veggies, and lean proteins. I for sure need to look at cutting out sugar and cutting back on the caffeine and alcohol.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      August 7, 2017 at 9:13 PM

      I can tell you that cutting out sugar entirely (along with all flour) has changed my life. I feel so much better. I sleep better, I have more energy (like, palpably more energy, not just some lip service). My skin looks so much better than my vanity won’t even ALLOW me to eat that other stuff anymore!! I think of the time it takes to prep my food (especially the vegetables) as my brain’s free time. I make myself enjoy it so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Processed food is the worst. xx

  • Reply
    No Fear of Fashion
    August 4, 2017 at 8:31 AM

    You are so right. And I am doing not too badly. But can do better. And will. If I am not working fulltime anymore, I will increase my fitness to three times a week instead of two. And perhaps some home exercises? Pre packed and fast food are things I hardly ever do. Drinking neither. That is my luck.. I don’t like the smell of alcohol. Really. Just coffee liqueurs, Pina Colada and some cocktails. That seems much, but I drink about twice a month. Coffee… at least 5 a day. Addicted.
    Vegies: lots of them and every day or at least 5 to 6 days a week.
    Meat every day? No.
    And I have the video
    Greetje

    • Reply
      Lisa
      August 7, 2017 at 9:09 PM

      Well, you’re right on track then Miss Greetje, and you sure have the legs to prove it! The vanity aspect of being healthy (aside from the obviously feeling better) is what keeps me always trying to improve a shade more. I definitely see my skin improves when I eat huge amounts of vegetables. xx

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