Over the past few years I’ve noticed that my metabolism has slowed down. For most people this is common as we grow older. It becomes more and more difficult to keep off the extra weight. This is especially true during the winter months, when the colder weather keeps us from getting outside and actively burning off excess calories. Regular readers know that I love to eat and I generally eat well, but I will admit that I have a tendency to overeat.
During the recent holiday season, I received news that two friends from my long ago childhood years had passed away. In the modern era, we have available to us an abundance of information about health and fitness. Still, some people don’t heed the warnings about taking care of personal health; eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise and rest, reducing or eliminating bad habits like smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol…among other vices. Unless one has a genetic propensity toward limited longevity, there seems to me, to be every available resource to live a long active life. Dying before reaching the age of sixty is not the norm in the developed world, unless we don’t take care of our health. Such was the case with one of my old friends. He drank too much booze, smoked tobacco and had a poor diet. As if that were not enough he also failed to maintain a healthy exercise regimen. Work – eat – sleep and back to work is not the way to reach a ripe old age.
With that recent bit of news in mind I realized there were some things I should do to get into better shape. Starting with a goal of losing about 20 pounds. Then, push myself to do a little more exercise in the winter. I gave up tobacco more than 30 years ago and I certainly don’t drink as much as I did when I was younger. Beer just seems to make me feel bloated and lately results in a headache. I do enjoy red wine with a meal but I don’t need to have it with dinner every night. So, my primary areas of focus are eating less and getting more exercise….easy right? Haha! Sure, it’s all about motivation.
In the past I have share information here on the blog about fasting and detoxification. It is also important to understand the proper manner to come off a fast and begin eating whole foods again – breaking the fast.
Motivated by the specter of entering my golden years with too many extra pounds and the possibility of declining health, I spent this weekend fasting. In the past I have fasted, using the lemon-aide diet, for up to two weeks. It is very challenging and especially difficult when coming off the fast. After two weeks with no solid food I am ravenous!
This time I chose to only fast for 2 days and today I am making the delicious lentil soup after having some freshly squeezed orange juice. It is amazing how tasty simple foods are when you are really hungry.
Using lentils and a traditional mirepoix you can add almost any combination of vegetables to round out this soup. In today’s creation I used onion, celery, carrots, garlic, golden bell pepper, a small amount of spicy green pepper to kick up the flavor, sweet potato, white potato and zucchini. The zucchini is added near the end of the cooking process to avoid turning it to mush. I also found some very bright looking spinach at the market and placed some of the cleaned leaves into the serving bowl. Pouring the hot soup over the top of the greens is just enough to wilt them without destroying the vitamins and leafy texture. The final product is clean and sweet on the palate.
Vegetables to avoid when making this type of soup would include any of the brassicas – broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc. They are too strong in flavor and can cause gas on an empty stomach.
Though my scale is not working properly I suspect that I have lost around 10 – 12 pounds over the course of three days. I should really get a new scale to be sure of my current weight. In closing, I feel better after cleaning out my digestive system. Now, I just need to consciously maintain moderate consumption of my regular foods and work on getting more exercise to tone muscle tissue.
Here’s to good health in the new year!