A life of courage, joy and independence.
Your good philosophy depends upon your body which relies upon your health which rests upon the choices you make as to what food and drink you ingest. Devote some time early in life to an understanding of what makes good bodies and then take care of yourself accordingly. Here is a summary of my own, imperfect dietary solution:
Instead of three large meals in the course of a day eat several smaller meals. Here’s my own menu as an example showing when and what I eat. The times are my own, and based on my preference for early mornings and early nights. Please feel free to adjust as you prefer.
Upon waking up I promptly drink a large glass of fresh water. I leave the house for work at 6:00 AM and spent the two hours between when I get up and when I go to work cleaning up and preparing my lunch. I also use the time to enjoy some interesting podcasts and maybe spend some time at the computer. Of course, I drink lots of water throughout the day, though this first glass at the beginning is an important start.
I have this small meal after I’ve prepared my mid-morning salad (below) and just before I get on my motorcycle for the hour-long ride to work. The dog usually sits with me and begs a few bits off my plate.
This is perhaps my favorite meal of the day, and maybe the most important, as it provides a great deal of my raw vegetables for the day. Here’s a list of what I usually include:
My chili is something I prepare in a large batch every two weeks. I allow myself a single bowl of the stuff every weekday for lunch, along with a half slice of whole wheat bread. This, along with the 8:00 AM salad is a very wholesome part of my daily intact (along with my wife’s excellent dinners). Here’s my recipe for the chili:
I typically buy the canned ingredients at a discount supermarket where I will look for opportunities to buy larger cans of beans for a better price. I buy my meat at the same store. I get the vegetables at Trader Joe’s.
- Chili Powder – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin – 1 tablespoon
- Beans (15.5 ounces cans of each)
- Hominy – 15.5 ounce can
- Corn – 15.5 ounce can
- Canned Tomato – 15.5 ounce can
- Bottle of salsa
- Onion – 1/2 yellow onion
- Garlic – one whole garlic diced and cooked
- Mushrooms – a handful of mushrooms diced
- Baby Spinach or Kale – a handful chopped very fine
- Ground Beef – one pound lean ground beef
Step 1. Drain all of the cans of beans, the corn and the hominy and add the contents into a large cooking pot. Add water until the beans are covered by 1/2 inch of water. Stir in chili powder and cumin and place on stove. Cover and bring to a boil. After boiling, reduce heat to medium let cook for several hours.
Step 2. While the beans are cooking chop all of the vegetables except the onion and garlic and add to the pot.
Step 3. Dice the onion and garlic and then cook these in a skillet with oil until nicely cooked. Add to the pot.
Step 4. Cook the beef in the skillet and add the salsa when the beef is done. Cook just a little longer and then add to the pot.
Step 5. Set the fire to low, cover the pot, and let the whole thing simmer for a few hours, stirring occupationally.
I usually make my chili in the evening in order to allow the whole thing to cool overnight after I turn off the flame. In the morning I’ll portion out the chili into containers for freezing, and for the refrigerator which I will then use over the coming two weeks.
In the morning I pop a bag of popcorn (popped myself, not in the microwave) to enjoy as a mid-afternoon snack. Lightly salted.
My dinner consists of whatever my wife makes, which is usually healthy, lean and very tasty. I’m very lucky in this regard as I don’t need to ever give my healthy dinner much thought. In most cases my wife’s meals are Japanese, with ingredients sourced from our local Japanese market. If you don’t have a Japanese spouse who likes to cook, then I recommend preparing a health-conscious meal consisting of meat, vegetables, brown rice and fruit. Eat what you want now (as long as it’s not something you know is very bad) and enjoy as much as you like (within reason).
The menu above is my own and reflects my limited sensibilities regarding taste. I’m sure that someone more adept in the kitchen might find better and more satisfying alternatives. Of key importance here is the absence of processed foods, sugary drinks or excessive sweets of any sort. I do allow myself an occasional fast food meal with my family and an infrequent indulgence in sweet desserts such as cake or pie. Popcorn at the movies is a must, as well as a few other simple and periodic indulgences which help to give my life spice and interest without taking away too much from my efforts at eating well. As for drinks I avoid bottled drinks and fruit juice (too much sugar) though I do enjoy unlimited quantities of freshly brewed Japanese green tea as well as a twelve ounce can of beer each evening with dinner (maybe two on the weekends).
I can’t emphasize enough how important I have found diet to be in the pursuit of a happy, balanced life. I was 47 years old when I made these changes and sadly spent so many years feeling tired, anxious, irritable, unproductive and downright unhappy, before I discovered how the very common sense fact of what I put into my body impacted the resulting biochemistry of body and mind.