Want to hear something ridiculous? I still have my Christmas tree up.
Today, I finally took the red holiday bow off my apartment door. At least the neighbours won’t know what a slacker I am.
Well, a slacker in terms of Christmas decorations, that is. You know what I’m not a slacker about? Broccoli.
(You know what else? I still haven’t learned to spell broccoli. I have to use the spell-checker every time. In fact, I just noticed I spelled in wrong in my original Mini-Resolution. Maybe I should make a Mini-Resolution to get that straightened out.)
If you’ll recall, sometime ago I made Mini-Resolution #4: Find and prepare two tasty broccoli recipes between Saturday, Jan. 9 and Friday, Jan. 15.
This stemmed from Dr. Weil’s simple request that I eat broccoli twice during the week. I (like a fool) decided to up the ante and not only eat broccoli twice this week but attempt to cook it in two new tasty ways. And to judge the tastiness (or lack thereof)? My carnivore of a fiancé.
The only survivor of this week's broccoli binge.
As a result, I bought more fresh broccoli in the past week than any other week before. Maybe more than all weeks before added together.
It’s not that I don’t like broccoli. It’s that I don’t like preparing it. I got that from my mother. She only buys frozen broccoli so she doesn’t have to deal with the actual preparation. And I don’t blame her.
I also learned this week that you’re supposed to peel broccoli. As if it wasn’t enough of a pain in the ass already. This was shocking to me. I mean, I’m no gourmet chef but I spend a pretty significant amount of time in the kitchen and still somehow missed the memo on this one.
Maybe that’s because most broccoli I’ve met in my life has come from the frozen food section. Who knows.
I tested out two recipes this week: Garlic-Spiked Broccoli and Mushrooms with Rosemary and Oven-Roasted Broccoli with Panko and Parmesan.
The first one kinda sucked. I think maybe I’m not a huge rosemary fan. I also think I undercooked it. Nonetheless, I’m counting it because my fiancé claimed it was in fact “tasty” and proceeded to eat the leftovers the next day of his own volition.
The second one was super good. Of course, I’m of the mindset that you could put Panko crumbs on just about anything and have it taste fan-frickin’-tastic.
Health-wise, you really can’t go wrong with either of these recipes. The second one is higher in calories and fat. About 108 calories per serving (the recipe says it makes four servings but I’d say it’s actually closer to six so that’s what I’m calculating with) versus 56 for the first one, and 7 g of fat versus 2.7 g for the first one. Both clock in with 2-3 g of fibre, around 4 g of protein and more than 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C.
Of course, I’m not done with the whole broccoli fiasco just yet. As I embark on Week 2, Dr. Weil is insisting I keep on eating the stuff. That gives me plenty of time to test out the cooking methods recommended by a couple of my readers. Thanks again, my lovelies!
And now, because I don’t eat right 100% of the time (take last night, for example, when supper consisted of tortilla chips and salsa and some left-over holiday fruitcake), there is my Mini-Resolution #6: Begin taking Dr. Weil’s Antioxidant Formula.
My slew of supplements
In addition to my regular multivitamin and calcium supplement, I am now taking selenium (200 mcg), Vitamin E (400 IU), Vitamin C (250mg) and, to meet Dr. Weil’s mixed carotenoid requirement (in addition to the beta-carotene that’s in my multivitamin), lycopene (10 mg) and lutein (50 mg).
Now I should mention that I’m not blindly following everything Dr. Weil has said. I have done some research into the pros and cons of the supplements I’m taking. Here’s the quick and dirty:
- Pros: Supports a strong immune system, regulates thyroid function, may help reduce the risk of some cancers and play a role preventing cataracts and heart disease
- Cons: May increase the risk of Type II diabetes. High intakes (over 400 mcg per day) can cause selenosis (symptoms of which include gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, fatigue and irritability)
- Pros: May prevent or delay coronary heart disease, reduce incidence of breast and prostate cancer, prevent cataracts or age-related macular degeneration and slow cognitive decline (i.e. delay the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s)
- Cons: In very high doses, it can interfere with the body’s ability to clot blood meaning it’s probably a no-no for people taking blood thinners.
- Pros: May prevent most types of cancer, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration and may successfully treat and/or prevent the common cold
- Cons: At high doses, can cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and other gastrointestinal disturbances. Possibly associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality for postmenopausal women with diabetes.
- Pros: May help to prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Also appears to reduce incidences of preeclampsia in pregnant women. May also help fight gingivitis. May reduce exercise-induced asthma
- Cons: Dangerous for people allergic to tomatoes. That is all. (So far, at least. Give science some time; they’ll come up with something)
- Pros: May reduce the risk of macular deterioration, skin diseases and cataracts.
- Cons: In a very low percentage of cases, causes slight headache when taken in supplement form. May increase risk of lung cancer.
So there. What does it all mean? At the very least, I shouldn’t get cataracts. *thumbs up*
I’m taking it all with a grain of salt. It seems everything we ingest comes with a lot of benefits and risks and sometimes both sides seem to carry equal weight. I mean my birth control could kill me (increases risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack and breast cancer), but it also has benefits (decreases PMS, acne, pelvic inflammatory disease and endometrial and ovarian cancer).
I’ve committed to trying out Dr. Weil’s formula for eight weeks. After that? Well, we’ll see where I’m at.
In the mean time, let’s all just take a nice deep breath and talk about Mini-Resolution #7: Practice breath observation, five minutes a day from Saturday, Jan. 9 to Friday, Jan. 15.
This ended up being more of a pain than anything else. My plan was to get in my five minutes before I fell asleep at night. Unfortunately, breath observation has a tendency to put me to sleep. Come to think of it, it’s basically been my lifelong method of falling sleep: just relaxing, clearing my mind and focusing on my breath.
So this didn’t do much for me. Occasionally, when I was still awake enough at the end of my five minutes to take notice, I did feel more relaxed, my heart rate slowed down a bit and I seemed to have gained a little distance from the things that had stressed me out most of the day.
This week I have to continue my breath observation, with an added breath-related activity that I’ll get into later. But I’m going to try to mix things up and do it first thing in the morning. Hopefully, I’ll be a bit more attentive then. We’ll see.
Finally, there’s Mini-Resolution #8: Buy flowers.
Dr. Weil seems convinced that simply being in the presence of flowers improves a person’s well-being exponentially. So do a lot of other people.
I’m reading a book by Bill Strickland, founder and CEO of the Manchester Craftmens’ Guild — an innovative non-profit agency in Pittsburgh which uses the arts to inspire success in inner-city teenagers. Mr. Strickland describes being so moved by an orchid that he spent years plotting and scheming to find funding to create a greenhouse at his Pittsburgh organization. That’s how passionately he felt that good things would come for him and the people he worked with just by being around these flowers.
I’m also working my way through Eckhart Tolle‘s book A New Earth in which he credits flowers with playing an essential part in the development of human consciousness since they were among the first things human beings came to value which served no utilitarian purpose.
Maybe I’m lacking something every other human seems to have.
Here’s my dilemma: I feel like buying flowers is wasteful. They only last for a few days and then die and it’s always kind of broken my heart to dump a vase of dead flowers in the garbage.
That leaves me with buying potted flowering plants to fulfill Dr. Weil’s recommendation. And the problem with that? I kill every potted plant I touch. Every last one of them. Guaranteed.
They freak me out. During the holidays, my boss brought in a lovely poinsettia for my office. It scared the bejesus out of me. Left in my incapable hands, a plant doesn’t stand a chance of lasting more than a week.
The orchid I bought for Nicholas which, I swear, shakes in horror every time I come within five feet of it.
Luckily, my fiancé has something of a green thumb. And luckily, he shares Bill Strickland’s fascination with orchids so I bought him one.
The orchid now sits on the desk in our living room so I am able to enjoy its splendour from a safe distance.
Although, I’ve got to admit I don’t feel particularly inspired by it. But Nicholas adores it and I adore him so I guess that adds to my overall sense of well-being after all, right?
And now, tally time!
Days to go: 340
Mini-resolutions to go: 251
Today, I begin Week 2 of Dr. Weil’s 8 Weeks to Optimal Health. I’ve got some new mini-resolutions to post which I’ll get to later today, I hope.
Then… maybe taking down that damn tree?
Wish me luck.