Monday, January 3, 2011

Health Philosophies, Bag Lady Style

The Bag Lady just read an online news article about a poll that reveals Canadians are deluded about how healthy we are. The article itself made the Bag Lady a little sad (she knows full well that she is overweight and not exactly healthy) but the comment section distressed her even more! So many of the commenters were busy making excuses, or comparing us to Europeans or Americans, or were complaining that the article was outdated/incorrect/something else; they seemingly ignored the whole point. We in the Western World (generalizing, of course) are unhealthy, and most of it can be blamed on over-consumption and inactivity.
The Bag Lady, naturally, has her own opinions on the reasons for the obesity epidemic, and has a myriad of solutions. Wanna hear them? Of course you do!

1. Stop making excuses.
2. Get off your ass.
3. Stop eating fast food, or those frozen things from the supermarket that contain not one ounce of real food, but are "only 275 calories!" Stop with the artificial stuff. Soda pop, artificial flavouring, sugar substitutes (reduce your sugar consumption, by all means, but if you have to sweeten something, use real stuff - not chemicals. You get enough of those in the "fresh" produce and other products you buy!) And reduce your sodium intake while you're at it.
4. Get off your ass.
5. Eat simple, nutritious food, prepared with your own loving hands in your own kitchen. (and NO, it's not more expensive than a burger at McD's - and doesn't take any longer than it does sitting in the drive-thru, choking on the exhaust fumes of the 4 gazillion other people who had the same idea at the same time!)
6. Include a variety of things - fresh veggies, lean meat, whole grains. It doesn't have to be fancy to taste good and be nutritious.
7. Get off your ass. And get your children off theirs, too.
8. Try growing a garden. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow simple veggies in a pot in front of a sunny window, or on your balcony. There are even urban gardens where you can rent a plot. At the very least, check out the farmer's markets.
9. Yeah, the Bag Lady lives in the frozen north, too - that's not an excuse.
10. Get off your ass.

Now, the Bag Lady also feels that people need to slow down a little, get more connected to the earth and take the time to educate themselves on where their food is actually coming from. She feels great pity for people who live in highly congested cities (which are jungles of concrete with no greenery and all traces of nature erased - in her imagination, of course, since she has never actually been in a really, really large city like New York, or Chicago, or any of those huge American cities..... although she has been in London, England, which qualifies as a really, really large city, doesn't it? But there was greenery there, so she is mostly talking typing just to hear see it herself and is probably pissing off a whole bunch of people who live in those big cities....) and don't get to connect with nature. (if you take out all the digressing in the parentheses, that sentence actually does make sense.)

Move more. You don't have to join a gym, or buy fancy equipment. Seriously, get off your ass, climb up on a stool and clean those damned light fixtures (err, yeah, the Bag Lady is talking to herself, what of it?) or on your hands and knees and scrub the floor. Take a walk, jog around the living room, do some stretching. Get moving. The more you move, the more you'll be able to move and the more you will want to move. The first step is often the hardest - after that, it gets easier. Sorta.

(This post has been brought to you by the Bag Lady's conscience and her unverbalized resolution to be healthier this year. Regular irregular posting will resume..... eventually.)


Leah J. Utas said...

Wise words, Bag Lady. We're so deluded we actually think fast food is fast, and that it's food.
Totally agree with the need to reconnect with the ground under our feet.

Marianne said...

Maybe what you need is a motivational partner? Sadly laughing our asses off seems to not be literal...

Reb said...

Hear! Hear! I am very choosy about where I spend my food budget, occasionally I will eat out, but I still try to pick the best that is out there. Not hard to do when allergies demand attention. I think I will try to grow some veggies this year.

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, cousin. We delude ourselves about a lot of things nowadays. We are a delusional nation.

Marianne - but laughter is good for the soul, at the very least! (hmmm, wonder how many calories are burned with a good belly laugh? Must research...)

Reb - good for you! Growing veggies is very rewarding, and it's surprising how many you can grow in a very small area!

solarity said...

LIke Reb, my allergies require me to cook from scratch a lot. When I do happen to eat something fast-foodish or processed, I can't understand why people think it tastes good. [Bag Lady, I think it would be healthier and tastier to eat some of your home-rendered lard with a spoon than some things I've tasted that were supposed to be a balanced diet.] My allergies also leave me tired much of the time, so it's a lot of effort to force myself to get moving. But if I want to keep using this body I have to. My grandmother who lived to 82 and was healthy up to the last month walked every day she wasn't too sick to get out of bed.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Mary Anne in Kentucky - I think it would be healthier and tastier to eat the paper my home-rendered lard is wrapped in than some of the processed things I've tried! I confess that my diet isn't always the healthiest (I have a weakness for deep-fried food, sadly) but I try to eat healthy stuff 90% of the time. And I try to move around a lot.... most days. We should all take a page from your grandmother's book - in fact, we'd all be better off if we tried to live a little bit more as our grandparents did!

Anonymous said...

I'm making homemade chicken pot pie tonight... um, sort of... the vegetables are frozen and the milk and cheese come from my fridge, but some of the other ingredients come from cans (although the pie crust will be from scratch). Like I said, it's sort of homemade. *sigh* But it will be served with plenty of romaine!
Also, I'm wiggling furtively in my chair... does that count as moving my azz? No?
Well, at least those of us here in the USA still have the upper hand on being delusional. You can't take it from us! We won't let you!

[If it makes you feel better, my husband is thinking of starting a healthy food and fitness blog next year, when he takes over as my personal chef and trainer.]

Sagan said...

Bag Lady, I adore you. And I love this post. We need more articles like this one for the world to see!

I spend Christmas with the boyfriend and his family - his parents live in a tiny little village near Dauphin, and what really struck me was the attitude we all had when we were out there. Small towns are so much more relaxed than cities - there are no rushes. Everything moves at a more comfortable pace, and I found that we all really ENJOYED ourselves - it was so good for the mental health. It's easy to lose perspective in a big city.

the Bag Lady said...

kcinnova - can I come to your house for supper? Home made chicken pot pie sounds goooood!! (And your hubby is going to be your personal chef/trainer?? Coooool!)

Sagan - thanks! I love you, too! We need more sensible young people like you in the world. My approach is probably too simplistic, but I am, after all, a simpleton. Err, wait... that didn't come out right.
I'm glad you enjoyed your Christmas! It sounds lovely.

Anonymous said...

HMMMM........don't see the "quit smoking" resolution!!!!!!!

Abby cuz

the Bag Lady said...

Damn - I broke a record breaking that one this year!!

Hilary said...

You're quite right about all of it, and of course there's more (as your cousin, Abby indicated) but I commend you for not telling Abby to get off your ass. ;)

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - baby steps, baby steps. Right? :)

JavaChick said...

Completely agree with you. So many people have a completely skewed view of what 'healthy' means, I am constantly amazed at the lack of common sense. Great post Bag Lady!

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, JavaChick! Simple is always the best way to go!

Geosomin said...

It's easier than it seems once you dive in. It wasn't until I slacked off over the holidays that I realised how eating well and being active has made such a difference in my life lately...and it takes so little extra time to do. I' feel so much better being back in the regular swing of things again...

I so wish I could have a garden...

messymimi said...

Exactly what the West needs. Move more, eat real food, watch where it comes from.

It's nice to live in an urban/suburban area that has lots of trees, and a creek, and pond, and a huge field where the kids can run.

Redbush said...

Hey, Bag Lady! That's just what I've been doing lately. Sitting on my ass in front of the bube toob of course. I'm guilty of making far too many excuses. I'm also guilty for liking my chips, pizzas, and fast foods. I know. It's a new year, so, I will have to get off my ass more, take the dogs for more walks, shovel more snow, but, I do like my salads! That counts! Ha! Great blog! You had me snorting!

Cheryl Kohan said...

Applause!!! I'm realllly trying to be healthier. It's not easy but it's doable.

There's a book called Food Rules by Michael Pollan. It's great...mostly common sense. He says you should avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce or that your grandmother wouldn't recognize!

And he calls processed foods "edible foodlike substances"!

You smoke????

MizFit said...

I feel as though youre telling me to git off my ass.

call me psychic.

the Bag Lady said...

Geo - perhaps your garden will materialize this year! :)

messymimi - it sounds like you live in the best of both worlds!

Redbush - I'm petty sure you didn't miss any of your workouts regardless of the celebrations! Those dogs keep you pretty busy, too.

Cheryl - I agree with Michael Pollan! I feel the same way about processed foods.
Smoking? (hanging head in shame) Who, me??

Miz - that cracked me up! ("Hey, you... yeah, you - the skinny one with the cut arms and tattoos! Get movin'!!")hahahahaha

Marste said...

Butbutbut . . . I can't blog if I'm off my ass! ;)

Seriously, I'll be so glad to get back to my dance classes next week. (I've been sick, so confined to the couch for a while.)

the Bag Lady said...

Marste - mobile blogging? :) Sorry to hear you've been sick - hope you're feeling better now!