Health, Nutrition

Go Green

juicing characterVegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. —Jim Davis

I have a confession to make: I didn’t always eat healthy. There were times when I was thirty pounds heavier than I am today. Though we had fancy dinners with crystal and china every Sunday after church, we were often served Hamburger Helper, chicken pot pies, and frozen dinners. During junior high and high school, I would frequently have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of chips, and two Hostess cupcakes. I was involved in many sports and sometimes called “healthy” or “big-boned.” Growing up, my nickname was Shelly. Occasionally, kids called me “Shelly with the big, fat belly.” I prayed I would be as skinny as the models on magazine covers.

It wasn’t until I reached voting age and my high school sports were well past that I understood the affect food has on our bodies. Exercise and healthy eating are responsible for overall health and wellness. Yes, genetics plays a role. I’ll never be five eleven and a hundred and ten. For one thing, I like to eat. But I’ve figured out how to maintain my body weight and size for thirty years. Except for last year.

After having a hysterectomy to remove a four-inch tumor, I was feeling tired and had gained ten pounds. I knew all the tricks about how to lose weight but still didn’t know what to eat to fuel my body properly. I had become an international Zumba fitness presenter who had taught thousands of instructors from Australia to London and all over the United States, but I was worried my stamina had gotten up and run away.

So I tried something new: for one week, I ate mostly vegetables, and those were mostly raw. I had a palm-sized portion of fish, chicken, or venison every day, some healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil, nuts, and a small portion of complex carbs such as quinoa. My energy shot through the roof! I was back in the game. Unstoppable! I felt better than I had in years. My cravings for sweets diminished too.

If only for today, plan your meals around vegetables. We seldom eat enough of ’em, and yet the green stuff is the most nutrient-rich food with which we can fuel our bodies.

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9 Comments

  • Reply Pete Miller July 3, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I like raisins mixed with Pecans instead of Sugar Sweets…..Seems To Really Do the Trick for Me……It Doesn’t Take That Much either ……

    • Reply Shemane Nugent July 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Good idea! I love trail mixes! Sometimes I’ll throw in popcorn too!

  • Reply Miss Kitty July 4, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Shemane, First I want to wish you and your family a very Happy 4th. I want to let you know how much I am enjoying your Healthy Lifestyle tips. I have always had problems with sweets and it seems like it is getting worse. I stopped smoking 30 years ago and as hard as that was, to me sugar is the worse. But, I am fighting back but not easy just like anything else that is worth while. Guess I will stop babbling for now. But I do appreciate your healthy tips. Take care and God Bless you , Miss Kitty

    • Reply Shemane Nugent July 6, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      God bless you, Miss Kitty! I truly appreciate you taking time to respond here and thankful that my healthy living tips are resonating with many people.

      You must have read my mind! My blog this Friday will be about how to stay motivated to live a healthy lifestyle. Many people, (me!), have a difficult time avoiding sugary sweets – especially on holidays. All you can do is to take one day at a time and do the best you can. It’s important not to beat yourself up too much if you indulge on occasion. That’s why I teach Zumba fitness classes: I love to eat! But the more I workout, the less I eat bad food.
      Congrats on giving up smoking!! That’s huge!!
      Miss seeing you in my Zumba classes! We sure had fun, didn’t we?!

  • Reply CHERYL S. July 7, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks so much for your sharing with my email, the interesting stories you’ve told.
    You survived and made a success in life and that’s what matters. I wish you well this year.

    Were you well –just on the vegetable diet alone?

  • Reply Becky July 14, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    We are senior citizens here….and I think your strategy for energized health is right on. Unfortunately….my husband would rebel at raw veggies…..so we grill….all year long. And portion control is really important. We can’t even sleep now if I go to bed full.

    • Reply Shemane Nugent July 17, 2015 at 1:08 am

      Thanks for the comment Becky! It’s really important to figure out what works for YOU! Each of us are different, but that’s wonderful that you’ve determined what works for you! God bless!

  • Reply Shemane Nugent September 14, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    My pleasure! Thanks for your continued support!

  • Reply Shemane Nugent September 14, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Great! Thank you!! And good luck!

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