For those of you who don't know me personally, I have serious back and neck issues. I see my chiropractor regularly and have gotten many massages to help. Throughout the school year, my neck and back are AWFUL because I sit in a chair all day and have to look at a laptop/pieces of paper a lot. Then I have to come home and do the same thing! Once I got on this Health Starts Here 28-Day Challenge, my back and neck have felt much better. I've had a few moments of pain in my neck and lower back, but nothing long-lasting has happened yet. I haven't been more active or anything either; the weather has been so awful that I can't do anything active outside. My days have seriously been all about sitting, lying down, cooking and eating, which isn't too different from what I do during the school year. I believe that the omission of dairy has reduced inflammation in my muscles and is making me feel better.
I highly recommend that you start incorporating Health Starts Here principals into your diet. It could be one small thing or two big things. If you suffer from chronic pain somewhere in your body, try cutting dairy out for a couple weeks and see how you feel. Try eating WAY MORE VEGETABLES and cooking with new and interesting whole grains, too.
Every morning, I start with what the Health Starts Here packet calls a "breakfast porridge". It's basically like oatmeal, but you cook a different whole grain every day. So far, I've made rolled oats, quinoa and millet (I had quinoa two days in a row because I had leftovers). Tomorrow, I'm going to make some amaranth and hopefully later on I'll have some brown rice. You can use whatever spices, nuts, seeds and fruit you want to create a different flavor every time. The following list will help you make your own breakfast porridge from time to time. Just follow the cooking instructions for your grain on the package or look some up on the Internet, add your other ingredients and eat!
What you need (serves 1):
- 1/4 cup dry whole grain (quinoa, millet, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, oats, etc.)
- A bit of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, date paste - you make this by pureeing some dates with water in the food processor)
- About 1/3 cup fruit (apples, pears, berries, mangoes, etc.)
- Spices of your choice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla extract, etc.)
- Seeds and/or nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds without oil, sesame seeds, etc.)
- Soymilk, almond milk or coconut milk (you can cook the grain in this or stir it in when it's time to eat)
Another thing I've been doing is drinking a green drink for my afternoon snack. I drink two tall glasses every day and it fills me up really well! I have a Vita-Mix at home, which is seriously the best blender ever, but you could make these in a normal blender as well. Keep in mind that not all blenders are as big as mine, so you might want to scale the recipe back.
What you need (serves 3 - 6, depending on how much you drink):
- 3 - 4 cups baby spinach
- 3 - 4 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (if you have a Vita-Mix, leave the strawberry tops on)
- A small piece of peeled, fresh ginger
- 3 cups tropical juice blend, apple juice or water (100% juice only)
- 1 tall glass full of ice cubes
- 1 apple, cut into big chunks (only remove the core if you don't have a Vita-Mix)
- 1 cup frozen mangoes
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 cup frozen peaches
- 1 kiwi, peeled (add apple in a smoothie with kiwi; otherwise, it will be too tart)
- 1 avocado
- 1/3 of a medium-sized yellow squash
If you have any questions about Health Starts Here, how to cook various grains, making green smoothies, my life outside of the kitchen or something of that nature, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or go to www.wholefoodsmarket.com\healthstartshere. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel, follow this blog, follow me on Twitter (@MDchef_123) and tell your friends and family about Teens Can Cook, Too!