Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Get Healthy Bloghop

Good Health: The slowest way to die

I want to thank Stephen Tremp, L. Diane Wolfe, Michael Di Gesu, and Alex Cavanaguh for hosting this blogfest. Eating healthy and trying to live a  healthy lifestyle is something I feel very strongly about and I wish more people would take their health and diet more seriously. Most of what I'm going to say are things that people reading this blog already know, which is why I'll try to keep this short because YOU know what's good for you and what isn't. But what baffles me is despite this knowledge, many people still choose to eat foods that are destructive to their health and the environment. Why? Why do that to yourself? Is it a false sense of security in modern technology that makes you think if you get sick, there's a pill you can swallow that'll make everything all better? You have to know that in the long term this is crazy thinking. Right? On top of that, a lot of people who don't value their health are folks I know, they are people I care about, people I consider my friends, it may even be you and you know what? I'd like you to stick around for as long as possible and in the best possible condition. Seriously.

I grew up on a western diet, and having lived in the States for almost twenty years (I now live in France), I'm convinced that the western diet promotes obesety, lifestyle diseases, and puts the planet at risk. One of the problems is that people on a western diet eat too many animal products (by a factor of 10) and don't eat enough plants. Plus, they eat far too many calories than necessary, and most of these calories are absorbed from foods that promote diseases instead of preventing disease. While I'm mostly concerned about people living in the States, the trend is spreading world-wide and is showing up here in France. 

Bottom line, if you want to live longer, in a healthy body, and in a healthier environment, your eating habits must change. And for change to happen, you must make life changing decisions. Getting on a diet is not going to cut it because diets don't work. If you're serious about improving your health and leaving behind a postive impact, you must be willing to change your behavior and your philophy about food. I've made a lot of changes to my eating habits since moving to France. I buy organic (about 80-90% of everything I buy is organic), we have a vegetable garden, I don't own a microwave and haven't used one in over a decade (shocking I know, but you can survive without one).  I cook our meals and have reduced our consumption of red meat. Plus, we don't eat meat at night. Another important thing is EXERCISE. I just recently started exercising six days a week. Anyway, I'm not going to detail all the aspects of my eating habits because it's not perfect and I'm not perfect however, I will leave you with this one piece of  advice for those willing to change their eating habits and get healthy:


My steamer and cast iron skillet. 
It doesn't have to be fancy with a lot of buttons that'll eventually break down. Simple is best. A steam cooker is easy and versitile. I  make soups in it, cook vegetables in it, and use it to reheat the occasional dish. This is a picture of mine and I use it practically every daily. For cooking vegetables, all you do is put about 1/4 water in the bottom, place your vegetables in the basket on top, cover, and steam cook your food for a few minutes. Vegetables taste different when they are steamed--they taste good, they taste like vegetables! <===this is a good thing! 

Your health is important people. 
You are important. 
Get healthy.


  1. I agree! People eat way too many calories and too much meat. Here in the South, it's in every meal. Funny, whenever a country adopts our eating habits, the people become fat. Think that's a sign...
    Thanks for participating in our bloghop!

  2. I agree, we need to get back to natural foods. I wish I could hve a bigger garden. We have too many animals around and we grow a few vegetables and herbs in pots on our deck (we've still had animals climb up the full flight of stairs and over the child gate at the top to eat our vegetables) but for now that's all we can do.

  3. I'll do better in the future. I need to; I'm diabetic.

  4. Alex: Eating meat every day, in every meal, is insane.

    Sara: We all just need to do the best we can with what we got. Growing vgetables on your deck is better than nothing. And if your animals are that determined to eat them, then they must be good! (:

    Richard: Please, please do Richard. Your health is so important.

  5. I am a fan of steamers too. I have a really simply affair that sits on top of a regular pan, I throw all my veg into the steamer, together usually. Cook over a pan of potatoes if you are having them because it then saves energy too!

  6. Yes! Too much meat. Everyone thinks they need all this protein, when the body needs less then 10% of calories to be protein. You can get that from veggies and beans. As I vegan, I get asked that all the time, and I tell people that all of the soy products I eat in a day probably contain even more than I need.

    Don't even get me started on the Western diet...

  7. It takes a very focused person to maintain weight and to make healthy choices but you show that it can be done.

  8. My husband and I eat red meat only occasionally and we've gotten much better at cooking more of our meals at home. We used to do a lot more takeout. Now, when we do takeout, it's usually about once a week and no longer our default meal.

  9. A wonderful post to read with some helpful hints.
    Thank you.


  10. i have two steamers: one of bamboo, the other, that stainless steel expanding thingy that accomodates various pot sizes...

  11. Suzanne: Aren't they great! I need to look into getting one that fits over a pan . . .

    Diane: LOL. Though I could never be vegan myself, I absolutely agree with you about the amount of protein people need. (:

    Denise: I'd say it's easier in France because there is less temptation here than in the US. But when people put their mind to something, there isn't much they can't do. (:

    Madeline: Sounds like you guys are on the right track. (: We limit the number times we eat out too. We usually only go out about once every couple of months. Usually for a special occasion.

    Yvonne: You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by. (:

    Lawolf: Which do you like better?

  12. Yep, so many just shove whatever they want in their gut and think a pill will solve their issues. Food is the number one cause of every disease going, but do you ever hear that? Nope! Stupid gluten, fluoride and Bromide s*** in food/water, along with all the pesticides and hormones screw with your body a ton. Dairy too, isn't as good as they try and make you believe. People need to take the blinders off and wise the **** up. End rant lol

  13. Our diet improved dramatically when we moved to New Zealand nearly 10 years ago. This is really good information here. Thanks.


  14. Hi Elise - loved steam veggies .. though I cook them now for a very short time .. not cooking for family ... I do eat healthily thank goodness .. and am cutting right back on the few not so good foods I used to indulge in .. eg cheese ...

    I note you said you open your windows as you're in the country .. fresh air is essential and we often forget .. cheers Hilary

  15. All good advice although if I lived in France, there would be a lot of temptations - as I read your blog I was thinking of paté de foie gras for some reason. We don't eat out very often, special occasions only. We rarely have any kind of takeout, maybe twice a year. We both cook and I too am diabetic so keep an eye on what I eat all the time.


  16. Love your tips! We grow some of our own veggies during the summer too, and the benefit for us is that my kids and my husband eat more veggies when we grown them.

  17. Totally agree, Elise, and think it's so important to eat fresh fruits and vegetable on a daily basis. Getting rid of the microwave is, honestly, something I've never thought of but could really help in cutting down on the processed foods.

    Thanks for sharing your tips and stay healthy! :)

  18. Oh, what a wonderful post, Elise! I like the idea of getting a steamer. I don't have one of those! Being healthy is extremely important to me---to the point that I have to remember not to obsess over it. It's a balance for me!

  19. Good points, Elise! I don't have a steamer--I'm going to have to look into that :)

  20. In the U.S.A. we have traded health for convenience. I eat the way my farming mother did and it's proved successful for all her kids over the years. I'm glad as a nation there is a new movement for more natural and organic foods as well as more tiny (in So.Cal.) backyard gardens. Thanks for the tip. We like our veggies steamed or raw.

  21. Good for you. I don't know what's wrong with us in the states, but we don't eat for nutrition or survival. Eating is a pastime , an event, a social event. My husband has been really ill for the past year and it is getting worse so we are FINALLY taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. We've started exercising and grilling chicken and fish. The kids, surprisingly, haven't complained. Now, if we tossed the microwave, we'd have a riot on our hands. Great post.

  22. We eat tons of raw veggies, but now I'm inspired to get a steamer :)

  23. I'm always amazed at the people nowadays who insist that being hugely overweight is healthy, even saying they don't believe in obesity. Yes, your doctor is just "fat-shaming" you when s/he says it might not be such a good idea to be pregnant while morbidly obese. You're really so much healthier than people who aren't 150 pounds overweight. I admit I've had issues with weight myself, but being 10-20 pounds over one's target weight every so often is a lot different from someone who's morbidly obese! Granted, the BMI isn't such an accurate measure of weight. One of the trainers at my gym is considered obese by his BMI, though he's not fat at all. He's just very tall and has a lot of muscle mass.

  24. Eat to Live, not Live to Eat.

  25. Bravo and I second all your points. I grew up in the southern US and had to change my diet when I came to Canada.

    I have always tried to do some type of fitness, but when both kids were little, I failed for a few years. Then hubs changed jobs and lost 40 lbs. It was a wakeup call for me to get into shape too - so back to fitness I went. It helped having a co-worker who needed a motivator (she said I motivated her). Having injuries from an accident forced me to continue.

    Great tips, Elise!

  26. I use my steamer all the time (well, Hubby does - he's the cook), and we don't have room in our tiny kitchen for a microwave :-) It's so easy to fall into bad eating habits, much harder to get out of them. Your diet now sounds lovely - I wish I had more money to afford organic.

  27. Great tip! I have a steamer basket that I cook veggies in. It was maybe $6 and I use it all the time. :) I do have a microwave but I rarely use it. I honestly think that things taste better when cooked/heated on the stove top or in the oven.

  28. hmmm, I now must get a steamer immediately lol
    I eat a lot of veggies but never thought about how much easier it would be with a steamer, thanks :D

  29. People tend to just grab whatever and eat. It takes time and planning to eat healthy. It has to be a choice and a lifestyle.

    I choose organic and I grow veggies. What I don't grow, I can get from a close friend who grows a huge organic garden. I do eat meat and like it but my red meat, when I eat it, is smaller portions. I probably eat more poultry than anything else and it's my favorite. My husband and I eat quite a few stir fry dinners--heavy on the vegetables and light on the meat.

    I've had to make healthy choices. I can't eat processed foods--too many additives that make me sick or makes me feel bad. When you can't use boxes of whatever it reduces what you can eat. It also takes time to cook from scratch. I do have a microwave but there are foods I don't like the taste of after being warmed up. I tend to steam a lot. I need a new steamer. Mine's worn out.

    Nice article Elise!


  30. I read a book written by an American gal who married a French man and moved to France. She said her in-laws were constantly aghast by the sheer quantity she ate. I believe that and believe I'm guilty as charged. Thanks for the reminder it really doesn't take that much food.

  31. I've never heard of Hsing-I, I will have to look into it!

    I love your positive message- not just get healthy, but the self-affirmation that we are worth getting helthy so we can live long lives. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

    I have steam cokker but I almost exclusively cook rice in it, I should try the veggie setting. And I agree with you about the western diet!

  32. Good information, Elise. I use the microwave waaaaay too often. Never thought about the benefits of a steam cooker.

  33. I am all about stir fry, but I don't use all the sauce! Yes, steaming is good.
    I think if we moved more and ate less-it would be a great start~
    I'm off to catch my for it, then go pick veggies from my garden.
    Maybe returning to my roots will help!
    Great post

  34. I think a lot of it is political. Big companies pay govt to overlook the welfare of the people for financial considerations.


  35. I also cook everything on steam, and the main problem with Western diet is that they eat too much refined, processed, industrial food. I don't think that I've ever seen a Western recipe which doesn't include at least one processed or artificial ingredient instead of having just plain natural fresh produce.

  36. I have definitely gained weight since moving back to the states from Asia. I kind of expected it. I have been catching up on all the meals I've missed since living overseas. But, I gave myself 6 months and 6 months is up on June 5. Time to get back in shape.

  37. Hi, Elise. Lots of good points in your post. People need to eat healthier. I haven't used my steamer in awhile, but I think I'll have to pull it out and dust it off.

  38. The western diet certainly creates its share of health problems. Steamed food is a great idea and it tastes good too!

  39. Pat: I agree with your rant, Pat. Unfortunately, the food industry spends a lot of money to keep people in doubt and in the dark about a lot of things. ):

    Rhonda: Thanks Rhonda. It must have been interesting see the differences in diet once you moved to NZ. (:

    Hilary: Oh,'s my weakness too. lol (:

    Jo: Funny thing about living in France is that despite all this amazing food, the temptation is far less than in the States or other countries. Part of it is price and tradition. It's expensive which is why most French people only eat things like foie gras and fancy pastries for special occasions.

    Tyrean: I just love going out into the garden in the summer and picking off cherry tomatoes or grapes and eating them fresh off the vine. And there's nothing better than watching my kids do the same. (:

    Mark: Getting rid of the microwave for some is almost impossible, lol. But if you don't use it often, then I'd say get rid of it and use the space for something else. (:

    Morgan: Finding that balance can be tricky. I just tell myself that at home I try to provide the best quality of food. But, we do enjoy eating with friends and eating out once in a while. It's not all organic, but for us, it's a good balance.

    Meradeth: Thanks Meradeth, a steamer is great, I think you'll like it. (:

    Jenn: "In the U.S.A. we have traded health for convenience." I'll agree to that. What's scary is that it's no longer a US phenomenon. ):

    Melissa: I'm so glad you guys are moving toward a healthier lifestyle, you will all benefit from it and it's a great example for the kids. (:

    Johanna: Raw veggies are so good for you. My kids actually like eating zucchini raw, cut into thin slices. I think you'll enjoy the steamer. (:

    Carrie-Anne: The BMI isn't perfect that's for sure. I often wondered if there are variations among different countries as to what is considered 'normal' body weight.

    Melanie: Exactly. (:

    DG: It's always motivating when you can pair up with someone to get in shape. And when a spouse gets involved all the better. I'm sure you both feel so much better since getting back onto a fitness program. (:

    Annalisa: Organic food is more expensive compared to non-organic. But it's a choice we made years ago to buy the best quality food for our family. And because our food bill is high, we've had to sacrifice other things. But, there are ways to find organic at a reasonable price. For example, we go directly to the farm to get our meat and it's competitively priced when you buy in bulk. I understand that not everyone lives close to a farm where they can buy their food directly, but my point is you may just need to hunt around for out-of-the-way places that sell organic at a reasonable price.

    Sus: Best $6 ever spent! I should get a small steamer basket for the small stuff too... (:

    SK: A simple steamer is great and easy to use. Thanks for stopping in. (:

    Sia: Unfortunately I think you're right. Too many people choose convenience over health. And the thing is, being healthy is not that difficult or time consuming. But it sounds like you've made some very healthy lifestyle choices. (:

    Julie: Our perspective does change when we visit other countries. I always notice how much bigger everything seems to be when I come back to the States. From the food portions to the cars, parking spaces, people. . .

    Beverly: A rice cooker would be nice, I often overcook it. Hsing-I is a type of kung fu. It isn't taught anywhere close to where I live. ):

    Joy: If you get the chance, get a simple steamer. Easy to use, easy to clean, great for cooking veggies. (:

    Ella: I don't do enough stir fry. Returning to your roots is definitely a step in the right direction! (:

    Mood: Without a doubt. There's also the addition of addictive ingredients (eg. MSG)that the food industries puts into foods to make the consumers eat/buy more.

  40. Dezmond: I absolutely agree, too much industrial food. You may be able to find recipes with all natural products if they're dated pre-1940.

    sydneyaaliyah: I gain weight every time I go back to the States for a visit. Good luck on making June 5 a new beginning!

    Susanne: Hi Susanne, thanks for stopping in and enjoy your steamer! (:

    M.J. It sure does, but it doesn't have to be if only people would go back to natural foods more. Love my steamer!

  41. Hi, Elise,

    YOU are SOOOO right! Westerners definitely have the worst diet. My grandparents were from Europe and they ate very differently. ORGANIC is the way to go. Sadly it is SO expensive here and many of us don't have the luxury of land to grow our own veggies. I hope to have a home soon, so I may be able to do just that.

    PROCESSED foods are SO loaded with chemicals and what not that there is really no nutritional value AND our bodies cant process the chemicals, making us sick in return.

    NOT ME... NOT ANYMORE. It isn't difficult once you learn to live with it. OF course I miss the DELICIOUS, fatty garbage, BUT I have grown to enjoy nature at its best.

    Thanks so much for your passionate post .... You added so much to this HOP!

  42. My husband's family are beef farmers, so when we got married, I ate a lot of beef. Came to find, red meat completely did a number on my stomach because it has an enzyme that irritates my colon(TMI!!!...I have irritable bowl, so it doesn't take make to make it fussy). So, I only eat it once a week and I feel a whole lot better. Now, if only I can break the chocolate addiction...

  43. americans love convenience & flavor, huge problem. we really need more plants in our diet!
    but its up to parents to get their kids into liking the good stuff, not the government, cause we are stubborn, too!
    i am all for removing junk food from schools, thats a great place to start!

    great discussion opener!

  44. Cicadas are low in fat, high in protein, and I hear they taste quite delicious. I think cicadas are the healthiest thing I could recommend for you to eat Elise. I'm sure you are in a position to recognize this advice.

  45. Hi Elise, I emailed you in order to chat more about this....hope that is okay...I used the email address in your profile (the falling witch)...hope to hear from you. Thks.

    Reader and lost girl

  46. Thankfully, I'm not as bad an eater as I could be. I always eat a home-cooked meal every day. I still could use some reform, though. You're so good about eating healthy!

  47. My eating habits have changed so much I don't even recognize myself. I'm a different dragon altogether. Excellent post, dear Elise and that has to be the coolest badge I've seen. :D

  48. Hi Elise, chasing the last healthy hop before I start on the Wip-It! Totally agree with you, I find my brothers diet in rural France much healthier, and when we go to rural Italy it's even better (less cheese, more tomatoes!)
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe


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