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Written by Chit Juan
“You want to live to a hundred?” a friend asks? And I reply, “No, it’s quality of life I am looking for and wanting to maintain,” I say with a grimace. There still are people who are not convinced that life is short and to live it in pain is….painful. Not just for yourself but for family and loved ones who have to take care of you and have to spend time, money and resources to keep you going.
And so our mantra, among my friends in ECHOcafe and our regulars, is to eat well, and live well. Yes, we have the occasional Longganisa, Bagnet or even Corned Beef Hash (this has got to be my favorite canned food) but more often than not, we observe better eating habits and detox when we can.
We are not extremists or fundamentalists. We just eat to live well and eat to enjoy good company and good food. There is too much of news about friends who succumbed to a lifestyle disease or a relative fighting a terminal illness. Too much of friends recovering from a stroke and not being able to function normally. Too much of friends who leave their loved ones because of careless or reckless decisions—not seeing a doctor, not seeking medical help, self-medicating, etc.
Here’s our simple everyday rules on eating and living well:
1. Eat your fair share of vegetables everyday. A friend counts ten different kinds of vegetables. I can count 5 and add fruits.
2. Eat breakfast. A piece of good artisan bread (malaman, hearty and made with good flour) with peanut butter (lightly salted and unsweetened), brewed coffee without sugar or milk and a piece or two of fruit. Today I am having papaya and avocado (in season).
3. Eat meat sparingly. If you eat red meat today, skip the next three days or even five days.
4. Go easy on white rice. If you eat rice for lunch, skip dinner. Have a banana or a fruit shake (I freeze cubes of fruits like pineapple, dragon fruit, papaya, banana) and throw them in a blender for an icy shake).
5. Want eggs? Have them hard boiled or even fried and some toast but I don’t do it everyday now.
6. Eat chicken sparingly. Chicken must be organic or free range in the true sense of the word. Maybe do chicken one day, fish the next and vegetables most of the time.
7. If you must eat fish, eat sustainably. Avoid farmed fish though as they lack the omega 3 you are looking for.
8. See your doctor to check on your vitals and regular chemistry and heart check up.
Exercise. Any workout will do. But I find that walking is the best because it increases endurance for my type of work or retirement work—walking in airports, travelling through time zones and climbing mountains. I have to be able to catch planes or trains and I need endurance.
Sleep well. I am obsessive about getting enough sleep, my friends know my bedtime. I am for happy hours because I like to sleep early like 10 pm or at least before midnight. Try to get 7-8 hours of shuteye.
Power Naps. Close your eyes for ten minutes after lunch—in the car, in your seat, anywhere.
And most of all DE-STRESS. What good is eating well if you are stressed. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Eat well. Live well. It takes some effort to do it at first but after a few weeks, it becomes habit. And a lifestyle.