Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Healthy Happenings

Lately I've been indulging in all sorts of very healthy food. The healthiest food there is, according to science. Do you know what that is?

Happy Food!

Food that is fun, made with love and eaten in a relaxed atmosphere with good company. For example, this sandwhich, eaten on the deck with The Programmer, who made a surprise lunchtime visit. He was probably attempting to bust me lazing around watching Crime TV now that studies are over for the year (I move quick).

I've read a lot of research on health and longevity and noticed that most 'diet and exercise' books miss something molto importante. The longest lived and healthiest people don't just eat an unprocessed diet and keep moving. As The Okinawa guys found,  health and longevity tends to occur within a strong social network that doesn't habitually 'do stress'.  This is the forgotten factor, and the thing which attracted me to Health Psychology. 

I'm not saying that a strong social support system will give you immunity to steady diet of hamburgers, but I do think that there is not much healthy about a supreme diet and strategic exercise plan if it only adds to the stress of daily life or isolates you at meal times. Your health and fitness habits should buffer the stresses of life, not add to them.

In order to really healthy, it may also be necessary to deal to life's stressors directly. In my case, I struggled with implementing my health and fitness plans and battled daily fatigue until I took action as regards a horribly stressful working situation. Closing my laptop and walking out was a radical and terrifying move, but also one of the best things I ever did for myself. Health is a synergy of factors which must be present in the right quantities - just like..... baking a cake.

Which is what I did yesterday. Maybe you can guess which cake it was and why I made it?

Here are some clues:

Result: Happy Food, a happy birthday to Mamasana and an encore blog appearance of Death by Chocolate.  For certain, there are worse ways to go than with a face full of chocolate heaven. 

I balanced it with a killer Bodyrock session before and an equally killer green smoothie this morning. 

A question for you: what part does happiness play in your health and fitness plan?


  1. Yum yum YUM! That cake looks fab! I loved this post as I also feel that the mind/spirit component of overall wellness is often overlooked. I only recently started meditating but it has made such a difference in how I feel! I also know that mental and emotional wellness goes hand in hand with health and fitness for me. I definitely had to work through all my emotional muck in order to make peace with food and stop binging, etc. When I become happier- with myself, my life, etc.- I started treating myself with more kindness and started enjoying little things in life. Happiness means being able to appreciate a good workout, fully engaging in the process of creating a delicious meal from start to finish, and recognizing when my body needs a break and honoring that. :)


  2. Doing things because I should, rather than because I want to, tends to leave me feeling resentful, deprived and envious of those who are doing whatever I think I'm missing out on. And of course, it never sticks - life becomes an ongoing struggle to "stay on the wagon", and the inevitable falls to the wayside pile guilt and self-loathing on top of all the other negative feelings.

    Result: A constant state of low-level anxiety and general dissatisfaction with life.

    But CHOOSING to live a healthy life, and ensuring that I can work in some chocolate, a glass of wine and some lounging on the couch watching trash TV, makes it easy to eat well and exercise regularly.

    It's partly mental attitude (the hard part) and partly coming up with a balanced plan that will achieve my goals without making me crazy.

    Well, crazier,, anyway.

  3. Yes, I'm on a mission to have everyone try the Death by Chocolate cake! You haven't really lived otherwise. :D
    I've only really just got the hang of this 'body/mind' balance thing. For some reason, I used to think that if I really got it together with eating and exercise, that my life would be perfect. I think this is partly to do with the books I read, all of which made it sound that if you just did what they said, then everything would magically be wonderful, in every way. Hmmm.. not quite.

  4. Oh my. Every time I see this cake on your blog, I die a little bit inside. It looks amazing.

    I absolutely agree with you that food and exercise are just 2 pieces of the puzzle. Being healthy also means loving people, laughing, learning new things, being passionate about life and having support during hard times.

  5. I know.. seriously, I'm a terrible influence, aren't I? (bwahahaha, mission accomplished! Cakeify the world!)

  6. I may have to make a Death by Chocolate cake for my birthday. Lord knows, nobody else is likely to bake me a cake.

  7. It's not hard to bake either. The first one I did was a bit nicer, I think the trick is not to overdo the baking soda (so it is more sticky than poofy) and do not overcook it. I slightly overcooked mums one.
    It's worth it. Plus, make it yourself and you can hide it in the freezer. It works very nicely from the freezer (so high in fat it does not really freeze..) :D I would totally make you one if I was there. Don't think it would travel well by airmail though...

  8. "Your health and fitness habits should buffer the stresses of life, not add to them."

    oh man that is gold! so freakin' wise :)

    no excuse me while i stare at the cake pics some more :D

  9. Don't just stare, go and MAKE ONE! :D If only cake grew in gardens, and was a vegetable... that would be in ideal world...

    Thanks for compliment on my wise-ness. I thought it might have all gone away when I got lasik. xx

  10. Agreed, it's all about balance in all areas of life! And that cake looks yummy!


I love to hear from you! Tell me what's in your brain, your heart or your dinner plate :D.