WritersButt — Nutrition Basics

Hello-Hello my wonderful WritersButt friends.  How are you doing? How are you feeling?  We are two weeks into this journey. If you’ve been participating in the challenge, you should be getting acclimated to the changes you’ve made to your routine.  Your body should be adapting to getting 100 oz of water daily and perhaps you’re making fewer trips to the bathroom. You may have experienced some sore muscles this week from all those push-ups. I know I did! If you’ve kept up with your gratitude journal, you should be recognizing things during your day, which immediately resonates with you, and you experience a grateful moment.

I found the image below from a great site called Creative with Kids – check out another take on the gratitude journal and linking it with creativity.


~~  We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle ~~

They say that it takes 21 days to create a habit. 3 weeks. For this reason, I’m going to force encourage you to continue to drink your 100 oz of water daily and still work on your gratitude journal this week. Before you celebrate the fact that I didn’t mention potty squats or push-ups, I’m not DONE yet.  You are going to work out this week. Stop groaning! I’m going to change it up a bit for you and not make you do something every time you go to the bathroom.  No more squatting or doing push-ups at Starbucks!  Woo!  You’ll be doing fewer ‘mini-workouts’ throughout the day, but I’m going to increase the intensity a bit. I’ll explain below, it’s going to be great.

I promised you a nutrition post this week so let’s get to it.

 (Delaney very happy with the contents of our first Greenling Box)

Here’s the deal guys, we all have a body and we demand a lot from that body, physically, emotionally and cerebrally. Our body is our machine, our vehicle, for everything that we do. Our nutrition, everything we consume, is the fuel we are giving our body to run on.  It makes sound sense that we would offer our body the highest quality fuel so that it will perform at its best.

I like to make the analogy of a car. I bet the majority of us own a car. Whether it’s a sports car, a pick-up truck, or a mini-van, it needs gas and oil to run. (For simplicity’s sake, let’s keep electric cars out of picture for a moment.) If you put watered-down gas into the tank (lacking nutrients!), your car will suffer. If you put gas in the car that has been altered significantly to make it cheaper to make and cheaper to purchase (processed junk!), your car will get clogged up with all that crap. If you don’t keep oil in your car and keep it fresh (quality fat), it will struggle and poop-out on you. (I’m not even going to say anything about poop-out – you’re welcome!)

It is the same thing with the food and drinks you consume.  The better quality nutrients you feed your body, the better your body will perform for you. For today, I’m not going to go into a long, detailed explanation on which foods are bad for you and specifically why.  I will save those closer examinations of the biggest culprits for later posts.  But here is what I will tell you … keep your food as close to its original state as possible. What this means is that you should try very hard to stay away from processed foods.

You might immediately think, candy and other sweets, soda, etc. and you’d be right.  But there is a plethora of products out there marketed as being healthy, whole foods and they aren’t! Read the labels.  If the ingredient list is long, like over 5 ingredients, that’s a red flag. If there are ingredients on the list that you can’t pronounce or you aren’t certain what it is … red flag!

If you regularly feed your body crap, you can’t expect it to feel better than crappy.  Sorry!

Keep it simple!


Found an image from NaturaLife – another great article about why this plate is better than the government designed one.

The healthiest diet is one that consists of healthy proteins (lean meats and eggs), complex carbohydrates (veggies and fruit) and good quality fats (raw nuts, olive and coconut oils, avocados, etc.).

What you did not see on that list were grains. And, I’m not going to tell you that you’re now allowed to eat them. (Right now, my good friend Julie O’Connell is thrilled I’m not confiscating her toast.) But I will suggest that a diet without these simple carbs (breads, pasta, cereals, rice, crackers, chips, tortillas, sugars!) is healthier for most people.  Some people can handle some whole grains. Some can’t. It’s a matter of controlling your insulin response and processed grains can set your insulin levels off on a roller coaster ride.  Another week, I will blog in more detail about what processed grains might be doing to your body, such as inflammation & bloating, acerbating allergies, acne, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. For now, I’d like you to be aware that they may not be healthy for you and it might be worth it to you to cut back on them.  🙂

Did you know there are some foods that literally are power foods or brain fuel? Cool right? Much research has been done that suggests that certain foods will help keep your brain sharp. I found this great little article on Gaiam Life about the Top 6 Foods that Boost Brain Power. I encourage you to read the whole article but the gist of it is:

“…foods that promote healthy brain function are rich in healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), inflammation-reducing B vitamins and disease-fighting antioxidants.”

The article’s list of the top 6 foods for brainpower is a Rock-Star list of food. And, this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a great start. I’m going to list them below but go to the article to read the explanations of each food and why it’s such a powerhouse.

  1. Salmon
  2. Eggs
  3. Almonds
  4. Blueberries
  5. Dark greens
  6. Green tea or coffee (YES!)

So what’s your challenge this week? Thank you for asking Go-Getter! I have a few things I want you all to do this week. I’m going to break them down.

–Ongoing daily: 100 oz of water and 3-5 gratitudes in your journal every night.

–Nutrition: I would like you all to really be hyper-aware of what you are eating. The best way to do this is to keep a food-log. Do I hear complaining? Just stop it! Keeping a food-log will make you very cognizant of each thing you ingest. Even 3 typical days is enough to examine what sort of FUEL you are feeding your body. You will be able to see if it’s quality. Is it boosting your brainpower? Is it making you sluggish? Are you crashing every afternoon — something in your food journal might show why. This is not about seeing how many calories you’re eating or for any purpose of weight loss. (Although if that is an issue for some of you, your food journal will tell me ways you can refine your diet to help in that area too!) This is truly about seeing if you’re putting watered-down, processed-crap gas in your car (body!) and then expecting it to run you around town, take care of your children, do all your chores, be a cheerful and considerate spouse, CREATE STORIES, concentrate and solve world peace.  You’re not a robot with a battery you can change out.  You are a human being who craves quality fuel to function at your best in everything you do!  SO—at least 3 days in a food journal. (Hey, you can use your gratitude journal!!)

–Fitness: Instead of working out each time you go to the bathroom, I’m going to challenge you to take two breaks during the day (this whole week) for a mini-workout. You get to choose the time for your workout.  I suggest after you’ve been sitting/inactive for a long time, or before you plan to sit for a long stretch.  I bet you’ll know when you need this break and a little shot of endorphins.

The workout is:

3 rounds of:

10 squats

10 push-ups

*This means you will squat 10 times (use a low stool, a low chair/bench, no stool if you can keep your form correct) and then 10 push-ups (using whatever modification you need to) and then repeat 2 MORE times.  You will get 30 squats and 30 push-ups when you’re finished.  This will not take a long time.  For kicks, I’m going to stop typing right now and do this and tell you how long it takes me.  Don’t go anywhere!

~~picture Ginger knocking out mini-workout next to desk with Gia the Wonder-Schnauzer watching ~~

Whew, done!  It took me 1 minute and 7 seconds.  Seriously, just over 1 MINUTE!  Not too much to ask, right?  Now, I’ve got one under my belt and I’ll do another one later.

This WILL feel harder than the 10 potty squats or the 5-10 push-ups I’ve asked of you.  But it will take you less than 2 minutes, twice a day. I don’t know a single person who can’t spare 4 MINUTES out of their day for their fitness. Totally Doable!


100 oz water a day

3-5 written gratitudes a day

3-day food-journal

2 mini-workouts a day

BONUS:  I really think doing the food journal is important. It’s not fun but it will give you information that is vital.  To encourage you to do this, I’m offering to personally go through someone’s journal.  In the comments next week, tell me that you completed the challenge and I will randomly choose one of you and you can email me your log and I’ll go through it and give you my feedback. Remember, at least 3 ‘typical’ days, not just random days chosen in which you were really ‘good’.  ~grin~ The more honest and complete the journal is, the more it will tell me.

Don’t forget that we can chat on our WritersButt Facebook Page, and on Twitter using the hashtag: #writersbutt.

That’s it peeps!!  Have a GREAT week!!


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on January 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Up until now, I’ve resisted keeping a food journal. Drat, Ginger. I’ll do it.

    Thanks for this post.

  2. Drink water, blah, blah, blah, eat more veggies, blah, blah, blah. You’re no fun at al any more, Ginger!

    I’m kidding of course. You’re blogs are very uplifting and encouraging. As I mentioned earlier today, I’ve been going to the gym 3 days a week for 3 weeks now but have yet to notice any major changes, except I can do a little more weight on the machines for my legs. Not my arms yet, but I’m getting there. I’m so incredibly out of shape and have no upper body strength whatsoever. So, as I approach 50, the half-way point of my life, I’m working on my toning and ability to walk up more than 1 flight of stairs without being winded. My stamina needs lots of improvement.

    Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, I have been drinking my 100 oz, or more of water every day, drinking my green tea (in iced form even though it’s freezing outside), and being more conscientious of what foods go into my mouth. So, let’s hope there’s marked improvement soon.

    Keep the advice coming!

    • I love that plate, Ginger!

      It’s much better than the one the health service here recommends. Tonight I had baked salmon fillet with ginger, juice of a fresh lime and sprinkled with chilli flakes. I had it with oven roasted peppers, courgettes and red onion. With a cup of white tea (I prefer it to green).

      My issue is with sugar. If I can find a way to stop sugar cravings once a month, I will be a very happy bunny.

      • Yep, isn’t that plate WAY better? I couldn’t agree more.

        That dinner sounds extremely delicious.

        OH, you know you’re not alone with sugar cravings. Those are tough! I have found that adding in a bit more fat (healthy sources) can help with the sugar cravings. A few nuts, a spoonful of almond butter, can often get you past that, I need a THIN MINT right NOW! 🙂

        Also, in terms of the ‘once a month’ occurrence, I have found that the months where I’m super strict with my diet, that time of month I have very few cravings and other symptoms are less if there at all. But, when I’ve been not doing very well with my diet, I crave like crazy and all sorts of other unpleasant side effects.

    • You crack me up! I can be fun, just do what I say. haha!!

      Sounds like you’re doing great. Keep up with the weight-training. Also, if you keep up with the push-ups, your upper body strength will improve. One day, 5 is hard … the following week, you’ll be up to 10. Your muscles will adapt, recover (this is when they get stronger/grow) and then you’ll be able to push them harder.

      Also, pushing yourself in shorter/intense weight workouts will absolutely improve your metabolic condition. It sounds weird but you don’t need to spend more and more time on cycling/elliptical etc to gain that endurance. Focusing on doing shorter/heavier weight training (even body weight) will increase your body’s endurance at the slower speed.

      • Oh, Ginger. I like your advice so much better than my husbands. He keeps telling me to run faster and longer! Like that’s gonna happen. I told him I don’t need to run, I have a gun. I do need to be strong however, in the event f unexpected hand-to-hand combat, I need to be stronger than I am.

        Thanks for the encouragement.


  3. I love that coffee is on your list! I’m doing yoga three days this week and a brisk 3 miles walk one.

    • Yep, I do love my coffee or a cup of tea. Yoga and walking are great! Try to add in some of the body weight stuff we’re doing too to promote lean muscle growth. Thanks so much for commenting.

  4. A food journal is really helpful for pinpointing those problem foods. Excellent suggestion, Ginger. A few years ago, we had to totally change the way we were eating. A food journal would’ve pointed out all the problems foods we were eating before we had a health crisis.

    Great post, Ginger. Thanks!

    • Sheila, thanks so much for your comment. You are absolutely right … seeing right in front of you what you put into your body is telling, literally, right? So often we slip in a little of this and a little of that and don’t really ‘count’ it, but all those little taste and choices add up and something to big problems, like you mention, a health crisis.

  5. The right food is key. Our personal decision is to go totally organic be it vegetable or meat. According to many reports chemical fertilizer destroys up to 70 to 90 percent of the vitamins in the food on which it is applied. Not surprising given the corrosive nature of pesticides and their indiscriminate destructive effects on any organism in connection to them. IMO, petroleum distillates (pesticide chemical basis) which are designed to attack the central nervous system of an insect does not belong in the human liver. Over the years trace amounts add up. Meanwhile, we all know people who eat whatever they want and live to be a hundred. Having said that, my regimen includes loads of raw greens coupled with a majority of vegetable proteins and occasional meat. I prefer soy milk to regular skim milk, but like to mix the two. Plenty of water. I seldom EVER touch liquor. Haven’t had so much as a beer in three years. Just don’t care about it. Coffee — nah. I’m so pure I make myself sick.

    • Hi Roy! Thanks for stopping by. You are spot on with the organic products! I’ll be discussing this very thing in a post too. It does seem perplexing and even unfair that some people can eat anything and everything and live to be 100. We never know what our body can handle. That said, a little part of me always wonders that in those 100 years, were they still feeling the best they could feel? Maybe. I don’t know. That’s when we get into quality of life and what you’re body to do physically, etc. (I bet we’re on the same page for this one!) 😉

      Your diet sounds really good. Hey, one thing … look into that soy milk. It has a lot of estrogen in it (why it’s frequently linked to studies about menopause) and not recommended for men. (my husband won’t touch it!!) I even discourage my female clients from too much soy because the estrogen inhibits fat-loss, especially in the mid-section. (Picture a vegan or vegetarian who gets much of their protein from soy products but can’t seem to get rid of that ‘pooch’.) Have you tried coconut or almond milk? Really good and packed with healthy fat.

      Good for you avoiding alcohol. That’s really good. I can’t say the same. I do love me some wine! 🙂 And … “So pure I make myself sick” …. very funny!!!

      Sorry for the long reply. Probably way more info that you didn’t ask for. haha!

  6. Ginger – thanks once again for an inspiring post. And for your easily integrated activities. You know over the last few years I’ve noticed that grains “do something” to me (like put me to sleep in the afternoon if the bread roll was too big at lunch time). I’m looking forward to the post you do on that. I’ve never seen a “plate” chart for food before – but I love that one, I can actually see it happening.

    • Thank you! I have to tell you, your profile picture looks so much like one of my aunts that whenever I see it, I want to call out, “Hi Aunt Margie!” 😉

      Aw, yes, that illusive ‘something’ when you eat grains. You’ve noticed something very important, and that fatigue response is common! Like I said, I’m going to do a full blog post on this but in the mean time, check out this link: http://360healthandfitness.com.au/2011/09/the-negative-effects-of-grains-on-the-modern-diet/

      Doesn’t that plate just put it into a great visual perspective? I love it too because it helps show people that it can really be that simple!

      Keep up the great work!!

      • Hi niece Ginger!

        Thanks for the link – very interesting. And again on that diagram – I’ve found myself drawing it for so many people this last week. They all got it – which is wonderful – and pointing them here, of course 🙂

      • MSMiller (don’t know your first name, sorry) — Thanks SO much for the support and for sending people here. I really appreciate it more than you know. Linda and I would love to gain some momentum on WritersButt and really grow into a large community. Your support is a huge help. HUGS!!

  7. I can definitely do the drinking water and the mini workouts, and even the eating healthy. But, for some reason I just can’t bring myself to do a food journal. It feels too much like homework or a punishment. I’ll just have an extra glass of water instead. Great post. Thanks for keeping me motivated.

    • I love your honesty and that honesty might also be why you don’t need to food journal. You can probably be very honest about what you eat without writing in down and seeing it in black and white. Enjoy that extra glass of water! 😉

  8. Spark People is free and it makes keeping a food journal really easy. I am not doing so well on the exercise but I am drinking more water – which is a plus for me. be well.

  9. hmmm..i don’t think my comment went through yesterday..reposting it:

    Okay, strep throat rampaged my family for the past week and derailed all the momentum I had built up. But, this is what I love about having group support…your “gentle” nudge to get back on track. I’ve started back with my water today (now that I can actually swallow) and will resume the torture…er, I mean exercise as I can. As for the food journal, I actually started keeping track again at tracker.dailyburn.com. Of course, that got derailed, too because i haven’t been eating but I love this sight and it’s free unless you want to go pro.

  10. Hi Shannon. You know, your comment got snagged by my spam filter. I saw it and marked it ‘not spam’ but I guess that doesn’t put it in my comment stream. Odd! I probably didn’t do something right. Anyhoo … very glad you reposted so I could give you hugs for the strep. YUCK! I’m glad you’re feeling better. And, group support is SO important to goals.

    Another great food journal resource. Thanks! I’m going to check this one out and Louise’s too so that I can tell my CrossFit clients as well. They don’t like to food journal either but if there are resources out there that will make it easier, maybe they’ll do it.

    Here’s to having you back in the saddle. Go YOU!!

  11. Love this!
    So what about whole wheat grains – should I even try to scale those back as much as possible?
    Hubby and I are trying to break our restaurant addiction by cooking at home. Our meals aren’t too bad but could stand improvement, which I plan to start looking at in Feb once we have a MONTH of not eating out under our belts.
    The water – LOVING it!
    The journal – check!
    The work outs. This week hasn’t been great because we’ve had a lot on the go but I’ll get back on track next week. I LOVE your little 2 minute work out plan and I’m going to set reminders in my outlook calendar…eeekeee…here goes nothing! 🙂

    • Hey Natalie!

      About the whole wheat grains — multi-part answer. (my replies are long this week, sorry!)

      Best: scale back and eliminate them as well. Why? Because you don’t know if they are negatively affecting you unless you get off them first. Whole wheat still has gluten, which can cause a host of problems. So, if you want to go whole-hog, I’d take them out.

      Great: If you are to eat some, only eat the ones that clearly state 100% whole wheat. The 100% is very important because without it, you can have a product with one whole grain in it and they can slap that label on there. Also, really look at the ingredient list. You’d be surprised on how many ‘whole grain’ breads are loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Gag! Funny story for you. One time while shopping with my kids, (they were younger and had to come with me) I was reading all the labels in the condiment aisle, the cereal aisle, the bread aisle, kids were asking for certain things, I kept saying no. As I was squinting to read yet another ingredient list, son sighs (like really loud!) and in frustration says, “Come on, Mom, we can have ‘a little’ High Fructose Corn Syrup!” Others in the aisle got a good chuckle over that one.

      Good: at the very least, eliminate all ‘white’ grains because they are such super refined/processed and really don’t offer any significant nutritional value. This includes white bread, rice, pasta, etc.

      TIP: If you love pasta (I do and I rarely eat it) they have a Quinoa pasta. If I just really want some noodles, I’ll eat this. It’s delicious and quinoa is a healthy food (still technically a grain but really walks a fine line here) has protein in it and is packed with amino acids which are great for you.

      Good for you for cutting back on restaurant eating. I love to it out but it’s hard to eat they way I want to that way. Your enthusiasm is so contagious. I love it!!!

  12. Wow Ginger, you have some really great comments! I love that you are doing this. We all need to eat better.

    Because of my list of health problems, I already eat like this. Organic is our way of life.

    But I am trying to exercise more. I have low adrenals from all the stress (do you think?) so I have to be careful, but I’ve been told that working with weights is the best way to build them up.

    Love your writer’s butt post! I’m trying to keep up. 🙂

    • Oh, silly me. I just popped by and read your past comment about working out with weights. Dah. It’s so hard to get back and pick up your comments. So sorry Ginger. Here you were trying to help. I am going to pay better attention next time. Boy am I a bad student. I’m failing writersbutt already and it just started. LOL!!

  13. Great post, Ginger!! ❤

  14. I’m loving these WritersButt posts, Ginger! I’m a little behind on getting started with the mini-exercise breaks, but I am happy to see that the diet I’ve been trying to adopt is one that fits with the nutrition facts you’ve listed here. I’ve got zilch self control when it comes to sugary and salty food, so I’ve basically stopped buying chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc. Instead, I’ve replaced those snacks with baby carrots, almonds, and candied ginger (since it’s a little sweet and spicy all at once), and my meals are leafy greens (spinach or romaine lettuce) with avocado, goat cheese, and a serving of protein. I’ll be aiming for a food journal in the next couple of days to make sure I stay accountable. 😀

  1. Pingback: WritersButt Wednesday-Taking my own advice « Ginger Calem

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