HEALTH - Stress management techniques (#HealthyEatingTips Installment 2)

There are several big-picture rules to live by to minimize and manage stress from both daily life and from the sudden and unexpected (both bad and good):

1) Have perspective or gain it as quickly as you can. Don't complain constantly about annoyances or stupid or incompetent people. Solve problems and help people. Help yourself. Eyes on the prize. For both the bad and good - "this, too, will pass."
2) Have safety valves. Have outlets for your steam. Effective coping mechanisms include: a) exercise and regular physical activity (hit the gym), b) a shoulder to lean on and someone reliable to lend an ear (for whom you regularly return the favor), c) distraction and channeling your frustration and left-over energy into something productive - listen to your favorite music, write, create, go take a walk and clear your head, read a new book.
3) ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD, DON'T LOOK BACK. Don't ever look back except when far removed emotionally, just to analyze your mistakes without emotion, so you can correct them for the future. Don't be sentimental about the good or the bad. Live in the moment and also live with an eye and a plan to the future.
4) Play the music loud and dance your ass off. Go out.
5) Have a favorite cocktail that you enjoy at your favorite bar, from time to time, Have a favorite pastry at your little French bakery. Find that coffee shop where you feel at home and comfortable enough to strike up conversations with people. Have a park bench where you come to cry and reminisce or take a girl on a date. Have a favorite dish or 5 at your favorite restaurant (or 5), where you know you will reclaim your humanity after a shitty day.
6) Have a glass of red or white wine at least once a week, with dinner or lunch (on weekends - this isn't France, [un?]fortunately). Experiment with varietals. Have a favorite wine bar where you take friends and try something new on the menu at each visit.
7) Have a beer with a friend from time to time, but not too regularly. Just catch up, let your friend talk and distract yourself from your own egotistical focus on the daily grind, your mostly petty frustrations, etc. Be big-hearted, help others. You'll be helping yourself just as much, if not more.
8) Be ruthless in ridding your life of people and things that stress you out. Live in a noisy apartment with no light? Spend a bit more, maybe move to a different neighborhood, but reclaim some form of comfort in your home. If you have people in your life that bring you down regularly or monopolize your time and/or energy, distance yourself from them ASAP.
9) Notice the sounds, smells, sights, tastes, people in your daily life that are nuisances. Be methodical about getting rid of them or at least avoiding them. Have high standards for yourself in how you treat your senses, intellect and humanity. MISERY FOR ITS OWN SAKE IS CALLED MASOCHISM AND IS PLAIN UNACCEPTABLE.
10) Open your eyes already and stop being afraid to change your life for the better! BE PRO-ACTIVE AND NEVER PASSIVE.
11) ***THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE.*** Get used to it. Embrace it. Ride the horse faster than everyone else. The sooner you decide to organize yourself, make goals and begin to work methodically and patiently to attain them, the easier you will be able to tune out the many distractions and critics and nuisances and "circumstances" that blocked your progress before. Be ruthless and methodical in wanting to improve yourself. The rest are details that will work themselves out.
12) **FUCK "CIRCUMSTANCES"** One's whole life is a perpetual set of "circumstances." Stop making all kinds of f-ing excuses and blaming circumstances and people for your problems. You are your own biggest excuse and crappy circumstance. EVOLVE. ADAPT. Yes, there are richer, smarter, more beautiful, more well hung and hungrier assholes out there, but that just means you have to work three times as hard, as the nice and decent human being who's not without ambition. Embrace the hardships. NEVER WASTE A GOOD CRISIS. G-d is giving you golden opportunities right and left to make something useful and significant out of yourself.
13) Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Strip and burn the martyr's complex. Absolutely nothing wrong with you except your mental blocks. Quite a lot is actually right. Lots of unrealized potential. Now move your ass, get a clue and make something of yourself!

14) FIND A MENTOR. Have a protégé.

15) Don't let assholes mistreat you. No job is worth it if that's all you get there. Quit if you have to and can swing it.

16) See the forest for the trees. Stop and smell the roses. Don't get caught up in the daily grind. Vary up your routine at work and outside. Go exploring. Take regular walks. Stretch every 45min-1hr. Break up the mundanity. Seek out new projects and teams to collaborate with at work. Seek out new people at work and outside. Seek out smarter and more experienced people everywhere. Learn at their feet and then consolidate that knowledge by teaching to your protégé.

17) CREATE. Whatever line of work you're in, BUILD - don't just analyze and push paper. Write, blog, become an expert in something by doing and participating and making and explaining.

18) ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE. ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE. Repeatedly, regularly and ruthlessly.

19) Escape misery in a good book and with good music. Then tackle your problems head on, once you've had time to grieve and mourn.

20) ORGANIZE YOURSELF and keep iterating once you've found an effective formula. Nothing makes like more difficult and miserable than hopeless clutter in the head and in the house and and at work and in one's personal life. These are all related.

21) Always be on a mission in life. Today could be your last. Seize the moment.

22) Keep experimenting until something sticks. Try and fail until you try and succeed. A-B test jobs, fields, friends, relationships, mentors, acquaintances, etc.

23) LAUGH. Laugh profoundly, laugh from joy. Laugh from good humor. Make others laugh. Truly the best medicine.

24) Have a sense of humor.

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365 HEALTHY EATING TIPS, continued:

Breakfast

43) Try a whole-grain waffle topped with sliced fruit in place of heavy pancakes.

44) Omelets or scrambled eggs are healthier than sunny side or over easy.

45) If possible, avoid mixing heavy meats with cheese in your breakfast. They digest at different rates and may lead to gastrointestinal unease.

46) Do your best to make your breakfast not only limited in calories, but more importantly, whole in grains and fruits, and avoid foods that will leave you feeling heavy or bloated.

47) Once in a while, go with low-fat cream cheese, milk and yogurt over the heavy stuff. Dairy is – like other things – good for some things, and not for others in your eating lifestyle.

48) Hot oatmeal is an excellent way to start your day. It helps relieve your body of toxins and provides excellent nutritional value. It also makes you feel full for a while, preventing snack attacks. If overdone, can cause weight gain, however. Beware!

Cajun cuisine

49) Boil your crawfish, shrimp or other shellfish instead of frying.

50) Jambalayas and creoles should prevail over gumbo and roux-type sauces.

51) Grill or boil your seafood to retain the nutritional value of your seafood, and do your best to avoid the fried stuff, such as hush puppies.

52) Substitute white rice for the “dirty” stuff, leaving out butter, liver and the like.

53) Leave sausage out of your red beans and rice.

54) Remember – you can always ask for your gravy or sauce on the side.

55) When getting your fish “blackened,” ask the chef to go easy on oil.

56) You know Cajun isn’t the healthiest thing around, but keep in mind particularly that it tends to be high in saturated (including trans) fat, cholesterol, and sodium. A little creative thinking goes a long way toward retaining the tastes you love and keeping you from guilt and consequences.

Chinese

57) Chinese food can be a health maven’s dream or worst nightmare. It ranges from heavy sauces and exotic creatures to fresh veggies and shoots and simple, tasty dishes. Pick and choose carefully, and enjoy!

58) You’ve heard all about the dangers of MSG. “Chinese food headache” and high sodium are always dangers in Chinese cuisine, so watch out!

59) Duck is a tasty meat addition to a number of dishes. It tends toward heavy and can always be substituted for chicken, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative.

60) Those fried crispy noodles you see everywhere are a ton of empty calories, and should generally be skipped, if possible.

61) Tell the chef to pass on the soy sauce and salt, and most certainly that MSG.

62) Chinese food in America tends toward the popular, not the genuine, so do your research before thinking you’ve seen it all. China is a vast culinary landscape, and our impressions are often wildly inaccurate about what Chinese food really is.

63) To substitute for heavy fried meats, pile on the veggies!

64) Look for water chestnuts in place of cashews and peanuts, if possible, if you’re concerned about your weight.

65) Steamed rice should be an automatic over fried.

66) Brown rice is much healthier than white, like for any other grain.

67) Skip the fried entrees, and go straight to steamed, boiled, lightly stir-fried or broiled. You’ll thank your judgment later.

68) Order steamed dumplings to avoid the heavy feeling of egg rolls or those nice fried wontons you crave.

69) Wonton soup or the hot-‘n-sour variety are a better option than egg drop soup.

70) Sauces with oyster, lobster or beans tend to be packed with sodium. Plum sauce (or a touch of duck sauce), as well as sweet-and-sour can be a better alternative.

71) If you want the “real deal” Chinese, go where Chinese natives go. If there’s no English on the menu or spoken in the place, it’s a good bet you’re on the right track.

 

“Family-style” cuisine

72) Long day at work and the kids are clamoring for food? Off you go to that family diner. No need to drop your common sense or health conscience. There is hope even on this last frontier.

73) Swear off that sour cream, melted cheese, and mayo. Pepto-Bismol doesn’t solve everything, after all.

74) Salads aren’t green magic. Heavy dressings and added meat and cheese make the green stuff not so friendly to your organism.

75) Those delicious buttery croissants on your mind? Take the pita pockets and run with them, instead.

76) Muffins can seem friendly if baked with carrots or fruits, but pack a hefty punch right into your muffin.

77) Save your health and your money. Split large portions with your family and friends. Just because you’re used to eating a lot doesn’t mean you MUST do it every time.

78) All-you-can eat is all-defeat. Use your better judgment and stay away. You may be strong, but not strong enough to resist too much when it’s for the same price.

79) Lay off that compulsive butter and bread before the main course. Just think of your belly and heart.

80) Cream soups are more cream than soup. Go for the broth-based, with veggies.

81) In creamy coleslaw, dairy prevails over the cabbage and carrots. A tossed salad or steamed veggies are a better selection.

82) Baked potatoes are a bit better than fries, but watch out for those dairy and meat toppings!

83) Buffalo chicken wings ain’t fooling anyone. It may be chicken, but healthy, it ain’t!

84) That hot fudge sundae look good? The ice cream calling your name? Don’t relent – fruit ices, sherbet and yogurt are less sugary and lighter.

85) Fried chicken is notorious. Try having your chicken “blackened” for a change.

86) Your salad coming with quiche? Check the soup menu for a filling alternative.

87) Veggie burgers can even taste good sometimes! Experiment with different brands and remember that even vegetarians must enjoy their food, sometimes.

 

Fast food

88) When even McD’s offers “healthy,” it’s not your mother’s fast food scene. All the same, remain skeptical. Watch our for filler ingredients like corn syrup and also preservatives. Fast food still sells on sugar and fat, but may also offer you that fresh fruit and healthy salad you may be looking for.

89) Calorie counts don’t even begin to tell the whole story. Is it fried? Are you getting the value meal with cola and fries? Your value here will kill your health over the long run, and will cost you much more in medical bills.

90) Delay instant gratification, as much as is possible with eating. Consistency in conscious food selection and a healthy life style will derive great benefits, and don’t mean starving yourself or losing out on flavor and enjoyment. Treat yourself, just not quite every time.

91) Topping your burger with cheese, mayo or bacon is great and all, but you’re just asking for a huge calorie count and a shot of saturated fat to your blood vessels. Be reasonable, and indulge your good sense from time to time.

92) To add flavor without crazy fat calories, go for onions, lettuce, mustard and/or ketchup.

93) If possible, avoid ketchup with corn syrup in it. Its just extra carbs in a place you don’t expect.

94) Corn syrup isn’t quite pure evil, but not too far, either. It’s in a huge percentage of all grocery foods, and often used in foods you would never expect. Remain vigilant and know that you’re getting extra calories through the back door.

95) Be skeptical of “low-fat” claims on foods. Often, this can mean that fat calories have been replaced with carb calories. Corn syrup is a popular and cheap alternative, making food appealing by adding sugar and endangering your waistline.

96) Imagine that fried fish sandwich sitting like a brick in your digestive track. Yep, that’s about right.

97) Baked potatoes should be garnished with low-fat sour cream instead of butter or the heavier stuff. All the same, watch for fillers and keep the big picture in mind.

98) If you must have those potato chips, go for the baked, if possible. You’re avoiding oil and heaviness, later. Pretzels could work, too.

99) Let the fried chicken cross the road in the other direction. Try a fajita chicken wrap instead.

100)Your milkshake bring the boys to the yard? Not if you have your milkshake and drink it, too. Try it with skim milk or juice, instead.

101) Soft drinks are truly your worst enemy, dressed as your best friend. One thing is empty calories and crazy sugar content. Another is damaged teeth and gums and digestive issues from carbonation. Once again, corn syrup is at play. That special secret formula? They can keep it.

102) Diet colas mask real sugar with the fake stuff, but still damage your teeth over time. Sure, that diet Coke looks good, but good for you, it never will be.

103) Fruit juices are generally better than cola, but have their own sugar problem. Freshly squeezed and pure juices (not from concentrate) are a better bet than the reconstituted stuff from concentrate. Fruits are usually acidic and the juice reasonably caloric, so enjoy in moderation.