Nutrition and Back Pain – Shake Your Way to Better Health
When I told my husband that I wanted to move out of the city he looked at me like I had grown an extra head from each shoulder. He grew up in the city and had never known any other kind of life. However, I was a mountain girl. I grew up running barefoot from the first sign of new leaves on the trees in mid-spring until frost made the ground too cold to go without shoes. I could totally relate to Eddie Albert’s character on the classic sitcom Green Acres, who in the theme song proclaims, “land spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”
Working in an office just a few blocks from my home was nice, but there was little to do in the way of outdoor activity. When I wasn’t at my desk at work, it seemed I was at my desk at home. The park was just far enough away that walking there alone wasn’t a safe option, and the parking spaces were taken up by young parents with minivans full of children who seemed to attend daily play dates that began just after breakfast and lasted long past dinner. And besides that, I really wanted a dog – a luxury prohibited by our condominium association. When my doctor diagnosed me with chronic back pain due to a disk issue, my husband agreed it was time we make our move.
Eating Away Back Pain
I traded in my corporate lifestyle for a desk in my home office, telecommuting two days a week and spending the rest of the time as a freelance writer. I loved getting outside to work in the yard. All the walking and stretching was great for my back, and now I could practice my early-morning yoga on the expansive deck on the back of the house.
Friends threw us a housewarming party, and we received a lot of gifts that promoted our new, healthier lifestyle but none so much as the Blendtec blender. This not only made the fastest, tastiest milkshakes we’d ever slurped through a straw, but we could also use it to make delicious health drinks with vegetables from our new garden. Here are some of my favorites from the Blendtec website, slightly tweaked to suit my own palate.
- Chilled Avocado Soup – 4 cups of chicken broth (I save it from cooking chicken for other recipes), 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup of milk, juice from half a freshly-squeezed lime, 2 peeled and pitted ripe avocados, half a cup of cilantro and half a cup of spinach leaves go into the jar and blend on the soup setting. I have to admit, I had to warm up to this chilly soup but once I got used to the temperature and the flavor, I was hooked. Now we use it to get rid of leftovers and have had so many versions depending on what needs to be used out of the fridge.
- Berry Banana Blast – 1 cup of yogurt – ANY flavor, 1 cup apple juice (no added sugar, please), 1 large banana, and 2 cups of your favorite previously frozen berries go into the jar and are combined on the smoothie selection to give your body a boost of potassium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals depending on what berries you choose.
- Carrot Juice – 2 carrots chopped up, 2 cups of water, the juice from half a fresh-squeeze lemon, and a handful of ice cubes are blended on the whole juice setting to create a drink that’s not only rich in Vitamin A but also a great way to use up leftover carrots from a previous night’s dinner.
- Peach Green Tea Smoothie – 2 cups of frozen cubes of green tea, a whole peach (without the seed), a cup of baby spinach leaves, a whole banana, and a cup of soy milk are chopped on the ice crush setting to create a drink that’s rich in iron, potassium, and magnesium.
- Strawberry Tomato Slush – A cup each of ice and frozen strawberries, 2 tomatoes, and some Sun Warrior protein powder added to the jar and blended on the ice crush setting make this an excellent way to get a quick boost of carbs and protein.
A Healthier Diet Means a Healthier You
Because our new home wasn’t near any fast food stores and we lived too far from town to qualify for restaurant delivery, we began cooking at home instead of going out to eat. You’d be surprised how many calories that cut alone. Between my healthier diet and the exercise I was getting, I dropped the weight I’d picked up since moving to the city. My new, toned figure not only looked healthier, but I felt healthier and my back pain nearly disappeared. Best of all, we finally got that puppy which gave me no reason not to get outside and walk a couple of times a day.
Even if you don’t have the benefit of a Blendtec machine, you can use a food processor or blender to create modified versions of the above recipes. The important thing is that you’re willing to try something new, whether it’s through diet or exercise, to lead a healthier lifestyle. But even more importantly, be sure that whatever you plan to do has a seal of approval from your family doctor so you don’t risk creating an injury or worsening an existing one.
About the Author
Freelance writer Becky James was raised in the mountains, and although she feels most at home when she’s barefoot in her back yard, she equally enjoys beachcombing across her favorite areas along the coast. She and her firefighter husband home school their two teenage sons, which is a full time job in itself. They use as many hands-on opportunities to learn as they do a formal curriculum, and their favorite adventures include fossil hunting, visiting the site of a shipwreck, and caving.