My (mostly) healthy habits

March 5, 2014

I am very interested in healthy living, reading everything I can and I enjoy sharing ideas with like-minded people.  I know that my enthusiasm for green tea and other healthy choices I made helped me when my ovarian cancer developed.  It was unbelievable that my (probably due to genetics) tumor was very large, yet it hadn’t spread. One of the things green tea (and other foods, too) can do is stop angiogenesis, or the development of blood supply for growth and spread of tumors. I’ve written about this before. I feel that my health habits saved my life.  Most 15 cm tumors like mine would have spread and instead of being staged 1B I would have been staged around 4, where the prognosis would have been bleak at best.

I write so much here about the healthy habits I have you must think I’m perfect.  I’m far from it. But the truth is that these healthy habits allow me to slip a bit now and then and still feel good about my overall lifestyle.  Some of these listed below I’ve talked about before and some may be new to you.  I believe all are worth looking into if you want to feel good and live an active and hopefully long life.

  • I eat a vegetarian diet.  For me that means fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and dairy.  I use only extra virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil for cooking.  I eat lots of nuts and seeds, a variety every day. I buy organic whenever I can.  When I can’t I give my fresh food a long bath in vinegar and water to clean them as much as possible, peeling anything that isn’t organic.
  • I do oil-pulling every morning.  Don’t know what this is?  I take a tablespoon of organic coconut oil and swish it in between my teeth over and over for 15 to 20 minutes in the morning. I know it sounds weird but you can feel your teeth and gums getting truly clean and I even had some stubborn plaque fall away after doing it a couple of times.  All you need to remember is to spit in the trash or the toilet, you don’t want the oil to clog your drain!  And don’t swallow it, either, as you want the toxins it takes out to go down the drain not back in your body.
  • I make sole (pronounced So – Lay) and have some every morning.  I buy Himalayan salt crystals at Mercado Verde and add them to a jug of clean water.  When some crystals remain that means the water has absorbed all it can. Now it is ready for you to take a tablespoon in a glass of water before you eat anything in the morning.  The minerals are just so good for you, and this is a very easy and healthy thing to do.
  • I meditate.  Twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the late afternoon.  I practice TM but all methods are good.  I went to Guadalajara to learn TM but it looks like now they are only offering instruction in Mexico City.  I highly recommend this easy and satisfying meditation technique.
  • I drink a smoothie almost every morning made with my homemade kefir and homemade kombucha.  I’ve written about my smoothies before, but they are the foundation for a healthy day for me.  Of course all the natural probiotics they give us are a big part of that.
  • I walk every day.  Our normal life has us on the go walking around Centro but most days I have a 3 – 5 mile (4.8 to 8 km) power walk along the malecon.  I swing my arms and walk fast listening to music or an audio book.  I get inspired by all the people exercising and also by the power of the ocean.  There is something about being near the ocean every day that is essential to me.  I also believe we all need to get our vitamin D and while I wear a baseball cap to shield my face I let my arms and legs absorb that lovely sunshine. I use an app called Moves on my iPhone so I know how far I’ve walked, etc.
  • I walk barefoot every chance I get.
  • I have good relationships with friends and family and enjoy an active social life.  I feel lucky to be retired in a place where many of the people I know are active and interesting.  Every day brings together different people and different activities.  The community here is close knit and supportive.
  • I have lots of hobbies and am never bored.  Reading, walking, knitting, sewing, cooking, baking… there are never enough hours in the day.

All of the things I’m doing that I listed above contribute to a healthy lifestyle.  But what am I still working on?

  • I’d like to start making my own fermented vegetables.  I bought Sandor Katz’s book Wild Fermentation and will probably start with sauerkraut and maybe a vegan kimchi.
  • I’d like to eat fewer refined carbohydrates like flour tortillas and bread and cut back on the cheese.
  • I’d like to join a gym or buy some weights or somehow vary my workouts more to get to a higher level of fitness.
  • I want to become more satisfied with my body,and need to work on not always internally criticizing myself.

I don’t want to leave you with the idea that I am some kind of paragon of virtue. I’m not… not even close. I like wine, am addicted to pistachio nuts and can be lazy too.  But I do know my mostly healthy life is a good life.  I enjoy myself and hope to stay active and happy for a long while to come.

I hope you might have found some interesting links to explore here but if not please be kind and just refer to me as your nut job blogger friend!

Share and Enjoy !

More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Your regimen is awesome, amiga. I’ll check out your links. Does P. do all these things too? I’ve just about completely given up wheat bread and flour tortillas, and just discovered coconut oil (will be looking for organic when I go to the States again). But I don’t see any point in giving up red wine, I’m always seeing articles about how healthy it is. The hard part is quitting after just one glass.

    1. Nancy, you’re not crazy. What’s crazy is the eating habits of most of the USA and more and more of Mexico. Just go into any mainstream supermarket, and 80% of the stuff there is either of no redeeming health value at all, or should be consumed in small quantities, much smaller quantities than what people actually consume. (Think meat & dairy.) But people eat all that stuff, and by the age of 50 or so, their bodies are fat and destroyed. Then they spend the rest of their lives taking expensive and toxic medicines to offset all the damage their diets do to them.

      Now THAT’S CRAZY!!!!

      Meanwhile, the Center For Science in the Public Interest has called on the FDA to revoke the GRAS (generally regarded safe) status for sugar, given all the evidence piling up that it’s a slow poison.

      I personally cut WAY back on my own sugar intake a few years ago after learning of all its insidious effects, and I feel better and healthier as a result.


      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where the only drawback to a really healthy diet is extra time cooking and preparing.

      1. Hi 1st Mate! How are you? It’s been a while, you are really making progress with your music, congratulations. I think I’d do better if I could give up wheat bread but I just love whole wheat sourdough so that is just one of my weaknesses right now. And red wine, yes please! Paul eats meat and fish mostly when we eat out but his diet is pretty much the same as mine at home.

        Kim G, You always crack me up! We are with you – nearly off sugar entirely except for a bit of coconut sugar now and then. I am happy to see our organic farmer’s market now in its second year becoming essential to both Mexican and expat shoppers… when it started it was mostly expats buying. We have a good organic food store and there are always tons of people exercising on the malecon. Of course we still have the ever present Mexican breakfast of Coke and a pack of cookies carried by so many as they walk to work or school and the junk food sellers hanging around the school door to sell to the kids as they leave for the day. But maybe little by little things are changing. I’ll be curious to see if the junk food tax will have any effect.

    1. I’m not sure that the junk food tax is high enough to deter any but the poorest Mexicans. But I hope I’m wrong about that. Frankly, if the entire world levied a high sugar tax, it’d do a world of good for the public health. But of course there’d be no end of wailing across the political spectrum. So it’s more politically expedient to just let people keep poisoning themselves.

    1. Thanks so much for the oil pulling link and information. That is is totally new to me. I plan to start it tomorrow. Every little bit helps.

    1. I’m with you on almost everything except I eat meat and avoid grains. I still think I don’t eat enough veggies and eat too much fruit, but I am consciously working on it.

      I try to avoid dairy except butter and yogurt because Husband is allergic and lately cheeses give me nasal congestion.

      Refined sugar gives me a hangover, so it’s stevia, honey, or molasses if I need additional sweetening in something.

      Oil pulling makes my teeth feel squeaky clean, I also make homemade toothpaste using this recipe I don’t use the diatomaceous earth and I use stevia powder rather than zylotol. I don’t have the flavorings so I don’t used them.


      1. Contessa, You’re welcome, let me know what you think.

        Theresa, I’ve been following your journey about grains and I just wish I could do it. Without meat the plate is just a bit too empty and we don’t have many gluten free options here. Well, there are a few mixes in the stores but they have lots of long words in their ingredient lists and I’m doing my best to avoid those. I do try to avoid bread unless it is a handmade whole grain sourdough… but stevia is my sweetener of choice, too. I will try the toothpaste recipe as stevia is available here. I love trading tips with like minded people, actually a small group of gals here who think alike are doing lunch every couple of weeks with a “theme” – we each bring something healthy made with the theme ingredient. First time was cauliflower and the second time beets. Next time zucchini. We really enjoy sharing tips, that’s where I first head about the sole. Wish you lived here instead of Merida, you’d be a perfect fit. 🙂

    1. I stay away from “gluten free” options, many of the trade junk carbs for the gluten and are just as bad for you. I think if you eat bread, real sourdough is the way to go. Have you heard of a book called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon? I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list of books to look into. I noticed that it’s now available in Kindle format so I plan on buying it.

      It’s very hard to be a vegetarian and give up grains, personally, I would mostly stay away from wheat as much as possible. The best “bread” recipes that I have found use coconut flour and eggs provide the lift that gluten does in regular baking. I use pad thai noodles or bean thread if I am craving pasta and just can’t face zucchini noodles.

      I hope that I can find a similar group here in Merida, that is just what I need. I’m just an aging hippie gal who is going back to her crunchy granola roots.


    1. Very good, inspirational compilation. Use most of these and just started oil pulling this week.

    1. Hi Nancy! It’s been a long time! Sounds you are doing some wonderful things for yourself. You posted some interesting things that I’m definitely going to look into. Check out my new blog which is along the lines of healthy living. I’m also following some other great blogs about the same things!

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for the great article! Question: Can you find Kefir grains here in Mazatlan?

      Many Thanks

      1. Thanks to everyone for their comments! Nice to see you here again Beth! Good luck with your new blog. Jane, I got my grains from a friend here in Maz, there are a few of us making kefir daily and one of us might have extra grains to share, send me an email through the Contact page when you’d like some and I’ll see if I have some or I’ll pass the word.

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