Building Healthier Habits and Allowing Space for Exceptions plus Cleaning up Other People's Unhealthy Habits

in Natural Medicine9 months ago


Today I felt a strong urge to have lunch at my local ( and only ) restaurant, even though I was pretty disappointed in the food they have been offering for the last year or so.

It's usually plenty of meat, with fries or potatoes drowning in olive oil. Vegetables are practically non-existent, unless you count beans. Sometimes I ask for salad. They will then give me some tomato, lettuce and onion with olive oil, if they have those ingredients in stock.

In the last couple of months I have been making a bunch of changes to improve my health:

  • I try to have daily meals around 8AM, Noon to 1PM and 5-7 PM - aiming to eat the most around lunch time ( when the digestive fire is at its strongest ) and sometimes skipping breakfast - prolonging my fast - after too much food the night before, to give my body more time to digest.

  • I try to go to bed and get up around the same time ( 10PM- 7- 7:45AM ) and, if I can, stop staring at screens at least an hour before bed.

  • I changed my life long sleeping position, from lying on my stomach with my head to the right to sleeping on my back or left side ( as I learn those positions are healthier for respectively your overall posture and your heart ).

  • I've started consuming less and less meat and am trying to eat less carbs.

  • I also quit drinking coffee ( I replaced it by chai ) about a month ago.

My twin sister gifted me some so called 'Yogi Tea' or Classic Chai aka Ayurvedic spice infusion, containing cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black pepper. I usually drink it with almond milk or rice milk. If possible, I don't drink any cow milk.

  • Add to this that I hardly ever drink alcohol these days, only when I really feel like it and not more than a glass ( or two ).

Now I think of it I also aim to meditate daily ( but I have been doing this for a year or two now ) and to be as mindful as possible, to be in the now, throughout the day, if I can help it.

  • Last but not least, treating others the way I would like to be treated and trying to treat myself ( even in my thoughts / self talk ) like I would treat my friends is paramount to me.**

All of the above might sound like a lot of health tweaks to you but - as most of them already have turned into habits - and I allow myself space for an occasional exception, it's possible to stick to them without feeling like I'm missing out, without taking away ( all ) joy.

And, let's be honest, feeling more healthy makes you feel good a lot easier. It's not just temporary satisfaction followed by a feeling of disgust, dis ease or self hatred, it's long lasting joy.

Now let's go back to my intuition telling me to have lunch at the local restaurant today...

If you take a good look at a bunch of the health tweaks I mentioned above, you might understand why I have been visiting my local restaurant less and less frequently.

I must say that this is something I felt a little bad about, as I like the people and they appear to like me and I know they can use the financial support, not having a lot of visitors.

I need to mention that I have been making an exception for cod fish with fries or potatoes and the occasional grilled chicken but lately I have been asking for 'take away', so I could have my preferred drinks at home and to avoid having to say no to the dessert. The 'sobremesas' offered are usually full of sugar and it seems like my body is resisting ( refined ) sugar more and more.

It craves healthy stuff and tells me when it thinks otherwise.

Today I felt different though. I did not only feel liking having lunch at the restaurant, I also felt like a glass of wine, a coffee and some ( sweet ) dessert. I felt like not saying:

"No ( thank you ) "

for a change and give in to my temptations.

Now I think of it, "no, thank you" is a sentence / habit that my mom ingrained in me ( and my sisters ) in the past, probably with the idea to prevent our milk teeth from too much damage. I'm 38 now and it's still there though.

I'm sure she meant well though :>)

At least it led to me having a strong will. It makes it easier to say "no" to things and make changes.

Today I felt I should just go to the restaurant and tell the owners that I would like to have lunch there. To my pleasant surprise there were two options: Not just frango ( chicken ) but also polvo ( octopus ). What made me even happier, was the addition of rice to the sea food. The latter was something I believe I've hardly ever eaten there. It was an easy choice:

Polvo com arroz.

Polvo con Arroz.JPG

I felt like treating myself and asked for some vinho tinto, as my mom once taught me that fish and white wine go together pretty well.

As an appetizer, I received the usual bread and black olives. I felt like olives though, so another wish was fulfilled.


After eating well but not too much ( about 60 % of the food presented to me ), I decided to go for the aforementioned sobremesa doce ( sweet dessert ) and picked mousse de morango ( strawberry mousse, see the picture above this post ). It came with sprinkles, pleasing the little kid inside of me.

I ordered um café cheio ( espresso with a little bit of extra water ) to go with it. I am one of few people that I know who like their dessert and coffee to be served at the same time. Taking a sip of coffee and then a spoonful of dessert makes both taste extra good.

( Note on the above: I hardly ever drink coffee anymore and I hardly ever have a dessert after my meal but if I do... You get the point )

I also asked If I could take the remains of my polvo com arroz with me ( pra levar ). This is a win-win, as I know they appreciate it ( the food would be thrown away otherwise ) and I will enjoy it at a later time and won't need to over-eat.

I used to over-eat almost daily, possibly due to having always been a skinny vinny and being born 7 weeks early. Add to this that I often felt hungry, low on energy with fast metabolism. This is a habit I'm still working on to break. I feel I'm getting there though.

Part 2 - Recycling and Picking up Stray Trash

After having finished my lunch and leaving the place feeling good and the restaurant owners feeling ( some of that ) good(ness), I decided to go on a walk. I went home to pick up my recycled stuff ( paper, glass and plastic ), planning to use the emptied bag afterwards to collect the stray trash I would find on the streets.

After throwing all glass, paper and plastic in the designated containers, my eye fell on a little, pink piece of paper that was still stuck in my bag. I picked it up and discovered it was a tiny sticky note, about an inch in length, with the following message written on it:

"All is Well"

It made me smile. I think this little mantra was uttered in an episode of Deepak Chopra's 'Daily Breath' podcast that I listen to on an almost daily basis.

I enjoyed my walk even more than usual, as it had a purpose now. Not just a personal one ( keeping me fit, inspiring me ) but a bigger purpose: cleaning the environment / nature.

I picked up loads of trash and recorded some voice memos to remind me of what I wanted to talk about in this blog post.

Here's some of the thoughts that entered my mind:

  • If those who would throw their empty cigarette packs out of the car would also throw out their unhealthy habit of smoking, the world would be a much healthier place.

  • It's interesting to see that most that is thrown out is unhealthy.
    Chewing gum, alcohol ( cans / containers / bottles ), cigarettes, fizzy drinks, even empty medicine strips.

As if people know that what they're using is unhealthy but they use it anyway and then throw it out,
as if - by doing this - others won't find out about their unhealthy habits.

They should start meetings for Anonymous Trash Dumpers.

At the start of my walk I found this. I had spotted it before, but today I picked it up and discovered the following text on it:

No Master.jpg


It made me smile, as I have been reading a book today ( and yesterday ) called 'The Impersonal Life'.

In one passage the writer talks about the following:

We don't need a master

( We are perfect the way we are )

I found a master though today.
Which made me re-think the above.

Do I really need this ( master )?

Anyhow, somebody clearly didn't need it, as they threw it out.

The above is clearly a joke from my side. I think it belonged to a truck, to protect its metal against dirty feet / shoe wear.

I arrived home with kilos of trash. I plan to go through it, order and recycle all the stuff. I will also do this way more often ( at least once a week ). Instead of being one of those people who complain about trash but don't pick it up ( just being annoyed, angry or sad about it ), I plan to actually clean the streets and nature whenever and wherever I can. This is even more important in places like these, where there's no people hired to clean the streets and where there is more nature than in cities.

Time to wrap this up before I exhaust every single reader with my abundance of words.

And before I forget, I aim to continue on keeping the above health tweaks / habits going into 2020. I might add some more. To be able to make all of this doable, I need to allow some room for the occasional exception. Just being hard on yourself is the opposite of practicing self love and if we don't work on loving ourselves, how can we love others?

Hugs from Portugal!


Sounds like some excellent habits to keep going! I've always been a grazer with food--I can nibble all day long and tend not to like big meals, but I'm finding if I can keep my meals to 4 times a day I seem to feel best. Eating dinner between 4-5 seems to suit my digestion very well, though it can be a challenge to resist that evening snacking sometimes! It really is a wonderful thing to become more in tune with our own bodies and listen closely enough to find what really works in that season of time. Bravo on taking the time to do some trash pickup, as well. That's something that is sorely needed. Perhaps if people started noticing how nice things look with no trash all over they'd be more inclined to actually toss theirs in the bin (wishful thinking perhaps, but you never know). I know being more conscious of what I buy and how much packaging it has is something I continue to strive to improve on. Cheers to a year of abundant health and discovery!

Thank you :>)

A grazer! Hahaha! Hence the veganism, I guess ;>)

I am starting to wonder these days if big meals aren't really my thing either. I am still ( somewhat ) hungry throughout the day and am not sure if that's because I'm not getting enough of certain vitamins/ minerals/ other stuff or that I'm just not balancing my meals very well. It might be the season too ;>)

Focusing on packaging is a good thing too. I am aware of the improvement that can be made on that level.

I wish you a year full of abundance on all areas too!

Haha, too funny. I suppose I do have a lot in common with our other herbivorous Earth-dwellers. ;)

Things can never be too funny ;>)

Not sure if you read any of my 'hypersensitivosaurus posts, but one of the many little themes in this story is his change towards a vegan diet ( from a being a carnivorous raptor ) :>)

Vin, you are a treasure. Picking up other people's trash is good for the soul - we do it all the time. It's better just to do it than get angry about it. My husband's even better at it when I get lazy! he won't let me eat octopus though - he says they are far too smart, and that's a shame, as I love pickled octopus. I'm eating hardly any meat these days, rare coffees, and cutting down on sugar, though I don't eat a helluva lot of sugar. Can't wait to share a meal with you in Portugal! @riverflows

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Vin, you are a treasure. Picking up other people's trash is good for the soul

I admit. I pick up trash hoping to find some treasure ;>)

I believe the octopus is a smart creature, never tried it pickled. Sounds like you have to eat it in secret.

Would love to share a meal with you in Portugal. Any idea what month it's gonna be, I really hope I'll be around as I plan to visit The Netherlands once or twice before Summer

Nice to see your local restaurant is catering for you ;D

And also good job on the eating healthy front :)

As if people know that what they're using is unhealthy but they use it anyway and then throw it out,
as if - by doing this - others won't find out about their unhealthy habits.

Perhaps? I'm more inclined to think they're selfish and lazy (throwing it out the window, out of sight out of mind therefore somehow no longer their problem and that's all that matters) when I can be bothered thinking about them at all.

Yeah, it's pretty cool

And believe me, I think that stuff too but it's Mr. Negative in me.
These days I'm more and more turning towards positive thinking and trying not to judge people, as it makes me feel a lot better :>)

Here's to being healthy and wise!
Seems like you are on the right track for that!

True that and thank you :>)

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