MANday Week 10 – Get Your 5!

I’m going to share some great advice that started me on the road to better health.

This is not secret advice. You’ve heard it before, but I’m here to tell you that it is very powerful and it works.

A few years ago my cholesterol was high. My doctor gave me two choices. Lower my numbers through diet and exercise or start cholesterol-lowering meds.


A quick aside…

When I was young I took all sorts of medication to control my asthma and allergies. It was a real struggle for me to breathe many days. I was rushed to the hospital numerous times. Sometimes looking blue.

In my teens I started waking up with a racing heartbeat. It was so rapid it freaked me out to the point I trashed all the meds and didn’t look back. I had headaches for weeks – presumably because I’d been taking those drugs since I could remember. Since then I’ve avoided taking medication of any kind unless it is strictly necessary.

So, when my doctor told me he was going to give me cholesterol-lowering drugs, I was really motivated to fix the problem naturally. And after a few years of exercise and eating better, I’m convinced that no pill can do what a healthy diet and exercise can.

So here is my doctor’s advice (sans copay) …

My doctor told me to eat 5 fruits and vegetables each day. Not 10 total. Any combination of 5. When you get your 5 not only will you be giving your body better nutrition, but you’ll have less room for all the junk that tastes so good, but makes you want to lounge on the couch.


My 5-a-day plan looks something like this:

OJ in the morning with my Cheerios (a glass counts for one).

Grapes for a snack about 10:00.

A spinach salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, celery and carrots (I count this as two).

Two vegetables with dinner gets me to five.

Normally I’ll add an apple, pear, or a peach, during the day depending on what looked good in the grocery store that week.

Getting my 5 a day became routine. Normally I’m up around 7. In the six months after my visit to the doctor I lost 20 pounds and my cholesterol dropped from at risk to within normal limits. My doctor was stunned. He could tell by looking at me that I’d made a big change.

One more tip I learned from watching a dear friend. Each week my friend take two large Tupperware containers and fills one with fruit salad and the other with chopped vegetables. All the chopping gets done once or twice a week. Then all week long, fresh fruit and ready-to-eat veggies are within easy reach.

Even if you are on the sidelines with me right now, you can start yourself on the road to better health by getting your 5!

One more thing….

A big MANday shoutout to my cousin Rob who ran a 10K this week averaging just over 8 minutes a mile. Way to go Rob!


10 Comments on “MANday Week 10 – Get Your 5!”

  1. I do similar things. I cut up a watermelon or any other kind of melon into bite size chunks to snack on as desired. We also make a BIG pot of vegetable soup (a spin off from the weight watchers cabbage soup) or gazpacho (less most of the oil called for). This is my lunch every day. Fortunately, I’d rather eat fruits & veggies than most anything, except desserts and chocolate, but I limit those!

    • cjwestkills says:

      Preparing it ahead makes a huge difference!

      Great ideas for the soup. We make lots of homemade chicken soup in the winter from leftover roasted chickens we use for chicken salad for lunch.

  2. Pam Stack says:

    CJ. You’re on inspiration!

  3. CJ, in my case, the allergies and the eating right were related. I learned through a holistic nutritionist that I’m allergic to high-fructose corn syrup (or one of the chemicals that is typically used with it.) I cut that out of my diet, lost 30 pounds, and stopped getting allergy shots. It’s been a big help.

    I’m not trying for ripped abs, but I do look better than I did before!

    • cjwestkills says:

      And I bet you feel better, too.

      That has been the big key for me… working out and eating better has changed the way I feel. I have so much energy that doing about anything isn’t a burden.

  4. Good advice, CJ

    I’m a veggie, so it’s easy to say I get enough vegetables. But my biggest problem is controlling the other snacks like pringles and starbuck’s coffee. Having things prepared helps a lot with that.


  5. Kim Mullican says:

    I love love love fruits and vegetables. I think that is why I feel so much better in the summer/early fall than I do the rest of the year. When I quit my job and started writing full time, I put on 20 lbs! YIKES. I’m not obese but my clothes are too tight, unflattering etc. My daughter also got an addiction to creme cheese (can you believe the brat blames me?) So we are walking together and snacking on crunchy veggies now instead. It’s already making a difference! Great advice.

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