Food & Fitness

2012: The Year of Balance

This is my 16th day on the Ultimate Nutrition Challenge and my detox month. So far it’s been going great – I’ve lost 5 pounds and 1.3 % body fat! You can read about what I’ve been eating by visiting my Health Writer Eats food diary blog. But it occurred to me the other day that what the Ultimate Nutrition Challenge is really about is finding balance.


As I’ve mentioned before, I co-host a radio show called Wooden Spoons, where we talk about sustainable and healthy living. On our show right after New Year’s, we talked a lot about the role of technology in our lives and the concept of trying to get back to our roots, slow down and really breathe. You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the link below:

Wooden Spoons July 6 – MP3

When we were talking about this on the show, I was reminded of something I learned in one of my university rhetoric classes: how we really need to have a balance between the culture of the screen and the culture of the book. I think this can be applied to everything in life: when we go too far in any one direction, too far in any extreme, we can lose ourselves, and it’s very unhealthy. We need to have a balance of everything.

My focus on balance this year is going to be mostly between physical and mental health, but also in all other aspects of life too – to balance work with play, to balance literature with movies, to balance busy nights out with quiet evenings indoors.

In some regards I think that I’m doing a fairly good job so far this year, but in other ways I think I could use a lot of work. But that’s why my focus on balance is for a full 12 months! We can’t suddenly be balanced all at once; these things take time and require baby steps.

This month I’ve been prioritizing work over just about everything else, but I think that at this time, it’s appropriate. I’ve just started a new job a month ago, plus I’ve started volunteering for two different organizations within the past month or so as well. Things are beginning to move along with The Food Label Movement, so it requires more attention than I’ve been giving it. And I have a lot of work to do with my nutrition course.

Since I’m involved with a lot of different things, I’m focusing on a balance between these various workloads this month. Making sure that things don’t get neglected and that I make time for everything I want to do. I figure if I can focus on balancing work this month, next month I can do a better job of incorporating play – for example, in the form of exercise. It actually works out well that my time for exercise has been limited this month, since I wasn’t planning on exercising a huge amount anyways while I’m on the detox and organizing myself.

Which brings me back around in full circle to this month’s detox. This past Thursday was the first time this month that I really didn’t feel in a detox-mood at all. I had gotten a terrible sleep the night before, and then I had a very long day, so I was a bit thrown off. I didn’t derail from my detox foods, but I did overeat. On Friday I was still very tired and I overate again, but this time I included some cheese – which I originally hadn’t included in my detox plan.

I felt good about incorporating the cheese though. I think it was the only dairy I’ve had since I started the Challenge. It felt right to eat it because that’s what my detox is about: it is about eating nutritious foods in moderation, balancing healthy foods so that my body will feel really good. The detox is primarily a low-calorie whole foods vegan diet, but it also includes room for non-vegan higher-calorie foods – such as cheese – on occasion. Honestly, I don’t want to be eating cheese and meat every day, or even every second day. I also think it’s doing my body a lot of good to not have bread on this diet, for example, and of course I feel really good not eating anything processed. But I think that eating animal products a couple times each week have a place in this detox, and they have a place in a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about the balance.

Yesterday I felt myself starting to get on the right track again, so I think this week should go well!

Have you been doing your own detox this month? Is it going well? How are you balancing your life right now? What’s your idea of a healthy diet? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


  1. Gena

    I think achieving the balance between work and life is one of the hardest to achieve! I admire your commitment to this whole process and, while I won’t necessarily be participating with you, I’m cheering you on from the sidelines!

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