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Why Do I Live Without a TV?

Why Do I Live Without a TV?

A few months ago, I was sitting at my fiancée’s apartment, curled up on the couch with her watching How I Met Your Mother.  Inherently, there was nothing wrong with what we were doing.  It’s a very funny show and we really enjoyed watching it together.  The problem was we had spent the last three hours watching How I Met Your Mother.  In that entire time, I don’t believe we spoke ten words to each other.

There we sat, on the couch, holding each other, feeling as if we’re bonding, yet not really connecting at all.  I realized I knew more about what Barney Stinson was thinking than what my loving fiancée was thinking.

This thought hit me like a punch in the stomach:

How much time do we spend watching TV, and is this healthy for us?

Being a somewhat obsessive person, coupled with un-medicated ADHD (I was diagnosed as a child and my parents refused to put me on drugs, for which I am very grateful), I decided to research the effects of television on couples.

The results were not very good.

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Generally speaking, couples who watch lots TV tend to argue more often, have less sex, lead unhealthy lifestyles, and are less satisfied with life in general.

I began searching for positive effects of television on adults.  This was a surprisingly difficult impromptu research project.  There is very little on the internet explaining how TV helps adults.  There are a few articles around how educational programing can be good for children, but apparently after the kid learns to read, it’s better to get a book.

The last straw came from a Brian Tracy quote I stumbled upon on Youtube: “Poor people have big TVs and small libraries; rich people have small TVs and big libraries.”

I decided I would much rather fall into the latter category.

Speaking with my loving and oh-so-patient fiancée, I asked her if we could do an experiment: 60 days with no television.

She listened to my reasoning and asked for a small concession: 1 movie night a week.

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I did the math: we would be reducing our television time from roughly 25 hours a week to 2; seemed a reasonable deal, so I accepted her terms.

The first week was very tough for us.  We had gotten so used to vegging out on the couch when we were home, there seemed little for us to do.  To make matters worse, we were in the middle of the hot season in Antalya, Turkey, so traveling outside was out of the question.  We walk EVERYWHERE in Antalya and did not really like doing that in 107 degree weather.

A funny thing happened after about five days: we started talking more.  A lot more.  I learned more about her in the next 60 days than I had in the last 6 months, and I loved it.  She really is a fascinating person.  On top of that, we both spent more time doing other activities we enjoyed.  My reading time quadrupled and she spent a lot of time crafting.  I now have a favorite winter hat thanks to this rekindled hobby of hers.

After the 60 days were up, we decided we wanted to keep watching How I Met Your Mother.  We spent the next three days watching 2+ hours of that show.  The normal American watches 32 hours a week of television, so we were still low on the consumption, comparatively.  But, to me, I felt a sudden shift which I didn’t like.

I became moodier, less interested in listening to her, less interested in my reading, and generally lazier than I had been.  Similar reactions from her caused us to argue more and snap at each other over silly things.

This led us to permanently reinstate the “1 movie night a week” rule.

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That was 8 months ago, and we are never going back.

A quick run-down of the benefits we enjoy which have fully cemented this decision:

1)      We get along much better.  It’s rare that we argue and when we do, we listen to each other instead of trying to find distractions.

2)      Our cooking has gotten much better.  Now that we don’t rush through the cooking process in order to plop down on the couch, we take our time and enjoy each other’s company while cooking.

3)      Meal times are slow and peaceful.  We really take a moment to enjoy what we prepared together.

4)      Our view on the future is brighter.  Before, we didn’t talk too much about the future.  A lot of our conversations revolved around TV shows we enjoyed.  Now, we talk a lot about what will happen next in our lives, not what will happen next on Prison Break.

5)      My business is less stressful.  I don’t feel constantly strained for time, and when things pile up, it’s much easier for me to focus on the task at hand without seeking mindless entertainment.

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6)      We are more interesting people.  This seems almost counter-intuitive, because a big fear I had when I started this experiment was that I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friends about TV shows like I used to.  This has proved to be completely the opposite.  Although we don’t talk about TV, with the reading we do and the projects we are always working on, we have really great stories to talk to our friends about.  Not to mention, they always want us to come over and cook now :).

7)      Our social life has improved.  When you don’t have anything to watch on TV you find things to do.  We try to spend at least one night a week visiting friends for dinner.  It’s a great way to keep things fresh and build relationships.

8)      We are much more active.  We take walks all the time and love taking our dog to the park.  We did these things before the experiment, but now we do them much more often.

These are the benefits I can think of right now.  Really, there’s an overall sense of happiness I never knew we were missing before.  I don’t ever want to lose this feeling over a television again.

Now, it’s your turn: what do you think would happen if you gave up television for 60 days?

Please leave your comments below; I would love to hear your thoughts J.

Trent

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

More Tips on Eating Healthy

Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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