Tag Archives: eco-friendly cars

Tips For Adulthood: Five Ways To Stay Fit

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

This week’s list is inspired – yet again – by my move.

My new house is located considerably further than my old house to either of my children’s schools. And so, for someone who was already walking quite a bit (we don’t own a car), I’m now walking even more. Which got me thinking about fitness.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a fitness freak. I’m not naturally athletic. (My best sports are billiards and ping-pong). Nor am I neurotic about food (it may be one of the *only* things I’m not neurotic about.) And yet, I lead what most people would term a fairly health lifestyle.

Here’s how I do it and how you can too:

1. Only eat sweets at night. I’m a fairly rule-bound person, which means that when I want to commit to some course of action – be it blogging, exercising or reading the New Yorker – I tend to set rules for myself. Not rigid, you-must-do-this-or-you’ll-die sorts of rules. More like guidelines. With sweets, my rule is “Only eat them at night.” I don’t know when I came up with this rule. But somewhere along the way I decided that as someone with the dietary preferences of an 11-year-old boy, I’d be better off setting some kind of arbitrary limitation on my sugar intake. And saving sweets for the evening works really well. Because that daily dose of Ben and Jerry’s is something I can look forward to all day long.

2. Pretend you have food allergies. OK, I don’t really do this because I don’t need to pretend. My son has a host of food allergies which means that there are all sorts of things that are off-limit in our house. But if I were trying to attain a healthier diet, I might pretend that I was similarly constrained. Because you end up eating much more healthily when you start paying attention to food labels. Take junk food. Most processed food – potato chips (crisps), cookies (biscuits) or pretty much any form of cake – has eggs and butter (not to mention a host of other items.) I have nothing against eggs or butter. But my son is allergic to both. Which means that almost all of the dessert items we stock on a regular basis (save my precious Ben and Jerry’s) are “vegan,” because only vegan items are free of eggs, milk and butter. So we tend to stock a lot of pareve cookies in addition to things like sorbet and dark chocolate. While your first instinct might be to say “gross,” go ahead and try it. Some are, indeed, gross. But some are plenty tasty, like these organic chocolate rice bars. Yum!

3. Build your work-out into another weekly routine and commit to it. Yes, yes. I know what you’re going to say: “But I’m not self-disciplined enough to do this!” I hear you. I don’t like working out either. So the way I “trick” myself into working out regularly is to build my work-out into a different routine in my life that isn’t optional:  taking my son to school. Two or three times a week – when it’s my turn to take my son to school – I make sure that I wear my work-out gear. (Hidden Fitness Rule Number One: getting dressed to work out is half the battle.) That way, after I’ve dropped him off, all I need to do is pop on the walk-man and off I go. After all, I still need to get home, right? Might as well run. Obviously, this particular strategy won’t work for all parents. Some may need to get on a bus or train to go to work. (To them I’d suggest: try cycling to work.) Or maybe your child’s school is right around the corner. (Pretend it isn’t. See #2.) But you get my drift:  figure out some non-moveable piece in your weekly schedule and make that anchor your work-out regime.

4. Sell your car or get an eco-friendly one. Ok, now we’re moving into more radical territory. I’ve come out before in favor of abandoning the automobile in favor of biking. It’s smart for your body and smart for the environment. It’s also really terrific for your kids, who – without the habit of getting strapped into a car seat – will learn how to walk long distances (and have the calf muscles to show for it!) I do realize that this isn’t going to be realistic for everybody, especially Americans. If you can’t quite manage doing without a car, then at the very least please try to have an eco-friendly car. Someone in our new neighborhood has an electric car and just the other day we walked by while they were charging it. So cool!!

5. Partner with someone who values fitness. I’m genetically predisposed to be on the thin side of things. But I’m quite certain that I’d be a good 10 pounds heavier than I am (and a good deal less healthy) if I weren’t with my husband, who really values being healthy as an intrinsic good. Before I met him, I never even considered combining different grains in my breakfast cereal. (Hidden Fitness Rule Number Two.) He’s also the person who got me into yoga. But one of the many great things about a long-term relationship is that you continually learn from your partner and grow. So choose wisely, in health as in so many things!


Image: Cereal with walnuts and cranberries by .imelda via flickr under a creative commons license.

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Cars In Adulthood: Are We Over Them Yet?

I’ve written before on this blog about cycling as the latest sign of maturity and the trend towards eco-friendly cars. (Pay no attention to that runaway Prius behind the curtain…)

Several trends now point to the beginning of the end of car culture in the United States. But are Americans seriously ready to embrace alternatives to automobiles?

Today I’m over on PoliticsDaily.com talking about the end of America’s romance with cars and what it might portend. Have a look…


Image: New Car by Sumlin via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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A few months back, I did a post on why we ought to limit children’s computer time. Here’s an interesting rejoinder to that post in Babble, by a Dad defending his decision to let his son play violent video games.

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Can I Have an Outfit for My Prius? The Next Phase in Eco-Friendly Cars

One of my pet obsessions is cycling as an alternative to driving. I’m hopeful that cycling represents the next phase of transportation in adulthood.

Another of my obsessions are the many different ways that the U.K. and the U.S. – despite sharing a common heritage – are still miles apart culturally.

Imagine my delight, then, in happening upon this gem in yesterday’s Guardian:  The TFL (that’s Transport for London, the city’s transportation agency) is partnering with a private company to provide, quote “normal clothing that serves as specialist cycling clothing.” This new line of clothing is cleverly called Bspoke and you can view it right here on the TFL website.

That’s right. The City of London’s government is promoting a line of cycling gear.

Can you imagine that happening anywhere in the U.S. (O.K., anywhere outside of Portland?)

Of course you can’t. And that’s because even though car usage in the States appears to be on the decline, it’s a slow burn. For all sorts of reasons – most of them cultural, some having to do with urban sprawl – cars are still central to the American way of life.

So, no. It doesn’t look like we’re going to see Mayor Bloomberg promoting the Manhattan equivalent of Bspoke anytime soon.

But there is some good news here. Even if Americans are still reluctant to embrace cycling in quite the way Europeans do, the environmentally-friendly Prius (now in its third iteration) is generating waiting lists in Japan. And Toyota is hopeful that this enthusiasm will be matched in America (as well as in Europe).

My mother owns a Prius, so I’ve had the pleasure of driving one of those bad boys. And – oh my – was it  fun.

In the meantime, while we wait to see where gasoline prices and energy policy and – ahem – Middle East politics are headed, I took some comfort in this other news flash, courtesy of the blog Kim and Jason Escape Adulthood:

Question: What was the best-selling car in America last year?

Answer: The Little Tykes Cozy Coupe, with 457,000 units sold.

My only question is when the Cozy Coupe line of clothing will emerge…

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Further to yesterday’s post on five great lifehacking websites, I learned today that one of those sites – The Happiness Project – has spawned a sister site that is a happiness-hack-lover’s dream. Appropriately called The Happiness Project Toolbox, this site is a collection of “Eight Tools that will help you be happier now” – things like resolutions charts, lists of commandments and one sentence journals that can be shared with others. Check it out!

Image: Roadtrip by kaymoshusband via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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