Answers

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Disclaimer: this post is rambling and not proof read or edited as tightly as I normally do.

I want to know all the answers. I don’t know all the answers. Why do I think I should know all the answers? If someone said this to me I would tell them they’re crazy. I would be my normal sarcastic self and say it. The sarcastic self that I sometimes hate, but can’t seem to stop being.

Life is hard. It’s been harder these past few years on a different level than the other hard years I’ve lived through. After moving out of the area we grew up, about five months later, I noticed my blood pressure jumped 20 points. It floored me. I always enjoyed very healthy, low numbers. Even when I was chubby and eating like crap. I went on my way and just hoping it was a fluke reading.

But the next time it was the same. And the next time. And the next. It road at that same spot for a couple years. Then suddenly jumped another 10 points. What?! That freaked me out a little more. Fast forward to present day and it has continued to rise and is now scaring me. I finally made an appointment with a new doctor in my area. I have been thinking, and hoping, it was just stress induced since I’ve gone through a lot of changes in the past four years.

I was counting on it coming back down now that things are settling out for me. It hasn’t and so now I’m getting worked up about it – which isn’t helping matters. I am having some other physical issues I’m not happy about.  My knee started snapping when I bent it too quickly about a year ago and in the past few months it has really, really started actually hurting.  I’ve had to steal myself from saying one of my most hated comments, “guess I’m getting old.” I don’t buy that. I won’t! It’s against everything I’m about – taking care of your body so it can take care of you. 

I also seem to be having more difficulty with some issues like worry, jealousy, forgiveness – both of others and myself.  My kombucha has also been failing for months now, and that in itself is also causing me grief and upset.  I know, it’s just kombucha, but it’s been a huge part of my life for years and I now believe it has actually been a comfort to me.  And now that’s not there.  

I journal most days in the morning during my “devotional time with God” which has been more of a worry session than a comfort and communing with him session as it should be.  I just can’t seem to get a hold of my thoughts.  I focus on things I don’t like or I’m fearful about.  Things I have little to no control over.  I ruminate on what I see other people doing instead of focusing on and being thankful for the things I’m doing.

To even type all this out with the understanding that someone might one day read it makes me weirdly nervous because it feels weak.  As if I am so mighty and in control of everything.  If someone else would say such a thing to me I would be gentle and compassionate with them and probably cheer them on in their willingness to be vulnerable.  Crazy, right?

I’ve decided I need to up my game in terms of caring for myself, both physically and mentally.  I think I may have been resting on my laurels, so to speak, since I’ve never had very significant issues that drove me toward the changes I made in my health.   I’ve read tons of other people’s stories about their journey to wellness and now I have to believe “it” can happen for me, too.  The rubber is hitting the road and it doesn’t feel too good.

I’m still laughing as often as I can, even though I’m feeling pretty stressed about this blood pressure thing.  Laughter is good medicine.  I’m believing it will be something I walk through that will enable me to help someone else at some point.  

xo

** I hope that if there is an ad attached to this blog it is not offensive.  I don’t pay for this and so I have no choice.  

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Keep learning

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I’m reading a nutrition book.  Shocker, I know.  It’s my favorite at the moment.  It’s basically all I want to do these days.  To hell with the house we’re remodeling!  Nursing, nutrition, prevention of illness are loves of mine.  Oh yeah, and my grandson…the most perfect baby ever to live.  And mine’s better than your so, sorry.

Anyway, back to prevention of illness.   As a registered nurse, I see far too much illness and disease and it’s radical, devastating effects.  It’s nuts to think how simple things like good nutrition and a little exercise can help prevent, arrest, or cure so many diseases.

The book is called How Not to Die by Michael Greger MD.  I highly recommend it.  I also recommend getting all of your nutrition and healthy lifestyle education from medical doctors, PhDs, Naturopathic Doctors and the like.  You’re more likely to get accurate information.  Reading blogs is fine.  They are entertaining and you can learn a lot, like how to cook and what exercises are good and how to make this healthy lifestyle thing work in your real life.  But, basing your entire philosophy and opinion on the information in these blogs is irresponsible.  I have done it to some extent, so I get it – it’s easy to do.

Dr Greger has a website called Nutrition Facts (nutritionfacts.org).  Check it out.  Tons of videos and articles.  He has a great story, too.  I was recently at my health coach bff’s and couldn’t stop talking about it.  We were working on some business stuff, eating her awesome food, drinking her in-laws’ delicious home made wine, and so forth.

My insights so far:

Regular check-ups are kind of unnecessary.  They can lead to a lot of unnecessary diagnoses, and the ensuing list of medications and tests – all with their own list of side effects and then more medications to treat the side effects, and on and on.  I have cared for, and currently care for, many young people on SO MANY medications.  It’s crazy!

One of my biggest pet peeves is the neurotically pushed yearly mammograms.  I’m so sick of it!  A large dose of pain, a huge dose of (known carcinogen) radiation – why do we think the technician freaking wears an iron vest!? – and then the nerve wracking wait time until we find out if it’s negative.  I had an “abnormal” one for my first experience.  “Something” was seen so I had to have a re-do.  Super.  Another squooshing.  Second time negative.  Nice.

Anyway, about cancer he says that most of us have multiple cancer cells scattered throughout our bodies.  Sounds scary.  But really, he says many of them are attacked and disarmed by our immune system, fizzle out on their own, or simply grow slow enough that we die some other way without ever knowing they’re there.  Interesting, huh?

Hibiscus tea is the healthiest drink on the planet according to the data.  How simple!  My bff has brought me a couple huge bags of dried hibiscus flowers from Honduras when she went on a mission for our church.  Dr Greger says to make it with the juice of one lemon steeped overnight in the fridge.  Some sweetener can be added.  I like it both ways and my co-workers loved it at our monthly pot luck lunch.  Unfortunately, my flowers are gone.  So Heidi, go to Honduras again.  Thanks.

Turmeric is crazy healthy, too many ways to list!  Not to mention I wouldn’t be able to remember them.  Let’s just say we should be eating some every single day (I don’t, but I aim to).  There are many ways to incorporate it like golden milk, in soup, on rice, on pop corn (yep), in broth – bone or vegetable – in whole grains.  I’ve also recently come across muffins and things like that with it.  It is a hot item these days, so it’s not hard at all to find recipes.  Today I made a veg broth and dumped in two huge teaspoons of it along with a bunch of curry and called it Turmeric Tonic.  I’m going to drink it daily for a while, until I run out.

Herbs and spices are a secret weapon for amazing nutrition.  Getting specific is useless, there are so many benefits we know about and tons more we don’t.  Remember, you don’t have to know everything before you start eating right.  Just do it!  In reality, everyone pretty much knows what is healthy to eat.  It’s just a matter of learning how to make it and use it and deciding that you’re worth taking care of.

I’ve harped on it before, but we’re given one body.  Why do we so often abuse it?  I’ve heard it said that this life is not a dress rehearsal.  This is it!  Our life, our here and now. Decide right now to choose life.

YOUR life.

Time

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I pretty much hate the phrase, “time flies.”  It is so cliche.  And yet, is it not so true?  When my youngest daughter was married I woke up that morning and felt like a train had just struck me as I contemplated in an instant the 21 years that had whizzed by in a blink.  A literal blink.

Time flies and things happen.  The good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly.  Surprises come.  Mistakes are made.  Sadness visits.  Friends are missed.  Joy eludes.  Hope thrives.

My last post was June.  Since that time we have moved to a house in a nearby town.  A cute little town I’d like to get to know.  We are in the country, have a bit of land (3/4 acre).  My husband graduated school with a degree in architecture drafting/technology and is enjoying his new job and co-workers.  Our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson moved in with us for a short time as they transition back to PA from Florida.  Our other daughter was married just before Christmas.   Now we have two sons-in-law.

My life as a health coach has taken a backseat for some reason.  Life somehow just seems too busy to focus on that.  Why?  Not too much of a clue.  Perhaps it is because the house we bought isn’t what we hoped it would be.  It doesn’t suit us.  It’s not right for us.  It simply doesn’t feel like home.  We’ve ended up wanting to change more things than we planned to when we looked for a house.  We didn’t want to spend evenings and weekends making changes.  And that’s exactly where we find ourselves.  So, where would health coaching fit in?

Time flies, and now it’s February 2018.  Good gracious.  Life just chugs along and unfolds before your eyes.  Little Thiago is now 13 months and took his first steps today.  Two minutes ago we were in Florida holding him for the first time.   I had the same creepy feeling at our daughter’s December wedding watching her and my husband dance…it was just last week when I danced with my dad.  It surely wasn’t 27 years ago.  That’s impossible.

Why does it go so fast?  I don’t like not having the time to do all I want to do.  Not because I don’t have the money,  just that there is so much I want to do.  And yet, at the same time, I long for a simpler life.  And I think I DO have a pretty simple life!  I think of “old times” when people didn’t have so many choices of things to do.  Were they happier and more content?  I bet they were.

But I bet they still thought time flew.

This post is pretty rambly (is that a word? doubt it).  It’s what my head is doing these days for whatever reason.  ‘Flight of ideas’ is what a psychiatrist would call it, no cohesiveness.  So be it.  Soon I’ll be back on point and actually make some type of a point.

And then I’ll feel as though time flew from now til then.

ps – forgive my typos.  thanks.

Running: part I

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Update on my new running activity.  This week has gone well!  My childhood best friend’s Ragnar race, especially the non-perfect runners, inspired me to restart my old enjoyment/hobby/slight passion of running.

Monday my husband and I went out for a walk and we added some running.  A couple of years ago we participated in Run for God, a program at our church.  It was lead by a wonderful woman who is what I lovingly call a psycho runner.  She’s been long distance running for decades.  She’s an adorable, spunky little thing.  She taught both our girls in kindergarten.  She’s very encouraging.  She was the perfect fit to walk us through a C2K (couch to 5K).

The day it was announced at church, my husband decided on the spot he wanted to do it.  He never ran.  He never played sports except as a kid.  He’s just not much of an athlete.  Neither are our girls.  I’m the athlete of the family.  Athlete is kind of a stretch, but I’ll go with it 🙂   The program was really fun, especially because it was with lots of camaraderie.  It started with 30 minute runs and worked up to a 5K race.  Brilliant.

So, that’s what we did on Monday, shorter running combined with walking.  I’m not interested in doing a program again, I’ll just work up on my own just like I did when I first started running about 15 years ago.  I am, however, going to sign up for a 5K on September 25th.  We ran/walked again on Tuesday.  Then I walked with a new friend Wednesday evening and ran/walked today with a former co-worker.  She told me about the race, so we’re going to do it together.  I’m going to attempt dragging along a few others.

Part of my motivation will be my new buddies.  My husband, who after two years of school and sitting on the sofa on his butt in his “office,” is now feeling like a blimp.  He’s not exactly a blimp, but you know that feeling.  He needs to get out and move.  So he will also be my motivation.  And I will be all of theirs.

Added to that, I just ordered a new digital watch.  Back in the day, before cell phones, people actually went out all by themselves and ran in the peace and quiet of their own minds.  That’s my preference still.  But I need a watch so that I get home on time to go to work (you know, to pay that annoying Piper that demands to be paid!).  I don’t want to carry my phone and I can’t find my old watch.

So, what are you going to do today to motivate yourself to move?  It’s a wide world out there with tons and tons of activities in which to participate.  Make more of them physical and I guarantee you will feel happier, healthier, and more alive.  Remember, life is but a wisp and should be lived as best we can to the fullest, and that requires a strong, healthy body.

Be well, and don’t forget to laugh.  A lot.

xo

PS and just in case you’re wondering, my five month old grandson is the absolute most perfect, adorable, beautiful, amazing, smart, excellent child that will ever walk the face of God’s green Earth.  Just sayin’

 

Picture this.

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Just a simple picture…or a few.  I’ve been jarred back into reality and action.  I’ve known for a few weeks that I’m not feeling well.  Not my generally perky self.  Rounder face – specifically the cheeks.  Bloated, heavy feeling.  Dull rather than glowing complexion.  Tired eyes.  You get the picture.

I’ve sort of ignored it.  But those pictures have cropped up lately and smacked me in the face.  Pictures with my utterly perfect grandson, pictures with his beautiful little mother, a picture with my health coaching group, a recent picture with a friend.

Time to snap back into action.  I cannot allow myself to be complacent with the fact that I’m getting older and my body seeks to be wider and flabbier.  It just ain’t happenin’.  Sorry, Father Time.  You will not engulf or drown me.  I know you’re trying to, but (insert your chosen vulgar insult here).

I’ve been doing my own exercise gig of walking, five and ten pound hand weights, a 20 pound kettle bell, stretching, and a yoga class here and there since we relocated to a small apartment from the home we painstakingly gutted room by room over the course of seventeen years.  It was a labor of “love,” and not one we counted on as we signed the papers at closing.  We basically traveled to hell and back, in many areas, through those years.  Some pretty dark years.  We persevered, which is nice.

So anyway, that “workout” is just not cutting it anymore.  Time to kick it up a notch.  Or six.  I used to run.  I was a runner.  Runner’s World told me so.  They said if you’re moving any faster than a walk, you’re a runner.  I was a runner.  I used to run about thirty miles a week.  Pretty impressive for a waddle runner!  It kept me in shape and I was content gliding along imaging myself a veritable gazelle.  Isn’t that a riot?  If you could see my squat little body you’d know what a riot it is.

In the wee hours of this morning I joined my girlhood best friend’s mom as we volunteered at her crazy relay race on a course of over 200 miles.  We helped man one of the exchange locations.  The multitude of runners I witnessed coming in and going out of our shoot have inspired me to dust off my running shoes.  I’ve been walking in them.  Why shan’t I run, or waddle, in them?  If those brave souls with less than picturesque physiques can be in a rather grueling race, surely I can run a mile or so.  And then add a few more, as I used to.

It will be hard.  I’ll want to stop.  I’ll make excuses.  I will likely use my increasing age and poor performance to drive me back inside to my private yoga mat.  But that won’t get me to where I know I could be again.  I need it not to be about how I look, but how I feel.  I need to accomplish something a little bigger.  A little greater.  Maybe not a 10k, or half marathon, or OMG!, a full marathon.

I used to want that.  No longer.  I’d be content with a little ol’ 5k a hair under thirty – or at least completed.  I need also to feel better.  To be overall more alive again.  I’m a tad dull at the moment.

So, let’s see where this little post leads me.  If I remember, I’ll post a bit of my progress.  I tend not to live online.  My life is just that, mine.  This is only a tiny glimpse, be it as it may.  It’s what’s going on in my sometimes jumbled brain at the time.  Often, while drinking a little wine and listening to loud worship music in my ear buds.

So that’s that, more than two hours of work for less than 700 words.  Amazing how long this thing takes me.

“Good night and God bless,” as my father-in-law used to say.

Tomorrow I will surely laugh at something (or someone).  I always do.  I hope you do, too.  It gives life to the soul.  And we all need more of that!

xo

No time to cook.

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Next time you find yourself thinking or saying, “cooking takes so long…and then the clean up.  No thanks”  I challenge you to get real with yourself and consider exactly what you would be doing if you weren’t cooking your meal.  And if it’s really and truly all that important that it just can’t wait until you’ve finished?  Only you can answer that question.  As I write this it’s Sunday evening.  I just cleaned up dinner, which consisted of a big salad.  The salad probably took about thirty minutes to prepare, with all the fixings.  “Thirty minutes!?”  That may seem like a long time just for a salad.

Would I rather have just opened a box or can to heat up and eat within a few minutes?  Maybe.  But, truthfully, I needed to get up off my butt for a while.  I had been reading all afternoon, consciously making time to do that instead of what I’ve gotten into the habit of doing on Sundays after church, which is work on my health coaching business while doing laundry.

Yesterday I finished The Great Gatsby.  Today I started The Lord of the Rings.  I read it years ago and since then have watched the epic film many, many times.  So many times that my husband, girls, and I quote it almost constantly in many situations.  As with any movie based off a book, the book is so much better than the movie.  Even though Peter Jackson and his crew did an astounding job at capturing the greatness of this inspiring work of literature.  So, I started it again.  I somehow lost the second book, so I ordered the trilogy in one huge volume.

There was a time when I wouldn’t do anything but basically nothing on a Sunday, taking God seriously when he commanded a Sabbath rest.  I’m not Jewish, though I do love the Lord and do my best to follow after him.  A Sabbath rest is common across the globe.  It goes by many names, but it’s all the same principle-taking a conscious break from life.  Seems that it’s good for the soul, the mind, and the body.  We know this in our hearts.  But society pushes us to do more, more, more.  To be productive in every way possible, much to our ultimate detriment.  This fact has been proven.  Google it.

And yet, how productive are we in reality?  Think about it.  Honestly.  And then ask yourself once more if you really can’t find the time to cook your meal, eat it slowly in an almost ceremonious way, and be thankful for every bite.  I believe every part of us would be all the better for it.  If you truly don’t believe this, then by all means continue your present routine.  This is not a judgement on your life, just a suggestion to take the time to live your life in a more purposeful way.  We all get but one.  Why not actually live it instead of watching it scroll by, literally and figuratively?

Back to the salad, in case you’re dying to know.  Romaine, red Boston bib lettuce, green olives, kalamata olives, carrots, pepitas (dried pumpkin seeds), avocado, and chickpeas from a can (see, I do open cans!), and red skinned pears.  Lots of colors.  Arranged prettily on a dinner plate, almost needing side boards as my Dad would always say to my brothers at holiday meals.  Topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for my husband and white wine vinegar for me.  Fresh cracked peppercorn completed it.  Somewhere I read that helps digestion and absorption.

Well, anyway, just slow down.  Cook your meals, no matter how simple.  Eat real food.  Do all you can to be healthy.  Notice life.  Live life.  It is but a whisp, a passing shadow in this world. And also, always remember that laughter is an extremely healthy and necessary part of life.  I once saw a T-shirt that totally cracked me up, “if you can’t laugh at yourself, then laugh at someone else.”

Yeah, I’m not as sweet as some of these posts may make me seem…

Booch.

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Kombucha.  I love kombucha.  I’ve been brewing it for about four years.  I think everyone should be drinking it.  Every day.  It helps restore the gut flora that is continuously killed off by stress, processed foods, lack of sleep, antibiotics, sugar, alcohol, and other assailants.

75% of the immune system lies in the gut.  This is incredible to me.  To think that the gut, where poop is manufactured, is so vitally important!  And why is it?  The immune system is constantly at war with anything foreign to our precious body.  These little bugs are powerhouse manufacturers of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and pathogen warriors.  All of which allow proper digestion and absorption of the foods we eat, restoring health to the lining of the small and large intestines.  But if we eat crap, they have nothing to work with.

My own very official, scientific definition of crap is:  just about anything created in a factory by little men in white coats, ie. “scientists.”   This stuff destroys the gut.  Look up ‘leaky gut,’ preferably on reputable sites such as ones by medical doctors  like drhyman.com or nutritionfacts.org.  Bottom line:  we need gut healing.  Knowing all the science-y stuff is fine IF we’re going to do something with it.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the knowing that we miss the boat on the doing.  Don’t fall into that trap!

I much prefer to just do it.  If I know it’s good for me I just do it.  Obviously, I want to know the gist of why it’s good for me.  But, please understand this – nutrition knowledge is in its infancy.  We will never stop discovering, understanding, or learning about the miraculous aspects of foods.  REAL FOOD.  I don’t need every one of the available facts before proceeding.  Ain’t no way I’m going to remember it all, anyway.  Frankly, I just don’t have the time.  I thoroughly enjoy reading all kinds of nutrition and wellness books, mainly as part of my health coaching business.   But honestly, I’ve been reading far too many of them far too often.

I used to like reading fiction.  Good, clean, intriguing fiction.  Fiction you get lost in, fiction you can’t put down, fiction you think about at work.  Fiction you carry with you and read in line at the grocery.  I used to do that.  My girls used to read constantly, too.  Especially the oldest.  Now we all look at electronics for entertainment and information.  I hate that!  I miss the feel of books, turning the pages, dog ear-ing them to keep my place.

I also miss hearing someone’s voice on the phone.  The other day a stranger messaged me asking for information and advice regarding the health coaching program from which I obtained my certification – Institute of Integrative Nutrition, NYC.  I gave her my number and asked her to call me.  She was surprised and grateful that I took the time to allow her to call.  We ended up talking for over an hour and both felt as though we had met a kindred spirit.  No way that would have happened over messenger or text.

I am slowly trying to commit myself to less texts and more calls.  Not that I have tons of free time to chat.  But we used to make time to talk instead of a continuous, at times meaningless, “conversation” throughout an entire day and even into the next.  Making calls forces us to know what we want to say and to say it.  Calling does require respect on both parties’ time.  And that is exactly why we text – it’s easier, quicker.  Fair enough.

The other day my friend called, we barely talk anymore except via text.  The moment I saw her face on my phone, my heart literally sank, knowing also she wouldn’t be calling me at work .  A million thoughts raced through my mind in the split second before answering.  Hearing her serious voice almost brought me to my knees as she asked where I was.  I just about screamed for her to tell me why she was calling.  And indeed, her next words were tragic.

Not sure what that has to do with anything else in this post, except to just call more often to avoid a heart attack when you do call.  It’s just on my mind as I write.

So anyway:  drink more booch, read more, talk more, text less.  So there ya’ have it, my profound advice for today.

Please also smile and laugh more, both are healing to the gut and to the soul.

Love ya’ll.

xo