Thursday, January 14, 2016
Better Health Thoughts And Ideas
It's no secret. 2014 and 2015 have been hard years for me. I think I have probably aged more during these two years than at any other time in my life.
Every time we have surgery, all those chemicals they run through our veins are hard on the rest of the body. Then afterward, we take pain meds and antibiotics and that only increases the assault. So not only do we have to heal from the actual cutting that was done on our body, we also have to recover from the poisons that we took in to help ward off infection and to help tolerate the pain. It does us no good, by the way, to try to tolerate too much pain without medication, as that's stressful and hard on the body, too. I hope I'm done, now, going "under the knife", at least for awhile. So this year, in conjunction with my Healthy Eating / Weight Loss program, I plan to make this a year of healing and improved health. I have a 25-pound weight loss planned for this year. That will put me UNDER 200 pounds before I'm halfway there. I have not been below 200 pounds in twenty years.
It always amazes me how many people just gasp when someone says they weigh 200 pounds or more. A lot more women weigh 200 pounds or over than you would think. I am 5'4" tall and I'm sturdily built. Even at my target weight, I am not what you would call "willowy". If you are a "people watcher", you've already noticed that people are built differently. Some people are tall and have long legs. Some people are broad, no matter how thin they are. Some people are kind of "disproportionate". They have thick mid-sections and broad shoulders, but narrow hips, no butt, and slim legs. They call this "an apple". And they say people with this shape are more prone to high blood pressure and heart disease. My mother was built like this. Or they'll be small on top, with narrow shoulders and yet have "thunder thighs" and "Cankles". They call this "a pear". Then there is the "Hourglass", where, when the person is of normal weight, there is a small waistline and the top and bottom measure about the same. This is my body type, but it is a double-edged sword, because only rarely have I been of normal weight. The problem with the Hourglass is that when you gain weight, you gain it all over. There are three main women's body types, as explained HERE, and most of us are combinations of those. There are also classifications of body shapes, HERE. Women who have slim legs at least can look nice in a loose dress and high heels. Big hips can hide under a long full skirt, if the waistline is small. But me, it's as if every part of my body is yapping out the news about every excess pound. I think there might be some folks over in Siberia that don't hear it, but maybe not.
All this to say that this might be why people are always so surprised when they find out how much I weigh. Or maybe that gasp is just one of shocked horror, I don't know.
I had an experience with a young woman at work, once, that I think about every now and then. She had joined a gym and had gotten into it in such a big way that sometimes her muscles were so sore she had to just "hobble around". She lost so much weight that she actually didn't look well. But she went around to everyone at work that she deemed "overweight" (which was, as far as she was concerned, actually just about all of us), and tried to convince us to let her set us up on a website that would help us manage our calorie intake and the kinds of exercise we did. This meant that we had to tell her what we weighed. She had me as a captive audience because she worked in my transcription office sometimes, and so of course the subject came up. Knowing her to be a bit of a gossip, I knew everyone at work would know what I weighed as soon as she did. I mean, she had already told me that one of the nurse-techs certainly didn't look like SHE weighed 180. So I told her I had no interest in the website and there was no way I was going to tell her how much I weighed. She looked at me, rather frustrated and somewhat confused. She was one of those persons who wasn't used to being told "no". And then she said, "Well, it's not like none of us can SEE you, you know...." Fortunately, the very best reply I could've had, came to me easily. I just looked at her and quietly said, "I can't believe you just said that to me." She got embarrassed and got up and left the room. That topic didn't come up again between us. However, she did end up finding out how much I weigh, because she was part-time and she went to work for a doctor for the other half of the day and that happened to be MY doctor. Sheesh.
HERE is a Livestrong YouTube presentation of exercises to do to improve leg circulation, which is a problem we big-legged women have when we weigh too much or sit too much, or a combination thereof. This little Amber Nimedez has 21 videos under the Livestrong umbrella, HERE. I don't think they're indexing things right because I see other videos by her on the sidebar when I watch the one on leg circulation that aren't included in the list, including one for flabby arms HERE. Who doesn't have a double chin? HERE is a good facial exercise vid, not by Amber, though. These same exercises are contained in an old book entitled Miss Craig's Face Saving Exercises by Marjorie Craig. This is a timeless book that was published in 1970. I bought my copy at a garage sale, years ago. I'm not very good at keeping up with the exercises, but I think the book is worth buying if you ever get the chance. If that's not possible, there are probably lots of face exercise YouTube videos that contain much the same information.
The Perioral Dermatitis is clearing up and I'm more than halfway through with my 30-day prescription of Minocycline. I will be so glad to get off this. Since taking it, I've had this greenish coating on my tongue that is very resistant to efforts I've made to getting it cleaned off. There's only so much I can do without turning on "the gag reflex". I hate having to barf and will do almost anything to avoid it. I hadn't been doing any coconut oil pulling in a few days because apparently what was wrong in my mouth was that I had cut my gums when I flossed, and after that healed, I've not had any pain. I don't like the process of oil pulling and I'd rather not do it, but after just one 15-minute session yesterday morning, I was finally able to scrape enough of that nasty green off my tongue to be able to see pink underneath. And since then I haven't had that burning sensation at the roof of my mouth, either. I did a little research and saw where hydrogen peroxide can be used on the toothbrush, at a ratio of one part HP to five parts water. I might even try brushing my teeth with that and the baking soda I have been using, because my teeth look like they have a greenish cast, now, too. Yuk. If you have Perioral Dermatitis, they say not to use toothpaste that has fluoride OR peppermint in it. Ever try to find a toothpaste like that? Hope you have better luck than I do. This can easily turn into another rant because I've gotta tell ya, this adding fluoride to the water we drink and into all the toothpastes and most of the mouthwashes we can buy is a prime example of having something forced on you that, turns out, after HOW many years of this, may not be good for us. It'd be NICE if our government would've allowed us the choice as to whether to consume fluoride instead of making it so arbitrary.
I just hate this Getting Old crap. Once, when I was younger, I bought my mom a cup for her coffee-cup collection that said, "First you crawl and then you stoop, Getting old is pigeon poop." Well, she didn't appreciate my humor one bit. Just like she didn't appreciate it when I bought her a walker. In my defense, the walker purchase was because she had told me she wished she had one, so I thought she'd be happy when I found one for her at an estate sale. I guess she forgot she said that because you would've thought by the way she acted that I had bought her a casket or something. Mom had big problems with me. I was "the baby" and just too independent, too smart, and too good with words. I tried hard not to argue with her, but sometimes it was not worth it to stay silent and let her and everyone else that was listening think I agreed with some of the outlandish stuff she was saying, especially since she was so fond of saying, at the end, "...And Everyone Else Thinks So Too!" OMG, if I had a penny for every time I've heard that. She had a lot of strange beliefs, mostly having to do with how she was in control of everything, and sometimes I'd just feel compelled to interrupt and change the subject. I mean, my sibs would come to me and thank me later, but none of them had the nerve to do it themselves. Sometimes, she'd just look at me sternly, drop her mouth open, and let out a big exasperated sigh. When she started drinking dill pickle brine because she didn't want it to "go to waste", I was the only one with enough guts to tell her how counter-productive that was, since the salt in it had the potential to increase her blood pressure, which was already high enough. And she hated having to spend money on blood-pressure meds. So then she started adding it to lime jello salad, instead, and making those of us who came to supper on the weekends help her consume that dang "pickle juice". I was the one that always disposed of it while I was doing supper dishes. And I finally got smart and started pouring out the extra brine from the pickle jar in her refrigerator door BEFORE she had the chance to stir it into anything. There were lots of dirty jobs like that, that had to be done. My dad, who was a captive audience after he retired, just quietly endured. He had high blood-pressure and a heart condition, he didn't need to be eating that. The rest of my sibs just rolled their eyes and talked about the things she said and did amongst themselves. I could never depend on any of them to take a stand on anything, and there were times, when I was younger and more intimidated by Mom than I eventually became, that I would've really appreciated it if one of them had had the courage to step up to the plate.
The weather's been such that we've missed a few of our workouts at The Fitness Center and I've been staying inside and in a chair a lot more than I'm accustomed to doing. Consequently, my back's been acting up. I'm told I have arthritis in my back, but when I go into spasm it runs down my sciatic nerve. I can feel when the spasms are coming on and I know what to do about it now. But I think part of my current situation might have something to do with the Minocycline. I always read those data sheets that come with the prescription, mainly because the doctor and the pharmacist don't tell you stuff you really need to know. They told me at the dermatologist's office that I should not drink milk within 2 hours before or after taking it, but that's all. According to the data sheet, that includes the consumption of ANYTHING calcium-rich, including cheese, yogurt, Tums, or a vitamin containing calcium. Pretty glad I was fully aware of THAT. The rest of the stuff on the data sheet scared me spitless, as they always do. One thing it said was that if you have arthritis it might make your joints ache more. Maybe it's just The Power Of Suggestion, and could be the weather, too, but my knee has hurt more. I tried to use my stationary bike over the holidays, since The Fitness Center was closed on our regular days, but I just couldn't stay on that dang uncomfortable seat without a wiggle every now and then. I might've twisted my knee..... I am not completely pain-free with this knee, anyway. It still tightens up at night or during periods of inactivity. Standing from a seated position, or vice-versa, has never been fully without pain, and when we went to church they had us standing up and sitting down and standing up and sitting down. I think really that's just to keep some people awake. But I could really feel that in my knees and got so half the time I just stayed in my seat. I can't even take aspirin now because of possible interaction with the Minocycline. Nor can I even have a glass of wine. Sheesh. And yes, I was really close to making an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon's office. They did tell me, at my last appointment, that I could do anything I wanted to do now, but the pain would be my signal to stop. It's been getting gradually better since "Bicycle Day" so I'll stick to the recumbent bicycles at the workout centers, and leave the one here at home with the dang uncomfortable seat alone for awhile longer.
I have a dental appointment coming up and I have the antibiotic that I have to take, even before just a routine cleaning procedure, now, because of my new knee, except the Minocycline data sheet says not to combine it with an antibiotic. So I called my contact at the orthopedic surgeon's office and told her what I was taking, to see if I needed the antibiotic at all and she said to take it, in addition to the Minocycline. I'm thinking about rescheduling that dentist appointment till I'm off the Minocycline. I'm not having any dental pain now and so there really isn't any reason why I couldn't put it off for another month. My bridge still bothers me but it's mostly just an annoyance. I'm not at all comfortable with popping all these pills. I don't like to risk killing off my intestinal flora and fauna. I mean, if Minocycline makes my TONGUE look this awful, what's it doing to my insides? And THEN to put FOUR Amoxicillin, all at the same time, on top of THAT? Yipe.
I've been reading a little book I ordered on Amazon, The Edgar Cayce Handbook For Health Through Drugless Therapy, and where I am reading right now has to do with exercises and massage for healing of maladies that cause pain. This has me looking on YouTube for demonstration of specific exercises, and those on self-massage. Sometimes couples can massage each other but that's not an option for me and Hubs. He is so heavy-handed with everything. I don't know why men get so carried away with showing how strong they can be. I just couldn't trust him to work on me without risking that he would hurt me worse. It says the attitude that the person who massages you has to be one of loving concern, and that's another problem because I'm not sure his attitude wouldn't be, "Here's another dang thing I have to do." And you know men. They don't have very good control of their hands, so before you know it, they're massaging in the wrong place, anyway, and when you're already hurting, that's just another burden. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
There are a lot of things I'd do if money was no object and I had people to do stuff for me. One thing is, I'd have fresh, line-dried all-cotton sheets and pillowcases on my bed every night. I'd have a state-of-the-art greenhouse that produces fresh veggies all winter, maybe hydroponically. And I'd get a therapeutic massage every day. And yes, I know I could do some or maybe even all of these things for myself and maybe get close enough to "the real thing" to be able to reap the benefits. Initially I thought about getting some kind of vibrator gadget but I have no clue what to get or whether it would even do my back any good. So yesterday I found THIS fellow, Saranjeet Singh, demonstrating stretches and some of them are ones I already do. There's another HERE, by Chad Madden. There's a guy Steve Pfeister HERE. Lots of good information on YouTube about most anything you want to look into. Some videos I find are just basic info with the promise of being able to totally solve your problem if only you'll buy what they're selling and of course I don't trust those at all. I even found THIS one about what to do if you have someone that's on the floor in full muscle spasm. After that I watched a video where the guy seemed kind of creepy to me, but by the time I got to the end I thought I might've learned a couple things I could use. Then I noticed that one of his listed videos is about how to give an enema to yourself and now I'm creeped out again. I'm not even curious about that one. That's the caveat and HERE is the link to the massage video if you want it. You're on your own for the enema video, just so ya know. I'd like to think I'm open-minded but maybe I'm not as much so as I thought I was....
I've had people suggest to me that muscle cramps are caused by a calcium deficiency and that Oyster Shell calcium needs to be added to the diet. Just recently I watched a YouTube where the featured trainer said if you are drinking lots of water, you are probably peeing out all the salt in your body, or if you are training hard, you're probably sweating it all off. I don't like to sweat and I have trouble drinking enough water so I don't think either is my problem. Sometimes I actually crave salty things. So I'd have NO trouble getting enough salt if it ever turned out I had a deficiency. Other people say you need more potassium and to eat a banana every day. I do think bananas are a healthy addition to the human diet and I often have them in the kitchen. But I haven't noticed that a banana a day makes much difference. Maybe there is, it might be a hard thing to gauge.
Yesterday I roasted some garbanzo beans. There are several ways to prepare them and I'm not sure I chose the best one. It seemed like most of the methods required the use of cooked beans so I soaked them and cooked them and then baked them till they were browned and crisp. One pound of beans made about 5 cups of finished roasted beans. I didn't put any seasoning on them because I wanted to know how they tasted without. I don't have much experience with garbanzo beans. I had some in salads when I was younger but I found them kind of tasteless and I didn't like the mealy mouth-feel. So I pretty much avoided them from that point forward.
Well, I have to say that, although some report the taste to be rather nut-like, I don't find them to have much taste at all. They are crunchy, though. I think it's possible that they COULD taste nut-like if the water they were soaked in was charged with artificial flavorings but I'm not going to do that. Alton Brown has a method where the beans are soaked but not cooked before they are baked HERE, that I might try with another batch, but I'm not sure I'd like the vinegar-mustard taste of the.... well... vinegar and mustard.... that he adds. Maybe some Liquid Smoke and bacon drippings, instead, but that's kind of counter-productive. Like drinking "pickle juice".
NOW I have to think of a way to use up five cups of tasteless roasted garbanzo beans. I feel grumpy.
I'm going to try them on top of a salad, and if that doesn't work, maybe I'll just toss them outside and let the birds eat them.
I mentioned to Hubs that I hadn't seen a Kirstie Allie weight-loss commercial yet this year and this morning he told me he saw her. It wasn't long before they replayed the same commercial when I happened to be in the living room. Then I found THIS interview on The Wendy Show, in which Kirstie says she started with Jenny Craig a year and a half ago and lost 50 pounds in ten months, and she says she's kept it off since then. But she's developed a line of herbal blends and vitamin products, called Organic Liaison, which she says in the interview that Jenny Craig has started offering as part of their nutrition program. On the Organic Liaison's press release, it states Jenny Craig has actually bought it from Kirstie. So, I don't know. I'm not trying to undermine Kirstie's success. I'm quite happy for her and proud of her. At least she's taken a more sensible approach in not "Losing Ten Pounds In Ten Days" or some such thing. Fifty pounds in ten months is about a pound a week and I call that a sensible loss rate. I have no problem with that at all. But she has made money off the deal and so it's a little different from the way it works for you and me, is all I'm saying. It's still an expensive program for you and me, it still means we have to cook for our families while we buy special food for ourselves. And I still say, and in fact, Kirstie admitted this much herself, that in order to keep the weight off, you have to stay tethered to the Corporation. I haven't had access to any of the foods they provide to their customers and therefore I can't say I know what's in them, but I would wager there are artificial flavors and sweeteners, at the very least.
My problem with all these corporations that sell weight-loss programs that include pre-made meals to make the program work is that it's so expensive. If you're ever going to get free of the corporation you must eventually be able to eat sensibly from what's available to you. Food that is priced reasonably, that you will be serving to your family. You must be able to eat when you are truly hungry, and know when you've had enough. You must be able to make wise choices, and avoid those things that turn on your "craving switches". So isn't it just better to do that from the beginning? At least that way, you can eat the same things you prepare for your family. Now, if I lived alone, it might be a different matter, depending on what really is "in" the corporation's food line. It might be worth it to always have a clean kitchen, to never have to cook every day, to never have to grocery shop. But I guess you do still have to shop for some things, and cook, if you want to, as they call it, "volumize" each meal. According to their website, you pay $19 a month for the program and the food costs between $16 to $23 a day. At the very LEAST, that's $480 a month for food. And that's just for small, one-person portions! For that price, if you live alone and you want small portions, you could buy those little frozen dinners at the grocery store that are marketed as "healthy" or "low calorie", bearing in mind that you still must read the labels because some are better choices than others. I think those are overpriced, but if you fill out the rest of your day with, say, a breakfast that you make yourself, and maybe some kind of soup and a small sandwich for lunch, you can still come out 'way under $16 for the day. HERE is some interesting information from Health Magazine on those little frozen dinners. Or -- Good Grief! -- you could buy one fresh, organic chicken for less than $16 and get at least ten single servings and a quart or two of good broth out of it. Make some rice, or mashed potatoes, or some other starch, and freeze it in individual portions in sandwich bags, and then add a salad, or carrot and celery sticks, or broccoli or cauliflower florets, or whatever vegetable you like.
The other thing that bothers me is that they get so much mileage out of how "You Can Have Dessert". Seems to me we ought to be learning how to get along without dessert. When I was a kid, dessert was only offered after dinner on Sunday. And how many imitation products do they use, so it'll taste sweet, without sugar, and creamy, without cream? Oh, help me off this soap box, will ya?
While I was at Aldi's last weekend, I picked up one of these:
And I was delighted to see their selection of products without artificial colorings and flavorings. Hooray for Aldi's! I love their slogan: "With honest ingredients, anything is possible".
We just have to rethink food. It's fuel. That's all. It's not "love". It might "comfort" us, but only till it's gone, and then the backlash of feeling guilty for having overeaten takes over, and that's kind of like the side-effect of a drug, or the hang-over after drinking. Is it worth it? It just seems like, we have become a nation of addicts. We think as long as we aren't addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or smoking, it's not a problem. But yes, it is. The problem is, we can't go "cold turkey" with a food addiction. We can, however, figure out what our triggers are and eliminate those. And I'm here to tell you, once you do that, and change your attitude, it is soooooo much easier. Are you bored? DO something! And yes, sometimes you might have to force yourself to get started. But then, perpetual motion kicks in and before you know it, you're not bored anymore. I've been kind of a snob about "crafts" in thinking that if you create something that you don't really need, like, in my case, ANOTHER quilt, you've wasted your time. But that's an illusion. It's the journey, not the destination. When I go to estate sales, I will often see what kind of crafts people have done and some of them are things I wouldn't even want when they're finished. But it's all in the eye of the beholder. If it brings you joy to make it, and keeps your hands busy and your mind occupied, if it fills out a space in your day that you might otherwise spend with your head stuck in the refrigerator, THAT's the payoff, right there. Anything else is just gravy. Pardon the food reference.
If you do some thinking ahead, and you want to do things that "matter", something will come to mind. Go to a nursing home and visit someone that doesn't normally get visitors. Or bring a book and read it out loud to the group that's sitting around in the common room. Talk about boredom. How would you like to have to live like THAT? You might look into whether the local daycare facility welcomes volunteers, maybe you can go there and rock babies. Some babies don't get much attention.
At the Wellness Center, we are allowed a free "assessment" of our Fitness Profile once a year, and I had mine today. They have a scale that measures "body composition". You stand on the scale with your bare feet and hold a thing that reminds me of ski handles in your hands. Don't that beat all. The bad news is that 101.2 pounds of my weight is fat. I have 112.8 pounds of "lean weight", which is composed of 28.9 pounds protein / minerals, and 83.9 pounds water. I was told the protein / minerals count was good and that while the water percentage was a little high, it was probably because I'm still having some swelling around my knee. There was no allowance for the weight of the clothing that I was wearing, which was sweatpants and a heavy sweatshirt, or taking into consideration that which I hadn't eliminated for the day. Regularity is not something I usually have trouble with, and maybe I'll be back on schedule after these meds are gone. However, Dr. Oz says that the difference between your weight "on schedule" as compared to when you are not can be as much as three pounds. Maybe for HIM. Not sure about myself. Heh. My other vitals that were measured, blood pressure and pulse rate, were in the "Fit" level. Most of the monitored exercises involved using my legs and I failed those, some simply because I just didn't want to pay the price of over-exertion later on today. The next level up from "Fit" was "Excellent", and I was past the middle of "Excellent" for the number of Arm Curls I could do within a specific period of time. My perfect weight was calculated out to be 161.1. I went back on the Internet and found a .gov BMI calculator, simply because the link I embedded in my last post on weight loss didn't take me where it was supposed to, (and it's fixed now) and on THAT calculator, when I plugged in 170 pounds and my height, I was within "normal" range. So I guess all that depends on where you go and what their calculation methods are, and truly, it all comes down to how you feel and how you look. It has been many years since that gastroenterologist put in the medical notes that "the subject is an obese female", when I weighed a good, muscle-toned 170. But then, that person, at that time, wasn't even sure whether he was a he or a she. So there ya go. ANYway...... You can pay $10 and get more in-depth information. As I understand it, they work out an exercise and diet "plan" for you to follow. I didn't need them to do that for me. In fact, I was more interested in the fact that they have someone there that does massages. You can get 20, 50 or 80-minute sessions, but the price is approximately a dollar a minute. There used to be a masseur that worked in the back room at one of our health food stores, and I might call and find out if that's still happening, and what that costs. But I'd have to meet and interview that person first, just so you know. It would be nice to be able to splurge on a massage and find out whether it's as beneficial as some people say. I should do something interesting with all this money I'm saving, being my own Jenny Craig and all..... You know, even without considering that, when we change our eating habits, we DO save money. If you have any doubt, consider that the cost of that half-gallon of ice cream we're no longer consuming has risen to $6 or more, depending on the brand and where you buy it. With the money we are saving by avoiding junk food and eating smaller portions of what we DO bring home from the grocery store, we can well afford to spend a little money in other ways. I've even been thinking about putting a little money back for every pound lost. Maybe I can pay someone to build my greenhouse, afterall, when I've gotten to my goal.
Yesterday I made some chicken bone broth in my pressure cooker, and so I will be making a new pot of soup today. I'll use the broth and the small pieces of chicken that were left on the bones as the base. I'm thinking I'll add onion, carrot, celery, tomatillo, kale, cucuzzi squash, parsley.
When I went out to the garden to bury my kitchen scraps, I disturbed a dang rabbit. I think rabbits must be smarter than some of the critters we find ourselves "blessed" with. This particular rabbit apparently knows it is safe from roaming dogs inside the fence. Because I walked along behind that dang rabbit while it made the circuit of the entire yard and then into the garden, avoiding the open gate. Not once. Not twice. Three times. I was out of breath from cripping around behind it, and I still couldn't get it to go out the dang gate.
It's The Rock-Whisperer Exercise Plan.
Till next time, y'all keep on keepin' on, I'll do the same. Hugs xoxoxo