Rebooting my Diet

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I’ve been Vegan for a few years now, and while I feel really good on this lifestyle, as a fifty-something woman dealing with chronic pain from Fibromyalgia and the other aches and pains that come from (those dreaded words) growing older, I felt that I really needed to make a change with my diet.  No, I’m not talking about beginning to eat meat and dairy again.  Instead I mean that I want to start eating the way Dr. Michael Greger promotes in his book How not to Die.  So, luckily, I was able to go and see Rip Esselstyn on his book tour promoting his new book, The Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health.

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While my diet is mostly healthy, I haven’t been eating the way that I should.  As you probably know, there are a lot of prepared food products out there for Vegans.  While these foods make life easy, they’re not exactly healthy.  I’ve been eating half-a-bagel at breakfast with vegan butter, and then there is the wonderfully delicious mandarin orange chicken (I prefer the Gardein brand).  However, since these are prepared foods, they of course, are not really good for you.

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Due to the increase of pain related to my Fibromyalgia, I decided that I really had to change my food consumption to only whole plant-based foods.  Lucky for me, along came the Rip Esselstyn book tour.  I’m so glad that I went to see him.  A lot of the recipes for vegans require that you are able to both afford and go to a store such as Whole Foods.  While Whole Foods is a wonderful experience, I absolutely cannot afford to buy much there.  That’s what’s so good about the recipes in the Engine 2 book.  I will be able to buy everything I need at my local grocery store.  So, I originally thought that I would start this on Tuesday, however, I just realized that I should probably read the book and then start – know, what a novel idea!  I’ll let you know when I start, and how it goes.  Wish me luck!

 

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Stress, What is it Good For?

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We’ve all been told that stress is extremely bad for us, especially long-term stress.  The high blood pressure, the rapid breathing, the clammy hands, the shot of adrenaline that can leave us shaking in its wake.  All these things are really really bad for us, or so we’ve been told.  I recently watched Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk, and she made me rethink what I thought I knew about stress.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en#t-123462

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In the studies that McGonigal talks about, subjects were simply informed that stress was actually good for them.  That’s all.  They believed that contrary to what they thought they knew, stress was good for them.  The blood pumping through their veins was so they could think better; the adrenaline was getting them ready to respond to what was going on around them.  Once these subjects really believed this, their bodies reactions to stress changed.  So, if we believe that stress is bad for us, we can die from it.  If we believe that it’s not bad for our health, we don’t die from it.  Our beliefs can change our bodies reactions, making me think of the Buddhist teaching that we are what we think. Our body is a system, so if we can change our thinking about stress, we can change our reactions to it.  This actually gives me a great deal of hope.  I really can control my reactions, and so can you.  Make sure you watch the video, since McGonigal has fantastic things to say, and then work on changing your thinking.  You may just save your own life.

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What the Heck is Mindfulness?

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I keep hearing about mindfulness.  It seems to be all over the place, most especially in regard to the workplace.  According to the definitions I’ve found, mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment by moment basis.  As far as employers are concerned, mindfulness is focusing all your thoughts on the task at hand.  Sounds good, but how easy is it to simply focus on what’s in front of you?  My mind jumps around flitting from one thing to the next like a jackrabbit.

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The reason I practice Yoga is that for that half-hour to an hour during my day, I turn my focus to my breath.  If I force myself to think only “breathe in breathe out”, I can empty my mind of all other thoughts and relax my body.   The only other time I can do that is when I say my affirmations to myself while lying in bed waiting for the sleep fairy to knock me out.

I understand the concept of mindfulness, and when I try it while working, the longest I can manage it is in half-hour increments.  Although, I must admit, those are the most productive half-hours I have during the day.  But the effort to reel in my busy little mind that is usually running off in a hundred different directions can be exhausting.

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Does anyone else try this?  And, if you do, how is it going?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Winter Wonderland

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For most of the winter we haven’t gotten much snow, as a matter of fact the winter has unsurprisingly been fairly warm.  However, just a few days ago, it was 60°, (and we were battling mud), then the next day we got 17 inches of snow.  One of the old quotes about New England is “If you don’t like the weather, just stick around for a few hours, it’ll change.”  This winter is stretching that truism quite far.  However, with all the snow, it’s turned into a winter wonderland, and I just wanted to share some of my pictures with you.  Enjoy!

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This is where you put the Frisbee to avoid it getting caught in the snow blower.

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Are Facts Important?

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Imagine if you will, a world without facts.  Nothing anyone says can be proven either true or false.  There are no facts, therefore there is no science nor mathematics, engineering or medicine.  Anything anyone says is equally true, so there is no right or wrong.  Where would we be?  If everything has equal validity, how does the world work?  Will buildings stand, airplanes fly?  How does it work if there’s no more knowledge of gravity, physics, medicine?  If everything someone simply “believes” is considered a fact, how do we know what is a true fact?

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What do you think?  Is there a place for facts in our world today?  Should there be?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Pets

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I’ve had an upsetting few days.  We have three pets that have all been rescued in one way or another.  We have a mixed breed female dog named Sierra that came into our lives about 11 years ago, when she was about one year old.  She’s the sweetest dog, however in the beginning she was so nervous.  She’d previously been brought home by three other families and then returned due to her nervousness.  For the first couple of years whenever we put her in the car, you could tell that she was convinced that we were bringing her back to the shelter.  Of course, in my family, once an animal is brought home, they’re one of the family.  We’d never return them.

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Since Sierra is getting old, and she’s a rather large dog, (she looks like a Beagle with extremely long legs and body), she’s been having various ailments.  One winter a few years ago, she broke her leg, and the Vet luckily saved her leg, and she recovered.  However, now that she’s gotten older, she’s got arthritis in both her back legs.  We’ve got her on pills for that, and pills to deal with the nausea that accompanies the arthritis pills. I also give her herbal remedies for her joints, so everything has been in a holding pattern as far as that’s concerned.

But, last week she couldn’t walk.  I thought that she’d had a stroke or something and we put her in the car and drove to the Vet at top speed.  Luckily, she just had Vestibular disease.  That’s basically vertigo in dogs.  Within hours after a shot and pills, she was fine.  We kept giving her the pills until they ran out, and she’s been okay since.  But then, two days later, she came down with a UTI.  I have to tell you, you’ve never lived until you’ve spent some time chasing after a dog that can barely walk, trying to collect her pee when she doesn’t want you anywhere near her.  It was a challenging proposition, but I persevered.  She’s doing much better now, but these last few aliments have taken their toll on her.  She still is very interested in her food, but she’s starting to “wind down”.  My heart is breaking.  Every time one of my fur babies starts to travel this path, I think I’m going to fall apart.  I can’t see how I’m going to make it through once again.  I know that I gave her love and a good life, but that’s little consolation.  They make our lives so wonderful, and they are our loves.

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