How to Stay Positive

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Positivity is a mind-set that is hard to maintain in a negative world.  Every day there are many new injustices to deal with, so how does a person keep themselves positive?  This is a question that I’ve been pondering over for quite some time.  I’m not very good at doing this myself, but here are a few of the things that I feel help.

Number one is that I exercise.  Endorphins are wonderful things.  As a person who is just this side of depressed, I find that doing something physical every single day is a must for my mental health.

Another important thing is that I take St. John’s Wort.  I know that it doesn’t work for everyone, however, I have found benefits to taking it every day.

I have also found that it helps when I try to do yoga every day.  I’m not good at it, I won’t be posting photos of myself doing any positions on social media.  I haven’t ever taken a yoga class.  However, I do Sun Salutation almost every day both as a meditation, and a stretch.  Good stuff and I highly recommend doing it.  If there is one thing we all need to do is stretch and calm down.  This is most helpful.

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And, finally, the last thing that I do is that I try to work on my goals every single day.  I set goals for the week on Sundays, and try to get most of them done by Saturday.  The more goals I accomplish, the more positive I feel.

Share your ideas on remaining positive.  Maybe you’ve  got some wonderful things I could add to my list.

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My Low-fat, Plant-based Diet

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I’ve been following a low-fat (no oil), no prepared foods, plant based diet since the middle of March.  I was over-weight and just couldn’t lose any weight, even though I had been Vegan for 3 years at that point.  I had watched Forks Over Knives and was aware that I needed to decrease my oil and processed foods consumption.  However, it wasn’t until I got the book Seven Day Rescue Diet by Rip Esselstyn that I found a simple and easy diet to follow.  And that was when I started to lose weight.  Was it hard?  Well, cooking without oil can be a little bit difficult, but I quickly adjusted.  Now I use some water instead of oil and I add more herbs and spices to my food then I ever did before.  One of the easy things about this diet change is that I liked all the foods that I was eating.  For the first month, I was completely about cooking my own food.  These days I will get a pizza with no cheese on it from the local take-out, so no, I don’t feel “cheated”.   I will also eat Chinese take-out that has been steamed with no sauce on it.

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So, have I been losing weight?  Yes!  With absolutely no calorie restriction (I actually eat a lot), so far, I’ve lost 23 pounds.  For a moderately over-weight woman of over 50 this is huge.  I don’t exercise every day, but I do eat all I want every day.  Here is a list of my meals for one day:

Breakfast – one shredded wheat biscuit with plain Almond Milk (I eat Post Shredded Wheat), I only eat one because I also have a large glass of water, a banana and a peach or plum.  If I’m not that hungry I’ll save the banana for a snack around 10:00 or so.  I will eat another banana if I’m hungry later on in the morning.

Lunch – a fairly large salad with either homemade oil-free dressing, or bought oil-free dressing with little to no “extra” stuff in it.  I’ll then have a baked potato with a little salt, pepper and garlic on it.  And again, I’ll have a large glass of water.

Snacks – if I’m hungry in the middle of the afternoon I’ll eat some fruit.  With it being summer, that could be sweet cherries, a peach or plum, grapes or a banana.  If I’m really hungry I’ll have more than one piece of fruit.  If I’m eating cherries I’ll just have a few (or more) handfuls of them.

Dinner –  usually I’ll have a bowl from Seven Day Rescue Diet.  If I’m not having that, I could be steaming up some veggies and having them with preservative and oil-free soy sauce and some brown rice or quinoa.  I put a ton of spices on my food.  I’ve always used a lot.

Desert – I usually have fruit in the evening.  Right now, since it’s summer and strawberry/blueberry season, I’ve been having that for a treat.  And, even though I normally only eat whole food, I will have the vegan whipped cream on those.  Not every night but one or two nights a week.

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When I started this diet, I didn’t eat a single prepared food.  I made everything from scratch, including hummus.  Homemade hummus is really good.  I now eat some no-oil, no-preservative guacamole, oil-free salad dressing, and I make veggie sandwiches with vegan sandwich thins.  But, I mostly (6 days out of 7) still follow the no-oil, low-fat diet.  I now have added plain peanuts to my diet, so that’s really good if you feel like a nosh.  I’ve also had air-popped popcorn with a small amount of salt on it – one caveat, popcorn without vegan butter can be pretty dry.  I’ve also made potato chips in the microwave – they are really good with some garlic powder on them, but are time consuming to make.

The only issue with eating this way is that you have to actually make your meals.  It can take more time than I’m used to, but it also tastes much better than prepared foods.  If you want some recipes let me know and I’ll share some with you.  The other important thing is that I drink a lot of water.  All the time.

As far as health is concerned, I used to have fairly bad asthma and now I don’t.  We’ll see how the rest of the summer goes, but the humidity hasn’t really bothered my breathing as much as before I started this eating plan.  My fibromyalgia also isn’t giving me as much pain as before.  Those were my two health issues, and they seem to be improving.  So, I’m looking forward to losing more weight on my goal to a healthy weight.  If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.

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What is Wrong with Education?

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I love to learn.  If I’m curious about anything, from the origin of a word to where a country is on the map, I’ll look it up (my geographic skills are very limited, and I’m always looking at maps).  I have an insatiable curiosity regarding almost anything to everything.  I will ask strangers all kinds of questions in order to get to know them.  I’m not pushy, and I try to do it in a friendly way.  I feel that there is so much going on the world and so many stories out there that are so interesting.  Most people are dealing with all kinds problems and I’ve been told that the very fact I ask them how they are makes them feel special.

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My curiosity includes education – of course.  I decided while I was at college, that I’d get two majors instead of the usual combination of a major and a minor.  I had a few interesting conversations with the Dean of Students over this decision, but due to my high grades they let me persue it.  When my children were in school I asked them to tell me one thing they learned that I didn’t already know.  When I home schooled them, the thing that I liked best about it was how much new information I was learning.  There is nothing like learning new things that gets me so excited.  When I first learned who Rachel Carson was, I wanted to be just like her. Most of my heroes are people who not only are highly intelligent, but also people interested in helping others.  The only way forward into a better and more equal future is through education.  Done right, education creates compassion and understanding.  No one who reads a wide variety of international literature can claim no compassion nor understanding. Once you feel what other cultures have experienced, your mind has been opened to new pathways.

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Of course, the point of all this waxing on about education is that a new study by Pew Research Center has shown that the majority of Republican voters believe that higher education is “bad” for America.  That being said, I wonder if they are prepared to forgo Doctors, Nurses, Engineers and computer experts.  All these people do have degrees from universities.  Indeed, many of them have advanced degrees.  These are the people responsible for many of the “little” things that make life a lot better – such as advancements in communications, infrastructure, safety and health care.  This finding simply flabbergasts me.  Please feel free to leave your comments on this subject.  I’d love to find out what other people think of it.

http://www.people-press.org/2017/07/10/sharp-partisan-divisions-in-views-of-national-institutions/

http://www.newsweek.com/republicans-believe-college-education-bad-america-donald-trump-media-fake-news-634474

 

Swimming

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I’m back in a bathing suit and swimming again!  I was that kid at swimming lessons who had already completed Jr. Lifesaving at the age of 9, but had to re-take all the other class due to the age restrictions.  While I was never a super-fast swimmer (I was a “pretty” swimmer with little to no splashing), I did a mean dive and was on the local swim team for a few seasons.  If it was summer, I was at the local pool.  My mother had us riding our bikes the mile-and-a-half to the pool from the time I was 6.  This was another time, when kids were much “safer”, or if they weren’t, no one actually heard about it.

So, for years I haven’t gone to the lake that’s just about a mile from my house due to my feeling I was “too fat” to get into a bathing suit.  Yes, I know, vanity captures us all at some point or another.  But, now that I’ve lost weight, I went out and bought myself a black one-piece, and the rest is history.

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I’ve been going early in the morning and swimming laps between the two decks.  The other day I was the only one there at 6 am.  It was quiet, meditative and nice.  And, the lake is too crowded to swim laps at any other time of day.  There is a pair of eagles living at our lake this summer, and I’ve been hoping to catch sight of them.  No luck yet.

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I really missed this and can’t believe that it’s been so long since I went swimming.  I think that in another life I may have been a mermaid; either that, or a narwhal (the unicorn of the sea).  I hope to improve by the end of the summer, and be able to complete more laps.  For the moment though, I’m just loving it!

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This is one of my favorite quotes. Love Dory!

 

Compassion is a Verb

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Compassion is important to me.  It should be important to all of us.  Compassion is what religion is supposed to be about.  “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”  Is one of the most quoted statements from the Bible.  Somehow, we have lost whatever compassion we had as a country.  The reason I’m saying this is specifically related to the new TrumpCare Bill that is in Congress.  This bill will take insurance away from the very people who need it.  Anyone who is older, or has pre-existing conditions will lose their health care.  Well, if they don’t want to eat, or have a place to live, they might be able to pay their premiums.  Otherwise, those premiums will be too big to pay.

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Where is the compassion?  I look around me and I don’t see any.  Disabled people are blithely told to “just get a job”.  When was the last time you saw a blind or deaf person in your office?  How about the elderly?  Have you seen many 95-year-old delivery people, or an 85-year-old working at Walmart?  No, neither have I.  Even though this bill has “died”, they are still looking to simply get rid of the ACA, leaving millions of people without healthcare.

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It’s called compassion.  Find some, use some.  Be the person you were meant to be.  Compassion.  One day you will need it.  When you do, will it  be there?

Duplin County, North Carolina

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I’ve been letting you know about the health problems associated with eating the typical American diet. However, the problems with our form of food goes far beyond what we eat, it also includes environmental and various health issues that can be caused by not ingesting this food, but by living close to where the “products” are “grown” and “harvested”.  The easiest place in which to find information regarding these issues is in Duplin County, North Carolina.

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There are more hogs in Duplin County than there are people.  Actually, the ratio is about 39:1. That’s a lot of hogs.  Along with the number of animals, you must also include the urine and manure that is produced.  With the increased number of animals, comes the corresponding increase in waste.  So, where does this waste go?  The answer to that is lagoons that are supposed to be leak-proof, but of course that isn’t true.  There is a lot of seepage that than pollutes waterways and groundwater.    Then there is the smell, and the fact that hog waste is blown into the air via large sprayers.  These are often turned on at times when the nearby residents would be home, and outside.  The contaminants cause various health problems including raising blood pressure, neurobehavior, pulmonary function and cause cancer.

I have been writing about the hazards of the typical American diet for a few posts now.  Since I’ve been trying to get the information out, I’ve been told that it’s a person’s “right” to eat what they want.  But my question is, is it your “right” to cause disease to the communities surrounding these operations?  Is it your right to cause environmental damage to other parts of the country and the world?  (Beef production is the leading cause of Rainforest destruction).

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I urge you to watch What the Health, and other documentaries such as Conspiracy, and/or Earthlings.  Look up slaughterhouses on YouTube.  Go to https://nutritionfacts.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwhYLLBRBIEiwAtFeEDxfxzh95HU6_cCsX_9ORP2BQ7kEiuA_Awxx9PMYoIKo2kJOXAFcl5BoCDcAQAvD_BwE  I beg you to educate yourself on what your diet is doing not only to you personally, but to other people and the environment.  Get healthy, eat well and live a happy life!

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http://observer.com/2017/05/pig-waste-factory-farming-north-carolina/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141028-hog-farms-waste-pollution-methane-north-carolina-environment/

http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/statter.html

http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2016/03/hog-waste-threatens-north-carolinas-rural-poor

http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/UNC-Report.pdf

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/18/duplin-county-life-under-the-waste-sprayer/

http://www.technicianonline.com/news/article_334b5bdc-b4f3-11e5-b31f-af277c4f3939.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create Your Life

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Sometimes we are so busy reacting to the things that life throws at us, that we look around and realize that we haven’t so much as “made” our own lives, instead we’ve had them thrown at us.  Instead of setting goals, and taking the appropriate steps to reach those goals, we’ve simply been reacting to whatever has come our way.  While this is a fairly normal thing, it’s not the best thing.  Simply reacting doesn’t promote a happy, healthy lifestyle.

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So, here is the thing.  Take some time out of your busy life, and ask yourself if you are happy.  Do you feel fulfilled in your job and in your life?  Is there something else that you’d rather have?  If you find that at your core you are not happy, then carve out some time for you to be quiet with your own thoughts.  What can you do right away to change something that you don’t like?  If you’re in a situation not of your making, but you need to stay there for some reason or another – money, marriage, bad job market; how can you change what you are doing to make it more pleasant for you.  If you hate your job but can’t leave due to financial issues, is there something you can do to make it more interesting/pleasant.  Maybe you are not actually bored with your job, maybe it’s something about your life.  Whatever it is, can you change yourself to improve the situation?  Sometimes frustration with ourselves is at the core of our larger unhappiness.

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Whatever it is that you’ve found out, now is the time to decide to take action to change your life.  Make a goal and plan action steps to get there.  Once you begin working toward a goal, you’ll be amazed at how much happier you are.

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