What I Want to be Like when I’m “Old”

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Have you looked into the future and decided what you want your life to be like when you’re 85 or even 90 years old?  I know, not everyone lives to be so old, but have you considered it?  I was in a doctor’s office with a client of mine when a woman walked in the door.  She walked with great difficulty, holding onto her cane for dear life.  Once my client went in to see the doctor this woman began telling me all about her aliments.  It turned out that she too suffered from Fibromyalgia (just like I do), and was on all kinds of medication.  When I told her I had the same ailment, she promised me that when I hit 50 (her age), I’d be unable to walk without medication.  I simply smiled, told her that I was 52 and didn’t take any medications. In fact, I did all the things that her doctor had warned her off.  I exercised, did yoga, lived a vegan lifestyle, and took various herbs for help in coping with the insomnia, pain and “brain fog”.  She got quite huffy and told me that I must have been misdiagnosed, since she’d been told that all people with Fibromyalgia needed medication.  I told her that I’d gone to a specialist to be diagnosed who had told me to inform myself and look into alternative ways to deal with the disease.  He never even offered to medicate me, which suited me just fine.  I’ve had this disease for almost 20 years, and try to keep up with all the new information that comes out, as well as all the new ways of coping.  I have good days and “bad” days, but never once have I been unable to walk.  I often think about this women and wonder how she’s doing.

My point is, that even though we’re not given a choice concerning certain things in our lives, we are usually given a choice on how we deal with it.  So, how do you intend to live out your life? Do you want to be infirm, or do you intend to go into old age as healthy as you can?  Here are a few people to emulate.  Enjoy, and choose well!

 

 

Problem Talk (Complaining)

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Problem talk is something that we all do.  Some of us do it more than others.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the problem talk and completely forget that there is usually a solution.  We are the ones who usually have the solution inside ourselves, if only we spent some time thinking about solutions, and not wasting our time by complaining.  Sound familiar?  I’m guilty of it and almost everyone I know is guilty of it, also.

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While complaining about a problem has its place; there is a lot to be said for venting, after all, frustration is a valid emotion, problem talk is not a solution.  It’s just not going to get the problem solved.  And, at the end of the day isn’t that what we really want?  To get the problem solved.

Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself caught up in the never-ending problem talk.  Is there something you can do to change this situation?  Can you think of a way to take your focus off this situation and put it into something that is beneficial to you?  I’ve found over the years that when I focus on what I can do to change my reactions or focus, I can manage problems that have no solution much better.

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As a simple example of this, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I immediately thought that there was no solution and nothing that I could do.  I wallowed in my depression for about two weeks, and then I got on the internet and found things that I could do.  Since I’m not a person who likes to take pharmaceuticals I found natural ways of dealing with the pain and managing my problem.  So, yes, I’m aware that not all problems can be “solved”, however, there is usually something that can do done to help deal with a problem (besides problem-talk).  Let me know what it is that you do to either solve a problem, or to deal with it in a more positive manner.

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How the Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet Worked for Me

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I wrote a post two weeks ago, about going to see Rip Esselstyn talk about the plant-based rescue diet he recommends in his latest book, and how I was planning to use this rescue diet in order to reboot my diet.  I’d been relying on prepared vegan foods too much, and since prepared food is not good for you, even if it is plant-based, I needed a rescue.

So, here I am, after my initial seven days to tell you how it all went.  First of all, most of the meals I prepared were his “bowls”, and they were all delicious!  I also tried some of his oil-free dressings, and they too were really good.  In the future, I’m going to make my own hummus, since it’s really easy and you can make it without any oil.

Talking about oil, on Thursday I did have a terrible craving for “naughty” foods, including potato chips.  I can tell you that I didn’t eat any and instead had some red seedless grapes that astonished me by how good they tasted.  One of the most difficult things I found on this diet is that I had to eat, not drink my food.  So, no morning smoothie for me.  I missed that, but found that I really like drinking cold water in the morning.  I still drank my coffee, only without sugar, and I put some non-sweetened almond milk (even though that wasn’t recommended).  The other huge change is that I ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast.  I’ve never really enjoyed oatmeal, but I was able to put some maple syrup in it, along with cinnamon and various fruits.  I’ve used oranges, bananas and blueberries, which were good and pretty filling.  Some days I have either a Halo orange or a banana around ten o’clock or so, and other days I’m good until lunch.

My lunches either consisted of a large salad with one of the oil-free dressing along with a good number of chickpeas thrown in, or a concoction of fresh veggies that I cooked up, oil free, which I put on some toasted oil-free multi-grain sandwich thins.  Again, if I got hungry in the afternoon, I just had one or two pieces of fruit.

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Again, my dinner usually consisted of the “bowls” that I got the recipes out of the book.  Thursday night I made whole-grain pasta along with fresh vine ripened tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and broccoli that I cooked up with some oil-free tomato paste.  That was also a good meal, and I served it with a large salad.

The physical results from these seven days are that my pain that’s associated with Fibromyalgia has lessened somewhat, and I have less brain-fog.  I’ve also lost about 4 pounds, which is always nice.  Am I going to continue?  The answer is yes!  I like the way I’ve been feeling, and want to see if I continue to feel better the longer I stay on this plant-based, no oil or preservatives diet.  Has it been easy?  No, this is not something that you should do without a meal plan.  Also, like I said I plan on making my own hummus, and continue to make my own salad dressings.  This requires planning and cooking – not my strong points.

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While this diet is not easy, and it does come at a cost – time to plan, time to cook, I am trying to look at it this way – What is the cost of your health?  Do I want to be sick and have to pay for that with my time and money, or do I want to stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can?  This choice is up to me, and I choose health!

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72 year-old Annette Larkins, Vegan

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!

 

Some Information on Ayurveda

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I’ve been thinking about health for a while now.  My Fibromyalgia has been gradually getting worse as I’ve been getting older.  I let myself stop working out and now that I’m back at it, it seems to be taking me a long time to get some flexibility back.  I don’t want to be a little old lady who can barely walk at the ripe old age of 60 (when I do get there).  One of my resolutions this year was to go to the Doctor for a physical, so I’ve got to do that.  I don’t think that other than my Fibromyalgia I’ve really got anything else going on, but since I haven’t been to the doctor for quite a few years, I think a physical could be a good idea.

Since I like to research things, I found myself looking up information on Ayurveda.  For those of you who don’t really understand what it is, here is an explanation, copied directly from the website.

“The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are 1) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body.”  http://www.chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda

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When I read that, I thought it was a great way to look at health.  Of course, everything is interrelated, and we really do need to learn how to meditate, slow down and care for ourselves.  This is such a problem for me.  I’m one of those people who, when told in an airplane that I would have to place the oxygen mask on myself before placing one on my child, recoils.  Intellectually I know it makes sense, but why would I put myself before my child?  See my problem?

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I’m determined to explore this “self-care” more this year, and encourage you to do so too.  Since I hate pharmaceuticals, I don’t want to be put on any.  I want my health to come from natural sources such as what I eat, how I think and how I take care of my body.  Let me know what things you do to stay health in mind and body.  I’m going to explore this Ayurveda path, and I’ll probably talk about it in some future posts.

 

I’ve Been Sick All Year!

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I had so many plans for how I was going to start off 2017.  However, I’ve been sick for more than a week, and this has been my only post this  week.  So, no, I haven’t put a single plan, goal or step into effect yet.  The weather has been nuts for months now. One day it’ll be 20 out and the next 55. My sinuses have been going crazy, but I was lucky for months and months.  While everyone I know got sick numerous times from sinus problems, I just went along with only headaches to contend with.  However, last week my luck ran out, and by New Year’s Eve, I was sick.  For the first time in years I didn’t even stay up until midnight.

I’ve been spending time watching the X Files, and reading.  I’ve managed to drag myself around and get dinner on the table, but that’s been about it.  I finally went out grocery shopping yesterday, and made another trip out to get cat and dog food.  I’ll have to go to Tractor Supply on the weekend to pick up some bird food, also.

Hopefully on Monday I’ll have my list of goals for 2017 finished, and be feeling better so that I can start on my list.  Hope you’re all feeling healthy and happy!

 

Why Not Getting Enough Sleep is Seriously Bad for You

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I’ve posted about skipping sleep before.  I have a hard time forcing myself to go to bed, and I seldom get more than four to five hours of sleep a night.  I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, however over the years, I’ve gotten much worse.  At first it was babies being up all hours of the night, then came the night terrors.  But, for many, too many years, my sleep habits have been terrible.

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When I do get jaw-crackingly tired, I still try to stay up!  The culprit is often a book, although I’ve been known to stay up playing Destiny, also.  In my defense, even though I may be exceedingly tired, there have been times when no matter how much I want to go to sleep, I haven’t been able to fall asleep.  However, the vast majority of time, I just don’t want to go to sleep, apparently, I’d much rather read than sleep.

However, as usual, there is scientific evidence that I should be getting more sleep.   Researchers have found that skipping sleep can cause inflammation in our organs, which can lead to immune system problems.  Since I suffer from Fibromyalgia, this skipping sleep is really a dumb idea, since I could be making my problems much worse.  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/11/why-late-nights-are-bad-your-immune-system

Another scientific finding is that loss of sleep may lead to permanent loss of brain cells.  So, no!, I really need all the brain cells that I have.  There is also a process that removes toxins and waste from our brains while we sleep, and this in itself is extremely important for our brain cells.  So, yah, I think I really do need to get more sleep.  http://www.duqsm.com/sleep-is-not-for-the-weak-why-staying-up-late-is-bad-for-the-brain-and-body/

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Here’s another fact for you.  Not getting enough sleep can lead to a slowing down of the metabolic system, and lead to weight gain.  So, that explains it.  Another benefit is that when we sleep we produce HGH, which is the human growth hormone.  As we age, we produce more cortisol, which helps to age us.  So, if we sleep more, we’ll produce more HGH, which in turn will keep us from aging too fast.  http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain#1

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And, finally, lack of sleep can make us more stressed.  Not getting enough sleep can affect up to 700 genes in our bodies, alter our hormones and lead to our inability to deal with stress.  http://www.pnas.org/content/110/12/E1132.abstract

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So, who’s for a really good 8 to 10 hours of sleep?  I know I am!