Dreaming of Gardens

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We have two wood stoves at my house, and this is how we heat in winter.  While that’s all well and good, we also have to take some trees down every year, as well as get some logs delivered in order to have enough wood to last a winter.  Luckily, we’re nearing the end of taking our own trees down, and have only a few more to go.  Since we’ve already rented a wood chipper this spring, I know that we’re finished with the trees this year.  Unfortunately, we needed to take down some smaller trees in the backyard due to their being a hazard.  Because of this, we now have some room back there that will be rather bare once we get the trees cut up and the wood stacked.

So, I’ve been dreaming of gardens.  You know, those fantastic English gardens that look so wonderfully peaceful?  Those gardens.  However, as much as I dream of having gardens like that, I know that I just don’t have the ability to create them.  In my head, I’m the most artistic person ever.  In reality, not so much.  I do have a spatial-relation problem (I can’t picture how something is going to look), but I also don’t know much about gardens.  Years ago, I had a large vegetable garden, and I did manage that pretty well.  However, I’ve never planted flowers and have no idea how to go about it.  So, for the moment I’m just dreaming of gardens.

If you have any books for inept beginners that I could read in the subject, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know.  Meanwhile, here are some photos of wonderful gardens to enjoy!

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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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Staying Positive

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While I try really hard to stay positive, and maintain the momentum while moving toward my goals, I occasionally get side-tracked with depression.  This has been the case for a few weeks now.  I have discussed how I have some people in my life who are extremely negative.  Most of the time I ignore this negativity, but there are times when it’s just too aggressive to ignore.

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I know the famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.  However good a quote it may be, sometimes it’s just a quote.  After wallowing in my own sadness, I’ve begun the long climb back up the well of despair and am beginning to see the light again.  I understand that I need to just put all my focus on what I’m doing, continue doing it, and ignore the negativity bearers.  While I know this, it’s not always easy to put into practice.

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So, here I am, fighting toward the light.  I hope that all of you continue on toward your goals no matter what other people have to throw at you.

 

Individualism

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In school, we learned all about “individualism” which according to Webster, is a doctrine where the interests of the individual are paramount, and the individual is totally self-reliant.  I was taught this theory by way of understanding that those who went west (“Go West, Young Man!) were the living symbol of this theory, since they were supposedly self-reliant, made it on their own, and were self-made men.  Except this never made any sense to me, because as a child I read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and was aware that no one who went west “made it” on their own.  Houses were collectively raised, crops were collectively brought in and help was there even if it was ten miles away.  Yes, the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were a fiction, however, the fiction was based on facts.  And, the facts proved this theory as a fiction.  Read Laura’s autobiography Pioneer Girl which tells a much different story regarding the help that these pioneers gave each other.

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So why is this myth so popular and enduring?  My cynical thoughts on this are that it’s convenient to use as a way to insist that Americans historically “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” by themselves.  However, even our first colonies were created by group effort – otherwise they all would have starved.  Individualism is a lie of massive proportions as shown by our elected officials insistence that: education, health care and a living wage are not rights of citizens.  They often insist that our ancestors were all self-made men, and in order for anyone to succeed, all we have to do, regardless of background, education or opportunities, is to work hard. That way, when people don’t make it, we can blame them.

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Therefore, even though plenty of people work two jobs, it’s still their fault when they need government assistance.  That way, we don’t have to have a conversation regarding the fact that low minimum wages are that no one can live on them, poor education, and lack of opportunities.  This blame-game is used for a variety of problems.  Welfare, food stamp and fuel assistance recipients can all be blamed, and that way we can avoid any conversations regarding why working people need so much help.  Meanwhile, CEO pay has increased a staggering 340 times that of the average worker and the poor often pay federal taxes at a higher percent than the rich.  Do you believe in individualism?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/17/ceo-pay-ratio-average-worker-afl-cio

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/poor-pay-more-taxes-5660

 

Rising Rates of Colorectal Cancer in Younger People

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It’s no secret that there is a weight problem in the U.S.  Too many people eat fast food, and prepared food.  These foods have been shown to have an adverse effect on the health of the people who consume them.  The troubling thing is that these foods are addictive, they taste great, and they also cause health problems.

While I was unable to find any information on the exact diet that contributes to colorectal cancer on the AMA website, I was rather interested to see that they did advise the following:  physical exercise, and eating a diet that is high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains.  They also advised against a diet that is high in meats and alcohol.  The main thing that they were concerned about was a high fiber intake.  Just a little fact that may (or may not) have to do with colorectal cancer, is that the average piece of red meat stays in the colon for 24 to 72 hours.

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Maybe getting this information out there will help people to change their diets for the better, I would think that eating more vegetables and fruits would be a happy change for most people.   There are many reasons to get healthier, and hopefully the realization that your cancer risk will decrease would be a hopeful one to start with.  Let me know if you feel that you’re eating a diet that’s high in fiber intake.

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-02/acs-sfc022317.php

http://www.alternet.org/food/are-bad-diets-causing-bowel-cancer-crisis-among-millennials?akid=15289.302291.Nls-6K&rd=1&src=newsletter1073670&t=14

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/prevention.html

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20050111/red-meat-eaters-risk-colon-cancer#1

https://www.reference.com/health/long-beef-digest-within-human-body-833d192464409d6c

 

 

Health Care?

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Okay, so I’ve simply got to say something about the plan for healthcare under the TrumpCare proposal.  I realize that “they” don’t want us calling it TrumpCare, however, if “they” were allowed to call the Affordable Care Act ObamaCare, then I really don’t see why this proposal can’t be called TrumpCare.

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Actually, the plan is to throw as many people off health insurance as possible.  Does that sound extreme?  Then tell me why, as a fifty-something year-old, under this plan, my insurance would go up 5 times what I’m paying now.  Yes, not 5%, but 5 times the cost.  Are they insane?  My health insurance per month would cost roughly what our monthly income is.  That would leave us with no money for food or shelter.  Oh, and by the way, Jason Chaffetz, I don’t have an expensive phone, instead I probably use one of the oldest flip phones still in use, and have no internet connection on it.  My husband though, has an expensive one that is for work, and therefore is paid for by his place of employment.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/07/if-jason-chaffetz-wants-to-compare-healthcare-to-iphones-lets-do-it-the-right-way/?utm_term=.1801ab53d187

I’m leaving some links below for those of you who want to educate yourselves further.  Please read them, as the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/03/07/the-new-republican-health-care-plan-is-awe-inspiringly-awful/?utm_term=.b904f58689ee

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/opinion/how-republicans-plan-to-ration-health-care.html?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/health/risk-of-losing-health-insurance-in-republican-plan.html

 

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