Alcohol and You

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We all know that alcohol consumption is big business.  Many t.v. shows seem to “push” drinking by having the characters drink when they come home from work, Madame Secretary and House of Cards come to mind here.  Being me, this has always made me uncomfortable.  I didn’t grow up in a drinking family…in fact, we only had some wine at holiday dinners. One memorial night, my Dad partook too much and was extraordinarily sick for two days.  This of course, turned me into a skeptic regarding the joys of drinking.  I later learned that my initial thoughts were correct.  And, since alcohol is a depressant I tend to drink not at all.  However, I’ve been told by many that the health benefits out way the negative impacts, and, of course, the old “everything in moderation” attitude.  I don’t know about that, there are plenty of things that I wouldn’t do, even in “moderation”.

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However, a recently published study shows that alcohol consumption leads to health problems.  After studying the results of hundreds of studies, researchers concluded that alcohol consummation was the seventh leading risk factor in death.  The more you drink, the higher your risk factor rises for many diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis, strokes, heart disease, along with diabetes, and other diseases.  I’ve left the link to the study below.

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While there are many out there who are saying that the research is flawed, this is not the first study that has stated the there is no amount of alcohol use that is “good” for you.  I’ve also left a link to a report regarding money and “scientific” research into the benefits of alcohol.  Like all money-making endeavors, follow who paid for the study, and you will find out who stands to benefit from a specific outcome.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext#seccestitle70

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/3/21/17139036/health-effects-alcohol-moderate-drinking-nih

 

 

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200+ Days of Change

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We are already 200+ days into 2018.  That fact is both surprising and horrifying at the same time.  I know that I’m not where I wanted to be by this time this year.  I don’t feel like I’ve done nearly the things that I wanted to.  However, the one thing that I’ve done, every day since January 2nd, is to work out.  Every. Single. Day.  Even the days with a heat index of 105° I have gotten up and worked out.  Last week was terribly hot and humid, but instead of walking my 2+miles outside in the heat, I walked in the morning, in my basement using a Denise Austin DVD.  So, I still got it done.  I achieved my 18 mile-a-week goal anyway.

So, there have been benefits – I’ve got some muscles, my Buddha-belly is smaller and my butt is no longer on the floor.  While I’ve added planks, twists and sit-ups; I’m still looking forward to finding that exact Billy Blanks workout so that I can get started on Tae Bo again.  For the record, I’m sure that I’m just being too picky and too worried about whether I can keep up.  There is nothing worse than thinking you’re doing well, and then trying a much too hard workout.  I’ve been consistently doing some Sun Salutations every day so that my flexibility has improved.  Am I happy with my progress?  Yes, but there is room for improvement.

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As far as reactions to my changing…my daughter has been a wonderful cheerleader.  However, there are other people in my life who have been less than enthusiastic.  As a matter of fact, they’ve recently gone out of their way to make my feel terrible for “wasting” time on making myself healthier.  When this behavior has happened in the past, I’ve actually been bullied into stopping.  Not. This. Time.  And, I’m beginning to apply this new mind-set to other areas of my life.  Hopefully I’ll have some other improvements in the next 100 days.  How have your changes been going?  Share and let us know!

 

What’s the What with Beet Juice?

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I recently saw a post on Instagram about the benefits of beet juice and decided to check it out.  What I found was interesting, and I’m excited to say that I’ll be adding this juice to my “to-drink” list.  Some of the benefits include helping you exercise longer (and feel better doing so), lowering blood pressure, improve blood flow, may improve muscle power in people who are suffering from heart failure, slow dementia, and help with maintaining a healthy weight.  Other benefits include preventing cancer because beets contain the antioxidant betalaines which are known to work against some cancer cells.  Beets also have the following minerals:  potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium all of which are beneficial to our bodies.

Other good things found in beets are folate and vitamin C.  Some studies have shown that beet juice can reduce the fatty substances that may build up in your liver, and it also shows that it may help reduce cholesterol.

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There are some things to know before you decide to drink beet juice.  Like turmeric, beet juice may change the color of your urine, in this case to either red or pink (turmeric can make it quite yellow).  Also, it’s suggested that you introduce the juice to your diet slowly to give your body a chance to adjust.  All I can say is, thank goodness I’ve hung onto my juicer.  I’ll let you know how this new adventure into beet juice goes!

Five Habits That to Extend Your Life

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Harvard has a new study out regarding habits that may help extend your life.  Of course, it’s no surprise that the first item on the list is no tobacco products.  These products have been linked to a variety of health problems, so if you want to extend your life, I strongly suggest that you never begin using tobacco, or if you have, please stop.  Your life depends on it.

Another item on the list is keeping a low BMI (body mass index).  Keeping the fat down is always a good idea.  The other habit that goes right along with this is cardio for at least 30 minutes a day.  How many times have we been told that we absolutely need to exercise?  Not only does it make you feel better but doing so can help you live longer.

So, the last two habits are avoiding alcohol consumption and eating a healthy diet. As far as alcohol consumption is concerned, I recommend watching the documentary The Truth About Alcohol (I watched it on Netflix).  There is a ton of information in this documentary, and will hopefully help you to drink much less, or stop drinking completely.  (That’s what it did to me, and I don’t regret giving up my occasional glass of wine at all.)  The latest nutrition information has changed from promoting a lot of meat and dairy to promoting the health benefits of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, with only small amounts of meat and dairy.  I myself am vegan, so I just concentrate my diet on fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.  If you’re at all interested in the scientific data that supports non-meat/non-dairy consumption, I recommend nutritionfacts.org.

Well, there you have it –  five new habits to add to your daily life!

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/a-harvard-study-says-5-habits-can-help-you-live-way-longer-this-one-is-the-most-important/ar-AAwzhiu

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May Goals

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Here it is already May!  The snow is finally gone and now we’ve got lots of wood to process for next winter.  And, that’s a good thing, since we’ll need a lot of wood if next winter is as cold and snowy as this past winter was.  So, as far as goals are concerned, here they are:

Fitness Goals:  I’ve got the goal of at least 18 miles of walking a week.  I’ve been averaging about 17 or so weekly, so this is definitely a doable goal.  Also keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

Spring Cleaning:  So far, I’ve done one floor of my house, and am working (about 3 rooms to go) on the next floor and have the basement to finish after that.  My daughter who is much cleverer than I am figured out a fabulous way to dust the logs on the walls (we have a log cabin), and they look so good!  We’ll continue doing that as we keep cleaning the house.

Writing:  I’m struggling with the fiction-writing thing lately.  I’ve been so busy cleaning (actually that’s just an excuse), but I intend to write at least one 600-word story this month, and the goal is two.  We’ll see on this one.

Lessons:  I hope to finish up with my coaching stuff and get my certificate.  This is one goal that I’ve had every month for months, and I just can’t seem to attain it.  I’m hopeful that this is the month.

Health:  I want to eat healthier.  It’s amazing what different kinds of unhealthy vegan foods there are out there in the world.  With the warmer weather, there will be more fresh fruits and vegetables on offer, and I want to start adding them into my diet.  No more vegan candy!

Mental Health:  The past few months have been pretty chaotic, and there are a lot emotional events that I need to process.  I haven’t been writing in my journal, so this month I’m going to try and work some issues out by doing that.  I really need to clear my head and take care of myself.

Anyway, there are my goals.  Have you made any goals for the month, and if so, what are they?  Let me know in the comments below, and we can cheer each other on. Happy May!

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Nope, Not Right Now

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Last week as I was wasting time on Instagram, I saw a post stating that California was making coffee shops post that coffee was carcinogenic.  Well, my initial response to that news was to swipe right by with the words, “nope, not now” in my mind.  I mean, really.  A few years ago, I tried to give up coffee, but went back to drinking it.  After all, I don’t drink, smoke or eat meat and dairy… and coffee is my little weakness, and even though I know it’s not the best thing, it’s the one thing that I’ve decided to drink that’s not entirely healthy.  But, carcinogenic?

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So, after waiting a respectable amount of time (really, just putting it off), I decided to look into the science of this claim.  It turns out that overly roasted coffee beans can contain a chemical called acrylamide, which can cause mutations and damage in DNA, which then can increase the risk of getting cancer.  However, it’s unclear as to if the amount of acrylamide found in coffee can be considered a risk, since the animals that it was found to be a risk in were given levels between 1,000 and 10,000 more then were found in food that humans would ingest.  Therefore, the scientists do not consider this a risk, and have not stated that it is one as regards to coffee.  I’ve left the link below for you to read.  Now, I think I’ll go enjoy my morning coffee…thank you very much!

https://www.livescience.com/62177-california-coffee-cancer-warning.html

 

100+ Days of Change

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I know that it’s only April, but I did want to post a blog about my journey of change that I started on January 2nd – not the 1st since I was up long past my bedtime on New Year’s Eve!  So, my major change has been to work out every single morning this year.  Knock wood, but so far, I have managed to do this.  I also changed how I work out.  I initially started with a combination of Denise Austin, Fitness Blender and my old-school Soloflex machine, along with my daily walks.  Then I decided that instead of doing weights only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would just do them every other day while trading off with pure cardio on the other days.  I don’t “do” leg day and then arm day – I just do all weights on one day.  This is easier for me, because one day is a longer workout, and the next is a little shorter – kind of like a “treat” on the shorter days.  And, we all need a treat once in a while.

Since I started in January I’ve made a few changes.  I started with a “lighter” Fitness Blender and then changed to a harder cardio.  But now I’m off Fitness Blender and am doing Boot Camp with Denise Austin instead.  I’m sure I’ll change that up at some point, but I’m enjoying huffing and puffing along with Denise.  I’d also like to eventually get back into Tae Bo with Billy Blanks, but I’m not there yet.  I have aged since the last time I did Tae Bo!  I’ve also added more miles to my weekly walking with the dog.  I’m trying to go on a longer walk at least three times a week, and I did do over 17 miles last week.

So, that being said, do I feel better?  Well, that’s a process I guess.  For the first month everything was sore, but I felt good.  Then, I hit a hard patch that lasted over a month and I just gritted my teeth and forced myself through it.  It wasn’t easy, and everything went wrong.  My back started to give me trouble, and everything just hurt – my knees, arms, legs.  But, for the past week or so, I’ve been feeling much better.  It does help to work out when you’ve just gotten up, because for the first part of it you’re not really awake!

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Is there a change?  Yes, I can see muscle, and my butt is looking less droopy.  I have more endurance and those long walks are not making my legs sore.  So, yes, there is a difference.  How are your goals for 2018 going?  Are you working on them, or have you given up?  Let me know in the comments below.  Remember that every day is a new beginning.