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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Not much into new year’s resolutions, yet I find myself re-evaluating my life during the first of most every year. I think it is because the new year follows the Christmas holiday season, or winter soltice, or Hanukkah, or whatever we each call that time in December when life seems to slow down a bit. For me, since I officially celebrate Christmas, my slowing down comes after Christmas Day. Since becoming an academic librarian, I only get one day off for Christmas, but I usually take one or two vacation days to follow. No close deadlines at work over which to worry. And I totally relax, enjoy myself, my family, and my friends! And for me it is just the quiet and relaxing time to reflect that gets me started on a more positive note – not necessarily a particular goal for the year.

Since I love to eat, I think about food even then! I plan to eat and cook healthier. Make sure I get that walking in every week. Sometimes, as some of you that have read my blog off and on since the beginning know, I think of pescetarianism. The longest I’ve ever stuck to that plan is two years – almost to the exact day.

Anyway, I’ve decided not to hit myself over the head for my inability to maintain a strictly pescetarian lifestyle. I have, however, managed to eat much, much less meat than I did 10 years ago (and that means less fish). That change is better for me, animals we raise for food, and the environment.

I will continue to try to buy products in glass containers instead of plastic even if it means paying a little extra. Fret over whether the shrimp was farm-raised in Thailand or wild caught in the Atlantic. Sometimes I will make “not the best” decision. But if I try, and I succeed most of the time, then I will make less of an impact on our earth. These efforts are never, never, not worthy of my time.

For breakfast this morning there was fresh fruit again and my favorite one-egg omelet with cheddar, mushrooms, onions, and red bell pepper. One slice of buttered toast under the omelet. Oh yum!

Feeling “back to earth” tonight and am preparing a meal of chicken and root vegetables – all in the same pan!

First I sautéed a few root veggies. Tonight I have onions, white potatoes, and carrots. Parsnips are particularly good here but forgot to make that purchase. Tossed them around a cast iron frying pan for about 5 minutes in a little olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic. Just long enough to mix the flavors.

Then I mixed a little honey, dried thyme, and dry hot Oriental mustard I purchased at Yi’s Oriental Market in Manhattan, KS.

Next, placed a chicken breast (with skin and bone) on top of the veggies, poured on the honey mixture, covered with tented foil, then placed pan in oven for about 45 minutes. And …. ta da !! A delicious and beautiful meal. With enough for leftovers!

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It is Wednesday morning and I have just about eaten all my vegetables I purchased at the farmer’s market this past Saturday. Sad. I still have half a jar of pickled beets, but the small bunch I bought and simply heated are gone. I have left three yellow squash, small onions, and new potatoes. This time of year at the farmer’s market the potatoes are so inexpensive! One small container will last me several weeks. Since I am flying back to Virginia next week for several days, I won’t buy quite as much at the market this weekend. But I will definitely be purchasing more kale grown on the K-State Willow Lake Farm. Scrumptious!!

Yesterday (2008-07-01) there was an article in the New York Times about healthy foods, and one food it mentioned was beets. However, the reporter talked about the benefits of raw beets with the suggestion of grating them on tossed salads. Hmm. . . . .I’m going to have to give that idea a try! Something a little sweet on top of my raw vege salad? Sounds like a plan to me!

The reduction in a diabetes medicine dosage is working well for me. It actually appears to me I could reduce the dosage even lower than the “cut in half” I have accomplished already. However, I know not to get to anxious too soon. I will try to ride it out until I see both of my doctors during the next six weeks. I try to stay educated on diabetes and aware of my own health, but I still realize I should not try to manage it totally on my own. I have benefited very well from the “established” medical community, but I have also felt comfortable in saying “no” when I had the gut feeling I needed to do so. For me it is a mixture of education, nutrition, visits to the diabetes clinic (Here in Kansas I see a physician’s assistant – I believe he is really “on the ball” and I feel comfortable with our decisions.), exercise, and yes, medicines. I would never tell anyone else how to manage their diabetes, because we are all different. I realize that since I live out here in Kansas with no one to care for on a daily basis but myself, I have it so much easier than many. But even when I was caring for our two young children I believed it important to read about health and nutrition as often as I could, even if it meant only the 10 minutes between the time my head hit the pillow and the time I fell asleep.

When I worked at UNC in Chapel Hill, NC, I visited the UNC Diabetes Clinic several times a year, and it was a very positive experience. This clinic really set me on the path to getting healthier, even though sometimes it meant another med. And I remember a lot I learned there and use it in my everyday decision-making process even now. I am very fortunate to have been able to have those few years with that clinic.

Well, I need to get ready for work in the library. I have been very busy this summer with various projects of my own and assisting professors from different disciplines with their research. The variety of information I have been exposed to is simply amazing! As a department we are organizing and improving our map collection, shifting reference materials into a more user-friendly model, working toward creating a data commons for statistical work, and all the while continuing with our day-to-day activities. Someone pinch me!! A fascinating job and delicious food – all in the same day! I am truly a fortunate person. And grateful.

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Good morning!

Good morning world on a Saturday! I am feeling very good today, even though I have been feeling poorly. “How can that be?” you may ask. Well, lucky you – I’m gonna talk about this phenomenon this morning!

The last few months I’ve had spells of feeling super, super tired. I could not figure it out. I would be sure to add extra steps to these days, because exercise can give energy. I was sleeping OK and getting in as many hours as I had in the past. On the mornings I could sleep as long as I wanted, I would still only take in six to seven hours. Just didn’t seem to me that lack of sleep was the reason for my dragging.

This really tired feeling would most often hit me in the afternoon, but sometimes it could be all day. I would pay attention to my routine with particular attention to my meals. It did not seem to me that I was overeating. I had a bad bout with bronchitis in April that lasted in a minimal context until June, so I began to think that maybe my hemoglobin levels were low (have been in the past). In three weeks I am planning to have lab work done just to check on all that.

But in the meantime, I have decided that there is a good chance I need to reduce the dosage of one of my diabetes medicines. Yesterday I felt pretty good until I was about to leave work for home. That weak feeling came over me, but not the ol’ “sugar lows” I use to experience. I walked through the door of my apartment and began the task of making supper, I ate a few bites of fresh fruit while I was preparing in hopes of feeling better. [I also made sure I took the medicine that decreases my chance of a sudden drop in blood glucose and truly manipulates food sugars to enter my blood stream at a slower, more normal rate.] I ate a supper of shrimp, avocado, squash, and a white-flour roll with butter. Still feeling bad, so I added a cookie and a glass of milk. And then it occurred to me to check my glucose level. Only 73! If it was only 73 after all that food, what the heck was it before I ate?!??!

I had not eaten an afternoon snack. I take my snacks to work, but most days I don’t get hungry and don’t think to eat them. I will try to make sure I do get in my snacks from now on. And I’m going to cut one of my pills in half. It is Saturday and I cannot call my endocrinologist, but on Monday I will call to verify this change with him. I can check my readings more closely as I make this change, and I have an appointment to see him in August.

I am going into work today for four or five hours to work on a research project. But before that I will be hitting the farmer’s market! I am planning on feeling better today than I have lately since I’m reducing my medicine. But, as I said, I will be testing glucose levels on a more regular basis as I make this change – to be sure it works the way I hope. Of course, I remember reading the other day an article about how life throws us surprises when we least expect it. After all, that is life. The article then stated, “You want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans!” Oh how true!! When She /He sees us making our plans for life, and He knows what is ahead, does She laugh? Oh my goodness what does God think?!? Another reason to stay in touch with our Creator. [OK, you may not believe in intelligent design. Or God. I do, and I love living in a country where we can each state our opinions on this subject. As angry as I get with our government sometimes, I am grateful for that freedom of thought. I hope we never lose it.]

Now, make yours a great day, too!

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Well, I seem to have broken through that weight of 150. Maybe. I think. It is Wednesday and I have not seen 150 since last Saturday. I don’t want to decrease my food intake anymore for fear of lowering my metabolism even further. [It’s already pretty sluggish.] Keeping up with the walking, adding a few extra rounds weekly on my weight machine, and taking stairs instead of elevators as much as possible should help. I’m trying to stay away from junk food and make sure that most of my carbs are whole-grains and fresh fruits. I won’t announce an “ah ha!” at this point, though. I’ll give me another 10 days or so to see if I can keep the scales down below 150.

Even as I struggle with the weight loss, my glucose readings are fabulous! Who knows, maybe if I get down to 130 I can stop another medicine!!! I doubt I will ever totally be without diabetes meds, since my father and his father both had the disease. But maybe do better? I surely hate taking medicines. As a younger woman I was always a little too boastful about being so healthy and never having a cold nor even a headache. Another time in my life I should have kept my mouth shut!

I’ve got homemade potato soup in the refrigerator that I will finish up in the next day or so, and last night I cooked pinto beans I had soaked all day long. Mmmmm I cannot wait to get to those! However, here in Kansas I cannot find the brand of chow chow (what a funny name!) I always liked on my beans. This Saturday at the farmer’s market I will see if there is any homemade for sale that I could try. In the meantime I’ll use a little Heinz ketchup and chopped onion. Oh my goodness I’m drooling already!

Breakfasts this week have consisted of either fresh fruit and cottage cheese or whole-grain cereal (topped with extra wheat bran and brown flax seeds) and fresh fruit. I buy the bran and flax seed in bulk at the co-op and ground the seeds in my coffee grinder every few weeks. And there have been salads topped with peanuts and Swiss cheese (oooh cheese!!), peanut butter, fresh squash, new potatoes, etc. etc. Oh my goodness did God bless us with a tasty variety of nutrients! And this time of year when local fresh produce is available? Man on man what a time to be alive!

I surely miss my mother-in-law’s garden, though. Now there is a woman who knows how to garden and cook! Her green beans, butter beans, and cabbage are the best! My grandmama who lived in Asheville, NC before she passed over had the grandest garden I knew of during her time. She and my mother-in-law could have been in quite a competition! However, their gardens were a little different, as the soils and temperatures were different. Mother-in-law in the piedmont of Virginia, and Grandmama in the mountains of North Carolina. My grandmother grew delicious okra, yellow tomatoes, squash, and a green bean that I have not seen since she died. I’m not sure of the correct name of the bean – she called them “shellies”.

Our closest neighbor in Virginia grows quite a garden, too. And he and is wife are always sharing with us. When I travel back there in a few weeks I’m sure he will share some of his tender Virginia corn with me. Can you tell I love food? I adore food! But why not appreciate God’s bounty? Why not celebrate a very basic part of life – nutrition? I personally think it is important to celebrate our every-day gifts. Let’s face it, there are many, many parts of this world that do not get to experience the variety and abundance of the food we have here in the United States. I don’t have to go out and buy new shoes or a new purse or new curtains to celebrate. My dinner at night is a celebration (yes hubby, I said dinner at night! – inside joke). As it should be.

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