live with physical challenges.
I am NOT a DOCTOR!!! I don't even play one on TV!!! It is my goal to live a more healthy lifestyle. Living well and being happy is what this blog is all about.

"Nothing,' wrote Tolstoy, 'can make our life, or the lives of other people, more
beautiful than perpetual kindness."

- Gretchen Rubin

I write about my own experiences and what works (or does not) for me. Nothing I write is to be taken as medical advice.

Only your health care provider, personal physician,Disclaimer:
I am not a doctor - I don't even play one on TV! This
or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Smell My Feet

You know how it goes...  come on - say it with me...  Trick or Treat, Smell my feet, give me somethin' GOOD to eat!  See - and some of you didn't think you could act like a kid anymore!  It does us all good to be a little kid once in a while.  It's good for the soul!  Keeps us young at heart!  Keeps us well!

The weather could not have been better here this evening!  We sat out in our garage to hand out treats this year, which in years past would have been crazy - it would have been way too cold.  But tonight the weather was absolutely perfect - could not have been nicer!

We had about a dozen kids and had just enough candy.  I'm always happy when there are not any leftovers because that eliminates temptation for me!  I admit it, if candy is around it's definitely a temptation for me.  That's why we don't keep it around!

I saw little creatures of every conceivable type.  I think in my mind I was doing a little costume contest - and while I would never tell the kids, I think the winner in my mind was the little Dalmatian puppy who came across the street.  Our neighbor's little girl was absolutely adorable in her Dalmatian costume!  But she is just as cute as a button anyway!  Sweet little girl.

I don't know whether the little ones are taught the same kind of stuff I was taught at their age.  Does anyone ever say that little poem anymore?  I've not heard it in a long time.  I guess that ages me, but oh well.  When I was a kid we said it when we got to our neighbor's front door!  Well, times are a-changing I guess.

We actually had one little boy come up and look in the bucket and say, "I don't like ANY of those things!"  Then he sharply turned and marched off.  That took me aback a little.  At first I thought, "What a spoiled little kid!"  But then I decided he just obviously had a good idea of what he likes and does not like.  I guess that's alright.  There was more for the other kids who did like what we had!

Hope you had fun this evening with your little ghosts and goblins!

Here's some cute costumes.


Today is also CARVE A PUMPKIN DAY!!!!!!  There are some very important things to remember when carving a pumpkin.  Not everyone is talented with a huge knife!  If you decide to carve a pumpkin, please do so safely!

Thanks to Hensler Nursery, Inc. for these safety reminders:

1. The Workstation
Set up your carving workstation on a well-lit dry surface. You don’t want those pumpkins to slip and slide! Use a tray or jar to store your tools when not in use. If the kids are going to help, make sure they can easily reach the work surface.
2. Keep the Kids Safe
If children are involved, they should be supervised at all times. Ask the younger kids to help by decorating with glue sticks and glitter, magic markers and other child-friendly materials. Older children could help punch out the design on the pumpkin, and if they’re permitted to use a knife, encourage them to work slowly and monitor them at all times.
3. Knife Selection
If you’re reaching for a chef’s knife, please put it down now! A small knife with a short serrated blade is your best bet for pumpkin carving. The knife that’s included in a pumpkin carving kit you find at the store is a great example of what you should use. That type of knife usually has a serrated blade that’s not as sharp as the kitchen knives you have at home. Sharper isn’t better when it comes to pumpkin carving, and the serrated edge will make your work even easier.
4. Point the Blade Away
Point the blade edge away from you as much as possible while carving out the design. If your hand slips or you loose control of the blade, you’re less likely to get cut.
5. Saw Instead of Slice
Gently saw back and forth through the pumpkin to complete your design. Take your time and avoid the urge to make big slices so that you don’t injure yourself.
6. Let the Force Be With You
Wielding your knife with a gentle force is best. Applying a lot of power to your knife can more easily result in injury if the blade slips our you slice through your pumpkin.
7. Watch Where You Put Your Hands
Be mindful of where you put your free hand while carving. If you use one of your hands to steady the pumpkin, be cautious that you don’t poke or slice all the way through the pumpkin to the other side.
8. Battery Power is Best
Forget about candles. They create a fire hazard and it’s not worth the risk. Battery powered lights are best when it’s time to illuminate your pumpkin. Wrap a short string of lights around a canning jar or small vase and place it inside the pumpkin for maximum illumination.

Now...  go carve a pumpkin - and have fun!!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gathering Pine Cones

Everyone has their own personal routine or ritual when it comes to decorating for the holidays.  A certain style with which they deck their halls, as it were.  This time of year you will see me out along our main street picking up pine cones.  We have several lovely pine trees lining our street and the most beautiful pine cones.  It's a shame to leave them there on the ground unused, so I use them for decoration.  I enjoy gathering the pine cones almost as much as putting my arrangements together!  I go out with a large wicker basket and pick up the most perfect pine cones.  Some of them look as though they've been used as ammunition for target practice by someone - those are left on the ground. 

Only the nicest ones are chosen to be part of my fall decor.

As part of my mantel piece, I use fresh cinnamon sticks and cloves along with the pine cones.  I also break open an orange spice teabag which enhances the scent of Autumn that much more!

There are usually enough pine cones to do at least four or five vignettes throughout the house.  By the time it's finished, the house is filled with such a yummy scent - it always makes me want to brew some orange spice tea!

We usually keep our fall decorations up until around the middle of December.  Then it's time to put the fall stuff away and put up the Christmas tree and all those decorations!  I believe my favorite season is Autumn, though.  I enjoy gathering my fresh pine cones every year and making new and different arrangements. 

Here's to Autumn... and nesting... and imagination in decorating!  Happy Fall, Y'all!!!

Here's a great video showing how pinecones can be used!



Even though candy corn is relatively healthy in moderation, as all Type 2 Diabetics can testify, it does contain massive amounts of SUGAR!!!!!!  I caution you to use common sense when indulging to avoid a spike in blood glucose! 
I LOVE these shoes!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween and the Wee D's

I feel really sorry for the tiny tots who have been diagnosed with diabetes.  Halloween must really be a challenge for them and for their parents.  The more I read blogs from type 1's, however, the more I realize that they use things like special icing (comes in assorted flavors) to deal with their lows.  I recently read the blog of a type 1 who graphically described a low she had in the middle of the night and how she reached for the icing and "downed" it.  She was awakened by a nightmare (a common occurrence) and realized her blood sugar was crashing.  At the end of her post she made the comment, "all I had left was the remnant of a nightmare and red teeth from the strawberry icing."   

I really don't envy the number of lows that Type 1's get - or when they get them.  But I'll tell ya what - to be honest - every once in a while I'd like to dive into some strawberry flavored icing!  I suppose Type 2's can use the icing, but if I'm an example of a Type 2, I can say I don't have that many lows.  I've had a couple of packets of "level" glucose gel in my dresser drawer for a few months.  I have not had to use them yet!  My problem tends to be the highs, not the lows.

As I was doing some research about the best Halloween treats to buy the wee D's, I sensed a couple of patterns:  the obvious pattern is that of "sugar-free" treats, which makes sense.  The other pattern was that of chocolate-covered nuts.  Nuts are a good source of protein and if they are covered with dark chocolate, then that's better yet.  The most common sense approach to treat giving this Halloween has to do with portion control.  Every site I checked stated that people should purchase the snack size bags and not the regular size bars.  This insures that the kids get just a little bit of a treat - and after they've gone to a dozen houses, they don't end up with too much.  It will still be a lot of candy, and it's up to parents to divvy it out to them, but portion control is key. 

You can have any food you desire in a day, you just can not have every bit of food you want in the same day.  You must make intelligent choices and be held accountable.  - Tasha Cooper, Diabetic Educator

Here are some of my personal favorites. 

Under the sugar-free column we have:

Sugar-free Peppermint Patties (snack size)
2 pieces
55 calories
19 g. carb
0 g. sugar

Sugar-free Gummy Bears
12 pieces
35 calories
14 g. carb
0 g. sugar

Sugar-free Mini Peanut Butter Cups
4 pieces
145 calories
22 g. carb
0 g. sugar

If you'd rather get chocolate that is not sugar-free, these are good choices:

Snack-size chocolate cookie Bar
1 piece
70 calories
4 g. fat
9 g. carb
7 g. sugar

Snack-size bag chocolate covered Almonds
1 bag
110 calories
6 g. fat
12 g. carb
10 g. sugar

Snack-size Dark Chocolate with Almonds
3 nuggets
165 calories
15 g. carb
12 g. sugar

Snack-size caramel peanut Bar
1 bar
80 calories
1 g. fat
10 g. carb
8 g. sugar

100 calories Crisp Wafer Bar
100 calories
5 g. fat
12 g. carb
9 g. sugar

And last, but not least, there are a few full-sugar, low-fat choices:

Strawberry Twists
1 regular sized twist
40 calories
0 g. fat
9 g. carb
5 g. sugar

Hard candies
3 pieces
50 calories
13 g. carb
7 g. sugar

Fruit by the Foot - Strawberry
1 roll
80 calories
1 g. fat
17 g. carb
9 g. sugar

Caramel Apple Pop
1 pop
60 calories
5 g. fat
15 g. carb
10 g. sugar

1 pop
60 calories
16 g. carb
13 g. sugar

So, there is a way to make this Halloween SPOOKTACULAR for all our wee D's!  Our diets are all about exchanges - and the same rule applies to all foods, including candy.  Obviously we're not going to live on junk like this, so we should not just flat-out deny the fun associated with Halloween to kids.  They're only little once, and it's only one day out of the year.  If we're just smart about the high fat content in some candies and the high sugar content in others, then the balance will come into play.  With a little knowledge we can better relax and just enjoy the day!  Happy Halloween!!!

What would halloween be without Thriller - ???  Enjoy!


Today is NATIONAL FRANKENSTEIN DAY!!!!!!!!!!  Like the poster says, bring out your inner freak and party like you're Boris Kharloff in 1931!!!  Have fun!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Zombies... Oh My

I think the most fun time of the entire year for little people is the opportunity to dress up for Halloween.  When I was a kid it was especially fun because it was a chance to express my inner actress.  Yes, I was a bit of a drama queen - are you surprised?  Hush!

My folks were really good about making Halloween a time to be active.  I went to a lot of different parties and even had a few parties at my house once in a while.  They never made the big focus on the candy, though.  They kept the celebration all about the costume and the games and kept us kids very busy running around.  We were too engrossed in our activities to think about the candy.

Although I am not a Type 1 Diabetic, I think my parents were smart to divert my attention away from the candy.  Obviously, the sweet treats are going to lure any child's attention, but we as adults can help them to make other parts of Halloween more important.  Help children focus on things like designing a costume, or decorating for Halloween.

One year my folks gave me permission to set up a haunted house in our garage.  I was so busy getting all the ooey gooey brains and different organs fixed up, I hardly even thought about candy.  The focus was on other things, so the candy really did not play a big part in my day.

Also, it's up to parents to ration the loot out to their kids.  Don't just let them sit around gobbling candy all day long.  If at a young age they are allowed to pig out, then the habit will follow them into adulthood.  It's all how children are trained at a young age.  They learn what they live, and they live what they learn.

Make Halloween a time of socialization with as little focus on the candy as possible.  But after they get home with their loot, make sure you put it away and ration it out to them.  Kids are not old enough to realize what kind of damage too much of this stuff can cause, but adults are.  Halloween can be a happy time with friends and family.  It's all about where we place our focus.

Here's the famous clip from "The Wizard of Oz"


Today is PLUSH ANIMAL LOVER'S DAY!!!!!!!  I do love plush animals and have fond memories of all sorts of stuffed animals from childhood.  The car I drove off to high school had a stuffed Garfield the cat setting in the back window. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Support a National Grief Awareness Day

Never assume you know how a person in mourning feels.  You never know how much courage it took for them to put on a brave face.  - Linda Palmer 

My friend, Angie Cartwright is petitioning to Washington, DC for a National Grief Awareness Day.  I have done just as much as I possibly can to support her efforts.  When people ask me why we need a day set aside, my answer is quite simple:  To educate everyone about the grief process and how to better help those affected by loss.

Grief is such a personal thing, and no two people react to loss the same way.  Unfortunately, we live in a society where we are encouraged to just "get over it".  We're rushed through each stage of grief by friends and family who think they are helping us along.  In fact, this suppression of emotion can have some adverse affects on our health and well being.

ScienceDaily (Jan. 10, 2012):  According to a study published in the American Heart Association journal, the death of a close loved one could raise the risk of heart attack of those grieving by as much as 20 times the normal risk.  Of the 2,000 people interviewed, 270 reported that they had lost a significant other in the last 6 months.  Of those 270 people, 20 of them had lost loved ones the day before their heart attack. "The risk was high not only the following day, but also remains high for quite some time," said Elizabeth Mostofsky, M.P.H, ScD., noting that the risk was also higher if the person said the loss was moderately or extremely significant to them.  As part of the multicenter Determinants of MI Onset Study, researchers reviewed charts and interviewed patients while in the hospital after a confirmed heart attack between 1989 and 1994. Patients answered questions about circumstances surrounding their heart attack, as well as whether they recently lost someone significant in their lives over the past year, when the death happened and the importance of their relationship.

"Caretakers, healthcare providers, and the bereaved themselves need to recognize they are in a period of heightened risk in the days and weeks after hearing of someone close dying," said Murray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., a preventive cardiologist and epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and School of Public Health's epidemiology department in Boston, Mass.

In my personal experience as a type 2 diabetic, grieving has adversely affected my blood sugar.  The disease is difficult to manage to begin with, but when I am upset, my blood sugar can quickly go high and just linger there.  Dealing with the loss of family and friends over the years by trying to bottle up my feelings has only made matters worse.  My diabetes got worse because I was unable to grieve properly.  If I had found Angie's GTU support group years ago, what a great difference that undoubtedly would have made in my life!  My disease is much better managed today because when I feel a need to talk with others who have experienced loss, I go to the GTU support group and there I'm able to speak with others who have walked this lonesome path and gain strength and coping skills to move on with life. 

Most people believe they just have to suppress their grief or ignore their feelings.  They return to work too soon in an effort to "get their mind off of things", which may seem like the right response at the time, but eventually they have to come to grips with the reality and finality of their grief.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but holding in all of that pain can definitely degrade a person's health as well. 

It's ridiculous to put a time limit on grief.  What gives anyone the right to say when a person should be "over it".  You never get "over it", but you have no choice but to just get on with it.  It's imperative that we make those who have not experienced the loss of a loved one aware that grieving doesn't stop after just a week, month or even a year.  For some people, grief can last a lifetime!  Everyone is different.  These are issues that need to be addressed and understood through education.  

There needs to be a greater sensitivity to those who have suffered massive amounts of loss in their life.  To have a day set aside for education, coping method videos and lectures to teach people how to interact more effectively with those who grieve, we will abolish the ignorant stigma that clouds our society and make grieving socially acceptable.  No one needs to have the pain of loss penned up inside with nowhere to turn for support.

How great would it be if tools were in place to help all of us help each other through the grieving process?  Support is so wonderful - on the giving end and on the receiving end.  It's such a win/win!  Grief in the United States has been almost "taboo".  We don't speak of it in mixed company and we barely acknowledge it with other loved ones.  We feel as though we need to wear a fake smile and a mask in order to keep from being a "downer" with friends and family.  

I've read tragic stories about young children who have experienced loss of friends at school and were actually made fun of by others when they would show emotion.  Even as little children, we're encouraged to just "buck up" and keep our emotions intact.  These children carry this heavy burden of loss with them into adult life.  This strikes me as not only sad, but cruel.  We claim to be compassionate human beings, yet we don't have any compassion on children who are grieving?  Something is seriously wrong with that.

You know, loss is not a respector of persons.  Whether you are fat or skinny, rich or poor, at any given moment, anyone can lose a significant other.  It happens so quickly, and it is a life-changing event.  Your life after loss will never be the same again!  No matter how far along in your journey you are, you have to develop a new "normal" and to adjust to that new "normal" takes longer for some folks than it does others.  Don't we owe these people one day a year to educate and arm others with helpful information about grief and the grieving process?  Is that really too much to ask?

I don't think so.

We need education in place to teach individuals how to treat those who are grieving.  Some people who grieve do not have any type of support group around them.  Some, like me, are fortunate to find groups on facebook, but most are on their own.  A person in grief will usually not ask for any kind of help.  They will keep their feelings bottled up and continue to live their lives as best they can.  Even when people say things like, "if you need anything, just ask", the person grieving will not ask.  And after a certain amount of time, people don't bother to even ask if the person grieving needs anything.

Bottom line:  People who are grieving just need to be validated, heard and understood.  We want a day set aside not only to remember those we have lost, but to put information into people's hands that will help them learn to communicate and listen with more sensitivity and compassion to those who grieve.

I invite you to take the time to sign this important petition.  You will need to create an account to do this, but it's a fast process and this is such a worthwhile cause, please make a choice to take the time to do this!  It will take less than five minutes but will make a world of difference!

Please support this effort by signing the petition!  Here is the link:



Today is NAVY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Get Your Mind Made Up

You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.  - Henry Ford
The key to success in anything is having a made up mind, and weight loss is no exception.  If you are seriously determined to change how you think about something, your chances of making a go of it are much better than if you walk into something half heartily or lacking a true passion or desire to change.

When it comes to food, one has to decide whether it is more food that is necessary, or better quality food.  For years I thought that eating anything I wanted, and as much as I wanted, was a recipe for good health.  Obviously, I was a bit flawed in my thinking.

So, if weight is to come off, thinking has to change toward the quantity of food I eat as well as the types of foods.  It's amazing how much food you can eat if you're eating a high quality of food.  Actually, quantity is not much of an issue if the food is quality.

For diabetics, it's important not to binge on food because it can play havoc with blood glucose, which messes with moods and makes you miserable.  I don't like feeling miserable - and I don't want to be a miserable person to live with or be around either.  I'm really very careful about going on the blood glucose roller coaster ride!

No food is actually forbidden in my book, because as soon as I make a rule not to eat something, that's what I'm going to want to binge on.  So, if I see a dessert, for example, it's not exactly taboo for me, but that's when the portion control has to be strictly enforced.  The lower quality the food, the less quantity I allow myself to have.  Also, at holiday time, the rule book is out the window.  I don't eat a whole pie, but I don't deny myself a small slice - with whipped topping, thank you very much!

So far that mindset seems to be working quite well.  As I get closer to my goal weight, it is not coming off as quickly as it did at first.  I don't know whether that is to be expected or if I need to increase activity or decrease calorie intake even further.  Perhaps both need to be tweaked a little bit.  I used to hear the older folk talk about how the older you get, the more difficult it is to lose weight.  Well, now I know what they meant.

I have noticed a difference in my energy level since I began eating better quality foods.  It seems as though my thought process has also gotten much clearer and my train of thought does not derail as often as it used to!

So it comes down to the mindset.  Mine is a matter of portion control when faced with lower quality foods.  For higher quality foods I give myself permission to eat more quantity. 

Enjoy this great song "I've Got My Mind Made Up" - !


Today is NATIONAL PUMPKIN DAY!!!!!!!!  Whether you spend the day out at the pumpkin patch with your little ones or in the kitchen whipping up some pumpkin goodies, keep in mind that the most important thing you can do is make memories with the ones you love!



Thursday, October 25, 2012

I feel like a Hippo during a Hypo

When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31

Have you ever noticed that people tend to side-step or ignore scriptures that make them uncomfortable?  Well, this scripture is one of those for me!  Rather than pretending it's not in the Bible anymore - I'm going to deal with it.

I'm never going to grow and mature in my Christian faith or in my life if I don't finally face the fact that I need to put God first in every part of my life.  I can not just keep segmenting my life apart and inviting God into some sections and telling Him to stay out of another section.  If I want God's help with my tendency toward binge eating during a low, then I have to open the door and ask Him to come in.  I can't just stand on the other side of the closed (and locked) door and yell, "Lord, help me!"  It doesn't work that way.  God will never force Himself into my life.  I have to take the first step and ask Him to walk into the dark places with me and provide a way of escape, which He promises to do and He is faithful to deliver on that promise.


It's my desire to be the very best child of God I can be and honor God in all I do.  Why is it so difficult for me to turn over the reins to Him and let Him do the driving?  I make a big ol' mess - but He can make a success!  His ways are higher than my ways and they're also much better in the long run.  Who would not want that outcome in their life?  

I hear people say, "God doesn't want me to have fun anymore".  Those folks have never been with me when I'm with my Christian friends!  Fun does not begin to describe it!  I can honor my God with my entire life and have fun on this earth at the same time.  It's not a difficult concept in my mind - but I do have that one little corner to surrender - and I'm working on it.

They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him...   - 1 Chronicles 5:20

I choose this day to trust God completely with this battle called diabetes.  I want Him to help me with the goals I've set.  He's helped me get off of insulin and get the correct dosage of Metformin.  I trust that He will continue to guide me through this maze of confusion.  But today I'm handing over the reins - today the tendency to binge eat ends!  

There are tons of articles that discuss the "rationale" and the strange connection between low blood sugar and binge eating.  They make it sound as if it's a natural part of the disease to go on a complete pig-out when experiencing low blood sugar!  Well - it's just over-compensating behavior in my mind.  Even though - I get it - I'm not really of sound mind when I'm in the "low state" to use common sense to make wise food choices - I'm just sort of grabbing something - then something else - then...  But once you've over-eaten, then you're faced with high blood sugar and that's just as bad as the low.  It really does become like the roller-coaster ride from hell!  I don't want to be on this ride anymore!!!  Stop this ride and let me off!!! 

Also, when your blood sugar is so out of whack - either low or high - it's quite difficult to keep emotions in check.  When it's too low, I'm like a whacked out fruitcake who doesn't know which end is up - and I'm like, "Oh, okay - whatever."  Then when it's too high I have a tendency to become a real crab cake and I'm like, "Just get out of my way!" 

Please help me to navigate this journey better.  There is so much I really don't understand, but I do know that how I feel on a physical level also directly effects my mental state.  When my sugars are too high, I do not like what I become.  Somehow, if You could just show me a better way to get my blood sugar back to normal without over-shooting and going too high, I'd really appreciate that.  I don't want to be a whacked out zombie or a crab cake anymore.  I just want to be Linda.  I thank You and praise You for what You are going to do in my life today and in the days to come.
In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

This song reminds me of how I feel when I'm having a low...


Today is WORLD PASTA DAY!!!!!!!!!   Pasta is a good food in moderation, especially if you are experiencing low blood sugar.  Be very careful that you don't over do and cause a sugar spike and have high blood sugar as a result.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blame it on the Broccoli

Look!  It's a baby tree!!!
I have mild neuropathy in my right leg.  Some days it doesn't feel so "mild" to me, but whatever.  I was told that if I incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet (raw is best) and drink only water with lemon, I could improve the health of my nerves and help my neuropathy. 

The diet is good - for the most part.  Oh, I have my days like everyone else, when I just want to go to the store and pick up some cookies and chow down!  So far, however, I have managed to resist that particular temptation. 

I had been having a particularly rough time with my leg and was feeling a bit discouraged about this diet - and all they said it would do for me.  But then I think about all the laundry list of prescription drugs I've been on - none of which helped the pain at all.  So I decided I would give this diet some more time.  I've been doing this for a few months now and there are some days that are pretty good, but other days, like I say - not so much.

For some strange reason I got hungry for broccoli, which is weird for me.  I grabbed a bunch of little "mini-trees" and some organic dip and began to munch on them.  I'm not making this up - within about two hours of eating that bunch of broccoli, I began to feel less pain and was walking without my cane.  Am I glad I didn't throw my hands up and give in to eat cookies?  Well, sure!

Now, I'm not saying it was the broccoli that made the difference - but it's sure looking that way to me.  I guess I'll stay on this high alkaline diet because it does make me feel better mentally whether it really does anything for my neuropathy or not.  And it also makes my blood sugar happy, so...  that's worth a lot to me!

Will I eat bunches of broccoli every day - no.  This was just an interesting observation I made one day and thought I'd pass it along.  As long as there's life, there's hope.  I'm still alive, so I'm holding on to HOPE! 

 Here's Don Williams, DC talking about how our bodies heal best.


Today is NATIONAL BOLOGNA DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, if you are inclined to want to celebrate, at least use a little moderation because processed meats do have quite a bit of MSG as well as other things that are, shall we say, less than quality ingredients to be putting into your one and only body. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wit and Wisdom Contribute to Wellness

My favorite author of all-time was the very funny and talented Erma Bombeck.  This afternoon as I ate my snack, a 1/2 cup bowl filled with cherries, I thought about one of my favorite books - "If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, What Am I Doing In The Pits?" 

She could "grab" her readers with the title of her books!  I want to be that good of an author someday.

My mother got me hooked on Erma Bombeck books at a young age.  Mom was a housewife and could easily relate to each of the books she read.  

I can only dream of adapting some wit and wisdom in my writings.  I did write a book about my childhood called "Life Lessons And Laughter Galore."  I've made attempts to publish it, but because of technical difficulties have not gotten it published yet.  Technology is really wonderful when it works.  *Sigh*!

I know these books were written three decades (almost four) ago, but they are timeless in their wit.  If you are a child of the sixties, I'm pretty sure you can relate to most of what Erma has to say.  

My favorite book is one of her last (1993) "A Marriage Made in Heaven (or, Too Tired for an Affair)."  This one is Erma's personal story as well as a humorous look at she and her husband Bill's marriage.  They survived the dream house from hell, empty nest, and have been there for each other through maternity, miscarriage and mortality.

If you get a chance to read any of this wonderful woman's writings, I hope you'll take the opportunity.  You will be laughing your socks off, I promise!

Sadly, Erma faced a battle with breast cancer in 1992.  She had a mastectomy and after her cancer treatment, her kidneys began to shut down because of a disorder known as poly cystic kidney disease.  In 1996, she received a kidney transplant at the San Francisco Medical Center.  Erma Bombeck died from medical complications related to her transplant on April 22, 1996. 

If you want an excuse to laugh at real life - these books can provide a great excuse!  Erma could take a normal day and see the humor in it - then write about it!  I hope you will take some time to lighten up about the heaviness of life.

Here she is... !!!  Laugh liberally!!!  Laughter is the best medicine!!!


Today is TV TALK SHOW HOST DAY!!!!!!!!!!  Everyone has their favorite.  This is going to tell my age, but my all-time favorite talk show host is Phil Donahue.  I honestly don't watch a lot of talk shows these days.  


Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall's Finest Foods

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.  - William Cullen Bryant

As I moved all of my Fall/Winter clothing hanging from the top clothing rods of my closet to the more accessible bottom rods, my thoughts turned to all of the great foods which naturally compliment the colors and textures associated with Autumn.  While it is easier to eat a more healthy diet in the Spring and Summer months, and it is certainly easier to get outside and exercise, the coming months do not have to play havoc with your weight loss/maintenance routine. 

There are just as many beneficial foods to be enjoyed in cooler weather, and there are creative ways in which the exercise may be incorporated as well.  I believe the old adage, "Where there's a will, there's a way."  We prioritize what matters most to us, don't we?

If I had to choose my favorite food for Fall, it would be a three-way tie for first place.  I like apples year-around, but my seasonal favorites are pumpkin and cranberries.  I also like to fix acorn squash once in a while for lunch.  It's quick and easy to fix - just cut it in two, scoop it out and put some butter inside  and microwave for a few minutes.  I like easy preparation - easy works for me.

This is definitely an acquired taste - (not everyone will agree with this) - but I like to put a little pumpkin in my oatmeal.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I put just a little pumpkin in it along with some stevia and butter and a little cinnamon (and chopped pecans if I have them).  Don't knock it until you're tried it!  It's really a very good variation from plain old oatmeal.  Oh, stop wrinkling up your face at me - it's good - I promise!

In my humble opinion, cranberries are a necessity with turkey and dressing at Thanksgiving!  I don't care if you forget any other side dish, you'd better not forget the cranberries!  Cranberries and turkey go together like...  I don't know - shoes and socks.  They just compliment one another beautifully.

Just because you're a diabetic does not mean you can no longer relish good quality food.  As my wise diabetic educator friend says, "You can have anything you want - you just cannot have it all in one day."

Try to experiment this Autumn with all the wonderful foods available.  I enjoy foods that have a lot of cinnamon and cloves in them because those are the scents that really remind me that Mother Nature is gearing up for some chilly evenings ahead.  It's time to break out the crock pot and make some spicy hot apple cider or orange spiced tea.  Then relax, wrap up in your favorite quilt with one of your favorite novels. 

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.   - George Bernard Shaw

One of my favorite muppets is the Swedish Chef!  Enjoy the Swedish Chef carving pumpkins!

It's time to celebrate the humble nut!  Today is NATIONAL NUT DAY!!!!!!!!!  From all the information I've read, I gather that walnuts are among the most healthy nuts to eat, followed by...  CAPTAIN PISTACHIO!!!!!!!!!!  You do not have to be a squirrel to enjoy these wonderful little snacks!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Instant Energy

Energy and persistence conquer all things.  - Benjamin Franklin


How many products have you seen at the grocery store that claim to promote energy?  There are bars and shakes and other products that make promises that we will have the energy to leap tall buildings in a single bound and outrun speeding locomotives!  There are tons of energy supplements on the shelves - everything from energy drinks to magic jewelry, all claiming to renew the much needed vitality we all feel we are lacking in our normal diet.  And they are right about one thing - we are lacking the ingredients that restore the stamina we seem to lack.

The needs of an athlete differ from someone like me who just wants to get through a typical day without conking out after lunch.  

As I always emphasize, read the label of any product you are thinking of using.  Not all energy supplements are created equal.  Since I have a heart murmur, I am careful about using any product that contains stimulants such as:

Synephrine (may be listed as bitter orange)
Caffeine (or herbal sources such as kola nut, yerba mate and guarana)
Asian Ginseng

If you see any of these ingredients listed on the label, know that the product will affect your metabolism - it will speed your heart rate.  It's a good idea to check with your physician before trying any of these energy boosters.  Frankly, I believe a cup of green tea after lunch is sufficient for me to get through the rest of my day.  It helps me get over that "sleepy" feeling I get after lunch.  But since I'm retired, I do have the luxury of giving in to that feeling and taking a nap once in a while.  Not that I would dream of rubbing that in to a working stiff.  Me???  Nah!

There are substances that affect energy metabolism:

B vitamins (B6, B12, niacin, folic acid and thiamine)
Creatine, carnitine, and amino acids like tyrosine, phenylalanine, taurine
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

People who are athletes and push themselves to the limit could possibly benefit from these additional boosts.  For the rest of us, however, the emphasis should be on proper nutrition to begin with.  If we get these nutrients through the foods we eat, then we most likely will not need the additional dosage of these supplements.  Eating right is so important because our bodies need these in order to maintain the energy we so desperately need.

Some energy boosting products on the market today are actually dangerous to our bodies. One popular energy drink has been cited in 5 deaths and in one non-fatal heart attack over the past 3 years as the FDA is investigating. High caffeine levels are being looked at as the possible problem. If you are not an active person (that is, if you don't exercise more than a half hour a day), the addition of calories from these supplements can not only pack on the pounds, but spike blood sugar in diabetics and cause a whole host of problems from there.  

Adopting a complete lifestyle change is the best way to gain energy.  The first comment I hear from people who have thrown the junk food out and embraced a healthier diet is, "I can't believe how much better I feel - and how much more energy I have now!"  It's like hearing a recording being played over and over - so there must be something to it!  These people do not know each other - but they know me.  When they tell me this it makes me smile and think, "Wow, if I had a nickle for every time I've heard that sentence..."  I would be really rich!  You know, I'm rich in other ways that can't be measured!

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. - Aristotle

Think about it:  Is the human body supposed to get a sudden burst of energy from a can???  Before you try to supplement your energy level with one of these drinks, ask yourself one simple question:  "Am I eating the right foods to boost my energy?"  If the answer is "no", then that's where you need to begin.  Once you start doing away with junk food, processed foods, MSG, trans fats, hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrups and other sugars in disguise, you will be amazed at how much energy you will have and how much better you will feel.

How can you begin a new lifestyle and feel better?

Eating the right foods will boost energy levels.  Consuming raw fruits and vegetables with lean protein and limited amounts of complex carbohydrates will give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.  Ditch the soda or juice and drink water.  Hydration is just as important as eating right.

Exercise will give you energy.  I know, I didn't believe it either at first.  It doesn't seem logical, and no, I don't know why it works that way, but it does.  A half hour of exercise every day is all it takes - and you have energy to keep going.

Getting plenty of sleep at night revives you.  Talk about logic - this is abundantly clear!  If you are lacking energy and you're not sleeping well at night, hmm... well - ya might wanna figure out how to get more sleep at night.  Staying on the computer until 2 a.m. is not productive in the long run.  Nothing is that important - not even facebook!  It's worth it to get your full 8 hours of sleep at night.  You need to sleep at night in order to function properly both physically and mentally the next day.  We all want to be at our best, don't we?

Grab a box of tissues and listen to this mother's tragic story.


Today is NATIONAL PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE DAY!!!!!!!!!!  Whether you have a great recipe or decide to visit your favorite restaurant to enjoy your little slice of pumpkin flavored heaven, make sure you have one piece and two forks!  Cheesecake is a very romantic dessert that is meant to be shared!  Have fun!!!




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hello Kidney

Did you know that a diabetic can lose up to 20-30% of their kidney function and have no outward signs or symptoms?  Yet nearly every diabetic you talk to is more concerned about blindness or amputation than the loss of kidney function.

I guess maybe I look at everything differently.  I figure if, God forbid, I should lose my eyesight or a limb, I could still function somewhat.  But once you lose kidney function, it's on to dialysis and that's much more scary to me than any other complication.

So when you go to your doctor, is anything really explained to you?  Perhaps things are very clearly outlined for me because I go into my doctors office with a list of questions about my disease.  

I want my kidney function tested on a regular basis.  The recommendation is once a year, but sometimes I push the envelope if I'm not feeling well.    Creatinine is a waste product your body makes.  If your kidneys are not cleaning waste products from your blood, they can build up and make you sick.  Your doctor can use your creatinine level to check your GFR (glomerular diltration rate).  These results tell you how well your kidneys are removing wastes from the blood.  

The last time I had this done, my creatinine level was good, so my GFR was on target.  In that same blood test, my overall blood sugar was elevated, but the doctor was not overly concerned because it was not a fasting blood test.

Some people need medications to help slow down kidney damage.  There are two different types:

  • ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitor
  • ARB (angiotensin receptor blocker)

  • So far I have dodged these medications.  My good numbers can be attributed to the fact that I have cut down consumption of red meat and a lot of dairy.  I no longer indulge in eggs.  I do allow myself to have a bison bierock about once a month from my favorite health food store's deli.  I look forward to that monthly splurge!  I also drink plenty of water to keep my kidneys flushed out.  My sources of protein are vegetable based and not animal based for the most part.  Broccoli and I are best buds!

    Routine movement plays a key role in good kidney function.  By staying active, you reduce blood sugar and blood pressure.  An active body is a healthy body - and a healthy body is a very happy one!  It only takes a half hour a day, and while it doesn't feel great during, it sure makes you feel much better afterward.  Keep the goal in front of you!

    Kidney failure scares me the most because there are absolutely no outward signs of a problem until it's too late.  Everything I've read indicates that when kidney failure occurs, a person feels sick to their stomach and have an overall feeling of tiredness or fatigue, and there may be excess swelling in hands and feet from water retention.  Well heck, how many days do I feel like that?  It happens way more than I want to admit.  That's why I insist on having the tests done to check kidney function!   

    Blood sugar management and blood pressure management are two ways to prevent kidney damage.  Is it worth the effort?  You bet!  Am I worth the effort?  You bet x 2!

    Here's a great healthy recipe for Rajma!  It seems appropriate to have a recipe for kidney beans, doesn't it?  They are actually very healthy and good for your kidneys!  Coincidence?  I think not.  Another bit of proof that God does indeed have a sense of humor!  Making kidney beans in the shape of kidneys - Good one, Lord!


    Today is BRANDIED FRUIT DAY!!!!!!!!!!!  This stirs some good memories for me.  As a kid I can remember my mom having several jars of brandied fruit on the kitchen counter and always a starter to hand off to a friend or neighbor.  She made the best fruitcake at Christmas - and I'm not a real fruitcake lover.  This is about the time of year she would begin the fruit fermenting process.  She had it down to a science, I'll give her credit for that!  Most of the fruit came from our own back yard too - no canned stuff.  We had all sorts of fruit trees in our back yard.  Good memories.