Healthchat

Conversations about optimal health.


Choosing what I like

I had a great revelation today while choosing what to drink at the local Panera.  I like sweetened ice tea and from now on I’m going to choose it over unsweetened.  Now this may not seem earthshaking to you, but when you have made choices based on healthy considerations instead of what you enjoy all of your adult life, it’s big.

And that is what I have done.  Chosen unsweetened ice tea because I thought it was healthier and it always tasted terrible, but I soldiered on thinking I was doing my body a favor. Actually, I was just drinking something I hated and developing feelings of resentment that later turned into an eating binge.  Really, how much sugar is in a glass of tea? and is it really going to kill me.  I don’t think so.  From now on I’m going to eat in moderation the foods that I like and that make my body feel good.

No more pressure from my overly developed food conscience.  Life is too short.  It’s time to enjoy it!


Holistic Health or Turn off the TV

Back in the day, holistic health referred to the whole person, an undivided approach to wellness. I had a professor in nursing school who taught the theory that all illness is caused by emotional reactions. For instance, since cold germs are always present, we “catch a cold” when our immunity is weakened by grief or stress. I agree with her, that human beings are made up of physical, emotional, and spiritual selves and they cannot be divided for the purpose of treating disease.

This theory was brought home to me this winter. I have joined an exercise class made up of women who are older than I am. The main topic of conversation is ailments, MRI’s, physical therapy, acupuncture and the latest health report on the news networks. The prevailing attitude is negative about life in general. Granted, getting older is not for the faint of heart, but this stage of life is no more difficult than any other stage, it’s just different.

Now I ask you, if we are a whole person and wellness comes from being well in every aspect of that person, why do we treat the physical and neglect the emotional and spiritual parts? These women spend a lot of money on the latest treatments for their physical ailments, yet they ignore the stress caused by watching the nightly news or the anger that has not been addressed in decades, or the grief and hurts that have not been resolved or the basically negative worldview.

Western medicine seems to diagnose and treat the physical ailment without considering what emotions, or spiritual beliefs lead up to it. Stress, we are finally acknowledging is a contributing factor but is there a concerted effort to treat that as well? I think if we payed attention to the mental state, emotional history, and all the body systems that contribute to disease we would have more keys to treatment and prevention.

If the women in my class delved into their emotional state, worked to change their mental outlook and turned off the TV, I believe their physical health would improve. The atmosphere in our class would be more upbeat and optimistic. Am I the only one who thinks like this? Weigh in, let’s continue the conversation.


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Biking in December

IMG_0382Living in the Mid- Atlantic region means temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s in December. Everyone I talk to puts their bikes in the shed and looks for indoor exercise venues. My advice, don’t be so quick to table biking outdoors. There are always days when the temperature moderates and warm biking gear works well. I even found a pair of heavy weight biking pants at WalMart. Old school lined leather gloves with tapered fingers are great for changing gears and keeping hands warm. If you are prepared you can still bike until Christmas.


Treating the Holiday Food Hangover

You know how the movies always treat a hangover with some weird concoction that is based on raw eggs and worchestershire? Well food hangovers during the holidays beg for treatment as well. After the Thanksgiving all-you-can stuff buffet which ended with trying every dessert on the table you feel horrible the next day. Your stomach is crampy and your eyes are puffy. Food hangovers can be every bit as painful as alcohol hangovers.

So, I’ve developed a quick reboot that settles down my system and prepares my body for the next holiday onslaught. Hopefully, it will also dampen the temptation to overeat rich food again.
Invest in a basic juicer. Anything that will handle raw fruit and vegetables with the peels. Then follow the recipes the next day after a night at the buffet.

> First major tip, drink lots of water with fresh lemon throughout the day.

> Breakfast with Pear Nog which was published a few years ago on this blog. Search for it under Healthy Recipes. It’s a combination of greek nonfat plain yogurt, two ripe pears, plain soy or almond milk and a scoop of plant protein powder. I like to flavor it with vanilla and cinnamon.

>For midday I like to eat a clear soup with chicken broth, tofu, carrots, and snow peas. Our local Chinese eatery makes a great soup like this without msg.

> When I’m hungry again I combine peeled limes and oranges with a handful of fresh cranberries, carrots and apples in the juicer. Experiment with the combinations and quantities. I like to drink at least 2 cups worth.

> Then, dinner is a spinach salad with lots of fresh vegetables and if I’m really hungry some steamed pasta or brown rice. More juice works before bedtime and add some fresh mint leaves if you have them available.

I’ve found that this formula restores my sense of wellbeing and I feel so good that I don’t always want to eat every rich concoction that I see. So try it and give me some feedback on how it worked for you.


New Ingredient for Cranberry Relish

Thanksgiving 2014 was a fun, thankful day full of family and great food. The Cranberry Relish was extraordinary this year because I added Thai Ginger to it. What is Thai Ginger you ask? It is fresh ginger found in the Asian fresh food section of Wegmans and it is bigger than the knobs of regular fresh ginger with striations around the outside. Usually I add some fresh ginger to the Cranberry Relish and this particular ingredient looked so interesting that I tried it out for Thanksgiving Day on my family. It could have gone either way but they loved it. The new ginger gives it a mild bite that the regular ginger doesn’t have. So here is the recipe. If your families’ palette isn’t as adventurous as mine, try it yourself before showing up on Christmas Day with a big bowl of it.

Holiday Cranberries with Thai Ginger

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 large knob of Thai Ginger (size of your thumb) peeled
1 large apple, cored and quartered, with peel.

Wash and pick over cranberries, removing the soft ones. Place in a food processor. Coarsely chop ginger and apple and add to processor along with sugar. Pulse until relish consistency.
Allow to sit in refrigerator for at least an hour, then serve.


Domain has changed.

Some housekeeping is in order. I have changed the URL address for this blog. It is now “healthchatt.org” yes with 2 t’s. The old one expired and due to a change of email address I didn’t know until it was too late to retrieve without an exorbitant fee. So healthchatt it is.
Sorry for the inconvenience. I truly appreciate all of you who are following this blog.

I will be posting more in the future. Right now I’m working on some business development and raising 2 grandchildren. Not a lot of time for blogging.


Pick Your Own Etiquette

This is fruit picking season in the Mid Atlantic states and there are many opportunities to harvest your own if you are willing to stand in the hot sun and pick it yourself.  The fruit is sun-ripened and the taste of it is incomparable to what is found in the store.  However, to make your fruit picking experience enjoyable for everyone concerned  there are a few rules of etiquette to follow out in the sun-baked fields.

First, listen to the owners directions. There is a pattern that they wish you to follow so that everyone has an equal opportunity to pick ripe delicious fruit.  Don’t go headlong willy-nilly through the bushes looking for the biggest fruit and refusing to pick all the ripe fruit on the plant, bush or tree.

Secondly, don’t bring small children who cannot follow directions.  They eat their weight in fruit                   and trample the plants, especially strawberries.

Thirdly, bring your own buckets with sturdy handles for picking and a large pan to receive the                      picked fruit from a full bucket.  Then you can go back to picking with an empty bucket.

  • And finally, Keep in mind the price of the fruit per pound and decide ahead of time how much you want to pick.  I’ve seen lots of people act like a kid in a candy store and pick way more fruit than they planned. Only to get to the checkout with not enough cash.  There are no credit card machines out in the fields.

Remember, you are a privileged guest on the owners land and this is how they make their living.   Observe proper etiquette treating the fruit orchards as if they were your own and the farmers will continue to invite all of us back to pick our own fruit next year.


How We Sent Four Children to College on One Income

My husband and I did something really smart 30 years ago when our children were little.  We were offered an opportunity to set up a side project which created an additional income stream. We have been forever grateful to the people who not only introduced us to the concept but stuck around to help us implement it.  With the additional income I was able to make a choice about working outside the home or raising children full time and I chose to stay at home.  We have also been able to send all four children to the school of their choice with the help of scholarships however, none of them got a free ride so we were able to make up the difference.

I am throwing it out to all of you, my readers, because I know that there are many of you that worry about where it’s all going to come from, especially if your children want to go to college.


Menopause – What to Do After the War

For those of us who have made it through menopause to the other side or have lived with someone who has made it, this post is for you.  Do you feel like you have battled in a war with your own body for years?  For me, there were nine years when I was uncomfortable in my own skin and my emotions were volatile.  I was definitely in warrior mode.  Always spoiling for a fight and feeling like I had to wear body armor to deflect the hurts that were flying toward me.

It was like being in a battle.  Of course, it is also the stage in life when your children are separating from you with all of their hormonal tactics and your husband is going through his own losses.  This war absorbs who you are and your purpose in life until all you are doing is fighting to survive.

Well, now the battle is over, your body has changed and it’s time to clean up the battlefield and help the wounded.  You can take off the armor and put your sword in the corner. Bring the pain, disappointment, anger, bitterness and lack of forgiveness to the surface so you can heal and move to the second half of your life.

Restore the relationships that you slaughtered.  Reassure everyone that your emotions are stabilizing.  Express your feelings, taking responsibility for them.  Ask for forgiveness and in turn forgive.  Call your children and let them know that you love them.  If you still have a husband, let him know that you love and respect him as well.  Take time to think about who you are and what your purpose in life will be from this day on.

It is also a good time to check your level of physical wellness.  Maybe it’s time to put your body back together.  Begin with a physical exam and face the changes that you need to make for optimal health.  Building a life of no regrets is the next task. .  Have you done all you can do to improve your well-being?

These are the issues you will be dealing with until you can free yourself from the past. You can overcome.  Living in peace is the reward.  Admit that you were gone but now you are back and the menopausal war is over.


Owning My Skinny Genes

The genetic results are in.  I am what is known as a Fat Burner.  In order for me to reach an optimal body weight I need to keep my Fat consumption under 30% of my total calories per day and I need to workout intensely at least 3 times per week.  The MET total for the week needs to be a minimum of 13.  The MET is a value assigned to different exercises.  For example, riding my bike outdoors with hills for 45 minutes is an 8 MET activity.

So, what does all of this mean?  That for me fat is the problem, and lofat eating is the way to stay healthy.  This genetic test has confirmed some things that I already knew about my body and has given me a definite path.  No more stabbing in the dark, wondering if I should go hi-protein, lo-carb or a balanced approach or Mediteranian or Asian, or fasting for 2 days per week, etc., etc., etc. It is such a relief.