Healthchat

Conversations about optimal health.


Leave a comment

Say “No” to Diets and “Yes” to Habits

Take it from someone who has tried lots of diets, fasts, reducing centers and support groups for weight loss. I am a foodie. I love cooking shows and collecting cookbooks. I love cooking new recipes and feeding my friends and family. I even enter baked goods in the local fair and win awards. Does that mean that I will always be an unhealthy overeater who has to be on a diet for the rest of my life? The answer is a resounding “no”!!!

On this side of the diet life I now know that putting good habits into my day will help me to optimal health and wellness. Here is today’s habit that I am currently working on.

>1. Sleep. 7 to 8 hours per night. I go to bed before midnight and wake up 7 to 8 hours later. I have energy for the day. If you have a challenge with getting to sleep at night turn off all screens an hour before you go to bed. There are great herbal teas that you can drink in the evening to foster relaxation. My husband takes an herbal sleep gummy that helps him to get to sleep. Personally I go to sleep easily after reading a personal development book. Explore what it will take for you to put this habit into place. I don’t recommend any drugs or supplements that interrupt your sleep cycles.

Link your sleep to other evening activities. For example, I keep my book and reading glasses on my bedside table and the goal is to read for at least 10 minutes before I go to sleep. I also have a daily reminder on my phone about 30 minutes before bedtime. A great book to read on developing good habits is, Atomic Habits by James Clear. However, if you keep it next to your bedside it may be hard to read just 10 minutes before sleep.


Leave a comment

My Forever Journey

The last two years with COVID have been a wake up call. I am 67 years old and have survived a bout with the disease however that was not the challenge for me. The staying at home with two hungry grandchildren led to my undoing. We had way too much fun cooking, baking, eating and ordering out. I gained 18 pounds over the last two years and developed inflammation in my joints.

So fast forward to February of 2022. Ever since menopause I have had what I call an allergic reaction to chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I react to it with migraines which is so unfair. This year post Valentine’s Day after consuming too many chocolate covered almonds I ended up in the ER with confusion and high blood pressure. These can be symptoms of a Transient Ischemic Attack in vessels of the brain. Sometimes a precursor for stroke.

Talk about a wake up call! I knew that when I got out of there I had to make some drastic changes. Life as I knew it was over. After being scanned, poked and prodded I found out the results of all the testing: high cholesterol, moderate build up in Coronary arteries, migraine, and obesity. Time to take control over my health.

First step was agreeing finally to take a Statin drug to lower the cholesterol. That worked beautifully and brought my LDL down to healthy levels. Second step was to find some help. I asked a close friend and coworker who has a large health and wellness practice to mentor me in diet and exercise. I also enlisted the support of my family. My husband is going on this journey with me for which I am grateful.

The third step was beginning a journal during my prayer time in the morning. Asking God for His guidance with why I’m overeating and using food as a drug. Food has been a source of pleasure, reward, solace, entertainment, and basically an emotional crutch as far back as I can remember. I have examined why I overeat during other times in my life and I have learned a lot about myself but there are still places within that need healing. I know that as I learn and grow personally food will become just a source of fuel, not my go to friend.

That brings us to today. This series of posts will be about my journey to optimal health and I invite you to come along. Maybe you need healing in this area too. I will share my successes and failures and the forever plan that I’m following. We can be healthy at our stage in life. In fact, it’s been my experience that once the kids are out of the house I now have time to focus on me. For those of you who are younger, start taking care of your health now!! For once your health is gone, life becomes a huge struggle.

I welcome your comments just know that I will be approving what is published here.


Day 7 Detox

This isn’t for weight loss though it can be a great side effect. The 21 day plan is for detoxification. Ridding your body of pollutants, preservatives, and helping your cells to work better. It’s also a great jumpstart for a healthy eating plan. Having said that, I weighed myself at the beginning which everyone should do and then I weighed myself this morning just for some extra encouragement and that’s what I got. I’ve lost 15 pounds!


1 Comment

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.


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.


Health Care Rant

I just attended a class taught by my Chiropractor on why Chiropractic is so important to wellness and why we need to be taking care of our spines as often as we take care of our teeth.  I totally agree with him, but then I practice preventive health care.

During the class there were many questions and comments about why isn’t this information widely known, why the traditional medical practitioner doesn’t consider spinal health important when diagnosing and treating disease, why doesn’t insurance pay more and why are the physicians in the pockets of Big Pharma.

The usual culprits were blamed – insurance companies won’t pay, doctors want to get paid by the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies pay the doctors to use medicines, Medicaid and Medicare are inadequate etc.  All the usual victimization act that our culture  encourages. During the question and answer period no one said,” It’s your fault.  You don’t take responsibility for your own health, you don’t educate yourselves, you don’t live a healthy lifestyle that prevents disease, and you don’t pay for it, so why do you think you have any control over it?”.

When I practiced obstetrical nursing I saw first hand how consumers took control of their own health and transformed medical practice.   In the early 70’s obstetricians were still knocking women out with drugs and delivering the babies with forceps in sterile operating rooms.  I practiced nursing in an area in Colorado that had consumer activists.  They were well-educated and knew what they wanted.  No more drugs, no more forceps, home-like atmosphere and make every effort to bring about a safe vaginal birth vs scheduled c-sections.  They spent their money and their insurance companies’ money with the physicians and hospitals that met their demands.  They also began suing the doctor if the infant developed permanent injuries from the births.  They caused a revolution in the way babies came into the world.  So, don’t tell me that you have to wait until the AMA gives approval or you have to do what 3rd party payers tell you to do.   Give up this victim mentality and take care of yourself.

Physicians, you need to teach your patients about prevention and be open to new ideas.  Alternative medicine, quit looking at your patients as victims of the system and blaming Big Pharma for everything.  Teach your patients prevention and educate them.  Encourage patients to take financial responsibility for their own health instead of depending on insurance or government to pay for it.

Remember consumers, whoever pays has the power.  Set up a high-deductible Health Savings Account, with a Major Medical Policy  and pay the everyday bills yourself.  Become a wise shopper, and you will take better care of your health while at the same time introducing competition back into the medical marketplace.  Take control and tell your medical practitioners what you want them to do because when you are paying they listen and everyone is healthier.


Cannellini Bean Dip

For all of my gluten-free readers here is a dip made with canned Cannelloni beans that is simple and delicious.  Eat it with corn chips or rice crackers or even better fresh veggie sticks like celery, carrots and cucumbers.

Cannelloni Bean Dip

1 15 oz can of Cannelloni Beans, drained

1 cup of cottage cheese

1 handful of fresh basil, we used Tai Basil

Juice from one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Makes about 2 cups


Throwing Out Sugar

Yesterday “Sugar is Toxic to the Human Body” was a headline on the radio news.  The University of California, I think, has been researching the effect of the typical, American, high sugar diet on human bodies and they are recommending that the government forces us to throw out sugar. 

     First of all, research is usually inaccurately portrayed by the mainstream news organizations.  They will sensationalize anything to sell their product.  Secondly,  we all know that refined sugar, and fructose and honey are all metabolized in the body the same way and our brains need sugar or we pass out.

What do they mean by the word “toxic”?  I have no idea, but we already have guidelines for healthy consumption of sugar.  The American Diabetes Association recommends three servings of whole fruit (not juice) per day and  this is enough simple sugar for your body to thrive.  Simple sugars release into the bloodstream fairly quickly.   The ADA also recommends complex carbohydrates made from whole grains with increased fiber which cause slower absorption of sugar preventing your pancreas from working overtime. And, dentists are dead set against consuming candy, sugary soft drinks and sugared gum because they destroy your teeth.

So, where does that leave us health conscious humans in a semi-free society?  Whether it is toxic or not, it’s a healthy decision to throw out the sugar bowl, the white flour, candy, sodas and the orange juice.  Replace them with a natural sweetener like Stevia, whole grain flours and real fruit containing fiber.  It is amazing how sweet fresh pineapple tastes after only a week of cutting out the sugar.  For you rebooters, incorporate more vegetables into your juices, try three veggies to one fruit.  Although change is hard, just think of it as taking responsibility for your own health by throwing out the refined sugar before the government does it for you.