Tag Archives: health

Intrigued by Plexus

11 Jul

One of my friends here in Brainerd lost 100 pounds using Plexus products in addition to exercising and eating right. But she also listed a bunch of other benefits as well, similar to the ones mentioned in this post from a blog I follow called Journey to the Finish Line:

Plexus Success.

Color me intrigued. I usually blow this kind of stuff off as hyped up and fad-ish. But this one… this one I think I might actually try.

A Word on Moderation in Food Fads

13 Aug

These days, it seems like eating healthy is no longer just as simple as eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy. It’s not even as simple as choosing organic. It’s about food that is “sustainably raised”, “raw”, “sprouted”, “free range” and “unpasteurized”. There are supplements like wheat grass and hempseed, drinks like kombucha, and companies like Advocare that have 200 “nutrition” products that will make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s enough to cause a nervous breakdown for someone like me who wants to eat healthy but also doesn’t want to 1) Eat a bunch of foods I’ve never heard of before 2) Stop eating the foods I like and 3) Spend a bajillion dollars doing it. 

It may just be my strong dislike of anything even remotely resembling a bandwagon, but a lot of the food fads going around right now seem like just that – fads. They’ll be replaced by something else in 6 months and in 12 months, they’ll discover that they were wrong, and that food is actually bad for you. 

I’d be fine to just eat my dirty grapes and pasteurized cheese in silence and let the food-trend mayhem occur without my interference, except for one thing. The peddlers of the food-trend mayhem will not accept passivity. You’re either with them, or against them. You’re either eating healthy (like them), or feeding yourself and your family pure poison. It’s amazing we haven’t all died already.

Here’s what I propose: Go ahead and talk about the health benefits of whatever new thing you’re into. But don’t trash everything else that people have been eating for decades as absolutely horrible for you and wonder why anyone would eat that. You know why “we” eat that? Because we don’t want to spend $10 on 1 oz of cheese. Because I’d rather take my chances with non-organic grapes than not be able to afford them at all. Because I don’t want to spend 50% of my income on food. 

My angry tirade is actually a cover for feeling insecure and overwhelmed at thinking that I’m feeding my family crap by letting them eat regular whole wheat bread (NOT sprouted grain or ezekiel bread!!!) and Kemps milk and coffee creamer (not from a local farm!!!). Oh and I buy Foster Farms or Gold ‘n’ Plump chicken – we’re all going to DIE!!!!

Obviously, I exaggerate. But after reading some of the blogs and articles I do about healthy eating, that’s seriously how I feel. 

BUT IS IT TRUE?!?!?!

That’s the question I always come back to. Is all of this true? It’s really hard to know what to believe when many of the supposed “sources” of these “facts” are quite obviously writing from a huge bias. They are writing about what they themselves eat, and of course, it’s the best thing since juicing. And then there’s the fact that even medical professionals don’t always agree on this stuff.

Bringing faith into the picture, I know that if I tried to start eating all of the fads, it would be a reaction out of fear and not faith. It’s like with the Christian life – sure, you can serve in the Children’s Ministry at church, sing on the worship team, have people over for dinner every night, host a missionary family, volunteer at the local food shelter, and knit afghans for the pregnancy center. But are you called to? Just because other people are doing 1 or more of those things, does that mean you should do them all? No, it doesn’t. God leads everyone to do with their life what He calls them to do.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)

I believe that God has called me to a live of moderation. And that applies to what I eat. It may be that in time, I’ll come around to see that some of the foods that are trendy right now really are valuable, and start incorporating them into my diet. It may be that I’ll start buying more organic produce. But it’s just as likely that I’ll continue in my moderately healthy ways and buy traditional foods, like all-purpose flour and Wheat Thins. 

Because while I do believe that our bodies are gifts from God and we are called to be good stewards of them, for me it ends up being unhealthy in other ways to spend more time than I currently am thinking about what I’m eating. When I concentrate on it so much, it becomes an idol. And Jesus did say, “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23) I’ve finally gotten back to my pre-pregnancy eating habits (and weight) and I’m feeling good. 

I would be amiss, however, to not mention that God has created some people to truly, deeply and passionately care about what they eat. And I do believe that you can be passionate about food without it being an idol. I just ask that they be passionate without condemning the choices of the rest of us. 😉

Training Recap: 1/30 – 2/5

6 Feb

I have a case of the Mondays today. I was so tired that I got up an hour late, I ate too much at the Super Bowl party last night so I feel like a blob, and I still haven’t quite shaken my sinus/throat congestion.

My training last week:

Monday: 3.0 mile run (37:36, 12:31/mile)

I did this run at a really easy pace because I was still recovering from the chest congestion of the previous week.

Tuesday: 6 x 400 repeats @ 2:30 on treadmill (3 miles total, 33:56); Physical therapy

I was going to do 4 x 800 but it wasn’t happening. So I did 6 x 400 instead and even though I was only running a 10:00 pace for my repeats, I felt challenged by the end. I blame the sickness.

I also count physical therapy as my strength training because I always end up sweating.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 1.15 mile dog walk (20:00); 2.4 mile run (28:00); 1.5 mile walk at incline on treadmill (24:00); 15 minute tabata workout

This was the night that I discovered I should not eat a salad before a run. I was planning to run 5 but could only muscle through to 2.4. I actually felt sick enough that I had to sit down and rest for 5 minutes. Ever the stubborn one, I finished off an unofficial 5 miles by walking 1.5 miles on the treadmill, starting at 2.0 incline, working up to 8.0 and back down.

My tabata workout (from what I remember) consisted of squats with overhead press, lunges with bicep curls, knee pushups, and bicycle crunches.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 11 mile run on track (1:58:36, 10:46/mile)

Sunday: 1.5 mile dog walk

I was going to do yoga when I got home from the Super Bowl party but instead, I went straight to bed. I’ll try to do a longer cross-training workout this Wednesday.

…………………………….

Even though I’m coughing and blowing my nose less each day, I still wake up feeling like poo. And since I have races the next two weekends (so I’m technically in taper mode now) and I would prefer to not start official marathon training still sick, these next two weeks are going to be fairly laid back – yoga, cross-training, hydration, sleep. Nothing too crazy.

And since this cheered me up on this Blah of a Monday, I had to share:

There are some other funny ones there too.

What is your favorite part of tapering before a race?

Mine is usually having time to do all the things I haven’t had time to do during training but since I just had an entire week of no running, I think the perk this time is having yet another reason to go to bed at 8 pm. 😉

I’m All Ears.

31 Jan

As a kid, I had a lot of ear infections. As an adult, I still do because I’m stuck in a Catch 22.

Because of all my ear infections growing up, I now have a condition they call Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. The Eustachian tube is what makes your ears pop to keep the pressure on the inside and outside of your ear the same.

Even though the Eustachian tube is always at work (it opens and closes with each yawn or swallow), most people only notice their ears pop when ascending/descending in altitude (like flying) or possibly when they have nasal congestion. But when your Eustachian tube malfunctions, it’s very obvious.

I started noticing it when I’d get a cold. My ears would pop a lot and I’d be able to hear my own voice inside my head (which is very weird, by the way). When the cold went away, so did the symptoms, for the most part. But that was in college when I never cooked anything besides turkey sandwiches and cereal, I lived in a house with 5 other girls, and spent a lot of time surrounded by other students – meaning I got sick a lot. (Travis still remarks about this, though I only get sick once every 18 months or so now.) It seemed like I was always sick in high school and college. So my ears were frequently bothering me.

Finally, I had had enough. It was miserable living that way. I went to the ear doctor and they made me do at least half a dozen hearing tests, in addition to looking in my ear with their lighted instrument. They asked, “Did you have a lot of ear infections as a kid?” Why yes, yes I did.

After all of that, they sat me down and said that I had Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. They described what it was and said that since my ears still popping (as opposed to being completely shut or completely open) and my hearing was still fine, I didn’t need surgery. But then they said something that made me almost cry.

“There’s not much we can do about it.”

What? You mean I have to live like this the rest of my life?!?!?

As I choked back tears, they explained that the only thing they could do was put in ear tubes, but they usually cautioned against that in adults because it could leave a permanent hole in my eardrum. Well, I didn’t want that. And ear tubes sounded creepy. So I just left, utterly disappointed.

That was about 7 years ago.

Today, my ears still pop every time I swallow but I’ve gotten used to it. And I am soooo incredibly thankful that the condition is just an annoyance, instead of one that would cause deafness or actual pain.

But the Catch 22 is that my Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which was caused by ear infections, is now causing ear infections. An article on Livestrong says:

In many cases, the Eustachian tubes are either too narrow or are blocked due to irregularities in the surrounding structures. For those individuals, frequent ear infections may recur due to the failure of the Eustachian tubes to drain the middle ear.

I’ve had so many ear infections that I can tell if I have one by just pushing on the outside of my ear. If it hurts, it’s infected. I go into the doctor and say, “Have ear infection. Need antibiotics.” (But they never believe me, so they get out their lighted instrument and stick it in my ear anyway.)

Right now, I have an ear infection. Every time I blow my nose, my ears pop and my right ear hurts. This time, instead of going to the doctor, I’m trying a natural remedy – garlic oil.

My friend Carrie told me about this (she uses it for her kids) and swears that it works. And because the Internet agrees, it must be true. I read here that garlic can cure ear infections because it has antibiotic properties. Who knew?

That same article gives this recipe for making garlic oil:

 

Things You’ll Need

 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 glass measuring cup, microwave safe
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • Cheesecloth
  • Small jar with lid
  • Eye dropper or syringe
  • Cotton balls
  1. Pour the olive oil in the glass measuring cup. Chop two peeled cloves of garlic and place in cup. Microwave the oil for about a minute. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the oil through a piece of cheesecloth to remove the garlic pieces. Place the oil in a covered jar and store it in the refrigerator. The oil will keep for about three weeks.
  3. To use the oil, place 1 tsp. over an open flame until lukewarm. Test the oil on the back of your hand to make sure it’s not too hot. Have the person lie down, infected ear up. Fill the dropper or syringe and put 1 or 2 drops of oil in the affected ear. Insert a cotton ball in the ear for 30 minutes. Repeat every 1 to 2 hours.

I did this last night but didn’t have a dropper and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right (and was too lazy to find out for sure). My ear feels a little better but still hurts so I will be doing this again tonight.

Have you had a lot of ear infections? Ever tried a natural remedy instead of antibiotics?

Back in Physical Therapy

11 Jan

After almost a year and a half hiatus, I’m back in physical therapy. Before, I was going for my IT band. Now, I’m going for my back.

This is one of those things that make me starkly aware that:

1. I’m getting older

2. I’m not invincible

3. My body will break if I treat it like crap

So sad. My mom often reminded me to stand up straight when I was younger. I brushed her off, saying that standing up straight made me look weird. That’s also what Quasimodo said, and look where it got him.

Since my ambitions are not to be a hunchback, I went to see a physical therapist at Rocky Mountain Spine & Sport (same chain I went to before, different location).

It’s snowing again in Denver!

The therapist was really nice and relaxed. I explained my symptoms. He checked the alignment/balance of my hips, spine, shoulders and legs and then said that my back most likely hurts because of sitting all day at work. Apparently, pain in the neck and lower back is pretty common in desk jockeys like me. In addition, I have a muscle imbalance in my lower back – one side is tighter than the other, which pulls on my spine.

So he proposed realigning my back this morning to alleviate the current pain. Then he’ll do Trigger Point Dry Needling next time I come in (which will be this Friday) to help release the tight muscles. I’m not going to lie – I’m a little freaked out by the idea of pain and needles. But I figure I’m too young to have chronic back pain and I’ve noticed it worsening over the past couple of months so I should probably just bite the $70-a-visit bullet.

He cracked my back and neck this morning and it was loud. It’s amazing the sound bones make. My neck and lower back feel a ton better but my whole back still doesn’t feel 100%. Is it supposed to? I’ve never had my back professionally cracked before so I don’t know!

When I got to work, I made some adjustments to my workstation to be more in line with this:

Instead of this:

Oh, slouching down in my chair with my legs propped up on my CPU isn’t considered good posture?

But seriously, I have done every single one of these.

I put a couple of paper organizer trays underneath my monitor to raise it up, moved it about 8 inches closer to my chair, raised my seat a couple of inches, and have been trying to remember to sit with my legs uncrossed. This has proven to be the hardest change. I sit with my legs crossed almost always, and when they’re not crossed, they’re either propped up, cross-legged, or I’m sitting on one of them. Sitting with both feet flat on the floor feels like standing in front of people with your arms at your side, doing nothing – awkward. It’s feels unnatural.

But alas, every source on the interwebs confirms that indeed, this is the correct posture for sitting at a desk. (Quasimodos excused.)

Do you have good posture? What’s your favorite way to sit?

My body is not my own.

17 Nov

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going through the book Love to Eat, Hate to Eat with a group of women from church. My first realization was that my body does not represent who I really am. I am not the sum of how I look. There is more to me. That reminder has been very helpful over the last month, whenever I was tempted to think I should be skinnier.

But the past couple of weeks, I’ve swung the other way by letting myself eat whatever I want. I’m still eating mostly healthy with whole grains, lowfat dairy and fruits and veggies, but I’m also eating a bunch of extra crap – some Hershey’s kisses here, a cupcake there, a couple pieces of cornbread before dinner, a slice of ice cream cake from the break room. While I am in favor of diet freedom because I obsess less about food when I allow myself to eat whatever I am truly craving, these extras aren’t cravings – just convenient. I eat them because they’re right in front of me. I guess I wouldn’t mind a piece of cake right now.

Whenever behaviors like this go on for weeks at a time, they end up becoming habits. My habit becomes grabbing any sweet sitting out, instead of saying no to the “meh” ones. I eat a snack before dinner, even though the actual meal will be ready in 30 minutes. I have both wine and ice cream after dinner, instead of choosing one.

I realized this morning that these habits come out of my not recognizing that my body is not my own. I have been blessed with a genuine desire to eat (mostly) healthy and stay active so it’s never really been that much of a battle to take care of my body. Sure, I get off track now and then but I usually get back to healthy habits after a week or so because I honestly like it. But when I do get in funks like my current one, where I find myself eating more sweets and carbs than normal, I just brush it off saying, “This isn’t that big of a deal. I’ll get back on track soon enough.”

I started thinking, what if I did that with money? I’ll just splurge on this and that and next week I’ll get back on my budget. The consequences of my actions would still be around next week. Or what about with unhelpful books or movies? I’ll just watch Sex and the City this one time. The mental pictures don’t disappear the minute I turn the TV off.

Because I know that about money and unhelpful books and movies, I avoid them. I just don’t even go there. And I don’t feel restricted by not living beyond my means or watching inappropriate shows. I feel more free because I’m not encumbered by all the temptations and consequences that go along with those things.

Why is eating any different?

I know that I feel better and don’t think about my body image/weight/food as much when I’m exercising self-control and eating wisely. I know that eating a bunch of sugar in one day makes me feel gross. So why do I do it?

I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t look at the consequences of eating poorly as being a big deal. Sure, I don’t feel the best when I eat too much food or too much sugar but the next morning, I eat some oatmeal, I go workout and I’m back to feeling pretty good. Easily solved, right?

But I forget that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When I go to church, I treat the facility and furniture with respect because it’s God’s house. I don’t pour garbage all over the floor and write on the walls, saying “Don’t worry. I’ll clean this up later. You’ll never even know.” Those behaviors would be disrespectful. In the same way, filling my body full of garbage that I’m not really enjoying but eating “just because” is treating my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, disrespectfully. If I lived in the acknowledgment that my body is not my own because I was bought at a price, I believe my approach to eating would be different.

I do believe in balance and that God has given us delicious foods, including sweets and alcohol, to enjoy in moderation. But I know that when I eat too many of them, my enjoyment of them diminishes. Because they’re no longer a special treat – just a daily sugar bomb.

So just as I have been reminding myself that my body does not represent who I really am when I am tempted to base my worth on appearance, I am going to try to remind myself that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit when faced with poor food choices. “Your body is not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Lord, help me to treat my body in a way that glorifies You as the only One that satisfies and that gives me life and joy, as well as energy and health for living with vitality. Health is an amazing gift and I thank You for it – help me to not to take it for granted or squander it on things that don’t satisfy.

 …………………………..

In other news, I signed up to participate in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011 that starts this Saturday. (For the details, follow the challenge hyperlink.) Hopefully this will give me that extra kick of motivation to keep going on my training plan!

What helps you strike a balance in your eating habits?

Finding God in a cold

19 Sep

{source}

Being sick makes me whiny. Self-pitying. Lazy. Indulgent. Compromising.

I sleep in instead of reading the Bible – because “only sleep will help me get better.”

I don’t pray because if I don’t have the energy for a “real” prayer, it doesn’t actually count.

I hunker down in my own little world, waiting for the sickness to blow over.

“Once I’m better, I’ll get back to normal life.”

Then this verse hit me this morning:

“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your  bones strong…” (Isaiah 58:11).

Being sick makes me feel like I’m in a scorched place. A place where I don’t enjoy being awake. A place where I really dislike having to go to work.

God can satisfy me even here.

I had categorized sickness apart from trials. But in reality, sickness is a trial. And if I let all the little trials of this life drive me from God, I won’t be near God very much.

Once again, God is showing me that I need to draw near to Him in times of need, based solely on my Savior’s blood. I don’t need to earn His blessing through my prayers. I can’t earn His blessing.

The question isn’t whether I’m spending time in the Word instead of sleeping, or reading Christian books instead of watching TV, or praying for others instead of for myself while I’m sick. The question is: am I still pursuing God?

Most of the time, the answer is no.

Pursuing God feels like work. It feels like something I need energy for. Something that needs to be done all-or-nothing style. I’d rather just lay on the couch and not think.

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

God does not set unrealistic standards for me, like I do for myself. I’m the one giving the guilt trip. I’m the one saying that it’s all or nothing.

God says that whatever I have to give is enough. He wants my constant affection, not my perfectionism.

Anytime my perfectionism keeps me from going to God, a red flag should go up. There are no obstacles to God in Christ.

None. Not sickness. Not death. Not failure. Not sin.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, not things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).