Welcome to the ongoing saga of my family and our attempts to eat right, exercise, lose weight and still enjoy life, while also managing the care and treatment of injuries, chronic conditions, and cancer follow-up. Convinced that a healthy lifestyle and reasonable fitness level is attainable by even the most committed of workaholics, couch potatoes, and those with health issues, join us as we explore food and wellness choices, try to put new habits in place, and hold each other accountable along the way. Healthy food can taste delicious and wellness practices need not be burdensome. At least, that is our hope, especially as we share resources with others who are working to be well.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Sinus Health Tool

A repost from Gooseberry Lane, 2010.  Hopefully, this will be of help to those who also suffer from chronic sinusitis.  Please note:  this is my personal recommendation/endorsement.  I have received no benefits, financial or otherwise, from the manufacturers or distributors of the SinuPulse Elite or any products related to its use.  I have also received no benefits from Sinus Survival.

As part of my 2010 "Get Light, Get Fit, Get Healthy!" goals, I plan to work on stabilizing and/or improving my chronic sinusitis.  I have battled this condition in some way or another for years, sometimes developing sinus infections that required an MRI for diagnosis and high-powered antibiotics for treatment.  At least a decade ago, I began irrigating my sinuses with saline and a dosing syringe but, lately, that just wasn't doing the job.  When the possibility of asthma as a result of the chronic sinusitis presented itself, I looked for something more effective.  My solution:  the SinuPulse Elite.  This lovely little apparatus uses patented technology to deliver a pulsating stream of water (or mist) into your sinuses to clean and/or moisturize them.  To learn more about the machine, visit Achoo Allergy, or watch the video posted below.

How to Make Mate

This afternoon, while reading about the new pope, Francis I, I learned about a traditional Argentinean beverage called mate.  For full disclosure, I have never made this drink, nor have I ever tasted it.  Point of fact, I had never even heard of it until today.  That said, after watching this video, I find the entire cultural context of mate interesting, although I don't know if the communal sharing of it would go over big with my friends.  Maybe I will try making mate one day...if I could find the ingredients at my local grocery store (which I doubt).  If you try making mate, let me know how it tastes.  Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Now I Can Make Tea

An exceptional cup of tea is hard to come by, at least that is what I am told by my British friends who decry the "American" way of making tea --- heating water and a tea bag in the microwave for about two minutes.  I must confess I have done that over the past few years because I was sans teakettle.  Mine had boiled dry and I couldn't bring myself to use it for anything other than sanitation purposes (and I kept hoping my family would gift me a new version).  Well, my days of "American" tea making are over because...I got a new, high tech teakettle!

To better understand my excitement, a comparison photo might be in order:

The new PerfecTemp Teakettle by Cuisinart features (as stated on the shipping box):  an ergonomic handle, a boiling whistle, stainless steel construction and, my favorite, a precise temperature gauge with multi-colored, easy-to-read hot water levels so I can brew that exceptional cup of tea I mentioned before.  So, for example, now I know that, for the perfect cup of black tea, the water needs to be in the red zone, at a full boil;  green tea, in the green zone, at 175°F.

I chose this teakettle over some others that were recommended to me because I wanted one that had a temperature gauge, even more than I wanted one made of stainless steel.  The PerfecTemp is a bit slow to heat up if I start with refrigerator-chilled water, but that is a good thing around here.  It forces life to slow down just a bit, which is really the whole point of a cup of tea.

This is my personal recommendation/endorsement.  No benefits, financial or otherwise, were received from Cuisinart or anyone else.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

So, No More Aching Back...Maybe

This past week I found something that could possibly rid me of years of nagging lower back pain and periodic sciatica:  the Thompson Maneuver.  Developed by orthopedist Alec Thompson, M.D., the exercise works to properly align the sacroiliac joints that lie between the sacrum and the hipbones, or ilia (see diagram).  Supporting the weight of the entire torso, an injury to or misalignment in these joints can cause widespread back pain.  In my case, I fell hard on my lower back while roller skating in college.  I am also quite flexible, so there is some speculation among my health care practitioners that too much movement in the joint (say, during a yoga session) is causing cramping and follow-on pain.

The relief brought about by the Thompson Maneuver has been profound.  The first time I performed it, I could feel the joint relax.  Over the course of the first two days, when I was executing the maneuver every one or two hours, I did experience some dull achy pain in the area of the joint.  The more I exercised, however, the more comfortable the joint became and the less pain I experienced.  Now I try to do the maneuver several times a day as my schedule permits.  The key to success, according to the experts, is to perform it properly and often.  Don't misunderstand, I do still have some pain and stiffness (if I sit too long in an easy chair, for example), but much less than before.

I am no physician.  All I can share is that the maneuver has worked well for me.  If you would like to try it, please consult your physician or chiropractor first and then click on the link below.

How To Do the Thompson Maneuver

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pork with White Wine

Photo by Plush Duck
My daughter is such the food adventurer, but she tends to favor dishes with a bit more fat and calories than I can tolerate while trying to lose weight.  Thankfully, at my suggestion, she has been experimenting with some healthier fare, the latest on Monday:  pork tenderloin in mushroom sauce.  Miss Katherine served this with summer slaw and steamed asparagus, accompanied by a wonderfully smooth white wine from South Africa --- Diemersdal Unwooded Chardonnay 2011:
[This is] a concentrated wine with fresh fruit aromas.  The nose is elegant, with the richness of the fruit enhanced by apple and sweet melon aromas.  Nuance of limes on the palate combine to offer you a delicious, flavourful wine with a creamy taste and lingering aftertaste.
I highly recommend both the pork tenderloin and the wine.  Each has a distinct flavor that is at once tangy and velvety.  Very tasty.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Another Look at My Home Gym

In January 2009, I wrote a short article evaluating the state of my home gym.  At the beginning of March this year, I came across an article on the Gaiam blog that was posted by Chris Freytag, discussing the "7 Essential Home Workout Tools."  In this blog entry, Ms. Freytag made this statement:
But if getting to the gym isn't working for you, I suggest stocking your home with a few well-chosen pieces of exercise gear to help you start or maintain a consistent fitness regimen.  Having your own gear handy puts you in control.
Does that ever apply to me! Getting to the local gym has never worked for me, except for the few months I took Jazzercise at a health club while in college when I used to walk everywhere...in Mankato, Minnesota...in the winter...

So, over three years ago, I took stock of my fitness equipment.  Today, I took stock again.  Not much has changed, including the fact that I don't use my workout tools nearly as often as I should!
1.  Resistance bands
1.  Resistance bands
2.  Yoga mat
2.  Yoga mat
3.  Free weights
3.  Free weights
4.  Fitness DVD’s
4.  Fitness DVD’s
5.  Treadmill or elliptical trainer
5.  Mini-stepper

6.  Balance ball

7.  Pedometer

Some of the people who left comments on the Gaiam article suggested that, instead of a moderately expensive mini-stepper (~$80), folks should use a simple jump rope.  I can see that .  I have a jump rope, so that would save me some cash, plus it would save me the effort of trying to find a place to put the stepper in my 900-square-foot house.

So, given all these guidelines, how does your home gym stack up?  Mine isn't bad.  I just need to use it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weight Loss Accountability

Over the past two years or so, I have (halfheartedly) tried to drop a few pounds.  Sadly, all I seemed to manage was the proverbial five-pound waffle, those same five pounds that experts say are gained and lost repeatedly by most dieters.  During this same period of time, one of my best friends underwent gastric bypass surgery, lost over one hundred pounds, and worked with a professional trainer to get fit.  She looks great and feels better than she has in years!  Another friend, in Florida, lost a lot of weight the old fashioned way, by paying attention to what she ate, exercising, and correcting endocrine imbalances that she had suffered from for years.  A third acquaintance, here in Connecticut, successfully shed fifty pounds on Weight Watchers®.  Like the other two women I mentioned, she also looks and feels phenomenal.  I also have a fourth friend who just started a diet program and has already dropped ten pounds.  Even my daughter dropped twenty pounds by cutting out soda and most desserts.  Surrounded by such inspiring examples, you would think I could catch the discipline bug and drop something.  Nope.

Well, since I turned fifty last October and spent several days this January laid up with a wicked back cramp (clearly the result of poor muscle conditioning and stress), I have decided to get a bit more serious about my weight loss strategy.  Part of this new effort is to keep a food diary using an online service known as MyFoodDiary.com.  Part two is to post my weekly weigh-in results, done on my Tanita body composition monitor, so that my friends and family can hold me accountable.  I may regret this decision, but I need to do something to hold my feet to the fire, so to speak.  I am hoping that the embarrassment of having to admit no results week after week will be enough to keep me motivated to continue faithfully toward better health and fitness.

No compensation was received for any of the product or service recommendations in this post.