Category Archives: Health

Time For A Change

Two days ago I started an new workout program, The Masters Hammer and Chisel, a weights and sculpting program, having completed two rounds of Body Beast, a weights program.  I’m pleased with the results from Body Beast with one exception: my belly.  I can’t seem to get rid of my excess middle!

So I’m going to try something for a while.  I’m going to consciously minimize-not eliminate-my intake of refined carbohydrates.  For example, last night I had leftover organic spaghetti with homemade marinara.   While the spaghetti was organic, it was still a refined carb.  Ever since I went vegan, I think I have unconsciously gravitated toward carbs.  When I do have refined cards from this point on, I’m going to seek out whole grains.

Lucky for me, I have a Fitbit that I can use to help me track my intake.  So far today by mid-morning, my refined carbs have consisted of two fig Newtons.  Wish me luck!

My weakness!

Survive, Live, Thrive

What do we need to survive?  We need food, water, clothing, and shelter.  Depending upon where you live, shelter may well include adequate heat.  The acquisition of these basic things has been the underlying impetus for much of human history and development.

What do we need to live?  To do more than merely survive we need more than the simple basics.  Rice and beans will keep you from starving.  Rice and beans with a piece of ham and some sliced tomatoes and a loaf of bread take it to the next step.  A bed in a shelter will get you a place to sleep (and let’s be frank-a lot of folks would be happy to find one) but your own apartment or dwelling will go a long way to improving your outlook.  And so on.

What do we need to thrive?  Once our basic needs are met, we can concentrate on upgrading, so to speak.  Then when we reach a level at which survival has morphed into comfort and security, we can pursue that which helps us to thrive.  I’m talking about things like books, poetry, music, art, dance, theater, and such like.

None of these things serve any practical purpose.  From a survival perspective, they are pretty frivolous.  By themselves they won’t fill your belly, put a roof over your head, or keep you warm in the winter.  Even so they are essential to your mind and your soul, both of which must be nurtured and allowed to grow if you are going to thrive instead of only survive.

I Stopped Using Soap 2 Years Ago

Okay, it’s more accurate to say that I gave up scented products the better part of 2 years ago.  No longer does Irish Spring reside on the rack in my shower.  Gone are the halcyon days of liberally splashing Old Spice all over myself.  Speed Stick is on a slow boat to China.  I no longer use any soap or personal hygiene products that contain perfumes, triclosans, preservatives, dyes, or pretty much anything I can’t pronounce in one try.

So what do I use?  For washing up, including washing my hair, I use Kirk’s Original Coco Castille bar soap.  I also use Kirk’s for shaving.  I recently found an herbal scented hair conditioner from Nature’s Gate that smells very much like Old Spice.  And to prevent myself from offending in a crowd, I use Tom’s of Maine deodorant-as well as their toothpaste.  For laundry and dishes I use products from Seventh Generation.  I get all of these at the supermarket!

So what’s the purpose to this list of products? Well, I’m not getting sponsorship dollars, that’s for sure!

My point is to show that there are alternatives to products laden with allergens and endocrine disrupting chemicals.  For my part, my asthma improved markedly, a variety of constant low-grade aches disappeared, and I have not had an inkling of a flare up from an old gout attack.  I don’t have any empirical evidence but I am persuaded that switching to “natural” personal hygiene products is largely responsible for these improvements in my health.

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I Need a New Habit

I struggle with certain aspects of my time management.  Specifically, I have gotten into the habit of doing  my workouts in the evening, after I get home from work.  Lately though there just seems to be far too many days when I missed a workout.  Some of them were because I had a really nasty migraine, and there is just no getting around being sick.  Some were due to unexpected life events-not much you can do to anticipate them by definition.

But I have had a lot of days like today.  Too many, to be honest.  I have a church meeting that starts at 6:30 PM, and will run a couple hours.  It will be rather late by the time I get home, well past my normal workout time.  Even so I’m going to do a short workout just so I’ll have done something today instead of skipping it altogether.

From now on when I have days like today coming up in my schedule, I must be better about compensating.  The best solution would be to get up a bit early and do my workout at the start of the day.  I’ve tried in the past and I can honestly say that I truly am not a morning person.

The thing is, I have decided that this is no longer acceptable.  I am going to establish a habit of getting up at 5:00 AM and getting in a workout in the morning.  I don’t recall where I read it but I did once read that it takes 21 days to establish a habit.  So for the next 3 weeks, I’m habit building!

Exercise in the morning before your body knows what you are doing.

Spinning Wheels

So, I’m on my office’s workplace wellness committee.  A few weeks ago I drafted a trifold flyer for internal use, on reading labels.  It’s pretty much good to go, and if I say so it looks and reads great.  But, the person nominally in charge of the committee decided to rewrite most of it because it had too many words with more than two syllables.  Seriously?

Now it looks like it has to be dumbed down to one syllable words or abandoned.  Dumbing it down would make it useless in my view and personally I find it insulting to read documents that assume I’m barely literate.

It’s micromanagement and arbitrary decisions like this that led me to quit the committee a long time ago and I am beginning to question the wisdom of returning to it considering the stress it’s causing me.