Here To Better Health: The Nutritionist

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Food background. Fresh vegetables, fruits and blank notepad on a dark background. Concept of healthy eating, diet and planningHere’s to better health: The Nutritionist

During 2018 I read Eat Right 4 Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo. As I age my body responds differently to many of the foods I’ve been eating most of my life. After reading the book, it was suggested that I engage the services of a nutritionist to better understand which foods might be causing inflammation, joint pain, and intestinal distress.

I searched for nutritionists near me and reviewed websites of potential candidates, looking for someone who was qualified and whose mission resonated with me. The nutritionist I selected holds a Masters Degree in Nutrition Science from Cal State Long Beach and is a Registered Dietitian. This quote from her website was the deciding factor for me to make that first phone call:

“Together we will work on listening and honoring your body to restore and strengthen your health.  The end goal is for my clients to be an active creator of the lifestyle they desire.” – Amanda Sauceda

During our first phone conversation she outlined her program, which includes ordering a blood panel to determine how the body reacts to 140 different foods, beverage, flavor enhancers and food chemicals. Preparing for the appointment also included completing an extensive questionnaire about my lifestyle, health history, eating habits and concerns.

Today I met my new nutritionist face to face for the first time. She asked some clarifying questions about the questionnaire I filled out and I filled in the blanks. We discussed my life phase of peri-menopause, difficulties losing weight and keeping it off, and intestinal issues I’ve had. She then handed me a color-coded list of all the foods included in the blood panel and explained what each color represented: the green line items indicate non-reactive foods, yellow line items indicates a moderate reaction, and red line items items should be avoided (soybeans and rainbow trout are red liners for me).

Discovering that my body might respond adversely to certain foods based on my blood type was eye opening. Having a professional review the results of a blood test with me added some clarity to what I’ve read (it was suggested by more than a couple of people that I should use the Blood Type book as a guideline). For example, the Blood Type book suggests that for my blood type, which is A, I should consume more soy products and avoid beef, while the blood test results the nutritionist reviewed for specific sensitivities disagrees, instead indicating that soy for me is a BIG NO-NO, and beef is acceptable. (Lucky me – I was not a fan of the soy-based diet idea). Keep in mind, everybody’s results are different, and that’s why I sought out the guidance of a trained nutritionist instead of solely relying on a popular book.

After reviewing the results of the test with her, we determined a beginner’s game plan to see how I feel when introducing only the most non-reactive of the foods (the green line items) into my diet during a two-week period. She offered to send me some alternative recipe ideas and gave me the choice of when to begin this modified diet.

The purpose of this exercise, for me, is to help my body to function at its optimal level for my age. I want to live a long life and I want to enjoy and participate fully in that life.

I discussed the results of the test and the food plan with my husband, so we are on the same page.

During the first two weeks, I’ll be eating a limited number of items from the green liners:

Nutrition Week 1 and 2

Check back in for an update. I plan to start this food plan on Saturday, February 9.

Here’s to better health!

Another Epiphany…

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Another Epiphany…

Epiphany defined: 3(a)(3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. Merriam Webster online

I’ve been establishing new habits by setting triggers or reminders in my phone to help me to remember who it is that I want to be. Every morning reminders pop off on my phone, every 30 minutes or so. Questions like, “What objective will you complete today to get you closer to your goals?” and affirmations along the lines of, “I am worth the effort. I deserve to succeed. I am really good at creating quality things.”

One of these reminders has been challenging… because of my limiting thoughts.

This particular reminder – which has been going off since September or so, is this: “What can I get excited or be enthusiastic about TODAY?” Every day since September I’ve read this question, this reminder to be enthusiastic, to get excited about something, and I’ve stalled. Until today.

First of all, for context… try it. Pick something you feel you can be enthusiastic or excited about for today. Try this exercise every day. Some of you may be quicker than I was. I say quicker because for me it’s taken 5 months for me to learn the answer to this question. The answer for me.

See, this morning I woke up and while I stretched (that first stretch of the day, under the warm covers – hands pressed against the wall or headboard, if you have one, and toes pointed toward the opposite wall, reaching toward it), and the question popped into my head (it’s automatic now after 5 months of that phone reminder).

“What can I get excited or be enthusiastic about TODAY?”

And for a brief second, I started to think of all the goals and tasks and shit that I would like to get done and what ONE thing is the most important to focus on today (this is where the limiting came in). Suddenly, however, this morning one very clear thought pushed out the shuffling, the indecision, the task of choosing… the thought – the ANSWER to my question was this:

EVERYTHING.

Be enthusiastic and excited about EVERYTHING! Not in a fake, cheerleaders, in your face, psycho way (I’ve heard it put like that a few times during this past year), but in a genuine, grateful to be alive with a world of opportunities before me kind of way.

BE ENTHUSIASTIC AND EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING!

The smile that stretched across my face almost hurt. I got out of bed, excited to face a day full of possibilities. I was enthusiastic about how I greeted my hungry feline. I was excited about what my daily readings might hold in store for me. I was looking forward to the morning catch-up with my husband. And as I shared this epiphany with him, I realized I was excited to share it with you all.

I am grateful for this day. As my dad has told me since I was a teenager: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” And my mother once told me, “Don’t take it all so seriously. You never get out alive.”

To wrap this up, allow me to offer this as a challenge to my assumption of your thoughts on this matter: The alternative to my epiphany is to approach today with hesitation or fear, with apprehension or indecision. I’ve spent hundreds of hours of my life hesitating to take action because “What If…” it’s the wrong action? Ahhhhhh!

So what if it is.

First of all, it’s action – take action with enthusiasm. (Let me add that when I refer to taking action, I mean take action in a way that serves the bettering of your circumstances. Enthusiastic armed robbery or binge drinking is not what I’m suggesting here). And if it turns out to be the wrong action, well… make note of it and don’t do THAT again. Tweak the action and try again in a different way (think Thomas Edison). But do everything with excitement and enthusiasm.

I have a really good feeling about this: I think my outlook on life just changed for the better. Again.

Ah-Ha Moments: What’s My Part?

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Ah-Ha Moments: What’s My Part?

(This was written early last year; briefly edited just now)

First I’m gonna hit you with some insightful text:

“…we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.” (page 62, Alcoholics Anonymous

One of the more difficult parts of growing up – for me – is admitting and accepting that I have a part in all my interactions, even the ones that go in a direction I hadn’t intended.

Recently, I had an encounter with a friend that left me with hurt feelings. “This may get your hackles up…,” I said, setting this friend up to prepare, to defend… and this friend reacted exactly as anyone on the outside might have predicted: hackles went up. That was my perception, anyway.

Except that in that moment, I didn’t see it that way. I didn’t register defense, I heard attack. “…seemingly without provocation…” And my feelings were hurt.

I am grateful I spoke to someone afterward about the encounter and my reaction. I am grateful that the person I spoke to always has my best interests at heart and feels safe in being gently honest with me about my part. I realized that I often ‘set folks up’ to react defensively – my ego still thinks it knows others well enough to predict their responses. I also speak before my head knows what’s coming out of my mouth. Truth is, I know very little about how someone is going to react to my words. I need to attend to my part of the equation instead, to state my truth, to share my self, and to let the other person sort it out as they see fit. Practice kindness, too, and show compassion. Think about my intention before I open my mouth.

Maybe watch for those toes, too, while I’m at it.

I Just Stopped

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I Just Stopped

Just now. Well, a minute ago – 13 minutes and 43 seconds ago, actually.

I stopped. I stopped moving. I stopped thinking. I stopped DOING.

I spent 13 minutes and 43 seconds BEING.

Okay, I spent about 7 minutes and 43 seconds BEING. I spent the first 6 minutes feeling restless and fidgety and uncomfortable. I played a calming raindrops meditation with some soothing music in the background, to clear my head, to recenter my being. And I thought. For 6 minutes I squirmed and thought, about all I’d gotten done today and all I still have left to do. I thought about the emotional pain I’ve been living through (putting myself through) and the love I’ve received. I thought about some others and what they might be going through.

Then – I remembered – take a deep breath and let it out, slowly, and with it, let everything go. Everything. Just BE.

And after the second deep breath I began to cry. I let the tears flow. Until they were all gone, for now, I let the tears flow.

After that it was easier. To spend the time BEING instead of DOING, or THINKING OF DOING.

When I felt a smile cross my lips, when I felt my cheeks pull up toward my eyes, I stopped the quiet time. I can continue. I am back where I belong.

I don’t know if you spend a good part of your day jumping from one task to the next. I do. I set timers. I take stretch breaks. I drink water. All that shit is DOING shit. Sometimes – and I forget to do this A LOT – sometimes we just gotta stop. And practice BEING.

Thanks for listening.

Operation Transition & Truth

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Operation Transition & Truth

(Having read and re-read what I’ve written, I implore you to read it to the end, as you may find some useful information in my first – but not last – post on this subject. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I, and many others, could use the wisdom of our collective experience).

June 5 – 14, 2018 – A very emotional week in the life of a 53 year old woman. Woke up at 8:00 am feeling ambivalent. Felt lost and uncertain about the course of the day upon taking those first breaths. Extreme irritability emerged as feet hit the floor. Sound of a trash bin lid slamming shut startled me beyond reason. Spouse entered the room with a loving smile and sudden rage at the intrusion overwhelmed my senses. Guilt for the rage followed quickly behind bringing on tears and great remorse. Logical desire to return to bed, pull covers over head and remain there for the rest of the day. It was 8:20 am. WHAT THE HELL?

I’ll tell you WHAT THE HELL, my friends. Peri-menopause. That’s WHAT THE HELL. Having talked to several of my girlfriends, some female acquaintances, and not a few strangers about this phase of life, I realize that although every single woman has or will experience this transition, not a lot of them understand that there’s a difference between peri-menopause and menopause. Nor do they often realize it when they are IN IT!

My first experiences with this transition were unexplained muscle spasms I thought were originating in my heart. Then I experienced two separate incidents of anxiety that I thought were heart attacks. They were not. These symptoms are directly related to the beginning phases of the Change of Life.

So – let’s start with simple: What is the difference between peri-menopause and menopause?

Perimenopause, or menopause transition, begins several years before menopause. It’s the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in her 30s or even earlier. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs.”(1)

Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases. The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.” (2)

During my recent emotional 8-day span, I experienced:

  • debilitating anxiety;
  • memory issues including short-term memory loss, an inability to focus or keep a thought, and confusion that led to anxiety attacks;
  • sudden, unexplained rage;
  • easily startled by unexpected, and expected, loud noises;
  • sudden, extreme fatigue;
  • slow-to-build extreme sadness; and
  • weeping uncontrollably, for no apparent reason.

Oh, and hot flashes, and night sweats.

I would gladly embrace hot flashes one moment followed by cold-to-the-bone the next, and difficulty sleeping, if it meant avoiding all that other stuff. Because, frankly, during that 8-day period I felt mentally unhinged. I felt insane – the thoughts that ran through my head were extreme, and the desire to take action based on those thoughts was STRONG.

“If I am experiencing theses many symptoms of peri-menopause,” I thought to myself, “then maybe other women are also experiencing this, too.”

September 2016: I overheard a couple of friends discussing women’s issues at a camp out and wiggled my way into that conversation. What I’d overheard was with regard to symptoms I recognized and possible remedies, and I wanted to hear what they were doing about it. This led me to a compounding pharmacist in February 2017, a saliva test, and several natural supplements that helped to manage the few symptoms I was having at the time.

October 2016: I began experiencing what felt like heart palpitations. Heart monitor for three weeks and not an inkling of a heart issue. My step-mom later told me that muscle spasms in the chest is an indicator of the hormones shifting.

November 2016: Realizing I may be entering what I thought was menopause (and discovered peri-menopause) I searched the internet for a book that could explain this transitional phase. I found one (ONE) out of print book titled Menopause & Emotions by Lafern Page. This book shed a lot of light on the emotional aspects of this transition, and a little more on the physiological aspect. I had hoped to find a LOT more written on the subject. There is the Internet, I know.

2017: Nothing major, Took supplements, rode minor roller coasters of emotion, had maybe three cycles (first one, in February, was very heavy and caught me by surprise; hadn’t had one in several months)

April 2018: Met with Women’s Issues Doctor to discuss a 3-day emotional roller coaster and the options I had to better manage the hormone change. The supplements were not working as well as they had been, or the change was increasing rapidly. I was offered Paxil or Bio-identical Estrogen and a synthetic Progesterone. I took the hormones. All my symptoms slowly improved.

June 2018: 8-day roller coaster and a cry for help. I searched on Psychology Today [Find a Therapist (3)] and made an appointment with a women’s issues therapist who was of an age that she’d probably already been through the Change of Life, and employed her assistance in providing strategies to weather the storm. I’ve had two sessions and here’s the most important thing I’ve gotten out of this so far:

“Women of our age were taught anger is not attractive, so we are unable to express anger. Bottled up for years, our only acceptable release of that anger is during PMS or during Peri-menopause. We blow up, then we blame the hormones.” I plan to return to deal with a lot of unaddressed anger.

All of this leads us to today, when I finally sat down and scratched the surface of a perfectly normal, natural transition that is rarely talked about. Well, I’m talking about it. I hope you found this first installment helpful. Please feel free to chime in.

In Upcoming Posts (not necessarily in this order): The Unsuspecting Spouse; Everybody’s Got a Remedy; Essential Oils – Hype or Help?; Those Who ‘Breezed’ Through It; What Mom Never Told Me; Supplements I Took, Still Take; Physical Exercise is Your Friend; Meditation for Relief

  • (1) https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/guide-perimenopause#1
  • (2) https://www.medicinenet.com/menopause/article.htm
  • (3) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists?utm_source=PT_Psych_Today&utm_medium=House_Link&utm_campaign=PT_TopNavF_Therapist1

 

Almost There

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Almost There

FF Prompt 2018-05-04 karen-rawson

Photo Prompt by Karen Rawson

“We’re almost there! 15 years have passed since I last stood in this spot. See that roof? That’s the cabin. That wasn’t visible from this spot, once upon a time. Not sure how we’re gonna get across the muck that was once a gentle, babbling brook. And those steps, once solid and surrounded by a forest of green, look pretty questionable now. That cabin was once a safe haven. My happy, hidden place. It’s not on any map. I hope it’s still safe. Take care and keep your head low, though. The world has changed. It might already be occupied.”


It’s been a while since I’ve made time for the Friday Fictioneers. Here’s my 100 words inspired by the photo. Thanks to Rochelle for keeping it going. Thanks also to Karen for the photo.

Catch Those Fleeting Moments

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Catch Those Fleeting Moments

DSCN5926 Barrel Cactus Bloom 2018-04

Small Barrel Cactus in Bloom. Kathleen Dixon (c) 2018

It’s so easy to miss those fleeting moments that cannot be retrieved. The small, still, memorable moments of joy. I’ve let so many slip away over the years… simply by allowing less important things to take priority.

Today, I make an effort to participate in those fleeting moments.

For example, about 10 days ago, I was preparing for an intense, four day motivation and education training. Planning and packing, checking lists… you know, getting ready to focus all my energy on this event I signed up for, that I wanted to participate in. And sometime during the planning and the packing, I heard those words. Fleeting Moments.

I immediately stopped what I was doing and I sent my daughter a text. My children are grown. My grandchildren are not. For the next twenty minutes, my husband and I video-chatted with our youngest grand-daughter. She is almost four. She is happy when she sees us. She smiles and giggles and shares her thoughts. She has grown from a toddler into a little girl in the past few months. And we are there for that. It was joy. We brought joy to her and she unknowingly returned it ten-fold.

This post was prompted by the accompanying photo. I tend to stuff my days with tasks, activity. I usually hold a one hour meeting every morning with myself and then I hit the ground running. I fall into tunnel-vision: how much can I get done today? Usually, too, I do a lot of busy work. And I forget to check in with my spouse. AND… sometimes, I put off his requests in favor of my busywork… stuff that could wait, even for the few minutes he wants to tell me something, or show me something.

I fight the voice inside me that says, “In a minute, I’m RIGHT in the middle of task number 187.”

Today, he called through the bedroom window. Asked me if I ‘d seen the barrel cactus this morning. And that voice spoke up… however, today I made a choice. I told the voice that we had five minutes, that the task I had just begun wasn’t going anywhere and that he was more important than gathering the week’s account balances.

You see, I HAD seen the cactus earlier this morning. It has some small, fuzzy, white fluff growing on it and I’d made a mental note to ask him about it. (My mental notes are also fleeting, by the way). I stopped what I was doing and I went outside to look at the cactus, to ask him about those fuzzy white puffs. And on that cactus I’d seen only an hour before was this delicate, hot pink bloom. As you can see, it is a spectacular little flower. It will only last a day or two, and it won’t bloom again for a long time.

I would have missed that bloom and my husband’s attempt to share it with me, if I’d listened to that little voice.

I am certainly grateful to know – at least for today – where my real priorities lie, and that the fleeting moments are the ones that make my life one worth living.

Nothing to Say

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Nothing to Say

If you read Sick, then you’ll understand this. I have bronchitis. I’m pretty sure that’s all it is. However, an aching head makes thinking more difficult, makes focusing a chore.

So today I did neither. We ate breakfast out and stopped by Costco, using all the energy I had in reserve. After we put away our groceries I dozed on the couch.

My loving husband and I played Cashflow 101. I got out of the rat race first, and I managed to increase my cash flow by $50,000 first to win the game.

More rest.

We built the remainder of a Lego Christmas train. The flatcar and the caboose. And all the tiny Christmas gifts. We ran it around the track a few times (we sprung for the motor accessory). It’s the coolest.

I coughed too long and too hard. I’m going to bed early. Too much effort to try and watch a movie.

Tomorrow I’ll visit Urgent Care at the request of my husband. Maybe the nurses can help speed up the healing.

And that’s about it. I’ll write something more entertaining tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

Sick

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Sick

Fatigue. Stiff joints. Feeling cold in a warm room.

Deep in the ear canal, an itch I can’t scratch.

Dry, burning eyeballs. Nasal passages blocked.

Feeling the pressure build as the blood pounds in my temples.

Throat swelling shut, becoming difficult to swallow.

Benched indefinitely. Against my will. Without my consent.

So much to do. No energy to do it.

Snippity. Irritable. Cranky. Sorry.

Damnit.

Zzzzzzzzzz.

 

 

 

Solitary

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Solitary

ff-prompt-2017-02-24-sarah_potter-january-snowfall-nighttime

After midnight. Can’t sleep. That committee between my ears making all manner of ruckus. Funny the things that seem urgent in the boardroom of the mind. Rehashing unresolved regrets. Organizing tomorrows to do list. I toss. I turn. ENOUGH. Rolling quietly out of bed, grabbing my robe, I head to the porch with pad of paper and pen. The porch offers solitude and a beautiful view. The world is quiet, all sound absorbed by this mantle of pristine, unmarred snow. It covers everything. Setting pad and pen aside, I sit quietly instead, meditating on the streetlight’s glow. The committee disperses.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks to Rochelle for continuing to post the weekly 100 words photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers. Special thanks to Sarah Potter for her lovely photograph.

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