Low Carbs & Heart Health

Taking care of my health with special attention to my heart is #1 to me. Heart disease and obesity run in my family on my Dad’s side. I recently lost an uncle to heart disease–so I’ve got to be serious about it. I was skinny until my late 20’s and by my early 30’s was 30# overweight. A lifetime of eating junk food, drinking soda, high carb diet, and alcohol had nearly ruined my health. By 42 I was 50# overweight and out of breath and unable to even ride a bike anymore. I put my foot down and started my journey to healthier living.

Almost all of us would love to live a life of eating everything we want to, all the things we love to the extreme, without ever having a single worry about the consequences. My lifelong addiction has been sugar. I love candy. When thinking about the holidays, my first thought is holiday candy. Christmas–lifesaver books, candy canes, assorted chocolates, and chocolate covered cherries. Easter–jelly beans, marshmallow eggs, creme-filled eggs, and chocolate bunnies. Valentines Day–conversation hearts. Halloween–snack sized candy and snicker pumpkins. It’s probably been about 15 years ago now that I started to believe I was going to end up a diabetic. I went out and bought a glucose tester and started measuring my blood sugar 3 times a day. I was two years into a plan to improve my health from no more smoking and drinking to eating more fruits and veggies and exercise. Around 10:00 am every morning I’d get the shakes–hence I began to think I was diabetic or leaning towards that diagnosis.

It was late Feb, early March, coming up on Easter. Every day I would grab a handful of jelly beans, because giving up candy (my beloved) never crossed my mind. Every day for a couple of weeks I’d been eating roughly 15-25 beans–most of them past 8:00 at night (reading in bed). I would buy the big bags sold at Easter and of course a few smaller bags of the black jelly beans. My blood sugars were a tad bit high at 10:00 a.m. but right back to normal the rest of the day. By the following year when those Easter Jelly beans were being sold again, a light bulb went on one day, when after not having 10:00 a.m. shakes for several months, I was back to having them again. What was I eating or drinking that was causing this to happen? I eliminated everything before I even considered the jelly beans, but alas I had to consider them so I lowered my amount to 10- 20 a day and none at night after dinnertime. Everything went fine until years later when I went back to reading before bed and munching on jelly beans. This time my shakiness was at different times and I was starting to get concerned.

After seeing a physician and going through the fasting/blood tests where everything, thank goodness, checked out–I wrote it off as hormonal. But it wasn’t folks, it was the unbelievable amount of sugar in jelly beans. In eating just 15-25 jelly beans a day I was ingesting 25 grams of sugar = to 6 tsp. of raw sugar. Jelly beans were just one of the things I was eating packed with sugar. The worst thing, I’ll give you that. Fast forward to three years ago and me ugly crying because I bought some jelly beans and had decided to portion them out vs. eating every day. I would eat 5-10 every other day. This worked better but it was very hard to limit myself–very very hard. When I realized that I would have to give up jelly beans–the one candy I’d loved my whole life, I was devastated. So yes, I ugly cried about how unfair life was and that I didn’t feel like going on anymore if I couldn’t even eat a jelly bean or two every year. This may sound over dramatic, but at this point I had given up smoking, drinking, restaurant food, and a lot of the different snacks I loved. I got through it friends and today? I buy the occasional bag of jelly beans and I limit myself to 3. A bag lasts me a few months and I’m not tempted anymore to overeat them and face the consequences from them. The last thing I want or need at almost 57 is diabetes, high cholesterol, or heart disease.

Don’t get me started on my love for buying things for my husband–goodies, or learning how to make cheesecake (his favorite) or all the ways I’ve helped to make him overweight… Putting the brakes on his eating goodies, sugar laden treats, and such has been horrifically hard. His mother had late in life diabetes, heart disease, and his father high blood pressure and one of those big hard stomachs men get. Ya. Hubby has that too and the direct cause for that big hard stomach>> carbohydrates–nothing else. Look up visceral fat if you want to know what I’m talking about. Huge health problems can come from having a belly like that. Apart from his tummy, hubby is a fairly fit guy. That I’ve loved almost to death with sweetness, literally. Do your hubby, friends, family members and neighbor (wink wink) a favor and stop killing them with kindness. Eating a diet high in carbohydrates is bad when you’re young, but in your 50’s and older it’s a killer. It’s a proven fact that smoking, drinking, added sugar (diet high in goodies), bad fats, and processed foods increase your chance of getting breast cancer (women) prostate cancer (men).

Edit- Hubby wanted me to edit the part about him because he thinks I was too hard on myself…o.k. I was. Truthfully, I’ve lectured my husband for years and years about his carb intake, to no avail. After awhile it was up to him. He’s a grown man and had to figure it out himself. I did buy him sweets occasionally and for that I feel responsible. Thankfully, I am not a baker (never have been) otherwise we would really have issues to deal with. His wake up call is/was the visceral fat and on his own he has placed limits on his carb intake these past few years and is doing better. Lookout everyone this spring because he and I are starting a walking program to work his belly right off and to get me back in shape and back on my bicycle. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight so now it’s time to get limber and fit!

Life isn’t fair and no one ever said it was. You have but one body and the last thing in the world you want is to be too late in the game to correct an issue. Had I continued on with my love of jelly beans–lived in a state of denial, today I would be telling my story from a diabetics perspective.

Slowly but surely I have reduced my sugar intake by about 80% and by doing that I’ve reduced my anxiety (also lifelong) by about 80%. Physically and mentally I’m a new person and it’s all because I stopped supporting bad habits, stopped ingesting cups of sugar every day for comfort or out of habit, and started caring about myself (for the first time) and started feeding my body what it needed not what I wanted.

See the links below regarding comfort eating and anxiety. Don’t be fooled thinking your comfort food or comfort activity isn’t killing you if it involves bad food choices or sugar. Sugar increases anxiety>>>carbs are bad for anxiety. Until next time, be safe friends and be well!

Caloric content women over 50

Livestrong link for carbs & NIH Hearth Disease

Comfort Eating??

This Is Exactly How Sugar Can Mess With Your Anxiety—and What to Do About It

Fall & Winter Stock Up

Pantry Essentials – by Kim VanderWerf

Also:

  • remember the books you’ve set aside & magazines
  • last years seed catalogs until the new ones arrive
  • fall & winter prep lists
  • cozy socks
  • soft warm sweaters
  • good quality tea
  • soup and casserole recipes

This year we’ve decided to do Christmas differently as far as gifts go. I believe we are going to go with more intentional, possibly handmade, custom made/designed or sentimental gifts that may be bought or made or have someone make. But as far as gift lists, or wants, or commercialism–nope that’s out for our household this year. I’m still working all the details out but I will share them here as I come up with them.

Update on our move–that’s complicated as is everything this year. Normally, the person with citizenship would return to their country and start the residency process and then the rest of the family would follow. That is not how things are working right now with our move. The residency requirement vs. how long, because of covid-19 restrictions, aren’t meshing. At this time I cannot stay long enough to meet the requirements so I will be traveling for a few days to meet with our house-sitters/renters who are caring for the home we have purchased. We will be working on winterizing everything and working out winter/spring 2021 details. Hopefully come March 2021 we can begin again–we are thankful to have friends that are helping us to take care of our property. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to do it all without them.

Fall Prep–   from This Old Home

 

Stock up Fall 2020 -video on how to stock up for an emergency

Until next time–be safe and be well!!

 

What are you grateful for today?

Today I’m grateful for “having little bits and bobs of food in our refrigerator & freezer from which I can put together simple, easy, and inexpensive meals.” 

Today was a major cleaning/organizing day of which I cleaned out our refrigerator, pantry, and freezers. I found a couple pounds of ground beef and used one pound to make the following meals below. We aren’t big meat eaters which is a good thing especially now as the shelves are bare of it, locally. We ate the stuffed peppers tonight because they don’t freeze well for me and we’ll be eating the meatball cup stuffed w/ mashed potato this weekend. I made the cheeseburger pasta and Swedish meatball pasta without the pasta noodles and froze them for another day. When I decide to use them I will make fresh pasta.

#1 of ground beef = four meals for two Voila!

  • Cheeseburger pasta
  • Taco stuffed peppers
  • Swedish meatball pasta
  • Mashed potato stuffed meatball cups

The video below shows each dish using a pound of ground beef but I decided to get all four dishes out of 1#. With the cheeseburger pasta I will use more pasta, the taco peppers just more corn and beans, the Swedish meatball pasta more pasta, and I made less meatballs for the mashed potato stuffed meatball cups but we still got two each and had a side of mashed potatoes to go with them.

^**all recipes by Tasty–here is a great video showing how to make each dish.

Today’s Tip- fill up on healthy food right now–eat as much produce as you can afford, are able to purchase, and can work into your daily meal plan. Now more than ever you need to eat as clean as possible and limit your sweets to the bare minimum. There is no time like the present to eat like your grandparents once did by focusing on healthy foods, which are still more affordable than processed food, and eliminating sweets from your diet except for on special occasions. Eating sugar in general causes us to want more sugar–hence bad carbs.  Right now the only food I still see in the market that is plentiful is produce. If your diet has a lot of breads, cookies and cakes you are setting yourself up for hunger cravings.  Unfortunately, you will probably choose something with sugar in it to satisfy your hunger. It won’t. (As a reformed sugar addict I know all of this only too well). A great site that discusses sugar addiction and it’s connection to anxiety and health issues here

If this virus has made anything clear to us at all it is mortality is higher if you have comorbidities. This virus is especially hard on those with respiratory problems, diabetes, and heart disease.  Sweets in our diet to the excess I see so many people ingesting them = diabetes and most likely heart disease.  Read, paint, exercise, learn a second or third language,  clean, organize, plant a garden. There’s never been a better time than now to learn how to eat healthier and get in shape for summer.

Today I am thankful for:  🌼🌸💜🌼

  • the lessons I’m learning in no waste/reheating and reusing/conservative meal planning.
  • that I am responding to the current crisis rather than reacting–I am in plan and prepare mode vs. emotional basket case.
  • my husband who as an essential worker (for now) still goes to work every day with a smile on his face knowing he may contract the virus.
  • thankful that I remember in all of this that I must be strong because my husband needs me to be.
  • I’m thankful to the nurses, doctors, researchers, lab technicians, Emts, law enforcement officers, firefighters, truck drivers, grocery store/retail employees, factory workers, USPS, UPS, FedEx, delivery people–so many others, clerks, farmers, food suppliers, business owners and so many others that I’ve probably forgotten who are on the front line- taking care of us.
  • an Organic CSA that we were members of this past fall still had carrots and sweet potatoes available and we were able to pick up 4# of each today.

The shelves are still pretty bare in the local grocery store and local Walmart’s which can be nerve-wracking. A lot of local people initially didn’t believe this virus was as serious as it is and when suddenly the Shelter at Home order went out it was panic city. We don’t go to the grocery store anymore instead opting for grocery pick up only.  First off,  I can’t get over how friendly and helpful the Walmart staff and local grocery store employees have been. It’s been hard for me to hand over the reins of grocery shopping to someone else. I am the ultimate control freak/diva/micro-manager of our food budget-meal plan-head cook and bottle washer. My perception of ripe banana vs. most is not the same thing at all. That said everything has been just fine. I said no substitutes on lunch meat last week–they did anyways and it worked out but no charge.  So I’m learning to be less rigid with things like this and let some of the super duper micromanaging stress go.

At the end of this crisis I will no doubt, as you will, be changed and in some respects a whole lot more prepared for whatever comes next. We are all getting the experience we need and the training first hand on how we will come together, unify, and fight to survive -be it climate change, disasters, pandemics, whatever it is.

But it isn’t pretty– and it really is too early to be sure on silver linings.  At this point my husband and I have lost thousands in his 401 k. This year I was  all set to start one with the company I work for –but that likely will not happen. Either will our move and maybe not having our own home right now is a good thing? Hard to tell at this point. I take calls all day from colleagues and clients asking what I think about the current economy, what’s going to happen, is it as bad as they say? I’m at a loss for answers to any of it–I have degrees in both business and finance and maybe should be able to tell them something? But this crisis is different from any other and it is too soon for me–an accountant at present to form any type of opinion or to answer their questions with any kind of true accuracy. In time I hope to be able to help them as best I can. One thing is for sure everyone, except maybe the very rich, will have financial problems of some kind once this is all over with.

This week hubby and I are embracing “hearts in the window” for all the scavenger hunters in the area, and also putting up a set of Christmas lights as a sign of hope.  ❤

Resources–Things to do for free!

NetGalley— a great site you can register on for free and become a book reviewer. It’s a great time– to read books and help an author.

Recyclebank–a great site where for free you can earn points by taking recycling quizzes and then use the points to get free magazines and other cool items.

Quarantine/self-distancing/shelter at home bucket list:

  • Phone a friend
  • Send hopeful upbeat emails to your contacts.
  • Take pictures/make videos.
  • Read-catch up or start a new hobby–audible books are free right now.
  • Learn to cook one new thing–or learn to cook.
  • Do that one thing or two that you never find time to do.
  • Try watercolor painting–this is what I’m putting on my bucket list.
  • Fix the things in your house you now have time to fix.
  • Snuggle
  • Play with your pet.
  • Wash your windows–it’s spring!
  • Start your garden seedlings–that’s what I’m doing.
  • Read a poem out loud.
  • Clean and organize closets and all your stuff–get things ready for garage sales, sell on Poshmark, eBay, give away and more.

Before I end my post here are a few things I learned or learned to do this week:

  • save coffee not drank and rewarm the next day–first time and it was just as wonderful day two.
  • learned to eat stale bread because we don’t have the option to throw the ends of the bread away–and I probably won’t ever throw them away again!
  • settled myself for the road ahead one day, and sometimes, one hour at a time–no one knows what’s to come. I’d rather go into things far less stressed and far more rested.
  • prayed more than once a day.
  • stretched a pound of ground beef into four meals.
  • took breaks away from news–helped keep my anxiety down.
  • tried not to feel so guilty for being able to work from home–I know how incredibly lucky I am to have a remote job.
  • looked around in my surroundings searching for little things to be happy or comforted by–hubby watching the birds, our cat cozying with his toys (babies), robins singing at 6:00 am, quiet freeway–just semi’s on it for the most part, and green grass poking through–soon the dandelions.

Until next time stay safe and be well.

Source

 

My Word for 2020 is Savor 🌱 🌿🍃


verb
taste (good food or drink) and enjoy it completely.

noun
a characteristic taste, flavor, or smell, especially a pleasant one.

http://www.wordoftheyear.me/index.php

I have another word I’m going to be focusing on this year as well and that is reuse.

verb
use more than once.

noun
the action of using something again.

A chicken carcass cooked up and homemade chicken noodle soup for a cold, wintry day.

The babies of my mature hens and chicks plant from last spring.

I purchased and replanted the momma plant in May and had it in my patio garden all summer, fall, and part of our mild November. I really didn’t want to part with it so I harvested some of the babies and brought them inside. I’ve been watering them and providing sunlight and ventilation. They seem to be doing fine–they’re in loose sandy airy soil with some gravel underneath them. We shall see if I can make this work and perhaps not have to buy another expensive hens and chicks plant this spring.

2019 was an exhausting year for me and really our household. Between looking at houses to possibly move to, working full-time +, keeping up my volunteer hours, writing, reviewing books, gardening, and social media, I was kept way too busy. Then mid-year I developed a health issue due to a lifelong issue and spent the rest of the year in pain, worried, and worn out.. A part of me even at 55 still feels like I haven’t accomplished anything unless I’m completely worn out at the end of any given day. I almost always choose finishing up work, projects, or home tasks before I take a break or go do something fun. Even with my health issue I never missed work, never really rested beyond my nightly sleep, and continued working/volunteering/putting in 60 hour work weeks. Upon year’s end I sat down and took inventory of my life/schedule/hobbies/ etc. and made some changes.

Both this year and last via social media all I see are people equally burnt out, worn out, and looking for simplicity. Though I’m not much for social media, I do love taking pictures and keeping up with friends and accounts I follow that I really like on IG. Most people I follow –maybe 99% are selling something and relying on internet sales for their income.  I am very thankful I don’t have to do that anymore.  Back in the old days I used to create web pages/sites for income and maintained PowerSeller status for ten years on eBay.  Between the competition, and costs, and self-marketing/advertising every day was a challenge. Thinking back though nothing like things are today. I loved it and made many friends all over the world selling on eBay.

Today is very different in the online/internet world. Competition is fierce and things change fast, and people change their minds fast, and are distracted a lot, and definitely trying  100% of the time to stay relevant. Not too long ago, after I hadn’t sold anything online for maybe a year or more, I got an email from someone I’d sold something to 2 years before that. I’m not sure exactly what was going on but she wanted to know if she’d bought anything recently from me and for me to send her an invoice and she’d pay it. She apologized profusely for not taking care of it right away. I of course had no idea what she was talking about but did have her name in my eBay sales contacts as someone I’d shipped something to. We finally figured out that she had ordered from someone else more recently and just hadn’t checked her purchases and finding just any name in her email account she began emailing sellers so she could pay her bill. She had been so busy online that she hadn’t had time to check her email account in several months. Busy people. Things like this happen all the time and the main reason for it is people are distracted, too busy, and most of all competing/keeping up with/updating their status with someone or something online–usually connected to social media. 

So back to my end of year inventory–I decided to:

  • cut down on social media
  • not move and not look for out-of-state home until 2021
  • look at local homes for sales in 2020
  • volunteer at places more local to me
  • smaller patio garden
  • less blogging

More time for savoring every moment of my life! Until next time –be well ✨❄️

 

Goals—Welcome 2020!

I promise this post isn’t a lecture or a set of how-tos for setting goals. Rather, I’d like to think that it will be my way of explaining how very vital and necessary setting some (even one) is to your mental and physical health. Sitting at my desk the other day, I overheard a co-worker say “I’m not setting any resolutions or goals this year–I’m just going to let the pieces fall wherever and whatever happens.” My first reaction was to almost choke on my coffee but instead, I just sat at my desk trying to imagine what kind of perfect world this person lives in where everything is left up to chance?
Because whether he knows it or not he set goals– he just doesn’t sit and write them out and hold himself accountable for them like a lot of other people do. And that my friends are exactly why so many people look at goal-setting as the enemy. Let’s look at the top three reasons why people don’t/won’t set goals

  • Fear- fear of failure.
  • Inability to commit to a plan–hit the start button.
  • Not knowing what you want.

I’ve noticed that by setting goals I have:

  • Something to look forward to every day.
  • Something that motivates me to stay on course.
  • A way to measure personal commitment to any one given thing.
  • Training in focusing, motivating, endurance, time management, working efficiently.
  • An accurate measure of attaining goals.
  • Learned how to stay on task–completing projects and personal goals.
  • Learned more about my strengths and weaknesses and how to improve both.

Don’t forget that at any time you can reassess your goal–restart, lengthen it, shorten it, edit it, amend it, etc. Within reason and before you scrap it or write it off as failure reassess! Examining, reexamining your goals/objectives teaches you how to set realistic goals, your limits; strengthens your plan, and helps you to reach your goal more effectively and successfully.  When you sit down with a piece of paper in hand to write out your goals for the year, month, week, or day first and foremost you need:

  • To know what you want.
  • And believe you can get it.

If you sit down and have no clue as to what you want–not even a general idea then whatever goal you write down will not be a clear goal in your mind. If you know what you want but inside don’t believe you can get it–you never will. It’s that simple.

Several years back I was one of those non-believers in goals. I thought setting goals was a time waste and that certainly if I wanted something bad enough, I’d achieve it. I also felt setting goals was for people that needed extra help–certainly not me, and that I didn’t have the time to sit down and write things out. Turns out I was the perfect person to learn how to set goals because as it turns out goal-setting is one of the main reasons I made it through college, internships, long commutes, and finally at long last being able to do some things in life that I’ve always wanted to do. If I’d never taken the time to understand goal setting and then setting some I would still be sitting on the sidelines stressed to the max wondering why I wasn’t getting anywhere in anything I was doing.

Not setting goals doesn’t relieve stress. Not having a clear picture of what you want, not believing in yourself, and never getting to where you want to go–stresses you out.

O.k. a little lecture but I’m telling you that setting a goal, putting into place all the things that can make your goal a success, then moving forward day by day to achieve it, and then achieving it is such a wonderful feeling– a real confidence booster. A celebration and a step toward achieving everything you’ve set out for yourself, your family, and your career right there for you to enjoy.

Until next time–happy goal-setting and a happy, healthy 2020!