A week of Doctors, Cold Weather & Miscellaneous Things
With all the cold weather we have been having I thought maybe the alligators had gone into hibernation. I was wrong. As soon as the sun came out they were back up on the banks of the ponds sunning themselves. I did discover a couple of casualties of the extreme cold. Next to the pond was the remains of wood stork and on the next pond a small heron. I am assuming they died because of the cold because they certainly were not eaten.
My week started off with my first meeting with my new cardiologist. Since my Dartmouth Cardiologist retired I was left without one and on the recommendation of my Beaufort doctor I decided to find one here. If I am up north and need a referral I can always get one but since I am here more than there these days it seemed prudent to find a local doctor. I met him and liked him immediately. We chatted for awhile and I gave him all the paperwork that I had from the other doctor plus test results. Oh I was so very prepared!!! I had a briefcase full of documents including the written report from my nuclear stress test of two years ago. You know, the one where I couldn’t cross the border for months because I would set off all the alarms since I was radioactive!!!!!!! Yup, that one. He was pleased with everything that I gave him and said he didn’t feel we needed to change anything at all and see ya in a year. That pleased me very much. I had visions of him wanting to do all kinds of tests and workups and changing medications (I am only on two). I was pleasantly surprised. He said he thought I knew myself and that if I needed help he was pretty sure I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for it. You bet. So a good start to a new relationship.
John also had a couple of doctor visits including and eye doctor. He has a wrinkle in his eye so will see another eye doctor later in January but for now seems to be fine. It is good to get all this behind us. However, what did come out of his appointment with his G.P. was that he wanted to put him on a statin. If anyone knows me they know that I am not a fan. I actually picked up the medication for him and after being aghast at the cost, said “Welcome to big pharma hell” once you are on one medication they give you another and then another to counter the side effects of the first one and on and on it goes. My credo is, try and cure it with food and exercise and if you cannot then look for additional help. Don’t immediately jump on the pill wagon. There are very few things that cannot be made better by a healthier diet and by adding sensible exercise into your life. John has agreed to aggressively try and lower his cholesterol through diet and exercise and will be rechecked in a couple of months. Hopefully he will not have to take the medicine but if he does perhaps a very low dose. Some people won’t be able to get off medications but they can reduce the amount they take when they support their medication with healthy choices and fresh air and sleep. Work with your doctor and ask if he/she will support you if you decide you want to try this. I am lucky my doctor does support this and now so does my new cardiologist. Enough of my band wagon.
Resolution Run 2018
Last year, John and I, along with Wyke and Miss Q, walked in the Habitat for Humanity Resolution Run. We took our time, had a nice long leisurely walk with many of our doggie friends and said we’d like to do it again. Things have changed in a year. Miss Q is no longer with us having died in February 2017, Wyke is a big dog now not a puppy and I have become a competitor in these races. John took care of Wyke and I did the race. I am proud to say that I had my best time ever and according to the official race results, came in 5th out of 117 participants. What a difference a year makes. So first race of the year done and I am looking forward to more. I have a few booked but am determined to find at least one a month. There is one in Tybee Island in February that I would like to do, just need someone to go with me. You know it won’t be John!
A side effect of all the training that I have been doing is a sore bum. Somewhere along the way I have irritated my sit bone or rather the tendon or muscle that goes across my sit bone. Finally mentioned it to my Yoga instructor and she is now helping me figure out how to make it better. When we were picking up our packets for the race we went to the Health Fair that was associated with packet pickup. There were a number of vendors there including people who are involved with Therapy Dogs International and a bunch of home care and long-term care folks as well as my friends from Zen Den in Port Royal. A their site I tried a Bemer Therapy Session. You lie down on a pad and it uses some sort of technology, they say it is electromagnetic, to increase your blood flow to all parts of your body. I wondered if it would help my sore buttock so I gave it a try. Sure enough, not only was it extremely relaxing, it improved the soreness and gave me more ease of mobility. Well, heh, I did my best time ever the next day so I believe it works. I intend to go back and try it again. Stay tuned. I am just one huge experiment.
Recommitting to Healthy Eating
As a result of all the doctor talking, I have decided to recommit myself to my healthy eating way of life. I admit it, I got lazy. Not just over the holidays but even before then. I figured that with all the training I was doing, walking seven and eight miles at a pop, that I could eat pretty much what I wanted. NOT SO! My weight definitely creeped up over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. We were eating out and at other homes than our own so it was difficult to keep a tight reign on things. I am very good at self-denial too. I refused to check my blood sugar or to step on a scale and eventually you pay the price. I now have a small book where I am recording my blood pressure, blood sugar and weight on a daily basis. Oh man do I hate doing this but it’s like flossing, you feel better because you know you are doing something good for yourself. Besides I am a curious person and I want to know what effect various foods and activities have on my body. What I have to do is stop beating myself up if something is out of whack but rather look at what I do or did when things are good. Having a way to measure those things really helps. Most of my markers have been really good so I know where they need to be. I control my blood sugar with diet and if I don’t then it goes up. Not so high that I am in any trouble, I have had this controlled for over five years, but I am very sensitive to any kind of sugar so I have to be careful. My weight has stayed within a five pound range for almost five years now but I still want to kick that extra 10 that lurk out there. Blood pressure is good as long as I don’t go to the doctor or talk to customer support in a foreign country. I have a new Fitbit thanks to Santa and it really tracks my heart rate well. Not only that it tracks my sleep and of course exercise. Couldn’t stand the rubber wrist band so I got a metal one which I like much better.
So, off I went to the grocery store and stocked up on all things green. I have kale, spinach, and watercress along with lots of other vegetables in my fridge. Since I made lots of my homemade vegetable soup I can have a wonderful salad along with soup for lunch. What a huge difference it makes to eat a really good lunch. I feel satisfied and I don’t get any cravings in the afternoon. I enjoy my red wine in the evening and thanks to my friends at Dry Farms Wine, the wine I drink is organic, sugar free, carb free, low sulfites, low alcohol and has no additives. However, the most recent order arrived and it appears that it was frozen because all the corks were popped. I was told they were safe to drink as the corks were still in the bottles. Another experiment. By the way, I do not recommend anything that I haven’t tried myself on myself. I am not associated with any company and receive nothing for recommending someone in my blog. I just like to share with you if I find something of interest.
Grandson in Spain
Grandson left on Monday to go to Spain for eight weeks. I followed him on an app on my iPhone until he got to Dublin and then I couldn’t follow anymore. I knew that he had made it across the pond. He did let his mother know and then us, that he had arrived safely. He has WiFi so we have been able to FaceTime with him which makes it feel as if he is not as far away as he is. Classes are going well and he is actually getting to travel around Spain a little bit with trips to Madrid and Barcelona. He finds that eating dinner at 10:30 at night is a little off for him and he hasn’t adjusted to the time change completely. He is still waking up at 4:00AM. The language is a bit of a barrier but he says he is improving every day so that should not be a problem for him pretty soon. What a lucky young man he is.
Recipe of the Week
|1 tablespoon||olive oil|
|1||medium red onion (chopped)|
|1||green bell pepper (chopped)|
|1||red bell pepper (chopped)|
|1||medium sweet potato (peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes)|
|add||salt (and freshly ground black pepper)|
|4||garlic cloves (pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic)|
|1 tablespoon||chili powder|
|1 teaspoon||ground cumin|
|1 teaspoon||cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)|
|2 teaspoons||unsweetened cocoa powder|
|¼ teaspoon||ground cinnamon|
|28 ounces||tomatoes (diced, with their juices)|
|15 ounces||black beans (rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)|
|15 ounces||kidney beans (rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans)|
|2 cups||vegetable broth|
|add||suggested garnishes (sour cream, grated cheese, thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped cilantro)|
In a 4-to-6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start turning translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and another dash of salt and pepper) and liquid ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has reduced to a heartier consistency, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
If you would like an even thicker consistency, use a potato masher to mash the chili until the texture suits your preferences. Season chili with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.
Notes for Cookie & Kale
Recipe adapted from Real Simple.
*A note on canned tomatoes: I’m concerned about the BPA levels in canned tomato goods and avoid canned tomato products as best I can. I recommend using Muir Glen canned tomatoes because their cans are BPA-free.
Slow cooker/Crockpot option: This chili should turn out well after cooking on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours.