Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thank You Dr. Oz!

As well as all the doctors on the show The Doctors! 

Today while I pushed my grocery cart into the line to check out the man in front of me, a nice guy really was haggling over some sale price on paper towels.  The young female cashier was very polite yet pointed out to him that he was wrong re the sales price.  I didn't pay all that much attention to what happened as I was busy sorting my own stuff and getting it on to the conveyor belt.  But the one thing I do pay attention to is what people buy in terms of groceries.  I'm always tempted to tell them the six large bottles of soda isn't going to do good things for them nor is the processed packaged foods that purport to be healthy but in fact may add to an over all problem we now have here in this country, which is growing obesity in the young as well as older American.   I usually keep my mouth shut.

When it was my turn to check out the young cashier picked up my container of hommus and tells another cashier this is what it looks like! Immediately I knew this young person had some knowledge about healthy eating.  As I put out my stuff which basically consisted of veggies and fruit as well as fixings for my soup such as beans and fat free chicken broth, she picked up my bag of avocados, which I have to admit were kind of pricey at this store (2 for $3) and I had six of them.  She looked at me and said, "I hate peeling these but I love them!"   Wow, I thought.  Someone her age had to have been raised by some very conscientious parents who taught her about nutritious foods and fed her foods that could add to her overall health.  I mean I haven't come across too many young people who "love" avocadoes unless they were in a fat filled dip like guacomole. 

I say this because last year my cholesterol numbers were high...the highest they've ever been.  For me that is scary especially since my triglycerides were at an all time high.  High triglycerides is never a good sign.  My late husband struggled to get his numbers lowered even though his total cholesterol fell within the normal range.  A high triglyceride number is not good simply because it tells us we are good candidates for a heart attack.  At my age that raises more than a bit of concern.  It tells me at my age I need to be even more mindful of what I'm eating.   

From that point on I decided to do it Dr. Oz's way!  Everytime 'd go grocery shopping I would do it more mindfully keeping in mind all the good things he told us about and what we should or shouldn't be eating. 

I was never a true avocado eater but have come to enjoy them.  Yes, they are very high in fats and so I keep in mind the caloric content.  The fat content is healthy, and what Dr. Oz refers to as MUFA.  Monounsaturated Fatty Acids.

One every other day with a bit of squeezed lemon for me has now become a treat in and of itself.  Throughout the year I concentrated on eating more of the good fish like salmon, sardines, and yes on Dr. Oz's recommendation, Baramundie fish.  I made soups consisting of vegetables like kale, escarole, chard, collard greens, along with beans, such as those white beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and of course what Dr. Oz calls a superfood -- lentils.

I walked my dog and no one can tell me it's a coincidence that since she came into my life last August, that my cholesterol as well as blood pressure (yes, that was up as well) are all well within a normal range.   She doesn't even need to have her nails clipped because of the walking we do every day!

I also started to have a glass of wine several times a week.  Not every day but more often than I did before.  Specifically I drank red wine, preferably a Cabernet Sauvignon, which I've read is great for helping to lower cholesterol and is heart healthy because of its reservatrol content.

I've gone through at least three boxes of Quaker Oatmeal (not instant because I was eating instant last year and that only raised my blood sugar levels which now are below 100.)

I've been eating more nuts, specifically almonds every single morning.  I grind these along with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I spread a couple of tablespoons over the oatmeal.  I also throw in ground flax seed, as well as hemp seeds, and recently have been adding Chia seeds to the mix.  A little cinnamon for blood sugar control along with a cup of rinsed blueberries (either fresh or frozen) and almond milk does the trick for me.  I never get too hungry throughout the day.

I've also been making frozen yogurt pops using Activia yogurt.  I purchased these pop makers through Amazon and these are working out better than expected.

What Dr. Oz tells us works!   It truly worked for me.  When the bloodwork results came in the mail from my doctor's office I couldn't open it at first.  When I did I was quite pleased to see that I had lowered my cholesterol from 289 to 200, and I am still working on getting it lower.

Yes, I could have gone on statin drugs except I don't do well on meds because of side effects.  Some people can take meds for cholesterol and blood pressure and not be bothered by the side effects I have never been able to tolerate meds that produce any side effects.  I knew I had to believe as Dr. Oz does that getting healthy is a matter of becoming mindful about what we ingest into our bodies.

We are essentially feeding machines.  I'm not sure when it started, probably with the advent of industrialized food processing that we may have been led to believe we can ingest all the processed foods that is produced into our systems. Unfortunately, our bodies don't know this and do much better on whole foods that has not been processed in any way.  If you think about it, organic foods, foods that come from the earth is pretty much all we need to thrive.  A package of Twinkies, or a package of processed hot dogs is not going to do that.  Whole foods produce certain chemical reactions deep within our cells that processed food can't come close to providing.  It's like running a car on alcohol and not gas and hoping the right interactions are taking place, when in fact none takes place and the car eventually no longer works.  

When you think about it, we probably could do without at least 90% of what is sold in terms of food in our grocery stores.  As Dr. Oz tells us by doing our shopping around the perimeters we in fact need very little if anything from the inside aisles.

I recently read 180 billion dollars is spent on the treatment of diabetes, a condition that is caused by diet and lifestyle.  I'm not only hoping but I'm praying that more young people like the young lady I met today in the grocery store will make it a point to learn about what their bodies really need, what they should be eating, and what they can do for themselves in terms of mindful shopping as well as mindful eating.

Only then will we see these astronomical figures of healthcare costs go lower and to a saner level.  I'm also thinking what our country could have done with that 180 million dollars.  First on my list is educating ourselves on getting healthy and staying healthy by eating the correct foods and living an active life.

Thanks Dr. Oz!

Keep spreading the word about how to eat and stay healthy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6, 2010

Today is a very hot day. We are in fact experiencing a heat wave here in the Northeast with temps going into three digit numbers. I'll always remember a similar week back in the same month, July 2002, and same day -- the 6th -- where temps hovered in the 90's, with the humidity also quite high. I remember my own doctor on TV advising people to cut down on outdoor activities, especially if they had any kind of heart problem.

I would give the same advice today and throughout the week, particularly for us "older" folks whether or not we have heart problems. I'm finding that as I get older I don't seem to adjust as well or as quickly to these temperatures.

I just stepped out a moment ago to check my mail and felt my lungs struggle to get oxygen through my system. I don't have any serious physical problems, nonetheless I know I will be curtailing outside activity until this heat is over.

I enjoy taking my PeekAPoo puppy for her morning and late afternoon walk. Today and probably for most of the week I won't be able to do that. Instead although I do have air conditioning, I'll take her to a Petco or Petsmart where we can at least walk around the stores in relative comfort.

Eight years ago today I crossed the path into widowhood. At times it's still hard for me to believe it has been eight years but looking back and seeing the journey I've been on, I can say this journey definitely changed me in ways I may not even realize even when I cross that same path as my late husband that took him beyond this world.

Widowhood may put one into a place that separates them from an ordinary world where one might feel disconnected from it in terms of being able to relate to it in that same ordinary sense.

My mind plays tricks on me. In my dreams I find myself back in that ordinary world where death was only a word, and its effects a distant problem.

But since July 6, 2002 death pretty much has stayed close by. It does it through memories of a past that was severed from me in a way that has me wondering if that past life even happened.

I guess because life continues to change, and that is inevitable.

We who become widowed make this journey sometimes feeling connected, and sometimes feeling quite alone.

I've often since that day have found myself shaking my head and wondering about the identities I've assumed as I grow older and cross newer paths.

It's not easy.

But this type of journey does strengthen us in a way where we can face that next inevitable occurrence in our lives.

The journey helps us appreciate whatever moments we have here mainly in the small things, not so much the big things.

I continue to write my stories, self publish them, and live a much more narrower life in terms of my connections to the world.

As a result I sometimes find myself connected more to the past than to a future that at the present is not quite so clear.

And so I live and appreciate small moments and any of the good things that come my way.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Excerpt of Marie Visone Roy's

"Are we getting a Christmas tree this year?" Zachary squinted up at her, his three foot five inch frame fidgeting beneath her struggling fingers. His large brown eyes remained fixed on her face as he waited for her answer. 
When she realized he actually expected a response from her, she stopped pulling at the stuck zipper. “Zach, where’s your mind at? Have you forgotten we’re only into July?" She resumed the yanking trying not to let his words distract her from the task at hand, which was to free the damn zipper, and promised herself that his next raincoat would contain only snaps and no zipper.  
"I know that!” He rolled his eyes. “But last night I dreamt that you and dad were fighting over which tree to cut down. At least I think it was Dad. Maybe it was an angel. I saw a movie the other night at Tommy’s house. They had a bunch of angels playing baseball. Do you think Dad will come down here and play baseball with me? I bet if we get a tree, he’ll even help us decorate it. I want to have Christmas here this year, instead of going to Gram's house. Dad said we should stay here for Christmas."  
“He did, did he? And when did he tell you this?”  
“Last night. In my dream. Aren’t you listening? We have to stay here for Christmas. Dad wants us to stay here,” he emphasized. “He said you can make those gingerbread cookies you always used to make for us.” His eyes took on a look that could make her feel sad along with some guilt.  
“Look, Zach, Gram will be disappointed if we don't go visit her at Christmas. She looks forward to us coming down. Besides, we don’t have to do what our dreams tell us. They’re only dreams, they’re not real.” Their life had become more surreal than not with the passing of her husband five years before. Since then, each day had become a reminder of that void. Zach was determined to keep his dad alive through these dreams he kept having every night.  
"Why can't Gram fly up here instead? At least we get snow up here. It’s never going to snow in Florida. It never feels like Christmas down there. It’s not the same."  
"I thought you enjoy helping Gram put up her tree," Lacy reminded him, hoping he would agree and they could end the discussion. At the same time it made her wonder why they were even having this conversation what with summer having just begun.  
Zachary glanced toward the end of the driveway. "Yeah, well…” He turned back to her. “Why does it always have to be at her house? It's just not the same having it there!" He glanced down at his toe and dug the tip of his sneaker into the soft rain soaked earth until the top turned a muddy brown. He stared at it. Then he looked back at her. "Besides, Christmas trees aren't supposed to be all white. And Gram puts on those dumb pink bulbs. I never get to throw the silver stuff Dad used to like."  
Lacey sighed brushing a stray lock of hair from her forehead. Five years should have helped ease the pain so that there wouldn’t be any more of these arguments. The distance between her and Zach widened when they found themselves at odds with each other and returned to where emotions refused to become buried in the past along with Charlie.