Perhaps you’ve noticed that I haven’t written nearly as much about bicycling for exercise since I moved to the country. My parents gave me a bicycle when I was about 12 years old. I took care of it, and it lasted for many years. The fact that it didn’t have gears was not an issue because I had always lived in cities with flat terrain. But when we moved to the Hill Country, things changed. The first time I tried to ride, I couldn’t even get to the top of our driveway. A few weeks later I came across a notice in “Want to Buy” on craigslist from a girl who wanted an old fashioned bicycle with wide tires. I sold it to her.
DD and SS both had mountain bikes that we had bought at department stores. DD and I rode together last year, but even with the gears, SS’s bike was hard to ride. There just are no flat streets or paths in the Hill Country. Everything is either up or down. Add to that, I’ve never liked riding a man’s bike. Then the last straw - his bike developed squeaky breaks and a wobbly back tire. The bike shop told me it would cost more to repair it than I had paid for it. We donated it to a charity that repairs broken bikes and gives them to children at Christmas.
Though I rode DD’s bike occasionally last fall, I knew I would need to buy another bike before she got home for the summer. I sought the advice of two friends who are serious cyclists. Both of them told me not to spend money on another department store bike. They said that for hills, I would be happier if I invested in a serious bike. I wasn’t sure I would be happy paying 2-3 times the price.
I began to watch craigslist for a used ladies Trek. Sometimes I called to late – the bike had already been sold. Sometimes the asking price was too high for a used bike. Other times the price was right, but the bikes were rusty or in need of repair. I began to wonder if I was being too picky or too cheap.
Yesterday I saw a newly posted ad for a Trek for $250. I had hoped to spend less than $200, but the seller still had the original paperwork and he was willing to deliver the bike. There wasn’t a scratch or a flake of rust on it. This morning I went for my first ride. My friends were right – the Trek is noticeably superior to the department store bikes. On DDs bike I sometimes had to traverse to get to the top of a hill. The Trek went straight up every hill, and I never even used the lowest gear.
Biking is the kind of vigorous exercise that is good for Type Os. DD and I will ride together all summer. Now that I have a bike that is fun to ride, I expect I’ll be peddling up and down the hills several times a week.
I have always tried to find good watermelons by patting them and listening for an echo. Sometimes I would pick a good one, but sometimes I got a dud. Usually I wait until June to buy them, because early watermelons can be flavorless.
Watermelon is super beneficial for Hunters and Gatherers, and I’ve been longing for one. Somewhere I read that the best watermelons have a large yellow spot where they rested on the ground. So I decided to buy a May watermelon. I didn’t thump or pat. I picked the one with the biggest and brightest yellow spot.
It was fabulous: sweet, crisp, and full of flavor. I will have to see if the yellow spot hint works every time.
I read an interesting statement today by CS Lewis, “Niceness is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up nice; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world. For mere improvement is not redemption.”
If everyone recognized the wisdom of the BTD, and began to eat right, it would make them feel better. But eating right will not change a person’s heart. While pointing people I meet to a better way to eat in a good thing, it is far better when I can point people to the loving God who created them and who longs for them to repent and turn to Him.
My Strong Son is starting his second physical therapy internship in the same city where my Darling Daughter goes to college. The first week of his internship was the last week of her freshman year. They had a lot of fun hanging out at night. He watched basketball while she studied for finals, then they went to the gym together. On Friday my husband and I joined them for much more than Mother’s Day. It was Mother’s Weekend.
Friday night they took me to a local steak house for dinner. My steak came with grilled onions and peppers, green beans, and a huge sweet potato. While we were waiting for our meal, they gave me my first gift. It is a balance disc. DD has used them at the college gym this year. SS has used them with patients at PT school. They tell me that as I use it with my regular weight exercises, it will force me to use my abs and strengthen my core. I can hardly wait to get it home and try it.
After dinner we went to a two mile hike and bike trail. The landscaping was very well done, and lots of people were out getting their evening exercise.
Saturday morning we went to the zoo. The weather was cool, and the animals were really active. We saw flamingos fighting over nesting sites, jaguars climbing trees, and lions strolling majestically. We got to the monkey cages at feeding time. The colobus monkeys were munching on kale and collards. They don’t like the tough inner stems any more than people do. But their obvious enjoyment of the raw leaves, made DD and me decide to try one of the raw kale salad recipes this summer.
SS’s girlfriend and her mom came to see us Saturday afternoon. They were bringing DD some rugs, accessories, and knick knacks for her apartment next year. We all went out for barbeque for dinner. The turkey was delicious, and I got to choose my own vegetables from a buffet line. After dinner we went to a paleteria. This was my first visit to a Mexican ice cream shop. I tasted several flavors, but finally chose a mango paleta. It looked like a Popsicle or ice cream bar, but it was made with fresh fruit. I had expected it to be very sweet, like a Baskin Robbins ice, but it wasn’t. I’m sure some sugar was added, but it certainly wasn’t an excessive amount.
Sunday morning the kids came to the hotel to pick us up for church. They brought me a lovely bouquet of yellow flowers – daises, roses, and some little flowers I’m not familiar with. After church we had Chinese food at a local restaurant DD likes because they will custom steam her food the way she likes it. It was delicious – just fresh food – no chemicals added.
It’s been a wonderful Mother’s Weekend – great food, exercise every day, and being with my favorite people in the whole world.
When I was shopping in anticipation of Spring Break, the magazine rack at the check out stand was filled with pictures of the First Lady in an attractive red dress with her arm draped over the back of a White House sofa. I could not help but observe that she had nice muscle tone.
On the way home, I heard a news commentary on the radio gushing about the fashion statement the First Lady had made at the State of the Union address by daring to wear a sleeveless dress in February into the hallowed halls of Congress. The commentator spoke of an uproar in the fashion industry, and how companies were reworking their upcoming lines to show more bare arms.
While I was in that frame of mind, DD came in from college. Her first night home, she, her Dad and I took a power walk up and down the hills of our neighborhood. She and I walked with weights. She was showing me new triceps exercises that she has learned from the football players who work out in the gym at her school. It is certainly paying off for her. Her overall muscle tone is ideal – firm yet feminine. Even the fawning commentator, would have to admit that DD’s arms rank right up there with Mrs. Obama’s
Twice during her Spring Break we went to the little gym in our neighborhood and worked on our arm muscles. Then my strong son came home. He talked with me about strengthening my core, and how that would prevent osteoporosis. He showed me exercises to strengthen my lats and my rhomboids. SS reminded me that while a person may feel stronger and increase the amount of weight he or she can lift when they start a new exercise regimen, they do not actually start building new muscle tissue for six weeks. He emphasized that to strengthen my knee, my core, and my arms, I have to be committed to the exercises for the long haul.
The Hunter in me would much rather get out and run or ride my bicycle, than do repetitive weight work. DD and SS, each in their own ways, have forced me to recognize that I must commit myself to push through (what I consider to be) boring exercises if I want to see results. Ok, Ok I get the picture. It will take perseverance to get a strong spine, sturdy knees, and Obama Arms.
I have mentioned in past blogs that my right knee is weaker than my left one. It doesn't hurt all the time, but if I move it in the wrong way it is sore for several days. I particularly notice the soreness when DD and I do exercises that involve lunges. My right knee does not like lunges or pliés.
SS has started his first physical therapy internship. When he was home for Christmas, I asked why my knee was that way. He got a mad scientist gleam in his eye and had me stretch out on the floor. He twisted and turned my leg. He did strength tests. He told me that my right knee cap slips out of the groove when I put it in certain positions. He promised to look up the exercises I needed to do to strengthen the muscles that hold my kneecap in place.
He mailed me nine exercises. The muscle and ligament that support the knee cap also attach to the hip joint, so I am doing quadriceps strengthening and stretching plus iliotibial band and hip adductor strengthening.
In the past when injuries or disease got so painful that surgery was required, physical therapy was prescribed to aid recovery. Then orthopedists began prescribing PT before surgery. Some patients improved so much that surgery became unnecessary. The momentum for the future is that physical therapists would become primary care physicians for muscular skeletal problems. People like me who have a minor problem will use PT to solve it early rather than waiting until pain is acute.
Think of the way dental treatment has changed in the last 60 years. In my grandparents' day tooth decay and gum disease were normal. If someone lived long enough, a dentist pulled all their teeth and built dentures for them. Now children and adults go in for preventive dentistry once or twice a year. Decay and gum disease are stopped before they do damage. Hardly anyone needs dentures any more. PTs can imagine a day when joint pain is dealt with early and routinely, and surgeries are limited to repairing broken bones and other accident related injuries. I guess I'm a guinea pig for the new ideal.
SS says the hospital where he is working has a lunch special for employees: meat and vegetables for $2.50. He said, "I can't buy groceries and cook for myself for that price. The food is really good too." He is eating like an O and thinking preventive health care. I couldn't be more pleased. Now, I'm going to go do my exercises before I go to bed.
A short, violent spring thunderstorm dumped 5 inches of rain on our hillside and washed out part of the path around our back yard. We postponed repairing it all summer because we couldn’t decide what would be the most attractive and most durable material.
For several days we thought Hurricane Ike was going to come straight at us, and we quickly got serious about flood and erosion control. We decided that a lot of the damage that occurred last spring could have been prevented if we had a berm in one particular area. I started hauling rocks for the 10 foot long mound. I gathered some rocks from our property. I hauled others from the discard piles at a nearby construction site.
When I do this kind of physical labor, I’m not concerned about exercising! Setting aside a time to exercise on exercise equipment wearing designer exercise apparel, is definitely an urban phenomena. My farming and ranching grandparents didn’t worry about getting enough exercise, they worried about getting enough rest.
Lifting rocks is at least as hard as lifting weights. Climbing up a hill with a bucket of dirt gets my heart rate up at least as fast as a treadmill. My back has been a little stiff when I waked in the morning, but it quickly limbers up. I believe I’m getting stronger. It’s a good, healthy feeling.
When I’ve not been hauling rocks, I’ve been sending out my resume. I told our principal a year ago that when DD graduated, that I would resign from my job teaching journalism. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping the kids publish the yearbook and school newspaper. But I’m eager to return to doing the work of a writer, photographer and graphic designer myself.
It’s been a while since I searched for a job. Some of the rules have changed. The internet has made it both harder and easier to get noticed. I’m excited about the possibilities.
I have had one of the most breathtakingly wonderful experiences of my life. It started with an ordinary event – exercise.
While I was at my parent’s house it was hard to exercise. The days were busy ones, with much to do to take care of my Dad. The days were also hot and humid. Nights were plesant, but it made my mother very nervous for me to be out walking by myself at dusk. Two days I went anyway, against her wishes. Some days I did T-Tapp in the living room after everyone was asleep. Some days I missed out on exercise.
The first day I was at home, DD and I went for a power walk with weights. It was wonderful to charge up and down the hills in the fresh air. Over the weekend we went for a bicycle ride. We pushed ourselves hard, riding for about an hour.
As we came back home, we startled four deer in our neighbor’s front yard. Two of them took off down our driveway, heading into the trees behind our house. The other two began to run down our street. They were running right beside me, neck and neck with my bicycle, perhaps four or five feet from me.
I could see their beautiful eyes and watch their graceful strides. We were side by side for several hundred feet, then they sped up, crossing the road in front of me. They leaped effortlessly across the bar ditch and disappeared into the trees.
It was a magical moment.
One quick followup to my blog about edamame. A stomach virus swept through the store where DD works. She had fever and cramping, and she felt pretty miserable. It was not caused by the edamame pods. A virus is a virus and it has to run its course. But I don’t think that the extra amount of fiber helped her recovery any. Even though she is able to swallow the whole edamame, she agrees that from now on, whe will just eat the beans, not the pods.
We stopped for lunch in Elizabethtown at a restaurant called Texas Outlaw BBQ. When we walked in we said, "We're from Texas, will we feel like home?" The hostess laughed.
I ordered brisket, DD and HH ordered turkey. In Texas, most barbeque restaurants serve pinto beans, potato salad, cole slaw, and fries. This restaurant had lots of vegetables including green beans and broccoli, which I ordered. They even had sweet potato for an extra charge. My meal was delicious. My husband ordered beans with his turkey. They weren't pinto beans. They were some kind of small bean in a sweet sauce. This Kentucky restaurant would have Texas barbeque beat - - except for the northern beans!
After a day of driving and museums, DD and I were ready for a hike. We stopped at a visitor center and inquired about local trails. The lady suggested a 5-mile path around Freeman Lake. It was perfect. The lake was lovely. We saw flocks of Canadian geese and we even came around a curve and surprised a deer. Part of the trail was through lush trees; part was through lakeside meadows filled with wildflowers.
My husband didn't make the hike. His leg is bothering him. Ever since back surgery 23 years ago, he has a sensitive spot on one of his nerves. We have been so careful not to let him load suitcases in the car. I hope it is just the result of a lot of driving today.
The first white man to find Cumberland Falls was Zechariah Green. He and his men were floating down the Cumberland River when they heard ominous noises ahead. They quickly abandoned their boat and swam for shore. From there they watched the boat go over the falls.
We were not nearly so much danger as we walked beside the river, climbing up and down so that we got to see the falls from both the top and the bottom.
Tonight we enjoyed Chinese food at a restaurant where our Strong Son enjoys getting take-out food. The menu gave us the choice of a dinner, which included entrée, rice, egg roll and soup, or “a la carte” which was just the entrée and rice. My husband, DD, and I all ordered a la carte, and had more than enough food. SS ordered the dinner and loved every bite.
I ordered Imperial Beef. It included, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, and water chestnuts. The vegetables were fresh and cooked perfectly. DD had Green Bean Chicken. I tasted one of her green beans and they were so good they inspire me to try cooking fresh green beans when we get home.
SS devoted most of the evening to studying. I asked him to explain something that he was learning that he had never known before. He said that he hadn’t known there are three systems to get energy to cells: Creative Phosphate, Glycolytic, and Aeorbic. CP provides a quick boost of energy and is rapidly depleted. Glycolytic can last longer than the CP, but glycogen breakdown is incomplete, so lactic acid is formed as a by product. Both of those systems are anaerobic.
The aerobic system uses oxygen and burns glucose. It can take up to 5 minutes to get this system functioning, but once it’s going it can continue as long as there are stored fats and carbohydrates available.
I’ve heard about aerobic exercise for years, and for the first time I understand why it is important. The first systems are only good for a sprint or for picking up a heavy object. They do not burn stored body fat. For weight loss, you don’t want a quick short burst of activity. Aerobic exercise is what allows you to sustain your activity and actually start to use up stored fat. This is why Dr. D recommends 30 – 35 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week for Type As. For Type Os he recommends 45 – 60 minutes at least 3 times a week.
I find myself thinking of Green and his party again. As they paddled downstream, they were getting sustained aerobic exercise. But when they jumped overboard and swam for shore, they had to have switched to their Creative Phosphate and Glycolytic systems.
Today’s activities highlighted how seriously some people take animal nutrition and how little thought they put into their own diets. I doubt that Kentucky is all that different from any other part of the country; it’s just that the contrast was so obvious at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The Kentucky Horse Park is like a theme park – except there aren’t rides. It’s like a museum – except there are shows and activities. It is a wonderful place to learn all about horses and see close up some of the things that horses can do.
We wanted to have lunch in between two of the shows. The restaurant serves cafeteria style, and at first, there didn’t seem to be anything but sandwiches and wraps. Then we came to the salads, but they were pre-made with bacon and fried chicken. At last, at the end of the line, DD and I found what we wanted – plate lunches with a meat and two sides. One of the meat choices was a half of a baked chicken. DD and I decided that we would get one plate lunch with mixed vegetables and green beans. We would add a side order of green beans, and share. It was a good plan and it worked.
When we paid for our meal at the end of the line they charged us $2.50 for the extra green beans. Behind us was a boy who wanted an extra order of French fries. They charged him $3.00. DD and I found this to be amusing. People are willing to pay more for fries than they are for vegetables.
All through the park there is an emphasis on proper nutrition for the animals. The owners and trainers want the horses to be sleek, fast, and in good health. But the snack stands and much of the food in the restaurant play to the lowest desires of the human visitors.
SS asked if his grandfather had made progress learning to walk again, and I gave him an update. He took my observations and explained what is happening physiologically. Both neurological components and immobility components are at work, he said. At first, right after the accident, it was all neurological. The head injury was real, and it interfered with the nerves to his leg. However being in a wheel chair for 18 months has affected his ability to use his muscles and joints properly.
There is no way to know how much of the problem now is neurological and how much is immobility. It’s possible that permanent nerve damage was done. It is also possible that his current problems are not the result of the head injury at all. SS said that immobility perpetuates itself. Muscles shrink when they are not used. The lubricating fluids that allow joints to move properly are not made until the joint moves.
Keep yourself moving with the right exercise for your type. Don’t let immobility rob you of your ability to have an active lifestyle now and in the future.
When we travel, we picnic two meals a day and eat out one. This saves money and time, plus it makes it easier to stay within BTD boundaries.
Every motel we are staying in on this trip has a continental breakfast. Most of the time that means wheat and orange juice. DD and I don’t even go to look at the breakfast any more. We bring nuts and dried fruit with us. I pick up fresh fruit at local grocery stores. My husband and son check out the breakfast buffet. If it’s donuts and bagels, they come back to the room for trail mix. If it’s muffins and cereal, they stay. This morning they stayed, and when they got back they told me that there were hard-boiled eggs. I went down and picked up two for a snack later in the day.
At the meal we eat out, we order things that aren’t practical to carry in our ice chest. I usually look for beef and fresh vegetables. For lunch today, our son took us to Qdoba. It is a lot like Chipotle, but better. I had a naked burrito – in other words a burrito without the tortilla. It had black beans, shredded beef, rice with cilantro and Romaine lettuce.
Dinner was a picnic in our hotel room. I brought a loaf of Ezekiel in my suitcase. I don’t know how hard it will be to find healthy bread here. DD had a peanut butter and blueberry Simply Fruit sandwich. HH and SS had turkey and soy cheese sandwiches. I had a can of salmon and a can of asparagus mixed together with a little olive oil in a bowl.
There is a nice fitness room at our motel. All of us except HH worked out on the machines. SS told us more about what he is learning about muscles. He said it is important to spend equal time working out chest and back muscles. Because body builders over emphasize pectorals, many of them spend incredible amounts of time doing bench presses, and never work out their backs. Often they wind up hunched over and in pain.
This blog sounds like all we did is eat and exercise. Of course that is not true. We spent the day exploring the incredibly beautiful horse farm country. We got to meet some famous racehorses, and watch some little colts scamper after their mothers in the pastures.
Finding beneficial food when traveling is always an adventure. Today we left on a 10-day trip to visit our Strong Son and do some sightseeing in Kentucky. The first challenge was making sure we would have food to eat on the airplane.
Last summer we didn’t take a vacation because we were moving. The three previous summers we had driven to our destination. So I hadn’t been on an airplane since 2003. I went on the internet to see what kind of food I could and couldn’t take on the plane. The big prohibitions were liquids, gels, and oils. There was little about food per se.
I fixed turkey and soy cheese on Ezekiel bread for my husband. That seemed totally safe. For DD I fixed peanut butter and pineapple on Ezekiel bread. I worried a little about whether security would question the peanut butter. However, it was my bowl of leftover chicken and vegetables that concerned me the most. There was nothing on the TSA website prohibiting meat, greens, or beans. But I knew that if they opened the container and poked around in it with gloved fingers, that I’d throw it away. I packed the homemade power bars in luggage I checked. They are chewy, and I had to admit they looked suspicious. For the flight we would eat packaged protein bars and apple slices
All of our carry on luggage sailed through the x-ray machines with ease. We ate a beneficial lunch in the gate waiting area.
SS e-mailed directions to a restaurant called Ramseys. All he told us was that it was typical Kentucky cooking. The entrees came with three vegetables, and there were lots of good choices. I had pot roast, which was tender and delicious. With it I had kale (I’ve never seen kale in a restaurant before), honey-mustard carrots, and yellow squash with onions. Of the three, the kale was my favorite.
Our son is learning things in PT school that are useful to the Blood Type lifestyle. Tonight we talked about exercises my Dad could do to strengthen the muscles in his legs. SS said that when you first start exercising, your body adjusts to the increased activity by compensating with existing strengths. It takes about six weeks before muscle fibers start breaking down, and new muscle starts building.
How many people have I known who exercised faithfully for a month, then quit because they couldn’t see any results? I’ve known a few who became discouraged after a week! According to SS, they haven’t even started building muscle yet. Exercise isn’t a short term quick fix; it is a lifetime commitment.
My legs are sore! DD and I are always looking for creativity and variety in our exercise. We have found a new leg exercise. There is a hill near our home that is too steep for either of us to ride up on our bicycles. We have to get off and push. Today we rode to the bottom of the hill. That in itself is good exercise. There are several challenging hills between our house and the big one.
We walked up the hill backwards. I could feel burning in my leg muscles. Obviously I was using muscles that I missed in my regular exercise routines. We walked down the hill backwards. More muscles burned. Then we walked up the hill backwards on tiptoes - twice. We rode our bikes home and enjoyed a big glass of water!
If this does not sound like a strenuous workout to you, find a hill and try it. If you don't find yourself walking a little more slowly and carefully the next day, you are in much better shape than DD and me!