It must have been a year ago that I read an article about research that showed people who sat for longer lengths of time died earlier. The researchers emphasized that they weren't studying a sedentary lifestyle, they were studying length of time sitting. So someone who exercised faithfully for one hour a day and spent the rest of the day at a desk job might sit longer than a store clerk who came from work, watched TV and never exercised.
I saved the article, thinking it a curious fact that might make an interesting blog. I was concerned that I spent way too much time sitting at the computer, but I seemed helpless to change my own behavior. Photo editing can’t be done standing up!
About six months ago I read another article about the same subject. This researcher delved a little deeper into why the statistics showed sitting was a statistical predictor of early death. He proposed things like - people who sat a lot tended to snack on unhealthy food - vending machine snacks at the office, large sodas in the car, ice cream and chips in front of the television. Or sitting could effect circulation to legs and feet. Again I saved the article, but again I never wrote the blog, or acted on the advice.
Then I developed two mild symptoms. They came on a couple of months apart so I wasn't sure whether they were related. One of the symptoms was abdominal pain on my left side - not severe, but nagging. If you look up abdominal pain, all of the scary stuff is on the right side. I am pretty self aware, and I’m not afraid to experiment with myself. I tried different supplements, switching out some neutral foods, changed up my exercise. The pain did not respond to any of those variations. There were only two things I noticed with any consistency - the pain moved around and (I bet you see this coming) it was worse on days when I did a lot of sitting. In fact on days when I walked around all day with 20 pounds of camera equipment on my back, I didn’t hurt at all.
Eventually I went to the doctor. He said the abdominal pain was muscular skeletal. So I called my Strong Son the Physical Therapist. He stretched me out on the sofa, checked me over, and said that he is certain I have a slightly bulging disk at L1 or L2. None of the tests he did indicated a severe bulge, but the location of the pain is consistent for the nerves that come out of L 1 and 2.
He says that when I sit and bend over to work on the computer I increase the pressure on the nerve. When I arch my back, it reverses the bulge and relieves the pain. He gave me two exercises to do, and I am getting better.
But I know what I really need to do. I need to get up from the computer more often, and stop sitting for long periods of time. Precisely what the article said a year ago. If you are sitting too much, don’t wait, like I did, for something uncomfortable to develop. Get up and get moving.
About a year ago, our Strong Son decided to train for a triathlon. In High School he ran track and cross country. He swam on our local swim team from 4th grade through high school, then swam on his High School swim team. He has enjoyed riding bicycles for fun, but had never ridden competitively. He decided to buy a better bicycle and start to train.
He did his first triathlon in the spring, and has done several since then. HH and I have been looking for time when we could go and cheer him on. We finally got the opportunity.
For me as a photographer, the transition zone was a great place to start. I got him jumping into the water and coming out. Then HH and I took a shortcut to a spot on the bicycle route where we would see him twice. A half a block away he ran by us on the first part of the run.
We took another short cut and I was waiting with my camera at the finish line. SS finished 14 out of 54 in his age group. For HH and me it was like a trip back in time to all of the swim and track meets we used to attend when he was young.
SS has always eaten healthy compared to most young adults his age. We ate healthy at home, and his High School track coach encouraged the runners to stay away from sodas and junk food. But training for triathlons has made him take a personal interest in nutrition. He has read a lot and is striking his own balance between what trainers recommend and what the Blood Type diet recommends. For instance, he eats a lot of carbs before an event, but does not load up on bread or pasta. He stays away from high fructose and sodium (supposed) sports drinks, but he does drink coconut water.
I am delighted that he is doing his own research and experimenting to see how his body responds.
As we were waiting for one of his friends to finish the triathlon, I noticed a very fit, muscular young man sitting on a blanket nearby. He wore a tri shirt that said “Powered by Veggie Fuel” The visual implication was that he was vegetarian if not vegan. I wanted to go up and ask if he knew his blood type. I had just gathered up my nerve when he and his friends packed up their blankets and moved off.
From my futile attempts at vegetarianism back in my pre-BTD health nut days, I know that I could not stay healthy enough without flesh foods to exercise much less participate in a triathlon. SS has discovered the same thing about his Type O body. I’m guessing this young man was a Type A. I wish I had acted more quickly and asked him.
I am at DD’s house today. SIL is going on an overnight Men’s Retreat with their church, and I am going to keep DD and BC company while he is gone.
DD has always liked soy nuts. She likes the taste and she likes the crunch. But soy nuts are expensive. And it is hard to find soy nuts without salt. I have been known to put a package of unsalted soy nuts in her Christmas stocking. They are that much of a treat for her.
She was at the store recently and found a bag of soy beans. She mistook them for soy nuts until she got home and looked at the bag more closely. Rather than being irritated, she went online and found out that she could make soy nuts at home out of the soy beans.
That is what we have been doing this morning - besides watching an adorable 5 month old creep and roll and kick all over the living room floor.
Here is how she made them:
Soak the soybeans overnight.
Rinse them and let them drain in a colander.
Spray olive oil cooking spray on a pan, add the soy beans, then spray a little more olive oil on top of the beans.
Cook for 15 mins at 400 degrees – then stir them around
Cook another 25-30 mins, then remove them from the oven.
Add salt if you must.
I tried some of the first batch. They are delicious - just as crunchy as packaged soy nuts, but - honestly - much more flavorful.
DD began to wonder if she could do the same with other vegetables. I said that I had eaten crunchy green beans and peas out of packages from the health food store. I thought they were delicious, but they were so expensive that I rarely bought them.
DD had some English peas in her refrigerator, so we tried cooking them in the same way she had cooked the soybeans. They didn’t need to cook quite as long, but again they were delicious.
She and I are both very excited about this. Crunchy vegetables are such an easy snack. You can eat them in the car, or grab a handful when you are busy. When you make them yourself, they are no more expensive than cooking fresh vegetables.
When I first started the BTD I was intrigued by the idea of eating dandelions. I remember buying a bunch at a specialty store. They were in pretty sad shape. I let them soak in water for a long time to perk them up. They tasted good in salad, but they were hard to find on a regular basis.
Because they are good for indigestion and water retention, I bought some dandelion capsules. I don’t take them every day, but I often put them in my vitamin box every other day.
In the city, dandelions are weeds, but when we moved to the Hill Country, we considered them wild flowers. If the rain comes at the right time, I have hundreds in our yard. I have often wondered if I could harvest them and eat them, but I’ve never had the nerve. There’s too much city girl in me, I guess.
I’ve been corresponding with a distant cousin about genealogy, and she told me a story that increases my interest in dandelion. Three of my great grandfathers fought in the War Between the States. I have been able to find out the service of all three of them. James left Texas with Terry’s Texas Rangers. He was wounded at Shiloh in 1862, but recovered. However, when he was injured twice on the same day in 1864 at Cassville, Georgia, he was discharged and sent home.
Today discharged and sent home, would mean getting a shower and clean clothes, then being put on a plane and flown back to your home town. Not so in the 1860s. There was no public transportation, and Southern soldiers had no money. Most of them walked home, camping out or stopping for rest at friendly farms or ranches.
My cousin says that oral history in her side of the family holds that Grandfather James said he would have starved to death if it hadn’t been for dandelions. Often he picked and ate those wild greens as he walked from Georgia back to Texas. History records that he started back in February. There is no record of when he arrived home, but he would have been traveling during the springtime, when the dandelions were blooming.
That doesn’t give me a clue about his Blood Type, since dandelions are beneficial for all types except Type Bs, However it makes me think more boldly about eating the dandelions in my yard.
While these might appear to be rather diverse topics, they have something in common - our Darling Daughter. Two weeks ago DD and our sweet grandbaby BC came to our house. Our Son in Love was going to youth camp with the kids in his church. He didn’t want DD to be at home alone with the baby, so we enjoyed four nights and five days with our grandson who was almost four months old.
DD said she had a request to make, if we had the emotional stamina to take it. That got our curiosity up. It turns out that BC, precious as he is, refused to sleep in his bed. When he was a newborn, they planned to have him sleep in a bassinet in their room. But he didn’t like sleeping on his back, the way they recommend newborns sleep these days. To keep him from crying they let him sleep in their arms or on their chests. While that might have been sweet and practical with a newborn, at four months it was getting tiring. DD would nurse him and he would fall asleep in her arms. She would transfer him to the bed and he would instantly wake, and if she didn’t pick him up he would cry inconsolably.
When my own children were little, it had become popular to “just let them cry it out.” “Put them in bed,” my friends said. “They will fuss for about 20 minutes and fall asleep. The next night they will fuss for 15, and in a couple of nights you will put them to bed and they will just fall asleep.” I tried this method with our Strong Son. He cried for five hours. My sleep deprived husband said, “I’m not going to be able to work tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep.” I nursed him, rocked him and said I would never do that again.
When DD was a baby again friends told me to “just let them cry it out.” Against my better judgment, I decided to try again. She cried hysterically for more than an hour, then suddenly the pitch of her cry changed. I was afraid she had hurt herself or caught her leg on her crib. I opened the door to a horrific smell. She had a dirty diaper and it had leaked all over the bed. It was on her pajamas, and in her hair. We bathed her, put on fresh clothes, changed the sheets and said never, never will we do this again.
I don’t know what has happened in the intervening years, but today parents are being given the same advice. One of DD’s friends has two boys, and the “cry it out” technique didn’t work with them either. But she did her own variation. She sat in a chair beside the bed the first night and sang to them until they fell asleep. She did the same in subsequent nights until her boys could put themselves to sleep. DD wanted to try this variation, but SIL couldn’t stand to hear his son cry. She hoped to try it at our house.
The first night she sat by his bed stroking his head and singing while he fussed, whimpered, and clutched a blanket. After 45 minutes he was asleep. He woke once to nurse in the night and went right back to sleep in his bed. The second night he fussed for 20 minutes with her sitting beside the bed assuring him he had not been abandoned. The fussy period was shorter the third night. The last night she put him in bed, he sighed, grabbed the blanket and went to sleep. When they got home, SIL was delighted at the change.
None of that has anything to do with the BTD, it’s just the best advice for getting a baby to put himself or herself to sleep that I know. I’ve wanted to share it in my blog, but wanted to make some kind of BTD connection. This week we are at DD’s house, babysitting while DD and SIL work on a service project with the youth in their church. BC still goes right to sleep in his bed, the way he did at our house.
One day for lunch, DD said, “Mom, would you like to try millet pancakes?” It turns out that a few weeks ago she had been craving millet cornbread, but didn’t have time to bake bread. She mixed up the batter, poured it out on a griddle like pancakes, and it cooked quickly. She told me it was delicious.
I made eggs, she made pancakes, I cut up fruit and we had a delicious brunch. You can get the millet corn bread recipe here. The only change DD makes is that instead of 1/3 cup honey she uses a little less than 1/3 cup agave.
It is a delicious breakfast or brunch for a mother who has enjoyed 8 hours of sleep because her 100% breastfed four month old can sleep through the night.