I’ve been doing a different kind of exercise for the past two months that has had unexpectedly good results.
Last spring, a friend in the neighborhood had guests from up north who wanted to experience life in Texas. They did tourist things like the Alamo and the LBJ Library. But they also did some activities that are ordinary in Texas, but not so common in other states. One of the things they did was attend a line dancing class at a local community center. My friend was so enthusiastic about it that three of us decided we wanted to give the class a try.
The class is taught as an exercise class, but the group also performs at local events – like fireman’s picnics, Lion’s Club barbeques, and retirement centers.
The first thing that surprised me was that this really was good physical exercise. I’m in pretty good shape, but after an hour of dancing my heart rate is up and I’m breathing faster than normal. It is also great for balance, something my Physical Therapist son encourages me to work on.
The second thing was the realization that this was going to be good mental exercise as well. In an hour we do eight to ten dances. Each one has a unique pattern of steps. The first month I felt lost most of the time. I began to wonder if it would ever make sense. Gradually the steps became easier, and I found that when the music started my feet remembered the pattern.
We don’t do the same dances every week. I have no idea how many are in the total repertoire. The teacher has a stack of CDs that she brings each week. Some dances we repeat often. Others are dances the group has done in the past and everyone knows the steps except the new members. We stumble along feeling clueless. The others tell us not to worry, that we will eventually get it.
I read comments on the Forum from time to time from people who have trouble disciplining themselves to exercise. Check with your local community center. Perhaps there is a dancing class that reflects your local culture. You can have fun and exercise at the same time.
I’m not ready to join the performance group yet, but I see the potential that one day I might buy a pair of boots and give it a whirl.
I had two really happy blogs planned in my head - - until yesterday’s Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare as Constitutional. This will be short: You are now more responsible for your own healthcare than ever before.
If you are old like me (I’m a year away from 60) – Medicare will not be there for you. Medicare funding is being stripped to pay for Medicaid. If you are overweight, better lose it now…you will not get the hip or knee replacement you are going to need. If your blood sugar is high, better get it down…diabetics are high risk, and will have their health care rationed. Same for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
If you are young – your health care costs will skyrocket, though that may be hidden by artificial low fees at the doctor's office. It's the new taxes that go into effect after the elections that are frightening. I am also concerned about rationed care for babies born with disabilities. A friend had a Downs baby several years ago who was born with a hole in his heart. The surgery to repair his heart was covered by insurance. It will not be long before surgery will be denied in cases like this.
I am sick (pardon the pun) of hearing about how wonderful and inexpensive health care is in Europe. Read the news! Europe is bankrupt. They are all jockeying for position to have the United States and China bail out their economies. Now the US is headed for bankruptcy as well.
The only bright spot I find in all of this is that I have been serious about managing my own health since I was 23. When I started the BTD in 2003 (and as a Type O eliminated wheat and most dairy from my diet) I conquered inflammation and felt better than ever. My BMI is excellent. I am high energy. I do not take any prescription medications.
If you are not serious about your health care, better start. Otherwise you will find yourself in a “dying room” like they have in Chinese orphanages.
You can do this! I believe that God designed our bodies to heal themselves if they are given healthy food and appropriate exercise. Be suspicious of any “one size fits all” plan for eating. You need a health regimen that is appropriate for you as an individual and for your blood type.
A facebook friend posted that she had a soup recipe that called for kale and she was looking for a substitution since she couldn’t find kale at the grocery store in our Hill Country town. I commented that I had never had any trouble finding kale locally. As far as substitutions, I said that any other green should work in a soup recipe, but that kale was worth looking for since it was a beneficial food for everyone.
By then I was hungry for kale. The next day I was in Wal-Mart, and there in the produce department were beautiful bunches of kale. Of course I bought one.
I soaked a pound of black eyed peas overnight, and yesterday morning I started them cooking on low heat in the crock pot with one chopped up onion and two minced cloves of garlic.
When the black eyed peas were just barely done - about midafternoon - I removed half of them from the crock pot. I tore the leafy part of the kale into bite sized pieces and put them in the crock pot. After turning the heat to high, I let them cook for another hour.
The first thing I noticed was that the house didn’t smell like kale. While I think kale tastes good, it has a bad smell when I cook it by itself. Whether it was the crock pot or cooking it in the black eyed pea broth, I don’t know, but there was no smell.
I gave my Honorable Husband the plain black-eyed peas. He does not like cooked greens. I ate the black eyed peas and kale together and thought it was delicious. I probably should have added a little sauce, but in my opinion this was a good combination. Our Darling Daughter was home for the weekend. She, like her father, prefers raw to cooked greens. But she ate the combination and declared it to be good.
The moral of the story is - there is no end to the ways you can cook beneficial vegetables - and - never underestimate what you might find at Wal-Mart!
I meet two friends at the neighborhood fitness center once a week. Last week one of them asked me if I still took calcium supplements after the new report linking calcium supplements with heart attacks. I hadn’t read about the study. Lin came to my rescue and posted a news article about on the Forum. Calcium News
First a disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or nutritionist. I haven’t read the original study reports. However, I have been an avid reader about preventive health care for more than 35 years. What follows is my opinion, plus a few quotes from books that I have found trustworthy.
The thing that jumped out at me in the news article is that it did not mention whether the study distinguished between calcium-only supplements and supplements containing calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D.
Most grocery store calcium is compressed calcium tablets without magnesium. In my opinion those tablets are worthless. Whether they cause heart attacks, I have no idea, but if the study was based on people taking calcium supplements that they buy at the grocery store, the results are skewed from the start.
Compressed tablets are not easily absorbed under the best of circumstances and in older women who are likely to have reduced digestive function, very little of the calcium is absorbed. This advice is under Calcium – Warnings in Prescription for Nutritional Healing. “Test your brand of calcium to assure absorption. Place the calcium pill in a glass of warm water and shake. If the calcium does not dissolve within 24 hours, change to another brand or form.” If you are going to take calcium supplements, do not waste your money on tablets. Get capsules chewables or liquid-gels.
Calcium and Magnesium must be taken together in order for either one of them to be useful. The rule of thumb is 2:1 calcium:magnesium. Some supplement manufacturers vary that ratio a little. Forty years ago Adelle Davis was writing that calcium taken without magnesium would actually cause calcium to be withdrawn from bones. Almost every book on my shelf talks about the importance of magnesium to prevention of heart disease. Here is just one quote from Dr. D in Live Right. “Many people with high cholesterol and triglycerides are magnesium deficient, so you may need a supplement.” If Calcium and Magnesium work together and must be simultaneously in the blood stream, why would anyone expect a Calcium-only supplement to be helpful, and why would anyone be surprised when research shows that it may be harmful?
Calcium and Magnesium need Vitamin D to be absorbed. If you do not get enough sunshine, and/or supplement with Vitamin D, the Calcium supplements you take may not wind up in your bones where you want them. They may wind up in your kidneys as stones or in your arteries as atherosclerosis.
Another factor is fluoride, which binds with calcium and prevents it from getting into bones. As a post menopausal woman, I resent the fact that my tap water is intentionally contaminated with a chemical that will hurt my bones.
The Type O diet doesn’t make getting calcium from food very easy. Most dairy is avoid. The few cheeses that are neutral, I use as garnishes rather than as main courses. Spinach, kale and almonds would be good sources of dietary calcium, if they didn’t contain so much oxalic acid which interferes with absorption and is linked to kidney stones and joint pain.
So I will continue to take calcium supplements in spite of the study. But no grocery store calcium for me. Capsules, chewables, or liquid-gels where calcium is combined with magnesium and Vitamin D.
I am in a book club in my neighborhood. While most book clubs choose a book for everyone to read, we are different. We bring books that we have read and talk about what we liked and didn’t like. Then we lend our books to each other. The only rule is that the books have to have a positive message. The reason most of us joined this club is because we were weary of buying a best seller and finding it full of violence and bad language. I have lent out several of my BTD books to people who were interested.
Several of the ladies like murder mysteries, and a series of murder mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert is particularly popular. We all live in the Texas Hill Country, and the setting for these mysteries is an imaginary Hill Country town. We all like to cook, and the theme of the books is herbs. The heroine owns a herb shop and catering company. In addition to clues there are recipes and fun facts about herbs.
My two favorite genres are classics and historical fiction, but once in a while I get in the mood for a good mystery. Last month I borrowed one of Susan Wittig Albert’s books called Nightshade.
When I picked it up, I was thinking of the lovely purple flowers that grow in my yard. I wasn’t thinking of all of the foods in the nightshade family: potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, and bell peppers.
As I read the history of nightshades, I learned that many cultures have considered them all to be poisonous. Some modern nutritionists associate them with diseases like arthritis.
After the mystery was solved, I thought I would see what Dr. D. had to say about nightshades. Every type except Type A has nightshades that beneficial, neutral, and avoid. I couldn’t find any beneficial nightshades for Type A.
Potatoes are avoid for all types. For me (Type O) Eggplant is neutral, but I don’t really like it. Tomatoes are neutral. I eat them if I find them in a salad, but I don’t buy them. Green bell peppers and tomatillos are neutral. They are ok if they are cooked, but don’t like either of them raw. Red Bell Peppers and chili peppers are beneficial. I like both of them cooked and used as a seasoning, but I don’t like them raw.
The bad elements in Nightshades are compounds called alkaloids. Cooking reduces the alkaloid content by half. Perhaps that is why I instinctively prefer cooked peppers to raw peppers.
The pretty flowers that grow in my yard are called Deadly Nightshade. I’ve noticed that in dry weather the deer will eat almost anything green, but they do not touch the nightshade.
Interesting mystery and interesting food facts.