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Day 15 #NHBPM: I Nominate…. My Incision Blog! November 16, 2012

at a poetry reading

Day 15 – Thursday, Nov. 15

Why healthcare companies (or healthcare professionals) should use social media OR

Nominate someone for a Health Activist Award bit.ly/haawards12 & write a post about why you nominated them!

I am nominating my friend Wendy for the “Best Kept Secret” Health Activist award. Although she has been blogging about a very important health issue for a long time, our bloggy circles haven’t really crossed paths all that much.

I first met Wendy when we were both getting our masters degrees in creative writing. She is an exquisite, sensitive and wonderful writer. We were in a writing group together for over a decade. She is a beautiful soul.

we go way back

Wendy has written poetry, creative nonfiction and blogged about her experience as caregiver for her elderly mother, and as a survivor of infant surgery, from way back in the day when babies who were operated on had no anesthesia and little comfort. It is an experience that can ripple out for a lifetime.

She has recently been sharing her experiences in wider and wider circles – in the medical humanities field, and with individuals, survivors, health professionals and family members of those who have not only had surgery as infants, but who have had other types of trauma. She is a true healer, a generous spirit in every sense of the word. I have been so fortunate to have known her. Last year, at my Stories of the Body retreat, she helped people tell their body’s stories through simple drawing. Soon she will be launching a service where she will be offering guidance to others.

She is truly a gift. I encourage everyone to go read her blog. Check out her beautifully healing art.  Read her poetry and an excerpt from her memoir.

She writes about:

If you are interested in any or all of these topics, go to my dear friend’s blog. It won’t be a secret for long.

 

Day 13 #NHBPM: What Does My Favorite Book Have to Do With My Health? November 13, 2012

Day 13 – Tuesday, Nov. 13

Book report. What’s your favorite book and how can you tie it to your health or life? OR
Write about something taboo

Hmmmm. My favorite book? That’s a tough one. Of course it would be easier to write about my favorite HEALTH book (I think the prize for that goes to Savor). But my all-around favorite book? That’s a very tough call. I have many favorite books.

Okay. I am going to really stretch here.

I’d say that one of my top five favorite books of all time is Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. How much do I love this book?

I’ve read it to myself at least four times. Mr. McBody has read it (out loud) to me at least twice. I have two copies – a dog eared and tattered hard back, a new paperback, and it’s on m Kindle AND my iPhone AND on my computer. When I heard Marilynne Robinson read from it out loud at the Associated Writers Program conference several years ago, I stood in the back of the room and bawled like a baby.

I’d say that pretty well qualifies as a favorite book.

What is it about? It’s a fictional book-length letter written by the Rev. John Ames, as he is in his seventies and dying of heart failure, to his very young son who will most likely never grow up to manhood, knowing his father. The letter serves to convey all the love and messages that the narrator wants to impart to his son – family history, small moments of attention. It’s a long and loving conversation.

When I read this book for the very first time, I cried with my entire soul and body at the end of it. I won’t say more or spoil except to say that it’s about a deep bitterness, and ultimate forgiveness and redemption. Which is surprising and overwhelming.

So.. what does that have to do with my health? Many things.

I think about the legacy and the message I want to leave to my own children. In a way, this blog is like my own version of that – the message I want to leave about what is important to me, what I have learned and what I want to share.

And, I think it is actually not too much of a stretch to think about the own bitterness and hostility I have had toward myself, my own body. And how much forgiveness is necessary. I think this is why stories of forgiveness and redemption never cease to move me – often to tears-  because it is so very needed in my own life.

Thanks, National Health Blog Post Month, for helping me to remember this book and these memories.

 

Day 2 #NHBPM: Free From All Worldly Engagements November 2, 2012

writer’s cottage

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Day 2 – Friday, Nov. 2  Write about the weirdest thing about your health OR Find a quote and use it as inspiration

I’m not so sure what is weird about my health, so I’m going with prompt #2.

Today I woke up in this little cottage in the North Carolina woods. It’s my third flying trip in three weeks, and I was a total grump about getting on that plane. It really stressed me out to leave my work, my complete mess of a house, and numerous obligations to come on this family trip. Back when we planned it, it sounded like a good idea – to visit Mr. McBody’s aunt and uncle (whom I adore) at their home near Asheville, North Carolina.

And as it turns out, it was a VERY good idea. It has already been way worth the stress of wrenching myself out of my life yet once again. Because the last two trips were “busy” trips – one for a conference and to visit friends, and the second to visit Juniorette up at her college. They were bustling and busy and stimulating and GREAT, but also kind of exhausting before, during and after.

This trip? It almost brings tears to my eyes to realize how perfect it is, and how much I needed it. I am, as is no secret, a very very social person. I love meeting up with people at all of my beloved COMMUNITIES. I thrive on community – at Fitbloggin, at Weight Watchers, my adoption peeps, my writer buddies. But what might not be as well known is that I absolutely thrive and need solitude. I NEED IT.

this, to me, is more heaven than any beach on earth

Right now I am sitting at this little table in this little writers’ cottage (normally inhabited by Uncle McBody). It is a freaking DREAM. I am happy. I am beside myself with happy! Outside it is fall and the leaves are trembling in all of my favorite autumn colors. I can hear critters shuffling through them outside my window. Mr. McBody, up in the main house, is engaged in endless conversation with Uncle (which they both love) and my mother is utterly content with Auntie – watching the birds come to the bird feeder, patting the sweet cat, and dealing with the antics of the mischievous dog.

Maggie the dog

And I am here in the cottage, alone. Exactly where I want to be, doing what I most love to do.

This morning, I took a beautiful 4.1 mile run through the autumn countryside. It was crisp and cool and gorgeous. I was so happy.

my lovely run

this tree blew my mind!

We shared a lovely, healthy lunch. A veggie salad followed by two squares of dark chocolate. I like how these people live! (can I mention again how much I love them)

Seriously? Yum.

And now… quiet. Ahhh. I can actually think. And rest. And write. And I know that days/weeks like this are as crucial to my health as good food or exercise. I need to re-charge. I need to have no sound but the ticking clock on the little yellow stove.

Back in the day, I used to go to writing retreats a lot more. I was lucky enough to be granted fellowships at colonies like MacDowell, Blue Mountain and Hedgebrook. My longest time away was eight weeks, and man… it was heaven. My mom came to stand-in and help with my children, and everyone thrived. (that’s a whole OTHER topic that I won’t go into right now, how some people villainized me for “abandoning” my children to the care of (gasp!) their FATHER and GRANDMOTHER – but you know? they’re wonderfully functional young adults now, no scars to be had from THAT anyway, thankyouverymuch) Ironically, it’s been tougher to get away now that I have a job and a mother who is harder to leave than my children were.

Be that as it may. Even being here less than 24 hours has brought home to me the absolute necessity of finding and making time like this.  It’s as important as sleep, or air.

Do you like or need to be alone? How do you find time for it?

This post is part of a 30-day series for National Health Blog Post Month. Join me! And check out some other bloggers’ take for day 2:

 

Big Blue Test: IT WORKS. October 25, 2012

 

I’ll never forget the first time I did the Big Blue Test. It involves taking one’s blood glucose, then exercising for 14+ minutes, then taking it again. Simple. I first did it the first year I was diagnosed with diabetes. I had never done this particular before-and-after test before, and I remember my blood glucose going down a LOT after exercising. It was such an eye opener and it was THE thing that helped me make the direct connection between activity and health. MY health.

Last year I was fortunate enough to participate in the Big Blue Test video promoting exercise for people with diabetes. It was so much fun, such and honor, and to this day I do not fail to get goosebumps when I hear that song.  This year’s video is pretty darn cool, too!

The deal is that every day between now and November 14 (World Diabetes Day) – you can take the test at the Big Blue Test site. You don’t have to have diabetes in order to help people with diabetes! Each test done will mean a donation toward much needed supplies for people with diabetes.

This morning I put on my BBT T-shirt. I tested, then got on the elliptical in my garage for 22 minutes, then tested again. The drop isn’t as huge as it was the first year, BUT that’s because I ate an apple with peanut butter less than an hour beforehand and I can tell you that without the exercise, it would have been a lot, LOT higher.   So YEAH exercise, and YEAH Big Blue Test.

Please join me!!

on the elliptical

Ta-daa!!!

 

 

 

Workout Clothes? For meeee??? (and you!) October 24, 2012

When I was at Fitbloggin’ I got to meet the cool people at PVbody. They were giving away some pretty nifty fitness duds, including this top which looked kinda silly on me…especially over my pajama top.

me and the best, goofiest roomie ever

but pretty awesome on Junior.

that’s my girl

Anyway, they have a great deal going, which reminds me of getting a weekly delivery of CSA veggies-in-a-box. You never know what you’re going to get, but it’s pretty awesome to be surprised. Instead, they send a beautifully wrapped package of workout clothes each month, for not much $$. You know how expensive workout duds can get, right?

I got my first box yesterday. I was jumping up and down. All pretty, wrapped in tissue paper, like a present.

Is it my birthday?

I open it up and it’s a beautiful top! And some pants that looked, possibly, frighteningly too small. Oh well, it’s free returns/exchanges. These are seriously high-quality workout duds.

The V-neck top is made by ALO (Air Land Ocean) and is super comfy and flattering.

I love the cut of this top.

The bottoms are made by Nux. They are all scrunchy at the bottom (ruching?) and I feel a little dubious.

scrunchie-bottomed pants

But I put them on, and …. woweee! They fit!

I like the scrunchies!

O boy! I like these clothes.

Mr. McBody came through after I tried them on and said, “O boy! What are you wearing?!?” Needless to say, he approved. :-)

They are comfy. They are nifty. I’m all excited! And I get another box next month??

So, this is the deal. You, too, can get a box of awesome workout clothes every month. I can vouch for the super high quality. They are worth about $150 per box, but you pay less than $40. ANNNNNND… as a friend/blog reader of yours truly, you can get an extra 20% off. How cool is that. You fill out a little quiz where you indicate your size, the kind of sport(s) you like to do (running/yoga/cycle etc), your favorite colors and styles. Then voila, they put together a box for you, and when it arrives at your house it’s like your birthday. But every month. If something doesn’t fit, it gets returned super easy and free. I was sure those pants were not going to fit me, but I was wrong.

Click here for the special Foodie McBody deal!

 

What’s Sleep Got To Do With It? October 14, 2012

Filed under: exercise,gadgets and products,giveaway,good things,health — Susan @ 5:59 am

I haven’t been a person who (knock wood) who has had a lot of trouble with sleep. I LOVE sleep and I haven’t generally had much trouble falling or staying asleep. Getting up has been another story.

Anyway- recently the good folks at WeGoHealth invited me to try out a couple of health related apps. I am, as many of you know, a real fan of gadgets and gizmos when it comes to monitoring my health and/or fitness. So I jumped at the chance. Several of the manufacturers and inventors were going to be at the Body 2.0 fair in San Francisco so I wanted to try them out before meeting them in person.

One of the apps that really caught my attention was an iPhone app called SleepTime. The idea is that you put the phone near your pillow, then the app monitors your deep sleep, light sleep and awake times. The deep (REM) sleep is really necessary for health. It’s when all the good renewal happens. BUT if you wake up during a REM period, it can be very disorienting and disruptive.

SleepTime keeps track of your various wake/sleep states, and makes it a goal of waking you up only from light sleep. So if, say, you want to get up at 7:00am, it will track your sleep and wake you up during your lightest phase between 6:30 and 7:00. I learned the hard way that it is MUCH better to get up at 6:30 during light sleep, than it is to wake up at 6:55 from REM sleep.

Pretty much every night for the past week, I’ve woken up (thanks to SleepTime) during light sleep. I’ve been exercising and eating well, and feeling alert and energetic. But one night I set my “window” too narrowly (I designated a 10 minute rather than a 30 minute window). The app did not have any choice but to wake me up during REM. WELL…

I woke up all emotionally jangled. I’d been in the depths of some disturbing, upsetting dream. I couldn’t fully “wake up” no matter how much coffee I had. I had had a full 8 hours so I should have felt rested, but I didn’t. In fact, I felt like crap all day. I made some truly horrible food choices, things I had not eaten in months/years. I chose not to exercise because I was just too exhausted. In fact, it was a total bust of a day until I went to bed again that night. What a wreck.

I was amazed to wake up from light sleep the next morning and feel 10000% better. That next day I made great food choices and worked out and generally felt awesome. It was like (no pun intended) night and day. I’m not kidding!

We all know that sleep deprivation – not enough sleep – can lead to stress, high blood pressure and weight gain from increased cortisol (stress hormone). I never thought I had an “issue” with sleep because I knew I slept “enough.” But it’s about quality, not just quantity.


I’ve been in touch with the folks at Azumio, Inc (who make the app). They also make some other nifty health apps called Instant Heart Rate, Stress Check and Stress Doctor (biofeedback to decrease stress – cool huh?). I will be reviewing those later on. Anyway, these apps are all free. I encourage you to download them and try them out. People who leave comments here after trying one of the free apps are eligible to get a code for an updated, more nifty version. Give them a try!

 

 

Who Likes Popchips? We Love Popchips! Giveaway Time!! October 6, 2012

Filed under: Fitbloggin',food,giveaway,good things,recipes — Susan @ 12:55 pm

Gettin’ our silly rockstar on at the Popchips booth: with Tracy and Patty

Popchips always has a great presence at Fitbloggin and this year they were out with their silly photo booth which was lots of fun. They also had many samples of their tasty new Tortilla Popchips (yum!) for us to try. I loved the Chili Limon ones.

Anyway, the generous Popchips people have offered up a CASE (12 packs!!) of these yummy snacks for one of my blog readers, as well as provided some delicious recipes to share that have particular “pairings” with the various new flavors.

Do you want a case of Popchips coming to your house? I bet you do!! So get on it! The deadline is this Wednesday, October 10th at 3:00pm PST.

All you need to do to be eligible to win is:

  • “Like” Popchips on Facebook.
  • “Like” ME on Facebook! (what, you don’t already??)
  • Leave a comment here telling me which new flavor of Popchips you’re most excited to try, and what you’ll pair them with. (be creative)

And for everyone — Popchips has teamed up with chef Aaron Sanchez to share these recipes.

My favorite was the ceviche with the Chili Limon chips. Doesn’t this look good???


Ceviche with chili limón tortilla popchips

 Usually the fish in a ceviche is trimmed into large chunks, but for scooping up this tangy-sweet version with brightly flavored and spicy chili limón tortilla popchips, I’ve trimmed the fish into small cubes, 1/4- to 1/2-inch in size. The result not only makes a ceviche that’s perfect for scooping, but also a speedy version that “cooks” in the fresh lime juice in less than an hour.

Makes 6 servings

1 pound fresh halibut filets (or any firm-fleshed white fish, such as haddock, red snapper or sea bass), diced into 1/2-inch cubes

1 cup fresh lime juice (from approximately 8 to 10 limes)

1 fresh red Serrano chili, seeds discarded, chili thinly sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 small mango, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 scallion, white and green parts thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. In a medium-sized glass bowl, combine the fish with the lime juice, Serrano and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. The fish cubes will “cook” in the lime juice until they are opaque.

2. Half an hour before serving, stir the mango, scallion, cilantro and olive oil into the ceviche. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve with chili limón tortilla popchips for scooping up the ceviche.

Grilled Chicken Cemitas and Garlic-Chipotle Love with salsa tortilla popchips

These sandwiches are like Mexican subs—overstuffed with all sorts of goodness, bursting with flavor, and topped with a mind-blowingly delicious sauce of roasted garlic pureed with smoky chipotles. Have a lot of napkins on hand! salsa tortilla popchips bring a crispy counterpoint to all the juicy sandwich fillings and a bright flavor that can withstand everything going on inside that bun.

Makes 4 servings

For the Chipotle Love Sauce:
1 cup of canola oil
12 garlic cloves
3 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
zest of one lime
2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Cemitas:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 ripe Haas avocado
Juice of 1 lime
4 cemita rolls or hamburger rolls with sesame seeds
Olive oil
1 cup refried beans, warmed (from 1 15-ounce can)
8 ounces Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, grated
Sliced ripe tomato
Thinly sliced lettuce
Fresh cilantro leaves

1. Make the Chipotle Love:  In a dry medium heavy nonreactive sauce pot place oil and garlic cloves and cover with foil and place in 300 degree oven for 45 minutes till garlic has browned and become soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then place remaining ingredients and cooled garlic oil mix in a food processor and puree till a smooth paste.

2. Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill with the lid down for 10 minutes on high.

3. Split each chicken breast in half horizontally and lay each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound each breast half until it’s one-quarter inch thick (if you don’t have a meat pounder, use the bottom of a small saucepan). Sprinkle each piece with salt, pepper and cumin on each side.

4. Mash the avocado with the lime juice and season with salt, and warm the refried beans on the stovetop or in the microwave.

5. Grill the chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once. Set aside and keep warm. Split the buns and brush lightly with olive oil. Grill, cut sides down, until just golden brown, about a minute.

6. To assemble each sandwich, spread the bottom half of each toasted roll with a quarter of the mashed avocado. Top with a chicken breast, then spoon on a quarter of the refried beans. Divide the cheese among the sandwiches, and top with tomato, lettuce and a sprinkle of cilantro. Drizzle on a generous amount of Chipotle Love and top with the remaining bun half. Cut each sandwich in half before serving.

 

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And the winner is….Suz!! Congrats, Suz. Please email me your postal address so I can let the Popchips folks now. Thanks everyone for participating!

 

 
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