Healthy Eating

A Little Sun Goes a Long Way

I’ve been in Florida for over a week and I have noticed things. I don’t feel achy as much in a warmer climate. I am walking every day like I do in Toledo, and I am not walking as far.  My furry children can only go so far in this heat (mostly 80s since I arrived), but walking in the morning and late afternoon provides me with some sun. I forgot how a little sun can make me feel. I go to the beach every couple days, use sunscreen, and never stay over an hour. The sun is like Prozac.

I like how a little sun makes me look better, too. I will never tan again as I have spent too much time at my dermatologist, but I forgot the sun uplifts my spirits and gives my pastie white skin a glow. More than that and it would age me more than my 59 years and who wants that. I have seen so many people my age and older with tans like I had in my twenties.

I have actually lost weight in the last week and I think that can be attributed to both the energy my light sun exposure gives me and my continuing to eat wholes grains, fruit, vegetables,  and no meat, fish, or chicken. As I noted in Eating Healthily is Easy in Venice, Florida, I have been able to find healthy choices at restaurants in the area. Saltwater Grill, Cafe Evergreen, and Pop’s Sunset Grill offer vegetarian options, but the tastiest and healthiest so far is Cafe Evergreen.

I am now drinking matcha green tea for all of its health benefits, but according to 7 Things You Should Know about Matcha, one needs to be aware of things of which I was unaware like a cup of it is comparable to a cup of coffee. I am very sensitive to caffeine, so I don’t drink Matcha after 4 pm. Read the article for concerns about lead as well. I love it hot with a wedge of lemon. It gives me energy and maybe I will even try meditation.

Healthy Eating

Eating Healthily is Easy in Venice, Florida

My furry children and I are enjoying great weather and getting the lay of the land in Florida. Today, I had an amazing meal at Cafe Evergreen in Venice. I started out with hot Organic Matcha Green Tea that had a little agave in it. It was a new experience for me and an easy way to get more antioxidants. The flavor hooked me. I plan on purchasing the brand they use at the Venice Farmers Market. The description on the Cafe Evergreen website states, “Organic sandwiches, salads, smoothies & wine served in charming digs with a mellow vibe.” I had lentil soup, roasted cauliflower, and an avocado wrap. Even the wrap was multigrain. Everything was pleasing to my palate. I will be going back to try other items soon. I am also going to do more research on the benefits of drinking organic matcha green tea. It supposedly helps with inflammation, focus, and weight loss.


This was the first of many vegan/ vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the Nokomis/Venice area. I can’t wait to try more.

Healthy Eating · vegetarian · working out

Reducing My Inflamation

I have been off most animal protein for over four months. I still eat some cheese , but I use dairy-free cheese for meat alternative burritos. I don’t drink animal milk, but I do use half and half in my coffee when a dairy alternative isn’t available. I don’t eat eggs, but I do eat baked goods at times that have eggs in the recipe. I have been choosing whole grain when possible and choosing non-GMO and organic as much as possible. I eat lentils, brown rice, quinoa, and a variety of beans such as garbanzo beans and black beans. When I do eat out, I go to places that have choices for me such as a wonderful cauliflower pizza crust instead of white flour crust.   It has been a slow process, but I feel so much better, have more energy, have almost no headaches, have lost body fat, and my fibromyalgia pain is almost nonexistent.

My neurologist started me on this journey. I am now on fewer prescriptions (some for headaches and some for fibromyalgia), and according to the bloodwork my GP had done in December, my Cholesterol went from 201 to 143, Triglycerides from 155 to 152, HDL from 59 to 45, and LDL from 111 to 68. My GP wants me to stay on Simvastatin, but I convinced her to reduce it to every other day. I really want to go off of it.  Time will tell as I will have blood work done in June.

I have been dealing with bad headaches for seven years. I thought retiring would help because stress from teaching at the college level would abate. I have to also point out that I have TMJ (now called TMD) and fibro, both of which can cause headaches. My neurologist was treating the headaches, but I have noticed that other than jaw related headaches, I haven’t been having any. I know deleting meat, fish, and chicken from my diet has reduced inflammation, and I work very hard now to avoid anything that can add to that inflammation, including avoid highly intense workouts (I workout to get up a good sweat, but not wear me out).  I wear my jaw splint at night and now when I workout (I never used to wear it then). I have Baclofen now to relax my jaw at night and that itself may be why my headaches are down from seven to eight a month to one to three. And when I have headaches, I do more jaw stretches in addition to stretches I do for my jaw and my neck daily. I have gone off a few headache medicines and hope to not need more than Tylenol from now on.

As for my fibro, I find that when I am done working out, my muscles don’t ache like they used to. I am even running again, but slowly and only on a treadmill. I was taking Lyrica, but I went off it as the doctor suggested and pain in parts of my body did not come back as I thought after not taking it for a month. I have also noticed that when I do things like vacuum and even shovel snow, I don’t have pain for two days. It is AWESOME! I will continue to increase my workouts and start some strength training to see how that goes.

I am always going to be a work in progress, but going vegetarian and even vegan at times is my present and future.

Healthy Eating · working out

Getting and Staying in Shape

I have lost and gained weight my entire adult life. After having a hysterectomy at 39, I began working out in earnest. I mostly walk, but I am an occasional runner (slow like a turtle), I use a recumbent bike, and I snorkel-swim. Yes, I wear a snorkel mask and fins, and do anything I can to get back and forth across the pool lane. I wouldn’t call it swimming, but it gives my arms and legs good exercise. Two gym memberships provide me with an inside track that I use when the weather is not conducive to walking or running and a warm water pool, which is typically 82 to 88 degrees and great for my joints.  In the winter, I walk or run on a treadmill (or summer when it is too hot). With access to the gyms and  the University Trail, Wildwood Metro Park, and even my neighborhood, I have no reason not to workout.

But there are days I am lazy. I wear my Fitbit and hope I get at least 10,000 steps in, but I prefer to get at least 60 or more active minutes. Winter has a way of making me veg and my bathroom scale is screaming at me to get a move on. Menopause has not helped either. You would think I was past that, but I was on HRT for eighteen years. Now, two years after going off HRT, I have to work out daily to keep the belly fat from overtaking my middle. It is an unending battle. Working out helps to keep me sane. It also helps that bathroom scale from creeping up.

Four months ago, I stopped eating meat, fish, and chicken. I have reduced using dairy products, but still consume some cheese and use half and half when I don’t have access to a dairy-free alternative. I just started drinking almond milk lattes (no flavoring) and sometimes coconut milk lattes and love them. I will talk more about all of this in my next posting.

I recently turned 59 and I am still a work in progress and always will. After all, life is ever changing, and I have to adapt to whatever comes next.