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.

life after retirement · working out

Getting Back to Work

I have been retired for three and a half years from teaching English at a local community college. I retired early (55) for two reasons: STRS had changes that made teaching five more years negligible concerning my retirement benefits and, although I loved teaching the first 26 years, I really wasn’t happy the last three. The first year I volunteered at an adult dementia day center for two to three days a week, but then I started a dog walking business to do something that provided more exercise and a little extra cash. I had customers that needed me daily sometimes. I stopped volunteering and still to this day I walk dogs, but I cut back recently to just a couple customers that live near me. I found after two years that the mileage and fuel costs weren’t worth it.

I am now seeking something part-time. I find I need to challenge my brain. I have done some proofreading and editing in the last year, but I would like more business or to do some freelancing. My goal this year is to find more business. I will still walk dogs for exercise. My boys love their walks, too. But I will look for proofreading and editing jobs. Hit me up if you need help with your writing; I am reasonable.


Things that Irk Me

As a person who was not able to have children, I run into things daily that have bothered me. As I said in my first post, this blog is meant to be therapeutic. These things don’t necessarily bother me much now, but I want to share somethings couples with children don’t have to deal with. Here is a list:

Not being able to have children apparently means my husband and I are not a family as defined by the definition of Family by Merriam-Webster, which stated a family is “the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children.” Yes, we have immediate family members such as siblings, my mother-in-law, niece and nephews, and cousins, but we ourselves are not “a family.” No one says, “so how is the family doing” when we are around friends and family.  It is one of the things that makes me feel different in social situations.

When talk of children and grandchildren come up, I have nothing to say. For instance, when I am attending a party and a group of women are talking about their children (and grandchildren), many times I get the question  “so how many children do you have?” from a person I haven’t met. Then I feel awkward and so does that person when I have to answer that I wasn’t able to have children. It seems obvious to me when people are talking about their children and I haven’t added to the conversation about my nonexistent children,  why would someone ask?  Some well-meaning friends have said that it isn’t someone’s business as to why I don’t have children. Just say you don’t have any. But if I answer with “I don’t have any,” I am put in the class of those who chose not to have children. And people have mixed feelings about women who chose not to have children. I feel at times that I have nothing to talk about as it seems those who focus on children their don’t feel the need to talk about much else. I feel incredibly awkward in a group of women who offer nothing of their interests. I can’t contribute.

I try to avoid baby showers as I dread the table discussions of “when I was in delivery” and again, “how many children do you have” comes up. I really should just send a gift and make an excuse. Why do I put myself in these situations. I care about the women who are having babies, but I don’t feel the need to celebrate with them publicly.


Getting Past the Not Being Able to Have Children Part of My Life

I am 59 and I need to get over not being able to have children. To do that, I am writing because it is therapeutic. I see myself described by some as touchy, moody, weird, socially challenged, different, etc. At least that is how I see myself in most social situations. I believe I am “different” because I feel as if I don’t fit in with most of the women I come in contact daily. I describe myself as “different”; I am trying to change that about myself. I want to be proud of the person I am. If I could shed myself of the feeling of being barren (I really hate this word) and learn to live happily without feeling that I am weird or different because I don’t have children, I suspect I will be good with who I am.

Now that the holidays are over, I must say I feel a sense of relief. I decided to go home for Thanksgiving and having not been at a family holiday dinner for years, I was hit by sadness that I didn’t expect. I thought that I was doing well with this childlessness stuff. I have bonded well with my great niece and nephews on my new husband’s side and although I live hours away from many of my family members, I try to keep in touch with some of my niece and nephews and their children on my side when I can. I have to mention that I have thirteen siblings, so keeping in touch with them is hard in itself, but I have managed to have relationships with some of their children because of family get-togethers as well through texts, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I didn’t expect to feel so sad and I hated that.

I have avoided holidays with my  family since I was officially out of the baby-making market when I had a hysterectomy in 1998. I was 39 at the time, still married to my first husband, and after trying foster care, my ex-husband was not interested in adopting. I felt like a failure, and taking vacations to warm places worked better for me. Our relationship deteriorated from that point on, and we divorced when I turned 45, way past an age when I would meet anyone interested in adopting.  I just found holidays harder than visiting family other times of the year. With all of my siblings having children, it was baby mania and seeing pregnant bellies and babies was very hard for me.  But twenty years have passed, and I thought this year I could handle it. I was wrong. I was not fun to be around, but the Christmas season was better than I expected as I enjoyed shopping for my husband’s side of the family. Christmas Eve I held lots of babies and entertained the children under seven.  I felt a change in myself as far as being around children and it felt good. By writing here, I hope to connect with other women who feel different.