Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thinking About Walking

The other night Stan and I watched Redwood Highway, with Shirley Knight as a grandma who walked 80 miles to her granddaughter’s wedding.  It was great!  Thanks to Charla for the recommendation.  I also read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, about her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, and I look forward to seeing the movie. 

The walking story I loved best was the book Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery.   Ms.Gatewood was the first woman to walk the Appalachian Trail from end to end, and she did it in the 1950’s, at the age of 67 (my age)!

Something about starting out walking without an intention to turn around and go back appeals to me.  I wonder if I could do something like that?  I don’t think I want to sleep on the ground and I definitely don’t want to deal with bears or snakes – I’m thinking of a sidewalk or walking path, with a good meal and comfy hotel or hostel at the end of the day.

I’ll look into this further and get back to you!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Green Leafies and Bright Colors

The first level of the Wahls Protocol focuses on increasing your nutrition, while removing some items that aren’t doing you any good.  For me, the first step will be adding lots of greens and brightly colored fruits and vegetables.  I do take a multivitamin every day, but Dr. Wahls points out that this only provides the compounds that are known and included in my vitamin.  She says “the vitamins and antioxidants that naturally occur in food are more effective at supporting your cells when the whole family of related compounds is present.”   Most supplements in pill form are synthetic, are not  shaped identically to natural nutrients and may not act the same in your body.*

To get 3 cups of greens and 3 cups of bright colors, I’ll need to eat some veggies and/or fruit at every meal and some snacks as well.  Lunch is easy, since I usually eat a salad for lunch already.  (I still miss a nice sandwich, like the tuna, ham or (yikes) bologna ones my mom used to send in my school lunch, but I know those two slices of bread are not good for me, even if whole wheat.)  I usually have lettuce or spinach or a boxed mixture called Power Greens.  I know I'll have to get into the more hard core stuff like kale, chard and collard greens.  In the meantime, here are the salads I ate yesterday and today.  I realized I like vinegar and oil better than most salad dressings, so it's easy to have a variety by just changing the vinegar.

Dr. Rosedale says to add nuts or avocado for some good omega 3's. This has pecans.

This one has chicken left over from Stan's good dinner last night

It’s actually not too hard to get some greens and colors for breakfast.  I have learned that a large handful of spinach cooks down to almost nothing, so if you measure first, three cups is easy.  Here’s the breakfast I had this morning: 2 eggs scrambled into spinach, onion, yellow pepper and tomatoes with a bit of parsley.

Stan remembered when he was working at Boeing he often bought an extra salad from the cafeteria salad bar at lunchtime and ate it for dinner.  So we did that when we were in Whole Foods earlier this week.  (Unfortunately not very near to our house – we have to fight traffic to get there, even midday.)  Anyway, here’s what I got, and with the turkey and egg, it made a very satisfying dinner.

A word about eggs:  The Wahls Protocol says no eggs.  The reason is that Dr. Wahls is allergic to eggs so she didn’t eat them during her recovery.  When she got a grant for a clinical trial, the terms were that the study would exactly replicate what she herself had eaten.  So, no eggs.  She suggests that we go without eggs for a month, then eat several over the next few days.  If you have any symptoms, you may react to the protein in eggs and would be better off without them.  If no symptoms, eggs are fine, but do choose eggs from happy chickens that roam outside and eat grass and insects.  I may do that test in the future, but for now I’m pretty sure I have no problem and I’ll continue eating eggs.

*This info is from The Wahls Protocol, by Dr. TerryWahls.  My post of 12/28/2014 has more details.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Should I Eat?

 I spent some time last year reading books about nutrition, and the low-carb, high-fat theory resonates best for me, even though I spent most of my life trying to eat low fat.  I totally get it that the white flours are not nutritious in the same way as the beautiful items in the produce section, however it takes some retraining to reach for a green smoothie and veggie omelet instead of coffee and toast! 

Dr. Terry Wahls is a physician and professor of medicine who studied and experimented on herself to find the best diet for her Multiple Sclerosis, and improved enough to trade her wheelchair for a bike.  

The book is packed with information about how our brains and bodies use the food we eat, and what they need to be healthy and thrive.  Her explanations make sense to me and her own improvement in health is encouraging.

Here’s what to eat on the first level (of three) on her diet
·      NINE cups of veggies and fruits per day
o   3 cups leafy greens
o   3 cups bright colored vegetables and fruits
o   3 cups sulfur-rich vegetables (cabbage, onions, mushrooms)
·      NO gluten, NO dairy
·      High-quality food – organic, grass-fed, wild-caught
·      NO sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, trans fats, microwaved foods

…and this is only level 1!  I know I’ll never achieve this perfectly, but I don’t think that’s necessary.  If I only aim at this the best I can, it will be a great improvement over the way I have been eating.

Here’s another doctor/author who I think has good advice.  Again, low-carb, high-fat, but not just bacon and butter.  Dr. Ron Rosedale focuses on getting our omega-3’s to lower our leptin levels, increasing leptin sensitivity, turning off hunger and turning on fat burning.  He offers 28 days of sample menus that are not too complicated, and the recipes I have tried are actually pretty tasty.

Okay, I do have a tendency to get excited every time I read something new about diet, and I’m a sucker for testimonials, but I think I have chosen some sound science here, as a  model for my own eating.

Saw this on Facebook - I'm sorry I don't know who to credit.  It is so true!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

So How Will I Know When I’m Strong?

 I want to have a checklist of signs I’m making progress.  Here are some accomplishments I’ll aim for:

·      Climb the stairs without huffing and puffing, even carrying the laundry basket
·      Walk 4 miles in an hour
·      Complete a 10+ mile walk with Charla – maybe to the lighthouse at Dungeness Spit  (Charla is my lovely co-grandma of Mira and a good walker.)  (Stan and I already did this last year so I know I can.  Eleven miles round trip and the lighthouse keepers serve tea and cookies when you arrive!)
·      Swim ½ hour without stopping, then one hour
·      Do one-legged sit-to-stand (this is an exercise from my physical therapist Anne.  Tried physical therapy to help hip pain – will work if I would just do the exercises!)
·      Do step up and back on a full-size step (another physical therapy exercise)
·      See some shoulder/upper arm definition, lose the batwings
·      Be carrying 15 fewer pounds
·      Feel ready for backpacking or maybe horseback vacation

What will I do to get started?
·      Get back to the gym Wednesdays and Fridays for weight circuit (Newcastle Family Y)
·      Try the morning swim, at least 4 times
·      Try the Gentle Yoga class
·      Build up miles walked.  Can use Runtastic app to record mileage.
·      Do Physical Therapy exercises – this is the boring, slogging part of the quest!  I love to walk, but hate to get down on the floor and exercise.
·      Continue writing down what I eat every day and what tastes good.  I’m trying to focus on how good real food tastes when one is not eating sugar.
·      Document healthy recipes that taste good so I can make them again.  (And when I find some good ones, I’ll share them with you.)
·      Gradually implement Wahls protocol – this is a book I will write about in my next post.
·      Assess every month – what is working, what is not, how to fix it

I do know there are other more important strengths than physical – strength of character, strength in the face of adversity.  I just feel that I’ll enjoy the rest of my life more if I increase my physical strength to the best of my ability.

Okay, the sun is shining.  I’m going for a walk  : )

Friday, December 26, 2014

Welcome to Grammy Getting Strong!

Hi – Welcome to my blog, Grammy Getting Strong. 

I am Grammy (Pam).  My goal for 2015 is to get physically strong; maybe not Ironwoman strong, but I want to recapture a bit of the feeling I had as a kid, when I could swing by my knees on the monkey bars and climb up high in a tree.  However, some form of this goal has been my New Year’s resolution for at least the past 10 years – how can I make this year different?  I’m hoping this blog will help keep me accountable!

Starting Out:  The Good News:
·      I have a wonderful family!  Sweet husband Stan, and kids grown up and enjoying families of their own
·      I’m pretty healthy.  No cancer, since breast cancer treatment in 2010.  No major illness or disability.
·      I’m retired .  I have plenty of time to work on this.  (And that means No Excuses!)

Christmas Day (hair color by Ms Mira Z)

The Bad News:
·      I feel like I’m getting weaker – out of breath on the stairs, can't run, afraid to sign up for a horseback riding vacation
·      I know I’m lugging around 20 or 30 extra pounds I don’t need
·      I have several annoying non-illnesses:  hip pain, itchy skin rash, can't sleep, thinning hair.  

I can be better!!

So I hope you’ll check up on me from time to time throughout the next year.  No guarantee to post every day, but I’ll keep you informed about my journey to strength.  Your comments and suggestions are very welcome as we go along!