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My First Garden

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My First Garden
This is my most of my very first garden. It shows pumpkins, zucchinis, beets, kale, onions, spinach and lettuce.

I have an organic garden.


This is the first ‘real’ organic garden I have ever planted.  


I have grown almost everything in my garden from seed.
I am totally overwhelmed with my garden and I am completely shocked at how happy this garden makes me feel.

My dad always had a garden.  His dad always had a garden. I tried to garden when the kids were little, but I never seemed to find the time to give to it, so I failed easily because the idea was always bigger than my effort to maintain it.

But, this year, I decided it was my turn to try for real this time.  Kind of like each attempt at losing my jelly roll around my tummy.  

I did some research.  Made sure I checked the calendar for when to plant.  Did my garden have enough sun? It was really fun to do all the prep.  Then one day went to the local nursery and loaded up on seed packs.

In early spring, I planted.  Lucky for me, I have a greenhouse.  I have never had one before, so even that was new.

I watered, waited, watered, waited.  Then, went into the yard and started to prepare the space we were going to use as a garden.  A lot of digging, weeding, more digging, and then a truck of new soil. That was the biggest expense.

I had entered into this little adventure with the idea that it was an inexpensive hobby and if nothing actually was edible, the adventure was going to be worth it.  The only real cost being sweat equity and that soil.

As the weeks went along, little sprouts came and then the day to put them all outside in our garden.  So exciting. And nervewracking. There was also an unknown variable. We had deer that came through our yard quite regularly, so I was a little concerned that all I was growing was a salad bar for them.  By the way, the deer have not touched it at all. I believe it is where it is in the yard and the fact that there is a lot of other food for them on the other side of the yard.

The spring turned to summer and we began to see our efforts paying off.  First, was the kale to look like kale, then spinach, and lettuce. Soon we saw little zucchini flowers and pumpkin blossoms.  The beets started to grow and before long our garden looked like a garden.

This has been so much fun for me.  Here we are in mid-summer and we are picking every day, for our shakes, kale, and spinach.  We have been feeding our friends, family and our kids' lettuce, cucumbers, beets, zucchini, spinach, kale and soon we will be handing out tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, and watermelons.  

Some of the things we planted didn’t go quite as planned but with everything else growing so well, it doesn’t even matter.  We have learned so much about watering, bugs, mildew, weeds, and things that I had no idea I wanted to know.

And by the way, while our garden is growing like crazy, I have been planted herbs in the greenhouse and they are also my little miracle babies.  The greenhouse smells so good.

I have bees in there, birds in and out, butterflies fluttering around and none of them seem bothered by me being in there.  We had a problem with aphids and so we bought ladybugs to get rid of them. Yes, ladybugs. No pesticides, who knew?

Why am I gushing about this?  It is new to me. I had no idea I would love it so much.  I have talked about trying new things before Working out for the First Time and Try Something New, this isn’t normally what someone thinks of when thinking of ways to stay active and get healthy, but it totally is.  I am always wandering into the garden. I am always doing a little weeding. There are feeding and watering. All things that keep me just a little more active than watching the gardening channel, than driving to the store.

If you get the opportunity, try a little growing.  Even in the window. Even some herbs. Anything that keeps you distracted from becoming a mushroom yourself and gives you something just a little bit healthier.  And the best part is that the flavors of the things that come out fo your garden will absolutely amaze you.

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust. -Gertrude Jekyll

What’s Your Relationship with Food

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Kids eating ice cream, each having a different attitude

Question; 

What is your attitude toward food?

Silly question?

Ok, let's try this word association.  Say the first thing that comes to mind.

  • Birthday party…
  • Christmas…
  • Beach day…
  • Date night…
  • Cozy night in…

If your answer was anything close to what mine would be it would be something like this;

  • Cake
  • Turkey dinner
  • Picnic food
  • Nice dinner
  • Popcorn and snacks

In my house, anytime we have a party, we can tell it is a good one when the kitchen is so full of people that I have trouble opening the oven to get more food.  The fridge is open all the time, and there is a cooler full of drinks. The morning after is cleaning up plates, cups, napkins, and food all over. Good party.

  • When we mourn, we send food.  
  • When we celebrate, we eat.
  • When we are bored, we eat.
  • When we are sad, we eat.

Food is in our world so much that whether we admit it or not, we actually have an attitude toward food.

Some people have an unhealthy attitude toward food.  They simply consume to excess and can’t help it. Others do their best to eat as little as possible.  Some even eat and purge just to keep their consumption under control.

The truth is that food is supposed to be fuel.  That’s it, fuel. But we are humans and have learned to attach emotions to the food we eat.  Whether we should or not, most of us do. So when we have chosen to change the way we eat or what we actually eat, it is not as easy as changing the fuel we use.

In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why we have difficulty with ‘dieting’.  It is not changing fuel, it is replacing emotions. We know that intellectually we NEED to change what we eat but our emotions are way more powerful than our intellect so, we struggle.  So we try to do the ‘other things’ that will get the extra pounds to leave. We do a cleanse. We take weird supplements. We wear gear that encourages us to ‘release’ the fat. We may exercise a little.  We try almost anything to lose weight without interfering with what we know is comfortable.

Unfortunately, we are all wired pretty close to the same.  We want to change but don’t want to actually change what we love.  One of the things that we have found an odd relationship with is food.  We love to eat. Sometimes we eat stuff we don’t even like, but not because it is fuel, but because it may give us the feeling we want.  Usually, when I do that, I end up feeling worse. I beat myself up for doing that, it wasn’t worth it, I am such a loser, I may as well eat the rest of the pantry of food I already screwed up.  Sound familiar?

It is time to treat food as fuel.  Sure it is ok to like it. It is better that way, but your body will ultimately let you know when it likes certain food.  If you pay attention. As a kid, I loved peanut butter and honey sandwiches. My mom made her own bread and cut the pieces so thick.  So right now, I can taste that, I am 7 years old again. Not a care in the world. But, the last time I ate that I wasn’t 7, it wasn’t homemade bread, Mom wasn’t there, and if I were honest, I felt really heavy and kind of yucky when I was done.  Sure emotionally I was trying to feel like a kid at home again, but the reality is that I am now a grandma and my body really doesn’t like that much bread or that much sugar.

So, now, I try to listen to my body.  I eat food that I used to think was gross, spinach, but I eat it in a shake instead of cooked.  Choices. I eat only a tablespoon of peanut butter instead of an unknown amount. I stop eating before I explode.  I stop planning to have “eating pants” at holiday meals, I choose wisely.

I have chosen to treat most food as fuel.  I am still human, nobody can resist pie. But it is a treat, and a small piece when I eat it slowly tastes way better than eating to the extreme.

  • Spend some time thinking about how you think about food.  
  • What foods stir up emotions; good or bad
  • Do you eat even when you are not hungry
  • Have you ever even considered that food is fuel

Your eating habits will change dramatically when you have a better relationship with food.

 

Fast food is popular because it's convenient, it's cheap, and it tastes good. But the real cost of eating fast food never appears on the menu. Eric Schlosser

 

Ack, I’m in Menopause!

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I am still hot, it just comes in flashes. Describes a lot of women in Menopause.

As I sit and write today I can’t decide what to write about.  I can once again talk about my gym, what I do and why I love it.  I can talk about motivation, how to get it and keep it, again. I can talk about any number of foods that we should eat, could eat, do not eat, should avoid eating.  Recipes that look amazing and taste even better. Then it occurs to me that one of the reasons why I can’t decide is because my brain has gone on summer vacation like the kids from school.  But, I don’t have kids in school and summer is a great time of the year, but it really doesn’t change much in my world in regards to my task list.

So, why is my brain on break?

My brain is on a break because I am no longer living with pregnancy brain, or mom brain, my brain is going through menopause with the rest of my body.  Until recently I had no idea what menopause actually meant to my whole body. I knew about the end of my periods, but I had no idea how it would affect the rest of me.

The biggest reason I had no idea is pretty simple really.  Our medical system is still pretty much run by men. I am no expert on men but from the ones that I know, they just don’t want to talk about how women’s bodies function.  Even the medical community seems to want to ignore what we all go through.

Menopause is no big mystery, or at least it shouldn’t be.  It is simply another phase in our lives that happen as we age.  Just as we all go through puberty, we also age out of that part of our lives.  Contrary to what Hollywood would have us believe, we do actually all age and the only way to avoid it, is to stop getting older.  Period….

So what does our body do during menopause and what does it really mean?

Menopause is the stopping of menstruation, so you can no longer get pregnant. But just like puberty and/or pregnancy it is just not about that, it is way more complicated.  It seems that until recently there have been very few studies done on the vast number of ways our bodies change as we go through this phase.

We, women, start in something called perimenopause which in a nutshell is all the great bonus side effect of our hormones completely changing, yet still having our periods.  Unlike men when they go through their mid-life crisis’ which typically means a sports car and valiant attempts to appeal to the twenty-something crowd, women’s changes are way more challenging and ever-changing.  

There is also an enormously long time frame that this can all start.  Kind of like when the cable guy is going to be at your house anywhere from 12-4, perimenopause can begin as early as your mid-thirties or mid-forties.  Or as a bonus, later. Who knows?

Typically women will go through 2-8 years of ups and downs, hot and cold flashes, sleep or not so much, mood swings, and weight fluctuations and many more fun things.  Once you have gone a year without a period, you have officially arrived. Hooray! Maybe?. Because you may still have crazy side effects for many years to come. Oh, Joy!

The thing about this is that it can’t really be avoided.  It can’t be predicted, not really. You can look at the other older women in your family to use as a guideline, but then again, it may not mean anything.  It has no reference to your puberty experience.  

There are a few things that you can do to help you go through all of this.

Know that you are not alone.

  • There are a lot of groups out there if you find that you need a support system.  The awareness is growing, so it won’t be hard to find women who are going through it with you.

 There is nothing to fear.

  • It may seem strange, but your mother went through it, so did her mom, and so on and so on.  It is natural.

Talk to your health care provider. 

  • There are all sorts of hormone therapies out there that may apply to you.  You won’t know until you get some testing done.

Exercise.

  • Believe it or not, it truly helps to stay active to some degree.  Your body will function better anyway, but getting a sweat on will actually help.  As your hormones change, your metabolism slows down.  

Look for symptomatic relief.

  • Something that helps me is something that I get from Saje. It is essential oils that actually make me feel some relief when I am having hot flashes.

Do your research.

  • This is your body, do some research on what your body is telling you.  Pay attention to what your body is doing and how it feels.  
  • Menopause Basics

Try natural remedies.

  • Generally your doctor won’t recommend herbs or natural remedies, but in my opinion, and only my opinion, why not try natural supplements.  Personally, I found that Maca works for me. It is a root that you can take as a powder, gel cap, or even a liquid. For me though, it works best when I also take black cohosh.  I found that taking these supplements together, my symptoms are manageable. But there are many options out there and like me, you may find that some work better when you take them with something else.

If you are going through this very special time in your life hang in there. 

Put a smile on and just keep on keeping on.

It will end one day and in the meantime, do what you can to be the best you can be.

 

It's really important that we don't hang up the membership to the human community at menopause. – Valerie Harper

I’m Not Made for Exercise

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Some people avoid exercise because they think they are made that way. Not so

I have been a pretty active person in all of my life.  As a kid, we were always to go play outside, then, I played on almost every team at school.  As I got older, I still played on a lot of school teams but my extra time was spent on just a few sports instead of all I could make time for.  As an adult, well, it hasn’t mattered what I wanted to do at times, with kids, a dog, house, husband, my activity took a back seat.

Now that I am almost an empty nester, my time is mine.  I get to do what I want with my time, sort of. I choose to spend time in my gym, my garden and hiking, and other outdoor activities.  But that is me, I have friends that truly believe that;

they are not wired for exercise.

I am calling them out right now. That is a lie we have learned to tell ourselves and others and therefore completely believe.  

It is not true.

I totally agree that we are not all wired to love playing rugby.  Having three kids, we encouraged them to be active. Two loved most sports, the third loved to dance.  One day she came to us, the third child, and pleaded with us not to make her play rugby. Both her brother and sister did, so she assumed that she should.  I would never have encouraged her to play rugby unless she wanted to, she is way more suited to what she loved, dancing.

Three kids, same house, same upbringing, totally different levels of activity.  But active nonetheless. Take a step back and think about when your babies were babies.  Currently, we have two grandkids. They are the most amazing people on the planet. The youngest is nine months old right now.  So, think with me a moment at that age. When you hold him, be prepared. He never stops moving. He wiggles and squirms. He is constantly watching everything he can all at the same time.  He wants up, he wants down. Leave him alone, don’t leave him alone. His arms are flying everywhere. His legs are kicking endlessly. But the only time he is still is when he is sleeping.

We were all the same once upon a time.  Somewhere along the line, we stopped moving.  We thought that sitting still was the norm and being active was ‘work’.  Not sure when that happens but it needs to stop. Although all schools encourage gym class, it is so forced and structured that even active kids are told what to do and how to move their bodies.  In between gym times, we are told to sit still, stop moving, stop fidgeting learn to conform.

Eventually, schools turn the movement into competitive events and we discourage kids that don’t move the same way as others, to feel less coordinated and we begin to live the lie that ‘sport is not for us’.  It’s about that time that square dancing comes to gym class, hhmmm.

Our bodies are made to move

  • Our bodies are made to work better when we move. 
  • Our systems flush out waste better when we move.
  • Our minds work better when our bodies move. 
  • Our mood improves when we are not made to sit in a box on a chair for hours at a time.
  • Our skin glows when we sweat. 
  • Our endorphins are pumping when we raise our heart rate.

If you look at studies regarding people with Alzheimer's and physical activity, they have been able to prove that physical activity both helps prevent the disease and helps stop its progression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4812200/

But the last thing we should do is wait until a doctor prescribes activity for us.  If we wait to be told what to do and when to do it, we might as well be back in school.  We might as well be forced to conform to somebody else once again making us play flag football, climb a rope, endless sit-ups and push-ups with everyone else counting for us.

It’s time to find something that you like to do.  Start looking into what you have done in the past that made you feel good.  Was it paddleboard, badminton, riding a bike, simply walking. Think back, what physical activity have you enjoyed?  If you really can’t find that thing, start a new search. Find a dance class, look for a pickleball team, join a hiking group, train for a run, do a little boxing, lift some things.  You simply don't know what you like to do until you do it.

Movement is the key to staying younger, so do all you can to make that happen.

 

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the heck she is.” 

Ellen DeGeneres