Alternative Health

Perhaps “alternative medicine” is a better term since health is such a loose word, but medicine seems so intimidating and foreign.

Most recently I have been surrounding myself in some new practices – acupuncture, Chinese herbs and meditation. All of them have been great, especially since my glass is currently spilling over with stress while we are figuring out our visa situation here in Melbourne and considering a move back to the US in August. Yes, that is about 3 months away and we have no confirmed plans, nor know where we will move to or what/if I will have a job. It is no bed of roses, but I have been trying to enjoy the confusion. Oh! And I will be having jaw surgery again in July. 

Life goes on and why not try meditation and acupuncture to cope, right?

Sure enough, it has helped. I am pleasantly pleased with the outcome of both meditation and acupuncture. I think the expensive Chinese herbs could fall by the wayside though. I am not sure if I notice anything different when drinking them in dissolved warm water and I cannot fail to mention how awful they taste. Has anyone else tried them? Do you have any insight to share?

The meditation is so interesting too. It is actually funny how I got involved in this. I purchased a yoga voucher and quickly learned there was more focus on breathing, etc than downward dog poses.

However, anything I do, I try to go into it with an open mind regardless of what it is. At my first session, I sat there thinking to myself, “I know how to breath, why do I need someone to tell me to take a deep breath and scan my body while listening to some weird sounds?” But gosh by golly! By the end of each session I feel pretty content. I have since been, a handful of times, and plan on continuing some sessions every month. Overall, I have realised I handle stress better, I go with the flow better and live in the moment a bit more.

I highly recommend meditation and suggest doing it at least a few times. It is a great way to shut off any chaos in your life and feel more comfortable in your own skin. 

Now onto acupuncture – why did I try this out?

Besides Robb Wolf preaching how great it is among many other health advocates, I wanted to reduce my hay-fever symptoms (I take anti-histamines every day and want to wean that down), try something new and see what it did for my diabetes (type 1). On a side note, I strive to eat paleo every day but sometimes that does not happen. When it doesn’t I often see fluctuations in my blood sugars and pay for it. So overall, I wonder what acupuncture can do for my cravings, circulation and over blood sugar stabilisation.

So far, things feel pretty good. After session one I felt engerized and invigerated. It’s not everyday someone sticks a needle in the top of your head and forehead wrists and tummy. I have session two this weekend and look forward to what differences, if any, I feel. I will be sure to provide an update on anything surprising.

Overall, the prices for alternative medicine are a little high, but I think they are worth it. They are natural and a new approach for caring for yourself. I am personally all about touting the benefits of a good diet and often forget the other sides of health including stress, sleep, movement, and fertility. These alternative health practices have helped me bring my well-being full circle.

Cheers to you and good health!

I did it!

Last week I reached an amazing personal goal. I ran the Disney World half marathon and I beat my boyfriend! Kidding aside, my focus was not on beating my boyfriend (even though it felt pretty good), yet, I was determined to push myself beyond my mental ability.

Orlando, Florida hadn’t seen snow for decades but on this given weekend, 9th of January 2010, it snowed like it was Chicago. Not only did pretty snowflakes come down and covered the course, but there was rain and hail. My limbs were nearly numb running and it did not help having to be at the race 2 hours before the start. It had me shivering to all ends.

So the race started and I ripped off the trash bag I was wearing for warmth and my legs were moving faster than I was thinking. After the second mile mark and my continuous celebratory fist punch in the air (which I did at every mile mark), I told myself I wasn’t going to stop until I past the finish line.

I wasn’t doing this all for myself but in my head I told myself I was doing it for all the type 1 diabetics who feel or have felt held back by their disease to reach physical goals.

I was once one of those diabetics, but I am proud to say I’ve enrolled in 4 half marathons, a dozen of 10k’s and many many more races in the last few years. I will admit, every race I have fear of going low or skyrocketing high, yet, I know how to react to these occasions if they arise and I do my best to be my best and to keep my glucose levels in goal range.

So I was right around mile 5 and there it was, the shriek of pain in my left leg. My IT band, as expected, was acting up. But in my head I told myself to run through the pain to prove myself that I can reach this half marathon goal and that this pain was only the beginning of what is to come. I was and am determined to give back to the diabetic community and reach every goal I set for myself.

The next milestone was right around mile 8. Wow, eight miles. I’ve never ran this much without stopping for a stretch or a water break in my life! But I will admit I wanted to crawl up in a warm bed more than anything. Again, I told myself, “there is no pain, no gain, I am keeping to my goal.”

It is not easy getting through the last few miles of a half marathon. I focused on positive things and I mostly thought of the lessons and morals my parents and peers have taught me.

I heard my dad echoing in my head to always strive to be the best person I can be and to live my dream. I kept recollecting how well my mom and dad raised us four kids and that we are so fortunate for the bond we have and much more.

I guess these races really break you down right?

After the race my dad and mom were the first people I wanted to call to tell how well I did! I called them as soon as my hands warmed up enough to move and my determination to reach more goals hasn’t stopped there. I plan to become a more solid player in the diabetic charitable and research community starting…yesterday. I turned down a great position on the Chicago Dietetic Association board to spend more time with another passion: JDRF.

Two-thousand- ten (2010) is going to be a good year and it took a 13.1 mile race through hail and rain to prove it!

Have a healthy and fit day!

Live Your Life

Not Your Lifestyle.

This post comes about from two perspectives. As I type away to the Killers song, Human (great song), I only find myself as fortunate. A relative passed away this week, unexpectedly, and while I did not make it home for any unplanned holiday since Christmas, I am disappointed I did not get to spend more time with him, but I know I am blessed to of had him in my life and lucky that I have a supportive family and group of friends. Not everyday are we drawn to think about how short life can be, especially one that we don’t live every day. Be excited about the present.

This blog post was suppose to be an update on my BLCC (Biggest Loser Couples Challenge) and I am sad to say that the scale did not waver in my favor. But — it’s OK. I had a great week; well up to this point. I had a cookout over the weekend, planned and participated in a surprise birthday party and enjoyed Sunday outside.

Live your life. Not your lifestyle.

To live your life everyday, we need to live in the moment. If you’ve read my past postings, you know my thinking on food in that it is one of the best pleasures in life. Each day, really enjoy the food you eat.

This is something called Mindful Eating. This practice focuses on the present moment rather than habitual and unsatisfying behaviors. Learn more about mindful eating and you can improve your stress, possible anxieties and your relationship with food.

Environmental Nutrition has provided nine steps for thinking through your food:
1. Imagine that when you are eating it’s the first time you’ve experienced the food. AKA – don’t done it in point 5.2 seconds.
2. Take one piece of food and analyze. Notice the texture, smell, color, etc.
3. Bring it to your nose and lips. Notice memories and thoughts, regarding the food.
4. Put it in your mouth. Notice the initial taste, texture, sensations, and more.
5. Bite and chew the food slowly.
6. Swallow food and think about the path of the food from your mouth to your stomach.
7. Think about what is going on with the food.
8. Eat the second bite, just as the first. Enjoy it.
9. Consider how this experience with your food is different from past habits with eating.

Have a healthy and fit day!