Archive for the 'Healthy Living' Category

Autumnal Bliss and Frolicky Tots

Somehow I scored a weekend off of work and was able to have a much needed date day/night with my son.  Saturday we started the day off right with several very impressive estate sales and yard sales.  I know, that seems like something only mommy might enjoy.  But, you’re wrong.  Dead wrong.  My six year old son has turned into quite a rumamge sale junkie - and he is a much better bargainer than I am.  He has the whole sweet, innocent “how much for this teddy bear - it will be my first teddy bear - sniffle, sniffle” that I can’t pull off and usually manages to get everything for next to nothing.

We then spent the afternoon at a birthday party where we painted pumpkins, drank hot chocolate, painted our faces and played in the most gorgeous weather I have seen in Nashville this year.  We ate chocolate cake and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like there was no tomorrow.

After our happy gallivanting at the park, we headed home - wind chapped cheeks and rosy nosed - to get cleaned up for our fancy dinner date at Margot (one of the best places to eat in town).  We put on our most comfortable clothes - and still managed to look classy as penguins.  We settled into our cozy, candle lit table - ordered sprite and wine (respectively, for him and me) and enjoyed the best meal and the best company ever.

Originally, I had made the reservations for me and John.  Alas, as is usual, we could not acquire (nor afford) a babysitter - so I figured, why not take a date (an equally romantic date) with my son.  I have to tell you - it was one of the best days in my life.

Then on Sunday the whole crew carved pumpkins on our front porch, took long walks collecting leaves, fed geese and ducks in the park, made french toast, played in the backyard and had an all around beautiful day.  If it sounds idylic and magnificent - it’s because it was…

And, I’m happy to report - the ants have settled in (quite nicely, might I add).. We watched them for some time yesterday getting their new home properly set up.  They are fascinating creatures - they collect the dead, bury them, help each other carry heavy loads.. They each have their place and they each have their task.  They rest when it is time and they work (hard!) when it is time.  Something to be admired in any creature.
God, I love autumn and renewal and work and play and feeling purposeful in life.. There is no time like this time of the year.

Posted in Daily Living, Healthy Living, Mental Health | No Comments »

A Coke and a Smile.. or a degenerative bone disease.. you pick.

Another reason to rethink your diet ladies.. Just read that, apparently, Coke (Pepsi, included) has been linked to high rates of Osteoporosis.. Apparently the phosphoric acid in both Pepsi Cola and Coke is the culprit (who would of thought something that could burn a hole through rust could be bad for you??).

Researchers now believe that cola consumption is linked with a loss in bone mineral density in women.

Cola consumption (4 colas a week or more) was linked to a lower bone mineral density in three hip sites (but not the spine) - and the association was only with colas and not other carbonated beverages.

Presumably here we are talking about any drink with phosphoric acid in it (i.e. Pepsi Cola and Coca-cola).

aaaaaaand, more…….

Traditionally, the bone deficiency disease osteoporosis (literally “porous bones”) has been seen mostly in post-menopausal women, particularly those who did not build high bone density in youth, typically due to insufficient calcium intake. Some researchers have observed a positive correlation between soft-drink consumption and increased risk of osteoporosis in young women, which is now also seen in increasing prevalence in men of late middle age.

Phosphoric acid, used in many soft drinks (primarily so in cola drinks), was initially suspected. It has been claimed that an excess of phosphorus may lead to poor bone density. However medical research indicates that exactly the opposite is the case; as one might expect from the simple application of Le Châtelier’s principle, it is low phosphate intake which increases the risk of osteoporosis, while high phosphate intake reduces it.[2]

Other chemicals such as caffeine (also a significant component of popular common cola drinks) were also suspected as possible contributors to low bone density, due to the known effect of caffeine on calciuria. However other studies have shown that not only does phosphoric acid in colas have no such effect, but the caffeine has only a temporary effect which is later reversed. The authors of this study suggest that any correlation between osteoporosis and soft drink consumption is probably due to displacement of dairy products from the diet.[3]. (Another possible confounding factor may be an association between high soft drink consumption and sedentary lifestyle

Sorry, that was a mouthful.. but well worth the read.. So, it’s a little contrary to our earlier bit of information but I think the fact alone that colas have entered the discussion at all, either because of phosphorus or for caffeine should be a good indicator that they shouldn’t be at all included in a healthy diet.  I think I will just kind of mosey my way around the caffeine bit and focus mainly on getting the phosphoric acid out of my diet.. I’m not strong enough to omit coffee from my life just yet - but I think I won’t have any problem avoiding the former reason…

 

Posted in Daily Living, Healthy Living, Osteoporosis | No Comments »

Autumn’s Arrival… and mine…

I can remember long hours sitting in my room, all alone, listening to album after album after album… From the age of six or seven until I was well into my adult years I was infatuated with music… I would wear out my parents old 45s.  I would try to capture the raspy click of each turn of the needle softly scratching its way across the vinyl onto a tape so that I could play it in the car on my way to guitar practice.  This was how I spent my childhood…  hours spent sitting on my daddy’s knee, oversized headphones on my head, blonde hair tucked underneath while goodbye yellow brick road played and my daddy explained to me why the piano was more powerful than a guitar in rock and roll.. every long drive there would be a quiz and a reward for who, between my brother and myself, could guess which beatle was singing.. it was the way my father raised us.. with all the creativity that the military managed to suppress in him, he never let his passion for good music go.  and he made sure that it was as much a part of our upbringing as brushing your teeth and making our beds everyday.. because, what’s the good of having clean teeth if you can’t sing a good rock and roll tune, right? 

Yet, somehow, with all the business of starting a family and finding jobs that paid us enough to eat, I put it aside, making room for sleep and work and all the other business of life.  too tired.. too busy.. too distracted.. Sure, music is always around.. Our radio is always on - something good is always available for the wanting ears.. My kids adore it.. But I stopped listening.. I didn’t feel a thing.. Until today.  I put Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on and, like a flash, it got me.  It got me like it used to get me.  The whole CD.. It just took over..  Watching my son in the backseat singing all the words helped - it got him too, it always gets him.  Am I making any sense here?  I guess what I am saying is, a part of me is waking up again.  Mabye it’s the beautiful autumn that is shaking me up.. This weather always stirs some madness in me that makes me feel fuller than I can handle some times..  But part of me that had to rest for a few years so that I could take care of some serious stuff is tired of sitting on the sidelines.  I’m back.  Me.  I’m finally back….. whew..

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Environment, Healthy Living | No Comments »

Children’s Health - Five Easy Steps

I was tipped off about a really good website that give parents trying to maintain a standard of health and wellness for their kids a basic foundation on which to stand.  The Blue Butterfly Campaign, developed by the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition, is working in conjunction with science and government to develope and regulate health standards for kids. 

THE BLUE BUTTERFLY CAMPAIGN is an initiative to help spread the word about the 5 Easy Steps to a Healthier Home that everyone can easily follow to create a cleaner, healthier environment for their children.

The Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (CHEC) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public, specifically parents and caregivers, about environmental toxins that affect children’s health.

Our ultimate goal is to eliminate children’s exposure to man-made toxic substances by ensuring everyone’s right-to-know what is in their air, food, water and commercial products. We are working to achieve this goal through increased scientific research, government policies which are more protective of children, and educating and mobilizing individuals — like you — around the country. Visit the CHEC website: http://www.checnet.org

CHEC’s MISSION is to educate parents and all those concerned with the welfare of children about preventable health and development problems caused by exposures to toxic substances in homes, schools and communities and to empower the public to take action to protect children against these toxic threats.

CHEC’s GOALS are to:

  • Create awareness of preventable, environmental risks to children’s health.
  • Help people learn about safer practices and products.
  • Encourage the public to adopt these safer products and practices.
  • Change government and corporate policies to protect children from environmental hazards.

Some of the information is basic, but at the very least, it gives parents something to stand behind and rely on when it comes to everyday decision making for their homes and families. 

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Miraculous Encounters of The Mommy Kind

Something that I never thought would happen HAS!  I have met a group of mothers that I don’t feel completely frightened by.  They don’t wear “workout clothes” (pajamas) everywhere they go.  Even though they adore their children, they don’t find it necessary to brief those around them on the inner workings of their kids’ digestives sytems or mental/behavioral advancement.  They don’t have cars that could house twenty when they only have one child.  They don’t talk about their husbands as if they were talking about their fathers.  They don’t sing retarded “clean up” songs with a crazy, jack nicholson look on their face.  They don’t look you up and down, with menacing judgement, when you hand your kid a quarter at 8am to get m&m’s from the gumball machine just so you can have a two minute conversation with the person selling coffee.  They don’t resent their families because they “gave up the career” or they can’t be themselves anymore……. Au contraire… They are women who have kids - not just moms.  Before you lash out - let me say, I think that being a mom is super incredible in itself.  It is the best job in the world blah blah blah.. Of course I think that, silly - I am one, afterall.  Just let me vent.  If you don’t think most parents are crazy weird, then stop reading.

Until now, it has been a steady flow of coridial acquaintance-ships - I can only think of two mothers, up to now, that have made me feel like I could be upfront and honest.  One is my age and has three kids and we pull together when we can.  The other is a little older with two kids and lives far, far away in boston.  So, I know it’s not an age issue - just a personality thing, I guess.  I have met young mothers my age who, well, have sort of cashed it in.  And the other mothers - they are great but they are usually in their forties or fifties and while I appreciate them, I just usually don’t have a lot in common with them other than the child factor. And even that is barely “in common” - they are usually the ones that have very weird rituals that you know they got from a parenting book or from Barney the Purple Dinosaur.  Maybe one of my faults is that I treat my kids a little too much like grown ups but, COME ON, every instruction you give them doesn’t have to be sugar coated with a song and a reward and a creepy grin of superior parenting skills, does it??? And, as someone who has a majority of other things, besides my beloved kids, that make me me, well - it’s nice to find others who like to talk about something besides poop and cradle cap.  And, just as I was starting to think it didn’t exist, I stumbled upon it and found that it is everything I ever thought it would be. 

So, yes, we will talk about our children - because that is, afterall, what mommies do - but on a very frequent occassion we will let the conversation wander away from them into other things.  We will talk about the books we are writing, the paintings we have sold, the sculptures we are having a hard time finishing because we don’t want to tear ourselves away from our babies, the concerts we will be giving, the research grants we are applying for, the graduate program that is kicking our ass.  We will make martini dates and go out dressed just as cutely as the other non-child, twenty eight year old- thirty year olds in the room - even if we are secretly thinking that the 19year old girls across the room should be at home, in bed, at this hour and, quite frankly, dressed a little more modestly.  We will make lunch dates at the indian buffet with our munchkins and make fun of the frat guys who are just there to watch the racey indian music videos they play all day.  We’ll talk on the phone.  We’ll go on day trips.  We’ll go on walks.  It will be heaven.  I feel like I have just walked into a fictitious, fairytale land where jogging suits or prada diaper bags or scary sing-song discipline are forbidden.  Sigh…. Let the good times roll.

Posted in Uncategorized, Lifestyles, Daily Living, Mental Environment, Healthy Living, Mental Health | No Comments »

Wanting to Be Something Else

I am having a bit of a weird thing.  I want to ride bikes with my kids.  I want to be in graduate school, now, not a year from now.  I want to be fit again.  I want to read as much as I used to.  I want to eat better.  I want to have more time. more time. more time.  Where has all my time gone???

I have never found myself in a situation where I really, truly, can’t change or go with an urge - I simply don’t have time to think about it beyond, well, just THINKING about it.  How frustrating.

What do you do when you just can’t fit anymore in??  Do you take something out to make room?  I can’t imagine what I could take out.  We have no tv. We use our computers only for work.  There isn’t much wasted time, is my point.  I guess I just start cramming it in and maybe the laws of physics and time and space will change and I will be able to fulfill my urges to be a better version of me. 

Posted in Healthy Living, Mental Health | 1 Comment »

Yes is the New No

My husband and I are trying a little experiment.  First, let me tell you how we came about this decision:

We have become pretty crochety and cranky, my husband and I… Not so much with each other - mainly with the kids.  I think what started as us feeling like we had to set some ground rules with our son (which was, at the time, very important) kind of grew into this monster of us being nay-sayers to any fun that might be had.  I found myself walking around with a sneer most of the day and, when I would catch glimpses of myself in the mirror I felt as if I was looking at Bette Davis in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Pale, crazy, hair all mussed - I just didn’t wear grouchy well.  It was putting us all in quite a nasty little funk.  The kids weren’t having any fun and we certainly weren’t having any fun.  So, this past weekend and yesterday we just made a very pointed decision to freakin’ relax.  We had gotten so caught up in being disciplinarians that we forgot that we loved having fun with each other.  It took saying yes at times when we would habitually say “no” - you know, those unimportant things like “can I play in the hose outback?” or “can I stay up a little longer?”…  I don’t mean instigating a free-for-all.. We are just picking our battles and chilling out a significant amount and everyone, from the kids to the pets to the parents, are much happier for it.

Posted in Behavior Issues, Communication, Healthy Living | No Comments »

Shopping… How Taxing.

For the first time in my life, yesterday, I took advantage of the “no tax” weekend and went to Opry Mills Mall - truly one of the most disturbingly over-the-top places in the universe.  The place was packed full of people trying to save a buck.  It was so unpleasant that it left me wondering if tax free weekend is really worth all the hulla-baloo.  I mean, really.  All the frightening crowds made it crystal clear to me why I had been wise to avoid malls in previous years during this weekend of wonder and made me question why I didn’t have the divine perspicacity to realize it this year.  Needless to say, I won’t be doing it again any time soon - or ever again.  Saving six or seven dollars wasn’t enough to make me ever, ever go back for more of that kind of torture.

Posted in Healthy Living, Mental Health, Smart Buying | No Comments »

Hand, Foot and Mouth WHAT???`

Two days ago, my daughter awoke from her afternoon nap with, exempting the ninth grade sexual education videos, the nastiest blisters I have ever seen - except hers are on the soles of her feet and the palms of her hands….  They were so alarming that I called the pediatrician right away.  Apparently, it is Hand, Foot and Mouth disease outbreak time here in Nashville.  The title makes is sounds a lot more fatal than it actually is.  The word disease makes everyone, especially mothers, shutter with sickening fear. This thing seriously needs an image makeover - when the doctor diagnosed it, I about fell to the ground… She then went on to explain that is merely a three to four day illness, not a “disease”.  It is actually a virus that attacks seveal mucus membranes that are directly linked to the areas in the body that give it it’s name.  Within four days, she should be back to normal.  So, why the alarming name then?  Why not call it  Hand, Foot and Mouth blisters with a mild to moderate fever?  Sure, she has been uncomfortable and not sleeping at night.  She is definately not feeling well but, at worst, the last few days have felt like flu season - I certainly didn’t need the word “disease” thrown at me from a pediatrician.

Aside from the frightful name, here is what we have learned about this “disease”:

Your kid won’t want to eat - it can’t be to pleasant with all those awful blisters all over the mouth.  Soup, apple juice, ice cream and popscicles have worked perfectly.

Even though it feels as though the sun is about to collide into the earth, we have been putting socks and footy pajamas on our daughter.  She doesn’t seem to mind wearing socks in the heat - I think the heat is less uncomfortable than the blisters on her feet when she tries to walk.

We have been diligent in keeping our son away from her.  It is moderately contagious, so we are being very careful to wash hands more often than not and to make it known to the other youngun’ that he ought to not be kissin’ on the baby.

Motrin at night has only helped a little.  She is just so ridiculously uncomfortable that the medicine is barely skimming the surface of her malaise.

It totally crept up on us.  My husband and I had both noticed, seperately, that she was having trouble eating and was complaining of her mouth hurting.  She also started to have trouble sleeping at night about two days before the blisters showed up in their full regalia.  Difficulty sleeping at night is always our indicator that she is getting sick, but otherwise, she had been acting perfectly normal.  It’s a sneaky little “disease” but, if you find that you are dealing with it, it is not nearly as scary as the name implies.

Posted in Health Care, Healthy Living | 2 Comments »

Thank Goodness for Starbucks…..

When you’re feeling tired and overworked and, maybe, even a little cheated in life - go to Starbucks.  It was just the happy reality check that I needed.

I had a meeting there this morning and got there early enough to eavesdrop on quite a few delectable conversations.  There are a lot of days, most parents will agree, when I gaze with envy upon those singles that have more free time than they know what to do with.  They read magazines.  They download great, new music into their iPods.  They go out for drinks and movies.  They sit in weird places like Starbucks for hours on end and talk about their “problems”.  From the outside it looks luscious.  Today, though, I got the inside scoop, courtesy of Starbucks and it wasn’t pretty.

While I sat there, prior to eavesdropping, the initial illusion of sweet solitude and calm reverie was there.  But then I started to pay attention to conversations floating around the room.. What is with single, young people creating conflict in their lives?  Do they not see how simple things are?  I suppose they feel as though life is more interesting if it is more complicated.  Maybe I was that way, too, when I was young - I doubt it, but it’s possible.  Thank god for perspective, right?  The lady next to me was in a verbal fist fight on the phone with the DMV, trying to find out how to change the picture on her driver’s license - I kid you not… The poor thing was almost in tears.  The maybe-nineteen year old girl next to her was on her phone saying something to the effect of “how dare he say I spend too much of his money - I earn that sh#!”.  Wow.  I mean, how important is the picture on your driver’s license when you’ve babies to feed, butts to wipe, bills to pay and dinner to cook?  And damn if there has never been a day when I had the luxery of complaining about spending someone else’s money.  I barely have my own money to spend, much less someone else’s.  I just had one of those moments this morning where I felt delightfully out of place.  My hair was a mess, my shirt had a hole in it from my daughter tugging on it too much, my jeans were “sort of” clean, I had a to-do list that would probably make everyone else in that place shutter with exhaustion and it felt good.  So, I say, thank goodness for Starbucks - a place where tired parents can realize they are changing the world for the better simply because we are not contributing to the world where Starbucks, indeed, matters. 

Posted in Daily Living, Healthy Living, Mental Health | No Comments »

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