Not for Sissies

So the last six months in particular, I have had a few odd breakouts of ailments including two bouts of bacterial infection in my sinuses. Don’t worry, this won’t be a list of what’s wrong with me; I am fundamentally pretty healthy.

I am not used to getting sick and I am not used to be knocked out and fatigued when I am sick. I am an energetic, active person and this is alien to me. Yes, I know, it has only been a week, but really.

Nobody really tells you or describes to you the specific and detailed changes that happen to you as your body ages. Maybe that is for the best. Maybe if we knew in advance, we would live in terror or perhaps take the easy way out. I don’t know.

It starts in such a subtle way, little things you don’t really notice at first. Then the changes start to cumulate. Some bother me more than others. It bothers me that my skin is no longer smooth and beautiful; my arms and legs look as my grandmother’s did. My neck which is long and was beautiful is now pouchy and inescapably old. All the sun damage from long ago is visible. Arthritis has snuck in a bit to various parts of my body. It doesn’t hold me back but it does mean I don’t spring out of bed in the morning, I stretch and give myself a minute.

On my bad days, I completely understand people’s compulsion to “correct” surgically the signs of aging; the things they don’t like about themselves. I sometimes think there are just a few small things…

The funny thing is, I loved my Grandmother more than almost anyone and her skin being crinkly didn’t bother me one little bit. And when I look at my face on a good day, at the lines on it, I think I have earned them -laughing and crying. When I am able to be kind to myself I think I have used this body hard and long and by some miracle it serves me still and mostly pretty well.

I'm glad I didn't know that growing old was not for sissies. I am also glad to know that I am not a sissy. I am working at aging as gracefully as I possibly can because I am keenly aware that it is so much more wonderful than the… Click To Tweet

I’m glad I didn’t know that growing old was not for sissies. I am also glad to know that I am not a I’m glad I didn’t know that growing old was not for sissies. I am also glad to know that I am not a sissy. I am working at aging as gracefully as I possibly can because I am keenly aware that it is so much more wonderful than the alternative. I am not done yet. sissy. I am working at aging as gracefully as I possibly can because I am keenly aware that it is so much more wonderful than the alternative. I am not done yet.

Food Choices

So, being diabetic is much more complex than I ever could have imagined. My father always made light of it saying he just had “a little sugar”. As did my grandfather; all the Meyers men had “the sugar”. It didn’t sound so complicated really, just don’t eat sweets. Little did I know; and forget all the other health risks that come with it.

Everything is sugar for a diabetic; rice, potatoes, all bread (rye and pumpernickel are best), carrots, peas, fruit (do not eat bananas) and of course the usual suspects, deserts and sweets of all kinds. I do find that I can eat a small amount of dark chocolate without adverse effect. And this is not an exhaustive list.

As an aside, I personally detest those people who arrogantly declaim that you can “cure diabetes with diet and exercise”. My disease is genetically acquired and can be controlled with diet and exercise but cannot be cured. I am definitely not obese and my legs are skinny enough thanks. And there are those that say “well it’s the net carbs” or “don’t count the sugar alcohols.” For me, and every diabetic is different, it is the total carb count without these excuses that is the best predictor of a sugar spike.

For a long time I used Glucerna (diabetic brand) shakes for breakfast as I am not much of a morning eater. Then I discovered that the Atkins shakes are cheaper, taste better and have fewer carbs than Glucerna (I still travel with them and my suitcase always gets searched because they x-ray as a bomb like shape). Then I started making my own with whey protein, almond milk, ice, berries, dehydrated greens (a bag of spinach always goes bad before I can use it) and a splash of sugar free raspberry or pomegranate syrup to amp the taste and sweetness (yes, I have a terrible sweet tooth). But I tend to put too many berries in, thus negating the good blood sugar effect.

After several years I just got bored with shakes and went searching for alternatives. I found the recipe I am sharing here. They are yum, easy and are filling enough to hold me until lunchtime and they do not raise my blood sugar. So here it is.

GRAIN FREE CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAKFAST COOKIES:

2 cups almond flour plus 2 tblsp. 1/4 cup shredded coconut (original recipe calls for unsweetened, hard to find so just use regular baking coconut, not enough to raise blood sugar) 2 tblsp. hemp hearts, flax seed or chia seed (see note at the end) 1/2 teas. each sea salt, baking soda, cinnamon 2 large eggs lightly beaten 1/3 cup coconut oil 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (use maple if you have it – delicious – can reduce slightly to account for the coconut if you like) 1 teas. orange zest (more won’t hurt) 1 teas. pure vanilla 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries (so far 1/2 and 1/2 is yummiest) 1/2 cup unsalted raw pecans, chopped

Peheat to 325 and line a baking pan with parchment or a silicone mat. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut, hemp/chia/flax, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add eggs, oil, maple/honey, orange zest and vanilla. Mix on medium until well combined. On low speed add dried fruit and pecans and mix until combined.

Using a metal quarter cup measure, drop on baking sheet one inch apart, bake approx. 25 mins until golden and not doughy. They will be sticky but if you give the cup measure a hard quick shake it will drop out. Cool on rack. will keep about 4 days in fridge, freeze for up to 3 months.

NOTE: If you use hemp hearts they will be softer and spread more. If you use chia or flax they will be denser and hold shape when baked. I prefer the chia/flax over the hemp hearts which are also expensive and hard to find.

Bon Appetit and A Votre Santé!

Expiration Dates ~ It’s a Mystery

 

Something I think is one of the great mysteries of life, and there are many, is how does water have an expiration date. What is it the producers of bottled water aren’t telling us?  Are they adding something that goes bad? Do the plastic bottles start emitting toxins after a specified period of time?

I have been warned but nevertheless have drunk tap/well/town pump water from Mexico to the Greek islands to rural upstate New York and have never suffered any toxic effects.  And I cannot honestly say that I have a particularly stout digestive system. But I have shared water bottles with dogs and cups of water with my cats. I have broken one of the cardinal rules of the new age and refilled  disposable water bottles.

There is a whole other issue surrounding expiration dates and that is the “sell by” date or “best by” date.  There are those that subscribe to the idea that once that date comes around, boom! Use or dispose.  Then there are those that say well, that is just a “sell by” and doesn’t mean that you can’t use the item ad infinitum. I have no idea which is true but the quqestion is for another day

So, I repeat, how can this life giving substance, found all over the planet for millenia have an expiration date? Perhaps we should give up the bottled water habit for this and many other reasons, not to mention the number of plastic bottles in landfills, along with plastic grocery sacks and disposable diapers. But as usual, I digress.

And while our government is dismantling decades of environmental protection  rules and regulations, we must still do our part. If everyone recycled their trash, there wouldn’t be much.  It is like voting, everyone has a little part of the whole.  So take your reusable bags to the grocery store, don’t leave them in the car – get some extra steps in and go back for them. Buy a filter for your tap water and get a good refillable “cold” bottle to take your water to work, gym, wherever. Recycle everything your town or county will take. And remember, the only important expiration date I am aware of for water is the one humans are creating on our ultimate supply.

Mickey D & the Olympics

fast foodMaybe it is just me, but at the last Olympic, winter, games there were ads declaring that McDonalds was an official restaurant, or food, of the Olympics?  I pondered this at the time but never got around to writing about it and then the moment had passed.  And now there are ads proclaiming that McDonalds is a proud sponsor of the United States Olympic team.  As I say, maybe it’s just me but does this strike anyone else as oxymoronic?

Here are some of the fittest folks in the world, being sponsored by the purveyor of some of the least healthy food on the planet; the food of all evil.  We are in an America increasingly caught up in health crazes, diet crazes, food fads in some spectrum of society and increasingly and unrelentingly morbidly obese across many groups. Just take a walk through most Walmart stores and your self esteem will increase by 100%.

So while restaurants and brands are madly advertising that things are “natural” “organic” “gluten free” and “gmo free”  (a blog for another day) these elite athletes are, dare we say it, eating McDonalds? Is this a great leap to some kind of food legitimacy for the fast food chain?  First they start offering apples in their kid’s meals, then salads, now the olympics. While I don’t begrudge the Olympic athletes any support wherever it can be found, and I think apples are a great idea, we should not be fooled into thinking this is good food.  Even if you are a committed carnivore this is not good food.  It is processed, frozen, pre-prepared. As brands like Panera strive to convince us we are going back to clean and fresh, we seem to be farther than ever from just cooking fresh real food for ourselves.

Dont be fooled, fast food is fast for a reason. And most of us don’t burn 5000 calories a day or more working out.