Monday, January 16, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 16

How was your weekend? Did you have a good one?  I hope so.  Our weekend was okay, a little boring but overall not terrible.  Dan was finally able to get some rest Saturday night and he felt so much better on Sunday which was wonderful.

To everyone that commented and emailed to let me know that you are enjoying the holistic posts thank you!  I will try to write about a holistic health topic once a week, or more if I can, once January is over.  As soon as I figure out which days I will be including them I will let you know.  Do you have any suggestions on when you would like to see the holistic posts?  I was considering adding them on Mondays since it seems like a good way to start off the week. Do you agree?

Here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how far we have covered during the first 15 days of January:

Day 1 – Defined Success and What is/was Holding Us Back

Day 2 – Determined our Purpose and Looked at Passion

Day 3 – Listed Our Goals for January

Day 4 – Listed the Things We Have Needed to Work on for a While

Day 5 – Looked at Optimism vs. Pessimism and Fear vs. Intuition

Day 6 – Practiced Conscious Eating

Day 7 – Hara Hachi Bu

Day 8 – Taking the Stress Out of Meal Time

Day 9 – Acknowledgments

Day 10 – No Excuses, Do it Anyway

Day 11 – Is it True?

Day 12 – Have You Really Connected With Someone Today?

Day 13 – Motivation is a Decision

Day 14 - Successfully Navigating Dinner at an Unfamiliar Restaurant

Day 15 - What Do You Want, Have You Asked?

I hope the last post about have you asked for what you want was helpful.  I know that my life is much happier since I started asking for what I want in life.  I believe the same thing will happen for you. 

Treating Others as You Wish to be Treated:

Having good relationships plays a significant role in overall health.  Not only do relationships reduce your stress and help you live longer, but people with better relationships are happier.  There is some anecdotal evidence that people who are happier have a better relationship with food.  This is why I keep writing about happiness and relationships.

When I was a very young girl my grandmother had a huge impact on my life. She was a very wise woman and though she died when I was 11 years old I learned a lot from her that still has an impact on me today.  My grandmother was a very strong woman but also one of the nicest people I have ever met. She used to tell me that I should treat people the way I wanted to be treated.  As a child this was basic and rather vague advice.  However as an adult I realize this advice is simple yet brilliant.  Imagine what the world would be like if everyone treated others the way tehy wanted to be treated? There would be no war, no bigotry, no fighting, no back stabbing, or many of the other things that make life a challenge.  Doesn’t a world without all that negativity sound like heaven?

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, to assume that they are doing the best they can in the moment.  Some days it is much easier for me to do this than other days.  I am like everyone else; I have good days and I have bad days.  However every day I try to do my best and that is all that any of us to ask of ourselves.  Have I always been this way?  Heck no!  I am as human as everyone else. I have jumped to conclusions, made snap judgments about people and lost my temper more times than I can count and I expect that will continue to happen only hopefully less often.  There are a handful of people that I have encountered that just rub me the wrong way.  I am trying to learn to forgive and move on but that is something I still need to work on.  However every day I wake up with the idea in the mind that I will do my best to treat people with kindness.

Some days it is very easy to be nice to people and I don’t have to think about it at all.  Other days I am a little stressed out (like now with my hubby in the hospital) and those are the days when it is most important that I slow down and take time to breathe before I say anything.  I suspect the same is true for you, that being nice it tougher when life isn’t going as you would like it to go.  When this happens to me I simply slow down and try not to let things come out of my mouth until I have thought them through completely.  I am not perfect at this, but I have gotten better at it with age.  When you ask yourself, “How would I like someone to treat me in this situation” you will always get a more sympathetic response to a situation.

One of the benefits of being nearly 50 years old is that I understand myself better now than at any time in the past. I know who I am and what matters to me.  More importantly I also know what doesn’t matter to me. For me there are a few things that matter more than trying to make a difference in other people’s lives.  I think the best way I can do that is thru nutrition and holistic health as those things are what I am passionate about.  I have been writing a lot about the emotional side of life lately because I believe this is where most people run into trouble with their health.  All of us know what we need to do to be healthier.  We need to balance our energy input (calories consumed) and output (calories expended thru exercise) and when we do that we will reach the correct weight for each of us.  We also know that we need to exercise in order have a healthy cardiovascular system.  Everyone knows that a diet high in processed food, saturated fat, sugar and salt is bad for them. Since we all know this why can’t we make the necessary changes to get healthier?  I think it comes down to emotional health and that is impacted by overall happiness and the quality of our relationships. Does it make sense how the areas of our lives are interconnected?

I have worked with a few people who subconsciously used food to medicate. This makes complete sense when you realize that food causes the body to release different chemicals (serotonin for example) and can alter how we feel emotionally. What these people had in common was that they all were a little unhappy.  However when they improved their moods they also found that food wasn’t as much an issue in their lives.  This is why I continue to talk about mood and relationships and how to improve them both.

Have you ever noticed that people who are happy also seem to be healthier than people who are unhappy?  It took me a long time to make that connection but from my personal experience I think it is true. I would be very curious to hear what has been your experience on this.  I know the same thing happens to me.  When I am stressed out I instinctively want to eat “comfort food” which for me is anything starchy, usually something in the pasta or pizza family.  However I have also learned to see those cravings for what what they are.  I hope that this has given you some emotional food for thought and explains the reason for today’s exercises.

Today’s exercises are:

1.       When you are interacting with people today take your time before you speak.

2.       Give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

3.       Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about what you would need/want if you were in their situation.  In other words, treat them as you would like to treated.

4.       Write in your journal what this exercise was like for you.  Where you able to be more kind, sympathetic, or rational?  Was your interaction with this person different from most other conversations you have had with them previously?  How did you feel after this interaction?  What did you learn about yourself and the other person?

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters – Sunday I was very busy again between cooking, writing and running back and forth to the hospital.  No progress on the newsletters but I will get back to in on Monday.

2.       Body Bugg – Remembered to wear my bugg on Sunday after forgetting it on Saturday.  Nobody is perfect.  ;-)

3.       Date with Dan – We are spending loads of time together but I wouldn’t call it a date.  There will be plenty of time for that soon, once we make a break for it.  LOL

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – I didn’t eat any nuts or seeds yesterday except 2 Brazil nuts so there was nothing to measure.

5.       Working on my business I  took Sunday off but I will get back to this on Monday.

Are you happy with the progress you are making on your goals?  I have always expected a lot from myself but even I am pretty happy with what I have accomplished this month.  Remember you don’t have to make a lot of progress each day only a little since small changes add up.  I hope you are feeling good about your progress.


How are you doing writing acknowledgements?  Is it starting to feel less forced yet?  Are you beginning to see that you do a lot of things well every day? Has your mood improved?  Here are my acknowledgements for Sunday:

·         Sunday Dan asked me to bring him his favorite smoothie (chocolate, cherry and kale) so I did. He drank two big glasses and was very happy to have it.  *woo hoo*  It was also nice to be able to share the concept of green smoothies with the staff at Hopkins. They were very curious and I think that was a very good thing.

·         I took a little time to pressure cook a pound of garbanzo beans and make some hummus and tabouli before I left the house.  I thought Dan needed the fiber so I was doing my part to help out on that front.  Hospital food isn’t very high in fiber we have decided. Fortunately Dan isn’t on any ‘dietary’ restrictions so I can bring in whatever I please.  J

·         It was very nice to be eating my own fresh food from home.  I had no idea how much I missed my food until I had some again.

·         Speaking of fresh food, I wanted to show you Dan’s lunch tray.  Do you see that most of this is unprocessed whole food? Shocking right?  If you ask enough questions you really can get whole food anywhere, even in a hospital. This is what persistence can do for you.  ;-)

·         Each time I hear the air ambulance arriving (like now as I am typing this) I am reminded how fortunate we are.  It is sad the number of people who are being transported into the hospital by air.  I hope they are having good outcomes.  *fingers crossed*  While I have been a little whiny about being stuck in the hospital, it really hasn’t been bad.  Actually it has been more annoying than anything else, and considering the possibilities we have been very fortunate.  I think it is important to keep things in perspective.  No matter how bad you think things are in your life there are always many others who have it far worse than you do.

·         Meditating has been coming in very handy this week. I have used it to calm down and Dan has successfully used it to lower his blood pressure and heart rate.  Thank goodness we were both open to less than traditional practices.  If you haven’t tried meditating please do.  I am sure meditation made a big difference for both of us this week.

·         I am still a little surprised that I have managed to get a detailed post up every day this month with all the activity that has been going on.  Some days it has been harder to write than other days. However overall writing blog posts this week has been a good distraction since it keeps my mind off other things.

·         Each time one of the hospital employees asked a question about our diet we have answered questions and talked to them to about why we eat the way that we do.  I don’t know that we changed anyone’s mind but we were at least able to show them that patients can make radical dietary changes and the impact those dramatic changes have on cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose.  Maybe seeing what we have done will encourage the staff to at least mention dramatic changes to other patients.  *fingers crossed*

Random Observations:

I have been meaning to mention this all week but I continue to forget about it. This is the artwork in Dan’s hospital room which is directly opposite his bed.  It is also an image of Venice (which is where we started our honeymoon many years ago) and I think I even remember this particular spot based on the position of the domes in the background.  I will need to pull the photos from our honeymoon now to see if I have any of this particular spot, and I might.  That seems a little much to be a coincidence doesn’t it?

We have had an extremely nice bunch of people caring for Dan this week.  They have been abundantly cautious with his care, and we appreciate that even though we have been fussing about how long we have been here.  It is always better to err on the side of caution.  We both realize that we are fortunate to be getting this level of care.  Most people in the world don’t have access to a hospital of this caliber and that is something that we shouldn’t take for granted.

Spoiler alert, Dan was discharged today (Monday).  There is no “definitive” cause for his fever, but since they have ruled out everything they can think of to test they are cutting him loose this evening.  Let the celebration begin!  *happy dance*   ;-)  I asked Dan what he wanted to do with his first taste of freedom and he said sleep.  Okay so I don’t think we will actually be celebrating just yet. However maybe he will feel up to more than sleeping on Tuesday once he has gotten a good night’s sleep in his own bed surrounded by me and his fur children.  *fingers crossed*  I can’t wait for life to get back to normal around here!

I am mentioning the discharge now because I wanted to share part of the conversation we had with the attending physician before leaving the hospital.  We asked what else we could be doing from a lifestyle standpoint and he said “nothing”.  “You are to be commended on what you have been doing and there is nothing else you can do.”  Go us!  It is nice to know that we are doing our part. BTW I will still be encouraging a certain someone (who shall remain nameless but you know who I mean) to start a daily exercise program and this time I won’t be letting this person use too much work as an excuse for bailing out of gym time.  ;-)  I guess I will need to be both the nutrition and the exercise Nazi.  Dan already calls me the nutrition Nazi because he thinks that is very funny.  He got the idea from the soup Nazi on Seinfeld. He can add exercise to my “title” now.

Don’t forget that we have a vision board exercise coming up later this month. If you have any magazines that you were going to throw them out set them aside for the vision board project.  I am planning to get to the vision board this coming weekend assuming things remain good with us.


Guess who got another parking spot in the Weinberg building?  *woo hoo*  It is much less stressful knowing that no matter what time I leave the hospital I don’t need to worry about walking to the car by myself.  Isn’t it just fascinating how happy I can get over a parking spot.  LOL

Sunday was another uneventful day at Hopkins for us. Dan was doing much better because he got some rest.  I was shocked what a difference 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep could make for him. It was very nice to have my normal husband back.  His appetite is great, he had two big glasses of his favorite chocolate, cherry and kale smoothie, snacked on some hummus and broccoli, prunes, Brazil nuts, and walnuts in addition to eating most of the hospital food.  Sometimes I have no idea how he manages to stay trim.  My hubby eats a mountain of food.  Wouldn’t we all like his metabolism?  LOL

Louie was our nurse again Sunday evening. He is a really nice guy.  Have I said recently what a nice group of people we have had taking care of Dan?   It is wonderful to know that there are so many caring and kind people in the world.  I never get tired of meeting new nice people.  The staff at Hopkins have all been very nice.

On a related note we talked a bit about health and nutrition with Louie.  Again, because of the “dietary restrictions” on Dan’s chart this topic comes up a lot.   Louie was pleased to hear that Dan is 60 pounds lighter since our switch to healthy veganism. Hopefully some of what we talked about will pop back in Louie’s head later, and I think it will. He mentioned that when he was eating chicken earlier in the day he thought of us (he was our nurse Saturday night too).  As you can tell we are spreading the vegan love where ever we go.  LOL, I am starting to feel a bit like ambassadors for healthy veganism.  I wonder why?  LOL  ;-)

Happy thoughts:

Have you gotten into the habit of writing your happy thoughts?  I find it helpful to remind myself how often things go well and that I shouldn’t take these things for granted.

·         I was thrilled to get a parking spot in the Weinberg garage again on Sunday.  *happy dance*  I know this sounds like a little thing but having one less item to worry about is great in my book. Last night (Sunday) Louie told me that if I can’t get a spot in Weinberg I should park in the Orleans Street garage in terms of safety. It is good to have a backup plan that is safer than using the outpatient parking lot.

·         Dan was also able to get more rest Sunday evening so he is feeling great today.  Now if we can just get rid of the mystery fever we will be all set.  J

·         It was good to have my hummus, tabouli and raw broccoli at the hospital yesterday.  I don’t think that I could have looked at another veggie sub let alone eaten one! As you can see I used the hummus and broccoli to make a “sandwich” on a small whole wheat roll. Not the best meal but not the worst either.  Considering the circumstances I thought it was pretty good.

·         It was wonderful to have Dan in a better mood Sunday. We spent a lot of time talking and had some fun in spite of where we were. I probably should have brought cards or a game into the hospital.  However we really didn’t need them because of all the talking we have been doing.

Signing Out:

Monday was a great day.  It was wonderful to hear that Dan was being cut loose.  He can’t wait to get some sleep in his own bed and who can blame him for that?  As I am typing this Luca is sitting on his lap keeping him warm.  The boys haven’t forgiven Dan yet for being gone for a week.  However by the end of the evening I expect the boys to be “talking” to daddy too.

Sorry about getting this post up late. With the trip home from the hospital, stopping at the pharmacy, going by Dan’s office to water his plants and the webinar I had tonight my evening was jam packed.  I can’t wait to get up tomorrow and stay in my bathrobe for a while.  I need a relaxing morning and I plan to have one tomorrow.
I hope you had a good Monday and that you did something fun if you had the day off. Talk with you again tomorrow.  Good night!


  1. I am so happy to hear that your husband is home! Still praying that for both of you.


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