Monday, January 9, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 9

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you have that your week is starting off well.  Mine has is hectic already but sometimes that is just what happens and we have to learn to go with the flow I guess.

Here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how far we have come during the first 8 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

I hope you have been enjoying the January posts so far.  Since you are being shy I can’t exactly tell.  Again if you have any suggestions please share. 

Yesterday we looked at a practical aspect of being healthy, meal planning.  Today I wanted to get back to the emotional aspects of being healthy.  I believe that we can’t be completely healthy until we learn to love ourselves. This is a tougher assignment for some of us than others.  People like me who are recovering perfectionists find it extremely difficult to love ourselves because there is always something that doesn’t quite measure up.  However I have made huge strides in not only forgiving but embracing my flaws. That is not to say that I am finished with this project only that I have made great progress. Today’s assignment is something that I feel is very helpful so I wanted to share it with you.  I hope it helps you as much as it helped and continues to help me.

Acknowledging You:

Women are notorious bad at taking credit for things they do.  Why is that?  Men want a ticker tape parade if they take out the trash without being asked but women aren’t like that.  Ladies, we need to be more like the guys on this one.  When was the last time you patted yourself on the back for doing anything let alone everything?  I can almost guarantee you that you don’t do it at all and if you do I bet it isn’t as often as you should.  Today’s exercise is about giving you credit for all the things you do. 

Start a new page in your notebook with a header of “acknowledgements”.  Now write down today’s date and when you do something that you are proud of write it down.  Since you are probably new to this I can see you sitting there staring at the page thinking “what does she want me write?”  Come on, this should be so very easy for you.  I will share my acknowledgements from today to give you an idea of what I am talking about:

1.       I woke up earlier than Dan this morning and remained quiet so he could get extra sleep since he was up late working on my new laptop.

2.       First thing this morning I put on my Body Bugg.  I had taken quite a bit of time off from wearing it so it is good to be back in the habit again. 

3.       I am completely committed to my morning “process” now and can’t imagine my day without motivational books and meditation.  For years I have looked for something that helped me to start the day on the right foot and this really seems to be it.  Love that!

4.       I made us a delicious and healthy salad for breakfast. It is wonderful that we had a huge bowl of leafy greens topped with raw and cooked veggies for breakfast.  *woo hoo*

5.       I soaked white beans overnight in water and a little baking soda to reduce the raffinose (the portion of the beans that makes them hard to digest) .  I am such a great wife.  ;-)

6.       Lunch was a kick ass bowl of white bean and barley soup.  Dan gladly had two bowls because he liked it so much.  I made extra soup for his lunch tomorrow too.   Go me!

7.       While Dan worked diligently on my new laptop I made sure he had plenty of green tea because it is good for him. We had no difficulty getting our minimum of 6 cups in today.  I also added fresh citrus (grapefruit) to enhance our absorption of EGCG and cinnamon for additional antioxidants.

8.       We had our two Brazil nuts today after breakfast to make sure we are consuming an adequate amount of selenium. 

9.       Dan didn’t get much sleep last night and wasn’t feeling 100% today because of it.  I didn’t remind about the mindfulness meditation lecture but instead let him take a nap with his precious little fur child (Binky).  Binky is bad but darn he is cute.  ;-)  I am so glad that I brought that bad little car home.  We both adore him.

10.   I am proud of myself for all the creative ideas I have come up with so far for the January health posts.  Something tells me that they aren’t what many of expected but I imagine they are making you think if nothing else.

11.   During January I have needed to spend much more time on the computer since these posts are more involved and therefore more time consuming.  To make certain that I still had time for my critical tasks I have eliminated most of my fluffy activities.  I haven’t given up my meditation, exercise or reading but mindless web surfing has taken a back seat.  When I am on the computer I am focused on my next post.  If you have sent me an email you probably noticed that my delays are taking much longer than usual.  At the moment I just don’t time to respond to them.  However I will get to your email as soon as I can.  It is good to not feel compelled to respond right away.  I am getting at quieting my inner perfectionist and she has been in control a long, long time.

12.   This evening I walked over to the store for kale, frozen cherries, Ezekiel bread and also came home with blood oranges.  *woo hoo*  I realized on my walk to the store that most nearly 50 year old women wouldn’t walk they would drive.  I was proud of myself for not even considering taking the car to the store.  Go healthy me! 

13.   While my new computer is definitely different from my now retired one and I am proud of myself for taking my time to learn the differences without running to my husband for help.  Having a husband who is so good with technology has caused me to toss most of my problems to him in the past.  I intentionally worked out my issues on my own this afternoon and I feel better about my technology abilities because of it.

14.   Dinner tonight was another late one at our house.  Since Dan wanted a chocolate cherry and kale smoothie again tonight I don’t have to tell you what we had do I?  I am very proud of myself for developing a healthy smoothie that my husband requests day after day.  Go me!

Are you starting to get the idea of how to write acknowledgements?  Any time something goes well, or you attempt something that was difficult for you to do (even if you didn’t get the result that you wanted) give yourself credit.  Treat yourself as you would treat one of your friends.  You would notice when they did something well, or stepped outside their comfort zone wouldn’t you?  Give yourself the same courtesy.  You deserve praise too!

Today’s exercises are:

1.       Create an acknowledgements section in your notebook.

2.       Write as many acknowledgements as you can each day, at least 5 though more would be better.

3.       Continue to acknowledge yourself every day this month by writing down what you did well each day.  You may enjoy this so much that it becomes part of your evening ritual.

4.       When you are having a bad day go back and reread your prior acknowledgements.  Treat yourself as you would treat any of your friends. Shouldn’t you be at least as nice to yourself as you are to others?

The most difficult part of today’s exercise is getting started. Women find it so difficult to appreciate themselves.  However once you get started I think you will see how easy this really is.  Not only is it easy but it helps you to focus on what you did well.  I think of it as giving yourself an ‘atta  girl.  You wouldn’t praise one of your employee or friends, do the same for yourself.

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters – No progress on this goal on Sunday.   I should have clearly stated that I wasn’t going to work on my business on the weekends because I wanted to spend them with my hubby.  However that was my intention all along. Expect to see progress on this and item 5 again on Monday.

2.       Body Bugg – Seven days in a row wearing my bugg and going strong. I think this has become a habit again.  ;-)  If any of you want to know more about this let me know and I will include details about it in an upcoming post.

3.       Date with Dan – We had an entire date weekend.  Nice!

4.       Measuring calorie dense food – I am still doing this, and it continues to annoy me less each day.  I am starting to get a better feel for what a tablespoon of seeds looks like.

5.       Working on my business  Again no progress on this goal on Sunday for the same reason as item one above.

How are you doing making progress on your goals?  I hope you are pleased with what you have accomplished so far.  Please keep in mind that this isn’t a race.  Small changes that become habits result in lifetime results.

Are you learning to focus more on yourself?  Women tend to have more problems putting others first. While this is great for everyone else it doesn’t do anything for us.  Think of life like being on airplane.  You know what I am talking about, when they tell you in the event of decompression to put your mask on first.  Think of it this way if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of others.

Random Observations:

I read a quote once about health that I found brilliant, the person said something to the effect that:

“None of us can escape the laws of cause and effect!”

My reaction when I read this was, wow!  Such a simple statement yet dead on (or bang on as my English friend used to say, and I loved that phrase).  Many of us go through life thinking that rules don’t apply to us. We believe that we can have our cake and eat it too which is how I describe the practice of “moderation” which as you all know I don’t agree with.

In my opinion if we want to be healthy then we have to engage in healthy behaviors.  That means that we can’t eat whatever we want, exercise when the mood strikes us and live a stressful life and be healthy.  When we continually bombard our bodies with things that are less than healthy eventually we will pay the price.  If you don’t believe me look at the statistics.

In American over 80% of us will have to deal with one of the diseases of affluence (heart disease, cancer, or diabetes).  These statistics are not the result of genetics because they weren’t even ¼ this rate 100 years ago.  So what changed, our diets and lifestyle is what changed.  If you want to escape the diseases that most Americans get then you can’t engage in the same behaviors.  It really is that simple.

We have all read the definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.”  Are you living your life like other American’s but aren’t expected to get the same diseases?  Does that really make any sense?  I would contend that you like the ostrich who buries its head in the sand when the lion approaches, you will still be eaten alive you just won’t see it coming.

All of us know someone who is having difficulty getting healthy.  People who have lost weight following a popular diet only to regain the weight when they reverted back to their original eating habits.  However often these people still want to believe that a specific diet is the answer for them because it worked in the past.  The problem of course is that it really didn’t work before because the weight didn’t stay off.  If “the diet” had worked the weight would not have come back right?  Yet these people don’t want to see that the diet failed.  How do we get them to realize that there are other options available to them that might be more effective?  This is one of the questions that I struggle with regularly.  People can be very stubborn when it comes to holding onto beliefs that don’t serve them well.

If any of you are struggling to lose weight or to improve your numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.) maybe it is time to try something different.   After all what you are doing now isn’t working so what do you really have to lose by trying something different?  What is the worst that could happen that it didn’t work?  Since what you are doing isn’t working you haven’t lost anything by giving something new a try have you?


Since we were up until the wee small hours (after 2am) Sunday started with more of whimper than a bang. We had grandiose ideas of what we would accomplish today but in the end it was a very laid back, and not terribly productive day.  However I am not complaining since we all need lazy days like this on occasion. 

As is customary at our house we started our day with our new favorite tea, a double strength green and white with a little fresh grapefruit juice and some cinnamon.  I haven’t figured out what we will do when it is no longer citrus season but for now we are enjoying this immensely.

We had another big bowl of salad for breakfast again today.  I know salad doesn’t seem like traditional breakfast food but we both enjoy eating over 5 servings of veggies first thing in the morning.  Every time we do this I remember reading that the average American consumes 3 servings of vegetables per day and half of those are potato products.  How is that even possible?  I think the same thing every time this little factoid crosses my mind. Thank goodness we wised up and cleared up our dietary habits.

After breakfast Dan dove right back into to setting up the new laptop.  Honestly I have no idea what he was doing but whatever it was it worked. All my stuff has magically appeared on the new machine and life is good.  Thank you sweetie for taking such good care of me.  You are the best, and I mean that.

Last night before bed I starting soaking two cups of dried Great Northern beans in filtered water with a little baking soda (about ¼ teaspoon).  I had heard Dr. Linda Lee (Hopkins Gastroenterologist) that soaking dried beans in water with baking soda overnight reduced the raffinose making the beans easier to digest (translation less gassy).  Since I like to double check my facts before sharing them I did a quick search and realized that lots of people said this but couldn’t find a scholarly source. Needless to say I asked Dr. Greger if he knew anything about this.  Within short order Dr.  Greger had written back with a link and confirmed that baking soda does reduce raffinose.   Dr. G is the best isn’t he?  If you haven’t checked out his new site ( please do.   It is full of good information and all of it is science based.

On a related note, both Dan and I think we are experiencing less intestinal distress since I started soaking our beans overnight with the baking soda. Just be sure to throw away the water the beans soaked in because that is where the raffinose goes.  If you try this I would love to hear the results of your experiment.  Let’s all share what we learn. 

Getting back to the beans I had soaked 2 cups of Great Northern beans because that was what Dan suggested.  Of course I had no idea what I was going to do with them.  I popped them in the pressure cooker with fresh water and cooked them for 20 minutes. It turns out that was too much after soaking the overnight.  What do you do with overly soft beans? Well you make soup of course.  I added ½ cup barley, 1 red onion, 8 cloves garlic, 4 carrots, 1 bunch celery, no-salt seasoning, fresh minced rosemary and sage and cooked this until the flavors married and the barley was tender.  This soup turned out great.  We both had two bowls and now I will be making more beans tomorrow.

Dan and Binky had a little Sunday afternoon nap while I worked on this post and then it was time for a quick trip to the store for kale.  Somehow we had run out of kale again.  It couldn’t have been all those chocolate cherry smoothies I am sure.  ;-)

When we came home from the store Dan told me that what he wanted for dinner (drum roll please) was a chocolate cherry smoothie.  Okay, now I am convinced he is addicted to them.  LOL

While we drank smoothies for dinner (who does that?) we watched lesson 2 of the mindfulness meditation course.  Dan is sticking with it though I am not entirely certain how much he is enjoying it.  He did say that he thinks it is a good reminder to not sweat the small stuff and to pay more attention to the things that happen in life.  I would say that means he is benefitting from watching it with me.

Happy thoughts:

·         It is good to have my new laptop up and running. I am slowly getting used to the difference in the keyboard and the odd track pad.  However I am sure it will be fine in a few days.  I am very lucky to have my technology problem taken care of so quickly.

·         I used the time when Dan and Binky were taking it easy yesterday afternoon to get ahead on my post for today.  I was nice to have it mostly finished when I opened my computer this morning.

·         The ideas for daily posts are coming into my head so fast I think I am going to forget some of them.  It is nice to not be in a creative slump.  I hope this lasts for a while.  *fingers crossed*

·         While I have been enjoying writing more detailed posts this month it is taking up a huge portion of my day.  Since you only need a few minutes to read the posts you may not realize that I spend 4 or more hours writing them.  This time on the computer definitely has its good points in addition to the obvious down side of little free time.  On a positive note I have received a number of nice emails about the posts, now I just need to get some available time so that I can respond. In case you are one of the people waiting for a reply now you know what is holding me up.  Sadly it might be a while before I have time to get back to you.  But know that I appreciate your comments and I will respond, eventually. 

·         Monday morning I added another book to my morning reading.  I am really going to have to stop soon or my morning reading will start stretching into the afternoon.  Can you tell that I love to learn?  ;-)

·         I am really becoming addicted to the mindfulness meditation course and now I want to learn about Buddhism.  Who knew this would ever be something that I would find fascinating, not me that is for sure.  If you know anything about Buddhism and can recommend a good book, DVD or anything else please share.  Thanks!

·         I love that my local grocery store has been carrying beautiful kale lately.  *yay*   I also love that they have migrated to mostly self check out in the evenings when I shop.  Who wouldn’t love getting in and out of the grocery store quickly?

·         Blood oranges are back in season. I love these beautiful ruby hued oranges.  J

Signing Out:

Why can’t Monday being a good day?  I wish I could wake up on Monday and think, yay the start of another week, woo hoo.  However Monday and I are just not buddies.  Monday is the day Dan goes back to work and after spending two whole days with my sweetie I miss him when he goes back to work.  I really need to get back to planning something fun for my Monday so that I don’t get this blah feeling once a week.  I think the cloudy grey day we are having isn’t helping my mood.  ;-)

Today has been a hectic day.   I left the house at noon and didn’t get home until after 10pm and tomorrow appears as though it will be another long day for me.  I will try to get a post out tomorrow but I may miss a day.  Sorry about that if it happens.  We had an unforeseen crisis come up.  It is always something isn’t it?

I hope you had a great Monday and I will try to talk with you again tomorrow.


  1. I have never added baking soda to my beans when soaking overnight. I am going to be sure to try that next time as beans are a big favorite in my house.

    I am really enjoying your posts! I already eat fairly well, but there is so much room for improvement. Yesterday I started juicing again and restocked my fridge with all of my favorite veggies. I have also eliminated sugar. This is probably the hardest thing for me as I am definitely addicted. I don't use much, but I can see how even a little can make one addicted.

    I need to look over previous days to see if I missed your recipe for the chocolate smoothie. It looks so yummy!

  2. I hadn't heard about adding baking soda. That's a great idea. I'll have to try it next time. I find that soaking them for as long as possibly greatly helps me in reducing the stomach pains. I cannot quick soak -- it must be AT LEAST over night.

    I love your posts, as you know! I'm reading them each day, and even if I don't physically do the exercises, I've been thinking about them. Thanks for dedicating so much time to them. It makes me want to do a monthly theme, too.

    As for Mondays, I apologize in advance if this comment makes me sound like a goober, but I just choose to embrace them. Yes, I would rather be at home, but I have to go back to work on Monday mornings, so I have decided to view them as new beginnings that come every week. They are an opportunity for so much positivity. I hope that helps, though I understand that I'm a little crazy. :)

  3. Oh, and I forgot to add that we're blood orange obsessed over here right now. The farmers market has them, and they're incredible!

  4. I had no idea it took you so long to write a blog post! Thank you for all that you do and all the work that goes into this blog!


  5. Hi, Ali! As you can see I'm several days behind. What a crazy week, both personally & professionally! Anyway...

    My affirmations:
    1/I'm eating savory oatmeal this morning, which has become a habit. I make a big pot on Sunday & then package it for the week (I bought those Ziploc 2-cup containers for this purpose.). In the morning, I pour a little water over it, heat it through, stir, eat. It's much more practical than making a little oatmeal every night after dinner, and I'd never do it if I had to make it in the morning. I loosely use Debby's recipe found at

    2/Ryan told me yesterday that he spent the morning AT THE GYM!! If you knew my husband you'd know that this is nothing less than astounding. He said that he & two other guys at his work have committed to working out twice a week. I feel that this is party my accomplishment because I'm the one who insisted on getting a 'couples' membership. (That was a year ago, but who's counting? ;) )

    3/I went to Zumba last night even though I really wanted to go home and sit on the couch. Like I said, it's been a long week. But I told myself I had to go for 15 minutes, and by then my mood had turned around, like I knew it would.

    As I'm writing this on Friday, I hope you & Dan have a wonderful long weekend!


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