An Unprocessed Life

img_1353So, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but I’m still getting those 10,000 steps most days. Not a lot of leisurely strolls, sunrises and sunsets anymore, because of a new job, but this job keeps me walking. If I am mindful about it, I can get 10,000 steps and 10 flights of stairs while I’m at work. Not as esoteric, but practical.

Lately, I’ve been trying to address nutrition in addition to getting 10,000 steps a day. It’s got to be addressed. God knows, I love a good Paula’s donut as much as anyone, but I’ve got to clean up my act and get on board with a healthy life plan.

Luckily there are many books, websites and resources that are helping me on my new journey.

Here are a few of the books I’ve been reading:

Eat Fat, Get Thin by Dr. Mark Hyman. This book outlines a healthy eating plan that eliminates processed foods, dairy, gluten, and other unhealthy foods and fats. He makes the case for eating good fats, such as eggs, nuts, avocados, coconut oil and others, and also getting plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. He explains the science behind this approach.

As someone who has wandered down the fat-free path more than once, eating more healthy fats sounds yummy to me. Dr. Hyman also proposes that processed foods fall way short on nutrition that our bodies need and should be replaced by cooking at home with fresh, whole ingredients.

Acknowledging that home cooking can be challenging in many different ways, he also offers a companion cookbook, The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook. I have tried many of his recipes and they are easy, for the most part, and taste really good. I recommend the Asian Ginger Shrimp with Creamy Almond Dipping Sauce on page 315. It’s really delicious and quick to put together.

The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr. Dale Bredesen. This book has just recently come out. It contains groundbreaking research on reversing Alzheimer’s Disease. Until now, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s has been basically a death sentence. A relentless progressive cognitive decline with no hope of cure. But, Dr. Bredesen’s study did reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s for 9 out of 10 of the patients that he put on his protocol.

The protocol is a multi-pronged approach, addressing nutrition, exercise, hormone balance, treating underlying conditions and diseases, among many things. Truthfully, I am only midway through the book right now, wading through the science, but already I can see that there are things we can take from this research to apply now, preventatively.

Dr. Bredesen addressed nutrition with his patients by eliminating all processed foods, all sugar, all grains. It’s basically just vegetables, some low sugar fruits, low-mercury fish, some organic, grass fed meats. It’s a little spartan and hard to stick to, especially here in the land of processed, sugary everything. But I’m trying it in the interest of prevention. He also recommends yoga, meditation and 30 minutes of exercise 4 days a week. I will try to add those as much as I can.

I’m 61. I don’t have a diagnosis of Alzheimers, thank God, but I’ve noticed the cogs slipping every so slightly as I age. I search for words that used to effortlessly flow, once in a while I leave pots boiling on the stove, and I frequently stand in rooms trying to remember why I went there. It makes sense to me to try to preserve what I’ve got, and maybe even improve a little. You can find Dr. Bredesen’s protocol here.

In the interest of pursuing an unprocessed life, I also came across the Eating Rules October Unprocessed Challenge. Andrew Wilder started his Eating Rules website and October Unprocessed Challenge many years ago. His website has grown to include recipes, guest bloggers, resources, menus, and support. There’s also a list of unprocessed choices at well known restaurants. I sign up every year for the challenge.

Andrew asks that everyone who accepts the challenge give up unprocessed food just for the month of October. The accompanying October Unprocessed public Facebook page is a busy place of cameraderie, support and recipe sharing for those that take the pledge.

So, that’s where I’m at right now, getting nutrition under control, continuing to get 10,000 steps even if it is at work instead of out in nature, and just generally trying to be proactive about my health as I age. We get older no matter what we do, so why not try to be the best we can be?




back in action

Sunrise on a country road.

After the hike last Sunday, which will always be known as “The Hike that Killed My Knee,” I am back to walking 10,000 steps a day. My knee actually healed in a couple of days. Maybe it was the turmeric milk, or maybe it was just because I rested it when it needed it. Or maybe it was a little of both. But I’m back in action, trying to get those steps in everyday.

10,000 steps is almost five miles a day. Since my job has long periods of sitting at a desk looking at a computer, I have to make a conscious effort to walk as much as possible. Some days it feels like all I’m doing is walking. A little in the morning, during work, after work, before bed. It’s never ending.

Take yesterday, for instance. I woke up not feeling terribly great. A little bit of a stomach bug, maybe. So, I didn’t walk before work. It was all I could do to get there on time. It was a very sedentary day, because I have a large amount of work to get finished in a short amount of time. Hours of prolonged sitting in front of the computer. I did get up after lunch (which I worked through) and walked the parking ramp for about 20 minutes. When I got home, I only had 2,900 steps. What??

This was a sad state of affairs indeed. So, I went for an hour long walk after dinner. It actually got dark on the way home, but I was intent on getting these steps done! This only gave me a total of 8,900 steps. Still not enough!

So, I danced. I turned on some techno music and danced like a crazy person for 15 minutes. I did not feel like dancing, but short of walking in circles around my house, it was the quickest way to add steps. At last! 10,022 steps. Done.

Why am I doing this? Am I a puppet and my fitness tracker is the puppet master? Maybe a little. But I also like that I am getting stronger, and vanity of vanities, I’m losing weight when nothing else has been working. Since I started this in May, I have gone from 154 pounds to 139. To me, this is gold. Being active really works where dieting alone was failing miserably.

The other benefits of walking are many. It gets me outside. I see new things, like sunrises and sunsets. It keeps me active. All of these are good when you are rounding the bend to becoming a senior citizen. Yes, yes, yes… 60 is the new 40 and all that other newfangled boloney, but the fact remains, the older we get, the more things can start to deteriorate at an ever increasing rate.

I believe that we need to keep moving as we age. It’s the best gift we can give ourselves. And having a goal of 10,000 steps a day isn’t unreasonable. Even if it means I’m dancing alone in my bedroom at night.

Photo by DLM

am I boring you?

So, I’ve been walking 10,000 or more steps everyday since that first random Tuesday in May, aimagend I have to say, it is a commitment of time. 10,000 steps for me works out to be almost five miles, or an hour and a half of dedicated walking time every day.

Add a full-time job to the mix and it can feel like all I do is walk, to the exclusion of anything else. This was fully illuminated to me last week, when I went on a first date with a man from an online dating site.

He asked me what I like to do for fun. I said the first thing that popped into my head. The thing I’ve been doing every day for the last three months. “Ummm…. I like to walk?” I honestly couldn’t think of anything else, because walking is all I’ve been doing with my free time.

Needless to say, he never called me again.

do like other things, I would say to this man, now that I’ve had time to think about it. I am a well-rounded person! I like plays and music and reading and cooking and lots of worthwhile things. But right now, I am walking, thank you very much.

I was sedentary for so long, and truth be told, a little depressed about that. Walking makes me feel better. I’ve lost 15 pounds. That’s weight that I’m no longer lugging around, much to the relief of my knees, ankles and blood pressure.

So, maybe I am alone, and dating myself for a while. So what? I’m giving myself the gift of walking, which gives me other gifts of health. I’m okay with that.

Photo by DLM