Good Or Bad?

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Eat this. Don’t eat that. 

If I had a dollar for every time a news report or a doctor told us that something we love was no longer good for us or visa versa…

How are we supposed to ‘eat healthy’ when every other day someone changes the rules about what we consume? Eat fruit and vegetables (but not if they’ve been sprayed with pesticide). Eat organic and natural (but only certain brands). Red meat is good… red meat is bad.

Make up your mind already.

All I know for sure is that dark chocolate keeps coming out on the positive side. So, I think it’s safe to say we should all just indulge in plenty of that!

 

High Blood Pressure

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Few things in life naturally lower our blood pressure – but plenty can raise it. Between worrying about our health, our families, our pets, our friends, our careers, our finances… there’s little time left over to just ‘chill.’

There are numerous drugs on the market that will help keep BP at an even keel. Doctors tell us to give up almost all of the things that give us the most pleasure. “Everything in moderation,” they tell us. Yeah, and we’re also told to ‘just say no’ and ‘you can’t eat just one…’

But these are, literally, words to live by.

We should eat right, exercise, do yoga and/or meditate and all our troubles will magically disappear. Really? Just like that? Yet we continue to abuse our bodies – putting chemicals and additives and artificial coloring and preservatives into our system on a daily basis. We have little if no self control and, when we feel poorly, we blame everyone else but ourselves.

I, for one, do not have high blood pressure. I’m as stressed as the next person but I don’t keep things bottled up inside. I yell, I complain and… you know what? I feel better.

So, do what your doctor tells you and take meds if they’re recommended but the rest is up to you. Find something that calms you – I knit and I color. It relaxes me at the end of a long and stressful day. So does drinking a cup of hot tea and eating a whole lotta chocolate!

The Perfect Combination

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Certain foods just seem to go together – Burger and fries; Mac and cheese; Chips and dip. The same can be said for some of our activities – A movie and popcorn; A ballgame and hot dogs; A concert and wine/beer. 

You might partake in any of these on a special occasion or even on a daily basis but… is one person’s perfect combo meal another’s as well?

I have some favorites that may or may not appeal to anyone else:

  • Salmon, brown rice and steamed broccoli 
  • Grilled Swiss cheese and avocado
  • Chocolate brownie with mint chip ice cream and hot fudge 

My Dad prefers:

  • Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes
  • Meat loaf and mashed potatoes
  • Hamburger and mashed potatoes 

Maybe our palates are set as children – depending on such things as: if you grew up during the Depression or if you bought daily school lunches. Who knows? But as long as your health isn’t affected and it makes you happy… To each, his/her own!

 

Health And Fitness

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I probably climb these stairs between four and six times a day. It’s a fairly good workout (except for my poor knees) but it’s honestly brought about not so much from my need to stay fit as it is because I’m tired of waiting for the elevator to arrive.

Like most conscientious people, I try to eat right and exercise. Of course, my idea of eating right may be very different from yours. I tend to eat mostly salmon or chicken with brown rice and broccoli, cauliflower or edemame. Sounds healthy, right? It would be if I left it at that. However, I have a terrible sweet tooth and must end every meal with chocolate. Dark chocolate but chocolate nonetheless. And even though I break my chocolate bars into pieces, I haven’t quite mastered the skill of eating just one piece at a time.

So, back to those stairs… I have no problem using the stairs instead of the elevator and, when I drive my car someplace, I try to park as far away from the entrance as possible (again, in full disclosure, it’s as much about my car not getting hit by a shopping cart or by another car’s door). Even without trying, I probably walk a few thousand steps each day. And that helps make the chocolate all the sweeter!

Planning A Trip

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What used to be an exciting event – planning a much needed vacation – is now an exercise, for some (particularly the elderly), in overcoming obstacles. There are many unconventional things that must now be considered before embarking on, say, a cruise:

  1. Are there wheelchairs available in the terminals (and onboard the ship itself)?
  2. Will all your meds be able to pass safely through customs?
  3. Do you have a doctor’s note to explain the beeping that will (because of the titanium rods currently holding together your limbs) inevitably occur when you go through the metal detectors?

Mind you, these are only some of the obstacles elders will be facing getting onto the ship in the first place. Once you board:

  1. Are there elevators to take you not only floor to floor but also to your seats in the dining areas and theaters?
  2. Is there a special menu for diabetics?
  3. Are there devices for the hearing impaired in noisy areas where BINGO and other activities take place?

And this doesn’t even cover any additional transportation snafus that might be incurred by using planes, busses, cabs or boat tenders to and from the cruise ship. Sadly, at this point, you will be so exhausted from merely planning (what should have been) this fantastic trip that you’ll most likely… just stay home!

 

Year End Bonus

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With winter just around the corner, it’s that time of year again when some of us make resolutions and others, like myself, just help ourselves to a little extra sweetness (in the form of chocolate).

I don’t smoke or drink so chocolate is my go-to vice. It’s not exactly a habit but I wouldn’t give it up if asked. And the longer I live, the more doctors insist that it’s actually healthy – so I’m good with that.

But, as the calendar is slowly flipped to the last page, there’s something else we need to be aware of – besides soon having to write a different year on our deposit slips. And that is: we’re a year older but are we any wiser? Have we learned from our mistakes and are we better for them?

Some of us might receive a monetary bonus from work while others will not. That’s not a reflection of our worth but, rather, a consequence of our life’s choices. Sure, money is nice – but knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life has its own rewards!

Love Conquers All

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As I celebrate my birthday, I can honestly say that love does conquer all. Or, at least, it gives me the opportunity to spend this one day, my day, exactly as I want to.

For years, when my oldest son was little, we celebrated our birthdays together because his falls the day before mine. We would share a cake (always a Carvel cake – with mint chip and coffee ice cream instead of the vanilla and chocolate ice cream it usually comes in) even when he eventually switched over to one of those giant chocolate chip cookie cakes.

Sometimes we even shared parties – he would have his friends downstairs in the playroom while the parents of those children joined my husband and I upstairs for a ‘grown-up’ party. This went on for many years and, at this point, I couldn’t even tell you exactly when it stopped.

But, through it all – the planning, the cakes, the themes, the booty bags – it was all done with love and I never regretted sharing my birthday. Now, however, every birthday has a different, deeper meaning and I have a particular routine that I refuse to deviate from. I never work on my birthday and I treat it and myself with special care. It’s the one thing I do for myself, unapologetically, because… Amor Vincit Omnia!*

*Love Conquers All!