Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What's for Dinner?

          When I went on the very first diet I can remember, back in the early 1960’s, all I had to do to lose weight was eat the burger and forget the bun. I recall that it worked. In addition, in those days doctors gave 12-year-olds Dexamyl, a powerful amphetamine that would curb my appetite. It most certainly did curb my appetite, and I was always getting in trouble for being too chatty in class when I took it. At the time, I think my mother's wisdom dictated being thin was more valued than being an exemplary student.
    Years later, in order to diet successfully I was allowed to eat the bun (whole wheat please!) but no longer the burger. I drank Tab (a diet cola containing saccharine) my whole life until it was no longer easily found on store shelves in the 1990’s.

          Desserts were, of course, off the menu but with diet jello and fat-free Cool Whip (a quasi-petroleum product) I could get a sugar-like rush, that is, if I could get passed the heartburn it gave me. I knew, because I was taught so, that food manufacturers always looked out for our well-being and the government would regulate producers to ensure my safety in all that I consumed.

          Oh, how I long for those simple days. Since then, I’ve been a vegan and a vegetarian and a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish). Yet I have never in my life been more confused about what to eat for good health.

What's Best

          I believe the best diet for me is one that is low in carbs and sugars, has enough calcium and lean protein and contains no gluten, even though I’m not gluten intolerant. The way food is produced nowadays makes good tasting food taste better, and eating too much bread makes me want more and more.

          A few years ago I made a conscious effort to reduce pesticides, where possible, by avoiding GMO foods. I can’t imagine families who, like me, wish to eat mostly organic foods. It’s expensive, very expensive for the average family on a limited food budget. Even avoiding chemicals in my foods, I still drink wine that is non-GMO and coffee that is grown in countries that load on chemicals to keep crops abundant and pest-free.  

Another Wrench in the Works

          Lately I’ve had a huge wrench thrown into the problem of what is best for me to eat. Oxalates. Without a boring medical diatribe that I’m not qualified to make, suffice it to say oxalates cause the calcium kind of kidney stones I’ve had recently so I desperately need to avoid them. Wanna hear the top oxalate-producing foods?  Spinach, beets, soy, chard, chocolate, nuts, beans, and wheat bran. So much for ever being a vegan again, not that it would be impossible, just very challenging.

          I met with a nutritionist recently to get some information about what I could eat to 1) keep my sugar, salt and fat intake low, 2) avoid oxalates, 3) lose weight in the process and 4) satisfy me enough so I wouldn't want to eat a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers because of feeling deprived. And the good news is there’s plenty of stuff out there. It'll take me a while to figure how it all works. Why does it have to all be such a mystery and why does it take a Ph.D. to figure out what to eat?

          In the meantime, when someone asks me what's for dinner? I wish I could just say “I'll take a burger … without the bun and a Tab.”

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kiss This Paper

          What if you aren’t rich and don’t own valuable possessions that will be left behind after you’re gone?

          I never had children and I’ve been plagued for many years by this question about what will remain after my physical being is gone. Perhaps it’s egotistical to say that I’ve always wanted to leave something behind…a legacy of some sort, but what could that be?

          My writing seems to be the obvious answer and reason for the title of this post.

          What if the only things you leave behind are your words?

Anne Bradstreet
                  Sometime in the 1630’s Boston Puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet, contemplated her legacy when she penned a letter with a poem to her husband, Simon. Pregnant, she feared she might die in childbirth and wanted to be sure to leave something of herself. She felt solace in knowing that the words of her poem would leave her mark on the world and would stand as a physical presence to those who loved her:

“And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this
With some sad sighs honour my absent
And kiss this paper for thy loves dear
Who with salt tears this last Farewel did

          It chokes me up to think of a bereft husband or other relative holding dearly the paper that last touched a beloved…that the ink brought forth the words that came from her being. We don’t have that physicality today, and that is sad too.

          Perhaps because we don’t have a poem written in ink today, it’s more important than ever to pen some sort of legacy – whether you have descendants or not. And it doesn’t have to be a full-on treatise about the minutia of every corner of your life.

          I doubt anyone wants to know who first kissed me or what I did with my first paycheck or about the argument with my father that made me run away from home when I was 14. I believe it’s more important to leave some thoughts on what your beliefs are, and how you felt about things. Personally, I wouldn't waste time sharing my feelings about an opposing political party. Also I can’t picture a final bitch session as anything productive either.

          One page. It can be one page telling the world who you are…who you were and what you felt, what you believed in and what you cherished. Wouldn't a spouse or your children or even a friend delight in reading how profoundly positive they had affected your life and how they made your life richer and much more fun? That's what I'm going to write about.

          I’d like to think my one page would make people smile.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Start Forgiving: 3-Steps to Help you Let Go - Rev. Chris Michaels, Guest Post

          It is really hard to accomplish our goals and reach for our dreams when we are looking backwards. I want to share with you a 3-step plan to help you let go of lingering resentments.

Step One: Step Back

          Step back a bit and look at the situation from a proper distance. And when you do you’ll realize you did the BEST you could with what you knew at the time.

          The truth is, if you would of known better, you would have done better. But you didn’t, you couldn’t. Forgive yourself for what you didn’t know.

Step Two: Take Responsibility

          Whether you intended to hurt them or not, the fact is YOU DID. So, don’t blame them for being oversensitive. Don’t make them bad and wrong for misunderstanding you.

          Stop defending your actions – and take responsibility. Man up – and say: “I’m so sorry you got hurt. That was not my intention.”And then say the 4 words that are least used in the entire English language. “Can you forgive me?”

          Now, let me be clear. You are not responsible for their feelings. You are responsible for your actions, which may have caused their feelings. We have a word for taking responsibility for someone else’s emotional state. It’s called co-dependent. So don’t confuse them. You’re responsible for your actions and choices and if they hurt others own them, apologize and ask for forgiveness. They may or may not be able to forgive you, but that’s their issue, not yours.

          And don’t wait for their enlightenment because it may never come. Take responsibility for the role you played and forgive yourself.

Step Three: Give What You Want to Receive

          If you want others to respect you, respect yourself. If you want others to forgive you, start by forgiving yourself. Show yourself the kindness you want others to give. Be patient with yourself and learn to accept yourself, warts and all.

          You’re going to get hurt. That’s unavoidable. There will be injustice. It is just part of human life. The only way to end the pain and stop the anger is to practice forgiveness. The practice of forgiveness is not easy and it is unending. But is essential in this life.

Learn more about Rev. Chris Michaels and all that he does here. You can get a copy of his wonderful book The Power of You here.

You may reach out to Antonia at antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com or  Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Life after 50

          You wake up one morning and all of a sudden you’re in your mid-50s and starting to think about the rest of your life. You’re afraid it’s going to be all soft, tasteless food and forgetfulness, hearing aids and trifocals, early-bird specials and multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

          Try visualizing this instead: it’s the least stressful time of your life where being unburdened of a 60-hour-a-week job, a 30-year mortgage and raising children allows for a freedom never experienced before. Yes, lots of people in their 50's still have jobs and mortgages, but there is a shift from the hectic mindset that often accompanies our younger years. We can be more relaxed and happier in our 50's and beyond. It’s possible for everyone, including you.

          You’ve been holding in your stomach all your life, let it go. You’ve been covering that ever-widening bald spot for the last 10 years. Go ahead, show us the shine! Be proud that you’ve made it this far in life. Just think, you can let go of trying to keep up with the Jonses. You can sit back and relax and watch the next generation of people jumping through hoops to acquire the latest clothes, cars, jewelry and electronics. There’s no reason to keep up with the latest music (which I find uninspiring, at best, anyway) and no reason to know what all the current slang terminology means and how to use it.

Making the Most of It

Here are some ideas for insuring your life after 50 is the best it can be:
          ~Maintain a healthy lifestyle – this is best for ANY age                       ~Hang out with upbeat people 
          ~Share your experiences with others – teach or mentor                                someone
          ~Let go of worry – meditating works really well for learning                            to let go
          ~Make yourself a priority
          ~If you do feel the urge to complain, keep it to yourself
          ~Simplify, simplify, simplify – clean out and donate or                                     discard
          ~Take time to smell the roses

          I’m serious. There not only IS life after 50, but it’s a wonderful life. Personally speaking, I had a job and financial obligations in my 50's and still do, to a lesser extent, now that I’m 67. But I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I have an abundant life for which I am grateful. It’s a life that isn’t extravagant but it is rich in experiences, including friendships, spirituality and a continuing quest for knowledge. So, be open and embrace all the fun and new experiences of getting older.

This post originally appeared at Randall Friesen's Something Mindful
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Buffett of Junk Food

      When I read recently that Warren Buffett drinks at least 5 12-oz servings of Coca Cola a day, I thought, “Wow, if he can do it, maybe I can too.”… not drink Coke necessarily (I don’t drink sodas), but consume empty calories every day and live to be 84 years old. His breakfast consists of a Coke and canned Potato Stix or sometimes it’s a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream. Remember one Coke contains 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar.

          How does a seemingly smart person do something so stupid and get away with it? It kinda pisses me off. Not only can I NOT do what he does but I have to consume a minimum of 3 liters of water a day just to avoid getting kidney stones again. He nearly brags about eating like this.

          In a recent interview with Fortune magazine Buffett said, “I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old.” The octogenarian adds, “It’s the safest course I can take.”

          This statement coupled with the fact that he owns something like $16-billion of the Coca-Cola company made me wonder if this whole conversation with the magazine was just a marketing ploy. I couldn’t verify whether his Coke diet is for real or not, but in researching the question I certainly found a lot of pictures of him at meetings with a Coke sitting in front of him.

          I also looked at the comments made in response to this article and there were several like the following:

                    “I've been drinking coke since I was 2 , I am 
                     now 70 , been drinking at least 4 to 6 a day 
                     for the last 60 years guess one day they will 
                     kill me but think the government telling 
                     what is good and not good for me will do 
                     it first.”
                    “I'm 73 and drink two to three cokes a day 
                     and eat a bowl of Bryers's Chocolate Ice 
                     Cream every day. Smoke a 1/2 pack of 
                     cigarettes a day and am in reasonably good 
                     health. Eat what I like and the Doctors be 

          No way will I be changing what I eat or drink. Whether Warren Buffett really eats like a 6 year old or not may be inconsequential and silly, but a life needs a little fluff every once in a while, and hopefully this post just fits the bill.

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