No Matter What – Day 19

It’s Day 19 of the No Matter What Game.  You can play along by answering the prompt by Gillian and sharing your response in the comments below.  Or email Gillian at www.gillianpearce.com to have your own prompt sent to you.

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G:  If you had unlimited funds that had to be used to investigate a scientific or medical problem, which one would you investigate?

P:  The timing of this question is perfect.  I just paid a visit to my acupuncturist today which usually turns into an all consuming discussion about health and disease.

It also means I load up on supplements in addition to being stuck with over 70 needles from head to toe. Consequently, I coined a slightly nuanced phrase for this experience… being needled and dimed to death.

Naturally he’s an excellent doctor, cares deeply for his patients, is constantly furthering his education, and restores my chi to its righteous position, so I consent to all of this.

To answer Gillian’s question, because Bob says often I don’t really answer her questions and he could be right, I don’t have a specific medical problem or scientific conundrum that’s near and dear to my heart.  There are so many medical and scientific issues deserving more attention, research, and funding it’s difficult to pick one.

My passion has always been fitness, health, and wellness. I’ve been a certified ACE fitness instructor for almost 30 years and last year became a certified Eating Psychology Coach. My focus has been on prevention instead of disease management and what we can do to sustain and restore health rather than eradicate disease.

I’ve been blessed to come from a sturdy stock of Midwesterners who are relatively free of any major diseases.  But we live in toxic times and I know unless I detox on a regular basis, I’m as susceptible as the next person to experiencing a debilitating disease.

That’s why at the end of this week I’ll switch my focus for the next 21 days to Detoxing No Matter What.  I won’t be blogging about it every day like I have with this round of the No Matter What Game.  I’ve found that most people are not that interested in hearing about it unless they are doing it as well and I’m not interested in pushing it on anyone. People get interested in detoxing when they are ready, not when I want them to be.

I will, however, chime in with the highlights.  Or when I’m having a meltdown.  It’s all part of the process. No matter how many times I do it.

Anyway, I know there are fascinating scientific problems and medical breakthroughs on the verge of being solved and changing life as we know it. I also know I’m more of an artist than a scientist, so I can’t write intelligently about these issues without doing a little research.  But I do believe the best results come from tapping into the brilliance of both art and science.

So my best answer for today’s question is to pass it on to you. I’m guessing some of you may have some very definite answers, experiences, and stories on this topic.  And some of you may be scientists and medical professionals. So please, leave your response in the comments below. I’d love to hear your take on this.

Thanks for reading and playing at home. 🙂

The Nuts Are Complimentary

bob and penny up close laughing

My all time favorite joke goes something like this.

A guy walks into a bar…

Instead of the usual grief, he’s hears, “Hi there, Handsome,”  “Well, aren’t you a breath of fresh air?”You work so hard, you deserve all the respect and success you have earned and then some.”  On and on it goes, everything he’s ever wanted to hear.

Imagining he must be dreaming, he says to the bartender, “What’s going on?”

The reply?  “Oh, that’s the nuts.  They’re complimentary.”

I love that joke for many reasons.  It’s funny, it’s clean, and like the nuts, it’s complimentary.

Who wouldn’t love to walk into a place where everyone knows your name and the very things about you that make you extraordinary, endearing, valuable, and lovable?

With this in mind I am on a mission to surround myself with things and people that complement my life. Easier said than done, of course.  But this is the impetus behind the relentless removal of that which does not spark joy.

In the past month I have deleted over 1,000 emails from my Inbox, 7 boxes of books, 9 bags of clothing, 3 boxes of pantry items, a truck load of miscellaneous garage and basement stuff, and I’m just getting started.

Although Bob is generally elated about this, when he saw me eyeing my shoe collection, he thought about calling my family for an intervention.

Shoes are sacred territory in my world.  If they went, he feared he might be next. But shoes, by their very nature, are made for walking. Bob is one of those complimentary nuts I want to keep around.

At this time of year I’m usually in full flower frenzy. This year, however, a clean sweep is in order.

My first clue that I had some cleaning to do was when my computer refused to function. Apparently it had been quietly accumulating updates and all kinds of miscellaneous clutter over the years to the point that my hard drive was full.

If it had been attempting to inform me of this all along, I didn’t pay any particular attention.  Freezing up and holding all my content hostage, however, did get my attention.

After a few choice words, I had to laugh at the literal perfection of this predicament.  After a year and a half of non-stop training, learning, and accumulating knowledge there was literally no place else for the download of information to go.  My cup runneth over.

Knowing how dramatically two dietary detoxes within a six month period could improve my health, I decided to apply the same principles to my home, my office, my bookshelves, and a few relationships.

Like changing my eating habits, changing my environment would require an undeniable reason to do so and a fool-proof plan.  These came in the form of a little book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  and an understanding that in order for new things to come into my life, I must release what’s over and done with.

While there is a certain amount of melancholy that accompanies the letting go of unexpressed potential, there is great joy in surrendering to who I am now.  A quirky coach who can help people get their groove back. The only real requirement was that I do the work first and get my own house in order.

Although I have gotten my groove back, I still have some tidying up to do.  And if I do it right, I will free up enough room on my internal hard drive for life’s latest upgrade.

What about you?  What’s spurring you into action this summer?

Share if you dare in the comments below.

Detox Take Away #3 – Less Is More.

The world in a drop of water
I love food writer Michael Pollen’s take on nutrition. In his book Food Rules he succinctly sums it up like this. “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.”
I used to think I needed to eat a lot more than I really do.  I held this belief partly because I like to eat, but mainly because I wasn’t really aware of what I was eating or fully present when I was eating.
If I don’t slow down and pay attention to what I’m eating, when I’m eating, and even why I’m eating, I inevitably eat too much, too fast, and without a clue as to when I’m actually full and fully nourished.
Most of us are so busy we scarf down our food in an ongoing attempt to keep our fuel tank from running on fumes all day.  Seldom do we stop to savor a meal or take the time to select foods that actually nourish us.
Before the detox I’d skip meals or load up on carbs, sweets, or other foods that only made me crave more of the same later.    This usually meant when I got home from work and didn’t have the metabolic power working for me that I would have had earlier in the day.
Even though it seemed like I was eating less because I was skipping meals, I was actually eating more.  By the time I did eat, I was ravenous and that seldom led to good choices.
During the detox I came to appreciate everything about a meal from purchasing the ingredients to preparing the food to presenting the meal on an appropriately sized plate.
Because I’ve always been on my own, I had not done this consistently for kids or family members. It became a profoundly nourishing way for me to support myself in making changes to the way I’ve eaten most of my life.
When we eat high quality, nutrient dense foods like I mentioned in the last post, we don’t need to eat a lot of food.  So many of us eat foods devoid of actual nutrients. This means our bodies naturally crave more food in an attempt to get the nutrients we need.
I understand it may seem more appealing to snack on a bag of chips or M&Ms than some celery with almond butter, but your brain, your body, and your belly would love it if you’d give it a try.
That’s today’s take away.
Next up:  Why Size Matters.
Share your comments or questions below.

Detox Take Away #1 – Freedom through Discipline

sign direction risk - reward
As a former free-spirit, if anyone dared to suggest my life might be easier by imposing a few more rules or a little more structure,  I would have laughed. Wanting to be free to move at a moment’s notice or leap whether the net appeared or not, I was all about keeping my options open.
Eventually all that uncertainty takes its toll.  Ironically, the kind of freedom I was really craving came through discipline.
Nowhere was this more obvious than in my approach to eating.
Years of pretending to be eating healthy while skipping meals, over consuming carbohydrates, and leading a more sedentary lifestyle was a definite detour from the wellness way I thought I was following.
The detox provided a much needed GPS.  Life became so much easier once I knew what I was going to eat, when I would need to eat it, what I needed to buy, and how to prepare for various contingencies.
Prior to the detox, the daily “What’s for dinner?” dilemma opened the door to all kinds of bad choices, especially if I waited too long to answer it. Then anything and everything was fair game.
The detox forced me to plan my meals, plan my snacks, frequent the grocery store more often (because fresh foods don’t last too long), and bring order to the food court so poor choices were no longer an option.
Once I implemented the plan, I was rewarded with consistent energy throughout the day, an even temperament, and a better ability to find the center of calm when chaos threatened to reign.
Those of you who have been preparing family meals already know the importance of planning. But for someone like me who has been making meals mainly for myself, planning seemed unnecessary.  Especially when popcorn or soup could suffice.
The detox forced me to take a disciplined approach to everything from meal planning to meal timing.  We all know what happens when we get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Hangry.  And all kinds of whacked out.
So I got to treat myself like I would treat a small child left in my care.  I had to purchase, plan, and prepare the most nutritious meals I could given a specific set of criteria.
In order to keep it interesting, I placed the food on colorful and appropriately sized plates. I used cloth napkins. I relaxed and tasted the foods, savored the smells and spices, and allowed myself to feel nourished not only by the food but the effort that went into the preparation.
The results were profound.  After one too many meals consumed in the car on the way to a meeting or at my desk while replying to emails or in the kitchen in a quick and unconscious attempt to stuff the stress of the day away, this was a game changer for me. So was salmon for breakfast, but I’ll fill you in on that in a couple of days.
For now, I’ll leave you with this question. What’s nourishing to you?  How can a little prep time or planning pay off  and allow you to feel really nourished by what you are eating?  Especially if you live alone, how can you make meal times sacred?
We all have to eat.  It’s a requirement for being in a body.  Why not make it a pleasurable event?
Next post I’ll share with you Take Away #2 – Eat High Quality Foods.
Until then, eat (good food), drink (lots of water), and be merry (or whatever you happen to be feeling)!
Share if you dare below.  I’d love to hear your questions or suggestions.