Monthly Archives: June 2011

I had no idea what my purpose was

61 years old. No idea.

The company I work for took away health insurance for hourly employees. I spent years as a single parent. I spent years married. I spent years widowed. I have never spent time without health insurance. At my age, with a titanium hip, a history of high cholesterol, borderline hypertension and asthma, there’s no way I’m getting private insurance. Kansas’ high-risk pool costs $800+ per month with a $1500 deductible. Yeah, right.

So, I decided the only option was to get healthy; to actually find out what works for me. That was June 23rd, 2010. I’ve lost 25 pounds and gotten leaner and stronger. I eat seriously healthy 90% of the time. I gave up all meat, dairy and wheat and I don’t have asthma or hypertension anymore. My titanium hip can run, do squats, cycle and more. My cholesterol is still a bit high, but it’s not diet related, rather genetics; the good to bad cholesterol ratio rocks! I am never sick. I walk two+ miles and do a series of stretches/strength exercises daily.

Oh yeah, back to purpose. Getting healthy led me to people and places I hadn’t known about before and I picked up some information about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I skimmed it and put it in my followup file (which I typically fail to look at).

Six months later, I’m wondering what my job will turn into if/when my boss takes a new position. Later that day I’m cleaning out the followup file (hoping I hadn’t left something seriously important behind), and I pull out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition material. “Hmmmm,” I say, “this looks interesting.” Within a week, after researching online and talking with the person I know who attended, along with other graduates, I signed on the dotted line.

Today I’m on a new journey. I’m studying to become a certified health & wellness coach. I began this one-year training program with a bit of trepidation, but have quickly found that I do in fact have a purpose and that the years of curiosity and research have all been leading me to this point. The program is about individuality, your diet, your lifestyle and career, spirituality and what your health concerns, dreams and goals are. It’s not a cookie-cutter diet that says you should fit into whatever is topping the charts at the moment. Everyone is different and different things work for different people.

I am excited and impatient to get on with the business of health coaching. I will start working with clients in September. Some days it feels like it is years away and on other days it feels like it is tomorrow. Most days I don’t know which I prefer! What I do know is that I am on an amazing journey of self-discovery that I get to go out and share with others. What a gift!

As for my health journey; I eat really well. My diet mainly consists of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and fish. I have high energy and can go out and garden or mow my lawn without thinking about it exhausting me.

So, diet and exercise … check! It’s taken a lot of experimentation and there were many times I took two steps forward and one back, but I’ve found the right combination for me. I’m going to add yoga and Pilates to my 2 miles a day because I think they’ll be a better combination than hard workouts combined with walking. That’s the key: Play with diet and exercise to see what fits! Take out, add in; it’s a journey. Have fun!

Think about hiring a health coach (ME!) to assist you in meeting your goals for health & wellness. What worries you about your health? Is it your weight, fitness, allergies, low energy, sleeplessness? Think about what you could do with the guidance and accountability that a health coach brings to the table.

And, we’ll have fun. I guarantee it!

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Calling all hippies!

Where did all the hippies go? There are very few 60+ people I see that come close in looks, although I know a few. Do many people live in communes, or grow their own food? Live off the land? How many really dropped out?

I think most of us got on with the business of living our lives in both conventional and unconventional ways. I never really bought into the bra-less thing (way too uncomfortable for me), and my hair has thinned out and can no longer hold up it’s end of the long, blonde, straight look, and if I did have a 1969 VW wagon, I’d be deathly afraid of it dying every time I left home, much less to trek across the country. (Man, did I always want one of those!)

But there are some very hippie-ish things that I have gravitated to in the past five years and I guess that’s why I’ve been thinking about it lately.

For one, I eat a mostly plant-based diet. I haven’t had meat or poultry for over four years. I was totally vegan for awhile but have learned that my body does better with some fish thrown in. There’s an extremely violent side to eating meat and I am not a violent person … Hell, I catch spiders and let them go outside! When I learned about the abuse of animals, and looked down into the big brown eyes of my two dogs, and the grass green eyes of my cat, I decided not to be a part of it anymore.

I love it that huge numbers of young and old are choosing plant-based diets. They talk about living a peaceful, loving lifestyle without the violence necessary to maintain an animal-based diet. Not surprisingly many studies back us up in terms of healthy benefits, both emotionally and physically.

Expanded awareness was definitely a goal of the hippie culture and today there’s a spiritual movement called the New Thought Movement. It’s based on positive thinking; the law of attraction, healing, that divinity is within each of us and other personal power ideas. In many countries, people can explore and live with wonderful combinations of eastern and western philosophies and religious beliefs: It’s utterly 60s. Peace, love, rock n’ roll. (Well, maybe not rock n’ roll but definitely some very good music!)

Another very hippie-ish movement is a relatively new movement among young and old that’s called Urban Farming … seriously hippie-ish. Almost communal … dang! I am on the new-to-it-all track because I’ve never been a gardener. This year I’ve done some nice things with flowers and herbs for tea, but real food? Yikes!

There is an Urban Farms Tour in the Kansas City area in June and I’m going to go out and learn a lot more about the whole process. I’d love to have fresh, basically organic vegetables growing in my yard. I am very interested in growing my own food.

I am experimenting with herbs for tea. Oddly, I haven’t done any reasearch or read anything or even tried to make herbal tea ever! The idea came to me when I was out shopping for plants and I saw some herbs that I recognized as being in some of my favorite teas. When I got home and read the ingredients I realized that hibiscus is in darned near every tea I drink, so back I went and bought two hibiscus plants. They’re not just another ingredient in herb tea, they’re beautiful!

This lovely hibiscus will add serious flavor to my herb teas!

I’ve planted mint, lemon verbena, rosemary, stevia and chamomile growing. I’ve already dried some of the hibiscus flowers, along with rose and peony petals in my little dehydrator. I’ve dried lemon and lime peel, apples, and oranges to mix in later. Celestial Seasonings founders began selling herbal teas to health food stores in 1969, so this all seems rather hippie-ish to me.

I will definitely put out herbal tea progress reports and if anyone has experience, and wants to share, I’m all ears! I’m not sure the rosemary will make it to the end of summer; I do love a glass of rosemary-honey-lemonade!

Let me know and I’ll share the recipe for the lemonade. Have a great day and check back soon!