Making The Good Life

It's not what you have, but how you live.

Archive for the tag “healthy aging”

The Not-So-Sweet Life

ImageThe news has been full of stories about the evils of sugar for some time now, but a recent analysis of past studies has upped the ante just a bit. I realize that the study discussed in the linked CBS article may have some limitations, but I’m still intrigued by the suggestion that even for those who aren’t overweight, too much added sugar can have an impact on both longevity and quality of life. Heart problems tie far too many people to high medical bills, prescription meds with side effects, and a limited lifestyle in the later years.

I don’t currently track my daily calories and I don’t have a weight problem but I do add sugar to my diet. I’ve already added about 5 teaspoons in the form of honey on my toast and sugar in my coffee. I don’t drink soda and have nearly cut out the sweet tea I grew up on here in the south, but I’ll bet if I logged it I would be above the recommended 15% of calories, at least some of the time. Based on my estimated daily calories (from past times when I have tracked them) my maximum would be about 16 teaspoons of added sugar a day. The study doesn’t include sugar from fruits or juices (but juice should count!) so a whole-foods, plant-based diet still sounds like the best way to go.

I’m planning to track my added sugar for a week and see where I end up. Maybe better than I expect, or maybe (gulp) worse. It’ll be interesting anyway. I make breakfast and dinner at home most days, but lunch is in the cafe where I work. No labels there. I’ll have to ask questions to see what they put in the food – I don’t want to change what I eat because I’m counting, I just want to see what my current habits add up to. Then I can make changes if needed.

What do you think? How hard would it be for you to cut back on sugar now in return for better health in your future?

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Back to the Beginning, Again

Hmm. Let’s see if I can actually get this thing off the ground now. Maybe show up once a week at least, maybe more. How about I start with something easy, like movement?

I don’t move enough. I used to, and it’s not for lack of desire, but because my hip hurts. All. The. Time. It’s been hurting for over a year. I’ve been to an orthopedist, physical therapy, massage therapy, I’ve tried stretching and some strengthening, but it still hurts. Sitting hurts, walking hurts, standing and even just running errands hurts. I can’t walk a mile without limping. The docs tell me I have bursitis, but I think we’re all barking up the wrong tree so on Thursday I plan to have some imaging done. I mean really, bursitis just means that my hip bursa is inflamed – but why?? That’s what I want to know. I want to work on the root cause, not just the symptom. (I think it’s tendinitis, from the reading I’ve done.) If I ever get it healed and working properly again, I want to be like this man.

Stephen Jepson

Stephen Jepson, in his playground

Mr. Jepson is amazing. Not that what he does is out of reach for the rest of us (it isn’t), but because he’s living proof that movement keeps you moving. He is certainly serving as an inspiration for me once I can get moving again. Until then, I can stand on wobbly things, play with balls, pick up things with my feet and work on my hand-eye coordination. If you go to his website, Never Leave the Playground, you can learn more about him, and watch videos of him explaining his philosophy of playing for better health and quality of life.

From his website: “Every cell in the body is affected by movement. The brain improves as we use our muscles, which, in turn, grow with use.Scientific studies show that physical movement is the single most important thing to do to be physically healthier and smarter, regardless of age. Movement training can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Neural pathways open and increase throughout our lives as we learn new activities.”

I’m worried about this – things won’t get easier as I get older. I’m too young to have a major joint that isn’t functioning, and which IS contributing to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. I want to get started trying to preserve and improve on what I’ve still got. Here’s to planning my backyard playground!

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