Welcome to October everyone!

This means it is time to report on last month’s goals and set up this month’s.

Reminder of September Goals:

  • Healthier Body:  Begin the 200 Squat challenge… again.
  • Healthier Mind:  Do a Sudoku puzzle every day.
  • Healthier Spirit:  Take five minutes to pray every day.
  • Healthier Food:  Incorporate a new whole grain in my diet every week.

So how did I do?  Well, not so great.  I should have thought more about my schedule when making my goals.  With two chapters of my thesis due and 8 days of work related travel at the beginning of the month, I got off on a bad start and it was hard to get back into the routine.


  • Healthier Body:  Begin the 200 Squat challenge… again.  I started off strong, then tapered off during my week of travel.  For the rest of the month, I’ve done about 5 squat workouts, but was terrible about recording them.  I will definitely be keeping up with the squats though, as even with my few workouts, I’m feeling and seeing the results.
  • Healthier Mind:  Do a Sudoku puzzle every day. I actually did really well on this challenge.  Probably because it was fun and easy to do anywhere, thanks to my iPhone.  I only missed three days out of the month.  I really enjoyed using it as a tool to wind down and refocus afterwards, although I’m not sure how much it helped my mental math skills.
  • Healthier Spirit:  Take five minutes to pray every day. Wow, outright fail.  I thought this one would be easy, but I kept forgetting.  However, I was much more aware of the prayer concerns of the people I know and love and prayed for their concerns on the days I remembered.  I think I would be more reminded if I had a written out list that I kept and looked at every day of prayer concerns.  I just need to get back into the routine.
  • Healthier Food:  Incorporate a new whole grain in my diet every week.  I only went to the grocery store 2 times the entire month and did not have a lot of time for exploratory cooking.  This was poor planning on my part.  I’m still excited to try more whole grains though, and I still have my bulk goods, so I’m going to try more this month.

Now for October goals.  As I mentioned before, this month I’ll be trying to use the website Health Month.  My goals are as follows:

  • Healthier Body:  Weight training 3x per week.  After walking around NYC last weekend, my shoulder was in excruciating pain.  And I am the only one to blame.  I’ve been slacking on strengthening and it needs to stop so I can survive all day in an office chair in the future.
  • Healthier Mind:  Finish drafts of all three chapters of my thesis.  Very personal, but I feel I can’t clear my head until these tasks are done, and they are eating me alive.  Now is the time to really buckle down.
  • Healthier Spirit:  Meditate three days a week.  I keep going back to meditation and that’s because I feel it calling to me.  Maybe with my health month “game”  I’ll be more likely to make it a priority.
  • Healthier Food:  Drink 64 glasses of water per week.  This one came about when my husband asked me why I hadn’t refilled the water filter and I realized I hadn’t had one drop of water or other fluid for two days.  It happens to me when it starts to get cold, as I don’t have any trouble drinking water during the summer.  Got to stay hydrated!  I’m using my nalgene bottle as a measuring device, as it holds 8 glasses of water.

Health Month

I know, another post from me that isn’t about my trip to NYC. However, I promise this is very relevant. I came across this website that fits *perfectly* into the goals part of this blog.

The premise behind it is that every month starts a new “game” where you try to achieve healthy goals.  You choose your rules and your bets before the first of the month then use the website to track your progress.

The only downside to this is the cost if you want to have a lot of goals.  If you want more than three goals per month, the fee is $5/month.  I understand that websites like this take a lot of time and energy to maintain, and living with a programmer myself, I understand why there is a fee.  Think of it as an incentive to keep reminding yourself of your goals in addition to helping a programmer make a living with a cool product without ads.  Or just limit yourself to three goals…

I’ll be trying it with next months goals and seeing how I like it.  I wanted to let you all know today because you need to sign up and set up your goals before the first of the month to participate for October.  If you try it, let me know!

Health Month

Medicate me please

Sometimes it is good to save allergy medicines as a last resort.

Other times you wish you had a supply on you at all times.

Like when all the fluids in your head decide to make as mass exodus.

While you are twenty minutes into an 8 hour train ride.

Violently sneezing for minutes at a time makes the ride unpleasant for everyone.

Lesson for today: If you are allergic to things commonly found in nature, double check that you brought your benadryl. Because there are some places where it is inappropriate to use a Neti Pot. And you won’t make people cringe and weep when they see and hear you.



Ok, so maybe I’m not over the World Cup this summer.  I’ll get there.

But, remarkably, September is already here.  I know, I can’t believe it either.  In the spirit of a new month and a new beginning I’m going to start a new feature.  Each month I’m going to pick a goal for myself in each of my areas of interest:  body, mind, spirit, and food.  The first of the month is a perfect time to start.  They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and while a month is a bit longer than that, it gives me some room for human error and things beyond my control.

I’ll be using the app Commit for OSX.  It’s a great little app based on Jerry Seinfield’s theory about not breaking the chain for changing habits… and it *may* have been developed by someone I know and love.  Anyway, the idea of the app is to track the days that you successfully complete your goals and try not to break the chain of completing your goals.  You can track several goals at once, and it produces fun little graphs, which makes it ideal for what I’m doing.

So what are September’s goals?

  • Healthier Body:  Begin the 200 Squat challenge… again.  I started this challenge months ago, before my wedding.  However, I had to stop because of a stress fracture I developed in my foot.  I think I’ve gotten over my fears of random injuries and I am ready to squat again!

  • Healthier Mind:  Do a Sudoku puzzle every day. My mental math and critical thinking skills have gone WAY downhill in the past few years and I need to be sharp for my thesis defense.  Our brains needs mental exercise just as much as the rest of our body needs physical exercise and I think Sudoku would be a good way to slide into that.  Note:  I don’t already do these on a regular basis, so it will be something new.  I have an iPhone app, but they also have TONS online.  Top google result:  websudoku.com.
  • Healthier Spirit:  Take five minutes to pray every day. It can be in any form, but I just think I need to take that time to get centered.  We will see where it goes.
  • Healthier Food:  Incorporate a new whole grain in my diet every week.  I’m kind of excited about this one.  I like trying new foods and new recipes and I already stocked up on some fun ones at our local food co-op!

These goals may seem small, but I think it is important to pace yourself.  If you try too much at once, it is highly likely you’ll run out of the limited self-control you have.

Anyone have some September goals they’d like to share?

My Blog is Carbon Neutral!

My health is important to me, but it is also important that I support doing what I can to make decisions that are good for the health of the earth (can the Earth be healthy or not healthy? I’ll have to look into that more).  As one step in making my blog more “green”, I’m participating in a program sponsored by Machs Grun, a german website I found.  Just by posting this little entry and their button, they will plant a tree for me in Plumas National Forest through the Arbor Day Foundation to help offset the carbon footprint of this blog.

How sweet is that?  I love it when thoughtful people do things for something more than themselves.

co2 neutral coupons attractive shopping offers with kaufDA.de

Target Produce Coupon?!

It seems kind of obvious that part of being healthy is eating healthy.  Sometimes that can be difficult if you are on a budget, because often things like fresh produce aren’t on sale as much as we’d like, or there are no coupons.

Well, if you are lucky enough to live near a SuperTarget with groceries, this week you can get free fruits and veggies!  Target has a $1 off produce coupon at their website.  Just go to Target.com, go down to the very bottom of the page where you will see a column called “Target Stores.”  Underneath is the link to the coupons!   You can also access coupons through Target’s free iPhone app or through Target’s text alerts.

Target coupons are limited to one per transaction.  So, you’ll need to make multiple trips or find a really nice person who will let you do multiple transactions in one go.  If you want to print off several per page and save some paper, try this link (also, this link should stay up even if Target pulls the coupon from their site, something they often do even if the coupon hasn’t expired yet!).

Unfortunately, our local Target does not have fresh produce, but I still thought it was worth passing on.

Follow Up On Body Image

In my last post, I wrote about body image and how I am working seeing myself in a healthy way.  Today I came across a great site with the idea of really spreading and promoting having a healthy body image.

Operation Beautiful is a project where people are encouraged to leave anonymous post it notes in public places for other people to find.  These notes are just a reminder that we, as people, are beautiful.

Example note from operationbeautiful.com

I think it is a wonderful idea, and I know if I saw a note like that I would smile.  So today I’m going to post a note somewhere and hopefully spread around a good message too.

I didn’t know about this site before this morning, and it just so happens that this week they are encouraging people to blog about their own struggles with body image.  I must have some future reading skills in my brain because I did it before finding the site!

Kudos to the people behind Operation Beautiful.   I’m a sucker for random acts of kindness and I can’t wait to participate!

Body Image

How we see ourselves and feel about ourselves is *such* an important part of being healthy inside and out.

I would love to say that I have no qualms with how I see myself, but that simply isn’t true.  We all have our days where we look at our bodies and only see flaws, but for me, this has happened more or more since I have been unable to exercise without getting a migraine (more on that later).

This especially reared it’s ugly head during my wedding.  At 30 pounds over what I consider a “healthy” weight for me, seeing the pictures was sort of painful.  On one hand, I *loved* them.  They are a reflection of a weekend filled with fun and love.  I loved the work of our professionals and seeing all the facial expressions and small moments we missed captured by our guests.  And truthfully, I know I looked very great and seeing them makes me happy.

Shot by my friend Kelly

However, every time I see those pictures, I also see the extra weight.  The extra roundness in my face.  The roll at the top side of my dress.  The soft pudgy arms.  I knew I had gained weight and lost muscle mass and I have actively been trying to be more healthy to combat it, but it didn’t hit me of how I really looked until I saw the pictures.  To me, I don’t see that view on a day to day basis and while pictures certainly can lie, I know that most of our guests didn’t photoshop me.  And I know a lot of other people don’t see the little things I see, and that’s totally fine because I know I’m not at a point where I feel my body is healthy.

So I see the beauty in them and the beauty in me on a regular basis, I really do, but I also see my flaws screaming at me. Sometimes it bothers me a lot and other times I’m just lost in happiness seeing them.  A big part of me realizes that I’m not perfect and that most people don’t even notice the things that bother me (although I have had a few people ask if I’m pregnant… ouch.  Thankfully that didn’t happen at the wedding.).  I’m very accepting of who I am as a person, but I haven’t quite accepted that I’m at a point where I’m limited in what I can do and that has affected how I am seen by others.   I feel like I have a ways to go in this arena, but at least I am not at the point where I don’t want to go outside or where I am making unhealthy decisions about how to change my body. I am working on being healthier inside and out and hopefully with that will come acceptance of the things I can change and can’t change.

Do you ever have moments like this?  Was there anything, like a wedding, that tipped the scales for you?

Local Food

This summer has been great for my healthy goal of eating more fresh, local foods.

For those of you wondering why foods being local makes a difference in health…  Local foods travel fewer miles, meaning they are often fresher and bonus–less emissions for transporting them, which is better for the environment.  Better environment=healthier us.  I’ve heard that many types of produce lose their nutrients quickly after picking and often the local foods are picked much more recently than your grocery store finds, meaning we are getting more of the good stuff.  It makes sense, although I need to really look into that claim more…

We were going to originally take part in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to get some local goods, but decided against it after seeing how much we would be out of town for the summer.  We also live in an apartment, so gardening is not an option.

However, our local farmer’s market has really blossomed over the past year.  We have great new facility and a consistent showing of farms and other local producers.  Bonus:  much of the food, in addition to being local is also organic.

In honor of Virginia Farmer’s Market Week, here are a few of my favorite farmer’s market finds:

  • Arugula!  I *love* this stuff.  Love it.  I put it on everything.
  • Honey.  Local honey is supposed to be good for allergies, but we just got it, so I’ll have to update you later on my experiences.
  • Edible Flowers.  How cool are these?  I wouldn’t know which flowers are ok to eat or not and these are beautiful and hopefully delicious.
  • Basil.  I love pesto and fresh basil on pizza.  One day I might have a garden of just basil…
  • Squash blossoms.  I didn’t buy any because I didn’t have a plan for them, but I’ve always wanted to try them!

I’m kind of concerned about winter though.  I could self can (without BPA), but I’m not really equipped with the right tools or space to do so.  Freezing is also an issue at the moment because of the small size of our freezer (although I did freeze some of my parents surplus peach crop).  I’m not even sure what grows well here in the winter, so it will be a learning experience as my awareness grows.

To find some local food near you, try checking at this website:  http://www.localharvest.org/.

The Things I Know…

My journey isn’t beginning from scratch.  I generally think I already lead a fairly healthy lifestyle (I’ll go about it in more detail in later posts) and just want to take it to the next level.  I come in armed with a wealth of information.  I know quite a bit about healthy cooking and eating, the environment, and how our biology affects various parts of our being.

However, like all knowledge, I know mine is biased.  I have certain sources I turn to over and over again.  I have my past experiences and the experiences of those I know and love.  I have those deep down gut feelings that guide me.  And I have my computer/iPhone, which makes google one of my best friends (seriously, you can learn so much by googling.  If I were meaner I would send more people to Let Me Google That For You because the first place I go when I don’t know something, is google.  But people think that is rude.)

So part of my journey is not only sharing what I know already, but exploring a LOT of what I don’t know and opening my mind how that fits in with what I already know.  I think that is an important part of being healthy… being open to ideas, yet making informed decisions.

This post I saw the other day on my Google Reader that really visually expressed the importance of being open to new ideas and asking questions by David Cox called Creating a Culture of Questions.  I think his final two images really hit home for me.

Image from David Cox's Blog http://coxmath.blogspot.com

From David Cox's Blog http://coxmath.blogspot.com

So here I am, open to new things, new ideas.  Share with me so we can both learn.

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