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Thursday, June 07, 2012

balēance [bal-uhns] - a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

In the world today we have to ask ourselves how we "balance" our lives. From play, work, emotions, to what we eat. Advertisements pushing "more is better," whether it is better for you or not. This is definitely a true statement in the diet world.

From Chinese Medicines point of view food is medicine. It is the only medicine that we take in large doses more than once a day and we do it every day. The effects of this food on the body's biochemistry literally makes it the most powerful medicine that we consume in our lifetime. In the book, The Way of Qigong, Kenneth S. Cohen says "If unhealthy food can cause disease, then healthy food may cure it." But he also talks about balancing these healthy foods.

So, if a person is sick with a bronchitis they go to there physician who prescribes a cough syrup and possibly an antibiotic. The pharmacy will give you instructions on just how much to take and when. Would we take large quantities of this medication because it is good for us? No, we would follow the instructions and take it in smaller quantities and eventually we would feel better and get better. Why do we not do that with the foods we eat? Why is food treated any differently than medicine is?

How many magazines have we all seen with statements like this?

How many times have we grabbed these magazines and tried these diets. (I know I have!) Overdosing on one type of food because someone spent a lot of money to convince us it works! But we end up not losing weight, losing and gaining it back, unable to maintain it, or just plain sick. Why do we consistently believe that overeating one type of food will cure our obesity? What happened to following the instructions about healthy eating? Like the instructions on taking your medications from the doctor? What happened to balance? Somehow over the years we have lost those instructions to be replaced with magazines and commercials that push "more is better." Balance was trampled and pushed out of the way for the new modern way of eating. Balance sits on the side lines rejected, all for "more is better, super size me and more for you money."

So a person has to remember the rule of BALANCE. You can enjoy your food and flavors without overdoing any particular one. My friend and mentor Roberto Masferrer made a statement in his blog that sums it up. "when you are eating a well-balanced, whole foods, plant-based diet you donít need any one food to give you everything the body needs because the combination of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and occasional animal products will." ( )

Socrates once said, "Thou Shouldst eat to live; not live to eat." In the Buddhist religion they say Budha had once said, "Eat to live, not live to eat." In the Poor Richard's Almanack, Benjamin Franklin quotes: "Eat to live, and not live to eat." (Google would be surprised what you find!) Regardless who says it, I have seen and understood the message. I enjoy the food that I eat...if I didn't I most assuredly wouldn't eat it (I'm still trying to find a way to eat Sea Vegetables!!) However, I have learned the trick to balancing my selections, not in excess but in moderation! And the results have been amazing!

I am currently down 22lbs (2 dress sizes!) since starting this lifestyle change and the scale is continuing to go down with out jumping back up to only work twice as hard to get it back down like I had before. I'm still learning about this lifestyle but as I do my health has increased and I look forward to the new me in the new future that I'm creating. If you are interested in this program you can check out Kumo Acupuncture's website at: In the list of services you will find a bevy of information. (They offer Skype consultations for those that are out of the area.) And in the resources link under educational printouts you will find the nutritional guide which is the general guide they start with and adjust to each individuals special needs.

What ever program you decide to pursue...remember that BALANCE is a word to live by!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DHUNTER67 6/10/2012 4:00AM

    I'm finding that this is so true. I try to incorporate more veggies and fruit into my mostly protein diet. Something I have to do, the high protein. But I keep it to lean meats and poultry and sea food.

I feel better when I eat a nice salad or add some broccoli to my meal. I must admit that, I wouldn't have years ago.

Thanks for the advice.

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Uncovering the truth...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Like many of my fellow Sparks I've been struggling with the ups and downs...and a scale who hates me! Well, I've found some answers to some of my least for me. I would like to share some knowledge that I have gained over the past couple months about what we put into our bodies while we try so hard to be healthy and lose weight. Perhaps this can help some of you!

Here I will make a statement that I have heard from several MD's that I've talked to (including my own physician), a nutritionist, naturopath and now my Acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine Practitioner. "All artificial sweeteners are not healthy or good for you. They promote weight gain and diabetes."

I have done some extensive research over this because I was tested with every imaginable test you could think of and everything came back as normal. Until my son one day pointed out some websites that had a list of symptoms for Sucrolose poisoning. I was very ill and suffered from a very long list of the exact same symptoms...(headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, depression, hot/cold flashes, joint pain, foggy mind, mood swings, rashes, sleeplessness, sugar cravings, insulin resistance, nausea, weight gain...and I could go on but I think you got the idea.) Here is a link that actually explains what Sucralose is, what it does and the fact that it wasn't even properly tested. (You can also Google Sucralose poisoning to see the very long list it gives.)

I immediately stopped consuming Splenda and anything with it in the ingredients. This is were I found out that I was now suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I was addicted to this chemical!! It took 4 weeks for me to go back to anything that would be considered normal. Some of the symptoms completely dissipated but I still did not feel well. My MD suggested I see Roberto Masferrer at Kumo Acupuncture, where I learned the long term side effects of consuming this poison. (Malnourished {yes you can be fat and malnourished}, bad bacterial growth in the gut, lack of flora, etc.) And here is the best one yet that I am still dealing with. Since this poisonous Chlorocarbin is packed into my fat cells I still deal with these toxins with every ounce of fat that I melt away because it is flushed back into my system. So as I lose the weight Roberto works with me to help flush it out and keeps me symptom and pain free.

I've been asked, "So what sweetener do you use since you are prediabetic and have to watch your blood sugar?" I asked the same question and the answers that I have found are very simple. Natural unprocessed sugars in MODERATION within your dietary or diabetic allowances. Here are some more links that you might find interesting. I know I did!! And it decided me once and for all.

It basically comes down to watching what we eat. I use natural cane sugar when I do need to use sugar for anything and I'm responsible on how much I use. I read every label...and I mean EVERY label. To quote a blog from my good friend and mentor at Kumo Acupuncture:

* If you see high fructose corn syrup, trans fats (including any oil described as partially hydrogenated), preservatives (especially sodium benzoate), or food coloring donít buy it.
*If you see ingredients that you donít recognize especially if they remind you of chemistry class donít buy it.
* If you see ingredients that are unclear such as modified corn starch or artificial flavoring donít buy it.
*If you see artificial sweeteners donít buy it.
*If you see genetically modified foods donít buy it.
* If you see nitrates or nitrites donít buy it.
* If the list is longer than five ingredients be cautious.

To read the entire blog:

All said and done, I am so grateful for my son for finding the correlation with my symptoms and sucrolose, for my doctor's care and referral to someone who could help and for Roberto at Kumo Acupuncture for taking this hard journey with me to good health. There is a light at the end of this long dark tunnel and I look forward to the day where I can step out into it!

I hope you share this knowledge with others who it might help!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RISINGBLUESTAR 5/31/2012 12:42PM

    Wow! This is interesting! I knew artificial sweetners were bad but I didn't know they could cause damage to that extent! Thanks for sharing this info!!

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DHUNTER67 5/22/2012 5:09AM

    Thank you so much for replying to my blog. I am so glad I came across your post. I've do use sugar in moderation. But for my fluid intake, I generally turn to the Sucralose full Wylers SF. The Aspertame gives me headaches.

Now, I'm gonna just drink water with lemon instead. Or iced herbal tea.

Hopefully it will help with some of my issues.


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  Wow, Sucralose is scary stuff! Congratulations on making this change & thanks for sharing the info with others.
Best wishes!

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STARDUST2K4 5/15/2012 9:40PM

    Wow!! Thank you so much for showing me this blog! very useful information.

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MSLOVELY87 5/14/2012 2:33PM

    wow thanx for the information

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SASIKHASI1 5/10/2012 11:21PM

    Wow, I just got rid of all my Splenda and Equal, into the trash they went. I will go back to using sugar in small amounts. I have a hard time with the fact that the USDA has all this information at their fingertips, yet do not warn us about the dangers of this stuff.

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GOULDSGRANITE 5/10/2012 6:21PM

    Thank you for the very healthful reminder! emoticon

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Who said exercise can't be fun?!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Yesterday my family (brother, niece, my son & daughter) and I got up before dawn and headed out to Netarts Bay on the Oregon coast to catch the low tide for clamming. (about an 1 1/2 hour drive) We had the car packed in record time and were off!

When we got there the sun was shining and the sky was a brilliant blue. Everyone grabbed their clamming stick, bucket, shovels and we were off. The hike out there is about a mile. The first part of the hike we go through mud, silt and water that went up to mid thigh! And man was that cold!!!! Then we go through a combination of sand, mud, seaweed and of course more cold water! We then graduated to more sand & water, however the rippled sand was very deceiving and we sunk into it sometimes up to our ankles! Despite these obstacles everyone's spirits were high and I was excited that I was actually keeping up with everyone! About 20 minutes later we finally make it out as far as the water will let us.

Now starts the real exercise! We proceed to find our Gaper Clam holes...follow the neck down with are clam stick and then start digging a hole next to it! Some of these can go down up to 2 feet! (those are the biggest ones!) Once you got your hole dug, you then get down on hands and knees and start moving sand with you hand off toward the clam stick until you feel your prize! Now comes the fun part...sand and water start filling in the hole you meticulously dug! You work frantically to dislodge Mr. Clam and pull him out...all while the sand is sucking him down! It's like playing tug of war! You proceed to do this 12 times and sometimes more if you were unlucky to get out your quarry before everything collapses upon itself! Of course after I got my limit of 12 I was off to help my daughter obtain her 12, since she was looking for the much easier to obtain Cockle Clams! That meant 12 more holes to dig and helping to keep the sand at bay while she tugged her out her clams.

Now it is time to finish off our limit with the Cockle Clams! Eight more clams to find! These are much more fun but just as much of a work out. By then things have finally warmed up a bit but the water on the Oregon coast is seriously cold on a good day! Still, like troopers we wade out into the waters of the bay and start looking for our clams. Feeling with our feet and looking for the signs. Now this sounds like fun but it is a tremendous amount of work. For one, I didn't exactly want to take a full head on nose dive into the water! So trying to balance on shifting, sinking, sucking sand took every ounce of core muscles..some I wasn't aware of having! Walking on the shifting sand and through mid thigh water without face planting it was very challenging for us all and it made me very envious of my long legged 6'4" son!!

About an hour later we took a tally and everyone had their limit of 20 clams...each in our own separate bucket. (Which is the law.) It was a good thing too because the tide was beginning to come in at a very quick rate. By that time we were a good mile and a half from where we parked our car. (sigh) However we now had to navigate all that lovely sinking sand, water, mud, muck and seaweed not only with our clamming sticks & shovels but also with about 20-25 lbs of clams in our buckets! Below is a picture of Netarts bay. You will see a main water channel that runs through it...we were all the way out to the far as we could walk!

By the time we got back to the car everyone was tired, sore and everyone had a fair share of sand and mud on their legs! (the girls more than their fair share!) Here we get to make a changing area with the car and blankets (no mud allowed in my car!) and everyone got into clean clothes with washed legs & feet.

The next order of business was a bathroom break and lunch! We took the short drive down to Cape Lookout State Park where they have bathrooms and picnic tables. We packed the cooler & bags of food over to a picnic table and enjoyed a very healthy lunch of homemade baked chicken, black bean salad, fresh veggies, fruit and a ton of water!

Everyone agreed that it was way too early in the day to head home and the day absolutely gorgeous. So we decided to walk the beach in search of agates! We lugged everything back to the car and set off down the path to the beach. There we walked about a mile where my son found some rocks that had agates in them. We then were picking up rocks and trying to break out the agates. Bending, lifting, banging...hiking over rocks...needless to say 2 hours later I was ready to call it a day. We hiked back to the car and headed on home.

Of course it wasn't over yet. Once home we unpacked everything out of the car and then rinsed off all the clams...packing them in my "clamming cooler" to cover them with ice & water to sit for about 24 hours. (This way we can open and clean them!)

By the time we were done and showered it was time for dinner, which was grilled turkey burgers & salad! I was way too tired to get complicated. Sitting down for dinner I realized that every muscle in my body was on fire!

Conservatively (not counting packing, unpacking the car & pulling out clams) I burned a whopping 2,466 calories! Was it boring? Absolutely not! Did it feel like exercise? Not really...we were too busy laughing and being excited! Was it a good workout? Most assuredly since today I feel like I've spent 36 hours in a gym with a trainer from hell!

I seriously can't wait for the next low tide! We have so much fun, I love eating the clams and who can pass up burning all those calories having fun?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGELLOSE69 5/9/2012 9:16PM

    Look at all the rewards you got for doing that. What an awesome day! emoticon

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MSLOVELY87 5/9/2012 1:45PM

    Wooow seems like you had a awesome time , and with family! emoticon

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SHERYLDS 5/7/2012 7:50PM


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LMGBRIAN 5/7/2012 3:01PM

    Hey that sounds like a grate day and I like how you went to get the clams right from the source. :-)

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Small Victories

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I've been at my place of work for almost 7 years now and during this time there has been parties, potlucks, celebrations and "snack" day. Somehow someone would always seem offended when I would politely decline and more times than not I just gave in to avoid confrontation.

Recently I took a stand when I started my new health plan. I made everyone aware that there are foods that I just can not eat. Not just because they make me fat but because they make me sick. Since I've made my stand we've had a few celebrations. One was our anniversary and I fled because I kept being offered cake and champagne. The other was a celebration for someone who has been with the office for 20 years. I was forced to go to that one and stand by while people kept telling me I should eat and for me to repetitively tell them I can't eat soy, wheat or corn. It may look good and it may smell good...but I can not eat it. (sigh)

Yesterday I was told that they were providing lunch to a celebrate Admin Day. I politely asked the organizer what the lunch will be and he responded Subway. Which is healthy but not within my plan. Before I could say anything he told me he came up to find out if there was something he could order me from there since I could not eat bread. I was shocked! I mentioned that I can eat a chicken salad and he said he would take care of it! Wow...this has never happened before!

Today, I was able to enjoy the luncheon with everyone else with a nice Subway salad (gluten, corn, soy free!). Yes there was chips and cookies but this time no one pushed and insisted I have any. I laughed and talked with my co-workers and was overjoyed at the freedom of being allowed to be me.

I am sure there will be some pitfalls and mishaps until everyone I work with realizes this isn't a "diet" but a health choice. Still, it is a victory and a great beginning! emoticon

Acceptance. It is a simple thing but the greatest gift that can be given to a person.

Have a glorious day today!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KBAGIGI 5/4/2012 4:49PM

    It is so nice to read that people listened and RESPECTED the fact that you just cannot eat like they do. A friend found out his sister couldn't eat gluten and he changed his diet accordingly and discovered that his aches and pain diminished . He was a huge bread eater and now feels so much better being gluten free! Keep up the good work!!

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BRANDY_6 4/25/2012 4:19PM

    People do want to respect your life decisions sometimes they just don't know how! You have to fight for your way and they will eventually understand this isn't a fad, it is your chosen way of life! Great Job!!

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LUZDELSOL 4/25/2012 4:18PM

    That's great you were able to actually enjoy a celebration without the people trying to get you to eat things that you can't emoticon
You're doing wonderful, especially without giving in and taking that stand to let people know its about health and not a fad that comes and goes. emoticon

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Weigh in tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tomorrow I finally get to weigh in and see if I've busted through my plateau this week. My acupuncturist (Roberto) who has been guiding me along this journey of health banned me from the scale last Wednesday since I was weighing myself every day....and stressing that the numbers were going up and down. He incorporated my daughters help (who is seeing him for asthma) by having her hide the scale! So...I'm in withdrawals.

I don't know if this has been good or bad. I find myself wanting to work out twice as much and had to adjust my workout #'s so my calories could adjust. (the warning kept popping up!) Funny...I never thought trying to eat more than 1,600 calories would be so hard! Roberto was right...quality vs quantity. (sigh) Since I've completely remove all "junk" foods, high starchy foods and all the empty carbs like pasta, bread etc., I find that is extremely difficult for me to jump my calorie goal. Actually it's hard to get it up there! I feel like I'm turning into a emoticon with all the raw veggies I've been consuming. (I might show up with rabbit ears at my next appointment! lol) I can't complain though because I'm never hungry, not craving junk food, have great energy and up to last week was losing 2-3 lbs a week! But who would have thought that I couldn't eat that much food?!

I've done what I could this past week (Wed to Wed). I was instructed to rest for Wed & no exercise those days. Friday was a bike ride (seriously down poured on!) Saturday was missed because of appointments and errands that took me out all day. Though I wasn't sitting all it was something. Sunday we fished all day and hiked up to a fishing spot. I didn't know how many calories fishing actually burns until I looked it up! We had a blast and decided I'm doing that every Sunday!! lol Yesterday was another bike ride and my daughter picked the route that was the hilliest she could find (ouch). I now have jelly legs but I rode up every single hill...for 7.3 miles! Today, weather permitting, will be another bike ride for an hour and then 30 minutes on the punching bag and 30 minutes of muscle resistance.

I can only hope that the scale will reflect 2 less lbs! I'd even take 1!! I will finally know tomorrow! I sooo can't wait!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYLDS 4/17/2012 8:01PM

    i have my fingers crossed for you
but it sounds like you are doing all the right things

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