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New Year's Non-Resolution (written 1-1-12)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

I've kept a personal journal before, and I'm copying things I've written there this past week into this blog in order to "catch up" here with what I started on my own in the new year (so most of this entry is something I actually wrote on Jan. 1st, as noted in the entry title). But I've never done a blog of any kind before. Probably because I felt I had nothing to say that anyone else would want to read. And I still feel that way. But in starting my venture on SparkPeople, I thought I'd take advantage of the blogging opportunity...mostly just to chronicle my journey to better health for myself and to make me accountable not only to myself but anyone else who might read something I write. But if no one else ever reads anything I write here, that's fine with me. Though, here's my major disclaimer: I don't know how often I'll write or what I'll write if anyone else actually decides to read what I write, that's all on them...LOL.

New Year's Day, and particularly New Year's Eve, has always been a sort of downer day for me. Thinking of wasted opportunities, shortcomings, etc., of the past year. And also trying to live up to the hype of all the celebrating, etc. (sometimes just staying awake until midnight has been a challenge, even when much younger but certainly in recent years!). But this year I've decided to not look back but only forward. We can't change the past, but we can always begin a new direction of our future--on New Year's Day or any day--and in that endeavor perhaps also try to undo or correct some things we're mournful about the past, as much as it's possible, and use that in shaping our future.

And so no more silly "resolutions" for me...just the determination to do what I can to help make my future a good one. As Ellen Goodman once said, "We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives not looking for flaws, but for potential."

So to that end, my first action for reaching my potential is to recommit to drinking a green smoothie every day. About a year and a half ago, I started editing for Robyn Openshaw, who is known as the Green Smoothie Girl. She promotes not only green smoothies but living a better and more healthful life by eating more raw and whole foods and staying away from anything white (white sugar, white flour, white bread, white potatoes, white rice, etc.) and from processed foods. Editing her books (both informational and recipe books) and attending her classes/demos, I've learned so much about health and nutrition and the body and its needs. And I've tried to incorporate as many of the concepts and guidelines as possible over these months...and one of the easiest ones to start on was the green smoothies. And I did quite well with them for a while, and it was fun experimenting with different ingredients to change them up and come up with new smoothies to enjoy.

But when the first winter after I started drinking smoothies came along (last winter), I found I just didn't want to drink them as much. They're best when cold, and I don't like eating/drinking cold things during cold weather (I cringe even to think about eating ice cream in the winter...though I have friends who can enjoy that sweet year 'round). Sometimes the smoothies taste OK when closer to room temperature...but even then, I found I couldn't get up the desire to drink them as often as during the warm/hot months. They just are a "warm weather drink" to me, and it's a psychological thing I had trouble getting past.

When the warm weather returned in spring, so did my desire and mental ability to drink green smoothies again. All through this past spring and summer, I enjoyed them--often every day and usually not going more than a day without drinking one. And I also continued my endeavors to eat more raw and whole foods and less processed foods and avoid "white foods." This past August, when I was at my doctor's for a small problem, I also asked him to do an A1C test, which determines your average blood glucose level for the past 3 months. I'd recently been diagnose with Type 2 diabetes, mostly thanks to its running rampant throughout my mother's side of the family...and I know my weight and past eating habits didn't help to keep it at bay at all.

The last time I'd had an A1C done was 6 months earlier, when it had crept up to a reading of 9.2. The "normal" range is anywhere from about 5.0-7.0...for a long time I had hovered around 7.0, then started gradually climbing up the 7's and into the 8's...but the 9.2 reading was a shocking wake-up alarm for me. My maternal uncles had died from complications from Type 1 juvenile diabetes, though they managed to live long lives with it. Conversely, all my maternal aunts had developed Type 2 later in life and all have recently died from complications from it. Oddly enough, my 90-year-old mother seems to not have developed it (just passed it on to me...thanks, Mom...I still love you :-). So after getting the 9.2 reading last February, my diabetes specialist doctor suggested starting me on insulin since the oral meds didn't seem to be working though I've been taking them for some years now.

But just the thought of taking insulin seemed like a diabetes had won if I needed to be on insulin. And I was determined to not let diabetes win. So I told my diabetes doc that I'd like to try increasing my eating of raw and whole foods to see if that would help at all. She just sighed and said "Uh-huh." At least she didn't outright laugh at me (not out loud, anyway). So that's when I upped my nutritional efforts...and then come spring, I started with the regular green smoothie drinking again as well. So when I was at my regular GP doc in August, after 6 months of my increased nutritional efforts, what was my A1C reading? 7.4!!! I was delightfully shocked! I hadn't really lost all that much weight during those months and I also hadn't restarted my exercise program again, so the only real change had been to my nutrition and eating habits. My doc couldn't understand why I was so happy with a 7.4 (as that's a borderline diabetes number)...but when I told him how high it had been 6 months earlier, he was also very happy. And you can bet that I told him to be sure to send my A1C test reading to my diabetes doc too! Wish I could've seen her fact when she saw that test report! LOL.

But, alas, as fall and then winter came along, my taste for green smoothies once again waned, and for some time I stopped drinking them altogether. I did try to keep up my other raw/whole foods eating...but with the return of my husband from his visit to his home country, there were once again foods in the house that normally wouldn't be if he weren't around and meals were prepared with ingredients that normally wouldn't be if I were preparing them only for me or if he weren't the one preparing them. Of course, I try to help him eat more healthfully as well...but there are just some things he hasn't been able to acquire a taste for and other things he simply likes too much and isn't willing (yet) to give up. So it's a struggle for me, but I try as I can to eat as I know I should even when he's around. Except for those green smoothies during the cold months....

Well, now my husband has had to return again to his home country, so I have no excuses for what I do and do not eat. But there's still the green smoothie problem...after all, there are still at least 2-3 months of cold weather ahead. I've managed to lose a little weight even over the past few fall/winter months, which is a good thing...but you can lose weight (heck, you can even be super-skinny) and still have diabetes or a glucose problem. I test my blood sugar fairly regularly, but those types of tests can only tell you if you happen to be especially high or low in your blood sugar at that particular time. You need an A1C test to really know how you're doing overall. And I'll probably be going back to my diabetes doc next month...and I really hope my A1C won't have gone up again. So in hopes of keeping that reading down...not just for the upcoming test but for my health in general, I've decided that not only will I redouble my efforts to eat more raw/whole foods but also to drink a green smoothie every day, even in the cold months. Starting today...New Year's first act in seeking the potential in my health and life (and not a "resolution" :-).

So one thing I will do with this blog is use it to make myself accountable, at least to myself and to anyone else who happens to read, for my daily green smoothie.

Today's (3-cup) smoothie included the following: spinach, kale, chard, banana, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, coconut milk, plain kefir, filtered water. And here's a picture of it:

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