Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Middle

I've been feeling my age lately.  Not uncommon.  I've noticed it's a sore subject with a few of my friends.  Part of what's bothering me is that I would like my middle years to be LESS self conscious than my earlier, younger days.  I would like to NOT think about myself, about how I look, about how I'm feeling.  I would like to be more effortless, more tranquil.  Instead, I'm concentrating on everything I eat, wondering if it will make me achey.  Or fat.
I have a new haircut, barely a week old.  The first week of a new haircut is always a little dicey for me. I'm having a hard time dealing with the shorter length, and I just want the whole thing to be a little bit easier.  I've spent most of my life obsessing about my hair.  These days, I don't care about looking perfectly done.  I just want to look comfortable.  I want to look easy.  *Wait.  That didn't come out right.*  Effortless.  Undone.  I don't want to look like I had to try too hard, and in the process I really don't want to try too hard.  Anyway, I think I've finally got it.  And it has been easy and casually fun the past couple of days.
So back to what I eat.  I've been doing a fair amount of reading and studying up on diet and nutrition.  I'm convinced that organic is better, and that I need to be pretty selective about what I allow myself to eat.  About 3 years ago I was tested for food sensitivities and here are the things I'm supposed to avoid:
Kidney Beans
Pinto Beans
Cheese (very sad... something I love)
Cow's Milk
Goat's Milk
Cane Sugar (!!!)
Baker's Yeast
Brewer's Yeast

Some things are pretty easy, like pineapple or celery.  Cow/Goat milk I can live without.  Cheese is hard for me.  Cane sugar has been a devil.  When I do use eggs, I've started using the organic, grain fed, cage-free type.  Hoping it makes a difference, but mostly trying to avoid them.  I substitute black beans for the other ones.  I eat only sourdough bread (no yeast).  Brewer's yeast is another tough one, as it's in all vinegars except for a certain type of apple cider vinegar.  It's in ketchup, soy sauce, salad dressings, and many, many other commonplace items.  
I've googled, and searched, and read all kinds of information.  And for the past month I've tried really really hard to eliminate all of these offending items as much as possible from my diet.  Some days the best I can do is only have 1 of them somewhere, but it's a lot better than I was doing.  Some days I feel better, less achey.  Like today was a good day.  I started out with a very stiff and sore knee and ankle, but as the day wore on, I kept drinking a lot of water, kept offending substances completely away, and tonight I feel pretty good.  My litmus test is this: on a bad day my body is screaming for Advil by 4 of 5:00.  Tonight I looked at the clock as we were about to go out the door to ride bikes, and it was 7:00.  I hadn't even thought about Advil.  I took it anyway, as a precaution, but it was a good sign that I hadn't started to feel miserable at 4:00 like on other days.
It was a good energy day.  I worked a full 8 hours while running up and down the stairs doing the laundry.  I wasn't crying from exhaustion tonight while I changed the bed linens.  All in all a pretty effortless day.  Exactly the kind I wish for.
It seems like it would be easy to cut things out of your diet if they make you sick, doesn't it?  It's not.  So many of those ingredients are in so many other items.  I've had to cut out processed food entirely, which is not that hard if you're at home, but to eat out?  To be out socially?  You don't know what's in anything then, and eating is such a social thing.  Up until now I guess I haven't felt bad enough to be motivated to do the hard work.  But I'm tired of feeling achey and worn out and joint-sore.  I want to be as well as I possibly can.  So I force my concentration away from what's for lunch.  I make myself content with a handful of almonds and some grapes.  I cook everything from fresh ingredients.  No more convenience foods.  I'm going to start this week frequenting a local farmer's market for good, organic produce.
I imagine I'll still have good and bad days, but I'm hoping that with enough effort and time for my body to heal, I'll have more and more good days.  I know a couple of you out there also experience chronic conditions.  For those that do, what works for you? I realize we're all individuals, and our bodies have different needs, as well as things to avoid, but in general, how do you give yourself the healthy food you need without sacrificing fun times out with friends, or without travel wreaking havoc?
Lastly, I've stumbled on this blog, Advanced Style.  It isn't for everyone, I realize.  In fact, when I showed it to my husband, he was slightly horrified.  But there's something about these older ladies that I fascinates me.  I don't necessarily aspire to their  level of style - I doubt I'd ever have the time or money to dress that expensively, and I don't even think I want to.  But what I love is their total lack of fear to wear exactly what they want to.  Dye their hair a crazy red if that's what suits.  I get self conscious wearing a straw hat in the summer, and I don't want to be that way.  I want to wear what pleases me without worrying if it's age appropriate, or too splashy of a pattern, or too bright a color.  I want to wear multi-color bangles that cover my whole arm if it cheers me up.  I want my grandchildren to remember me being fun and colorful.  
Anyway, check out that blog, read a lot of the older posts, and see if it doesn't just make your day.  The author is putting together a movie featuring these stylish ladies, and here is a short little teaser for it.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.  For some reason it made me really happy, and gave me a little bit of courage.  If they can do it, so can I.  So can we all.


  1. Those women are amazing!!! I want to be them when I grow up!

  2. I have loved Advanced Style for some months now, and you're right. Those ladies are truly inspiring. I'm so sorry you've had to cross all those foods off your list, but I am glad you had such a good day yesterday. And your haircut really is too cute!

  3. Hi, karen! I read about those marvelous ladies a few months ago on another blog. They are an inspiration to men and women alike. I agree with their philosophy. Go for the gusto. Present yourself in a manner that empowers you. My father was a dapper dresser. He enjoyed wearing a suit and tie even when they were not required. I'm a chip off the old block. I feel my best when I look my best. Over the years I have also modeled fitness guru Jack LaLanne, vowing to make vigorous exercise an essential part of my day for the rest of my life.

    Regarding your chronic condition, I will reveal something to you that I have not shared with any other blog friend. Left handedness is not the only thing you and I have in common. For years I restricted my diet, eliminating nightshades, dairy products and other foods I loved. Results were minimal. My advice to you is to look into Simponi. A quick and easy self injection once a month is all that's required and it has worked wonders for me. My pain and inflammation are greatly reduced and I eat whatever I want.

  4. Gah! Your diet needs and having to adjust to everything sounds way too familiar. It's exhausting isn't it?

    I too want to live a little freer, and I never thought I was self concious but now I realize I am.

    First goal? Wear a hat with a dress on Easter. Gonna do it. I mean it! : )
    Now I need to go check out those fun ladies!

  5. "I can't afford to buy green banana's anymore".

    I love these women and now gonna have to post this video on FB!

    Thanks for the new site!

  6. I love you want to be easy, lol! I really got a giggle with that! I am feeling really easy these days, myself! I don't know what I'd do if I had to give up avocado...but you are being really smart to try and keep your diet clean. I've been really watching mine lately and it is paying off. Again, like everyone else I have to say your new 'do' is just adorable. I hope you have more pain free days than not...and now I am thinking my comments are sounding very random. Perhaps I've been away from blogging too long and not organizing my thoughts!

  7. Hi Karen, honestly eat anything that is not life threatening. Organic is a fallacy I have two allotments and would not reap anything if I did not use fertilizer or pesticides. Think about it how can farmers do it? You’re a boney woman enjoy life and take a pill if you ache because you are going to you know that for sure. Give in be happy.

  8. Yeah, I have to disagree there. It's not just the pesticides. It's the genetically altered food (corn and soybeans being the most prevalent) that poses a huge threat. It's the hormones and antibiotics in the meat and eggs. Buying organic gets you away from that for the most part (except for cases where corn cross pollinates). Like I said - all we can do is our best. Unless you grow/raise your own food (and I don't think I'll be doing that on my patio any time soon) perfection isn't guaranteed. But doing something is better than doing nothing. And I don't subscribe to throwing your hands up and "taking a pill." The medications I take have too many side effects to not try to reduce them as much as I can.
    OK. Lecture over.

  9. Hi Karen,
    I haven't been in blogland in a while but wanted to stop by to see if you were affected by the quakes. I hope you're okay.
    And I totally agree with you on the diet. I have to avoid everything processed as well. We started going to our farmer's market and it is so wonderful to eat those delicious fresh vegetables. Every time I go our I also worry and have to ask a lot of questions to which no one seems to have an answer. I just say that I cannot order anything on the menu unless I know for certain that my trigger foods are not in the meal.
    Thanks for sharing the blog Advanced Style, I am excited to see it!

  10. Ouch that’s me told! Honestly Karen I know arthritis pain check my blog April this year it might interest you or at least it will let you know were I am coming from.

  11. I watch my diet. things in packages I try and avoid completely. it feels good mentally to eat right, i think...my kids will not even stop at McDonalds.
    good luck figuring out what works best for you!!
    i have had the same boring hair color and cut for 30 yrs...think its time for a change!!

  12. These ladies are cool!

    As for how I can feel my best, it is by eating "real" not manufactured food, cutting out sugar, drinking enough water, and getting plenty of rest.

    Oh, and staying out of the sun. (Drat.)


  13. I turned 61 on my birthday this year Karen, and my knees squeak when I get up in the morning :)
    I think watching what you eat is important, but I think yoga and movement are key.
    Take care.

  14. Love this Karen! I need to change a few things too..OK, alot of things! But I see many women (and men) who never get the privilege of living long enough to grow old and I think we should celebrate every day that we have on this earth. We need to love ourselves more. Many of the surgeries we do are because of life style choices...smoking, drinking, eating too much, eating too little, being reckless when driving, etc. We can make small changes like you're doing to ease pain naturally. I love that my hubby is a Chiropractor. I work in the medical field where a pill is many times the answer, but I know Jack helps so many people without the use of meds....of course he does have magic hands! Hope you can have many pain free days ahead. I think you look wonderful so you must be doing something right!


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