Category: health

Current Thoughts on Sugar

I’ve been (more or less) off sugar now for four (count ’em four) years. I say “more or less” because there have definitely been spaces in that time when I most definitely was NOT sugar free, so if you’ve seen me at conferences or parties or most of December, you’d think I was anything but off sugar. However, the baseline I keep returning to is one that has almost no refined sugar in it.

Most days, I have a handful of chocolate chips each day, and that’s it. (Some in my oatmeal in the morning, and some in my oatmeal for dinner. I live a glamorous life, what can I say?) Other than that, I have some fruit each day, and nothing else sweet. It was shocking to realize it’s been more than four years since I first experimented with totally giving up sugar.

At the time, I did it more on a whim than anything else. The thought popped into my head that if I gave up sugar, I’d feel better. Feel more alert. I considered it personal revelation at the time, and in hindsight, I still feel that way.

These days, I can very easily tell the days when I’ve had a lot of sugar. In fact, I can feel what it does to me as soon as I’m eating more than a little of it. It comes with a rush of energy, but it always leaves me feeling . . . sick. Not to my stomach, surprisingly. Rather, I feel like I’m having an allergic attack of some kind. My throat feels sore. My eyes puffy. It feels like I’m getting sick to the point that I finally searched online for whether eating sugar could make you feel like that. (Initial results indicate it can, but I didn’t dig very deep.)

I definitely sleep worse when I’ve had sugar. I wake up at night, for one thing. It takes me longer to get to sleep as well. The simple fact is that I feel much better, overall, when I’m not eating sugar than when I am. Is it a placebo effect? Who knows. I don’t really care, honestly. If it makes me feel better, why don’t I just do it?

Which is the question. Because I still love sugar, and I still find myself cutting loose whenever I decide to have some. I start eating it, and I can’t stop. No wonder I always feel sick after I have some, because I have too much. I’d love to get to a spot in my life where I do a better job with that, but I’m not there yet. Baby steps, I suppose.

In the meantime, I just wanted to write a quick post to say that, after looking back on the decision 4+ years ago and how I feel today versus back then, I’d say the experiment was a resounding success. If you’re looking for a way to feel more alert and healthy, and you’ve got a bad sweet tooth, I definitely recommend going sugar free for a while to see what it does for you.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

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Eat Your Vegetables (The Right Way)

I’m still trying to be healthier, a few sugary relapses aside. This basically has boiled down to exercising every weekday, avoiding sugar (more or less, and not counting conferences), and not eating as much. I can tell the times when I cheat on the sugar and the eating too much. I definitely don’t feel as good–I feel better hungry than I do stuffed, that’s for sure.

But it wouldn’t take a genius to recognize the flaw in my approach. I take a multivitamin each day, but me and vegetables only have a casual relationship. I typically eat two bananas each day, and maybe a clementine or two, so I’m at least somewhat okay when it comes to fruit, but vegetables are something I eat at dinner when they’re there, and forget about the rest of the time.

It’s not that I don’t like vegetables. I actually like them quite a bit. But I don’t like preparing food. I’m lazy enough that when faced with a choice of eating something I can just grab or anything that requires slicing and washing, I’m going to go with the grab option every time. In fact, if I look in the fridge and all that’s available takes preparation, I almost always just decide to be hungry instead of eating something.

But Denisa has been reminding me that vegetables are important, and I had a health coach appointment that said the same thing, and so I’m making a more concerted effort to add veggies to my diet. Since most days I still just eat oatmeal for breakfast and dinner, that means I have to try to search for vegetable opportunities outside the normal meal times.

Case in point: the other day, Denisa made broiled vegetables for dinner (cauliflower, potatoes, carrots). I really like cauliflower, and I hadn’t had any vegetables yet that day, so I asked if I could have some. (Since I’m usually on oatmeal for dinners, Denisa has learned not to include me in her dinner calculations. You don’t want to get between Denisa and her dinner calculations, speaking from experience.)

But this time, Denisa gave me the thumbs up, so I had a few pieces of cauliflower. And a few more. And a couple more after that. Until somehow the cauliflower was completely gone. That’s when Denisa got up to get seconds . . .

That day, I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned that, no matter how much your wife reminds you that you should really be eating more vegetables, this does not give you immunity from eating all the cauliflower. (No matter how much you think it might.) Apparently there’s a right way and wrong way to eat vegetables, or at least a right time and a wrong time.

“I’m new at this” is also not an acceptable excuse, just in case any of you out there were wondering . . .

I’ll get the vegetable thing down, though. Practice makes perfect.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.



A Plethora of Cough Remedies

I’ve got a really strange cough. I’m pretty much cough-free throughout the day, and then each evening, the hacking begins. I start to cough, and I can’t stop. What’s even more bizarre is that once I’m able to get to sleep (IF I’m able to), then I wake up again each night at 12:30 or so, with an even worse cough. It just won’t stop.

Speaking from experience, when I’m woken up at 12:30 at night, unable to stop coughing, I’m willing to try just about anything to get that cough to stop. I asked for help on Facebook, and these are the suggestions I received:

  • Vicks vaporub on your chest
  • Vicks vaporub on your feet
  • Use a humidifier
  • Cough drops
  • Chocolate
  • Cough syrup
  • Tumeric and honey
  • Herbal teas
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Deslyn
  • Elderberry syrup
  • Whiskey
  • Pineapple juice

It seems like everyone has their own approach that always works. Too bad none of them have worked for me. Last night when I woke up, I stumbled into the kitchen and proceeded to down a huge handful of chocolate chips, peppermint and sage tea, a spoonful of honey, two cough drops, and I smeared some vaporub on anything that felt like it might help. None of it worked. (The aftertaste left something to be desired, as well . . .)

What did work at last was some antihistamine pill I took on the advice of my doctor. Let’s just say in the middle of the night I’ve discovered that I’ll take just about anything to try and make that cough go away.

I have yet to find any foolproof approaches, though I’d forgotten pineapple juice last night. I’ll have some on tap for tonight, if the occasion presents itself. In the mean time, if you see me looking groggy-eyed, it’s either a lack of sleep or severe indigestion. Pick your poison.

(Just don’t tell me “poison” is a good cough remedy. At 12:45am, I might forget it was a joke.)

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Sick is Relative

I’ve been sick for the past few days (sigh, moan, complain), and it’s given me time to lie in bed and think. And one of the thoughts that’s kept repeating in my head is the concept that feelings are all relative. That how I feel when I’m sick might be entirely different than how someone else feels.

In other words, maybe at my most sickest, when I feel absolutely horrible. that’s what someone else feels as “mild discomfort.” I just don’t know, right?The same is true for pain. We all have different tolerances for pain, but maybe that’s also because we all perceive it differently.

From there, you can move on to just about any feeling you’d like to talk about. Love. Fear. Anxiety. Hate. They’re intangible things, and so there’s no real way to know if the thing we’re feeling matches up evenly to what other people are feeling.

I remember when I was in high school, I was in a Dixie Band. We’d go around and play at a lot of senior citizen centers. It was a fun group, and I really enjoyed it. But there were a lot of us, and some of those rooms weren’t large. You get saxes, clarinets, tubas, trumpets, trombones, and more into a small room, and it’s going to be loud. The elderly people didn’t mind: they just turned their hearing aids down. For them, even sound was relative.

So there you have it. My deep thought for the day. How sick am I feeling? Yesterday was “rotten.” Today I’d say “pretty bad.” But what does that mean to you? I have no idea.

Here’s hoping I feel “better” tomorrow . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.



Slouching Away from Shoulder Pain

I’m a tall guy. And as many tall people can tell you, the urge to slouch is practically irresistible. For as long as I can remember, people have been telling me to sit up straight. And (obviously) for as long as I can remember, I haven’t been.

Some of it is because I’m in front of a computer, focusing on other things for so much of each day. I’ll start off with the best of intentions, and then within the first few minutes, I’ll forget myself and not think of it for the next long while. It’s just more comfortable to slouch.

Except when it’s not. As part of my physical therapy routine for my shoulder pain, my therapist has really been hammering the need for me to stop slouching. Apparently (as with many things), slouching is something a young body might be able to get away with, but an increasingly older body doesn’t handle it nearly as well.

Thankfully, my therapist hasn’t just told me to stop slouching. He’s the first person who has ever explained to me just how not to slouch.

Up until now, when people would tell me to sit up straight, I would concentrate on using the muscles around my spine to do the trick. (I’m not up on my anatomy lessons, so forgive the generalities.) This time, my therapist explained that the muscles I need to be using are my shoulder muscles. Apparently, those muscles are supposed to be always tight, keeping my shoulders back and in place. They’re indefatigable, like the Terminator.

Except mine aren’t, because mine are lazy.

So I’ve been really focusing on keeping those shoulder muscles tight. It’s a painful process, and I forget myself (still), but it’s less painful than the other approaches I’ve used, and I can actually feel it working, which encourages me. (And the shoulder pain is going away, which is even better!)

Will this finally be the trick that solves all my slouching problems? I hope so. Though in the end, it’s up to me and how faithful I am at following orders. If my track record is any indication, I’m going to need a lot of help.

So if you see me around, remind me to keep those shoulder muscles tight. I need all the reminders I can get.

Thanks!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.



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