Sunday, September 18, 2016

Best I Can

With my recent return to My Journey, I am also returning to my use of song names for the titles of my posts. While there are several songs with the title of "Best I Can," the one that I am referring to is from my favorite band, RUSH. I chose this song because - well - I'm trying to do that very thing, the best that I can.

I've been really loyal to my eating plan. Even yesterday, I went to a wedding - I was the Best Man - and could have gone way off of the path. I may have been a bit off, but I stuck to beef, asparagus, carrots, and a baked potato for my dinner and only a couple of sips of champagne for the toast. The potato might have been a little much for my carbs, but at least it wasn't sugar.

As for the best that I can do (and what I intended this post to be about)... I have been adding turmeric as one of my main supplements. Turmeric has a lot of benefits!  I'm also not limiting my consumption of turmeric as a supplement but adding it to a lot of the recipes that I'm cooking. In fact, my use of it as a seasoning as far outweighed my use of it as a supplement. So... Why?

Turmeric has been found to be beneficial to the brain. MS, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's disease symptoms have all been reported as being positively effected by turmeric. What is interesting, though, is that turmeric isn't terribly bioavailable. The body's digestive system doesn't really like it. It does have a 'trigger' that is easily found, however. The trigger is piperine. "Wait! I thought you said that is was 'easily found.' What is piperine???" Well, piperine is found in black pepper. See? That's pretty easy!

I don't always have breakfast in the morning, but 90% of those meals is an omelet. I use 3 free-range, fertilized eggs, a couple of ounces of raw cheddar cheese, and a shot of raw whole milk for the standard ingredients. For seasoning, I add sea salt, black pepper, garlic, parsley, and turmeric. Another regular meal for me is tuna. For this, I mix a can of tuna with mayo, chopped onion, chopped celery, sea salt, pepper, and turmeric.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Revisit, Refocus, Renew, and Recovery

Here I am, revisiting the blog after another year of blog-silence. This is due to the fact that I am refocusing on my eating habits because I need to renew my health recovery. (See how I came up with the title of this post? :-) )

If you aren't familiar with my story, let me recap my last 9 years for you. You are certainly invited to go back and read any/all of my previous posts, but let me save you some time for now...

In 2007, I began to experience some numbness in my right foot. Over the course of the next several months, that numbness expanded up my leg, into my waist, and then down my left leg. Additionally, the numbness grew in intensity to where I couldn't even walk without support from a cane and no more than 15 minutes at a time. Due to my lack of mobility and prednisone, I gained about 150 pounds to where I weighed 350+. Fun? I think not! I was prescribed Rebif for - what I was diagnosed with - Multiple Sclerosis.

Fast forward to October, 2008...

Using Rebif wasn't helping me at all. The side effects were making my life worse. It was killing me! (Sure, I may be exaggerating, but...)
At this point, I was introduced to a product called VidaCell. After reading about it, I decided to give it a decent trial of three months. It only took two weeks to make a difference! I was more able to walk, climb stairs, and more...
In addition to VidaCell, I changed my diet. I started to follow the plan as described in The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin. Also, I went through several cycles of The Master Cleanse. (All of my experiences with these phases are detailed in previous posts on this blog. If you want more details, contact me or check out the other posts - I'm more than happy to answer any questions.)

Long story, short: While I didn't experience complete recovery, I was able to improve my life.

Fast forward to January, 2011...

Certainly not an immediate improvement, but it was at this point in my life that I decided to try to go back to work. From childhood, I had a desire to be on the radio. I figured that pursuing this dream just made sense. My mobility wasn't perfect, so a job that required me to be on my feet didn't make a lot of sense. Also, my endurance wasn't all that strong... I figured that sitting at a microphone for 4-5 hours at a time just made sense for a job! So, I attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting to pursue that dream. Things turned out pretty well!

Until May, 2012, when I experienced a stroke... Recovery from that was a lot of FUN! (sarcasm, maybe?)

Fast forward to today (well, maybe 3-4 months ago...)

Now, I'm experiencing the flare-up of the numbness. It has expanded into both arms and hands. My left hand is less numb than my right hand. In addition to the numbness, I will sometimes experience what I refer to as a 'buzz.' Basically, I blackout for a couple of seconds - up to a minute. Both the duration and the intensity of the buzz varies. Sometimes, I simply just lose the ability to focus my thoughts. Other times, I really do blackout - hence, the lack of ability to drive.

Are you still with me?

So today, I have decided to be more focused on my diet and activity. I am going back to a modified Maker's Diet. Basically, a low-carb Maker's Diet. I am also looking more deeply into the benefits of various spices and foods - like turmeric, ginger, bone broth, and all things coconut.

I'm hoping that my Journey to Wellness sees as much - or more! - success as I previously had and that you'll join me on this journey, too.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Wow, it has been over a year since my last post. Why? Well, a LOT has been going on and it just hasn't been a priority of mine to write anything. I can't say that this will change, but something has been percolating in my brain for the last few weeks and I just want to pour it out...

I have been a member of a website/app called Fitocracy for more than a year, now. The site is sort of the facebook of fitness. Basically, members post the workouts that they did for the day and share that information with their 'friends' on the site. Largely, friends encourage each other to improve their health and wellness. When I joined, I was very active. After a couple of months, things tapered off and I wasn't able to exercise as much as I had been. As well, I simply stopped visiting the site.

Recently, I have a renewed interest (and time) to improving my physical well-being. I started going for walks and doing some basic exercises. I also started using Fitocracy again.

Today, one of my fito-friends posted a question:
"Rest days question. - Currently my main aim is to lose weight, i.e. to burn as many calories as possible. Therefore I eliminated some rest days. Do you think this is ok?"

It made me think... What is considered rest and at what point would you be exercising too much?
...Time for me to share my history...
- When I was in high school (and jr. high), I had a paper route. I walked or rode my bike to deliver the paper for about 10 miles per day, 7 days per week.
- My school was too small to have a football team but playing football was one of my goals and dreams. So, I joined the track team to help me get into shape to play football in college. I was never much of a runner, but my goal was to be the next John Riggins (Washington Redskins, #44, running back). So, I figured that I could run the 100 yd. dash and throw the shot put on the track team. During track season, I went to practice 5 times per week unless we had a meet. This was added to my paper route.
- I joined a gym that was in the next town. It was about 12 miles away. I tried to get to the gym 2 or 3 times per week during the off-season - trying to stay in shape for track and - eventually - football.
- I was also a bicycle fanatic. I had a 12-speed bike (mountain bikes didn't exist back then...) that I would ride on the Rail Trail - I trail that used to be a railroad track - fairly frequently.

I was pretty active in high school. Even with all of this, I still maintained my 6'2", 220-230 lbs. physique. I just couldn't drop the excess fat. Granted, I didn't eat a spectacular diet...

When I went to college, guess what? I joined the football team! I went to campus three weeks prior to the semester for football 'doubles' - this is when you spend the morning training on the field, afternoon training on the field, and evening training on the field (shouldn't it have been called 'triples?'). In addition, you would hit the weight room to exercise. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was always a buffet where we would eat enormous amounts of food! In those three weeks, I achieved the best level of fitness that I have EVER had - muscles grew, fat burned, and aerobic fitness improved!

Why am I sharing this? Well, the posted question made me think... At what point is it considered 'overtraining?'

My recent return to Fitocracy has me motivated to exercise. I am currently trying to walk every day for at least 30 minutes per day. Additionally, I am doing some body-weight exercises 3-4 days per week - sometimes more. Some days, my exercise is more intense than others but I will never be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger (for more reasons than one).

Personally, I think that each one of us has to 'test' our bodies to determine what we can handle and not be overtraining. Like anything else, as we work on something - whether it be weightlifting, walking, running, or other skills like writing, painting, playing an instrument - our skill and capabilities improve. If I was doing the level of exercise that I am currently doing, say, 5 or 6 years ago - I would definitely be overtraining! Now, I am more capable of handling the efforts I am putting in and I am not worried about it.

Either way, I intend to keep on truckin'...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Isn't It Ironic...

I could go on forever quoting songs in this post, but I won't - well, maybe not too much.
Ironic, why? (Song 1, Ironic - Alanis Morissette) Well...a little over a week ago - on May 18th, to be exact - I suffered a stroke (song 2, The Stroke - Billy Squire). After so much effort to achieve wellness, I can still suffer from a setback such as a stroke. You know what, though? 'Suffer' isn't exactly the right word. 'Experienced' is more appropriate, I think.

For the last few months - well, since January - I have been working for a radio station (actually working, not just interning). I started with one shift per week but had added a second and, recently, a third shift. I am a board operator for WCCC AM 1290 Beethoven Radio. While the station is largely automated - playing classical music 24/7 via Beethoven.com - it hosts the satellite broadcast of Imus in the Morning, M-F from 6-10 am, over the air. It is my job to receive the satellite signal and make sure that it goes out over the 1290 AM broadcast channel. As well, I have to report the news, weather, and traffic for the Greater Hartford area throughout the 4 hour broadcast.

On the 18th, I did my normal radio shift and then went to help a friend with an A/V job. I got home around 2 pm and immediately set myself to a video editing project that I had been working on. It wasn't long before I started feeling odd sensations. Well, largely because I don't fully recall all of the details and because the details don't really matter, I'll just say that what I was experiencing was a stroke. My wife enlisted my neighbor's help in getting me to the hospital and the last thing I remember from that day is my wife getting out of the car and rushing into the hospital. After that, while I didn't lose consciousness, I lost all coherence. The next thing I know, I was waking up in a hospital room on Saturday morning - though I didn't even know that it was Saturday at the time - with my parents, wife, and daughters smiling at me.

As mentioned, what I experienced was a stroke. The cause is yet unknown. One thing that I do know is that my recovery has been remarkable! The fact that I am even able to write this post should give some indication to my healing.

I was released from the hospital on the Tuesday following the stroke with almost all function and faculties with me. I still have some therapy scheduled over the next few weeks but, after only my second session, the therapist doesn't think that I will have to go for the full 12 sessions that were scheduled.

I largely contribute my fast recovery to my continued use of VIDACELL.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time Flies When...

OK, I am aware of the irony. I am writing a post entitled "Time Flies When..." on the first day after we set the clocks ahead one hour (well, at least in most of America) thanks to daylight savings time. However, as it has been several months since I last updated this blog (7 months to the day) the concept of time flying just seems to be a fitting title.

As of the last post, I was producing two internet radio shows. Well, due to several factors, I am no longer.

As well, I was working as an intern for one of Hartford's radio stations, The Rock 106.9 WCCC. Well, I am still with WCCC, but in a different capacity. I am now officially employed! I am only part time (about 10-15 hours per week), but part of my duties include being the board operator on Friday mornings from 6-10 am during the 'Imus in the Morning' show. I have to coordinate the satellite feed with the local commercial spots as well as read the news, weather, and traffic on WCCC's AM station, WCCC AM 1290 Beethoven Radio.

Also in the last post, I mentioned that we were in pre-production of ConnecTV, the first television show produced entirely by graduates of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. We now have four shows completed and airing on a regular basis over several cable access outlets across Connecticut. The show can also be seen on the internet at our Vimeo channel.

Time definitely flies...

Today, I renewed my commitment to The Maker's Diet. While I have been mostly following the guidelines of the diet, I haven't always been terribly strict. Well, I went back to phase one. I was really happy with the results of my first attempt to follow the Maker's Diet and I am hoping to to further improve  my health by returning to the basics.

My day started with a push ups workout. I have been following the program detailed on hundredpushups.com for the last couple of weeks. I have been pretty happy with the results so far.
I followed the workout with my daily dose of VIDACELL. This would be the only food that, while truly natural, might not truly qualify for the Maker's Diet guidelines. The benefits far outweigh what might be consequences for breaking the 'rules.'
Breakfast consisted of a 3 egg omelet made with free range eggs, raw cheese, and organic salsa. I also supplemented with vitamin D.
After suitable time for digestion, I used a free pass to go to the YMCA and get another workout. This time, I spent 35 minutes on the elliptical machine. According to the calorie counter, I burned almost 400 calories. I also spent some time doing some resistance exercise - mostly to complement the push ups, I concentrated on back exercises.
Upon returning home, my wife and daughters were just leaving for a walk in the amazing weather, so I put the leash on Ginger and joined them!
The rest of my daily food consumption consisted of plain yogurt and a homemade lentil soup with lots of veggies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Busy, Busy!

It is becoming more the rule than the exception that my time between posts is long...

The 4th broadcast of Journey to Wellness is now playing on ALL NOiSE RaDiO. If you missed it, you can 'tune in' via the internet or the mobile app tomorrow and Saturday, Aug. 27 (both at 10 am Eastern) to hear the show. Our 5th show is recorded and ready for broadcast starting on the following Thursday. Due to time constraints, I decided that the Journey to Wellness show would run for two weeks giving Marcus and I more time between sessions. It is a bit difficult to coordinate our schedules on a weekly basis. When each new show debuts every other Thursday, I am also uploading it to the podcast server.
My other show, Armchair All-Stars, runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 3:00 pm Eastern. This one runs weekly, so I need to get together with my group (sometimes consisting of just me and Chris) every week to record and edit the show for broadcast.
In addition to the two internet radio shows, I am still going in to Hartford once a week (sometimes more) for my internship at The Rock 106.9 WCCC.

Yesterday, after my recording/editing session with Chris and our special guest, Randy Rowe, I had a meeting in North Haven regarding an upcoming video project. The videos that are currently being planned will be part of a nationwide, online training program for school nurses specifically dealing with asthma management for students. This is a really exciting project to be involved with! This is an unpaid position, but major doors will be opened for me because of it.

Tomorrow is going to be another full day for me. After my internship (10am-5pm), I have a production meeting for our student-produced cable access television show - ConnecTV - at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. We are fast approaching our deadline of Sept. 1st for video pieces for inclusion in the show and we plan to tape the final show on Sept. 8th. There is a lot yet to be done, but things are moving in the right direction!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time flies!

Wow, it has been over a month since I last updated this blog but there is good reason for it - I promise! My journey to wellness has led me to places along the way that I could never have predicted. While I still feel that I have some 'walking' to do on the journey, the things that I have been able to achieve have been amazing.

As you know, I attended - and completed - phase 1 of classes at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. One result of my completion of phase 1 is that I now have two internet radio shows that are broadcast over ALL NOiSE RaDiO - one show is a direct extension of this blog, suitably called Journey to Wellness and the second is a sports talk show called Armchair All-Stars. Journey to Wellness has now seen three shows go over the internet and also has a presence on iTunes as a podcast. Armchair All-Stars is just getting underway. My co-hosts and I got into the studio this past Tuesday and recorded what should be our first show. Our original intent was for our session to be a sort of dress rehearsal, but after reviewing the recording we will likely post it for broadcast. Armchair All-Stars will also be available on iTunes once we officially launch.

A little over a week ago, I went to my 25th high school reunion. It was great to see my friends. While there were a few that weren't there that I was really hoping to see, I was glad to see everyone that did attend. If you had asked me back in 2006 to go, I would have had to decline. There is no way that I would have been able to do it. Even the condition that I was in two years ago would have made it next to impossible.

Finally, I interviewed for a job! On August 1st, I spent almost two hours on the campus of ESPN in Bristol, CT interviewing and touring the campus. It was great experience and totally a result of my journey to wellness.