Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year...

So, a new year has begun. While I am not prone to making New Year Resolutions, I felt that this year I might do that very thing. Though I would have made this particular resolution on any other day of the year, the timing was just right to do so for New Year's Day.

This year, I am resolved to work harder to being symptom-free. As such, I plan to do a couple of new things to help me to achieve that goal.

As you probably know by now, I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. However, I am not 100% sold on this diagnosis. As such, I feel that there are things that I can do to not only reduce my symptoms, but to possible even heal myself completely!

For over a year now, I have been using a product called VIDACELL to aid in recovery. I have no doubt in my mind that I am better off today as a result. My symptoms, though not gone, have been less severe than they were previous to my using VIDACELL. While the battle seems to be going in my favor, it seems that it will not be won in the near future without adding a few more weapons to my arsenal.

One of the things that I have resolved to do is to learn the art of T'ai Chi. Several years ago, I purchased a DVD to learn T'ai Chi at home. While I tried it out a couple of times, I just did not have the time or the motivation to stick to it very long. Knowing that I would someday regret getting rid of the DVD, I hung on to it. Well, it seems that the time has come for me to dust it off and give it another shot. Because T'ai Chi is used to bringing the mind, body, and spirit together to gain balance, prevent injury, and promote good health, I felt that it might help me out. MS or not, whatever is causing my symptoms is definitely neurologically based. From my experience as a personal trainer, I know that the brain-muscle connection is improved through repetitive motion. I know - I KNOW - that exercise is essential to my recovery. Due to my symptoms, beneficial, effective exercise is not always the easiest thing for me to achieve. I know that this can also be an excuse for me to not even try. Last year, I joined the YMCA to use the pool and gym equipment. While it worked out well for me when I was able to get there, getting there was not always possible. I am dependent on having my wife drive me there as I cannot drive myself. I had it worked out so that I could go to the YMCA once a week during the time that the rest of my family took their weekly trip to the library. Well, circumstances change - as they are prone to do - and the weekly library trip is now part of a day long educational event (we homeschool our children), thus making it next to impossible for me to continue with that plan. As a result, I have not been to the YMCA in over 5 months, now. One option is for me to find an alternative at home. Well, it seemed about time to dust off the DVD and do my best to learn the basics (this particular DVD covers the first 30 positions) of T'ai Chi. In the brief attempt I had made previously, I know that T'ai Chi is fully capable of filling my exercise needs. However, I fully intend to supplement my T'ai Chi sessions with other exercise options.
Last year, we purchased Wii Fit for the family. We weren't really sure how much of a benefit we would get out of using it, but I figured that it would at least provide me with a higher level of activity as well as something to do as a family. As you would expect, motivation waxed and waned over the year. Well, it is my plan to utilize this tool more regularly and even expand my options by picking up the new addition, Wii Fit Plus.
For the third arm of my exercise program, I plan to use the heavy bag that I purchased during the height of my physical fitness craze several years ago.

Earlier, I mentioned that the time for this resolution just seemed right. Well, when I posted my intent to "to learn T'ai Chi and work towards being symptom-free in the coming year" as my status on Facebook, a good friend of mine responded. He provided me with a link to a website about nutrition. When I went to the site, I was immediately in conflict. Some of the things mentioned just flew in the face of all of the currently held beliefs about nutrition. Now, one thing that you have to understand about me is that I have an open mind. I am willing to take a look at opposing views and hear the supporting arguments. If there is merit, then I am willing to consider the options. Rather than state the point of view and their supporting data, I will simply direct you to the website and let you come to your own conclusions. Mind you, I still need to do a lot more research, but I have known for some time that changes need to be made in my nutrition. Prior to even looking at this website, I knew that I wanted to take steps to move away from processed foods and toward natural foods. While the site talks about things that I may or may not agree with, they do have some things that I very much agree with. To establish your own opinion, I recommend visiting the site by clicking HERE.
As a result of another suggestion by my friend as well as supporting reviews on the above site, I ordered a copy of The Maker's Diet. As I have not yet taken delivery on the book, I cannot offer my own opinion of it. When Josh mentioned it to me, the name rang a bell. It turns out that it was a book that I had at least passing familiarity with. It had been sold, along with another book by the same author, Patient Heal Thyself, at one of my former employers. Of course, at that time I didn't have any reason to review either book for my own purposes. The author of these books went on a nutrition program with which he was able to cure himself of Crohn's Disease.

Well, I hope to receive my copy of the book in the next day or so (tracking shows that the shipment is currently at my local Post Office!), read it, and get started soon on my new nutrition plan. I am obviously not yet sure if I will adopt the one detailed in the book or some other plan, but I do intend to provide regular updates here.

For now, I am off to another T'ai Chi DVD session in my living room!

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