Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An Honest Mick's up

am human... Just thought I'd clear that up.

I want to be honest about being normal...  (after all, I did only learn this lifestyle stuff a few years ago)... and I want to share some things to encourage you.
ML Nutrition Plan book

There's nothing juicy here, just some simple truth about every day life.

Ready?  Here it goes.

Healthy eating takes work.

Surprised?  Probably not.

My secret?  I hate that healthy eating takes work.  I am a scheduler, but I hate meal planning.  Do you despise planning meals, too?

I really, truly wish I didn't have to pack lunches every day of the school year (but I do it to offer the healthiest options possible to my children).   I know, I know:  Someday, too soon, I'll be an empty-nester and wishing I still had kidderz at home to pack lunches for.  I'll try to remember that and not complain.

I wish I didn't have to cook breakfast and dinner every day, trying to please the family, while keeping things healthy and simple, feeling like the only thing accomplished for the day is feeding everyone.  Then comes the dreaded phrase, "We're having that, again?"  (I guess that means I need to add a bit more variety, which, again, takes work.)

I remember what it was like when we didn't know better.  True, I still had to come up with ideas of what we'd eat each day, but buying something pre-made or mostly made was a lot easier than cooking from scratch... and it is the normal thing to do.

It's not that people aren't smart or are too lazy, but some families haven't gotten all the information they need to make wiser choices.. like us in the past.  We consumed more processed foods back then.  I thought we were making healthy choices, but I didn't know then what I know now.

Sometimes I wish I still didn't know the dangers.  Sometimes I wish life was easier.

However, there ARE simple and quick recipes that ARE healthy AND tasty.  In fact, I use more spices now than I have our entire married life to this point.  There are some mighty delicious recipes that we can prepare without adding all kinds of junk... and the family approves them.

Please note:  I am not an amazing cook, by any stretch of the imagination.  There is nothing exceptional about my work in the kitchen.  Anyone can do what I do.  Follow a good recipe, and you'll surprise yourself!

I am also not a great baker (really not very good at all).  I always said I'd have to hire my brother to be my baker and gardener, because he was born with those skills and I wasn't.

I can follow a recipe, and if I find something that works for my family, it's a staple.

However, without using "normal" flour and sugar, things aren't working out so easy for me.  Sure, I share yummy recipes I come across... but I can't always get them to look and/or taste nice.

There are many wonderfully talented bakers and cooks out there, and I recommend you look up recipes and tips from them... such nutritionists as:
Elise Scwartz
Kimberly Roberto
Lin Hardick

Though I am not a nutrionist, nor officially certified in anything, I was trained in nutrition and fitness in three different (awesome) jobs, receiving job-specific certification in nutrition and fitness for one of those companies.

The reason I started this blog was to continue the coaching that I was enjoying so much at that office.  Yes, I was a nutrition coach... and to this day, if you sincerely ask me, I'll be glad to give you some pointers.

People look for someone they can use as an easy resource for these things... someone who is (or has been) where they are, understanding the challenges and frustrations.

It was mostly moms asking for help in the office, and so some of my writing (No, I am not a mommy blogger!) might tend toward moms.  However, it's not just moms that need to be informed.

It's important for everyone to stop believing the lies, and take a different angle to managing health... to be empowered!

One way our family has done this is by considering our chiropractor as our main doctor.

Our plan is to use our physician for crisis care only.  You know: if an arm is falling off, or blood is involved somehow.

Years ago, my kidderz were at the physician's office a lot, and they were prescribed medicine all the time... but... since late 2010, I have not bought any medicines for them, and that means we have not used any over-the-counter pain relievers nor cold medicines.  That's nearly THREE YEARS!  For two adults who popped ibuprofen at the slightest discomfort, that's a major deal!  3 Years!

However.... here comes another secret... more honesty...
As I explain in Our Crazy Mick's up Summer, that summer we had a few strange issues in our family, and I cracked.  I admit it!

I was desperate to get relief from my poison rash that had spread to every limb.  Realizing the aloe wasn't allowing it to dry, and without doing any research, I bought the only thing I knew (because of childhood experiences): Calamine Lotion.  Since then, I looked up information to find that our parents and grandparents certainly did OK by that.  Whew!

However, I'm not so happy with my decisions for my son's swimmer's ear.

I became a normal mom, wanting to do whatever was necessary to make my "baby" feel better.

First, I tried my best to use home remedies, like peroxide, rubbing alcohol, garlic and olive oil.

Then, worrying myself silly, I took my son to the physician.

My main concern was to be sure his ear was not being damaged.

I was relieved to find out everything was fine, besides the fact that he had inflammation and pain.

However, the doctor prescribed antibiotic/steroid drops for the ear.

I fought myself over the decision to buy or not to buy.  Much against my better judgment, I gave in to the medical model, and I paid way too much money for something that ended up just sitting unused.

OK... I confess: I did put a drop in his ear that first day or two, but after that, the medicine just sat, and my son was absolutely fine without it.

Am I proud of this decision?  No.  Am I embarrassed?  Yes.  Would I make that same decision again?  No.

Do I understand moms and their worries?  Yes.  I'll say it again:  Yes!

So, please take heart that we are all human, and we might make mistakes now and then...  but we must move on and seek wisdom and discernment in all situations to make the best decisions we can make for our families.

... Oh, and I cheat, too.  It's not much of a secret, but since I'm being honest here...
I still like my cheats: chocolate once in a while, and pizza ANY time (my downfall!).

The difference now versus before healthy living?  At least now I know with cheats come consequences, and I prepare myself for those consequences:  stuffy nose and sinus issues, headaches, stiff joints, tight muscles, grumpiness, fatigue, lower performance in exercise, slower brain function, and maybe even weakening my immune system to the point of allowing a cold to take over my body.

Because I know what'll happen, I do my best to only enjoy these cheats at times when I am not needing to be at "the top of my game..." and that is usually only once or twice per week, at the most.

Do you have some things to be honest with yourself about?  Do you have some guilt for some wrong decisions?  Stop worrying about them.  Face them.  Get back up.  Then move on.  You will learn from those mistakes, and who knows... you might just be able to help someone else because of what you went through.

"We lose our way. We get back up again.
It's never too late to get back up again.
One day you will shine again.
You may be knocked down, but not out forever."
(Toby Mac)

"An honest answer
is like a kiss on the lips."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Crazy Mick's up Summer

Summer is approaching!  After this rollercoaster springtime, summer just might have moved into 1st place for my favorite season.

A Crazy Mixed up SummerI do have mixed feelings, though.  There are some things that make me nervous.

Why?  I'll tell you.

August 2012 made for a crazy finale to that summer.  I'm hoping we can avoid anything like it ever again.

From yard work done in the first week of August, I somehow picked up poison.  Whether it was poison ivy or poison oak, I do not know.  What I do know for sure is that it was the worst case I've had since my toddler days, and it brought back memories of Boy Scout Camp.  (Yes, I did say "Boy Scout Camp."  My parents' summer job for several years was at camp, and so I got the unique privilege of joining in with all the fun scouting activities.  What a blast!)

Back to poison rashes.  What I hear is: the better the immune system, the worse the rash.  My guess is my immune system is quite healthy.  Yowzers!

Before the tiny row of bubbles on my arm spread, I also managed to gouge the same area of my arm with a branch from the bush I was lopping.  Ouch.  (I am so glad the poison did not infect the open wound!)

Later, the rash got more noticeable, appearing more like bug bites than a rash.

After realizing the itchy bumps on my legs and arms were not from a massive mosquito attack, it was way too late to avoid one of the first things that causes spreading:  a hot shower.  Apparently, taking a hot shower makes the poison spread worse.  Oooops!  Way back... that first day of yard work... I was extremely eager to take a hot shower... and that was long before I realized anything was wrong.  Actually, there was more than one day.... There were a few days that week that I was doing yard work....  So, I still haven't figured out where I picked up the poison.  One day's work was out in the community, and the others were here at home.  Needless to say, now I'm a bit paranoid to do yard work around the house.

So, then a couple weeks later, while still suffering with the rash nearly all over my body, I continued to carry on with the remainder of the summer, including traveling South with my parents, kidderz, and nephew.  One of our stops was a water park.  Hmmmm.... Even as hot as it was, there was no way I was exposing my rash to that water, nor was there any way I was exposing that water to my rash.  So, I had fun being photographer/videographer for the clan, as well as towel rack and security guard.  It was a very fun time, regardless...

... until...

My son got swimmer's ear.  Ugh.
Then came the Swimmer's Ear
It should be no surprise to say that the trip home was miserable.

I looked up home remedies for both ailments:  poison rash and swimmer's ear.

I can honestly say I didn't know what to do, nor what was best.  Both discomforts seemed to last forever!

However, we both survived, and are the wiser for it.  In my opinion, our healthy lifestyle, including visits to the chiropractor, helped us bounce back more quickly than we could have under other circumstances.

If you want to know what I did do to treat the problems, you'll need to stay tuned to read An Honest Mick's up, once I have it published.  It's coming very soon!

Why am I telling you this?  I guess I'm simply saying, from a mom's perspective:  We don't always have the answers, but we try our best, using prayer, discernment, and wisdom.

Let's hope for an easier summer.  If Spring is any indicator, it's not looking very promising.  Hubby already had a VERY nasty bout with sun poisoning.  Ugh.

" strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer."


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mick's Groceries Together

Recently, a friend asked me if I have a list of things I buy and where I find them.  So, I feel it is time to dust off another old blog post.  I've been wanting to do it, so this is a good time!  It's from November 2011, which marked one year of our healthy lifestyle.  The list is basically the same now, but the stores have changed things once in a while.  I don't shop at Sam's Club as much these days, since they've chosen less healthy versions of some of the products.  A good change at the Harris Teeter store in our neighborhood is the inclusion of Ground Bison and Ground Grass-fed Beef!!!  Granted, we would like more variety, but I'll take what I can get!  Different Food Lion stores in our area have different organic and health food styles.  It's funny to see the same chain have such variances.  I was disappointed to see the one in our neighborhood take the raw milk cheeses and other great items off their shelves because of lack of interest.  However, soon after, I found another Food Lion down the road just a little bit, which has an amazing healthy section!  Just keep shopping around (literally), reading ingredients, and watching your goal!

For more selection, there are some great places to buy food online, such as U.S. Wellness Meats and Vitacost.

Are you a Coupon Queen? I know some ladies who are great at couponing, and can probably be titled Coupon Queens. I’ve never achieved that status. I tried once, but failed. I discovered I was buying things I wouldn’t normally buy, just because I had a coupon. Nowadays, we buy “out-of-the-ordinary” items that are almost never put on sale and rarely put on a coupon. That’s OK, though. That is a sacrifice we are willing to make. I know: It sounds crazy to most. We are choosing to spend more on food that is nutritious and will enhance wellness, so that we spend a lot less on medicine to mask illness… and, boy, does it feel great!
Beware:  Don't sacrifice nutrition for savings
Here’s a typical day in the life of our grocery shopping.

Almond Milk
Coconut Milk
Granny Smith Apples
Almond Butter
Smucker’s Simply Fruit
Raw Milk Cheese
Grass-fed Beef
Ground Turkey
Organic Free-range Chicken Breast
Free-range Eggs
Mixed Greens
Feta Cheese
Organic Cream Cheese
Ezekiel Bread
Applegate Sliced Turkey
Veggies: Beans, Peas, Lima Beans
Stonyfield Whole Milk Plain Yogurt
Coconut water and/or Naked juice for kidderz lunches
(We mostly drink water at our house.)
Splurge item: SoDelicious coconut ice cream!

On-hand, not purchased weekly:
Bolthouse Honey Mustard Dressing
Bolthouse Raspberry Dressing
Bolthouse Ranch Dressing
Peppers: Green, Yellow, Red
Crushed Tomatoes
Black Beans
Pinto Beans
Coconut Oil
Protein Powder for shakes/smoothies
Raw Nuts: Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios
Red/Pink Salt
Fresh-ground Pepper
Almond Flour and/or Meal
Coconut Flour
Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)

I got an awesome deal on eggs this week! My brother and his wife raise chickens, and they are sending some eggs to us, by way of our parents. Yay!! (Aren't big brothers and parents the best?!)

Keeping it simple is the key!
Have fun experimenting with nutrition!

“We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.”


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mick's Emotions

It's been a while, since I've written about mindset.  The following topic has been a concern of mine for quite some time... since the start of this blog, in fact.  Something on the radio this week reignited the spark for it, and in light of recent events, it's fitting.

We all know our kidderz watch us closely.  It doesn't matter what we say, as much as much as what we do.  Sometimes we don't see how much those wee ones copy us.  It might take a comment from an unrelated observer, before we step back and observe that tyke ourselvesThen we truly discover the consequences of our behaviors, as we watch our little shadow play out movements, speak words, and even react exactly as we know we would... if we can admit it.

Unfortunately, I'm not perfect... and I'm seeing it mirrored in my kidderz.  Ugh.

We have the ability to form in our children what reactions they have in stressful - even terrifying - situations: For instance, terrorist acts.

What I heard on the radio this week was a quote from a doctor, in regard to how best to talk to our children about this type of event:  Teach them that they should be vigilant and alert, but not timid.

That is a great way to put it.

The initial event that got this topic going a couple of years ago was Hurricane Irene.

All around us, people were hyped up.  The media got everyone going.

I'm not saying we should not prepareDefinitely, we need to be informed and have a plan of action.  However, I could see it getting so bad that children were terrified.

I love the line from A Bug's Life, when Mr. Soil says: "Do not panic, do not panic!  We are trained professionals. Now, stay calm."  

That is kind of the gist of the message from the doctor on the radio.  No, we parents are not trained professionals (though we wish we were trained as professional parents sometimes), but we are in charge of our family's well-being, and we are our children's teachers.

Moments like these are great learning opportunities.

During the hurricane:

Were hubby and I uncertain of the right decision of whether to stay or evacuate?  Yes.

Was I a bit scared?  Yes.

Did we take precautions Most definitely.

Was a backup plan in place?  Uh-huh!!!  You'd better believe it!

However, instead of falling into the defeatist attitude of "we're doomed," and running around in a panic, not thinking clearly, we chose to follow through with my birthday wish for that week:  Have some family photo booth fun!

Hurricane Irene Photo Booth FunWe had to change it up a bit, since it wasn't a good idea to be outside in the crazy weather, which meant going to the mall's photo booth wouldn't be an option.  So, we gathered all our hurricane emergency supplies, huddled together in our tiny downstairs bathroom, as our "fallout shelter," and enjoyed a photo booth experience.

Yes, the picture you see here is the actual result of our silliness.  The kids loved it... and so did the parents.  We did not forget what was happening all around us, and we did keep up-to-date on the storm, etc., but we also passed the time much more pleasantly than we could have.

Granted, there were some very serious conditions, in which people were terribly affected.  Those are times of crisis, when plan becomes action.  Wisdom is necessary.

Until it gets to that point, though, we can remain lighthearted.

In whatever situation, we can have hope and joy.

Can we teach that to our kidderz?  Yes, we can!

Do you choose to go into panic mode, get your kidderz all riled up, and teach them that the way to handle a crisis is through confusion, chaos, and drama?


Do you choose to remain calm, formulate a plan, and teach your kidderz to be vigilant and alert, rather than timid?

"Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold."

2 Corinthians 3:12 (NIV)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mick's up With Stretches

Is your back stressed, during this Stress Awareness Month?

If you have a job, like I do, which involves sitting for most of the day... or even if your job includes standing for most of the day (like I used to)... then your back is probably screaming at you for help.  Our back muscles can tighten up and let us know that we need to do something about it.

Did you know?  As we take a good look at stress... that it is actually a cause of back pain, too!  Yes, our stress can actually settle in our backs and cause us physical pain.  So, one thing to do is: Try to decrease the stress in your life.  I know:  That's easier said than done.

Tangent alert!
Stress was originally created to be a good thing (you know, saving us from a life or death situation, by using the fight or flight instinct).  However, we tend to hold on to stress for the long haul, which wears down bodies to cause pain and illness.  What can you do today to start the process of relieving yourself of stress?

As I mention in my post on Muscles and Spine Health, chiropractic care can help you know if the pain is skeletal or muscular or both.  In that article, I talk about stretches that might alleviate back pain.  Since then, I have learned some more stretches that can also be helpful.

Remember, too, to work on your core muscles.  That means, strengthen all those muscles in the middle of your body, such as your abs, obliques, latissimus dorsi, etc.  You can find a variety of exercises to add to your workout routine to help build up that strength and balance.


Also, remember good posture!  I have to admit that I recently realized I've been a bit lax in pulling in my tummy, whether I'm standing, walking, running, or sitting.  Conscientiously tightening up those tummy muscles, during normal daily activities, surprisingly will improve your condition.

So, what are some of these stretches?

Well, as mentioned in the previously published post, which I have conveniently included for you below, hamstring stretches are a wonderful help for low back pain relief.  You can lay on the floor and stretch as directed in that article, and you can include stretches shown in the video link at the end of this post.  (With one leg straight up in the air, bend it at the knee, and then straighten again.  Repeat several times.)  

You can also stand on one leg, while resting the other leg straight out on a step or some sturdy object that is at a comfortable height for you.  Gently bend forward at the waist, toward your raised leg's knee.  Hold for several seconds, return your torso to an upright position, relax, and then repeat.

My favorite recent discovery is that the psoas also affects the low back.  

Can I interject something here?  Of course I can!  It's my blog!  Well, I just have to say that I am forever grateful for my former job with Curves. (Thank you, Dawn and Rosslyn!!)  I learned so much wonderful information!  Not only did I get to assist ladies with improving their lives through nutrition and exercise, but I also got to use science in it all (explaining to the members how they are using their muscles, like the psoas and obliques, etc.).  Yes, I admit it.  I love science!

OK. Thanks.  Now, back to stretches.

There are a couple of ways to stretch the psoas.  One way is to do a lunge.  That means you step forward with one foot (a really big step forward), and drop your back leg down toward the floor.  Be sure your front knee does not go past your toes (to avoid too much pressure on the knee, so as not to cause knee pain).  Keep that back leg straight, rather than letting that back knee drop all the way to the floor.  If your back knee stays off the floor, you'll get a better stretch.  Hold for several seconds, and then repeat.  

Another way to do this stretch is in a standing position.  While standing on one leg, place the other leg on a step or other sturdy object at a comfortable height, and as you bend that leg, lean in toward your knee.  I like to pair this stretch with the standing hamstring stretch I just mentioned in above.

So, now the ball is in your court.

It's up to you to find out if your back pain is from your skeleton or from your muscles.  Start by getting the bones checked out first.  They are the foundation of your body.  That foundation needs to be safe.  Then, you can start working on getting those muscles to do what they're supposed to do... oh, and start working on not being stressed out.

Stretching is an amazing thing!  Unfortunately, we don't do it enough.  Now's the time to do something about that!


Post from
October 18, 2011

Mick’s in with Muscles and Spine Health


"Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better.
When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I'm about three inches taller and everything's in place.
And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I'm one step ahead of the game."
Tom Brady3 Super Bowl Championship Rings MVP award winner Quarterback - New England Patriots

After doing some sort of exercise, like climbing a mountain, there might be some pains and other consequences to deal with.  You know what I mean.  We 40-something moms really know what I mean.

In reality, addressing certain things, like spinal health, before exercise is the best way to go.  Be sure you know what’s going on with your spine, before you get too serious about your exercise regimen.  “Depending on the extent of your [subluxations] and posture misalignment the doctor may have you abstain from certain high input activities that may adversely affect your spine.” (Nikitow Chiropractic Wellness Center )

Something I learned, and for which I am truly and forever grateful, is that not all back pain is due to subluxation.  I tend to have lots of lower back pain.  Yes, some of it is due to tailbone issues, and some is because of curvature in my spine, of which I am on a quest to correct.  However, some of it... in fact, a lot of it is also due to tightness in my muscles.

So you deal with low back pain?  If so, try stretching out your muscles.  Not only is it good for flexibility and reducing overall tension in the body, but targeting certain areas can have an incredible affect on your back pain.  Hamstrings tend to be the biggest culprit, when muscles are to blame for low back tension.

Try this exercise:
WebMD:  Good and Bad Exercises for Low Back PainLay on your back, with one leg straight up in the air, the back of it against the wall.  (You’ll need to do this in a doorway, so your other leg can be resting flat on the floor.)  Push with your leg against the wall, holding for 20 seconds or so, and then release.  Move your body closer to the wall, causing more tension in your leg.  Repeat the push and release.

If you have someone who can help you, it works much better.  Your assistant will push your leg toward you, causing the resistance.

Hamstring Stretch
Tight hamstrings can restrict movement of the pelvis, which can cause a compensatory increase in rounding of the low back.  This increases the forces on the lumbar spine during forward bending, which can lead to injuries in the low back.  However, there are many causes of low back pain, with tight hamstrings being only one of many potential contributors to the problem.  Additional causative factors and potential treatments should be explored with a health care professional. ” (National Academy of Sports Medicine)

“The sensation of tightness in the hamstrings can be due to various reasons.  Typically it can be from poor postures, altered movement and walking patterns, or compensation due to other muscles being weak such as the gluteal muscles.  The hamstrings attach to the bottom of your pelvis.  With tightness, it can pull on the pelvis causing it to put more stress on the pelvis and back.  In these cases, education to mildly elongate or stretch the hamstrings may help.  Regardless, it is more important to retrain the proper strength and movement patterns of the legs and trunk so proper mechanics of the back can be restored.

“Sometimes tightness in the hamstrings can also be a protective mechanism from underlying nerve pathology in the sciatic nerve.  We have seen patients trying to stretch their hamstrings and instead develop sciatica as stretching irritated the nerve rather than stretch the muscle.  Further differential diagnosis of the hamstrings and their relationship to low back pain should be determined by a qualified health care practitioner.” (Brian Yee)

As the experts say, low back pain can be caused by a multitude of things.  The only way to know for sure the status of your spine health is by having a chiropractor view an x-ray of it.  What better time to go to your nearest corrective-care, principled chiropractor’s office to get an x-ray of your spine than during October:  Chiropractic Awareness Month?!


Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm
so that I will be free from pain.”
And God granted his request.


A recent video (early 2013) shows more ways to stretch hamstrings, as well as strengthen your core:
Dr. Lombardozzi at Kempsville Chiropractic


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mick's up With Your Day

(This picture is from 2003, in a lighthouse, while on vacation, when I was pregnant with my daughter.)

You've noticed the spiral.

Little by little, time for exercise is squeezed out of your day, until it's non-existent.  Next, your quiet time, set aside for prayer and Scripture, dwindles, too.  You start feeling like there is no time to fully accomplish anything.  Your nutrition suffers, because your meal planning is rushed, and you might even be grabbing drive-through items, just to get by.  Then, you're feeling tired, worn out, and discouraged.

We've all been there.

 Really.  We have.  

If you have enough time to read to this point, take a deep breath, and stop.  Just rest... for a few minutes.

You know what you need to do.

If you truly want to be the most helpful and loving to your family and to yourself, you will do what you know you need to do.

Make a resolution right now.

It might not be January 1st, or the start of any particularly special month or day, but make a resolution.

Decide now that you will figure in a few minutes for prayer and a few minutes for exercise tomorrow.

That might mean setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than normal.  That won't kill you.  I promise.

It might also mean switching a couple things around in your morning (or afternoon or evening) routine, but you'll survive that, too.  Trust me.  It didn't hurt me to do it (a time-sensitive person of consistency and schedule), so I'm sure it won't hurt you, even if you're as stubborn as I am.

Here are some ideas for you.

Follow a HIIT, burst, or surge technique, which entails a couple of minutes of intense exercise, several times in a row.  This will only take a very short bit of time out of your day, and will have many added benefits, which you can read about in other Mick's up articles.  Incorporate these sets into your morning routine.

For example, during a 100-Days of Burpees challenge I took on, with a suggestion from a wonderful trainer's Facebook post, I accomplished my goal by breaking down the large number into more do-able spurts, while fixing breakfast for the family each morning.  15 - 25 burpees (depending on the day's number)... then check on breakfast... 15-25 more burpees ... then check breakfast again... 15-25 more burpees... another peek at breakfast... final set of burpees... and breakfast is served!

As the weather gets more pleasant, getting outside is easier.  If you don't think you have time, consider your need to clear your head in the middle of your work day.

If you don't think it's necessary, ask your boss for an opinion.  A good boss, like mine, will tell you to take a break in the middle of your day, in order to keep up your productivity.  It decreases your stress level, and it allows you to take on a new perspective, when you return to your project.  Now, granted, this might mean giving up a few minutes of your lunch hour, but it sure is worth it!  

A recent article by Dr. Ben Lerner talks about balance between work and life.

I am so excited to hear friends around me talk about how they are fitting exercise into their days:  lunch time walks around the block; measuring how many times around the building equals one mile; at home after work, walking off the stress of the day; getting involved in a "biggest loser" contest at the gym; working extra time one day of the week, in order to take off early on another day that offers a special fitness class; and on and on it goes.

Even my high-school age son knows this.  He has been known to take a quick jog around the neighborhood to wake himself up before delving into his homework... or to relieve stress of the week, when he gets home on a Friday.  (That makes a mom proud!)

Just the other day, my son and I had a fun, impromptu "date" that included a sort of exercise:  We were talking about silly dances, and in his curiosity, while I was mentioning line dances, he pulled up the Cha Cha Slide (after we realized how OLD the Electric Slide is... ha ha!  That one is from MY day!).

Think about it.

We can make it work, if we really want to.

"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mick's up With Some Questions

Here's a change for you...
You will not gain any useful information from this blog post.  It consists solely of questions for you.  I would like to know what you have to say.

This is a great week for this, because it is Listening Week.  So, I am listening to you.

I need your help!

Any advice here will be in the comments you leave for me.

So, here it goes.

My question is about shin splints.  Do you have any words of wisdom for me? 

I have dealt with shin splints for as long as I can remember, but I thought it was only from over-exertion and lack of stretching.  So, I didn't let it bother me.  However, when I started getting into jogging a few years back, the pain got so bad that I could not even touch my shins without nearly screaming. My chiropractor's advice was to rub ice on them.  Ugh!  I cringe to this day, thinking about it.  Yet, here I sit, icing my shins, while I write.  Granted they aren't as sensitive now as they were then, so I can lay an ice pack on them, but it does still hurt to touch them.

When they were that tender back then, I researched what could be the cause, knowing this had to be more than a tendon or muscle issue.  What I found out is that there can actually be a fracture in the bone.

With the research, I realized I had probably advanced in speed and distance too quickly over time.  So, I took it easy for a while.  Unfortunately, I also developed a heel spur, and so my jogging eventually went out the window.  It was temporary, but it still meant I lost all that momentum, and had to start slowly again, working to get back in shape.  (During a stress-laden time, that is and was difficult... but no excuses now!)

The chiropractor I spoke with early on about the shin splints got discouraged, also, and finally concluded there must be something that is causing me to always have them, and basically there is no hope for me to be able to exercise without experiencing this pain.

That was a disappointing day.

I more recently asked another chiropractor about shin splints, explaining that I've dealt with them for as long as I can remember.  He went through the typical list of stretches, which I do multiple times daily, and then shared some information about ankles.  He analyzed mine, and then adjusted them, with hopes that the shin splints might be lessened.  Unfortunately, I have not seen any difference.

In fact, apparently one day last week I ran too fast too soon (and without enough stretching), and now I have throbbing shins.  What fun.

The crazy part is that I have been doing the same half-mile jog at the same basic pace for nearly two months consistently (during my lunch break).  How can speeding up my take-off one day cause more damage and thus more pain than normal?

During her recent visit, I was enjoying some time of catching up with my mom, and I got on this topic.  All of a sudden, it occurred to me that my cousin was not accepted full-time into the Army, because of shin splints!  When I had originally heard that, I thought it an odd reason, because I still thought of them as a minor, temporary, and sporadic condition.  However, I'm beginning to realize that there is something more to it.

So, what do you know about shin splints and their duration?

I posted this question on the Mick's up Life Facebook page, and some very helpful information was posted in a comment by a friend.  Check it out.

Don't let that stop you, though.  If you have more you'd like to share about the topic, please leave a comment here.


"Don’t be wise in your own eyes.
    Have respect for the Lord and avoid evil.
That will bring health to your body.
    It will make your bones strong."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Let's Mick's up Some Bananas!

Are you bananas about bananas?!  

Even though they are higher in the glycemic index (you know, the natural sugar they contain), they do have many good nutrients in them.  Plus, they are filling and are a healthy, quick snack.  That sugar content thing I mentioned first... well... that's one reason some personal trainers recommend them for a pre-workout boost.

I received an email once that listed out numerous benefits of and uses for bananas.  (Thanks, Mom!)  For example, the email says:  When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.  Some other vitamins it contains are the B6, B12.

It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

When our church had a lot of bananas in their pantry from generous merchants who donate food, some of us had fun talking about different uses for the bananas, like in smoothies, breads, etc.  I was excited to share my pancake recipe!  I found it from one of the Paleo-food groups I am connected with on Facebook.

This is such a simple and yummy menu item.  I finally found something my kidderz and hubby will eat every day for breakfast, if I let them.  (Not that I prepare it every day, because I don't want them to end up getting tired of the monotony... but even if I don't prepare it, one of them will!)  My teenage son even said, "Really?!  That's it?  That's all there is to it?!  Well, I definitely found the breakfast I'm going to live on as a bachelor."

I promised a friend I'd send her this recipe, so I'm getting it out to all of you now.  Besides, I was already planning to type this up, in honor of National Pancake Day and/or Pancake Day, both of which I missed (February 5th and 12th, respectively).

Ready?  Grab your pencils!

Here's the banana pancake recipe:

Blend together (in a blender) 2 eggs and 1 very ripe banana.

That's it!!


That is all there is to it!

Well, of course, you'll want to cook it.

That info is right here:

Fry up the pancake batter in a pan on the stove (greased with coconut oil or butter), just like you would any pancake.  Top with your favorite pancake toppings.  (We like no-sugar berry sauce or natural Maple Syrup.)  You may also add vanilla to the pancake batter, if you'd like to, and/or berries, etc.

Granted, they might not be the prettiest, nor the fluffiest pancakes you've ever made, but I can almost guarantee they are the easiest.

Is that too easy for you?

Are you feeling like you're cheating by using such a simple recipe?

Have no fear.  You're not!

However, if you want to get a little fancier, here's another Paleo-food recipe I read and tried.  Instead of bananas, it uses plantains (another favorite in our house).  Simply blend together these ingredients and fry up in a pan like any pancakes:  2 large green plantains (approximately 2 cups pureed), 4 eggs, 2tsp vanilla, 3 tbsp coconut oil, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda.

There you have it.

Happy Pancake Day a little late.  With these recipes, it's most certainly better late than never!  Mmmmmmmm....

"Then he lay down under the tree. And he fell asleep.
Suddenly an angel touched him. 
The angel said, “Get up and eat.” 
Elijah looked around. 
Near his head he saw a flat cake of bread.
It had been baked over hot coals.
A jar of water was also there.
So Elijah ate and drank.
Then he lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came to him a second time.
He touched him and said, “Get up and eat.
Your journey will be long and hard.”