Caregiver mindfulness

Caregiver mindfulness; your health matters too.

When your enter a relationship you don’t think about one day becoming a caregiver. Nor do you consider that persons qualities with regard to being a caregiver to you. Then with marriage the relationship becomes a new entity. You are sharing your life with this person. You WILL become a caregiver in some way. As you grow older together, illness may come up. In some cases that illness can be life altering. You find yourself thinking of safety, medications, therapies. In the process of making sure your partners health is being managed well, something gets lost, forgotten. You.

Its vital for the person in the caregiver role to remember that their health is just as important. In some ways, you must consider what would happen to the care of your partner, if you, as their caregiver, became ill. This puts added stress on recovery for the caregiver as they feel compelled to keep up the pace on the care they are giving to their partner, while being ill themselves.

This is why it is so important to keep healthy habits in place. Remembering to eat right, exercise and get enough sleep. Practices such as yoga, meditation and spiritual mindfulness can help keep the caregiver in a positive place. This positive place is the place from which our best care giving comes. We remember the nature of the relationship. And radiate out to our partner that pure healing energy. Keeping our body, mind and spirit nurtured keeps our care strong and positive. It silently shows the partner on a day to day basis, that they are in good hands. Releasing stress and giving them space in which to heal and live a vital life.

Being knowledgeable and aware can help with creating a basis for care that considers all aspects of life. Its not just all about medications and therapies. Its about quality of life. Quality of the spirit both of the relationship and each individual. Remember to engage in things that bring joy to both of you. Life life together beyond the illness. Keep positive and remember, you and your bond is in charge, not the illness. If you keep a life of ease and positive energy you triumph over DISease.

bone up on calcium

Bone up on Calcium!

 

“Bone up,” yeah funny, but getting enough of the right kind of calcium absorption is no laughing matter! Calcium absorption varies between sources of calcium and it’s important to know what you’re getting. Good thing there are plenty of foods that contain calcium, even if you are avoiding dairy. Food sources should always be your first choice for nutrition, but what if that’s not enough or your body isn’t processing it properly?

Did you know that the average woman needs between 1000[minimal] and 1200mg[optimum] of calcium a day? Or that your body can only absorb about 500-600mg at a time? How are those foods in the chart stacking up for your diet? If you’re not getting enough, you might want to supplement your calcium.

CALCIUM RICH FOODS, calcium absorption in mg

Supplementing calcium becomes even more important if you are post-menopausal, pregnant, breastfeeding, or are at risk or diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

The kind of calcium you supplement with is important too. Gluconate, lactate, and phosphate are less absorpable forms of calcium. Don’t even get me started on calcium carbonate, which comes from limestone and requires a more acid environment to break down and be absorbed in the body. We usually aren’t trying to have a high acid environment in our body, especially as we age. High acid environments have been linked to many health issues; digestion issues, cancer growth, etc.

For most people a calcium citrate is a good choice. It can be taken any time, not requiring food, as long as it is in divided dose of 500-600mg at a time and has a 2-1 ratio with magnesium and about 800 mg of vitamin D with it. Another excellent choice is RAW Calcium style= from Vitamin Code, which has a high absorption raw food and algae sourced calcium. Its also loaded with trace minerals and is NON-GMO making it my choice.

If you fall into the over 50, post-menopausal or Osteopenia or Osteoporosis group however, you might want to consider an even better calcium absorption rate . I highly recommend Jarrow’s Bone Up formula style= as it contains calcium hydroxipate, one of the highest absorpable forms of calcium available in supplement form.

Here is a visual way of thinking about calcium absorption and how calcium works. Most calcium forms a protective barrier around the bone, coating and bonding with it. Calcium hydroxipate goes a step further and fills in cracks and holes, strengthening it from the inside out. Like filling the holes of a sponge. If you’ve been diagnosed with Osteopenia [week bones] or Osteoporosis [degrading bones] and have a higher risk for fracture and deforming bones, then you’ll benefit from the higher absorption of calcium hydroxipate. You can check out your risk factor with this FRAX risk assessment calculation tool. [The tool is on the menu at the top, choose country, then ethnicity and calculate based on your answers.]

Other factors to consider with calcium is how it affects medication you may be taking [take at different time of day from thyroid, seizure, antibiotic medications and iron or zinc supplements. Do not take more than 2000mg daily, it’s a safe supplement but can build up and health risks such as kidney stones and constipation can occur.] In addition to eating a diet high in calcium rich foods and supplementing with an appropriate calcium in divided doses of 500-600mg, you can help build bone density by strength training and weight bearing exercises [example, any exercise where your body bears its own weight like walking or running, not swimming, where the water bears your weight.]. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol and not smoking also improves bone density.

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asking questions

Need Help? Are you asking the right questions?

 

Do you need help with your health? I run across people every day who are frustrated because they need help and just don’t know to find information they can use. In my mind, first I’m thinking “Are you asking the right questions? Have you looked in unusual places for answers?,” then I start asking questions.

I do a ton of research for myself, friends and family members. I try many things and read about many methods, recipes, ideas and weed through ill advised “advisors” who say their way is the best. I love to learn as much as I can about anything I’m researching. I also want to know whats out there when people say, “I read online that…”
My research may be about a specific health concern, a new homesteading skill set, or well, just about anything.

I will never say that one way is best. I will give the pros and cons as I see them, given my experience and the results either I or people I’ve helped have experienced. Why it worked for them. I will discuss how it could work, given a certain set of facts and will leave it up to you to see if your set of facts matches up.

I have been told that I know a lot about what I am sharing. My joy comes from sharing what I have learned, experienced and seen with my own eyes. At the end of the day I’m happy helping people with their health. There is always mystery in the world. That’s what drives me. To figure out what works, why its different for person A from person B and file for when I meet another A or B, or even C, D, etc.

I am a Certified Herbalist, Certified Nutrition Counselor,  Reiki Master, 3rd degree, Certified Massage Therapist, artist, and hold a Bachelors degree in advertising, graphic design, product design and marketing. I’m still learning. I’m currently actively researching homesteading skills like gardening, animal care, and green energy. Currently my knowledge set centers around health. But that is growing every day!

I have personally seen and been “treated” by doctors, even specialists, and other professionals who’s knowledge was limited in it’s approach. I don’t live by limitations. I don’t believe in them. If a solution doesn’t come by one method, then the answer must lay deeper, in an area we haven’t considered. (Just because something is presenting a set of physical symptoms doesn’t mean that the answer comes from something physical.) That’s why I ask a lot of questions. You sometimes have to dig deep. But those questions, just the asking of them, can bring an ah ha moment of clarity, that voice in the back of your mind that says “OK, now were getting somewhere!” or “Wow, that really feels right.” It’s not always easy, but sometimes I have to ask the hard questions to get to a solution.

Ultimately, I want to be here for you. To help weed through things and help you answer for yourself those hard questions. I want to see you find a solution. I am always open to answering questions and pointing folks in a direction that might be different than where they’ve been looking. Feel free to email me with questions, and I’ll help.

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Weight loss, key points I’ve learned.

Today I want to share some key points to weight loss. These are things that I have applied in my own life as well as with people I meet on a daily basis. What I hear most is “I want to loose weight but I don’t know where to start.” There are so many products on the market today and the internet is constantly throwing new diets and “magic pills” at us, it’s hard to weed through it all. To be totally honest, in my opinion, it’s mostly bogus! Weight loss  is 70% diet and 30% exercise. But it’s hard to change a lifetime of poor eating habits.

What I tell everyone who seeks weight loss is to retrain their body to burn fat. To do this you need to cut off the constant supply of sugar. Unless you exercise like a mad man at a fast pace, compete in fast sports on a regular basis, or are being chased by zombies every day you don’t need all the sugar to fuel your energy!

Before and After

I used to not like to have my picture taken. At 208lbs [before] I was not happy with how I looked or felt. Through lifestyle changes and consistent exercise, I got down to 135lbs [after]. Eliminating white sugar and white grains, and reducing portion sizes was an important part of my fat loss. Exercise consisted of daily power walking, targeted floor exercises and light weights.

 When you eliminate high impact carbs and sugars, your body turns to fat for it’s fuel source. Add healthy fats to your diet and you trigger the body to use fat. When it runs out of the fat from your diet it pulls it from storage. This trains your body to burn fats and leans your body composition. Just make sure you have a good amount of protein to keep muscles from breaking down and to promote lean muscle growth. Remember that muscles burn calories faster than fat does. They also come in handy for the exercise part!

The exercise doesn’t have to be an all day marathon either. In my research into HIIT I have come across calculations of calorie burning for up to 48 hours after a quick 15 minutes of high intensity exercise. This is probably why so many have stuck with programs like P90X and it’s extensions, it’s high intensity and it works! High intensity is basically as hard as you can for a period of time. Then a very brief rest, and do it again. As with any exercise though, you want to warm up and stretch to prevent injury. Then stretch again afterwards and have some protein, like a lean protein shake.

In addition to a protein shake after you workout to repair and build lean muscle, digestive enzymes can assure nutrients are broken down and used from the foods you eat. Providing healthy fats in your diet is key to switching from sugar fuel to fat fuel. Some suggestions would be beef and butter from grass fed cows (contains a natural source of CLA or conjugated linoleic acid which has been shown to promote leaner body composition), a good variety of non starchy vegetables, and things like walnuts, avocados and coconut oil. After eliminating sugar and high impact carbs, try to reduce or eliminate grains. Start with white flour and corn.

If you’re interested in changing the way you eat, look into Paleo. A couple of my favorite sites are paleoleap.com and stupideasypaleo.com. I’ve also done a lot of research on sweeteners and I will be adding a post on my findings soon.

 

HOMESTEADING TOOLS

Self Sufficiency: finding your homesteading tool box

 

Our homesteading tool box has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Not relying on outside services and sources for your day to day living requires a really good look at where you are and where you’d like to be. One must be very resourceful with what they have and what they can produce themselves. Going through what you have already can be a huge task involving not just the things you’ll need but self sufficiency skills you’ll need as well. You must also consider your abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Since we started our journey away from a house in the city to a small chunk of raw land in a rural setting I have had to examine nearly everything in my life. Moving from a house, to an apartment, to an RV has had me looking through a sea of boxes each time. And each time, weeding through a bit more. The sea is getting smaller! As I learn a self sufficiency skill or obtain a tool I know we’ll need, I toss more “stuff” that is no longer useful at the level at which it was obtained. Concepts of “need -vs- want” don’t even cover the kinds of thinking that I have had to employ. I’ve had to include a kind of in between stage of “I might need.” Now you might feel this is an excuse for not getting rid of things that have been held onto for no immediate or apparent reason. But as a future homesteader, I tend to hold onto anything that might be useful in ways I haven’t had need for “yet.” That “might need” category is the place from which I grow my homesteading tool box. For example: Keeping in mind the kinds of skills and tools you may need in the future, suddenly that book on canning that you’ve had for over 10 years but never really used suddenly becomes a keeper!

We recently determined that in order to tighten our budget we needed to eliminate the storage unit that we got when we went from apartment to RV. As homesteading is our goal, even though we are a few years off from the “big move,” I have the “might need” filter on when I go through the things in storage. One needs to have an understanding of what their plan is, what they have and know, and what they need to obtain in terms of skills and tools in order to reach the goal of total self sufficiency.

For example; I know how to garden but I don’t fully know how to preserve what I grow. I’ve canned only a couple of times in very small batches and have dehydrated some simple things like fruit leather and banana chips when the kids were young. So I’ll be selling or donating most of my beginners gardening books and keeping only the more advanced ones that might cover something like pruning (I’ve never had fruit trees or vine crops), or pest control (as this can change from year to year or in different areas), and definitely keeping books on preserving the harvest through canning, dehydrating, etc. Until of course I feel i have mastered the material. Once you master a skill you no longer need that reference. When homeschooling my children I learned that a child has mastered a topic when they can teach it to others. (Like when my son could show his younger sister how to add and subtract, I knew he was ready to move on to multiplication.) So this is the method I use to understand my level of mastery when learning something new.

I encourage those looking to be more self sufficient, to take a good look at your “homesteading toolbox” of skills as well as your actual tools. Hold them up against your personal view of your life when you reach your goal. Will you garden, raise animals, build green structures? Will you barter your skills for ones you don’t wish to learn? What are your strengths and where might you need help. Community plays a vital role in homesteading as we age. Who can you trade skills with? Everyone’s journey will look different. What’s in your homesteading tool box?

This site will be where I share where we are on our journey, things we’ve learned, tools we’ve tried, and thoughts along the path. Homesteading while living with a disability can be a challenge, but it’s all in your approach. Don’t give up the dream, be creative. Come back often to see what we’re doing, learn who we are as we share our personal thoughts on a wide range of topics, and share, encourage and support each other on the journey to being more self sufficient.

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nutritional supplements

General Thoughts on Nutritional Supplements

Do you take nutritional supplements? Depending on your diet and lifestyle, you might want to consider this. I’ve been in the health industry for over 25 years now and I’ve seen a lot of fad diets, tools, therapies and methodologies come and go. A few things are always there right under the surface like eating a balanced diet of a variety of whole nutritious foods. Exercise, at whatever level possible for you at the moment is also very important.

Are you doing that? All the time? NO? Well that’s why there are certain nutrition supplements that I believe in for everyone 100%. We can’t always control our environment. There is always stress, even if you feel calm. Stress comes from physical activity levels, mental and emotional issues, injury and illness. Your body needs certain things to stay healthy, and functioning at optimum levels.

In addition to doing your very best to eat a variety of whole nutritious foods and get some kind of exercise every day, my recommendation for nutrition supplements are the following:

Multi-vitamins are probably the most important nutritional supplements for everyone. Multi-vitamins fill those gaps that are always there no matter how good your diet is. Vitamins and minerals are important for general health but are often missed when we start limiting the foods we eat because we are following a particular “diet.” Many companies are now adding antioxidants in their multi-vitamin formulas, especially in those targeted for over 40. these are essential in regenerating damaged cells and keeping our body functioning optimally. Choose a product that is sourced from organic whole foods. Whole food multi-vitamins are basically recognized by the body as food, and therefore absorbed more completely.

Our needs change when our activity changes. Clients who have visited a doctor recently are finding that they are deficient in vitamin D, or particular minerals which turns out to be the root of the ailment that brought them to the doctor in the first place. Blood sugar imbalances, improper metabolism, lowered immune function, disturbed sleep patterns, inability to handle stress, muscle spasms or pain are just a few things that can show up when your body is lacking in basic vitamins and minerals. These missing parts can be supplemented with a quality multi-vitamin.

Most people don’t have an understanding of the levels of these vitamins and minerals for optimal health.  I say “optimal health” and not just “survival,” like the outdated FDA recommendations for these nutrients put out in the 1940’s, because we all want to feel in peak optimal health. The world is a different place, we have different stressors, depleted soils, additives and synthetics in our foods. Those outdated  percentages just can’t cover what a average person needs today. In general, if you take only one supplement, make it a high quality multi-vitamin.

Beyond a multi-vitamin, these supplements are proving to be highly important in combating disease, lowering pain and helping maintain lean strong muscles, clear skin, and healthy circulation:

  • Pro-biotics: to keep the gut in optimal health with an abundance of helpful micro organisms that work to keep our immune system strong and nutrition absorption high. Many doctors are saying that most disease begins in the gut, so why not keep it functioning at it’s best?
  • Protein: to fuel, repair and grow lean muscle tissue. If the body doesn’t get the proper fuel and replenishment for our daily activity levels or workouts it will pull from our muscle tissue what it needs, therefore breaking down muscles and defeating our efforts to build lean muscle or maintain certain activity levels. [For those trying to shed extra weight, remember muscle burns calories faster than fat, the more muscle gains you have, the faster your body will burn calories.]
  • Omegas: to keep joints, skin, heart, and brain fed and in top shape. The more active you are and how you move your body will make this very obvious. Omega 3 has two active parts that you should be familiar with; EPA and DHA. EPA is the anti-inflamitory, heart healthy, cholesterol controlling part and DHA is the focus, concentration, memory and brain healthy part. Taking into consideration hereditary elements this can be a first step in controlling disease and deterioration.

That being said there are many additional supplements I would recommend for various reasons which I’ll discuss in another post. I’m not a doctor but I believe all doctors would agree with these top 4 things for most if not all of their patients.

Many people have never even considered taking any nutritional supplements, but I do know that once they have and either run out or forget, boy do they notice a big difference! I guess before they started taking them they never really had any idea how much better they could feel and function. We get so used to the way our body feels from day to day that unless it’s a big deal, like injury, illness or pain, we don’t think there’s anything wrong.

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sharing our stars

Sharing Childhood Wonder; Our Personal Journey

 

I wanted to share a little story about what Purple Star Ranch means to us. It started with the way we share who we are with each other, a personal journey that started way back in 2007 when we first started dating. My husband would always say, “I want to show you my stars.” It was his way of saying he wanted to show me who he was growing up and how he got to where he was when I met him.

One evening, after we had first pulled our RV onto the family’s 41 acres, we were laying in bed gazing out the window. Since the land is fairly remote, the night sky was full of bright stars. He smiled and said, “I told you that I wanted to show you my stars.” Those were just some of his stars and that was in our first year of marriage in 2010.

I have not yet shown him my stars as they are in another state far away, but some day I will take him there. But the concept of “our stars” is very important to both of us. It gives us insight into how we became the person the other fell in love with. Sharing not just our current self, but the childhood dreams, playgrounds, and homes from which we gained our childhood experiences, dreamed our dreams and grew that sense of wonder in our lives. It is that wonder that hopefully sticks with us into adulthood and forms who we are today.

Purple, the color for Epilepsy which my husband suffers with, the stars of childhood wonder and the ranch that awaits us when we finally get our lives ready for the big move…that is Purple Star Ranch. This blog is our shared stars and all of the things that have brought us to where we are on the journey to the goal of living self sufficient and self aware on our rural piece of dream land.

What stars have you shared with loved ones and partners? We would encourage you to share, leave comments and learn along side us at Purple Star Ranch.

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