Diet, exercise, supplements, maybe medical research news, a general effort to stave off decay....

Use it or Lose it….

It’s a sad fact that the less you exercise, the less you feel like exercising.  As my mother got older, she, like her mother before her, had a lot of trouble with arthritis. Eventually, she gave up doing handicrafts such as sewing and crochet because her hands hurt too much.  As the degeneration spread, she stopped moving around any more than necessary and the less she moved, the weaker she got.

I started having joint problems when I was only in my mid-thirties.   I laughingly called it “traveling arthritis” because the pain was located in a different joint each winter.  The first episode involved a knee that ached all one winter.  Everytime I sat down, I covered my lap with an afghan, like an old granny, to keep that knee warm.  When the weather warmed up, the pain subsided only to flair again as temperatures dropped.

The next winter, the problem moved to my left shoulder and so on.  By the time I was 40, my hands hurt most of the time.  I was working in the data center of a trucking company.  This was in ancient computer times.  The system filled an L-shaped 300 square foot room.  The System 38 IBM hard drives were prone to overheating, so it was necessary to keep the room temperature below 70º F at all times.  The thermostat was set at 65° F year round.  I wore gloves with the fingertips cut out and my hands still ached terribly by the end of the day.

Around this time, I heard about a dietary supplement called Glucosamine.  I decided it to give it a try.  By the next winter my pain was nearly gone.  I’ve been taking it in various forms for more than 20 years now and I hardly ever have to deal with arthritis pain anymore.  The only exception is the knee I injured in 2004.

I stepped in a hole and twisted my left leg so severely that the top of the shin bone splintered vertically.  Needless to say, all the ligaments and tendons were badly damaged as well.  To repair it, the doctor attached a metal plate to the outside of the bone, just below the knee, with screws.  It took six months for me to be able to use the knee normally without some sort of support.

Presently, the knee sometimes pops, but it seldom hurts. The pain is lower, in the shin bones, it isn’t usually severe, but it does limit my exercise ability.  I still take my Glucosamine.  The problem is that a week without walking leaves my struggling to make my mile.  My left knee & shin ache, my right hip has spells of sciatica that is made worse by strain.  My wind gets short as well, then the heat sucks up my energy and I just don’t want to struggle with it all.  Until I remember my mother sitting in her rocker, in pain every day and never getting better.

So, on the days when it is too hot to walk outdoors, I try to remember to get up from my chair and run through my Yoga workout a couple of times during the day.  It may not burn enough calories to help me lose my excess pounds, but it does keep my joints from freezing up.

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Categories: Exercise, Health | 1 Comment

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

This is based on a Kroger recipe – They suggest putting it on taco shells, but we treat it as a casserole.  Kind of a one dish meal.  It has become one of our favorites.


Prep Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 20 min


  • 2 cups Chicken Breast, Grilled/broiled
  • 12 oz Brown Rice (frozen)
  • 1 cup Frozen Sweet Corn
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 cups Mexican Style Cheese,finely Shredded
  • 12 oz Diced Salsa Style Tomatoes Fire Roasted In Tomato Puree
  • 16 oz Tomatillo Salsa Verde, Medium
  • 12 oz Bush’s Black Beans



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Drain and rinse black beans. Shred or chop the chicken breasts. Mix all ingredients except 1 cup of the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Spread evenly into baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes.

Can be served in taco shells, over tortilla chips or as a casserole.  Top with sour cream, or guacamole if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 1/5 chicken tacos
Amount per Serving                 Calories 232                        Calories from Fat 72.9

% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8.1g                                   12%
Saturated Fat 4g                                20%
Cholesterol 20mg                          6%
Sodium 888mg                               37%
Total Carbohydrate 21.05g        7%
Dietary Fiber 4.25g                         17%
Sugars 3.55g                             
Protein 19.25g                              38%

Est. Percent of Calories from:


* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.


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Mad Dogs and English….

As we move into summer, it becomes harder for me to stay motivated to work out.  This morning we moved our daily walk time back a half hour and it was still 82 degrees by the time we finished our park trail route.  As temperatures continue to climb, I’ll have to find an alternative.  I simply can’t handle exercise at temperatures much above 80 degrees.

It hasn’t been easy for me this past week.  My breathing ability hasn’t improved much.  I thought it would adjust as I got back into a routine, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.  At least, my legs aren’t stiffening up and getting sore, but that may mean I’m not working hard enough.  I know for sure my weight isn’t dropping very much.

So here’s the update: I missed doing much of anything from the sixth through the eleventh.  That’s not as bad as it sounds since the ninth and tenth were the weekend when I don’t normally do any planned workouts anyway.

From the Monday the eleventh through Thursday the fourteenth, I averaged 1.4 miles a day at about 3 miles per hour.  That is my standard.  On Friday, I spent the day catching up on blog work and didn’t get out of the house at all.  I do try to remember to get up from my chair and stretch every couple of hours, but I don’t have a way to quantify that.

On Saturday, the 16th, I sort of made up for Friday by going to the Handy Blues Festival and spending the afternoon wandering around taking pictures.  It wasn’t aerobic, but between the walking, the time there (about 4 hours), and the heat, I figure I burned some significant calories.

On Sunday, we did our monthly grocery shopping which involves pushing a cart that gets progressively heavier up and down aisles full of people who don’t care whether they are in your way or not.  The frustration alone should burn off a layer of fat. We spent a good 2 hours in the store, and I’d say it counts.

So, this week I’ve hit the park trail three days so far and walked around the block here at home the other day for a total of 5.25 miles at an average of 3 miles per hour.   If I make it out tomorrow, I’ll have completed a whole week.  For the time being, my goal is, at least, one mile per day, five days a week.

Since I’ll be leaving on a 3 week road trip on July ninth, that month will be unpredictable.  We’ll only be traveling for about a week of that.  The other two weeks we’ll be visiting my grandson and his family in Montana. He’s stationed at Malstrom Air Force base there and I’m sure there will be someplace that I can get my miles in while we’re there.  On the road, we’ll be staying at La Quinta Inns and they usually have a workout room available, so I just have to keep myself motivated along the way.

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Readers Workouts Report ~ June 6, 2012

This past week has been disorganized to say the least.  Most of my exercise was organic.  Walking around the grocery store for an hour may not do much aerobically, but it does burn calories.  I did walk around the park trail last Wednesday.  Thursday’s routine was limited to shopping and packing for Friday’s roadtrip.  In other words, nothing measurable, but better than sitting at the keyboard all day.

Friday became an exercise in torture.  Part of our roadtrip plan was to drive to Louisville without using the Interstates.  That led to us finding Ft. Duffield, a civil war supply base near Fort Knox.  Where we parked, there was a sign that said the Fort was a half mile hike.  It was obvious that the beginning to the trail was a pretty steep hill but, we expected it to level out.  It never did.  The whole half mile was uphill!  The actual fort layout was a series of steep embankments.  We hiked around there for a half hour or so, then walked the half mile down hill.  It was definitely aerobic.

Saturday’s “workout” consisted of wandering around the Renaissance Faire at Eminence, Ky  for a couple of hours.  Not aerobic, but still a calorie burning exercise.

Sunday was spent visiting with family and driving back home, then going to a movie, but that’s normal workout-wise since Sunday isn’t usually an active day for me anyway.

Monday I went with my brother to Nashville.  He had an eye doctor appointment and they dilated his eyes so I drove back.  According to Livestrong, where I track my diet and exercise, driving a light vehicle counts as exercise.  Unfortunately, we stopped for Ice Cream along the way, so Monday was pretty much a wash.

Tuesday was another lost cause.  I slept late, didn’t get any writing done, went out to lunch with the photo club, and ran errands all afternoon. The only exercise I got was tearing down the family computer and helping carry it out to my brother’s vehicle so he could take it to be repaired.  (And no, I will not be letting them use mine while theirs is in the shop.)

So, the past week was not a success.  What with all the eating out over the weekend, I’ve even gained back three of the 12 pounds I had lost.  I will keep working at it though.  It isn’t just about losing weight.  It’s more about staying active and gaining strength.  I exercise to stave off a genetic tendency toward high blood pressure and diabetes, to help keep my arthritis at bay, and to improve my breathing.  It also provides socialization when I walk in the park and meditation time when I go about the neighborhood alone.  This morning I did almost a mile.  A new week has begun.

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We Interrupt this Program….for a health and exercise update.

Later today, I’ll be adding a post about the Campbell/Stone movement that was the foundation for my church denomination.  This post is in addition to the regular schedule and I expect this to be the case on a regular basis.

One of the new categories I’m working on adding is called “Health Matters.”  I expect it to mostly deal with senior health issues.  Today, as I was checking out my MNINB writing group, I found a Tweet by  Joy Weese Moll about a group she is starting over at Joy’s Book Blog.  I’ve registered for her exercise group and will be tracking and posting about it here fairly regularly.  I hope it will encourage me to stay with the program this time.  Usually I start off the year with determination and drop out when summer heat interferes.  This year I want to find ways to keep with a workout routine all year long.


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Categories: Health | 4 Comments