Food as Medicine, or, Blueberries Prevent Death

I’m not the only one who makes fun of the “food is medicine” “eat this and you’ll live forever or at least you won’t get cancer (maybe).”

Am I?

I’m not the only one who rolls my eyes at “superfoods” or who likes smoothies because they’re a quick breakfast, not because they’re “brain boosters“, right? Right?

…and yet…I routinely add eat garlic, onions, and peppers for their decongestant effect.  Oops.

Meds: There’s a Reason I Take Them

It’s amazing how my morning can go from “bleah” and “moving sucks” to “this feels right pleasant” and “let’s get stuff done” just by taking my meds.

The asthma meds in particular make carrying laundry up/down the stairs and changing sheets much easier, but the vitamin B12 and D also does a lot for my general energy levels.

(This message is brought to you by Saturday “taking longer to get moving than usual” and “Argh I dislike having to take pills”.)

Thankful Thursday

[a not-always-weekly exercise in gratitude]

1) Trees are blooming everywhere and my allergy meds are dealing with it.

2) The Sounders won their home season opener!

3) Continuing to exercise is having the desired affects — I survived a Costco jaunt last weekend and walked to a restaurant that serves wine today during lunch.

4) …and I haven’t injured myself through pushing myself too much.

5) Hugs and kisses from the man of the house.  Well, and more — but it’s not that kind of blog ;)

What’s Up With You?

Hi y’all. Feel like it’s been a while since I had a real post. So.

  • Still here.
  • Still fat.

What’s changed:

Started walking again. The hip pain I referenced about 10 days ago?  Still here.  Still decreasing, thank heavens, but still here.  I took nearly two weeks off from walking every day.  I have begun doing very short walks again, and have continued to do leg lifts and extra stairs and other strength exercises.   Pro: Knees are fine, hip is improving, going for walks again.  Con: New Year’s resolution didn’t make it past 1 month.   Oh well :)

The music convention 2 weeks ago was notable for lack of knee pain and ease of walking (at least until the bed screwed up my hip).  I also realized, partway through Friday’s setup, that I hadn’t needed to use my inhaler Friday or during Thursday’s carry-lots-of-things mission. I took this to mean my current asthma preventive regime* is working well.   :)

We have decided to not renew our membership at Fitness World, mainly because we haven’t been using it much.  This is probably as much a factor of it’s location as anything else — I have been using the much smaller gym at work, which I think is telling.  The man of the house is both going for walks and walking more at his job (he’s in a hillier part of Seattle).

Spring appears to have come to Seattle.  The roses in our yard have new growth and the neighbor’s rhododendron is in full bloom.  Today the man of the house stooped down to the wildly blooming heather and admonished, “It’s February.”   I don’t think it cared.   Hence my updating the blog banner.

I’ve been getting new clothing catalogs and … I’m really glad I have plenty of clothing already.  How terrible is that?  I’m not seeing much that I would want to wear, much less buy.  (This IS great for my savings account.)  I’m also being a bit crafty — my pants tend to develop wear holes around the pockets first, so I’ve been mending them.

In other crafty news: I’m knitting a dark gray, nearly black, scarf.  The pattern isn’t much (knit first 2 stitches; knit 2 together, yarn over, repeat to 2 stitches from the end of the row; knit last 2 stitches) but I’m having fun.  An advantage to knitting it myself is that I can make it as long as I’d like, to fit my torso and frame. :)

Valentine’s Day was pretty low-key this year.  We went out for a nice seafood dinner (with appetizers and dessert sampler) Thursday, in part because Thursday tends to be a much-less-busy night for going out.   (Practicality wins.)  But we had a nice relaxed weekend, too.

I’ve started doing my taxes with TurboTax, but I’m a little nervous that I haven’t gotten a 1040 booklet in the mail.  Are they not sending them this year?

I routinely feel I’m not getting quite enough sleep during the week.  I’m starting to inch my bedtime earlier again.

How’s with you all?

*Current asthma routine: Advair 250/50 twice a day; Singulair once a day; Allegra once a day; Albuterol inhaler as needed.

Thankful Thursday

[a not-always-weekly exercise in gratitude]

1) Able to slowly and gently dance around the living room this week :)

2) Life expectancy keeps going up.

3) Enjoyable walk today despite the sometimes-rain sometimes-drizzle.  (I picked a shopping area, so I could spend a lot of time inside or under eaves.)

4) How cleaning my bedroom and CPAP mask/hose can make me feel so much better when I wake up.  Yes, my allergies do include dust …

5) Long, warm hugs from the man of the house at the end of a stressful workday.  Or any other time, really :)

Thankful Thursday

[Another weekly exercise in gratitude.]

1) The man of the house made dinner — patty melt for me, with minced onion & mushrooms mixed into the patty, and a chili burger for him.   Yum.

2) Successfully moving my sleep schedule earlier, so I get to work in good time and get enough sleep.

3) The cable company is currently our of lives and we have faster internet access now.  (Meaning we have TV, net and phone through the phone company and cheaper than phone+cable company.)

4) Asthma medications so that I can be more active.  Lung capacity for the win!

5)  My body is generally well and capable.

Thankful Thursday

[Another weekly exercise in gratitude.]

1) I am thankful and honored to read the comments people have made in response to yesterday’s post.

2) Hugs from the man of the house yesterday.

3) Elevator repairs at work this week mean I’m walking more stairs.  I’m managing this MUCH better than I was afraid I would ;)

4) Experimenting with a new-to-me yoga routine from Megan Garcia’s book Megayoga.

5) I feel I’m getting a better handle on “can’t catch breath, need asthma meds now” vs “breathing hard but okay”.  It’s an physical cue I’m getting better at understanding.

Day in the Life: Returning to Fitness World

(I think that’s my new name for the gym, and not just when I’m doing a body fat test.  ;)

Yes, I’ve been putting it off.  Partly because I’m easily the largest woman I’ve seen there, partly because dealing with the tech during the body fat test did rattle me a bit, and partly because I had a fairly serious asthma attack Monday night.   I’d used my inhaler in prep for going for a walk.  Walking uphill I was gasping and stopping to catch my breath for over a block, not sure if I wanted to use my inhaler again.  Then the tightness in my chest got tighter and painful.  I  remembered that it’s a symptom of asthma too, and used my inhaler.  Almost immediately the pain subsided and I could breathe better.

But still.  Chest pain?   Scary.   Tuesday I got my 2nd preventative asthma prescription filled and contented myself with my home weight routine (there’s a lot you can do with dumbbells and an ankle weight.)

And tonight I stopped by the gym on my way home.

If Curves is very “girls work out” and the Y has a “family vibe”, my gym is more “serious workout” — partly due to the wide range of free weights and different lines of weight machines.   That variety is one of the reasons I joined this particular gym, in fact.  Each manufacturer makes their machines for particular body types; more lines and manufacturers makes it more likely I’ll find machines that fit my body.

So, tonight, I used my inhaler 20 minutes before exercising, as recommended.  I walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes to warm up and moved onto weights. Usually I start with leg presses, but today I tried a new machine that more closely approximates a squat.  I ended up deciding that it has me crouch at a bad angle for me, at least right now, but that’s a good thing to learn.  I moved on to the seated leg extension, leg curl (basically the opposite of the extension), seated row, shoulder press, and pulldowns.

Not the world’s biggest workout, but I feel comfortably tired and glad I went.

Thankful Thursday

1) Being able to work remotely.

2) Noise-dampening headphones to keep me from killing the lawnmowers.

3) Summer solstice has passed.  The days aren’t actually shorter yet, but knowing they won’t get any longer helps.

4) My knee doesn’t bother me walking down and up hills as I go around the block.  (For those who haven’t been here: The flat parts of Seattle are man-made.)

5) More asthma meds — early days yet, but adding Singulair seems to be helping.

Notes on Sunday’s Web-Surfing

A few notes on things I ran across on the web.

Note 0: Fat asthmatics may need weight-based dosing.   Suddenly I don’t feel guilty that I sometimes need 3 inhaler puffs instead of 2.  

Note 1:  “The Drink-8-Glasses-of-Water-a-Day is a myth” story has hit Fark.  Maybe doctors will get it soon? 

Note 2: Some of these other medical myths are interesting, too.  

Note 3: And exercise myths? There’s a zillion, starting with how physically fit == healthy.  “[P]eople not considered “healthy” can live well through exercise and exercise can help them manage chronic diseases they may have.”   

Note 4: This PDF on* shows how the lowering of the “overweight” boundary in 98 moved over 20% of Americans from the “normal” BMI classification to the “overweight” classification.

Note 5:  Michelle’s started a new blog called Fat Nutritionist, and First, Do No Harm has been more active recently.  Both are welcome. 

Yes, I made a post about why I choose not to have gastric bypass.  Yes, I understand that some readers have had gastric bypass or are losing weight in other ways and are happy with it.   No, I am not digging comments that link to weight-loss sites and blogs out of the spamtrap.  


* is run by the Center for Consumer Freedom, so I take much of their info with a grain of salt.

Thankful Thursday

[Another weekly exercise in gratitude.]

1) Started doing full squats again* – not very many, and not using any extra weights, but even so, I am pleased with this progress.  ;)

2) Finished a big rollout at work, which has seriously reduced my stress. 

3) Three-day weekend coming up.

4) The insurance company finally approved the prescription antihistamine, which combined with the Advair seems to be improving my ability to breathe.   It’s definitely making my eyes less itchy, too ;)

5) The man of the house picked up delicious fresh strawberries this week.  One morning I mashed a few to have instead of jam on toast (why have the “perserved” when you’ve got the real thing?)  Last night we finished the strawberries for dessert – along with some Lindt chocolates :) 

*Some good instruction on how to do squats is here, though I will note that the site (like many exercise sites) is not fat-accepting.

Thankful Thursday

This is one of those weeks where I’d rather be venting about the stressy stuff and not looking for things to be grateful for.  But … that’s also part of why I do it, to focus on the good instead of the bad. 

1) New CPAP mask arrived from  

2) A friend asked to borrow Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere.

3) Advair (new preventative asthma drug that one apparently has to take a week for it to really start working) seems to be starting to work. 

4) The de-stressing effects of a good walk.  

5) How stretching my muscles helps the rest of me to relax and de-stress a bit.

Fun with Breathing

Manufacturer's pic of my CPAP mask    
Manufacturer’s pic of my CPAP mask

Sunday night (and Monday morning) I kept waking up due to my CPAP mask blowing a stream of cold air on my lip.   I thought it was perhaps an inadequate seal between the rubbery “nasal pillows” and my nostrils, but futzed around and eventually got back to sleep. 
Monday night as I took my book to bed, I put my mask on, turned on the CPAP…and discovered yes, a steady stream of air blowing on my lip.  I tried my usual adjustment tricks, no dice.  But in feeling around to see where the air was coming from (and helped by the fact that I was much more awake than previously) I realized it was coming from just below where the rubbery nasal pieces connect. 

In fact: There’s a wee crack in the hard plastic of the nose piece.  

A wee crack in what the man of the house pointed out was an eminently duct-tapable hard plastic surface….  

I slept much better last night.  Yay duct tape!   

My geek side wants to add that it’s very appropriate to use duct tape on Star Wars Day since it has a light side and a dark side and it binds the universe together.   *boom-tish*


Not that I won’t be getting a new mask.  But I can shop around online instead of paying OMG prices at the sleep doctor’s office.  In other health-related stuff:

  • I often go days, nay, a week without my right knee hating me.  Once it loosened up from the car ride it had no problems with sloped aisles at the Seattle Rep or  at Safeco Field last weekend.  (My hips even cleared the box seats!)   This is mainly because I have been exercising enough to keep my knee happy …
  • But not enough that walking a mile is easy.  This makes walking with someone else tiresome, since my pace is usually slower.   I’m not sure how much of this is due to …
  • My allergies kicking my ass.  I’ve doubled up on my “one a day” antihistamines and using my inhaler once or twice a day and still can’t take a deep breath half the time. 

So I have an appointment with my ARNP to talk about more asthma-treatment options.   I’m a little worried that I’ll just be told to lose weight, but given my previous experience I don’t really expect it.  :)

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for…

1) Antihistimines and my inhaler.  They help me enjoy spring and not feel like I’m sick all the time.

2) Sunshine.  It is a nice change after the dark-by-4:30pm winter. 

3) It appears that most of the garden survived the winter. 

4) Going for a walk on a stressful day…yes, it helps me unwind.

5) Watching Matt dance.  Somewhere between the music and the happy people dancing I relax. :) 

Pollen Sucks


Nose running, eyes itching, I take extra antihistimines – and then nibble on chocolate-covered coffee beans* to compensate for the resulting drowsiness.**  I’m coughing up the occasional bit of phlegm, too, and my lungs feel fullish.

The one good thing is that even though I feel sick, I’m probably not actually contagious.  

How’s hayfever season going for y’all? 


*Use with caution.   

**Yes, I am taking “non-drowsy” antihistimines.

Small update

I had been slacking on working out this week.  (Something about starting this blog that eats up my free time… !)   But after writing the post about the aerobics tape last night, I went ahead and did it this morning.

It felt good :)

The suprise is that I’ve been feeling kind of congested / sick the last few days and taking it easy.  I think getting myself moving helped clear a few cobwebs out and exercise my lungs a bit.  Maybe instead of laying low when I’ve got a virus, I should also do some light exercise.   Something to think about.