What Are You NOT Eating?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Every morning I get up and take a handful of pills. Two are for blood pressure, one is for allergies, and one is for acid reflux. I blame my kids for that one. The rest are vitamins and supplements that keep me healthy. Yes, they’re a little pricey. But I still spend less on vitamins in six months than it would cost me to miss a single day of work.

My doctor isn’t a fan of supplements. On the other hand, she does rely on repeat business from people who aren’t completely healthy, so her opinion may be a bit clouded. “All you need is a good, healthy diet.” Okay, she’s seen my belly. I think we can agree that ship already sailed. I don’t eat healthy food, but I do eat healthy portions. In the sense that “healthy” means hefty.

Yes, I know. A little self-control goes a long way. And there are foods our body needs a whole lot more than the foods we take in. Okay, for most of us. I know a few people who actually try. They eat lots of green vegetables, avoid red meat, and snack on carrots. They even do it with a straight face, as if they actually like it. But deep down, I know they’re craving a Twinkie.

The problem is even worse when you realize there’s nothing you can buy in your local grocery store that will give you all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Nothing. Unless you throw that whole “healthy portions” thing out the window and use a dinner plate the size of a garbage can lid. Do that and you’ll be healthy as a horse, only slightly larger.

The problem is that, over the years, soil depletion from poor farming practices have left us with a selection of fresh produce that’s seriously deficient in nutrients. In fact, studies by USDA and several agricultural colleges suggest that, over the past fifty years, levels of certain nutrients in our produce have decreased by as much as 70%. How much do you need to eat now?

Granted, if you buy true organic produce, grown on certified farms, you get a little more for your money. But saying food is organic is like saying I’m educated. There are varying levels of each. And, to a large extent, you’re taking somebody you’ve never met at their word. Somebody who has every reason to convince you their product is better. Just ask them.

According to the USDA website, “Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.” That’s it. No artificial fertilizers or pesticides for three years. It could be withered and bug-infested, but it’s still organic. Yum!

On the other end of the spectrum, you have farms that follow true organic practices. They rotate crops, replenish the soil with minerals and nutrients, and use natural means of pest prevention, like planting trees alongside the fields that attract pests more than the plants themselves. And they’ve done it for decades, not just three years.

Two extremes, and both carry the same exact label – “Organic.” Yet, by comparison, one is nearly devoid of some nutrients due to soil depletion from years of poor farming practices. Which is which? Your guess is as good as anybody’s.

It gets worse. Have you ever wondered how you’re able to enjoy “fresh” fruits and vegetables that are completely out of season? Picture a ship coming from another continent, with huge bins of weeks-old produce under a blanket of pressurized gas to keep it from rotting before it reaches your dinner table. Organic or not, that’s what you’re eating.

If it sounds like I’m trying to wreck your appetite, I’m not. And I’m not trying to tell you to avoid fresh produce. It’s still a good source of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. It’s just not enough. Depending on your individual needs, there may still be areas where you need to supplement. Just don’t expect your doctor to be of much help.

Doctors treat symptoms and prescribe medicine. That’s their specialty. If you have a condition that’s easily traceable to a vitamin deficiency, they’ll tell you. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Most doctors believe store-bought vitamins are just a good way to make expensive urine. Yet, in the same breath, they’ll tell you to eat your veggies for the vitamins. Go figure.

My father-in-law used to say, “I eat to live – I don’t live to eat.” We all know the foods we need and which ones to avoid. Beyond that, we need to know what we’re missing and figure out how to replace it. Good food is a start. But, just as the right seasoning makes a stew taste better, the right vitamins can make good food healthier. I figure I’m worth it. How about you?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Chill Pill a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

When was the last time you went … literally ANYWHERE … and thought, “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!” Unless you’re going to, like, the Social Security office, it’s not one of those things you’ll ever need to conduct any kind of business. It’s like that worn-out voter registration card that nobody ever asks for. You carry it because it looks important.

Okay, so put yourself five states away from home, and you get offered a new job. Awesome! And then they send you a bunch of paperwork to fill out, just because Best Buy has a sale on printers and the HR rep owns stock. You print the forms (after you spend six hours setting up the new printer), and then panic sets in … “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!”

Thankfully I had a copy buried in a file in my computer. Not where I would think to look for it, like in my “Employment” folder. No, I was much too sharp to fall for that! I stored it with my Key Lime pound cake recipes. Yes, I have more than one. Don’t judge.

Then I had to get it all witnessed by somebody who could look at my ID cards and verify that they’d seen them. Easy enough, right? Oh, and it couldn’t be my wife. I asked her to sign an ex-girlfriend’s name, but she refused. Sorry, it’s not like we have a lot of friends nearby. And the RV park manager refused. “I’m not getting into any of that!” Dude, it’s an employment form – not weed!

I realized later that I’d made an unfair assumption about him. You know … that he could read. Or maybe he’s just a jerk. You never know. But the bottom line is I had to figure out a way to get that form signed in time to start my new job. I sent it to my daughter. She signed it, I sent it in, and we all lived happily ever after. You know, until at least today. It’s still early.

Through that fiasco, I got a little more frustrated than I should have. Okay, I pitched a fit. It didn’t help that the printer wasn’t cooperating, I was having issues with my work computer, we’re out of ice cream, and the grill wouldn’t light. Can we say “Monday?”

I used to tell my daughters that stress is like a glass of water. When it’s empty, you can fill it halfway with room to spare. Even at the halfway point, you’re not in danger of spilling anything unless you walk like I do. But fill that glass all the way to the top, and all it takes is an obstinate park manager to run it over the top. Thankfully I brought my frustration home – to my wife.

Stress is a silent killer. Medical research suggests that as much as 90% of medical problems requiring treatment by a primary care doctor are stress related. Read that again, because it’s important. Ninety percent. And you know what that means, right? When your kid tells you to take a chill pill, it’s out of love and genuine concern for your long-term health. Right.

Stress is like a swarm of mosquitoes. It’s always there, and given half a chance, it’ll mess up the best of days. You can avoid it, but sooner or later it’ll catch up. And that’s not always a bad thing. A little stress keeps us on our toes and helps keep the adrenaline flowing. But, like that glass of water, it builds up fast. And when it does, something has to give.

To make matters worse, doctors treat a lot of medical conditions brought on by misguided efforts to alleviate stress. Alcoholism, drug use, even some sports injuries, are often the result of stress avoidance. Sports injuries? Absolutely! Some people run to escape stress. I’ve found stress runs a lot faster than I do, so I don’t even try. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

But instead of that evening cocktail, maybe we could go outside and take a walk. Not a brisk cardio walk, but a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Do you have a hobby? How long has it been since you’ve devoted any time to that? How about spending a little time focusing on your dreams? There is no stress in dreams, and if there is, we really need to talk.

The point is, if you give stress half a chance, it’ll wear on your soul and make mountains out of molehills. You can never escape stress, but you can manage it. Even if it’s just a temporary reprieve, that’s usually enough to get you back on track. Like taking a nap. The world and its problems are still there, but a little breather makes them that much easier to face.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Is Health a Part of Your Dreams?

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

One of the last things I promised my dad, while he was still coherent enough to understand, was that I’d lose weight and get healthy. Granted, we had differing ideas on exactly how that’s done. Dad was always a firm believer that weight is 100% related to what goes in your mouth. I tend to believe it takes a combination of both diet and exercise. Which is why I’m still fat.

Not because I’m wrong – but because that’s two disciplines at once, each a beast of its own and a tall mountain to climb. I can modify my eating. I can exercise. But doing both at once is like standing on my head while juggling chainsaws. Sooner or later, you grab a Big Mac by the wrong end and fall completely off the wagon. And once you do, it’s all so easy to go back to old habits.

Just before he went into the hospital, Dad’s doctor gave him a diet and Dad decided it would be the magic elixir to restore my health, vitality, and youth. The only problem is that diet included no red meat – ever. Okay, I know red meat isn’t the best thing for your health. But Dave without any red meat isn’t good for anybody’s health. Trust me on that.

Years ago, I lost 40 pounds. I was going to the gym most days, and my diet consisted of a modified version of what I’d been eating. By modified, I don’t necessarily mean abbreviated, though smaller portions were part of my strategy. I just made a few small changes, things I could live with for the long-term. You know, until I wasn’t living with them anymore.

I didn’t fall off the program because I got bored with it, or it was too hard to follow. By then, I truly enjoyed working out and didn’t miss any of the things I’d given up in my daily consumption. But life has a way of throwing a knuckleball when you least expect it. In my case, it was the birth of a granddaughter, and all the subsequent evenings in the hospital, complete with fast-food dinners.

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and several weeks to fully accept it. Old habits, on the other hand, can be picked up in twelve seconds flat. That’s how long it took me to wolf down that first hot & juicy (translate – lukewarm & greasy) cheeseburger. Throw in a large order of fries (it was going to be a long night) and I was right back where I started. Four months later, so was my weight.

So, why is a motivational writer talking about health and fitness? Because health and fitness are a big part of a complete and fulfilling life. That’s not to say sick and disabled people can’t be happy – they can, and many have learned to enjoy an abundant life despite the challenges. But I think every one of them will tell you they’d rather be healthy as well.

Dreams, the kind that motivate us to get up and do something, rarely involve sitting in the sand as everybody else is racing into the water. Few people have visions of rolling down the boardwalk in a wheelchair or cruising the campground on a mobility scooter. We want to walk, and climb, and run, and dance. Okay, maybe not so much running. It’s not as fun as it looks.

Does that mean a strict diet with smells and flavors that would make a catfish vomit? Does it mean running (literally) to the gym every morning for a three-hour workout followed by tofu bacon and cream of quinoa? Does it mean celery sticks for lunch and a protein shake for dinner before the evening run? No. But it does mean making a few sensible choices.

Those choices begin in the grocery store, and end on a dinnerplate. They begin with turning off the TV and taking an evening walk instead. They begin with eating healthier foods and supplementing to make up the difference. It’s about habits – things we do without even thinking about them. And the best way to form healthy habits is to make small changes and build from there.

Some habits need more of a big-bang approach, like smoking and drinking where cold-turkey is often the best way to go. But for other habits, especially those that aren’t inherently unhealthy (you know, like eating), small changes can get you on the right track. Once you get used to those changes, add in something new. One step at a time, one day at a time. One win at a time.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What On Earth Are You Eating???

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I like food. We’ll just get that out there right now. If you could see my belly, that’s all the proof you’d need. And so, it stands to reason that I might spend a little time checking out online recipes. Especially since Red Lobster decided the world no longer needs its coconut shrimp bites. Thanks a lot! But, as it turns out, there’s an excellent copycat recipe online. So there!

Lately, I’ve been focusing more on healthy eating. That’s not to say I actually do it – just that it’s something I think about. But it’s the thought that counts, right? My wife always says that as she opens her Christmas gifts, so it must be true. Now, if somebody could just explain that to my bathroom scale.

The problem with healthy eating, in my opinion, is simply a matter of taste. Well, sometimes you have to get past the smell first. There is no green leafy vegetable on earth that smells good when you cook it. God didn’t invent one. If you’ve ever wondered what a wet diaper would smell like in the microwave, just steam some broccoli. The two are about identical.

But God has a sense of humor. I love a nice cold beer. Problem is, we can’t just drink beer all day. I’m sure I read that somewhere. Broccoli, on the other hand, is supposed to be one of nature’s most nutrient-packed foods, right up there with liver and spinach. Plus, you can never eat too much broccoli because it tastes like turpentine. I’ve done the research.

Yet, as I look through row after row of whacked-out flavors of potato chips, it occurs to me that corporate chemists can replicate just about any flavor. I have my doubts on that, but I’ve never actually tried the vinegar & pumpkin spice, so for all I know they nailed it.  And if that’s the case, answer me this – why hasn’t anybody figured out how to make broccoli taste like beer?

America is one of the richest, most technologically advanced nations, yet we are among the most mal-nourished people on the planet. Notice I didn’t say under-nourished. We’re eating plenty. Too much, in fact. But what we’re eating is about as nutritious as those Styrofoam peanuts in the Amazon box. Don’t laugh. I’m pretty sure they’re on the keto diet.

And, being the land of opportunity, there is an entire industry based on helping us spend our hard-earned money on weight-loss products that promise to make us lose weight while we sleep and taste like those Styrofoam peanuts with a dash of powdered almonds. Nobody loses weight, because nobody actually eats that stuff. Not without fries.

Well, the good news is you can get used to anything if you give it enough time. I’ve seen kids in other countries eating grasshoppers without pinching their nose, so I know it can be done. And I hear they’re loaded with protein. Yeah. So is peanut butter, and it goes a lot further on a piece of toast.

To be honest, there are some meal replacements that taste great, have a pleasant consistency, and provide all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. “But they’re so expensive!” Really? Compared to what? A Big Mac? Take another look. And take another taste while you’re at it. They’ve come a long way over the years. The meal bars, that is.

I think the biggest problem with some of these products is in our own mind. You drink a shake that has all the vitamins and nutrients you need and enough fiber to hold you over for at least a few hours. You’re satisfied – not full, but no longer hungry. And then your brain kicks in. “Well, that was my drink. Now what’s for lunch?” Willpower is still a factor.

I’ve found a brand of meal replacements I really like. I don’t care for certain flavors, and none of them taste like steak. But you can always get vanilla and mix it up the way you want. Nothing says we can’t get creative. Just don’t load up your breakfast smoothie with candy bars and caramel syrup. It kinda defeats the purpose.

We can only cheat the system for so long when it comes to our health. Nothing says you can’t have that cheeseburger, and we should enjoy the things we eat. But balance it out with something healthier. Whether that’s broccoli, smoothies, or meal bars, find what works for you and stick with it.

Good health is one of those things we think about later in life, after we’ve made all the wrong decisions and are living with the consequences. We’re in the middle of a global health crisis that isn’t getting any better. Nothing can prevent us from getting sick, which is why it’s all the more important to be healthy at the outset. You can only take out what you put in. Make it count.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s What You’re Not Eating That Counts

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

By this weekend, most of the nation will be once again open for business. Of course, “open” doesn’t mean what it did a few months ago, and there will be varying levels of engagement for the time being. Like, instead of sitting on top of one another waiting for a table at the restaurant, you have to wait in your car. At least McDonalds has a drive-thru.

Most people appreciate the fact that they’re able to get back to some semblance of a normal lifestyle. You know, working, shopping, getting a haircut, and lining up at customer service to complain because the store is out of Cheetos. I’m kidding. They have plenty of Cheetos. They even have paper towels to clean your hands after you eat them. But now they’re out of meat.

I read an article a few days ago about food shortages and rising meat prices, and the health benefits of cutting back on the meat. Especially red meat. They don’t like that one much at all. Naturally, that’s the one I like best. Why did broccoli have to be so healthy? I think it was God’s way of keeping us from eating too much. Boy, we tricked him on that one.

But, as I read the article, I realized I could probably get by with a lot less meat in my diet. I can say that now, because we have health insurance again and if my wife has a stroke reading this, we’re covered. Yes, I love meat. To me, a meal without meat is like a bathroom without toilet paper. Sure, it’ll fill your basic biological needs. But you certainly wouldn’t look forward to it.

That said, my tastes have changed over the years. I like a good steak, but I prefer seafood. In fact, the last several times we went to a steak house, I ordered salmon. I like chicken, but I prefer small slices in a hearty salad. And if I had to go a whole year without eating pizza, I don’t think I’d miss it. But I love fried Spam. Still, that’s not technically meat. I’m not sure what it is.

Tastes are a part of our culture. We generally tend to crave the foods we ate as children, no matter what they were. And, depending on where you were born, those foods may be very different. I see people in documentaries grinning from ear to ear as they eat fried cockroaches. That’s one way to lose weight. Not by eating them … by watching someone else do it.

That said, I think I may be ready to make some changes. In many cultures, meat is more of a garnish than a main course. Seafood is a big part of the diet, and so are fruits, vegetables, and those things they call “legumes.” I’m not sure what they are, but it doesn’t sound very appetizing. Maybe if they came up with a better name, like bourbon-glazed steak beans.

I’ve always appreciated a good salad, but my wife complains about the way I make mine. I like all the goodies – fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, blueberries, dried cranberries, eggs, meat, cheese, nuts, and loads of bleu cheese dressing. Yes, I know how much cholesterol is in that. It’s still a lot healthier than a Big Mac. Besides, that’s not technically meat, either.

But, as the article pointed out, when we reduce our intake of meat, we need to replace those nutrients somehow. As bad as meat can be for your heart, it’s also one of the best sources of vital nutrients. Iron and protein are at the top of the list, followed closely by vitamin B12. All three are important, especially if you like being able to get out of bed and function.

And, wouldn’t you know, vitamin B12 is only available through animal sources. Well, that and “fortified” breakfast cereal. So, if you just replace your steak with Cheerios, you’re good to go. Otherwise, it may be time to supplement. Besides, Cheerios don’t go well with a baked potato and sautéed mushrooms. I’m just saying.

I’ve been taking plant-based vitamins for several years. When you get to this age, you think about all those poor choices over the years and start looking for ways to ward off the evil spirits. I never really thought I’d make it to retirement. Now that I’m this close, I’d kinda like to enjoy it. And being sick all the time isn’t my idea of fun.

We all love certain foods, whether they’re good for us or not. And most of us will live to a ripe old age, regardless of the foods we eat. But aging and living aren’t the same. Living means to enjoy an active, vibrant, and healthy life. And that all begins with nutrition. Give your body what it needs, and it’ll return the favor. Besides, you’re gonna be with it the rest of your life.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Easier to Stay Healthy Than to Get Healthy

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

So, yesterday my state announced a list of measures to re-open some businesses and give people the option to go back to work. That’s a welcome sign after all these weeks of sitting around the house. But it comes at a price. Social distancing will be enforced, and protective gear is required. No mask, no service. I’m still trying to figure out how that’ll work in banks.

I remember when getting into a bank meant walking past an armed guard and getting into school didn’t. Times sure have changed. Eight years ago, people were leery of teenagers in a hoodie, and now they have to cover their whole face. Wow! We may have to actually talk to people before we jump to conclusions. What is this world coming to?

Lots of things will change as we move ahead. Sadly, one thing that won’t change is our general approach to health. We’ve gotten so used to just filling the tank and running through life that we forget about preventive maintenance. Besides, that’s for old people and hypochondriacs. When something breaks, you go to the doctor, he gives you pills, and life goes on. Right?

There’s an entire industry devoted to nothing more than changing the oil in your car. And it’s there because people recognize the need. The book says change the oil every 5000 miles, so we change it. Okay, maybe after 7500 miles, but that’s better than nothing. Of course, while you’re there, they try to sell you everything from air filters to air fresheners. It’s all about money.

One time I told the guy I wanted an oil change – nothing more. I was clear about that. First he came back with the dipstick. “Sir, your oil is dirty.” Yep. That’s why I’m here. Then he told me my serpentine belt was worn. Not today. Then he came back with the air filter. I cut him off mid-sentence. “Is that mine?” He nodded. “Then put it back where you found it!”

Yet, when the mechanic points to the owner’s manual and says it’s time to change the transmission fluid or engine coolant, we start to pull back. I can honestly say I’ve never had a car break down because of old coolant or transmission fluid. And I can honestly say I’ve never heard of the brain wearing a hole through the skull. You know, until it happened to me.

Preventive maintenance is simply a practice of fixing things before they break. It’s based on the premise that a complete engine rebuild is costs a few dollars more than a few quarts of oil, or that being sick is more expensive than taking care of your body in the first place. One leaves you walking, and the other leaves you barely able to walk. Both pretty well suck.

For me, preventive maintenance was always a matter of necessity. The cars I could afford pretty much demanded it. A quart of oil leaks out the bottom, I add a quart in the top, and voila! Fresh oil! I wish I was making that up. Smart? No. Not even close. Yet, how many of us do that with our own body? We run and run, and only think about the essentials when the dipstick goes dry.

Right now, people are trying every kind or remedy imaginable, safe or not, to battle this virus. Yet those same people are going through the stores without a mask, reaching over complete strangers to get a can of soup. The hand sanitizer aisle is empty, but the vitamin aisle is fully stocked. You can’t find a box of macaroni, but the produce section is brimming with variety. Do we see a trend?

Which is why I say we won’t learn a lot from this, at least in terms of our overall health. We’re so focused on making the bad things go away that we don’t even consider keeping them away in the first place. We’re so busy trying to fix what’s broken that we don’t take care of what works. And we all know the inevitable result of that. More stuff breaks. Important stuff.

At some point, we all come face to face with the choices we’ve made. Preventive health isn’t something we think about too much until the “check engine” light comes on. And, while nothing we know of today will prevent any of us from getting this virus, we do know that it’s a whole lot easier to overcome if we’re in good health to begin with.

Hopefully we’ll come away from this with a more vibrant zest for living, a stronger love for family & friends, and a greater appreciation for life’s many blessings. Part of that appreciation is taking care of what we’ve already got. Don’t wait for the “check engine” light to come on. Take care of yourself before something goes wrong. You’re worth whatever it takes.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Day Is It Again???

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

So far, through all this hunkering down and sheltering in place, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping track of which day it is. Monday through Saturday, that is. But somehow, Sundays have become a bit of an aberration. Sunday feels like it should be Saturday. Probably because I went into the weekend with a list of things to do and didn’t get started until Sunday afternoon.

My sister was a bit shocked to find out I get dressed for work every day. Yes, I work in my basement. Yes, video meetings are pretty much a headshot. I could be sitting here in my underwear with a regular shirt and nobody would know the difference. But invariably, I’d forget and step outside to check the mail. The neighbors have asked me not to do that anymore.

I’ve read things where they say you perform better if you comb your hair and dress the part. I’m no expert, but they did always appreciate pants when I was going to the office. I even wore a tie for about six months because my manager said it made me look professional and I was bucking for a promotion and … you know.

When it comes to clothing, people always have an opinion. “Dress for success!” “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” And my personal favorite: “Everyone looks good in a suit – even losers.”

I don’t mind dressing up. I’ve always believed that style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. And that’s good, because when some people speak, their clothes just vanish. Not from sight, but from prominence. It doesn’t matter how well-dressed you are if you’re a jerk.

But I think how we’re dressed does affect how we feel, and how we feel has some bearing on how we act. Put on a tie in the morning and you automatically feel like today is an important day, and you’ll be an important part of it. And people treat you better because of it. Put on a crumpled tee shirt and all of a sudden people are asking you to take out the trash.

Whether you’re working from home or waiting for the chance to go back to work, there’s something to be said for going through your morning routine and coming out on the other end looking presentable. It’s not about appearance as much as a sense of normality. It’s about reminding yourself that you’re worthy. It’s about being able to answer the door without putting on a robe.

I saw a welcome mat the other day that I would love to buy. It said, “Be patient – we’re probably not wearing pants.” Bet that’d send a few people away in a hurry. Like coughing in the grocery store. Some people need a reminder about this whole six-foot separation thing, and that one pretty well does the trick.

But to the extent that we can maintain some sense of normalcy right now, we’re that much better suited to come out smiling on the other end. And part of that means passing up the Ramen noodles for something a little more healthy. It’s especially important right now that we take care of our health … both physical and emotional. This is no time to get sick.

Home is a place where we should all be able to feel comfortable. But when home our place of work, the rules change just a little. And even if you’re not working right now, don’t fall victim to the habits of the terminally unemployed. The first two weeks are a vacation. After that, we need to at least pretend things are getting back to normal.

Habits are easy to form and hard to break. Sleeping late is nice for a day or two, but after a while it starts to wear you down. I love shorts and flip-flops, but they’ve never really made me feel like I was about to do something important. And I love a good cheeseburger as much as anybody, but when this is all over, I have to be able to actually fit into those work clothes again.

Go through the motions, whether anybody will notice or not. Get up and get dressed. Eat healthy. Keep your mind active. Keep the kids active. Set a routine and stick to it. Take your vitamins. Get some fresh air. Build your immunity. Everything in life may have changed, but the most important part hasn’t – you.

The first step in getting back to normal is simply acting normal. It may not make this all go away, but it’ll sure have a positive impact in how we get through it. And it’ll have a huge impact in how we move forward once it’s all over.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Road Will Curve Again – But Will You Be The One Driving?

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

For those who missed my follow-up post yesterday, our daughter was diagnosed with a pretty strong case of pneumonia, but no coronavirus. Yes, we live in a time when that’s something to celebrate. “Woohoo! It’s only pneumonia!” They loaded her up with IV antibiotics and then sent her home. Right now, a hospital is not the place to be if you’re sick.

As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I think we’re just beginning to see the new normal. I read an article yesterday that said oil prices will be down for a long time to come, and I guess we can all feel pretty good about that. Unless you own an oil well, in which case I really don’t feel sorry for you. Of course, they’ll still find a way to drive up gas prices. “Coronavirus blend.” It’s coming.

That said, I was pretty excited when I topped off the tank in the RV for $13. Okay, I used my Kroger fuel points and got a 70-cent discount, but still. I had to risk my life to build up those points. So far, I haven’t given in to online grocery shopping. I still go into the store with a bottle of hand sanitizer in my holster, dodging sneezes the whole way through. I earned that discount.

But now, we don’t have much choice. Our daughter is back home with us, and in no condition to fight off germs. So, we have to dig in a little deeper and find ways to keep the pantry stocked without putting the whole family at risk. I have to assume those rabbits and squirrels dancing in the yard haven’t been watching the news. That’s some pretty low-risk shopping if you ask me.

Okay, I’m kidding. I’ve only shot a squirrel once, and I filled it so full of buckshot it weighed in at six pounds. Needless to say, we had chicken for dinner. I’m just not much of a hunter. I’m too much of a softie. I’ve always said I could shoot a deer if the family were hungry, but only if it didn’t look at me. That one seems to be in the playbook, because they ALWAYS look at you.

Part of me wonders if anybody will eat a wild animal after this. Apparently, that’s where it all started. On the other hand, farm-raised animals aren’t all that safe, either. Every time you turn around, something else is being recalled. Guess we should all become vegetarians. You know, so we can learn the joys of listeria, salmonella, and e-Coli. Guess that’s one way to lose weight.

Hopefully, part of the new “normal” will be more stringent food safety standards. Working from home has been nice, and I could get used to these gas prices. That said, having kids cooped up in the house when there’s a playground within walking distance is for the birds. We need to fix that one. I’ll volunteer to keep the monkey bars clean if I can find some disinfectant.

Another change I hope we’ll see is more people taking control of their health, wealth, and happiness. We seem to go through life looking for the easy path to all three. Find a good job. Get a good doctor. Enjoy the good life. And that’s great, until it’s not. Something can always come along and change what we’ve come to know.

Right now, health and income are the two big ones. If we’ve neglected our health to this point, there’s not a lot we can do to change it overnight. But we can try to optimize our health going forward. Illness doesn’t ask if we’re ready – it just hits. And the healthier we are at the outset, the better our odds of survival. The time to do something about that is now.

The same is true of income. We all know the risks of putting our eggs in one basket, yet that’s what most of us do our entire life. And we know better. Companies fail. Industries die. Recession, pandemics, and even weather can impact our ability to put food on the table. Having a secondary income isn’t just prudent. It’s essential.

This crisis has affected us all in different ways. And right now, when there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s easy to wipe our brow and say, “That was a close one!” Well, guess what? It’ll happen again. Hopefully nothing of this magnitude, but we’ve all faced crisis before, and this won’t be the last one. The question is, will we be any better prepared next time?

Preparation isn’t about watching and waiting. It’s about taking proactive steps to be ready for whatever comes along. Are there things you wish you’d done before this crisis? Then get started now. This won’t be our last crisis. But hopefully, we’ll all be a little better prepared for the next one.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Good Health Doesn’t Just Happen – You Have To Want It

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

For the first day in a week, I woke up relatively free of back pain. That’s “relatively” in the sense that my first car was relatively free of dents. You know, after I hit the open tailgate of a parked pickup truck. Most of the car was fine, but that one headlight pointed to the stars. It didn’t hurt the truck a bit. Naturally.

I’ve got a condition doctors refer to as degenerative disc disease. I don’t think it’s a disease as much as the fact that the discs in my lower back are trashed. And every now and then one slips to the side enough to let my spine sit directly on a nerve. They say the Latin term is hurtus alotus maximus. I’m not so sure about that, but I do have some pretty juicy French terms for it.

I’m told it’s just part of aging. You know, in the sense that I packed on a bunch of extra weight and it’s been sitting on my spine for the better part of thirty years. It’s like driving around with sacks of concrete in the trunk of your car. Sooner or later, you’re gonna wear out the tires. Come to think of it, I need to check them. They’ve been carrying this weight a while, too.

Lose some weight, you say? Well, thanks! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ll just get right on it. By this time next week I should be in good shape. Maybe after that I’ll go run a marathon. Oh, how I wish it were that easy. Not the marathon. I don’t run unless somebody is chasing me with a snake. Then I could outrun Jesse Owens. Only until I find a stick big enough to knock them out.

Extra body weight is a problem in this country, and in most of the world. If you don’t believe me, take a look around. Just don’t stare. Fat people don’t like that, especially if you’re skinny. If you’re fat, too, they just think you’re flirting. And fat people don’t like that. Okay, we do. We just don’t say it out loud.

The problem with body weight is that it builds slowly, giving us time to adjust. We barely notice when we need pants that are one size larger. We just blame it on the brand. “These pants must run a little small.” No, your butt runs a little big. We can say it. You’d think by the time we’re six sizes larger we’d get the hint. But no. Even then it’s only one size larger than before.

The same thing happens with our general health. We don’t really notice when we find ourselves running a little slower or waking up more tired each day. “It’s just a normal part of aging.” Well, maybe. But I think we accept that excuse a little too easily. We compare ourselves to people who are much older and decide this is normal. “We’re all headed that way.”

Well, sure. We are all headed that way. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it without a fight. Losing weight is harder as we get older. The same is true of maintaining our health. The difference is, one comes from how much we eat and the other comes from how much we don’t eat. Sure, the gas tank is full. But if it’s full of sugar, you won’t be going very far.

Doctors tell us to eat a balanced diet with all the right nutrients. Well, guess what? In order to get all the nutrients your body needs, you’d have to eat several pounds of the right foods every day. And that’s if you could even find those foods. Most of what we can buy in the supermarket is seriously lacking in nutrients. Even fresh produce. Ever heard of soil depletion?

That’s not to say we can’t make better choices, but even a strict vegetarian has vitamin deficiencies. On the other hand, vegetarians are more likely to use supplements, because they’ve done the research and they know. As a result, most of them stay reasonably healthy later in life than the rest of us.

Our bodies were designed to convert nutrients from a broad variety of foods into the chemicals we need to thrive. Not survive – thrive. And the longer we cheat ourselves of those nutrients, the sooner we’ll feel the effects of age. Meanwhile, we’ll probably get some bigger pants to go along with it. Kinda like that hidden surprise in your cereal.

It’s all about choices, compounded over time. And right now, I can imagine there are a lot of people wishing they’d done a little more to maintain good health. There is no vitamin or supplement that’ll keep you from getting sick. But starting off healthy can make a world of difference in your recovery.

We can’t lose weight overnight, and we can’t get healthy in a day. Choices compounded over time. The sooner we start making the right choices, the longer we’ll be able to enjoy a reasonably healthy life.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Cabin Fever Doesn’t Cure Anything

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I missed a couple of posts last week. It’s taken my brain a few days to get wrapped around this whole “back to work” thing, and the fact that I have to do certain things by a certain time each morning. But I’m thankful to have a job, one I can do from the comfort of home, and in an industry that’s not likely to shut down during this pandemic. Things could always be worse.

Friday afternoon, we heeded the governor’s advice to “enjoy some outdoor recreation with social distancing” and took the new motorhome for a shakedown cruise. In the Navy, that means a short boat ride after you come out of the yards so you can see what all is still broken. On an aircraft carrier, that means thousands of items. Thankfully, our list was a lot smaller.

Okay, first things first – this park was made for golf carts, not buses. The signs said “Go this way to register” so I did. Then came the sloping 90-degree turn to get out of that corner and my wife’s inevitable Lamaze breathing as I negotiated that turn. I was pretty smug about it. You know, once I started breathing again.

We had a pull-through site that, under normal circumstances, would mean drive right in. Turns out “normal” means a Volkswagen Beetle with a teardrop trailer. We were about 20 feet longer than normal. So, I backed in. More Lamaze breathing from the passenger seat. But I’m getting pretty good about backing up. It’s that whole staying in my own lane thing that’s a challenge.

I wanted to get there before dark because setup is all done outside. Wooden blocks under the leveling jacks, electric hookup, water hookup, cable hookup, and crawling underneath to set the water heater bypass valve. You know, the one the dealer’s mechanic crawled under to check and told us it was in the correct position. It wasn’t. And the ground was wet. Naturally.

Once I figured out where the TV cable connects (a critical part of “camping” for my wife) and got the water situation sorted out, we were up and running in just about a half-hour. I’m sure next time will go much smoother because, you know, every campground has the same hookups in the same places. Right. And unicorns blow fairy dust out their nostrils.

All in all, we had a nice weekend. It was a lot warmer for a change, so we spent a good part of the day with the windows open. Of course, warm weather also means thunderstorms, and Mother Nature treated us to a good one. Other than a little rocking around in the wind, it was just like being home. The dog was hiding, and my daughter was glued to the Weather Channel.

Why did we choose this particular weekend to go camping, when everybody is being asked to stay home? Well, for a few reasons. First of all, sitting in a closed-up house is about as healthy as sneezing on your pizza. Of course, with all the other toppings, who would notice? Which makes you wonder about pizza delivery. I’m just saying.

But a little fresh air is good for whatever ails you, and it’s even better when you’re having a good day. We’re being asked to stay at least six feet from other people. Check. We’re being asked to avoid crowds of ten people or more. Check. And we’re being asked to keep shopping trips to a minimum. Well, once camp is set up, you’d be surprised what you can live without.

The bottom line is that, even though life has changed, that doesn’t mean we have to stop living. Sitting around the house, breathing the same dust and germs all day, isn’t good for anyone. We need air. We need sunshine. We need a little exercise, even if it’s only taking the dog for a walk as he marks every tree, shrub, and tuft of tall grass he can find. There are no short walks.

If the weather is nice, get outside. If it’s too hot, wear shorts. If it’s too cold, wear a jacket. If it’s raining, take an umbrella. And don’t kiss your neighbors. This isn’t rocket science. But sitting around the house wears on more than just your patience. Already, divorce attorneys are cancelling their summer vacations. They know. People are not made to live this close.

Find something you can do outside. Whether it’s planting flowers, playing with the kids, taking a walk, or mowing the lawn, you need something to get you out of the house. And that something doesn’t always have to be in the confines of your own yard. Just be safe and remember to keep a distance. Life goes on. Sometimes, it just needs a little nudge.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved