Happy New Year! As I write this we are wintering in Quartzsite, AZ. There are a lot of folks here over the age of 70. Lots! Seeing all these older people, and observing their level of health, ranging from active to debilitated, I have spent some time reflecting on what I am willing to sacrifice in order to not only live longer, but to actually enjoy my older years.
I am now 73. I have some health challenges, a polite way of saying I’ve got some diseases that, if not addressed, could knock me off sooner than I want, or at least ruin my plans of being lucid and physically able to do a lot of activities. This means I have to make some choices.
The first choice is to just ignore everything and live as though I am in my twenties with no medical issues. Unfortunately, this is the approach most Americans take. Also unfortunately, this leads to either an early death, or the inability to lead a normal active life in older years. From what I see, that kind of life sucks! It would also mean giving up our RV lifestyle, and all the freedom good health gives us. This, I decided, is not a good choice. It‘a a death sentence.
The next choice to be actively engaged with physical exercise that will not only be enjoyable, but will help keep me healthy. As you’ve read in past posts, Jan and I love walking, non-strenuous hiking, riding our e-bikes, and being on the water with our Hobie kayak. These activities keep our muscle tone up, makes us happy, and we look forward to doing them on a regular basis.
There is another component to this choice I have been neglecting, and it’s the harder one to deal with. A better diet. Last week I got the results of my A1C, which is the amount of residual sugar in my bloodstream. Let’s just say it was awful. I love sweets, a lot. Not real sugary, but I have always loved pie, cake, cookies, and ice cream. I have yet to find an artificial or “natural” alternative to cane sugar that I can like or tolerate. To me, they just don’t taste good. Yeah, time to face my choices and choose life, or death.
First, inspired by this stupid virus, we decided to faithfully take our doTERRA supplements and oils. We took them before, but not consistently. As we all know, inconsistency reduces any benefit. Might as well not take them at all rather than randomly. Now, several months later, to no surprise, we feel better, have more energy, and neither of us have had any illnesses at all, not even minor ones. The stuff works when taken correctly. Imagine that!
Last year we bought a Ninja Foodi, of which I’ve written about quite often here. Good nutritional food is good for us, so that part is covered. That has increased our protein intake, which is a really good thing. My downfall is that I continued to snack between meals, and especially in the evening, sugar being a prime component.
Which brings me to the last step in my decision to live long and healthy: change my sugar intake without missing sugar. Can that be done? As we all know, if we feel deprived, it won’t last long. That’s why special diets don’t work! Eventually we want “normal” food, and drop the diet. I know this from experience, so I knew I had to find a solution that would work for me.
One day last month we were in Target, and I saw this display with these cute mini waffle makers by Dash. i love waffles, and it was under $10, so I grabbed one. This led me to discovering a new type of food that I had never heard of before, a chaffle. A what? As I found out, a chaffle consists of egg and mozzarella cheese as the basic recipe. It’s high in protein, and tastes good. There are many variations, one of which is a Peanut Butter Cup Chaffle. It’s loaded with protein (loaded!), has a rich dark chocolate flavor (yea!), includes peanut butter (one of my favorite foods), and has very little sugar. Bingo! Now when I need a sweet fix, this is my go to choice. I can switch out the peanut butter for applesauce or other creamy filling that suits my craving at the moment. Major problem solved.
Another discovery was the Protein Waffle, which is a waffle made with protein powder. I use both chocolate and vanilla. It tastes exactly like a regular waffle (yum!), but it’s packed with a LOT of protein. I use a little maple syrup, instead of the most of the bottle like I used to do. Don’t forget, I hate low sugar and fake sugar, so using just a little is a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order to stay happy long term with my food choices.
High protein meals and high protein snacks have significant benefits. First, I don’t get hungry between meals. It takes longer to digest, so I avoid blood sugar spikes. Even my treats are high in protein, so I don’t eat a lot of them, again, really good for my blood sugar. In my daily blood sugar testing, I am seeing a significant reduction in my readings. Best of all, I don’t feel deprived, or get the feeling that I am on a special diet.
What am I willing to sacrifice in order to continue with our RV lifestyle, and to be active for a lot longer, yet not feel I’m deprived of my favorite foods? I just made some modifications. Sure, I’ll still grab a handful of almond M&M’s now and then, a small piece of pie, or a dark chocolate candy bar, but nowhere near as often as I did in the past. I love our life, and I want to continue it as long as possible. As our close friends and family know, Jan and I love bring together all the time. We dance, we laugh, we love our Church activities and callings, and we are dedicated to our relationship. Making a few changes in diet, continuing to exercise, and taking our doTERRA supplements will help us fulfill our desires.
What are you willing to sacrifice to live a long active life? The decision is yours. choose wisely.