Stroke Prevention & Healthy Choices

The good news is that, according to the National Stroke Association, 80% of strokes are preventable. Understand YOUR risk factors and know the signs of stroke.

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Every year nearly 800,000 people have a stroke. Here’s what can increase your risk for stroke:

Annually, nearly 55,000 more women than men have strokes.

  • Characteristics that are specific to women, such as taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, can increase stroke risk.
  • Women who have high blood pressure before or during pregnancy have a greater risk of stroke.
  • Women & stroke

Visit your healthcare provider. Ask about the 4 H’s!

  • Heredity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol

Discuss these and any other health concerns with your health care provider and make a plan. That plan may or may not include medications.

What you can do at home to help lower  your risk of stroke.

  • Stop smoking
  • Get to your healthy weight
  • Be active
  • Limit alcohol
  • Make healthy food choices

What I do to reduce the risk of stroke #2**

Since my stroke in November of 2016 I follow a primarily plant-based diet. If you think this is a restrictive way to eat, think again. I don’t feel like I’m “missing” out on anything. Some plant based alternatives I actually prefer to the meat version. Plus, I feel better in my day to day life and have more energy.

I am active. I’m one of those people that actually enjoys exercise and being active. I like going to my workouts. I like feeling strong and having the energy to get out and hike and bike. I am also loving doing yoga. It makes me feel energetic and peaceful, a winning combination in my mind.

I’ve added in mindfulness/meditation to the mix and I like that I am fully present in whatever I am doing. This is an on-going practice. When I feel my brain starting to spin out onto my to-do list or what I might be going to do later I recognize it and come back and focus on what I am doing.

I have limited my alcohol consumption (that kind of happened naturally during my recovery as did eating healthier).  I DO still need to lose a couple of pounds to be at a little bit healthier weight for me.

These are things that are a constant work in progress. I’m not perfect every day but I do try to be consistent. I know my cholesterol is excellent and my other blood work is good. I’m active and I work on eating for fuel for my body not for my emotions or entertainment (that one is a bit harder to crack).

The webernet is full of reliable sources to learn more about stroke and reducing your risks. Your health care provider is a great resource too!

**My stroke was considered a cyrptogenic stroke. The likely culprit was the PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) or  “hole in my heart”. Nearly a quarter of us have this and it usually goes completely unnoticed. While the PFO did not cause my stroke, it apparently allowed a clot to get through and travel to my brain. It is recommended if you do have a PFO and have had a stroke to get this hole closed. Stay tuned for that.

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Stroke Awareness

Anyone can have a stroke at ANY age and in ANY physical condition.

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Me, 3 months after my stroke.                                             I was healthy and active before my stroke. My stroke”seems” to have been caused by a PFO.             My stroke story.

What is a stroke and what can you do to prevent having one?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. There are two main types of stroke:

  • An Ischemic Stroke occurs when a clot is obstructing blood flow to the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts or ruptures and prevents blood flow to the brain.
  • A TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) is a “mini-stroke” and is caused by a temporary blockage.

According to the American Stroke Association 80% of strokes are preventable. Know your risks and know the signs of a stroke. Have regular check-ups with your doctor and if needed make sure you are staying on top of your treatments. Commit to making  healthier choices to keep your heart and brain healthy.

Know the signs and symptoms of stroke. The faster you are able to get medical attention the better and possibly more complete your recovery will be.

Stroke infographic
Infographic from Stroke.org

To learn more about strokes, risk factors and prevention visit these sites:

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Just Blogging Along…

I’ve spent the past week obsessing over trying to fix this blog to function better. I think I “get it” but it doesn’t quite do what I need it to do. I may have had a light bulb moment this morning scouring through the WordPress help threads and Google. I do see that I’m not the only one having this issue and I’m pretty sure there is just one little thing that’s not clicking for me.

I’m also trying to decide how and if I should merge my two projects together. (Seems like I should). I have been copying the same post (just the last 2 postings are the same on both blogs). Click link HERE to have a look see at my other blog – This Fantastic Life.

In this obsession, I have not tried very many new things. The only thing I’ve created that was new is vegan red lentil dahl and roti bread to go with. I will definitely try the dahl again (another recipe). As for the roti bread, nope, not going to make that. The internet had quite a variety of recipes and I chose one that, while it turned out, was not worth the effort or the calories. The Naan I made months ago was way better and just as easy.

Home improvement projects get rolling this week. (we are not DIY’ers we prefer to pay other people to mess up our house). Our yard is getting a mini-makeover starting on Friday. More like a make-under. I am replacing some invasive plants with some that will not cause any problems elsewhere and will hopefully still look good and attract the bees. We are also adding a tree for shade (in the future) on our west facing patio. In the summer there are certain times of the day you cannot go out there for fear of being incinerated.

The yard gets finished up on Monday as the interior is getting a fresh coat! I am excited to get all the window trim painted a lighter complimentary color. Currently, our trim is the same color as the walls courtesy of the previous owners. I’m used to it now so I fully expect to think the trim will look weird once this is completed. We also have a new rug and blinds on order for the family room.

We did get a new dining room table (an upgrade from Mr. Fantasitc’s college table). It is different for us and Miss Herbivore is protesting it and won’t sit at it – something about getting rid of all her childhood memories. She has been taking all her meals at the kitchen island (eye roll, but whatever).

I’m still totally loving my 30 day yoga challenge!  The day I skipped it I ended up a grump and had to put myself in time out. I also stepped up my general workouts thanks to better weather and dry trails!

This post is just my ramblings and not focused on my mission for this blog but as this blog is very a much a work in progress I think that this post is a-ok!

Food for Thought

Eating plant-based is not a diet, it is simply how I live my life.  I’ve stopped thinking of how and what I am currently eating as a “diet” – thus I have stopped obsessing over food. Eating is not that big of deal now. Sure, I get cravings, sure, I still need to lose a few pounds but now that I’m working out moderately verses in crazy mode I am able to manage my hunger. (Stay tuned to see if those couple of pounds might even go away with this new-found liberation)!

I finally realized that what I eat makes up my body (and not just the love handle part), but the cells, the blood all the stuff that keeps me living and thriving. I don’t need food to fuel my emotional problems I need food simply for fuel. I have to admit after a stressful few days I did spend the day munching on a guilty pleasure (Voortman vanilla wafers – lemon are the best but they didn’t have them) but it was temporary and I didn’t let it send me into a big, negative spiral AND I didn’t beat myself up about. I did recognize that I was stress eating.

A side note:  Unfortunately, these wafers have palm oil in them and I couldn’t trace their source to see if the bakery is using sustainable palm oil so that will be the last package of those. If you aren’t familiar with palm oil then you probably haven’t read the ingredients list on anything you purchase. Here is some reading for you on palm oil if you aren’t familiar with the issue.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has an app to help with your sustainable palm oil shopping. You can search product names or do a barcode scan. This leads me down the path of the changing roles of zoos – but I will save this for a separate post. The app is available both on iTunes and Google Play.  Click here to read Selva Beat’s review of the app.

Becoming more aware of the ingredients I cook with has led me to become more aware of  what I am putting into my body along with where these ingredients come from.  I truly believe that these things matter in our personal lives, our community lives and our global lives. We do all live on the same planet after all.

To me adding lots of plants, whole-grains, beans and legumes is a no-brainer. I feel better and have more energy eating this way. This has definitely been a process over the last 15 months. I adopted this lifestyle primarily for my health. I do NOT want to have another stroke. There are differences in a plant-based lifestyle and the vegan lifestyle. Plant-based is a bit more flexible and often there is room for some cheese, an egg or maybe meat and fish. Vegans do not eat, wear or  use any animal products.  Keep in mind that junk food is junk food no matter if it’s vegan, plant-based or omnivore.

I also adopted this lifestyle because I wanted to ensure that my Herbivore was getting the nutrients she needed. This lifestyle has definitely opened up a whole new world of eating choices and a more mindful way of being. It’s also made me wonder about why our culture eats the way we do. Is it marketing? Is it our busy, time crunched way of life? Is it because that’s how we grew up eating?  All food for thought for sure. We should pay attention to our lifestyles and not keep doing things just because that’ how we’ve always done them.

Some additional reading  and recipes on plant-based vs vegan:

 

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Simplify and Thrive

I am trying not to over think this blog thing but clearly I have been. I’m revisiting draft posts that I thought were not “good enough” to post and I found this on that I wrote back in late December. As I read through it I thought what a great little gem to find so I can check in with myself and my goals. Things have changed a bit since I wrote this. Mainly we eat plant-based more frequently then this plan laid out. I realize this post is “dated” but if someone in the webernet runs across this maybe it’s a good reminder for you to check in with your goals too!

Not to be too predictable for a end of year blog post but here goes. For me 2017 represented a year of recovery and reflection. Looking ahead to 2018 my goal is to thrive! I survived and now it’s time for me to shake off all of the doubts and fears and take control of my life again!

I dabbled with the minimalist idea as I watched my Herbivore jump in both feet. While I am ready to simplify my life I will be taking it in steps. I have already started with one simple habit. As soon as the junk mail and catalogs come in they are gone through and then immediately put into the recycle bin. Next, I’ll be taking it a step further and getting off the junk mail lists. Check out ConsciousbyChole.com’s post and 10 way to stop junk mail

Now through January I’m tackling meal planning and making it a habit that carries through the rest of our lives. I have such good intentions but have a hard time making a complete grocery list and then sticking to the plan. That is, if I actually even come up with 7 meals. Now, I realize that 7 meals does not a week make but my primary focus is on dinner. (I just jumped over to Pinterest to look at menu planning ideas –Ummm, that was super overwhelming. I’m just going to go with my gut and use my idea of assigning a “recipe style” to a day or the week. For Example:

  • Sunday – Vegan (the Girl)
  • Monday – Traditional (Mr. Fantastic)
  • Tuesday – Soup/salad or stir-fry
  • Wednesday – forage for yourself/leftovers
  • Thursday – D.A.S.H. recipe
  • Friday – Mediterranean style
  • Saturday – American made (i.e. pizza, grilled food, tacos etc)

Seeing as I’m going to take small bites to bring about the changes I’d like to make I will leave this post here. The next 5 1/2 weeks will find me menu planning and taking care of junk mail.

Stay tuned and follow me on this journey!

 

Sunday, Funday Volume 2

The latest Sunday, Funday actually occurred on a Saturday. Last Friday we zipped up to McCall to spend the night and to hit the slopes at Brundage on Saturday.

I’m not sure why we don’t got to McCall more often, it’s a lovely town and an easy drive from Boise. We stayed at the ever so charming Hotel McCall. Located on the main drag and by Payette Lake you can’t beat the location. Our deluxe king room was spacious and comfortable. We definitely could have spent a couple of nights there! Amenities at the hotel included: an indoor saline heated swimming pool, spa services, Rupert’s Restaurant and a fitness room.

Another plus to this convenient, in-town location is being able to walk to all the uber cool restaurants and shops. So we headed over to Hometown Sports to get our snowboard rentals for the next day and then we walked over to  The Sushi Bar, the greenest sushi restaurant in the country and the only certified green restaurant in Idaho – LOVE this! There was about a 40 minute wait for a table but we sipped some beers in the downstairs bar (they offer edamame in the downstairs bar as an app but we had an appetizer earlier at Rupert’s in the hotel). The Sushi Bar’s menu was full of tasty, fresh options. We did skip the sushi this night and opted for one of their cooked bowls. My vegetarian and Mr. Fantastic’s Kobe beef bowls were both delish, fresh, full of veggies and just the right size!

A continental breakfast awaited us bright and early Saturday morning. I was able to indulge my muffin habit with a couple of  oh, so delightful morning glory muffins made by one of the staff (I apologize, she was much more than, “just one of the staff” but sadly, I did not get her info from her). I have a weak spot for muffins and these were a tasty, but healthy-ish breakfast treat. Thinking about our day ahead I also went for a hard-boiled egg.

BeforeFresh powder was the order of the day and it did not disappoint! The day was beautifully crisp, no wind and a mountain full of happy skiers and boarders. I was a bit nervous, this being the first time back on a snowboard in about 5 years (and since my stroke) but ready to give it a try again.

We queued up for our first ride up the mountain on the Bluebird Express. I was a bit nervous as we were whisked up the hill. My first accomplishment was getting off the lift without taking out Mr. Fantastic or the two innocent skiers that were riding up with us. (I DO have a history of taking folks out as I scoot off the chairlift).  Next, up getting bound into my snowboard – that proved relatively easy. Now, point myself towards the intermediate run we selected for our first go. Next, thing I know I am actually swooshing down the mountain with relative ease. Muscle memory coming back with every turn! I was exhilarated!!

We made it down to the bottom and jumped on the lift again. This time we were going to duringcheck out another intermediate run. So, basically repeat chairlift, get off without knocking anyone down, strap in and go! Well, I did not have enough speed to cut across the relatively flat section that led to this other run. Mr. Fantastic was ahead of me and he zipped on down. I was left to turn down the same run we had done earlier. This time every turn was smooth and effortless and I went down without stopping!  Buoyed by this magical moment we hopped back on the lift to go again. Even though, I’ve been working out, this third run down the mountain proved to incite “flames” in my quads and I began to struggle on my turns. “What?! I can’t possibly be pooping out already”!  As I wrestled my body through the third and fourth runs down the mountain I finally agreed we needed to stop and rest – lunch break!

We headed back out after a tasty snack at the base and made two more runs. Alas, that was all I could manage. I did not want to hurt myself, so we packed in about 2:00.  All in all it was a successful return to the mountains and to snowboarding. Now, to get ready for Steamboat Springs in Feb!! Stay tuned!

I will definitely take more pictures for our next adventure!

LiveLifehappy
LiveLifeHappy.com

 

Sunday, Funday, Volume 1

Sunday, funday, took us out to SE Idaho to visit the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. Hagerman is located in Gooding County about 90 minutes southeast of Boise.

We’ve been a bit lax on our Sunday, Funday adventures but this past weekend we were back at it!

Apparently, horses evolved in North America and the Hagerman Horse,   Equus

Hagerman Horse
Hagerman Horse fossil in the NPS visitor center

simplicidens, is the first true horse and the park’s most famous fossil.  These fossils are from the Pliocene period and Hagerman has the world’s richest deposits of these fossil horses. Pretty cool! The visitor’s center is small but is full of fossils, knowledgeable rangers and you can watch a short film.

From the National Park Service’s website:

In 1988, the Hagerman horse became Idaho’s state fossil and Hagerman Fossil Beds became a national monument. The Monument contains the Hagerman Horse Quarry, a national natural landmark.Hagerman Fossil Beds is nationally and internationally significant for its world-class paleontological resources. 

The Monument’s paleontological resources are contained in a continuous, undisturbed stratigraphic record spanning at least 500,000 years. The fossils deposited here appear to represent an entire paleontological ecosystem with a variety of habitats such as wetland, riparian, and grassland savanna. Most of the fossils contained in the park are not obvious. There are no hikes or observation areas to see the fossils in place. A sampling of excavated fossils is displayed in the park visitor center, while the other fossils are studied under laboratory conditions not currently visible to park visitors. It is in the long term plans for the park to make the laboratory work and procedures more accessible to everyone.

Hagerman Pliocene
Artist’s rendition Pliocene period in Hagerman

It seems that the area held a plethora of outdoor activities that would be fun in more temperate weather – at least we prefer warmer weather. There are river options on the Snake River, trails to hike or ride, hot springs to soak and swim so if you’re looking for a short day trip from Boise this area is a good bet! The Hagerman Chamber has great info to help you plan your adventure!

Another notable from our outing was a stop at the Apple Barrel Deli & Bakery in Mountain Home. We are not fans of the fast food chains out by the interstate so we gambled that there would be something else open a Sunday. We lucked out that the Apple Barrel was open! They offer homemade soups, sandwiches and breakfast all day. The couple that owns and operates the Apple Barrel are super friendly and it made for the perfect lunch stop.

We are looking forward to more Sunday, Funday outings in 2018! We are heading to McCall and Brundage Mountain this weekend to test out our snowboard skills (such that they are).

XO,
Jennifer

Quote for the week:

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