Ruminations, Louise Brooks, & More

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This tranquil secret garden was part of the Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour about ten years ago.

This past week hasn’t been what I’d term thrilling—mostly I’ve been dealing with sudden, stabbing pain that would strike my right shoulder randomly, immobilizing my entire arm. This excruciating pain was related to my recent shoulder surgery.

But I don’t really want to rehash all the occurrences. Suffice to say I’m heartily sick of the subject. But I was taken aback when the pain hit me hard at the gym the other day, especially since I never work my right shoulder at the gym and all I was doing was getting off of one of the machines.

The pain was severe but nowhere near as bad as the first occurrence almost two weeks ago. I somehow shuffled over to a couch in the lobby and attempted to sit down. My BFF was with me, so she helped carry my stuff for me.

One of the staff came over and asked me if I was alright. I knew they’d be worried I had injured myself on the premises, so I hastily assured him that my condition had nothing to do with the gym. I asked if there was an ice pack on hand and there was! Sure saved my life.

Luckily, we had completed our strength training, so we rested and chatted for quite awhile. Eventually, my friend left and I finished my workout by putting in 30 minutes of rather low-key cardio on the stationary bike. Just didn’t have the energy to go all out. My body couldn’t do it. But, hey, at least I finished.

This coming week will be filled with various doctor appointments, PT, and filing taxes. Not exactly fun in the sun, huh?

I’ll be following up with two orthos (for my knee and right shoulder), and I’ll be getting an MRI on my left shoulder. I’m kinda hoping I just have bursitis and not a rotator cuff tear on the left shoulder. But it’s a bit unnerving to hear my left shoulder crackle whenever I do shoulder rolls. At least my right shoulder doesn’t make any noise at all.

Small mercies. I’ll take ’em.

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF

No more Gloomy Gus; it’s time for the uplifting part of my post. First of all, my BFF and I are planning to visit a local nature park mid-week. She’s never been there, and it’s been over a decade since I’ve visited the gardens. We’ll walk around, commune with nature, and hopefully take lots of pictures.

I say hopefully take lots of pictures because my poor iPhone is old and storage is extremely low. Oh yeah, and the battery is starting to go, too. If only I had a great digital camera, or at least, the iPhone 7.

Believe me, I’d be running out today and getting a brand new phone with oodles of storage if I could only afford it.

Wait. That falls under the heading of the Gloomy Gus stuff. OK then. Back to the fun stuff.

We’re also planning on going on the Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour in May. We took the tour over a decade ago and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I’m sure we’ll see some lovely gardens again, such as the one pictured at the top of this post.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography has been an interest of mine since I was a teen. Ever since my recent discovery of the Painnt app, I’ve been obsessively applying filters to some of my pictures and other free sources and have been sharing them on various platforms such as Instagram.

Filtering photos really is art in its own way, even if you’re just tweaking a stock photo. You’re puting your own stamp, your imagination, creativity, and indeed your own unique vision upon a subject. You’re enhancing color, increasing warmth, or adding ominous touches to the original photo. By the clever manipulation of light, shadow, color, and texture, you can completely alter the narrative of the original source photo.

And to me, that is exciting indeed. If I’m lucky, I find myself awestruck by the beauty and transformation of the finished creation.

I’m using the Painnt app on my iPad right now because my old computer with Photoshop on it isn’t hooked up to the internet. And yes, I also need a new computer and the latest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dreamweaver… ahem.

OK. Fun stuff only. See, I remembered.

DISCOVERING LOUISE BROOKS

I’d like to show you some of the work I’ve done this week. One of my favorite creations is this photo of the iconic silent screen actress, Louise Brooks. Frankly, I’d like to produce a high-res image of it in acrylic so I could display it.

I’ll post my filtered photo first, and next to it I’ll post the original black and white so you can compare the two. Interestingly enough, I had come across the source photo in a Facebook group dedicated to the 20s, 30s, and 40s. I was struck by Louise’s beauty and by the exquisite photo itself, so I thought I’d try working on it. I was pleased with the results.

I naturally knew who Louise Brooks was, but I had never seen her films, nor did I know much about her personal life. So it was highly gratifying for me to accidentally stumble across an intriguing BBC documentary on her life on YouTube last night. The documentary was based on interviews with her and included excerpts from her 1982 memoir, “Lulu in Hollywood,” which were read by actress Linda Hunt.

Louise was a fascinating creature. With her bobbed hair and hedonistic lifestyle, she was the epitome of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Roaring Twenties flapper—liberated, sexually adventurous, headstrong, and ultimately self-destructive.

Louise had an admittedly relaxed attitude about sex. She had affairs with some prominent men, like Charlie Chaplin, but she also claimed to have had a brief dalliance with Greta Garbo.

She socialized with William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies at San Simeon. Louise also worked with many of the famous stars, directors, and producers of her day, including W. C. Fields, Walter Wanger, Howard Hawks, Wallace Beery, and even Fatty Arbuckle after his downfall.

Louise soon tired of her new husband and Hollywood and went to Berlin where she made her best films. Berlin in the twenties was decadent and every sexual appetite could be easily satisfied, especially if you had the money to pay for it. But it was also a creative city in which to make innovative silent films.

Brooks is best known as the lead in three feature films made in Europe: “Pandora’s Box” (1929), “Diary of a Lost Girl” (1929), and “Miss Europe” (1930). The first two were directed by the famed Austrian director, G. W. Pabst.

It is in “Pandora’s Box” that Louise plays Lulu. According to Wikipedia, “Brooks’ portrayal of a seductive, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself and those who love her, although initially unappreciated, eventually made the actress a star.”

Pabst had predicted that if she did not mend her ways, she’d end up like Lulu. But Louise sought pleasure for pleasure’s sake and her personal life often too closely mirrored that of Lulu’s. She was on the verge of total self-destruction when film preservationist, James Card, rescued her in 1955.

Her memoir should prove to be a fascinating book. I’m looking forward to finding a copy and reading it.

 FILTERED PHOTOS 

Over the last couple of days, I began focusing on certain themes: horses, lighthouses, greasers or Teddy Boys, musicians, dancers, and a few miscellaneous subjects. Some samples of my work are in the following slideshows:

HORSES & LIGHTHOUSES

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DANCERS

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GREASERS & MUSICIANS

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50s GLAMOUR, RIPPED DUDE, & MISC.

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I’m always searching for new subject matter, whether it be current or evocative of the past. But there’s always something intriguing to unravel when delving into the social mores of a bygone era. You never quite know what fascinating tidbits you’ll uncover when you take some steps back into time.

Can An App Really Help You Lose Weight?

My Fitness Pal is a free app that I utilize daily to record my food and exercise. Not only does it help tweak my diet, but I’ve found the daily articles and recipes to be extremely helpful too.

Today, for example, I read an article written by Kim Westerman titled, “Losing Weight When You Physically Can’t Exercise: Doreen’s Journey.” Doreen used My Fitness Pal to log her meals. I’ve also benefited from logging my food and exercise each day in my quest to reach my fitness goals.

I, too, have experienced issues with mobility over the last ten years because of injuries, arthritis, and a couple of surgeries. I also have an acquaintance who is in even worse shape than I am, so I hoped that the article would prove to be an interesting and motivating read. It was.

SO I’M OVERWEIGHT—WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

I think what many people don’t realize is that obesity is far more detrimental to one’s health than they might think. Everyone pretty much knows that obesity can cause heart attacks or clogged arteries. But the very fact that someone is obese may bring on nasty metabolic changes, which in turn can cause diabetes, chronic inflammation, and arthritis.

New research suggests that it’s not the stress on the joints that causes arthritis, it’s the metabolic changes caused by an over-abundance of body fat. That was definitely an eye-opener.

It took being diagnosed as pre-diabetic in May 2015 to get me started on the road to fitness. I knew my body could only handle minimal impact exercise, so I took up swimming and water aerobics to build up my strength and flexibility. I cut my sugar intake drastically, ate better, and lost a little weight. I began going to the gym. But as the months went by, I found my weight loss was unbelievably slow and frustrating.

In July 2015, a friend recommended My Fitness Pal to me. I downloaded the app on my mobile devices and have been using it ever since. I heartily recommend it. So far, I’ve lost 61 pounds. Yes, I still have more body fat to lose, but I now have normal glucose levels. And that’s a big win for me!

Most people go on a diet to look better. But I’ve discovered that it was more helpful to consider looking good as a happy byproduct of losing weight. The true motivation for me to lose body fat and to gain muscle was to regain mobility, avoid diabetes, and increase my longevity.

I’M THIN—WHY DO I NEED MFP?

But what if you don’t want to lose weight—should you still use the MFP app? The short answer is yes.

You may think you’re eating a healthy balance of macros and micros, but nine times out of ten, you’ll find there’s something in your diet that needs tweaking. Most people that log their food are amazed how much sugar, fat, sodium, and calories they actually consume. And are you getting enough iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C? Usually the answer is a resounding no.

You won’t know the answers to your questions until you log your food into an app such as My Fitness Pal.

MORE ABOUT MFP

MFP doesn’t differentiate between ADDED sugars and what is naturally found in food. Since food labels do not reflect that information yet, MFP can’t either. Unfortunately, it’s the same with B vitamins. I’m hoping that once labels are improved, MFP will incorporate that information into their food analysis.

It’s important to note that if you’re eating clean and sticking to fruits, vegetables, and dairy, there will be naturally occurring sugars in those foods. Those are not inherently bad sugars. (However, if you’re needing to manage blood glucose, there are extra steps you need to take to ensure there are no untoward spikes, such as sticking to low glycemic load foods.) I always eat protein with every meal or snack to help my body deal with naturally occurring and added sugars.

One of the real dangers to healthy eating is consuming processed foods that are almost always laden with added sugar and sodium, not to mention additives, preservatives, and food coloring.

But there’s another danger that is often overlooked by even those who consider themselves to be clean eaters: adding too much sugar or salt to what otherwise would have been a healthy meal.

For instance, when I began making my homemade vegetarian soups, I diligently logged all the ingredients. To my surprise, I discovered that I was using entirely too much salt. It sure didn’t taste too salty!

So I cut back drastically on the salt and threw in a lot more spices to give my soups more flavor. I also add one or two tablespoons of Bragg’s nutritional yeast to each bowl of soup for additional B vitamins and flavor. I’m not a fan of nutritional yeast’s taste except in my homemade soups—that’s where I think it adds greatly to my veggie soups’ savoriness.

A friend of mine has strict dietary requirements for his various ailments, and he’s always prided himself that he’s been eating clean for years. However, he was adding two tablespoons of maple syrup to his daily breakfast of oatmeal and berries. Maple syrup is sugar. Even though he was eating egg whites with his breakfast, he still was consuming a big load of simple carbs each morning. This practice was detrimental to his health goals.

I advised him to stick to steel cut oats, not rolled, to lay off the maple syrup entirely, and to add a tablespoon of chia seeds instead. The chia seeds provide antioxidants, as well as healthy fats which help slow absorption and keeps you feeling fuller longer. That’s what I do, and even though I consider myself to be a recovering sugar addict, I’ve found I don’t miss the sugar in my oatmeal at all.

BUT ISN’T IT A HASSLE?

I wasn’t sure I wanted to log my food and exercise. I had tried keeping a food diary on paper many years ago, and I had hated it. But by using the app, the experience has proven to be fairly hassle-free and far more rewarding than I had assumed. I’ve been logging my food for over 600 days now. I think I can safely say that it’s a good habit that I’ve acquired.

Try MFP for a month. It’s free. And what can you lose, except those bad habits that have prevented you from being the healthiest you’ve ever been?

Vegetarian vs. Eating Chicken for Weight Loss

img_9128A couple of things I want to discuss today has to do with chicken vs. vegetarian diets, weight loss, and a sale at Macy’s. Actually, there’s a tie-in. Really!

I’m excited because I just bought a new George Foreman grill online at Macy’s for $30. It’s large enough for me (4 servings) and has removable plates. I wanted red, but hey, for $30, I’ll be OK with white. Anyway, now I’ll be able to quickly grill chicken breasts for that added zap of protein. My favorite method is to sprinkle Cajun spices on a chicken breast and grill. It’s that simple.

The sale ends February 26. If you’ve been thinking about buying a GF grill, now’s your chance. The same grill costs about $60 at Kohl’s and $47 at KMart. So it’s a fantastic deal!

My next point has to do with a great article in My Fitness Pal, which gives some terrific information about eating healthy, satisfying foods. Be sure to check out the recipes, too. But boy, I’m telling ya, this next paragraph made so much sense to me:

“Lean proteins, like chicken, aid in satiety by affecting the hormones that control hunger and how quickly food empties from our stomachs,” says Keri Glassman, MS, RD. “Chicken also has the highest thermal effect of food, meaning it burns the most calories during digestion, versus carbs and fat.”

See? I KNEW I was losing weight faster when I was eating chicken as opposed to when I was sticking to a vegetarian diet! I’m making lovely, healthy vegetable and split peas or bean soups, but they’re carb-heavy. It would be more filling and would enable a more efficient weight loss to eat four ounces of grilled chicken, a cup of vegetable soup, and black forbidden rice (or brown jasmine rice), rather than a big bowl of soup and rice for dinner.

Plus, if I’m eating a chicken breast with the meal, I can halve the amount of split peas or beans in the soup and double up on the veggies. It would result in soups that have less carbs but are still healthy and delicious.

This subject has been a huge bone of contention between me and a vegan I know. I had told him that I seemed to have lost weight much faster when I had incorporated chicken into my diet. It was driving me nuts that my weight loss had slowed to a crawl.

In fact, my simple musings about this caused him to stop talking to me for two weeks. (He hates having his beliefs challenged.) This vegan was sure that his diet was healthier than mine, even though his diet is low on variety and he hasn’t gone to the doctor in over ten years. He has no idea what his blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, or CBC is.

He’s assuming he’s healthy, but since he’s 52 years old, the only way to know if his lifestyle is working well for him is to go to the doctor and get a physical. He has health insurance, but he refuses to go to the doctor for a checkup.

The guy is a vegan because he believes certain studies that I, frankly, discount as junk science. He believes eating vegan is healthier than being a vegetarian or omnivore. He also subscribes to the theory that people are not omnivorous, which is something I heartily discount.

I ate vegetarian for a year because I’m a huge animal lover and factory farming distresses me. I hate the thought of killing animals. I also can’t afford to eat chicken or salmon daily.

But I’m recovering from my second surgery in less than a year, plus I need to kickstart my weight loss program again. I got off track for the first time in over a year after this last surgery, so if I add chicken and salmon back to my diet for now, it will help kick my desire for sweets and butter.

I’d like to try this way of eating for awhile and compare it to my weight loss results just prior to surgery. Yes, there will be variables to take into consideration, but the fun of trying this experiment will have the added bonus of motivating me to lose weight. Oddly enough, I had felt like giving up the fight recently, but today, I’m finally feeling galvanized.

Being able to build muscle again is having a positive effect on my outlook, too. I went back to the gym a few days ago after my enforced, post-surgical six-week hiatus, and I’m in physical therapy for my shoulder. I’ll be feeling stronger soon—I can’t wait!

Another motivator that I plan to use is to set short-term goals. I use my Chūze Fitness app to set exercise goals for which I garner points. I’ve already earned a free month at the gym! My previous goal was to exercise three times/week, but now I’ll up it to five. And I’m setting my next weight loss goal to 30 lbs. But believe me, I’ll celebrate each ten lb. weight loss, perhaps with a new outfit. That will be fun!

But I digress—back to discussing the article.

Quinoa is on this list of foods that provide satiety, but I never felt satisfied after eating it. In fact, I usually feel hungrier. Strange, but for me, it’s true. Maybe I need to add other ingredients to it, like as pictured in the article. That dish looks yummy!

Greek yogurt and eggs: I absolutely eat them daily. Plain Greek yogurt is marvelous with fresh berries and cinnamon. If I want something to satisfy my sweet tooth and make me think I’m eating dessert, I’ll eat Triple Zero Greek yogurt (the black label). I particularly enjoy the coffee and salted caramel flavors.

Don’t buy cottage cheese if it has carrageenan added to it. Carrageenan is nasty and is believed to cause inflammation. If you find a small curd cottage cheese with NO carrageenan in it, please LMK. Frankly, I doubt there is such a product.

Steel cut oatmeal for breakfast? Absolutely! But I add no sugar or any sweetener at all. Who needs that extra jolt of carbs? Not me. I was pre-diabetic and so I worry about back sliding. For added flavor, I recommend sprinkling in ground cinnamon to the oatmeal while cooking. To keep you feeling fuller longer and to add healthy fats to your diet, mix in a tablespoon of chia seeds to your oatmeal when served.

I usually eat oatmeal with a hard boiled egg for extra protein and satiety. Tossing in some blackberries, strawberries and/or blueberries not only adds flavor and sweetness, but also provides powerful antioxidants and vitamin C.

It’s a fantastic breakfast. Not only is steel cut oatmeal with fresh berries and chia seeds fairly economical, it doesn’t spike my blood sugar. I’m benefiting in a myriad of other ways, too. I’m including whole grains in my diet, and lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol levels at the same time. Another huge plus is that this breakfast will help my skin to retain its suppleness and elasticity. Berries are loaded with vitamin C, which is necessary to produce collagen. This means I’m fighting the ravages of aging, all in one meal. Not bad, huh?

What tips do you have for weight loss and to stay motivated? I’d be very interested in reading your comments.

Life’s Little Journeys


Well, ain’t this the truth? I may not have reached my goals yet, but at least I’m healthier than I was at this time last year.

My knee issue, which had plagued me on and off for ten years was finally diagnosed last year (torn meniscus), which culminated in knee surgery 5 1/2 months ago. But the knee is still swollen, it’s still healing, and I’m now dealing with scar tissue.

Hey, the good news is that the knee surgery is behind me. Right?

After the surgery, it drove me nuts to see how weak I had become. Couldn’t bend my knee very much. I had some initial progress but then it just kinda stopped. So frustrating.

Now I’m seeing some progress again. I worked out twice today. First I went to PT, and then I worked out in the pool after I got home. It could be four more months, or possibly more, to heal fully, my therapist said. Oh, well.

Not really sure my knee will ever be 100% again, but that’s my goal.

Life’s little journeys.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Well, it's not quite that cold yet, but the nights are certainly getting chillier.

Well, it’s not quite that cold yet, but the nights are certainly getting chillier.

It’s definitely colder today. Yesterday my bedroom was a warm 70°. Right now, it’s only 63° in my bedroom.

Which is why I didn’t go to water aerobics this morning. Putting on a bathing suit in 46° weather just didn’t sound appealing. But with this change in the weather, I think finding an affordable indoor pool is necessary now.

I haven’t been sleeping well the last two days, for some reason. Last night, I woke up after only a few hours of sleep. And since it took awhile to get back to sleep, there was no way I was going to wake up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.

However, my knee started feeling better yesterday. It was a huge shock to me, but this morning I walked downstairs with minimal use of my cane. This is the first time that I can remember in ages that I didn’t have to lean heavily on my cane.

My knee was taped the day before Thanksgiving, when I was in horrible shape. The tape lasted six days and it helped. I’ve been horribly inactive for weeks now.

Sure, it’s helping my knee, but I fear the rest of my muscles are atrophying. Haha. Not really funny.

Anyway, the knee is still swollen and I still need surgery, but to even briefly experience going downstairs without pain is a Godsend. I truly had forgotten what that felt like!

 

Don’t Let Life Get You Down

challenges

Challenges can be overwhelming, but the best approach is to roll with the punches and figure out how to overcome obstacles.

We all face challenges in our daily life, but it’s our mindset that has the biggest influence on the outcome. And yep, it’s NOT always easy. But once you make up your mind and become determined to reach a certain goal, your life often changes for the better.

I’ve lost 16% of my body weight so far, despite the challenges I’ve faced lately with my lack of mobility and the fact that Thanksgiving and my birthday were in the same week. Ooh, plus a friend invited me to be his date at a dinner the other night, which was a lot of fun.

The encouraging news is that I STILL lost 9 lbs. in 30 days, even after eating those three amazing meals. All three dinners included dessert, and one of the meals included wine. I just made good choices and logged everything in the app, My Fitness Pal.

Isn’t it great to know that losing weight during the holidays, and without feeling deprived, can be a reality?

I haven’t been blogging much lately because my left knee totally gave out on me not too long ago. My active lifestyle came to a dead stop. I even had a couple of days of crushing depression because of it.

My knee improved after my physical therapist taped it the day before Thanksgiving. The tape stayed on for 6 days, and it really helped. I can finally put weight on that leg again and straighten it when I’m lying down, but I have to keep the knee bent when I walk.

Sadly, the limping is throwing off my gait and putting a huge strain on my back. It’s also exhausting to walk that way.

I won’t know more until I go to my ortho surgeon to get my MRI results next Wednesday. The surgery will be scheduled then, likely for sometime in January.

Another big problem is that I stopped all exercise because of my knee and car problems. I’m determined to go back to water aerobics class this Saturday, baring any unforeseen problems like rain or the car becomes undriveable. So even though the morning will be cold, the outdoor pool is heated.

Hopefully, I’ll fight the desire to stay snuggled under the covers early Saturday morning and that the weather won’t be a deterrent. I really need to go to water aerobics because I can tell I’m losing strength and stamina. My goal is to strengthen my core, which will help relieve my low back pain immensely.

Today was a breakthrough; I actually went grocery  shopping. Unfortunately, it left me exhausted and sweating. I felt as weak as a kitten trying to maneuver that heavy cart up and down those aisles.

You try pushing a grocery cart with your left side, limping, hunched over the cart, with a cane in your right hand. It doesn’t frickin’ WORK!

So those are two of my personal challenges. I need to have knee surgery done in early January, get through the 4-6 weeks of recovery, and buy a new car. And then start going back to physical therapy.

The good news is that PT for my rotator cuff issues has also been approved. So I can make the PT appointments once I figure out all the necessary logistics.

I’d love to hear about some of your personal challenges and what steps you’re taking to overcome them. We can all help each other obtain our goals. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

UPDATE: December 18, 2016

Wow. Someone just liked this post on my blog from a year ago. Reading it brings back so many memories. After I wrote this, I was forced to use those electric carts in the store. But even those left me sweating and exhausted. That’s how difficult life was back then. And it made me realize how all that made my back issues worse. I found it interesting how I was still losing weight quickly then, but it all slowed to a crawl immediately following surgery. I’m eating about 1200 calories or so per day now, and I’m lucky if I lose one pound. Grrrr. However, I’ve persevered and have lost 67 lbs. I never did PT for my rotator cuff. Probably better I didn’t cuz it turned out that my rotator cuff has disintegrated and I need surgery. Major shoulder surgery is scheduled for January 6. 

Good News!

imageAs some of you know, I had a total blood panel done in May. The hemoglobin A1C, which tests your blood glucose levels averaged over a span of two or three months, came back at 6.1. This meant I was pre-diabetic. Normal is 5.6 or lower. Pre-diabetic starts at 5.7, and diabetic is 6.4. And 7.0 is when organs start failing.

Well, I was bound and determined that I was not going to become diabetic, so I changed my eating and exercise habits drastically. The next blood test I did showed no change in my A1C, although my blood pressure and cholesterol tests were now normal. So I had another complete blood panel done about two weeks ago. I kept calling the doctor’s office to find out the results. They had the test results but couldn’t tell me what my A1C was yet because the doctor hadn’t signed off on the test results. Frustrating!

I called my doctor’s office again this morning. The person who answered the phone said my results were normal. I didn’t expect such good news, so I asked for the specific number. My A1C has gone down to 5.8! That’s practically normal. There are two other blood GL tests that I’ll find out about tomorrow when I go to the doctor tomorrow. But it all sounds like my hard work has paid off!

Am I out of the woods now? Heck no. I want to get my A1C to a much lower level, such as 5.2. The problem I’m having now is because of my knee, I went from exercising 7 days/week to none. The knee has improved slightly, but I need surgery.

So how do you lower your A1C?

* Lose weight if you’re overweight. This alone can lower your A1C.
* Exercise if you don’t already. All you need to do is walk. It’s that simple. Start with 10 minutes a day. Indoors or out. Just walk. Work your way up to 30 minutes of vigorous walking 5 times a week.
* Don’t consume a lot of sugar. Ditch the soda. Read labels. Sugar lurks in places you wouldn’t dream of.
* Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fiber (plant foods), protein and healthy fats.
* Eat foods with a low glycemic load and always eat protein when you consume carbohydrates.
* Take necessary steps to ensure both blood pressure and cholesterol levels are normal.

MRI UPDATE: I got the MRI done on my knee last Tuesday. I couldn’t straighten out my knee, couldn’t put any weight on my left leg, and I could barely walk. A friend drove me to my appointment. The MRI itself was OK, but because the technician had to straighten out my knee, I felt pain radiating up and down my leg, into my hip and down into my foot. I breathed through the pain, tried to relax, and hoped my muscles wouldn’t start to spasm. They didn’t. Whew! Unfortunately, my ortho surgeon appointment to get the results of the MRI isn’t until December 16. I’d like to schedule the surgery as soon as possible, so I can start recovering.