I’ve been doing this thing all my life and never knew it had health benefits.

A counselor told me about “earthing”, also known as “grounding”, which is getting your bare feet out on natural ground – the beach, grass, soil, etc – to allow good things to happen in your body.

My initial response was a dubious sideways glance accompanied by a long version of the word “hmm” that trailed off into silence.

A quick browsing of the internet reveals much information on the topic of earthing. I shy away from any articles that mention “chakras” or anything to do with spiritual overtones of an un- or anti-Christian nature, but some anecdotal and medical reports on the topic hold my interest.

I don’t know how scientific it is, but I want to find out. And if you have any thoughts on it, please do comment below.

I’ve tried it and likely will again, as it’s no different than what I do on any given sunny day, as long as the ground is warm.

However, at this time of year, here in BC’s northern climate, I don’t know if the benefits are worth the discomfort of walking on prickly dead grass that’s still cold from recently melted snow, nor on varying depths and textures of mud and rock, none of which are warm. One plus is that the mosquitos aren’t out yet.

As an experiment, I walked barefoot out to the road to retrieve my garbage can today. Sun shone on most of the ground, but it’s no more than 5 degrees Celsius today. My feet were cold and not exactly dancing.

That was nearly an hour ago and I’m still lying on my bed with my feet under two cotton-cased wool blankets and a fleece blanket to top it all off.

My feet are still cold.

I’ll have to hunt down my sheepskin Uggs boots next.

I hope I did some good for myself. Maybe it’s a case of medicine not having to taste good in order to be beneficial.

One more thought is that my dogs walk around barefoot all the time. They seem very happy. Maybe their “earthing” has something to do with that joy.

Courtney Patton’s arrangement of “Take Your Shoes Off Moses” comes to mind as I think of all this. Here’s the video:

CBD Isolate Powder?

I am learning about CBD isolate. It might be an option for me. I’ve been using doctor prescribed CBD oil daily, to lessen the pain and stiffness associated with fibromyalgia. I also take THCa oil for times when the pain is intense enough to hinder my ability to sleep.

The following link is for an article on CBD isolate written by Jennifer Kurtz in September 2018. I will bring her points up with my medical cannabis doctor’s appointment here in BC and find out if it is a good fit for me.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has used it or has knowledge to share about it.

Sorry for so much blogging

For those who get notifications when I put up a new blog post, I apologize for the recent abundance of them. I myself don’t know why I have been posting so much. At least in part I think it is because I am not feeling well. Fibromyalgia drags me down worse on some days, and then on other days I almost don’t know there’s anything amiss with my health.

It is easier to sit and write on my book project and in my blog than to do the myriad other things I need to do.

Annnnd seeing the above thoughts, I am convicted of my laziness, so I will leave the written word alone for now and go tackle the endlessly growing to-do list despite my pain and stiffness. Slow progress is better than no progress.

Turmeric Coffee

I’ve been making these coffees that are kind of time-consuming to build but they’re so worth it for taste and texture.

I super-fine-grind in an electric burr grinder a scoop of Jivaro Dusk dark roasted beans from Cherry Hill coffee roasters in the Okanagan.

Then I put it in an AeroPress, along with a teaspoon or so of unsweetened cocoa powder and a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes.

Then I heat up 1/4 mug of soy milk, press the coffee with boiling water, and mix it all together in the blender with 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1/4 tsp stevia powder, a few shakes of Himalayan pink salt, a few grinds of multicoloured peppercorns, and a tsp of coconut oil.

It blends up so there’s a thick layer of golden frothy milk on top when I pour it into a mug.

My sister says it’s way too much work, but she hasn’t tasted one o’ these.

Exercise Routines of a Mother of Seven

I posted some pictures of my abs in an internet forum. A few ladies wanted to know what my exercise routine has been to get to this state after seven children. Well, personally, I am not happy with the way I look, and my post was intended to ask what I can do to get rid of waist fat. Maybe I’ve become a victim of Barbie Doll mentality, and probably shouldn’t worry so much about it, but I do.

Maybe some of what I’ve done will work 1000x better for others with a propensity to have better results. My legs are long, which cuts in on the amount of space between hip bones and rib cage, so I can’t expect to have a small waist. Still, I do want it a bit smaller.

Before I ever had any kids, I was into aerobic workouts. Since after I graduated from high school in 1985 and no longer had the “ten-miles-uphill-both-ways-barefoot” walk to keep me fit (truly, it was more like 2 miles downhill on the way there, and of course uphill on the way home), I started going to local gymnasiums where someone would lead a 30 minute workout in the late 1980s. The cost added up, though, and so I eventually put together cassette tapes of my own favorite songs and worked out to music in my house.

Then I discovered free workout videos on TV. I recorded them on a VCR and did them a few times a week.

In late fall of 1990, my ex-mother-in-law sent me a compilation of workouts, which I used while caretaking a barge that fall and winter in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It contained a couple of workouts by Jane Fonda, some by Kathy Smith, and one by some other people who didn’t impress me so I only tried the workout once and forgot their names.

During my first pregnancy, in 1992, I walked a lot on the mud flats of Muddy River, Alaska, during low tide. In my third trimester, I brought my mountain bike up from my old house in Washington and rode it around the logging roads. After my baby was born, I waited six weeks before launching back into workouts, starting with the gentler Jane Fonda workout and eventually working my way back to the longer one.

After my second pregnancy, I got a device called “The Ab-Flex”, which was supposed to help core muscles. I don’t know if it really helped, or if it was more to do with the aerobic video tape that came with it. THAT was awesome. It worked a lot of muscles and made me sweat. Here it is on Youtube:

That video was my go-to, other than Jane Fonda now and then, and it helped me get back to my pre-pregnancy size and stay in shape. I used it after my third, fourth, and fifth babies, but it broke shortly after my sixth was born, so then I sought out a new copy. It seems to be rare and I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I opted for a few others. I tried a 15 minute routine by Teresa Tapp, and also one called “New Dimension” by Cindy Crawford. The latter I enjoyed very much and was able to start on it easily six weeks postpartum. It has a super gentle beginners level of about 15 minutes. The next level up is a few minutes longer but quite a bit more intense as it uses some hand weights. Then the third level is too long for my tastes, at over 40 minutes. I did it once and never did it again.

Six weeks after my seventh baby was born, I worked my way back into the Cindy Crawford DVD. That first routine is also nice for when I got out of the habit of working out for several months. I’d do it every other day for a couple of weeks and then start on the next level.

I forgot to mention that in 2001, after my fifth baby was born, I discovered Leslie Sansone walk videos. I got a couple of those and loved them. I also was using a stair-stepper machine at home, with computerized programs. I’d put on a headset, listen to music for a half hour, and stair-climb. For about 15 minutes of it, I’d also use hand-weights of 5 lbs each.

In 2012, I bought a Jillian Michaels DVD called “The 30 Day Shred”. I hated it, but I challenged myself to stick with it for 30 days. I documented my experiences throughout in a blog:

I now have settled in with Leslie Sansone walk DVDs. My favorites are “Tone Every Zone”, the strength sessions of which I do with 6 lb and 8 lb hand weights; “Mix & Match Walk Blasters”, which is ten different ten-minute segments you can pre-program on your DVD player (I do three at a time, but sometimes four); and “Walk It Off In 30 Days”. The latter is the most intense Leslie Sansone workout I have ever done and I really like it. I also use 6 and 8 lb weights for the strength session, which is 30 minutes long, and I use 3 lb weights for the 30 minute cardio workout. I guess we’re supposed to alternate days, but I usually end up doing it more like 4-5 days a week rather than 7.

Oh, and walking. Walking is something I can’t overestimate as being important. A good quick pace for a half hour, with a few hills thrown in, feels so good. I started mixing it up with running last spring for HIIT (high intensity interval training). I’d do 25-30 minutes of that out in the rolling hills and winding country roads near my house, at least 3 times a week, plus extra walking just for fun, depending on where I felt like going.

Last fall, I bought a used treadmill for $50. I enjoy it, but it is in my un-insulated basement, which is very cold in winter, so I didn’t use it at all in December, January, or February. It’s great for doing HIIT workouts with a headset full of music, but not nearly as fun as being outdoors.

Of course, diet is important, too. In 2009, after my seventh baby, when I got up to 180 lbs, I was having a hard time losing the weight. Cutting calories and doing my usual exercise routines weren’t helping me get below 160 lbs. I had several other health concerns, too, and so I went to my naturopath. He told me to do the anti-Candida diet. The gist of that is to cut out all sugar – an addiction that is tough to break, but so worth it – and also I couldn’t have all kinds of other things I’d habitually eaten. Finally the weight started coming off. I got back to 120 lbs within eight months.

I am now 130 lbs, at 5’6″, but want to get back to 125, which has been my norm for the past decade or two, except for a few times when I dipped to 115 during some severe depression and heavy stress – I don’t want to be depressed and underweight, though.

I’ve been trying the ketogenic diet, and although I like the foods that are involved, I’m not having much success in losing the ten pounds I gained this winter. I’ve lost four pounds since starting in January, now three months ago. Maybe because I am 51, I need to accept 130 as the new 120? I hope not.

I guess that’s about it. I am looking forward to getting back into HIIT outside as soon as the snow and ice are gone around here.

Mom’s Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Mom’s Whole Wheat Bread
(Yield: 6 loaves)

3 cups hot water
2 cups non-hot water
1/4 cup honey
2 TB pink salt
16-20 cups fresh whole wheat flour (freshly ground makes all the difference)
3 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup millet
1 egg
2/3 cup olive oil
4 TB Saf Instant yeast
1 more cup of water

1. Put 3 cups of hot water in Bosch mixer bowl. Add the honey and salt. Turn on mixer till honey and salt are mixed in. Add 2 cups of cold water.

2. Add 8 cups of flour. Mix till just combined. Let it sponge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Put 1/2 cup of hot water in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Melt in 1 tsp honey. Add 1/2 cup cold water. Add the yeast. Stir it in. Let sit for 15-30 minutes, till it rises to top of the measuring cup. If it doesn’t rise that high, or it sinks, the yeast has failed and you need to repeat this step with new water, honey, and yeast.

4. Add the yeast mixture to the Bosch. Mix together briefly on speed 1.

5. Add egg, flax, millet, vital wheat gluten, and olive oil. Mix together briefly on speed 1.

6. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing between additions. As the dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl, feel it to see if it is too sticky. Add flour in 1/4 cup increments till the dough feels right – not sticky, but not dry and flaky.

7. Knead on speed 1 for 6 minutes.

8. While the dough is kneading, oil the pans with about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of olive oil in each, plus a tiny dab of soy lecithin (about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp).

9. Dump the dough out onto the counter. You’ll need to gently turn the bowl until you can pull the dough hook up, and then the whole bowl will release easier.

10. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. You can use the kitchen scale or just eye it out.

11. Roll out each dough piece to a rectangle approximately as wide as a pan and 12-14” long.

12. Roll up each rectangle tightly, and pinch it closed on the ends and the front seam. Try not to let there be any big gaps or else air bubbles will form in the rising and cooking.

13. Cover the loaves with tea towels and let rise for 30 minutes. They should get to a bit above the pan sides. Don’t let it rise much more than 30 minutes or they will flop when baking.

14. While loaves are rising, get the oven temperature up to about 350. If using wood cook-stove, approximate as best you can, and adjust the cook time accordingly.

15. Place loaves in oven and bake for 28-30 minutes if using a gas or electric oven – watch it if using wood-heated oven. Could be done in as little as 20 minutes if it got too hot, or longer than a half hour if not hot enough. I wouldn’t put it in any lower than 300, though.

16. Remove loaves from oven. Take them out of the pans and place on cooling rack/cutting board. Mist them on the tops and sides with clean water. Cover with tea towels. When cool, put in bags. These store very nicely in the freezer for several weeks.

Coffee Concoction for Weight Loss

A friend told me about this Valentus coffee stuff she’d been drinking that helped her lose weight. I had a few pounds to lose myself, but was frustrated by the lack of progress despite my best efforts that had worked in the past. After seven babies and nearing the age of 50, maintaining my ideal weight became a challenge.

I decided to give it a try and was impressed with the results. It’s not what I’d call cheap, working out to about $4.00 per day (our Canadian dollar is not good lately, but the product comes from the States, so it is cheaper for those who live there), which is less than what one would spend on something hot and delicious in a cafe, and, as it cuts cravings, it causes you to spend less on other treats in said cafe or fast food joints, and can make a dent in your grocery bill in general.

It is one of those “multi level marketing” things, and I am not a fan of those, but as it does help with weight loss and thus increase one’s health level, I feel I’d be amiss to NOT share it. Here is a link for it if you’d like to know more:

Motorcycle Mama

Me at my ideal weight in 2013 – 5 more lbs to go