Category Archives: Health and Wellness

“As We Get Older”

As a person rapidly approaching 60 I believe the biggest obstacles we face as we grow older are the negative perceptions surrounding age and aging.  I live in an area that is a popular place to retire.  Popular topics of conversation include ailments, procedures and how bad it is to get old.  The most popular area of Walmart is the pharmacy with what sometimes seems like a never ending line.  Depression, alcoholism and feelings of worthlessness over no longer being able or allowed to work are much more prevalent among the “elder” population than I had ever imagined.

I recently and reluctantly visited my doctor for a sudden and mysterious problem with my knee.  He ended up giving me the “as we get older” speech.  This was the first time a doctor had ever said that to me indicating they were not going to look for the cause of a problem.  I normally would have reacted with anger, but I sat there in disbelief feeling a smile come over my face.  While I was checking out I looked at Bob and said, “He didn’t have to say those four hateful words — as we get older.”  The receptionist laughed and said, “it happens to all of us.”

But I know, and I suspect you do too, that a steady decline to the grave is not all we have to look forward to as we grow older.  I do not believe it is inevitable.  In fact, the belief that there is nothing we can do but watch it happen is foreign to me.  Members of my family have lived happy, healthy, active and independent lives well into their 80’s and 90’s.

Believing that it is not what happens to us, but our attitudes, beliefs and perceptions about what happens that matters, let’s try flipping the as we get older speech into something positive.  Instead of talking about what we lose as we get older, let’s talk about what we gain.

  1. The time to do what we want, rather than what society demands of us.  Now we can take that trip we always dreamed of, learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, change your life.  Now that “working” to earn money is not as important, we can focus on the spiritual.  We can take back the time and energy we gave to the world and give it to the Divine.
  2. We are able to look back on times we thought we couldn’t survive and see that we did.  This can give us a sense of hope and reassurance that we are resilient and we are survivors.
  3. We gain an awareness of what is really important in life and what endures over time.  People and experiences become more important to us than things as we get older.
  4. And finally, we do achieve wisdom gained through life experience.  At 20 we think we know everything, at 60 if we are truthful, we realize we don’t.

We sometimes need help realizing that these are positive things.  They are also not things we have to go searching after trying to acquire.  We already have them.

Thought for Today

Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins
Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

“As parents, we have the responsibility and the power to create a foundational love for nutritious foods that will influence our children’s choices for decades to come, setting the stage for our children, grandchildren, and future generations to flourish in wellness and health.”Leah Borski

Be Still

Lake View Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
Lake View
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
We live in a world where it can be extremely difficult to be still.  Every minute of the day we are being bombarded with external stimuli and constant messages to do more and be more.
     I am blessed with being extremely sensitive to sensory stimuli.  No, it doesn’t always feel like a blessing when I am going into overload with sounds that are too loud, lights too bright and small movements that feel like an earthquake.  Many times it seems there is nowhere to go to escape.  Even many churches have extremely loud music and images flashing on screens.
     The blessing is I know that if I do not find a quiet place to withdraw from the world and go within harm will be done to my body.  We cannot live in a constant state of sensory overload without damage being done.  The sad part if this is many people do not realize this truth.
     Take time throughout the day to find stillness.  Arrive at destinations a little early.  Sit in your quiet car and focus on your breath for a few minutes.  Make time for meditation and slow, gentle focused physical activity.  Escape the noise and busyness of our modern world and just be still.  Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.

Follow the Breath

Breathe in…   breath out.  Isn’t it amazing how this simple act provides life giving oxygen to the entire body? How many times do we do this without even noticing? Unless you have a medical condition that makes breathing difficult you may even take this for granted.

I finally learned how to breathe in my forties.  Until then my breaths were so shallow Bob sometimes wondered if I was breathing.  Learning to breathe was one of the beginning steps on the road to health for me.

Breathe in…  breathe out.  Following the breath is one way to calm the mind.  We do this in meditation.  In a meditation tradition I practice we also follow the breath into the Silence where God awaits.

Please take a few minutes for this guided breathing meditation with Kim Eng.

Almonds: A Healthy, Naturally Gluten Free Snack

When you live with food restrictions it doesn’t take many times being caught away from home without something you can eat to learn you need to carry at least a snack.  There are gluten free “nutrition bars” available now, but I prefer to turn to Mother Nature for my snacks. One of my favorites is almonds.

Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. These are the same type of fats found in olive oil which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. The oils in almonds can go rancid so storing them in the refrigerator or freezer is always a good idea.

Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E and a good source of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber and contain more calcium than any other nut. They are high in protein (about 18%) and contain basically no carbohydrates making them a good snack for people with blood sugar issues. I have used almonds for this purpose for years.

I buy nuts and seeds raw.  Roast your own almonds in a 160 – 170 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t want to destroy those good oils, so not too high with the heat.

I repackage my almonds into single servings.   A serving of almonds is around 20-23 nuts.   A single serving of almonds in a mint tin, or a small plastic bag will fit comfortably in your pocket.

Visit the consumer website of the California Almond Board for more information and recipes using almonds.


Living a Balanced LIfe With (or without) Celiac Disease

In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Day I want to talk about living a balanced life. It is not easy living a balanced life in a world that seems to thrive on chaos, especially with chronic illness or food restrictions. But it is possible. Please remember…

1. You are more than just a body. Mind and spirit also need attention.

2. It’s not what happens to us, but how we think and react that counts.

3. Attitudes are contagious. Surround yourself with positive people.

4. Your support group should support you in living the best, healthiest life possible. If the talk is always about sickness, look for a new group.

5. Food is the fuel that keeps our bodies running, but there is more to life.

6. Take time to learn how to live, eat and cook gluten free, then start applying what you learn and get on with life.

7. Fear can serve as a warning to avoid danger, but don’t live there.

8. Eat the healthiest, freshest foods you can eat. Don’t let food restrictions be an excuse to eat junk food.

9. Take time out for rest, relaxation and reflection.

10. Exercise, move your body, but remember this is just part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

Don’t let any disease or food intolerance be an excuse for living a life that is out of balance and out of control. A healthy, balanced lifestyle is an important part of life.

Heart Thought for September

Over the years I saw many people who had advanced heart disease and I was so frustrated because I knew if they just knew how to do the right thing, simple lifestyle and diet steps, that the entire trajectory of their life and health would have been different. — Mehmet Oz M.D.


Always Learning

Callie chooses a book. Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins
Callie chooses a book.
Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

It is important to continue to learn new things throughout our lifetime.  It builds new neural pathways that keep our memories sharp and our brains young.

Habits and patterns of thinking and behavior can be hard to break so we can learn to think in new ways.  We also get caught up in the need for higher education to get a good job and make a livable income and forget what it’s like to learn just for the sake of knowledge.

Learning opportunities are everywhere.  Special interest classes are offered by colleges, community centers, county extension offices, churches etc.  We learn by reading and researching topics that interest us.  We can also learn by doing and experiencing.  Want to learn to identify native birds?  Find a field guide and a pair of binoculars and go bird watching.  Want to learn to apply special effects to your photos?  Learn everything you can about programs that will do this then start playing.  Learning can and should be fun.

Staying young isn’t about looking like you’re still thirty in your seventies.  It’s about having a healthy active mind that never stops learning.  So go out there, learn something new and don’t forget to have fun!

What are you learning?