Weekly Photo Challenge: Let’s Dance!

Dancing is the best form of exercise there is.  Better than walking or running, helps with coordination, memory, balance, muscle strength and it feels so good!

Take a class or just free style it.  Belly Dancing is fun!

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Healthy Living for 2016

I apologize for my website not being all it should be.

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My plan was to advise people how to get the most bang for their buck, hence the “Po” in Girl and that’s real poor.  I’ve lived in poverty and near poverty most of my life and actually have done alright.  I’m not some yuppie trying to look cool making things up as I go along of what might work.  I wanted to be writing relevant things to really help people in their day-to-day lives trying to get the best price for various things as well as what to look out for, especially nowadays.

General

Most of my life, I ate very sensibly and healthy.  My childhood was near starvation but after I was married I made healthy meals that were good for my family, a lot of it from our own garden, and it wasn’t until I hit around 50 years of age that I began a slow decline into the typical American diet in some ways.  Fighting hormonal mood swings and unhappiness with my life, which was completely different from clinical depression.

I describe the difference with feeling bad and clinical depression as this.  Clinical depression is someone with a wonderful life.  Loving husband and semi-normal kids, good report from the Doctor.  You live in a nice neighborhood, belong to the PTA and drive the latest car and something’s missing inside of you, you are miserable, maybe even bitchy and weepy, to me you have an ungrateful heart.  The Doctor would say depression, maybe.  Or maybe you don’t know just how bad, bad can be.

The unhappy person is the one that was born to a severely dysfunctional family, neglected and abused, they are not welcome or invited to hang out with higher society than the drunks that live in their neighborhood.  You end up marrying someone else from your side of the tracks and he stays out all night drinking and you don’t have the money to pay the rent, your car breaks down when you walk the rest of the way home the landlord is waiting for you.  You don’t have enough money to buy your groceries, let alone pay the rent.  You are not depressed to feel like shit.  You should feel like shit, this is normal.  In fact if you felt good with a life like this, you might be ready for the nut house.

The latter of the two scenarios best describes my life, but my ex-husband was not a drinker and I will leave it at that.  Suffice to say to those that live in dangerous neighborhoods or with dysfunctional family members usually have a hard time shining.  Ugly angry people do not like anyone that shines.  Their very nature is to try to put that light out.  Why do you think evil does what it does on a grander scale nowadays?

I try to keep my pogirlshines.me site lighter and more about the financial or social welfare of the individual and musingsofamenopausalmaven.com is to cover deeper issues of the day.

I am debating if I want to keep both sites or even blog at all lately.  I was forced to move to an area I am not that familiar with because of a pending foreclosure on my home.  I could have stayed legally until the 16th of this month, but was out at the beginning of October of last year.  I had to jump at the first apartment that was available so I would have somewhere to go that I could afford and wanted to live in.  There are lots of cheap places in bad or dangerous neighborhoods, but thankfully, now that I am older, I have more options with government subsidies and found all the cheap places in small towns.  Even though I still have friends that live in Detroit, my actual hometown, I don’t really like to go there anymore.  I won’t say that to them, but nowadays you never know what’s going to happen and I steer clear of areas where there is a higher incidence of robberies, shootings and jackings.

Healthy living is not just about eating right and exercising, not doing drugs, smoking or drinking to excess, it’s about thinking before you act.  Not driving with someone else who’s had a few too many, not texting and driving, not going to bad areas where you may or may not come out alive.  It’s also about being aware of your surroundings shopping near your home in a good neighborhood.  It’s about seeing what’s going on in a store or building you are working in or doing business in.  You need to look around for people that are behaving oddly or maybe where they shouldn’t be?  Any bags or packages left where they don’t belong?  Some became aware of this after the Boston bombings, but I was made aware of that when I worked in the branches of a bank years ago a mysterious, unmarked packages were left in the lobby once in a while.

I mentioned about looking around when you are shopping because of an ex-employee of a Family Dollar Store in Dearborn Michigan that I lived near and worked part-time near that was robbed and the two kids there were both murdered in 2013.  Not sure how many heard of this story.  The young man was shot in the store and they found the young woman manager’s body a couple of days later not far from there.  This was a store I shopped at and I could have walked in the night this was about to go down, anyone could have, and been involved or shot ourselves.  I think they believe he came in when the store was still open for business.  I worked that day and broke my glasses.  I was going to stop at that store on the way home to get another pair, pretty good price and decent quality for reading glasses.  I forgot to and didn’t remember again until after my dinner.  It was about 7:30 pm and I was about to get dressed and drive down, but said forget it, I’ll do it tomorrow.  That was around the time, or right before, that murderer entered the store.  You just never know

Food

Now onto nutrition.  When I was a child we didn’t have sweets and junk food sitting around our house, thank God.  They didn’t even have fast food places until I was a young teenager, not that we could have afforded such a swank place as McDonald’s.  My mother did the best she could with what little she had.  My dad had to have his drinking money.  That’s the one common denominator with most of the poor I’ve known.  They got to have those vices.  I don’t know if they have poor impulse control or they have such deep issues, they don’t believe they can overcome so they numb.  There are some like me that don’t have these issues, but they were kept down by their history of abuse which destroys the self-esteem as well as what I think of those that think they are better.  I don’t care for people who are like this and therefore it did not make me want to work my way up to their ranks, even though I did because of my good work ethics.  I did not live their lifestyle but put my money to better use in savings for a rainy day and helping others.  Not what so many do when they earn the big bucks and get a fancier car or waste it on expensive clothing or jewelry.

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Christmas Breakfast 1960. I was nine sitting center back. Judging by how happy we all look, my dad was probably drinking and acting up as usual.

My entire childhood our meals were cold cereal for breakfast with milk, our mother packed our lunch which consisted of a sandwich, one piece of fruit, usually an apple, and two cookies.  My mother could make 5 sandwiches with one 5 oz. can of tuna spread thin with mayo.  Either that or peanut butter and jelly.  We used to ask mom if she was going to be making us peanut butter and jelly casserole for dinner, we got so sick of them.  Our dinners were sometimes Chili or Spaghetti but most of the time she took one pound of ground beef and made 8 patties, there were 7 of us and dad could have two, she deep-fried in oil and fried sliced potatoes the same way with way too much salt added.  No desserts.  I can remember once in a blue moon we were allowed to have a few potato chips in a bowl and a small glass of pop for a treat.  Odd treat, but my dad liked this stuff.  Pop and chips were really marketed to the American public.  I know that I was very shocked to see just how many families that paid with food stamps did not have pop, chips and all manner of junk food in their carts.  I thought they either have the worst diet on the planet or they are using this free money to buy their snacks here.

As a young teen, I pretty much stopped eating breakfast altogether.  Later, in high school, I started skipping lunch.  They opened a coffee shop almost next to the high school and some of us went over there at lunch, even though we were supposedly not allowed to, for coffee and a cigarette.  Yes I used to smoke for about 5 years, ages 16-21.  As soon as I became pregnant with my first child, I quit permanently.  About the only meal I ate was my tiny dinner.  I never liked food and for good reason.  I didn’t really have any, not anything to enjoy.  My mother was never a good cook and later on I was sure that she deliberately burned and over salted everything to show what she thought of us.  Nothing was ever done with love in our home and hence we never equated food with pleasure or love.  Later on most of my siblings became morbidly obese because in a sense when they finally tasted good food, they began killing themselves with kindness.  The only time I overeat is when I am angry and frustrated.  I’m sure they may feel the same.  Severely abused children really never get over it.

Most of my meals as an adult were fairly simple and I was always one to shop on the “outside” of the store.  No one had to tell me to do this.  That’s where the meat and fresh produce usually are.  Also the bakery if they have one.  I’m sure someone will finally realize they need to redesign the grocery store to put the real food in the middle, or better yet, at the end of one long isle where you have to pass all kinds of unhealthy temptations first.

My husband wanted eggs and toast for breakfast.  We sometimes had bacon or sausage with that.  Sundays were sausage and pancake day before church.  Later when I divorced, I gave my children an egg once in a while, but we mostly had cold cereal and toast.  For years I had 1/2 C cottage cheese and a hard-boiled egg with some oatmeal.  I later changed the cottage cheese to plain, nonfat yogurt.  I only eat one egg 2 or 3 times a week instead of daily.  I love peanut butter on low sodium toast and add a little tera’s whey, plain unsweetened, to 1/4 C plain nonfat yogurt for added protein.  Never more than one scoop.

My lunch is anything left over that needs to be eaten.  Sometimes I will put chicken into a sandwich that I pile lots of lettuce leaves and sometimes tomato on.  If no leftover chicken, I will used salmon or tuna.  I do not eat peanut butter and jelly and stopped making my own jellies and jams many years ago.  Even with my backyard berry bushes, I either ate them fresh or made a sauce with much lower sugar.  I love peanut butter on toast or a spoon or in one of those Reese’s cups!

My dinners are almost always around a piece of meat, 3-5 oz of usually chicken or fish.  Sometimes turkey meatloaf.  Once in a great while I eat beef.  Not a fan.  Love chicken or salmon.  I would serve baked potatoes or plain rice and numerous vegetables and salad, much of this from our garden.  My late mother-in-law taught me to grow all kinds of interesting things.  She let me use her yard to grow peanuts because she had sandy loam and my soil was amended thick clay that I hand dug the first year when my husband and I won the bid on a repaired HUD home.  Didn’t want to bother bidding on the cheaper ones that needed repairs of all kinds.

Suffice to know healthy eating is lower fat, sugar, sodium and any kind of additives that are not naturally in a food.  Common sense, right?  Don’t fry your foods, bake or roast them.  Some experts say the charring from grilling can cause cancer.  It just tastes bad to me.  I have typically steamed my vegetables or I will stir fry in part butter or olive oil and water.  I eat almost all vegetables fresh, sometimes frozen.  I have almost never used canned unless someone gave it to me for some reason.  I put very little dressing on my salads and sometimes none.  Taking any good food and adding too much stuff to it will defeat your purpose.  I do defeat my healthy diet all the time by having a big bowl of ice cream or a piece of cake after dinner.  I love cake now.  Didn’t used to.  Cake is high in both sugar and sodium.  I have managed to find some healthier alternatives to ice cream with frozen yogurt and gelato.  Always, read your labels.  They are very different and some much higher in sugar than others.  This is with all food that has them.  I cannot believe the difference in nutrition in foods that seem the same.

For this reason, recipes are a waste unless you want to use one for fun.  Most foods do not need recipes because they should be cooked and eaten as plainly as possible.  All these television cooks are for the birds.  I see the salt and sugar they put into their dishes.  Spices and some herbs are a whole nother story.  They can be great.  Give your food a good flavor and some believe in added health benefits of ginger, turmeric and so on.  I am not an expert on herbs anymore and I don’t like making claims that this is good for that and so on.  I eat things that make sense to me.  I regularly add ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric to many of my dishes and my favorite herbs are thyme, marjoram and sweet basil.  I have many others I use on occasion and like to make curries.  For me curry is not as hot as when I try to eat peppers.  I don’t care for black pepper either and never add this to my cooking.  It bothers my stomach.

Exercise

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I am not going to waste your time on this site by posting any actual exercises.  There are many of them and most movement is good for you.  The main thing to remember is walking is the best exercise and most natural. We need to be sure to use the upper body to maintain strength as we age. Exercising with small weights can help. As an ex-dancer and dance teacher, I know what a great work out dancing is.
Anyone who has seen Dancing With The Stars can see how many of the contestants lose weight while on the show.  Belly Dancing is a sensual way to become attune to your body as you tone it! It is important not to overdo any exercise and check with your Dr. if you have any health issues or are obese before you try anything strenuous.
Working out with others gives people more incentive. You might try checking out your local school’s continuing education programs for any dance or fitness classes that seem reasonable.  Don’t become obsessive about the latest diet or exercise, you need to find a way to move in everything that you do, to incorporate exercise, so you don’t feel like it is something you have to do, it is something your body wants to feel.  The glorious feeling of being stretched and relaxed, not worn out.  Something like yoga is good.

When you go out looking for a gym or a class, don’t let anyone high pressure you into signing any contracts.  Some will.  See if they offer at least one free or low cost class to see if you like it first.  I know so many that sign up for gyms and never end up going.  What a waste of money!

Exercise can never be overrated but it’s not something you have to rigidly schedule.  You do need to be regular when it comes to moving.  Just sitting around for a day or two causes your body to weaken.

Your overall fitness and health depends more on exercise or lack thereof, then your diet when it comes to weight loss and muscle tone.

As long as you are not actually overeating, taking in more calories than you burn and eating really bad, fatty foods, you should be able to eat what you want in reasonable portion sizes and be able to lose or maintain your weight if you move enough.

I knew people that never did structured exercise in their life, but between gardening, having very clean houses, taking occasional walks
and going out dancing once a week, they had great figures even with their healthy appetites.  You never want to be sloth-like, laying or
sitting around all the time.  It is dangerous to lose so much muscle tone, as well as potentially causing blood clots to form.
The more muscle you lose, the more cellulite appears in its place.  Ask any ex-dancer!

“Exercise” taken from pogirlshines.me “Come On, Move It” January 2, 2013.

I recently took one of those Cardio Drumming classes that are all the rage.  Be careful of jumping on any popular exercise craze.  Didn’t stop to think that I have mild arthritis and that holding large sticks in my hands and beating them on those rubber like balls would take its toll on my wrist as well as finger joints so be careful.  Try to think out any exercise plan well.  It was a lot of fun, but never again.  It’s not for me.  Plus I swear I could taste residue from those beaten balls, which would make perfect sense.  We all got pretty dry.

Running is another craze for the moment and give it some time before fewer people will injure their body by this form of exercise.  Running is hard on the knees and feet especially.   Nice cardio, but brisk walking does the same, with less joint damage.

 

 

 

Arsenic in Brown Rice and Apple Juice

Arsenic in Brown Rice and Apple Juice.

Frankenfoods And You

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I was upset but not surprised to find out that the FDA has OK’d the use of genetically modified foods.  Our American government has not been very kind to its citizens in all respects so why would they care about our health?  Most of you are aware by now that President Obama recently signed a bill protecting Monsanto.  The fact that he even bothered to do this proves that he feels this company is in need of protection for its dangerous practices.  Most of our very large corporations, such as Monsanto, are very large contributors to our politicians campaign funds which are much-needed if they wish to stay in office or get there in the first place.

I don’t believe that anyone’s life and health should be controlled by forces that are not for us.  I don’t believe that just because someone has the money they should be able to run the show, but we all know this is exactly what happens.  The fact that those in our government no longer represent the people, should tell you that voting does not help anything, especially when choosing between two evils.  Since large contributions are needed by our candidates it encourages types that are willing to sell out to run.  That being said, we the people have always had the power to speak up and to make needed changes if enough of us care or our voice is loud enough.

Even if you don’t risk immediate death when eating this produce, there is no proof as to the long-term health risks eating this food may cause.  They are not natural and genetic engineering is very different from cross pollinating and grafting to get better results in various plants and flowers.  With genetic engineering, they can inject animal DNA into our fruits or vegetables making them no longer vegan acceptable.  This results in ethical as well as health dangers and these questions need to be answered before something like this can be allowed no matter who’s getting rich off the proceeds.  They will also be able to use this genetic modification on animals with heaven knows what results.

Our government is going by what the scientists choose to tell them.  Problem is these scientists are all paid for by those with vested interest that they be allowed to do this.  We need some independent research done as well as time to see just how dangerous this is or if it’s even worth all the trouble to do these modifications.  How many of you now purchase fruits of all kind that are unnaturally hard and rot when you leave them out in attempt to ripen?  This happens to me all the time and the flavor is horrible compared to a real vine ripened organic tomato or even a fresh apple.  If for only the fact that our food no longer tastes the way it should, leave our food alone!

Don’t mess with it genetically, stop putting poisons inside and out and maybe we will have far less food allergies and auto-immune problems.  I’m a firm believer that our daily ingested toxins are why so many have cancers, allergies and auto-immune disorders that can’t be explained any other way.

Please do this.  Write your representatives and write the president‘s office telling them that you are not happy with the FDA’s recent decision as well as the President signing of the “Monsanto Protection Act” that was written up by a Monsanto sponsored senator.  And this was after receiving a petition asking him to veto this bill with over a quarter of a million signatures.  That’s inexcusable!

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Saving Winter Skin

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At my age it’s moisturizer all the time, especially in Michigan’s dry winter heat.  These are the products I swear by at the present due to quality and cost.  There was a time before the availability of hypoallergenic, fragrance free that I had to use almost strictly Clinique, which is a good product but very expensive relative to what I now use.

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For cleaning and bathing I prefer Dove hypoallergenic, fragrance free body wash with nutrium moisture and their soap of the same type.  Witch hazel is great for any areas of your skin that is oily or irritated, so two birds!  I don’t normally even need skin cream when I use the body wash, it’s that rich.  Dove does have other types of body wash so if you are not fragrance sensitive, you can feel free to try other types, deep moisture and winter care being two.  Even if you don’t think you have sensitive skin, try a bar vs your regular soap and you may not go back.

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There are various skin polishers you can choose from but I have found a washcloth to be my favorite. The brushes are nice to reach your back with either natural boars hair or the mesh bath sponges. I found one with a plastic handle so you can replace the sponge as needed. It really makes a difference to lightly scrub your skin when you bath, being sure not to rub so hard that you cause irritation.

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Since I am fragrance challenged I have managed to find this great shampoo and conditioner at Whole Foods that is fragrance free for normal to dry hair.  It is 365 everyday value.  I think they were $2.99 each for the 16 oz.  I purchased the Desert Essence Organic fragrance free shampoo out of necessity one day because the Whole Food stores are quite far from my home but I think I paid $7 or $8 for 8 oz., but it actually does make my hair much nicer and it’s very concentrated.

2015BathProductsFood 005I have been using CeraVe as a facial cream because it’s very light and really moisturizes.  Curel itch defense is great for the body and really does feel soothing.  It is just a little thicker of a cream so not something I would use on my face, but I’m sure you could.  The bliss body butter is very thick and emollient and I use this for my hands and feet for extra protection.  It comes in great fragrances that are natural and not super strong.  I don’t have a reaction to their scents, but usually opt for “naked” which is their fragrance free.

Hope this gives you some information about what is out there for dry sensitive skin that is affordable and actually works.  The bliss body butter is not available near me, but I have found it online.  FYI, that product is very expensive!  Click on the product names for more information and possible coupons.

Vintage Labor Day Fun

Like many low middle class families back in the 1950’s, it was a much simpler and happier time.  Not many years out of the great depression, there weren’t a lot of distractions from the real world.  The waters were much cleaner back then and even the birds sang sweeter to me.

I wanted to share some of my early vacation pictures in Michigan.  The oldest of six children, one of my Aunt’s loved taking pictures of me when I was little so our family had a glut of baby and toddler pictures of just me or me with another family member.  We don’t have many pictures of my father because he took off when I was a teen so we don’t have any pictures as a family after the one where we at the park having a picnic.  My father was so fun and talented, but very impulsive with a drinking problem at times.  I wanted to post the few pictures I had of having fun with my father for Labor Day.

We used to camp all over the state of Michigan when we were not visiting my Aunt and Uncles cottage on Black Lake.  I only feel good when I am out in nature and still find myself walking the trails as often as I can taking pictures of the beauty I find.

Cancer

Just the name gives people pause.  I hate cancer.  Through the years most of my family and many friends have died from cancer or have been treated for this grievous disease.  It took my precious Aunt Ruth away from me when I was only 7 and she was 58 years old.    She helped raise me and her loss was deeply felt.  She was patient, kind and loving and used to play the organ at her church on Sunday.  She was a person raised in the Word and she lived in the Word until she went home to be with the Lord.  She used to take my sister and myself to Sunday School with her when we were old enough. img552

Saturday I lost my baby sister to the same insidious cell debacle.  While heaven may have yet another angel, we have one less loved one on earth.  She made it clear that she was not going to fight this with the usual aggression many do because she had waited until it was too late to have her symptoms diagnosed.  She had to suffer from an extremely cruel form of the disease, late stage esophageal cancer.  She was not able to eat or drink by mouth but refused to try any treatments or surgery due to the very poor 5% / 5 year survival rate for this type of cancer.  Instead she lived out the last months with a feeding tube and severe pain and digestive issues until the end.

I lost a friend to complications from breast cancer in 2007.  It was first thought that she had passed from a random infection due to her lowered immune system caused by the chemotherapy but it turned out the cancer had been spreading like wildfire into her brain and even though she appeared to be improving, she was gone within about ten days from planning her reconstructive surgery and admittance into the hospital.

Soon after her diagnosis, she had sent me an email that her daughter had sent to her entitled “Cancer Update From John Hopkins.”  After researching this online, it is stated to be a hoax.  It was never sent from this medical facility.  This is according to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Copy of the original email hoax on about.com.

Email update regarding the hoax from hopkinsmedicine.org.

Perhaps many of you remember the constant cancer warnings that we grew up hearing in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  The one I remembered was a blow or injury to tissue.  While they now claim this is not a cause of cancer, I do know that my maternal grandmother suffered a fall and there was a lump on her chest.  They checked it after it grew and it was found to be malignant.  Now whether this was already there inside her body from her lungs or breast area, by the time they examined her, the cancer was spreading all through her body and they were not sure where it originated.  This was her third diagnosis since she was a younger woman and was treated for what the Dr thought was a late stage Melanoma.  Many years later a growth was biopsied from her mouth and found to be malignant at which time she was treated with radiation therapy.  It was over 20 years later that she finally succumbed to this horrible disease.  Both my sister and my grandmother smoked.

I wrote this poem when my friend and neighbor became terminally ill with what they called cancer of the unknown.  It was through her body as well by the time they first operated for pain in her abdomen.  At that time she was stage IV and decided against any type of treatment.  She finally agreed to some radiation because she was told that she may have a chance of being cancer free.  She was actually in good health to look at her, no real problems.  Right after the radiation treatments she began to go downhill very quickly and passed in 2011, eight months later.  It may have been a coincidence that she became worse after radiation, but this is not the first time I have seen my friends and family quickly succumb after agreeing to permit various cancer treatments.

Just go with your gut and try to make a well-educated decision if you ever find yourself about to confront this deadly disease.  Get second and third opinions, ask questions and know that no two people or cases will ever be the same.  You or your loved ones will be your best advocate to getting the best treatment in regards to your health.

Cancer Kiss My Ass!

Cancer kiss my ass
you sneaky sack of shit!
You creep inside my body
and make a mess of it.
You take away my family
and friends that I hold dear
until there’s only one of me
awaiting you with fear.
I know about the car crash
and the nutso with a gun
but you just bide your time
until you take out everyone.
Bite me!
CLewis © 2011

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