Three Reasons I’m Struggling to Write

My intention for writing this blog is primarily to share what I’m learning and doing to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  Health and wellness, both inside and out, is something I’m passionate about and could talk about all day long — which is why it’s disheartening that I’m struggling to write about it.

After a lot of reflection, I’ve come up with three main reasons I’m struggling to write:

First, I have so much to learn, how could I possibly pass along information that is new to me, that I am still trying to understand myself?  I’m reading science articles that are quite often over my head, so I’m skimming over why drinking coffee is good for you, for example, and jumping to just drink the darn coffee!  What I’m saying is, I am no authority. I know as much as you do, except I’m trying to write about it.

Second, this might sound strange, but I really don’t want this blog to be about me.  I’m reluctant to write a post about what I’m doing to stay healthy and out in front of Alzheimer’s because I don’t want it to come across as “Look at me! Look at what I’m doing!”  This couldn’t be further from my intention.  I don’t like the spotlight on me.  I just want to share my experience because I know I’m not the only person who is trying to prevent Alzheimer’s.  And I’m certainly not alone in experiencing a loved one going through this.

Finally,why would you care to read what I write?  If you’re like me, you’re being bombarded with social media from all angles.  I’m guessing you barely have time to read your own email, let alone someones elses blog.   I hate to add to your burden.

There you have it, a few of the biggies that have been rumbling around in my head.  I feel better already, but what am I going to do about it?

  1. It’s okay that I’m not an authority on Alzheimer’s disease, or health, nutrition or fitness — as long as you know I’m not an expert, then we’re okay.   Okay?
  2. There’s no way I can get around it — this blog is mostly about me.  I just need to get used to it.  I’ve tried writing in the 2nd and 3rd person and it just doesn’t work.  This is a personal blog.  While it’s about me and my experiences — it’s not all about me — it’s about you too. It’s about all of us because we’re in this together.  That’s how I see it.
  3. I will stop assuming you don’t have time to read this. I’ll write because I want to write.  And if you want to take the time to read what I write — then I thank you.  If not, that’s okay too.  Really.

Okay.  To recap, my writing will be more what than why, it will be about me and you and all of us, and you’ll read it if you want to.  Or not.  Deal?  Deal.

Prevent Alzheimer’s + Free Bonus Gift!

I’ve often thought that when I’m “Racing Alzheimer’s,” I’m getting an added bonus of (hopefully) preventing other diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even obesity.  I mean, my brain is the ultimate target of my efforts, but since my head IS attached to my body, well, my body benefits too.

That’s why I love this article titled “Having It All” by David Katz, MD.  In it he says, “No organ is an island; every organ is a piece of the organism, a part of the body. The health of each depends on the health of all.”  Dr. Katz also goes on to say there’s not ONE thing any of us can do to keep this beautiful organism healthy.  Rather, it’s a concerted effort of many things — clean and healthy eating, exercise, mental stimulation as well as mental calm like meditation.   Also, getting enough sleep.  And having social connections and loving relationships.  And not smoking.  And . . . you know the drill.

What disease runs in your family that you would like to prevent?  Focus on that, and chances are you’ll be protecting yourself from the other guys too.

10 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp

When I read or hear news confirming the possibility of preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s I am renewed with hope!  The idea that my future can be influenced by the choices I make today is pretty powerful and it helps me stay the course of being an Alzheimer’s Warrior.

That’s why I love this recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune titled “10 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp.” It offers clear and simple ways to love your brain, with exercise being the top two.   GET MOVING is #1 and says, “If you do only one thing to keep your brain young, exercise.”  This is my motivation — nothing has given me a better reason to lace up and break a sweat.  PUMP IRON is #2 on the list.   I don’t pump iron.  Yet.

The bonus?   A healthy brain is just ONE of the benefits of following this list.

Go to “10 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp” to learn more.

What are you doing to keep YOUR brain healthy?

Read Ingredients. Avoid Crap.

“Skinny Bitch” is a book that had me at page one. It’s a funny in your face rant on health and nutrition that I found refreshing.   I didn’t know it at the time, but when I read this book 4 years ago, I was at the beginning of my Alzheimer’s prevention escapades.  I was starting to make healthy changes in my life and this sassy little book gave me the kick in the pants that I needed.

I was out of shape, had no energy and wasn’t sleeping well.  This book, which is more about being healthy than it is about being skinny helped open my eyes to the crap I was eating that was well, making me feel like crap.

I used to drink diet soda and eat Doritos, and now I don’t.  I used to trust the FDA, their nifty food pyramid, and their claim that Bagel Bites are okay to eat.  Now I don’t. And you shouldn’t either.

For example, for years I loved my espresso in the morning with Coffee-Mate, sugar and cinnamon. Then Skinny Bitch said:

If you want to get skinny, you can only rely on yourself. If you adapt only one practice from this book, let it be this: Read the ingredients. Forget counting carbs, adding calories, and multiplying fat grams. Just read the ingredients. . . . . If they are healthy, wholesome, and pure — dive in. If there is refined sugar, white or bleached flour, hydrogenated oils, and animal products, artificial anything, or some scary-looking word that you don’t know — don’t eat it.

I immediately thought about my beloved Coffee-Mate — yes beloved, and I knew I was in trouble. Sure enough, I found a list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Harmful, scary, mystery shit.  That was it, I never used Coffee-Mate again.  And since espresso is blech without cream or sugar — I now drink tea and coffee. No cream, milk or sugar needed.

I don’t mean to pick on Coffee-Mate, but it’s such a good example of how I . . .  we eat things every day that were never meant to be consumed.  Plus, it was the first of many “food” items I dropped, so it kinda has a special place in my heart.  Next were the Doritos and the diet soda.

Now I read ingredients to get and stay healthy and to prevent mystery chemicals from leaching into my brain.

If you’re Racing Alzheimer’s too, (or just want to be healthy), it’s important to read all ingredients and try not to eat crap. If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, then it shouldn’t be on your food list.  As Skinny Bitch says, “keep it healthy, wholesome, and pure.”

Skinny Bitch = Healthy Bitch = Alzheimer’s-free Bitch.    Small shift, BIG CHANGE.

CLICK HERE to read what Organic Authority has to say about Coffee-Mate.

What “food” have you dropped?

Alzheimer’s: Why Are We Doing So Little?

I love TED Talks!  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to TED.com and search for anything — but please come back.  TEDMED extends into the world of medicine and wellness, which is where the video below is from.

Gregory Petsko, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at Brandeis University, gives a presentation on Alzheimer’s disease that is easy to understand and with a sense of urgency.  In the video, Dr. Petsko tries to answer the question, “Why, in the face of this oncoming tsunami of Alzheimer’s, are we doing so little?”  He then offers four possible answers.

1.  Stigma.  The way Alzheimer’s impacts the brain and ultimately the actions of the afflicted can come across as a mental illness.  They act strange and we don’t know what to do with them — so we pretend they’re not there and they become invisible.

2.  We all get senile as we get older right?  Wrong.  But so many people accept the senility of an Alzheimer’s sufferer as normal.  It’s not.

3.  Alzheimer’s patients are not able to advocate for themselves.  They can barely communicate effectively  — how would they ever launch a plan to improve care and funding for this disease?

4.  The caregivers who are caring for their loved ones are just too tired and overwhelmed to take on anything else.

So who will speak up for Alzheimer’s disease to garner more attention and funding? 

Perhaps it’s people like you and I who are watching our loved ones succumb to this disease, but who still have a VOICE.  Rather than wait and hope the disease doesn’t find us, what if we were proactive in our efforts to fight this disease?  And what if our fight made such an impact that funding and research was increased and the number of Alzheimer’s sufferers was decreased?

Learn more about what you can do to help elevate Alzheimer’s from a disease to a cause by becoming an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association.  I have joined the cause.  I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but I’ve joined.

This is a 16 minute video that’s packed with information.  Check it out to see why I now imagine little garbage trucks going to the recycle bin inside my brain rather than the garbage dump.

Coffee May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

              

I have been reading that drinking a few cups of coffee everyday could prove beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.  Now there’s a new study out that further supports this claim.

The people at Science Daily say,

Those cups of coffee that you drink every day to keep alert appear to have an extra perk – especially if you’re an older adult. A recent study monitoring the memory and thinking processes of people older than 65 found that all those with higher blood caffeine levels avoided the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the two-to-four years of study follow-up. Moreover, coffee appeared to be the major or only source of caffeine for these individuals.

And,

Moderate daily consumption of caffeinated coffee appears to be the best dietary option for long-term protection against Alzheimer’s memory loss,” Dr. Arendash said. “Coffee is inexpensive, readily available, easily gets into the brain, and has few side-effects for most of us. Moreover, our studies show that caffeine and coffee appear to directly attack the Alzheimer’s disease process.

Drink up!  But try to avoid cream and sugar if you can.  If you only give up one — give up sugar.

Read more about “High blood caffeine levels in older adults linked to avoidance of Alzheimer’s disease” and other related news articles on caffeine and Alzheimer’s.

 

 

Our Nation (Finally!) Has a Plan To Fight Alzheimer’s!

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death, killing more Americans each year than breast and prostate cancer combined.  Yet in 2011, the National Institutes of Health spent over 6 billion dollars on cancer research and less than 480 million on Alzheimer’s research.

Thankfully, Alzheimer’s is finally getting the attention — and research funding it deserves.

Source: NewsCore

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday rolled out a plan to fight Alzheimer’s, setting a 2025 deadline to find ways to effectively prevent and treat the degenerative disease.

The initiatives set out by the Department of Health and Human Services include the funding of clinical trials, a new public education campaign and the development of up-to-date training for doctors and other providers about how to care for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

Check out the National Alzheimer’s Plan!

More about Alzheimer’s and the new Plan from my favorite guy Brian Williams.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Run a 10K . . . CHECK!

The 10K almost took me out this morning, but I persevered and came down the stretch under my goal time with a 1:08:45 finish. I have never been more grateful for a finish line. Things were humming along pretty smoothly until I hit mile 5 and the thought of walking started creeping in on me. But I decided before I started, that stopping was NOT an option. So I hung on, and even managed to pick up my pace on the last mile when I saw how close I was getting to my 1:10 goal.

Here are some photos of our morning from my generous and beautiful friend Laurie Orr who graciously agreed to get up early on a Saturday morning to capture this event.  Thank you!

I was a little nervous and accidentally put my number on upside down.
The Leonardis Girls have arrived and have made their first appearance at the Apple Blossom 10K! WooHoo!
My awesome brother-in-law Tony, me, my amazing daughter Jordan, and my always supportive husband Vince.
I love this picture! Family is everything. I am mentally inserting my son Jake into this picture. He couldn't join us, but he was still with us.
Right before mile 3.
The last brutal push to the finish.
Done. Finished. Check.
HAPPY!!!

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival 10K
May 5th, 2012 Winchester, VA
Time:  1:08:45
Pace:  11:04

Dear 10K Course,

I’ll admit it.  You intimidated me after my practice run and I was a little nervous when I arrived at your gates this morning.  But I tried to keep calm by reminding myself that I was in charge, not you.  I had my run in my head, and I wasn’t going to falter.  Oh sure, I know things got a little shaky around mile 5 — but you never had the upper hand.  Because what you don’t know is the level of determination that resides in this 49 year old body — and I was determined that you would not win this one.  So thank you 10K Course, you did your best today, but you helped me learn that I can do anything I set my mind to.

Sincerely,

The One In Purple, Racing Alzheimer’s

PS.  My brain thanks you too!