Eat Your Liver!

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

If you have read any of my blogs over the past months, you know I have been dispensing wise words on how to attain or maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle I personally follow and love. It’s literally my job! Last month I left you with some news about my newly found high blood pressure and I was awaiting lab results. I have been as excited as you to hear the results! Good news, yay…no kidney issues causing the high blood pressure so it’s just due to genetics and old age, as expected. Labs also say I am deficient in Vitamin B and Vitamin D. Oh, Ok…..Wait……WHAT?  I am 100% positive I eat foods with Vitamin B and Vitamin D daily so once again, I am baffled and when I am baffled, I research. I decided to look up foods I should be eating.

Vitamin B rich foods: Beef, Liver, Chicken, Fatty fish, Yogurt, Eggs, Leafy greens, Legumes.
Vitamin D rich foods: Salmon, Tuna, Eggs, Yogurt, Milk products, Fortified cereals, Liver.

Check, check, check, I eat it all… except…..liver! That must be it! I need to eat more liver. Ugh. As a kid, we had liver quite often at my house. It was not a choice. It was “eat your liver” or no dessert and, as if to take out the sting, the dessert was usually especially good on liver night. We had chicken livers with bacon and some weird sauce over rice that I am cringing about as I write the words—but it was far better than good old calf liver that was the size of my hand and served with baked potato. Both came with broccoli. A kid’s nightmare, but my parents loved it. My Dad still orders liver when we go out to restaurants that dare to have it on the menu.

As much as I joke/complain about my childhood and the dinnertime struggles, I am actually grateful that my parents did enforce healthy eating. I admit that as a kid I was very envious of my neighbors who had “oni’s and butter”” (Macaroni) for dinner every night and endless supplies of soda and chips. There were no soda or chips in my house. I thought chocolate milk was a treat and popcorn night was the biggest night of the month in my childhood. Jiffy pop! In a tin pie pan that you cooked forever on the stovetop hoping it wouldn’t burn before most of the kernels popped. That tin pan served 7 of us. Guess that’s where I learned portion control.

So what is the takeaway here? The takeaway is that we are all human and we need to do what we can to stay on track towards our health goals. We need to research what we need to do to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle. We need to “eat liver” so to speak, not just the dessert. We cannot survive on “oni’s and butter” alone. Supplements are important when the doctor tells you that you need them. However, I remind you that supplements are just that… a means to supplement a healthy diet. Eating poorly and taking supplements just will not cut it in the long run. Real food is key! A healthy diet is full of variety and color; fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and limited boxed goods or snack foods. We are right now heading into the growing season and it is the best time to try new things. Try citrus fruits like apples, oranges, and grapefruits or vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts for Vitamin C; bananas, avocado, spinach and dried apricots for potassium; almonds, sunflower seeds, kiwi and mango for Vitamin E; sweet potato and carrots for Beta Carotene; salmon, lean meats, yogurt, eggs, leafy greens for Vitamin B and low fat dairy products, fortified non-sugary cereals, eggs and sunshine for Vitamin D. Yes- best advice ever… get some natural sunshine now that Spring is here! It’s the free Vitamin D supplement that we’ve been missing all winter. And far better than liver! 🙂

Better or Best?

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

Recently I watched a talk show about nutrition and how to eat healthier. The discussion was focused on the public’s confusion about healthy carbs. We need carbs for energy and nutrients. A no carb diet leads to fatigue and brain fog. I knew all that but what caught my attention was when the host asked if brown rice was better than white rice, the nutrition expert replied, “yes, it is ‘better than,’ but it is not the best choice, so why settle for better than?” To conclude this lesson on carbs (which this blog is not about!) brown rice still raises glycemic index (blood sugars) and hence sweet potato, lentils, beans or quinoa are the BEST choices for healthy carbs. What this blog is about is that this talk show got me thinking about how many times we use the “better than” excuse to avoid a true commitment to a lifestyle change. We convince ourselves, “If I do this… it’s better than not doing anything at all.” True, but I say, you just cannot be your BEST if “better than” is all you are willing to try for.

About a year ago, after many years of searching for a relative, I found her. Over the next few months, we talked here and there and became re-acquainted. Why do I share this? Because as time went on, I realized she simply exists in a “better than” world. She has no goals beyond the next “better.” It will be better when she can get her license back. It will be better if she gets a copy of her birth certificate. It will be better when her boyfriend and she get along. It will be better when it isn’t so rainy in the Northwest where she lives. I suspected she was homeless and tried to help without making her uncomfortable and asking her about it. I was getting frustrated because she continually asked for my prayers for various things to get better, but she never offered up any solutions on how she could have her BEST life. She eventually told me she lived in a tent. I assumed, and still do to this day, that she chooses the life of being homeless because she declines any offers to help her with what she needs to find a job and live her BEST life. She says it will be better when she gets into a shelter. Well, she is now in a shelter and it is not any better.

I know it’s easy for me to say that we must try for our best, so I put myself to the test this month. I purchased a heart rate monitor that tracks how much effort I put into my activities. I thought I would ROCK IT!! Wrong! I quickly realized that even my own workouts were simply “better than.” I wore it doing housework. Nothing. Barely registered that I was moving. I wore it for my morning walk around the Plymouth waterfront. It was “better than” the house-cleaning gig, but it still barely registered effort. I quickly realized I was doing enough to stay active, but my personal level of fitness was not being challenged. So… I challenged myself to do my best—I added hills on to my walks and hit the SWC cardio room 3 days a week after work. I made sure I did some kind of activity that registered effort for 5-6 days a week. Results are in! After 30 days of doing my best…. I have lost one inch on my waist and 5 solid true pounds. I feel energized and focused.

I leave you with this—as you go through your day, week, year…. will you be able to do your best? Yes, it’s true, walking 10 minutes instead of sitting on the couch is “better than” doing nothing and maybe that’s where you start. Exercising one day a week is “better than” not exercising at all. Eating healthy sometimes is “better than” not at all. However, eventually “better than” will not be enough for any true growth or lifestyle changes that will bring health, happiness and even prosperity. Ironically, the following was the quote on the NEVweb (our company’s intranet site) as I wrote this blog!
I have done my best and that is about all the philosophy of living that one needs.
~Lin Yutang

Coincidence? I think not!

 

 

Option B

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

Recently I stumbled across a podcast series that intrigued me. Mind you, two years ago I had no idea what a podcast was. Well, flash forward two years, and guess what? It turns out most Podcasts are free. I was hooked almost immediately. As a Dateline and “ID Channel” addict, I quickly found every podcast on every true crime drama there was. I listened to hours of tragic stories until my kids told me that I only listen to Continue reading

Mount Hope

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

There’s a bridge in Rhode Island that connects Portsmouth to Bristol where my son attended college. I don’t like bridges. I’d rather a tunnel any day. This bridge is the scariest bridge I have ever driven on. It barely has sides and its old, shaky, steep, very high and at least 4 miles long. Although my son says I exaggerate and it’s more like Continue reading

Don’t let the Holidays send you to the Junk yard!


By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

It’s very hard during the busy holidays to keep up a wellness routine. There are a million things going on and for most of us the first thing we give up is our commitment to ourselves. It’s unlikely many of us will be able to meet hefty wellness goals in the month of December but I suggest we should try to maintain as much as we can. Continue reading

Beat the Winter Blues


By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

This month I want to talk about something besides fitness and nutrition. Something that is very real to me—Seasonal Affective Disorder (alleged in my case). Yes, I am SAD! The summer is over and I am not happy! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the fall and the holidays and even a good snowstorm, but tell that to my mind. It disagrees. It just doesn’t spark as well as it does in the summer. I have to push harder to stay motivated. That’s key for me… finding a good routine and surrounding myself with happy personalities. Working with the folks we serve is a boost for my alleged Seasonal Affective Disorder, which by the way is self-diagnosed. Continue reading

Dispelling Food Myths


By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

If you are anything like me, you have tried all the short cuts to get to your ideal image of what you want to look like. You drank liters of Diet Pepsi, replaced solid foods with Slimfast, or bought into the Atkins Diet, eating all fats and no carbs. Despite your efforts, none of it seemed to work. Why? Because it’s unreasonable to think that eliminating an entire food group—or worse eating only from a specific food group—would be possible to maintain for life. Unless you are a dedicated vegan or diagnosed with celiac….you can enjoy all foods. But here are the important words….only in moderation. You are what you eat and the massive food industry Continue reading

Getting Started


By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

The number one question I get asked about wellness is, “how do I get started.” It’s daunting to read all the trends on this top and plow through all the information and options out there–from health clubs to studios to private trainers and outdoor meet-up clubs. My best answer is to this question is, “what is realistic for your lifestyle.” Let’s be real… if you hate to run as much as I do, then don’t choose that exercise regimen because you are not going to stick with it. There must be some activity you did as a kid or teenager that you liked; start there! Continue reading

Down on the Farm

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

On the last day of February, as the mercury in the thermometer inched its way up to 60 degrees, we couldn’t help but to think about the upcoming spring season and look forward to seeing the daffodils and crocuses that would soon pop their heads up from the ground. We could certainly feel spring in the air. Continue reading