Monday, April 25, 2011

Am I Becoming a Vitamin Junkie?

Centrum Silver, 220-Count BottleI’ve never been one for taking vitamin supplements, except prenatal vitamins when I was pregnant and nursing, and Calcium with D in more recent years to help protect against osteoporosis. I’ve always figured supplements were a waste of money and I should just eat nutritious foods and get my vitamins the old fashioned way. I know many folks who swear by their vitamin regimen, however - extra B for stress, C to ward off colds, etc. I’ve marveled at how they can keep track of it all, especially those who take different combinations several times each day.

Turning Point

So I’ve been cruising right along for the past several years with just my calcium supplements when I remember to take them. Then at the turn of the year, I added a Mature Multi beings we had them lying around threatening to expire (we’ve been gifted a bunch of different supplements in the past few years). While in the medicine cabinet, I notice a bottle of B-6. Well, as I’d been feeling a little edgy, I decided to throw in one of those because the B vitamins are supposed to help with stress, right? Then I figured this was a good time to develop the one-baby-aspirin-per-day habit to stave off heart attack and stroke, as well.

Okay - now I’m up to 5 pills every morning. Hmm. I’ve got two calcium, one multi, one B6 and a baby aspirin. Then we go visit my aunt. Well, she’s tells me all about the two supplements she takes specifically for pain relief and I instantly write it all down because it sounds like my mother-in-law could benefit. On the way home, we stop at a health food store and buy Quercetin with Bromelain and Celery Seed. Guess what? Both bottles now live at our house - so I decided to give them a try. After all, I have some chronic aches and pains. So adding two of each, I’m now popping eight vitamins and a baby aspirin each morning with my breakfast.

Are They Doing Any Good?

The jury is still out on whether these supplements are doing me any good. For starters, how would I really know? I have noticed that my fingernails are stronger but was told by a friend that harder nails come with age. Great - just what I need is aging confirmation at my fingertips! But is it possible that I was suddenly old enough for that to be the case and it coincided exactly with the time I started taking supplements? I only ask because I’ve always had weak, brittle nails and there is a definite improvement. Can it be just a coincidence?

I don’t know that the multi-vitamin and extra B-6 are doing anything but there’s still half a bottle of each so no reason to quit those. I intend to continue both the calcium and baby aspirin, even when I have to buy more beings I’m trying to prevent future health catastrophes. So I guess the bottom line is that I’m really all about avoiding problems in the future rather than improving my health in the here and now. There is another supplement I want to add, however. A while back my dad told me about Vinpocetine, which was recommended by Dr. Oz and is supposed to help with memory and prevent stroke. The problem is, I can’t seem to remember to go buy it.

So what do you think? Are vitamins and other supplements a complete waste of money or are they akin to affordable health insurance? And at nine pills a day and contemplating a tenth, am I becoming a vitamin junkie?

PS - The image is an Amazon affiliate link because it was an easy way to get a vitamin graphic and NOT because I take Centrum Silver (I don't - at least not yet!). I just didn't think it was worth the time and effort to take and upload a picture of my very boring looking vitamins.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Valuable Lessons We Can All Learn from Kids

As I was surfing the Internet today, I ran across an awesome guest post by M.Farouk Radwan on Unlock the Door, a personal development blog by a young man named Stu. The post in question, 5 Lessons of Life from Our Children, is excellent and you absolutely must read it! (update 1/17/13 - discovered the article link is broken so I removed it)

Farouk highlights the innate persistence, optimism and creativity that comes so naturally for children. (I know, that’s only three things so go read the post to find the other two.) When do we start to lose that anyway? Somewhere along the way, as we grow and mature, we start to give up more easily, become more “realistic” and stifle our creative expression. Now how counterproductive is that?

Anyway, read the post and give this some serious thought. What can you do to emulate a child (no temper tantrums, please!). We’re blessed with 10 grandchildren of various ages, including a soon-to-be-3 little man and a darling 5 month old baby girl who will both be here this weekend. I’m going to watch them closely with Farouk’s points in mind and see what lessons I can learn.

How about you? Got any kids handy? If not, find yourself a few - there are valuable lessons to be learned!

Friday, April 8, 2011

When Decluttering Collides with Sentimentality

Spring is here (well, supposedly - I have a smidgeon of fresh snow) and it’s time to do some annual cleaning. While you’re at it, why not get rid of a bunch of stuff so that you have less to take care of? I actually wrote a declutter how-to last April on Suite101 with an embarrassing photo of my very own sewing room. Now if I could just follow my own advice!

I’m cycling again through a bout of minimalism. This happens periodically and I make some headway only to get distracted. But at least I’m slowly making some progress! If you’re like me, you have too much stuff but you just can’t throw it all away. I have the additional challenge of living very remotely (think 1.5 miles of trail to the car) so donating something requires more than just marching it outside to the trunk and driving it to the local thrift store. But enough excuses!

Oh, the memories!

One of the items I may finally release is a rocking chair I got about 35 years ago when my oldest son was a baby. That rocker served me well through four kids but isn’t much use now. My attachment comes from the memories - hours of sitting with infants and toddlers, nursing babies or rocking away owies and fevers. Well, they all grew up and left home. And the chair is in need of repair so is used as a catchall rather than a seat. Hmm, what’s wrong with this picture?

What to do?

Now for the question of what to do? Throwing it away is out of the question. Getting it to the car requires effort but is doable. None of my kids wants it so I can’t take that easy way out. It needs some repair so I wouldn’t take it to a thrift store. How do I find someone who wants a rocker and can repair what’s wrong? I guess this is why it’s still sitting next to my bed holding my latest nighttime reading material.

So am I destined to be a failure at getting rid of things, especially those with sentimental value? Maybe. At least a partial failure. But I’m working on it and so should you. With every surplus item I release, I gain less to care for and peace of mind. But dealing with sentimental items is an issue that I’ve yet to resolve. Any suggestions? Please leave a comment and let me know how you’ve dealt with this problem.