Archive for Health & Wellness


P90X Week 1: My New Part-Time Job

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P90Xlogo Week 1

P90X is my new part time job. It’s time consuming but week one is in the bag. And it wasn’t easy. I am happy to say that I made it through all of the workouts and stuck to the diet pretty well. I think the hardest thing so far is the diet. It’s tough eating such a high protein, low carb and low fat diet. I’m getting a little tired of egg white omelet’s. I need to get some new ideas for meals when I get time to do some research. I did however lose a pound and a half this week so I am quite happy about that.

Even though I’ve been getting plenty of sleep, I have been feeling tired in the afternoons. I think the workouts are tiring me out. I have been drinking chocolate milk for my recovery drink after reading a study that was done on it. I’m thinking about trying a “real” recovery drink to see if it makes any difference. The Nesquik is very good though.

I really have enjoyed the workouts, they are tough but fast paced and I like Tony Horton’s style. I think doing some Firm workout videos before starting P90X helped me get conditioned for it. I also did some pregnancy workouts while I was pregnant that helped keep me from getting totally out of shape.

A few notes on the first week:
My favorite workout was Kenpo X, it reminded me of my days of taking karate classes. My least favorite workout was Yoga X. I like yoga but come on, an hour and a half? I was getting bored with it. The hardest workout by far was Ab Ripper X. 3 months out after having a baby, my abs and tummy are still pretty much mush. Hopefully Ab Ripper X will change that soon though!

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Why P90X, Why Now?

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55/365 P90X
Photo by LetTheCardsFall
As many of you may know, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy about 3 months ago. Unfortunately, I am still carrying around 15 pounds of that baby weight. Now that I’m getting into a bit of a routine, I realized that I really need to get back in shape. I’m tired of not being able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes. I don’t want to be stuck in sweat pants and t-shirts for the rest of my life.

I have some friends who have had good success with Tony Horton’s P90X and after reading up on it, I decided it is exactly what I need to get back in shape. I have done 10 Minute Trainer workouts in the past that are also from Tony Horton and like his training style.  P90X has been out for a while so there is a ton of info on it online. Plus, it’s not in as high of demand as it used to be so I was able to find it for a good deal on eBay.  If you buy it from Beachbody on Amazon, it’s a whopping $140, but I found it for a mere $47. Not bad for 13 DVD’s, the nutrition guide and fitness guide. Plus the BeachBody web site has a wealth of information and help for people getting started.

P90X is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough workout and diet regimen meant to get one in peak shape within 90 days. Tony Horton, the P90X trainer, shows how to work out all the muscle groups and also throws in cardio and yoga. It’s a varied workout and it’s based on muscle confusion which means continually working out different muscles so they don’t get used to doing the same workouts over and over.

After doing my calculations I found out I am on level 1 for the nutrition. Which means I need 1800 calories a day. Phase 1 of the diet is very high protein, low fat and low carb so we will see how it goes. I guess this means goodbye to my chai latte addiction for a while…

I have my meal plan made out and my grocery shopping done, now all I need to do is “bring it” as Tony Horton would say. Hopefully this blog will give me some level of accountability and I will be able to stick it out for 90 days!

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Curiosity (Almost) Killed the Cat

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A few weeks ago, my husband brought me a bouquet of flowers. They were beautiful yellow lilies with red roses and greenery. He likes to surprise me with flowers now and then and this was the first time he had gotten me lilies. I put them on a stand by the front door so I could admire them. I liked them so much, that I took a picture with my phone.

The flowers I received from my husband

Friday night our cat Gracie was violently ill, she threw up a lot, not just a little hairball, but some serious stuff. I thought this was unusual and was trying to figure out what could have made her sick. Not to gross you out, but the puke was tinted yellowish which was odd. I was trying to figure out what she could have gotten into when Jake mentioned that the lilies were yellow. I looked at the flowers and sure enough, a couple of petals were missing from one of the lilies. I came to the conclusion that she had eaten them.

Lilies are Highly Toxic to Cats!

I thought I would do some research online to see if there was something I could give Gracie to make her feel better. I knew that some plants were poisonous to cats, but figured she would probably feel better the next day. I googled the phrase “lilies poisonous to cats” and found a list of plants poisonous to cats. I was surprised when I saw that there was a whole separate page on lilies on the site I was visiting. The more I read, the more concerned I became. I discovered that lilies are one of THE most toxic plants to cats. Easter lilies and many varieties of day lilies were included in the list. They are highly poisonous even in small doses and can cause kidney failure! I was totally shocked! I felt like a terrible pet owner for not knowing this information. Any part of a lily is poisonous to cats, from the stem to the petals. I kept doing more research and found a couple of cases where people posted about their cats eating lilies and then dying. I was beside myself as you can imagine. From what I read, treatment should be done in 12 – 18 hours to avoid kidney damage. Some sites said treatment is needed within 6 hours.

I read that the normal course of events after a cat eats a piece of a lily is that they are sick and throw up. Then they may appear to get better. If a pet owner doesn’t know that the lilies are toxic, or doesn’t know that their cat ate one, they will just think the cat is feeling better. Until the cat’s kidneys begin to fail. According to my research, within 48 to 96 hours after consumption, the cat will tend to show signs of clinical kidney failure: increased urination, depression, stomach upset and dehydration. Once kidney failure begins, there is little that can be done to save the cat besides humanely putting it to sleep.  Without treatment, death tends to occur within 5 days.

Treatment for Lily Poisoning

Of course, this all happened at 9pm when there were no vets open besides an emergency vet (which is not cheap).  I decided to take Gracie first thing in the morning. When I took her to the vet, he was very concerned and said that cats eating lilies is similar to them eating antifreeze and has similar effects. However, since she had just eaten the lilies the night before, they could take her blood to see if any damage had been done yet and put her on an IV to flush the poison out of her system. He recommended starting with two days of the IV and then testing her blood again to check her BUN and Creatinine levels that indicate if the kidneys are functioning properly. So Gracie had to be admitted to the “hospital” and put on an IV. She was none too happy about that. As you can imagine, treatment is not cheap. Here is a picture of her on her IV. My husband wasn’t too thrilled about the vet bill, he said that those were the most expensive flowers he had ever gotten me!

Gracie in the hospita

Gracie was a very fortunate kitty. Much to my relief, after two days of being on an IV, her blood test came back normal and there was no kidney damage. She was happy to get home and get back to her normal routine.

Once a person knows that lilies are poisonous to cats, preventing lily poisoning is easy, just keep lilies out of the house or garden. Anywhere a cat might come in contact with them. There are dozens of other plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs as well. For a complete list, check the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center. While most plants are not as poisonous to cats as lilies, there are several that can make them very sick.

What can you do?

I have talked to a few cat owners in recent days, and none of them knew that lilies were toxic to cats. If you are a cat owner, be sure to keep lilies out of reach of your cats. If you know someone who is a cat owner, be sure to mention it to them. I ran across this pdf from UC Veterinary Medical Center, I think it would be a great idea to print off and see if vet offices in your area have a bulletin board it can be posted on. Also, increasing awareness at florist shops would be good. In my case I am happy to say, all is well that ends well!

Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

A healthy Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

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Photo by ericmcgregor
I caught an infomercial for Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer
while I was eating breakfast one Saturday morning. I was somewhat familiar with Tony since some of my friends were doing the P90X
workouts. They all were looking toned and healthy after a few weeks of the workout. The only problem with P90X is that it requires at least an hour workout 6 days a week. With my busy schedule, that just wasn’t going to happen.

The 10 Minute Trainer sounded very appealing for my time crunched schedule. However, the 10 minute part is slightly misleading. They recommend that you do three 10 minute workouts 6 times a week. And if you don’t have time for that just do one or two. Anything is better than sitting on the couch eating chips I suppose.

I didn’t really want to pay the $90 (including shipping) for the workouts so I turned to eBay, one of my favorite shopping sites. I was able to find the “deluxe” edition for $75. It included three resistance bands and some other extra’s and was from a reputable eBay seller so I knew they weren’t pirated. You can see what all is included on the official 10 Minute Trainer site. You can also get them on Amazon. Now I know that these are going to be in next summer’s garage sales for $10, but I really wanted a new workout now and something to motivate and challenge me.

The Pros

The first couple of weeks I really didn’t have time to do the workouts consistently like I needed to. When I was finally able to do them 6 days, I could really tell a difference. The workouts are great and you can get as much or as little as you want out of them. Tony also keeps things entertaining. It took me a little while to get used to the resistance bands since I am used to working out with free weights, but once I got the hang of it, I liked it. You can control the resistance and make it as challenging as you want. It is amazing how much of a workout you can get in with 10 minutes. I try to do at least 3 of them but sometimes if I’m crunched for time I’ll only do one or two, but it is still a good workout.

The Cons

While the workouts were great, I had a few issues with the format and the DVD’s themselves. The one thing that annoyed me the most about the videos is the incessant advertising of the web site before every workout. It always says, log on now! If I’m getting ready to workout, I’m hardly going to go log on now, I just want to get on to the business of working out. There are also several other ads for other workouts which is annoying.And probably the most bothersome thing about the DVD’s, is that I always have trouble getting to the cooldown. Maybe it’s operator error, but there isn’t a separate menu option for the cool down so I have to flip back and forth through different workouts until I get to it.

Overall, it’s a great workout. It is like any other workout routine, if you do it, it works, if you don’t, it won’t. If you want a fun, fast paced workout routine and you don’t mind dropping a few bucks for it, it is a great way to get in decent shape without dedicating your life to working out.

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I woke up with the sniffles this morning and the first thing I did when I got up was take some Zicam. Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel as it is officially called, has been a staple in my medicine cabinet for the last few years. It claims the following:

* Reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms when taken at the first sign of a cold
* Clinically proven
* Treats the cold at its source – in the nose
* Patented No-Drip Liquid® won’t drip down throat
* No odor or bad taste
* Non-drowsy, non-habit forming, no known drug interactions
* Homeopathic

    Active ingredient: Zincum Gluconicum 2x
    Inactive ingredients: Benzalkonium chloride, glycerin, hydroxyethylcellulose, purified water, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide

    Does Zicam Work?

    I am always skeptical about homeopathic remedies, but this one really seems to work. According to the Zicam website Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel acts at the source – the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is the main site of the cold virus’ entry into the body. Also on, an independent clinical study found patients taking Zicam got over their colds 78% faster than patients taking the placebo. It has shortened the duration and severity of my colds when I take it and I can tell a difference when I don’t take it. It has been a lifesaver. My favorite Zicam product is the nasal gel, you get the most bang for your buck and it is easy to use. You just squirt it on the inside of each nostril, let it sit for 30 seconds and go on your merry way. Do this every 4 hours for the first 48 hours after your first symptoms and the cold should either go away or be less severe and shortened.

    Other Zicam Products

    Zicam has several other products such as Zicam Cold Remedy Adult Swabs, Zicam Cold Remedy Chewables
    and Zicam Healthy Z-ssentials Rapid Melts Tablets, Orange Flavor
    but my favorite remains the Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel. As far as the chews and the tablets, I think they leave a bit of a funny taste in my mouth but if someone is adverse to the nasal gel, it is a good alternative. The swabs are also quick and easy to use but you get less product for the same amount of money. Instead of the swabs, use a Q-Tip and squirt a bit of the gel on the tip for the same effect to maximize the value.

    I would highly recommend trying Zicam the next time you feel a case of the sniffles coming on and see if it works for you.

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