Living Healthy After 60

Grandpa's blog

Living Healthy after age 60

My twin sister and I were rapidly approaching our 60th birthday. Neither of us was practicing healthy living; sadly for her, though, it resulted in her liver and kidneys failing. She died 11 days before what would have been our 60th birthday together.

I was in fairly good shape, so I thought, except I couldn’t see what was going on inside my body. It obviously wasn’t good – I’ll explain later.

Learning versus doing

I learned a lot over the 60 years of my life. But learning and applying what I learned are two different things.

For example, I know that healthy living means cutting out the sugar, exercising regularly, and controlling what and how much I eat. Yet I drank sweet tea like there was no tomorrow, I often ate till I was stuffed, and I didn’t exercise. I got enough of that at work, I told myself.

My daughter’s a paramedic. She comes in contact with a lot of sick people – many of them in their 50s. She’s been telling me for a long time that I need to take better care of myself. But I’ve always felt good and didn’t see a need to make any changes.

The funeral director who handled my sister’s funeral said he conducts many funerals for folks in their 50s. One week after my 59-year-old twin sister’s funeral, the funeral director’s 57-year-old sister died. My dad was 58 when learned he had a brain tumor. He died two months after his 60th birthday.

Healthy living – it finally clicked

Three months before my 60th birthday I had to have hernia surgery. During my 5-week recovery at home, I drank a lot of sweet tea. After two or three weeks, I thought my deodorant had stopped working. I make my own deodorant (1/4 cup mineral flakes and 1/4 cup warm distilled water), and I thought maybe it was old and going bad. I asked my daughter about it, and she said that smelling my own body odor was a sign my liver was not working at its fullest potential.

That was a wake-up call for me, because that’s what my sister was going through at the time. So I immediately stopped with the sweet tea and drank water. Lots of water. For a few weeks all I drank was water.

Guess what! I no longer could smell myself. I know that’s disgusting, but I don’t know how else to say it to make my point. Anyway, I concluded that my liver was back to working like it should, so I went back to drinking sweet tea and cokes (or sodas, soft drinks, pop – depending on where you’re from). I fell off the wagon, so to speak.

The beginning of a healthy lifestyle

Meanwhile, my daughter kept after me about eating and living healthy. She convinced my wife and me that we should start a healthier lifestyle by “juicing”. We bought an Omega 8006 juicer, and we’ve been juicing five to six days a week since then.

Note: My daughter did the research and coached us on juicing. Here’s the link for the site she believes in (chrisbeatcancer.com, no affiliation).

Omega Juicer and juice

Healthy lifestyle and more

Shortly thereafter, we joined Anytime Fitness. We’ve been faithful in going, which is rather easy for us since I’m retired and we only live a mile from the fitness center.

In addition to juicing and working out, we now do green smoothies. So here’s our daily menu:

  • breakfast – juice
  • snack – apple, banana, other healthy snack
  • lunch – green smoothie
  • snack – apple, banana, other healthy snack
  • dinner – a sensible meal
  • snack – apple, banana, other healthy snack

We bought a blendtec Classic 575 Black Model CTB2 at Costco (membership required) for making the smoothies. It was on sale for $199 and came with the 32-ounce jar (75-ounce total volume). This particular model was not available on Amazon at the time of this posting, but here is a comparable model.

 

My daughter signed up with the GREENSMOOTHIEGIRL and so did I. When I signed up, I received a free printable sheet, 1001 SMOOTHIE RECIPES. From that, my wife came up with this combination that I really like, using the measurements listed on the sheet (she had to make one I like or I won’t stick with it).

Here are the steps, using the instructions from the 1001 SMOOTHIE RECIPES:

  1. unsweetened almond milk, or water if we’re out of almond milk
  2. power greens (or raw spinach) and broccoli
  3. apple, banana, orange (or lemon), peaches, blueberries, strawberries
  4. 1T flax meal and protein powder (according to product instructions)

To make sure there is no misunderstanding, the combination of products my wife uses in our smoothies was adapted from GREENSMOOTHIEGIRL‘s recipe.

Three weeks into a better lifestyle

At the time of this writing, I have not had a coke or sweet tea for over three weeks. Something else I haven’t had is a cookie, cake, doughnut, or anything sweet. And the best part of this is that I haven’t wanted any of those things.

Now I must tell you, part of the reason I have not had or wanted these things is because I made a decision. I was not going to put those things in my body and risk getting cancer or have some other bad thing happen to me. My desire is to live a long, healthy life. I don’t want my wife to have to take care of me.

So how are things after three weeks of juicing and green smoothies (and two months at Anytime Fitness)? I feel better, I sleep much better, the bumps on my skin have gone away, and my blood pressure has improved (it wasn’t bad in the first place but it’s even better now). Oh, and I can now wear my slacks that didn’t fit me two weeks earlier.

Making this a way of life

The big question is, how long will my wife and I keep up with the juice and smoothies? And will we remain disciplined in working out? I know how New Year resolutions turn out – people keep them for a month or two then fall back into their old patterns. But ours is not a New Year resolution! No! It’s a matter of wanting to live long, healthy lives. We want to see and enjoy our grown son and daughter and their spouses and kids grow.

Is it possible we’ll “fall off the wagon”? Yes, it’s possible. I can’t say that I will never again drink a Coke or Dr. Pepper, or drink sweet tea from Chick-fil-A. My daughter told me if I can completely avoid such drinks, that would be great. She added that if I want a Coke or sweet tea, I should have one, and then go back to drinking water. It’s a matter of self control, self discipline.

“Harry, I’ve reached the top!”

Sound familiar? That’s what Marv hollered out to Harry in Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York. Then he fell through the hole in the floor and landed two stories down.

Though I feel better and my pants once again fit me, I’m not there yet. My weight is OK, but I still have some belly fat to get rid of. It’ll take time and effort on my part, I realize that. But I’m not getting any younger, and I want to be an encouragement for my wife so she can reach her goals as well. I want and need to make this a way of life for me.

Closing thoughts

In my next article, I’ll write about things my wife and I like to do to remain active. There’s no need to wait until retirement to enjoy life. Nor is there any reason to be retired and not enjoy life. Don’t wait until you’re 60 to start taking care of yourself. Begin now!

Hey, thanks for being here! Feel free to drop me a line and let me know how things are going for you. I would especially like to know if I can be of any help or encouragement to you.

Until next time,

All the best,

rjhenrichs.com

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