Have you tried growing these shade-tolerant herbs in your apartment?

Chive butter with buttermilk biscuits, ribbons of tarragon with egg salad, iced tea with crisp mint. There are quite a great number of reasons to love herbs. Unfortunately, as a city inhabitant living in a Brooklyn condo without brilliant sun, I generally assumed that I wouldn’t have the capacity to grow some of my own.

Turns out, I have been trying to grow the wrong herbs all along. While it is a known fact that herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme and lavender require a considerable measure of daylight to flourish, a large number of culinary herbs can flourish in a shadier spot.

Soft, leafy herbs such as lemon balm, oregano, tarragon, cilantro, mint, parsley and chives can fare okay in marginally shadier spots (however look out for dill and basil which are soft-leaved, yet require full sun).

In the event that you have a little window sill (or an emergency exit), consider setting up a couple of these herbs in pots to enjoy all through summer and spring.

If it also happens that you don’t have enough space outdoor but you get a lot of daylight inside, a significant number of these will even do fine in a radiant windowsill or on a splendid kitchen ledge.

Where do you Hide Your Potting Soil in Plain Sight in a Tiny Apartment?

I made a stop at my neighborhood plant shop and picked four diverse natural herbs to put in my planter and they are tarragon, chives, hydroponic nutrients, oregano and parsley.

I likewise purchased a thin, three-inch wide teak grower with great seepage. Are you a fan of wooden boxes? Then you shouldn’t have a problem picking a lovely one.

You can utilize little rocks in the base of a planter to keep the dirt from compacting and blocking the little holes made for drainage.

A great deal of the more sun-cherishing herbs are especially touchy to excessively damp roots, yet if you opt for herbs that thrive well in little sunlight, you won’t need to stress yourself up over keeping the soil sandy. If your planter will be kept inside the house, consider purchasing a little plate to put underneath it to get water as it drops).

Since I’m quite positive I will spend the mid-year drinking lots of mint juleps, I purchased a mint plant as well.

Mint is a herb that truly flourishes in shadier greenery enclosures. Actually, it occasionally flourishes too well. I didn’t need my mint to assume control over my minor window box, so I got a Ben Wolff pot in black and pruned it there.

When it came to putting whatever is left of my herbs in a pot, I cleared out around two inches between each plant to be sure they have all the required space so they don’t choke each other.

My condo windowsill just gets a few hours of direct daylight every day and fortunately, it is quite enough to keep the herbs going, but you can try viparspectra 450w for grow indoor.

Full revelation: I stuck a basil out there about a month ago and shockingly, it was doing quite okay too. If you happen to be someone just like myself who can’t go an entire day in the summer without having caprese salads, then you should give it a go— but don’t be sad if they do not make it.

Herbs are intended to be eaten, so harvest them regularly. If you are having difficulties clipping them, then purchase a lovely pair of scissors to help with the undertaking.

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The cost for the seeds might vary for many people. Growers often need a bulk order of seeds and the price is set for that option. Bulk orders can be offered at a reduce cost to the buyer. The best seedbanks will be flexible with the prices that they charge. The options are important and people want to make that project possible. The seedbanks that ship to US will also set some shipping and handling options. That gets the package sent to new buyers in time. The shipping fees are worth it over time as well.

Motivation and Effort – 130

Life is full of ideas that most of us just accept without examining them or even being aware of them. Here’s one:Carrière dans le travail — Photo

“You can do anything if you want to badly enough.”

This idea is what leads some doctors to try to instill fear in their patients. The approach would even seem to have some merit, because some people do respond to a disease diagnosis or serious warning by making significant and lasting changes.

Before we look at whether this idea is really true, let’s flip it around:

“If you can’t do something, it’s because you don’t want to badly enough.”

Here is where our idea starts to become dangerous. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years either feeling guilty that I wasn’t sufficiently motivated to lose weight, trying to psychoanalyze myself to figure out why I wasn’t sufficiently motivated, or trying to artificially pump myself up to a higher level of motivation. None of this has helped in the least.

It seems to me to be useful to break our idea into two ideas:

“Greater motivation produces greater effort.”

and

“Greater effort produces better results.”

Both of these statements are suspect, but let’s concentrate on the first one. Does greater motivation lead to greater effort?

There are at least two things that can get in the way of motivation producing effort. The first is when we either do not know what action we could take to move us forward, or we don’t believe that the possible actions we know about would be effective. The other is that though strong desire can spur us to action, it can also paralyze us.

People differ in how they respond to crises. I myself too often responds to a crisis with both mind and body seeming to shut down. Even in a situation that is not a crisis, strong feelings about something that I want to do seem to strangle clear and creative thinking. I have to find a way to view the situation more coolly before I can make progress. This is part of why I think it is dangerous to try to use fear to motivate others.

I once read a friend’s concern for a relative that had been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This relative was not testing his blood, was not making needed changes in his diet, and was not doing the exercise which would have benefited him. It may indeed have been, as my friend assumed, that the relative did not understand his situation and was therefore unmotivated. But, it may also have been that he did understand his situation but was frightened past the point where he could take effective action.

If there are changes that we want to make in your self-care that we can’t seem to pull off, it may not be that we don’t want to change badly enough but that there are other barriers we need to find our way around.

Roller Coaster Ride – 157

Roller coaster — Photo

When you go to an amusement park, many people want to ride the roller coaster. The anticipation. The excitement. The fear. It’s thrilling! Most people who ride roller coasters enjoy what observers would call sheer terror, at least from their facial expressions. The unknown at the top of the hill. Not knowing if it is a turn or a drop. The ups and downs of a roller coaster and the speed are what make it exciting.  At the end, many want to take that ride again.

It’s not the same with the diabetes roller coaster. The ups and downs are terrifying, but not in a thrill ride sort of way. The uncertainty of complications. The anticipation of how food and activity works to benefit or harm of glucose levels. This fear is not exciting. The unknown of when the ride will once again be on steady ground. Faces showing terror that doesn’t end with someone begging to take that ride again.

Many times guilt comes along for the ride. If only I hadn’t eaten that. If only I took a walk today. If only I could keep on top of things. Anger joins in. Yelling. Sometimes cursing. Bitterness toward a disease. Sadness also sits in the next car. Tears. Possible depression. Fear tags along. Hoping to keep complication away.

Yes, diabetes is a roller coaster ride. Not only dealing with glucose levels going up and down, but also the mixture of emotions that go along with it. It may not be a fun ride, but it can be a little less scary with the support of family and friends.

Denial isn’t a river in Egypt – 310

 

“A slave that acknowledges its enslavement is halfway to its liberation.” –Mokokoma Mokhonoana

As I sit to relax after eating a healthy lunch (green peppers stuffed with a mix of brown rice, chicken and veggies) I’m thinking why don’t I eat like this more often. In fact, I’m here thinking what happened in the past few months to make me completely derail from everything a person with type 2 diabetes should do in order to be healthy.

2013 has been hectic. For almost a year I was working two jobs so I could afford health insurance (see the irony?). My schedule was so crappy, I ate whatever was available, which means there were a lot of late night shifts that ended at the BK drive-thru. Decent sleep hours became a joke, so don’t ask me about exercise. My routine got completely screwed up, and I won’t get the award for taking my medications on time. Now my jeans feel tighter, you do the math. I feel tired which means my thyroid is angry. So it hasn’t been a good year for my diabetes management.

About a month ago my life changed for the better when I was offered a wonderful position at the college where I work. Now I have a regular week day, first shift, full time job. That certainly gives me time to plan things and take care of myself, but it’s taking me a while to get back on track.

The first thing I did was reassess my health and realize I haven’t seen my doctor since the beginning of May. My last A1C dates from March. I don’t remember when was the last time I tested my blood glucose levels because I ran out of strips, and the doctor will want to see me. But for a month I’ve been afraid to call and make that appointment… I am almost 100% sure my numbers will make her eyes cross.

Because taking my metformin has been rather an irregular thing, now that I’m taking it every day, as many times as required, my stomach is all messed up and I find myself cursing the diabetes demons. And while trying to decide how to soothe my poor stomach, I was thinking if I need a medication change, if it would be better to manage my blood glucose levels with insulin or if there will soon be a magic cure. Truth is, all I need to do is get out of denial and do what has always worked for me.

This is the story of my life. The story of the life of a person with type 2 diabetes. Especially one who doesn’t live on insulin. It’s homework every single day. Every decision affects our numbers. And the guilt paralyzes us.

I made my appointment with the doctor this morning. I know it won’t be pretty, but I ran out of excuses.

Not As Planned – 136

In life, there are plenty of things that don’t go as planned. Last week I had plans with two people. One forgot and didn’t show. The other had a sick kid and had to cancel. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, really, but it changed my plans. It was out of my control. There was nothing I could do about it.

Things didn’t go as planned.

I could have gotten upset, but I knew there was no point. Letting myself have a moment of disappointment helped me to move on. I was able to quickly come up with a new plan for the morning.

However sometimes it’s not as easy to recover from a change of plans. There isn’t always a pleasant alternative.

I knew there was a high probability that I would become Type 2 at sometime in my life. My grandfather was Type 2. My mom is Type 2. I had gestational diabetes for all five of my pregnancies. The odds were not in my favor. Heredity was not in my favor. I was expecting to develop Type 2 some time in my 60s.

Things didn’t go as planned.

I was diagnosed two weeks before my 38th birthday. That’s not what I had planned. I have to admit the diagnosis wasn’t a surprise though. After all, I was the one who requested the blood work. Something told me to ask.

After getting the diagnosis, I had a plan. I was going to test my blood sugar four times a day every day. I was going to exercise every day. I was going to eat low carb every day. Of course I also knew I was going to let myself have occasional treats like ice cream or Snickers bars, but only when my numbers agreed.Dessin et planifiée de rénovation d’une salle de bain — Photo

Things didn’t go as planned.

I don’t always test my blood sugar. No every day. Not even every week. I still eat french fries every now and then. I don’t always check my glucose levels before having a Snickers. I’m not the perfect diabetic that I planned to be.

There. I admitted it. I’m not perfect. That’s not so bad, is it? Then why am I tearing up as I write this? Why can’t I remember to test as often as I should? Why is it so hard to exercise every day? And why are those treats so tempting? Why is it that I get so upset with myself when I don’t do it “right”?

Things didn’t go as planned.

I may feel out of control, but there is something I can do about it. Maybe today I’ll start by testing my blood sugar once each day. Ideally it would be fasting, but for now I’ll just try for once per day. Baby steps. Just one step at a time.

Food diaries and honesty – 397

People with diabetes are constantly aware of food, that’s a given. We need to pay attention to what we’re eating, how many carbs, when we’re eating and longing for foods we crave but probably shouldn’t eat. I have kept food journals in the past to get a grip on how different foods affect my blood sugar. I find them to be helpful. I was somewhat careful to write down what was in a particular meal (along with before and after glucose readings) but I never spent time writing down everything I ate in a day. A recent attempt to pinpoint another health issue, separate from my diabetes, was not only eye-opening but a bit uncomfortable.

Journal de la santé — PhotoI’ve been having “gut issues” for months now. I got to thinking about the possibility of lactose intolerance since I have family members who deal with that. Pretty much the only dairy I eat these days is cheese and a bit of cream in my coffee  but I figured it was worth a try. A food diary seemed like a good idea because, who knows, it might be something else I’m eating that’s causing me grief. If I just kept track of everything I ate for a week maybe my doctor could look at that and say, “Well there’s the culprit!” So I began. I lasted two days.

Have you ever really paid attention to everything you eat? Regardless of the fact that I think about food all the time, I never realized just how much I was eating. It was embarrassing. When you have to stop and write down what you’re eating, it puts a huge spotlight on that snack you’ve decided to eat. Knowing that I had to “own up” to eating something, I would either change my mind and eat something “safer” or else eat it anyway and then feel guilty. I even considered not writing something down just so no one else would see what I’d done! Talk about feeling like Big Brother is watching. It was awful.

I’m writing this to bring up the point that, even though we may have made dramatic changes to what we eat on a daily basis, even though we may be committed to a healthier lifestyle, even though we “know better”, it can be so easy to derail our good intentions with mindless munching. This is not to say that we can’t have a treat now and then, but it would be in our best interest to make it a planned treat and curtail the munching for munching’s sake. My short experiment in food journaling may not have been the success I was hoping for but it did cause me to pay closer attention to what I’m eating. I’m much more aware now and have been making better choices. What could you do to improve your diet?

You’re Fat and it’s Your Fault! – 507

Got your attention, didn’t I? Before anyone gets all tied up in knots ready to behead me for my apparent rudeness and lack of sympathy, I don’t agree with what the title says. This was just my attempt at click-bait because I feel that this subject needs to be addressed from another point of view.

The website Upworthy recently posted a link to an article that talks about a study that was done at the University of Pennsylvania funded, in most part, by the National Institute on Aging. This study looked at the idea of “fining” fat people if they didn’t exercise. Wow. Apparently the study was trying to look for ways to motivate people to become healthier and thinner. But here’s the thing: weight isn’t the best indicator of health. There are many overweight individuals who are otherwise healthy and many thin people who are horribly ill. The idea that we can tell someone’s health by just looking at them is ludicrous and yet that is what most people will do, including many doctors.

While this subject isn’t specific to those of us with type 2 diabetes, it is certainly closely related. We all know of the stigma that is attached to our disease and it is continually perpetuated in the media and medical communities. The fact that this study was even done is very telling. You want to fine fat people for failing to exercise? Really?

Now let’s look at this from another perspective. Lack of added exercise is a HUGE problem in our society (and that pun was not intended. Lack of exercise is a problem for everyone, not just the overweight). Our hectic lives, jobs that require us to sit for hours a day, cities that are designed for cars and not people, the Internet and exhaustion have all made it easier to just not exercise. But we should exercise, in fact I’ll go further and say that we must exercise! Really! I’ve posted on my personal blog before about how exercise has benefitted me. I also know how difficult it is to keep it up when life gets in the way. I’m not here to say that it’s easy but it is worth doing.

Here’s what gets under my skin about this study and what it implies. Quit pointing at fat people and saying that they’re a problem! (I should have used caps.) People who are overweight are vilified as being lazy and saying that we should fine them for not exercising is indicating that they’re stupid and need to be tricked into walking like some toddler who won’t pick up their toys. YES, overweight people should exercise. YES, it will benefit their lives. NO, they’re not the only ones who should be moving. I’m not implying that overweight people should be coddled and patted on the head while telling them that it’s not their fault. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Exercise is hard. Exercise is even harder when you’re heavy. Should we condemn people who are struggling with this? I don’t think so. Another very important thing to consider is that there are many medical reasons that people are overweight; insulin resistance has been shown to encourage fat storage, thyroid issues, medications can cause weight gain and the realization that processed carbs are addicting is rarely discussed in the mainstream.

So, what should we as a nation do to fix this issue? How about figuring out a way to re-teach our society about the importance of eating real food as opposed to processed junk? How about subsidizing vegetable farmers (other than the corn growers) in order to decrease the cost of vegetables? Community cooking classes and vegetable gardens sound awesome. Why can’t communities put some bucks into making it easier to walk instead of drive? What about having employers put programs in place that encourage their employees to exercise while at work, you know like a room with a few treadmills like you see at hotels or a mandatory 20 minute stretch or walk break with extra kudos for taking the stairs? People don’t need to be bullied or shamed in order to improve their lives, that doesn’t work! People need to be shown what a healthy life looks like and be given the opportunities and information to make it possible for them to achieve that health. Yes, overweight people should be exercising and so should everyone else. The reward will be healthier individuals who are happier with their lives. That is worth much more than a few pennies in their pocket and it can be done without shaming. Quit pointing at the overweight as the problem and begin solving the real problems facing all of us: lack of real opportunities to improve everyone’s health. Let’s find ways to encourage each other instead of blaming and shaming. I can get behind that.

My Struggle with Exercise – 627

One of the first things I learned when I attended diabetes education sessions (many, many years ago) was that exercise was an important part of management and control of blood glucose levels. But in order to make exercise successful, I had to find something I really liked doing; otherwise it would become a tedious task I just wouldn’t stick to. That turned out to be some kind of omen, and I’m trying to break it.

I was always an active child. I was into sports like tennis and volleyball; I also liked swimming, and when I was in college I played some soccer. Once I reached adulthood and my first clinical depression episode happened, I was just too tired all the time. I don’t remember when was the last time I did some kind of sport activity on a regular basis, but I do remember how wonderful I felt and how well my diabetes behaved when I decided to join the gym… and that was a first for me.

I hate gyms; I hate the culture of gyms, probably because I’m misinformed. I don’t want anyone to see my body giggling on that treadmill, and I certainly don’t want to play Barbie. I feel out of place at a gym, which is ironic considering I’m the kind of person who obviously could benefit the most from it. But I long for those days when I got out of work and went for my evening work out, and then I got home feeling great, took a shower, watched re-runs of ER and fell asleep. I don’t remember ever feeling so good about myself. What bigger proof do I need to understand that discipline is the way to achieve things? Why don’t I do it again?

A few years ago, I got a bicycle I had so much fun riding and then life happened. Now the bike is collecting dust and I feel guilty but I don’t do anything about it. However, guilt is not going to take me anywhere and instead of wondering why I don’t stick to an exercise routine, I should just start… that’s always the hardest part. Lack of motivation is what usually gets me… that’s what happens when you deal with chronic depression, but it’s a vicious cycle I’m able to break because I know who I am. I just have to do it.

I know I don’t like to run. But I do love bicycling and swimming. And of course walking. I need to stop making excuses, “It’s too cold,” “It’s too hot,” “It’s too late…” Where does one find that kind of motivation?

Cookbooks and Care Plans – 259

Cookbooks and care plans are both very individual things.

I own quite a few cookbooks, and I’ve looked at many, many more. Most of the cookbooks I’ve seen, even the good ones, aren’t a good fit for me. Even cookbooks with well-written recipes may not match my skill level, or important ingredients would be pricey or hard to get, or I just don’t particularly want to cook eat the food?

Gros plan de légumes mûrs et portable sur la table — PhotoPlans we make to maintain or improve our health are the same way. There are some basics, such as actually being healthy. You don’t want food plans that aren’t good for you or exercises likely to injure you. But our circumstances vary so much that plans have to fit us, or they just won’t work. A good example from my life is exercise. I’ve tried many things to increase the exercise I do, and most of them have failed. My strong distaste for changing clothes in a locker room make gyms impractical. I can’t make myself do calisthenics for more than a few days. Playing a competitive game like volleyball or basketball leaves me feeling inadequate and ashamed of my lack of athleticism, even just playing among friends.

In fact, the only physical activity I know that I enjoy doing is walking. So, a few years ago, I began walking to and from work each day: the round trip takes me about half an hour. That made for a good start, but the various goals I’ve set to go beyond that just haven’t gone anywhere.

If you’ve read other recent posts, you may know that this has changed for me. In recent months, some of my friends have been talking about a pedometer that syncs online. (I’m not naming it because the tool I chose isn’t the point here.) The ability to work towards both daily and cumulative goals appealed to the gamer in me, especially since it didn’t require manual logging. This particular gizmo has proved thus far to be very helpful for me, and I’m now waking between 60 and 90 minutes every day. I could accomplish the same thing with a cheap pedometer and a notebook … but I haven’t. That’s like a recipe that’s great in every way except that I just don’t want to cook the dish it describes.

So, having found one plan that’s working for me right now, I’m looking for the next step. I want to establish a short daily stretching routine, and I’d like to add just a little bit of strength training. I need to remember to keep the goals small: if my plan feels like a burden, the plan isn’t sustainable. I also have to be willing to adjust a plan that’s not working rather than stopping completely. A plan for exercise or eating that I don’t follow is as pointless as a recipe I never make.

Whatever you choose to do, be it a care plan or a cookbook, your plan has to fit you.