Now that we are a little over two weeks into the new year we’ve been noticing some “small” changes in a few people we run into daily. Some are going to the gym to work out and get that body they’ve always wanted. And others are finding new diets to replace the ones that didn’t give them the results they were looking for. But today we are only focusing on the “BIG” changes; the Lifestyle ones that are long term investments to your well being.
It is easy to begin the new year with resolutions like to lose weight, stop drinking, quit smoking, be a better person to your spouse, save more money, or working harder to get a promotion. For some that change is temporarily. For others who truly want change it is a complete lifestyle overhaul. So today we would like to share you a story about Randy’s lifestyle change that saved his life. But before we hear his story I have to tell you that he looks just like Penn Jillette!!! If you were to see Randy in person his size and deep voice can be quite intimidating. Don’t let the Penn look fool you. His vice grip bear hugs are bone cracking!!
I begin this journey in January 2012; when I was an absolute miserable, ticking time bomb at 410 lbs. 54 years old and tired of being tired, my daughters (who eat a plant based diet) had harped on me relentlessly about trying to change my eating habits. I had every reason imaginable to get healthy. My dad passed away from a heart attack after a triple and double bypass while out on the golf course when he was just 62. And my mother had a severe case of Alzheimer’s. Up until this point, I knew it had been merely luck that something hasn’t happened to me. Sometimes I even thought to myself “when” I have a stroke or heart attack; I hope it’s mild enough that I will be able to lead a somewhat normal life or that it would be so bad that it would just take me. I couldn’t have been more selfish. And although I had tried by giving every diet imaginable a try (Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, sugar-free, fat-free, etc) and although each one of them had worked, each one of them would cause me to gain even more weight back when I went off.
In February, my ticking time bomb went off (literally) in the form of a blood clot that almost gave me a stroke or heart attack. I was having difficulty breathing and what my physician believed to be an upper respiratory infection turned out to be a small time bomb floating its way through my legs and lungs. It wasn’t 10 minutes after going to the doctor to have them looks at my swelling leg before they called an ambulance. I was in such grave condition that they wouldn’t even allow me to drive to the hospital. I had what they called a “floater” from my knee to my ankle. Luckily, I had brought a friend with me, who had encouraged me to go the doctor, who saved my life by being there to take me straight to the emergency room.
What I discovered when I arrived had me convinced that I had mere hours before something catastrophic was going to happen. I had blood clots in my lungs and a complete clot between my leg and knee. They immediately put in a filter to prevent it from going to my heart or brain, causing a stroke or heart attack. When I asked the doctor how much time I had to think about it, he responded “two seconds”. Needless to say, they put it in and I was wheeled off. There I remained in the hospital for two weeks from something I had thought was a respiratory infection.
As I walked myself around the hospital for those two weeks, I came across others who weren’t nearly as lucky as me. Although I had worried my family to tears, these families were destroyed because of various problems similar to mine. I was incredibly lucky. And that was the extra push I needed to help keep my family from experiencing the same. I thought that if someone would have broke into my home wouldn’t I fight for my family’s safety and myself? Who wouldn’t? So I fought back. I started reading and learning all I could about health and nutrition. Not about diets, but about how to eat because dieting just didn’t work for me. After going to a plant based diet I saw changes within a few days. Pounds fell off me. I thought everyone woke up tired and sluggish. But shortly after my change, I was waking up rested and alert. My coworkers even noticed a huge change in my attitude and why I was so happy all the time. Because I felt amazing! Losing weight will make you feel good….taking control of your life and future will make you feel GREAT!!
It’s been almost a year now and I have lost 140lbs. For the first time in 20 years, I can buy clothes off the rack. My blood sugar went from 110 to 74, blood pressure from 168/136 to 135/82. My cholesterol was over 21, it is now 143. All in one year! I am still on my medications and am still being monitored closely by my doctor. However, when my doctor saw my improvements he said “whatever you’re doing, keep doing!” He also anticipates that I will probably be able to get off my meds in a few months. I have been on blood pressure medication since I was 25!
This is not a diet, it’s not temporary, and it’s not a quick fix. It’s a complete lifestyle overhaul. Of course I like to look good, but eating this way is so much more. It gave me my life back and it gave my children their father back. My daughters say to me “that is the Dad I remember” and that is exactly the motivation I need. I want to be here to see my children and grandchildren grow. But I also want to be here to do things with them, things that if things keep going the way there were I would have not been able to. Today is your tomorrow. Fight back, fight for your life and for your family’s life
We are proud of you Randy and also know that your family is proud of you as well. We’re honored to share your story on our blog today. May Randy’s story be an inspiration to all of those who are seeking change in their lives and want to be that change for their family!
“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” Kettering
“Don’t let others change your life, be your own change agent and implement the changes you want! And if an unexpected change occurs in your life, find the positive in it.” Pulsifer
Yes, you can go to school! We all know that kids who do well in school have a better chance of doing well – and becoming well off – in life. But just as important as learning how to earn money is learning what to do with it.
Up to now most schools have not prepared students to deal with money issues in the real world. So it’s not surprising to see the disappointing results of a national survey sponsored by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. In the survey measuring 12th graders’ knowledge of basic personal finance, most failed, receiving average scores of just over 50 percent.
Things are finally changing and Yes, You Can is on the leading edge of providing the necessary resources to help parents and teachers influence the behaviors of children and young adults so they can set a course to financial independence.
It’s Available Now!
With the introduction of the Yes, You Can curriculum, American Century Investments – a longtime supporter of financial education – is expanding the classroom resources available for teachers. Aligned with the 8th grade Jump$tart National Standards for Personal Finance, the curriculum is appropriate for middle and high school students.
The curriculum’s goal is to help teachers challenge kids to:
- Examine their personal financial behaviors;
- Establish new and financially rewarding habits;
- Learn about personal financial concepts;
- Create the foundation for financial independence.
Module 1: Now and the Next Five Years
Students start a Personal Finance Portfolio notebook to organize their materials. They begin learning about setting financial goals, developing spending plans and deciphering what’s on an itemized paycheck.
Module 2: First Steps to Financial Independence
Through Pay Yourself First®, kids learn about savings and interest, inflation, credit cards and debt, and how to evaluate advertising.
Module 3: The Next Big Thing
Students learn about stocks and other investments, how to determine net worth and calculate expenses, and how to live within their means.
Module 4: Our Great Idea
After brainstorming ideas about how to tackle community issues, students come to a consensus and develop an action plan to successfully complete a project. What they learn helps them discover the rewards of entrepreneurship.
It’s FREE! All materials are available for download free. Just look under the Educatortab where, once you register, you’ll find lessons with interactive components, plus projects, assessments, PowerPoint® presentations and Adult Dialogue Activities. Web-based calculators called FIT (“Financial Independence Today”) tools include the Debt Reducer Calculator and Savings Goal Calculator.
While learning to handle money is serious business, the curriculum includes fun and games, too. The Whaddayaknow? Game Show lets teams answer questions on a game board, and the Yes, You Can BINGO game highlights financial vocabulary terms.
How do we know the curriculum will be workable for educators and students? We started by designing materials that adhere to the accepted 3 C’s of learning strategies: Constructive, Contextual and Collaborative learning.
Then we conducted a pilot in urban, suburban and rural middle schools and high schools to “test drive” the curriculum and get input from educators and parents.
It works! One of the pilot educators concluded: “I want to have the curriculum ready on day one. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.” A parent said the curriculum “helped begin the process of teaching my child about personal finance.”
Many schools offering the new curriculum are sending parents a letter by mail or e-mail. If you haven’t heard anything, contact your child’s teacher to encourage use of the program.
“It is important that your children learn what they can do with money early in life so they will apply the lessons learned as they face the real world in future years,” recommends Jim Stowers, founder, American Century Investments. Through the support of the company he founded, every child now has the opportunity to learn these life-enhancing lessons.
Reference: Financial Education From American Century Investments, Issue Yes You Can, Summer 2012, Website: http://yesyoucanonline.info/Earning/Earning-Articles/Leverage-Your-Summer-Internship
Good day to you all!! Foodie Roo here to share another great recipe with you. This time last year my friend Jen took me on a trip to visit her friends Andre and Carol who live in Huntington Beach, California. That was my first time EVER traveling to the west coast. And just to add that was the best trip I EVER had experiencing great food, local artist and their artwork, the beach, and lots of bicycle riders!!
The culture and way of life there was very laid back. So much laid back that Jen and I were spoiled rotten and didn’t want to come back home. While there we experienced some great home cooking by Andre, Carol’s husband. This guy is not only a great family man that I look up to but also an amazing chef!! Now that I look back on it I never saw him break a sweat while cooking. Oh yeah that’s right the temperature there was a cool 68-72 degrees our whole trip!!! And how can I forget Carol……ahhhhhh Carol. Always with a smile and always putting others before her. She took us down memory lane and painted pictures that made me feel as if I was living there in that moment. Their energy, beautiful smile, and spirit made me feel right at home.
That’s why today’s recipe is dedicated to Andre and Carol. I am going to replicate the Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken with Grilled Zucchini, Peppers, and Eggplant we had the honor of sampling from Andre the first day we got there. Thank you again Andre and Carol for the great hospitality!!! You guys are amazing and can’t wait to see you soon!!
Ingredients (all organic)
1 Italian eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch planks
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch planks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4. While grill is still hot, place vegetables on grill in a single layer. Cook vegetables on each side for about 2 minutes until well marked. Arrange grilled vegetables on a large platter slightly overlapping one another and serve with chicken.