Spring Has Sprung…Let’s Talk Food & Fitness!

By Bethany A. Hoppe 

Spring has sprung and summer is right around the corner.  For many women that calls attention to the dreaded swimsuit season.  For this woman, it calls attention to the dreaded swimsuit season.

Let’s face it…we all have different bodies, anyway.  And when you really think about it, no one body is exactly alike – this goes for all women, whether they walk or roll.  Statistics say that the models modeling the swimsuits and their accompanying standards make up only 2% of the population.  

Let’s get realistic about a few things.  Women are literally dying to fit into that two percent.  Basically, otherwise healthy ladies are damaging themselves to fit a hyped standard.  Women who roll can’t afford to dilute themselves.  In fact, we actually have to pay closer attention to our total health and well being more than our standing peers.  

Guess what?

In the long run…that puts us ahead of the game if we play our cards right.

Throughout the summer, I will be writing a series of articles that focus on health, exercise, and most particularly a diet that enhances the specialized needs women with disabilities need to consider.  

Last year at this time I experienced renal failure.  This prompted an immediate dietary change that was not easy for me to handle at first.  But after the first two weeks, and then accumulated time over this last year, I re-learned food, food labels, cooking, and diet.  I have read and studied a lot.  I talk regularly to my urologist and Nephrologists’.  I do loads of experimental cooking.  

I was amazed over and over again by many things:  mainly how much salt is hidden in our food, how much processed non-nutritional food we are sold, how much of an impact food has on our general health, how much of an impact food has on our weight, and how much that has an impact on our vital organs.

Sixteen pounds later, feeling much lighter, enjoying true energy, better hair, stronger nails, clearer skin…it all began to make sense.  We are what we eat.  We are what we do.  We do what we think.

Our lymphatic system does not drain like our walking or running peers because we are seated; we do not get the pounding rhythm of walking action, bouncing action, or increased circulation.  
Good News:  There are foods that help offset lymphatic build-up that can cause allergies, congestion, and fluid buildup.  Add to that reducing salt and processed food, and we’re talking about a lot of our discomfort disappearing.

Again, the walking motion our standing peers have strengthens their bones, strengthens the muscle that supports those bones, generates their circulation, and cleanses their blood.  Additionally, their filtration systems are optimized with healthy urinary and kidney function, which leads to (for lack of a better phrase) cleaner blood delivering necessary oxygen and nutrients to vital organs.  

Seated women, without dietary changes that reduce or eliminate artificial colors and preservatives, sodium, and moderate potassium, force our kidneys work harder to clean out what we put in them, because when we do not have the benefits of walking action.  This leads to UTI’s, bladder infections and issues, and delivers pollution throughout our bodies.  

Good News:  There are foods that help seated women maintain all of those functions at individual optimal levels.  There are methods of working your diet, water intake, exercise regime (regardless of injury level or disability), and mental-emotional balance so that our blood remains more alkaline, our PH stays balanced, our bladders steer clear of infection, and our lives are far less hampered by UTI’s.  

Your body regenerates itself on several different schedules…including a brand new body over the course of six months to a year.  Now imagine all that you put into your body being the very best and most fresh and healthy it can be….Now imagine your body rebuilding and regenerating itself on the best possible cells possible.  

Look in the mirror one year from now (or less), and blow kisses at the knockout in front of you!  You!

NOTE: Before you start any changes to your diet and exercise program, or are simply initiating those concepts into your life – talk to your primary doctor.  More than likely, your doctor is going to be thrilled you are working towards a low-to-no sodium diet, and they are going to kiss you right on your lipsticked lips if you tell them you’re going to push water while cutting out sodas…But, they may also tell you what methods and diet changes may be counter-intuitive to your meds, your needs, or your limitations.  

Start with a checkup or at least a conversation with your doctor.  Find out your body weight and blood sugar before you begin.  Find out what exercises may work best for you where you are now; whether it is breathwork, mediation, or physical therapy to stretch and limber, everyone has a starting place.  Never stop meds because you’re feeling better from eating better foods and drinking more water or working out mentally-emotionally-physically.  If you feel positive changes – which you will – head back to the doctor’s office and find out from them if meds can be reduced or eliminated based on test results.  

You’re still in control of your body and your future…just do it safely.  Use science to prove to yourself and those around you that your methods work.

Let’s start with a simple formula.  H20.  

  1. Find out your body weight.
  2. Translate that number into ounces (i.e. If you weigh 120 pounds, turn that into 120 ounces).  
  3. Divide the ounces in half (i.e.  60oz)
  4. Drink that amount of water in one day.  

You are going to pee.  A lot.  For some it may stir up some junk.  When I first started I thought I was going to launch into a UTI.  But things flushed out.  I kept at it.  Take the advice of my beloved (yes, I said beloved) Urologist.  He told me once that surgeons literally stand across the operating table and make this statement:  Water is the Solution to the Pollution.  If people literally drank the water they should, there would be far less need for the OR.  

Now let’s give you a starting place for balance – it is a breathwork method I teach all of my university students, it is how we start every class.

  1. Imagine a refreshing color, whether it is primary or secondary, keep the color tone fresh, clean, bright.  Avoid deep Earth tones and darker hues.  I like to select colors from the Chakra system (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).  
  2. Close your eyes and imagine the color.  Focus on it.
  3. Sitting or lying as straight as possible with arms, legs, hand, fingers uncrossed, breathe that color in through your nose for four slow counts.
  4. Imagine the color you have breathed in swirling around your chest cavity.  Imagine it grabbing all of your stress, pollution, and funk.  
  5. Hold your breath and colors while swirling for seven (7) steady counts.  
  6. Exhale through your mouth like blowing in a straw for eight (8) steady counts.
  7. Imagine as you exhale that the fresh color you breathed in has turned to whatever you envision pollution or smog to be.  Essentially, breathe out your stress, funk, and tension.  

Only do one round of breathwork for the day as you start out.  Gradually get yourself built up to morning and evening.  You will know you are ready for full breathwork when you are not “overwhelmed” or light-headed by it.  Some people feel like yawning after, some people feel sleepy, and others feel energized…this is just your body balancing out and distributing oxygen.

Finally, here is a quick fresh renal (kidney friendly) recipe you can try that is low-to-no-sodium, moderate to low potassium, and bold with flavor…even if you’re not a chef or kitchen wizard…this is a can-do!

Summer Salad
Leafy green lettuce  (not Iceberg, Romaine, fresh Spinach, or other darker greens) hand torn and shredded
  • Can be bagged organic pre-cut/shredded if chopping, shredding and prepping is an adpative
½  can of drained Mandarin oranges
¼ cup of drained crushed pineapple
¼ Cup sliced raw almonds
¼ Cup shredded raw coconut
2 chopped green onions
  • I like to just kitchen scissor cut them…food process or bullet slicing works, too.
Mrs. Dash Citrus Blend (to taste)
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Dash of Balsamic dressing

  • I have found that a few spritzes of spray dressings have the lowest sodium and offer you the most control of how much dressing gets added.  Most sodium, potassium, and calories are found in dressings.  

Until next time….Happy Health!

Bethany A. Hoppe is the author of the Lifestyle Blog "Raspberry Vogue," and the children's book series "Molly B. Golly."  The first book, "Molly B. Golly's Wonderful Dancing Debut!" is currently released. Bethany teaches Communication and Voice Diction at Middle Tennessee State University, and is the founder of Bethany Productions which promotes women with disabilities within entertainment through writing, speaking, performance, and fashion.  Visit Bethany at www.bethany-hoppe.com to keep up with her creative projects!  You can also find her online at www.facebook.com/bethany.productions.  


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