Are Green Peas Healthy?

I think a healthy obsession is, well …healthy. A great thing about this modern world is, if you suddenly get an idea in your head, you can deep dive into that thing and be consumed by it. Can you think of anything topical from the last year-and-a-half that people researched online and became experts in?

Whether you want to learn to knit, fix your lawnmower, research green peas, or cultivate an expertise in infectious diseases …well, my friend, you can join Reddit groups, read articles, read Blogs, follow Twitter accounts by prominent experts in that thing you’re interested in.

For the past 48 hours, I’ve been looking into whether green peas are healthy or not. No. I haven’t joined a green pea Reddit group and haven’t looked (but I bet there is one).

Some recent (healthy) obsessions have been… Read More

Getting Old, Part 1: Celebrating it

I’m getting old.

Sometimes getting old is a bad thing. Sometimes it’s GREAT.

Welcome to my 8-Part series on getting old, embracing getting old, what to do about it (no, it won’t involve a “blood boy”), and bragging about why I’m awesome being old.

I’ll start by bringing the room down (great way to start a Blog). If you made it to 48-years-old, like me, CONGRATS!. Actually, if you’ve made it any age and you still (mostly) get out of bed without groaning and haven’t “survived” anything major, CONGRATS, again. If you’re not struggling emotionally and mentally …again …CONGRATS. If you have a family, friends, and you laugh out loud (I mean REALLY LOLing) at least once a week, and you have wrinkles near the corners of your eyes because you smile alot … YOU’VE ALREADY WON. You might know this, already, and if you do, I’m happy for you.

It ain’t easy being cheery and counting your blessings, all the time, but if you work at it and practice, your life, attitude, and optimism will improve.

Which brings me back to, well … me. Which might also be you … a little. I’m in my late 40s. Is that “mid life” and should I be having a “crisis?” I would have to live into my 90s for this to be mid-life …oh, no. That means I missed my actual “mid-life” and never had my crisis. Why? What happened? Why didn’t I freak out when I turned 40 realizing the best-of-times was behind me and I hadn’t written my best seller, hadn’t done a full triathlon, and wasn’t the CEO of a company I founded (after founding two other start-ups and selling them for millions)? 

Why didn’t I have my mid-life crisis?

I’ll tell you why? I was too busy having a mid-life awakening. I’ve said for years that “life” doesn’t even begin, maybe, until we’re 25. Think about it …for the first 18 years of our lives, most of us live out the same script as everyone else. We don’t make our own choices. We don’t have adventures. We mostly do what everyone else does in order to get to 18 and then most of us do the next thing everyone else does (college?) and that takes us to 23 years old.

Oh, sure, you can mix in some pretty awesome stuff during that time, but mostly it’s the script. Let me guess …you made your lifelong friends? You fell in love and got engaged. You won something great in high-school and you bought your first car? My point is, whatever you did, mostly someone else was guiding those decisions.

Life, my friends, begins at 25. And I could actually argue that it doesn’t begin until 30 (I was pretty much an idiot throughout my 20s, but don’t worry, my kids weren’t born until I was 30 and got smart).

And if life begins at 30, and I’m going to live until I’m 80, that makes my “mid life” actually 55 years old and that means I have 7 full years to be care-free until I FREAK OUT at mid-life.

Before you’re 30, you don’t even know what you want or what makes you happy. Only after that do people start to realize what really makes them happy. Like for me, happiness is a summer vacation at the same spot every year. It’s taking 5-minutes to make a cuppa coffee with quality beans. It’s writing a Blog that only a few people read. It’s building bonfires in my backyard. It’s having a perfect lawn. It’s buying the perfect grill. It’s a black car with black leather interior. It’s quality audio equipment. It’s a whisky & ginger ale. It’s a good beer. It’s a cheap beer. Happiness, happiness, happiness. 

I’m not saying life won’t have sad, heartbreaking, and disastrous moments that make it awfully hard to be happy but when bad things happen, I remind myself I’m not the first person going through a bad time, and some people have gone through much worse and sometimes they do it alone and don’t have the family and friends I have. Oops, there I go, again …turning negatives into positives and sadness into gratefulness.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I hope you haven’t had too much tragedy in your life and I hope you don’t leave a comment like, “well, easy for you to say, you’re lucky and you can say that because only good things seem to happen to you.”

Trust me. Every moment of my 48-years hasn’t been Ozzie & Harriet or Leave It to Beaver. I’ve had my moments.

But I’m glad for them. They make me appreciate the things in my life, now, and those sad moments help me understand what makes me truly happy and . . . I’m just getting started.

Day 1

There’s always a Day 1 and any day can be a “day 1”.

This is my “day 1” of getting back to my Blog.

My life, at the moment is full of Day-1s. My wife just took a new job teaching a new grade and subject. My youngest daughter just started high-school. My oldest daughter is about to start college. My sister-in-law took a new job. My brother got promoted. A friend is about to retire. Another friend started 75-Hard. Dozens of my daughter’s friends are moving their own sons and daughters off to college.

Day-1s are exciting. Nerve wracking. Full of unknown. Full of hope. Sometimes better than the day before. But sometimes worse. I’m sure I’m not the first person to write about the Day-1 phenomenon, but I’m not going to Google it.

The truth is, every day can be a Day-1 for something. Like, Monday was also my Day-1 of journey to getting myself healthy, fit, and strong enough to attempt an American Ninja Warrior course. I see dudes my age (48) and older on TV doing amazing things and I think, “whoa, the human body can DO THAT!?!?!?!”

So I turned off the TV and started. I did a plank. Did some sit-ups. Wrote down a plan. And the next morning I lifted some weights and did one pull-up. Not bad for Day-1.

What do I mean that any day can be a Day-1? Think about it. If today you decide you’re going to be more organized and you start …it’s your Day-1 for that.

Years ago (I think 45 years, in fact), when I was a toddler I came up to my Dad with a cigarette butt in my mouth and I guess I said, “look, Dad, just like you.” He crumpled up his pack of cigarettes and never smoked one another day in his entire life. I have no working memory of my Dad smoking a cigarette …only stories and a few photos.

He had a Day-1 thrust upon him out of the blue. He didn’t wait for “after Labor Day” or “January 1st” …he just did it.

And this is my point I’m trying to make to my nervous wife and daughters …Day-1s aren’t easy. And if Day 1, 2, and 3 aren’t great? Start again with a new Day-1.

  • Day-1 of being nicer to people.
  • Day-1 of exercise.
  • Day-1 of avoiding sugar.
  • Day-1 of writing daily
  • Day-1 of drinking a gallon of water per day

You can have a Day-1, right now! Day-1 for your book? Day-1 for your positive outlook and avoiding gossip and negative people. Day-1 for turning off cable news and not looking at Drudge and instead downloading Podcasts about healthy eating and fitness. Day-1 for developing a great night time routine that will let you sleep better and improve every part of your life (yes, I’m obsessed with sleep, but most of you know that).

Mainly …I just want to say …I hope you’re having a great day (one).

Dad Stuff: Dad Decree 1

No shoes to be worn in the house.

Today, on the 28th day of April, in the year of our Lord 2021, I, as Dad in our household, decree that shoes are not to be worn around the house.

This will be the first of many. I’ve been a Dad for 18 years and I have many rules, and ideas for rules, but I’ve never written them down. It’s like anarchy around my house now that I think about it. Lack of written rules is no way to run a household.

I’d like to thank Dr. Joel Kahn who works so hard to make the world free of Cancer and heart disease. He does this in many ways, and one of his ways is smart, insightful Instagram posts.

To my wife and kids… you’re welcome! For making our lives better.

Don Stuff, Part 5: “without You” song meaning

My daughters hate that when I like a song I want to know all about the lyrics and what the song means. They won’t engage with me on this amazing song by Kid Laroi called “Without You.”

First, let’s establish that it’s a good song. If you say nobody makes good music these days, you’re wrong. This song has pain, emotion, and a good story.

But what is that story? Care to state your opinion?

Read More

Don Stuff, Part 4: New Weezer video

After a long day and long week at work and stress impacting my sleep, what a nice surprise for Weezer to release a video for “Grapes of Wrath.”

I’m going to enjoy this.

I’m also committing to using “impact” because I don’t even know when to use “effect” versus “affect.”

Like, is stress at work effecting or affecting my sleep? Are sugary snacks effecting or affecting my headaches? Or is restless sleep the affect of stress at work?

I don’t care about the right answer.

Stress at work is impacting my sleep.

Sugary snacks impact my headaches.

Restless sleep impacts my stress at work.

A new Weezer video impacts my happiness.

Don Stuff, Part 3: No More Cheap Haircuts

I gotta get back to what makes me …me!

My hair.

It’s OK. I know what you’re thinking. You know and I know my hair ain’t ever gonna be what it was in my 20s and 30s, but I’m coming to terms with that. I see what you see. I have more forehead than I want. I can see a little more scalp through my hair than I’d like. But I’m 47 …I guess that’s just what happens.

Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s diet. Maybe it’s exactly what would’ve happened to my hair regardless of my life path. Maybe it’s the same male-pattern baldness that would’ve resulted from running a charter fishing boat in Maui where my downtime was spent kayaking, surfing, and painting and I didn’t have a wife, kids, demanding job, and debt versus my current middle-aged, middle-class life with all the stuff I wouldn’t have with a life alone on Maui.

Not saying I want that Maui life …well, maybe if it meant I would’ve kept my 20-something hair. 

Whoa. This Blog isn’t about life choices. Where was I? Oh, yes, my life choice regarding my hair. 

Are you sitting down? At Christmas, I decided to save some money and stop going to my expensive barber and, instead, just hit a chain haircut location thinking, with my current hair situation, what did it matter. In fact (make sure you’re sitting down), I bought a pre-paid gift card that gave me $9.99 haircuts and a FREE haircut on the day I bought the gift card. It made such great, responsible economic sense …but at what cost?!?!?!

I haven’t had even sideburns in months. Most times I look like my son experimented with haircutting. I know those women work hard at that chain haircutting place so I won’t even mention which one …but I can’t do it anymore. It’s a top-down approach to life. No, I won’t do the salon like I did in my 20s and early 30s, although I loved the deep conditioning, the mint teas, and the jazzy new age music ….I won’t do that but I will, at least, get my neck shaved, I’ll have a barber that knows me and my head of hair, and this little bit of consistency back in my life will go a long way toward better mental health.

Not to mention a great looking head of hair, even if I’m going pretty short (a 2 around the ears, 3 on the sides, and scissor cut on top). Plus, at my barber shop, I can come in halfway between haircuts and for a small fee, they’ll clean up my sideburns and neck. Trust me, the grey in my sideburns get pretty outta control at times. My barber cleans up my eyebrows.

It’s worth it and I’ll feel a little bit more like myself. I’m sure everyone who knows me and interacts with me on a daily basis will be happier, too, and won’t have to keep pretending they don’t notice my bad haircuts.

You’re welcome.

Food Stuff, Part 4: Have an Eating Plan

Do you like metaphors? If you want to drive from Michigan to California and see landmarks along the way, do you just hop in the car and start driving? No. If you want to have a garden or a beautiful flower bed, do you just throw seed down in the fall and hope for the best in the spring? No.

Do you want five more metaphors or should I get to my point? If you want to live to be a hundred and you want to be dancing at weddings in your 90s, you need to be healthy and eat the right things …the “map to California” if you will. Recently, a friend started yet another diet and he asked me, “what are you doing? What’s your diet?”

I told him it ain’t no diet. It’s a plan. It’s a plan for healthy blood, a healthy heart, a healthy gut, an unfoggy brain, and hopefully great hair.

I’m vegetarian. 90% of the time. I avoid any/all foods with preservatives or added chemicals or colors. This is me …EVERY DAY …and I think I figured this out from Tim Ferriss. It’s oh so boring, but I find if I waiver for more than a couple days, my anxiety spikes, my brain gets foggy, I can easily convince myself to procrastinate or have a cookie, I don’t sleep as well … I’ll feel grumpy …all sorts of stuff. I’m fanatical about food. If my wife ever divorces me it’ll be because my food routine almost seems like I’m acting smug.  But I really try to make this my thing without making a big deal out of it (like “look at meeeeee … I’m Mr. Healthy and you’re not”). Plus, bragging too much can come back to make me eat my words because from time to time I’ll go a few weeks eating like crap.

But, here it is.

Breakfast*
1 slice sprouted bread with 1 TBLS MCT oil poured on like butter, a heaping spoonful of organic almond butter, and a heaping spoonful of fresh fruit preserves from local farmers markets.
  • Supplements:  1/2 of a once daily multivitamin, 1 fish oil pill
Lunch*
half of my Super Smoothie (I save the second half for the next day).
  • supplements:  1 tsp powdered magnesium mixed with water
Dinner
I’ll eat what my wife cooks for the family most nights, otherwise, I make a salad or a tuna melt (see? not 100% vegetarian)
  • other 1/2 of my daily multivitamin, a cap full of apple cider vinegar mixed with water and I chug it (it’s awful)
* sometimes I switch breakfast and lunch when I’m feeling rebellious.
Other stuff
6 brazil nuts each day
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds each day
1 gallon of water
Restrictions
no eggs
no dairy
no white bread (except on pizza night)
almost no pork or red meat
minimal stuff from a box or package
What’s that old saying …keep it simple, stupid.

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 7: #RESOLUTIONADAY 2021, Day-19

#ResolutionADay® is, in theory, supposed to happen every day. But, sometimes, life happens. Sometimes a family vacation happens. Sometimes a cold happens. Point is, things happen …but I don’t quit. It would be easy to quit. Easy to say, “hey, this was supposed to be 365 days and 365 resolutions and I missed a few days so I’ll try again next year.”

I won’t let myself off that easy, and I won’t let you off that easy. 

So what?!?!  Ya missed a few days. Big deal. If you miss 30 days this year, you’ll end 2021 with 335 days of little bits of self-improvement? Would that work for you? If you missed 50 days, you’ll finish 2021 with 315 new, good habits (or have eliminated a buncha bad habits).

Make it a game. Grade yourself every month. Every quarter. I’m borrowing this from Matthew Dicks. He says…

“Every month I report the progress of my yearly goals in order to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) and hold myself accountable.” -Matthew Dicks

Here’s his January update. Truly, take the 10-minutes to read it. Matthew Dicks lays it all on the line. Warts, successes, and failures, and all.  

Again, read his list. It’s bodacious. It looks damn near impossible. It’s much too much for anyone to do in a year. Right?

Well, yes. Mathematically, factoring in the fact he’s a teacher, has a wife I’ll assume he likes to spend time with, has two kids he also likes to spend time with, well, there’s no way he can get it all done. But as he always points out, when he analyzes his progress, does the math, and crunches numbers – if he gets a 65% success rate, his year is full and productive.

I’ll take 65% success on #ResolutionADay®

Today is Day 19 of #ResolutionADay, and I keep making the year, me, and my life a little better.

  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 19: Every Monday-Friday, eat a GREEN lunch (salad? cut-up veggies? celery and almond butter?)
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 18: Do a quick, 15-minute household chore each night

What Is #ResolutionADay

The Return of #ResolutionADay®, 2021 (Introduction)

Connect with me:
Snapchat: donkowalewski
 

I Want Stuff, Part 5: Blue Light Blocking Glasses

It’s not so much “I want stuff” …but “I have stuff.” And my BLUblox blue (and green) light blocking glasses that I wear before bed might be the single best purchase I’ve made in a long, long time.

Recall, I’m obsessed with quality sleep. I’ve had these BLUblox glasses for a little over three weeks, wear them starting at 8 p.m. every evening while doing my normal evening stuff of reading emails on the computer, watching my HDTV, and reading on my iPad and iPhone …same stuff as I’ve always done in the evenings. But now I’m doing my normal evening stuff while wearing my BLUblox glasses and I’m here to tell ya …my sleep has improved more than I would have ever expected.

I get to bed at 10:30 and am usually asleep by 11 at the very latest. I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. A perfect night’s sleep would mean 6 1/2 or 7 hours (still a little less than what’s recommended by the National Sleep Foundation).

What I’m finding is I don’t wake-up in the night. I fall asleep faster. And I’m waking up before my alarm and feeling fully rested.

Before these BLUblox glasses, I would need three alarms (one on my watch, one on my other watch across the room, and one on my iPhone) to rouse me, and many, many times in my tired early morning moments, I would justify ignoring the alarms and going back to sleep for another hour. An hour later, usually filled with tossing and turning, putting an audiobook or Podcast on to distract me from my guilt of ignoring my alarm …well, an hour later, I still felt tired. Three cups of coffee later I would still feel tired. Then all the stuff that comes with being overtired would impact my daily activities. I’d justify a quick 15-minute nap sitting in my chair. I would snack on sugary things for an energy boost.

Lack of sleep leads to all sorts of little, bad habits.

Now? I’m feeling rested and my early mornings are filled with the things I want to do early, early …like a quick walk while listening to an uplifting audiobook. A quart of water. Some breathing exercises. All of it happening because I can actually “spring” (not sure I’m ready to use that word, yet) out of bed and start my day at 5:15 a.m.

Next, I’m adding a sleep-enhancing tea I keep seeing at the fancy market by my house.