Monday, April 17, 2017

Old School Keyboarding: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #16


Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
Old School Keyboarding: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #16

When my Mom's Alzheimer disease prevented her from recognizing me as her daughter, the only way I could consistently engage with her was through music. Christmas carols, children's songs and Broadway show tunes would almost always bring a smile to her face, and her eyes would often brighten as she nodded and sang along. My most cherished memory from those last challenging years was sparked by this connection. After singing Christmas carols nonstop for nearly an hour, my mom spontaneously grasped my hands, made full eye contact with me, and in a fleeting moment of clarity, announced, "Jill, you know I love you." What a gift! 

As such, my eyes quickly zoom in on articles such as the "Effects of Music Learning and Piano Practice on Cognitive Function, Mood, and Quality of Life in Older Adults" . I'm always encouraged to see more evidence that playing the piano positively affects the brain, and yet at the same time,  I have walked past MY piano without touching the keys for longer than I care to admit (think years, not months).

So- this week's challenge is to bring back PIANO playing into my life's routine, if only for a few songs per day. I will be VERY rusty, but I believe at least a few songs are so deeply imprinted in my neural pathways and fingers that they will jumpstart my musical engine (Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag is a must.)

For those of you "playing along" with my 20-1-7 challenge who do NOT play piano but own one...now is a great time to start lessons! If you neither own nor know how to play, feel free to choose a different instrument or simply sing out loud a few songs.

BOTTOM LINE: This week's challenge is to play the piano for at least 10 minutes per day.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: Meditation

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5: WATER

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6: Exercise BOOST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7: FLOSS

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining

20-1-7 Challenge Week #11: YOGA 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #12: CLUTTER CONTROL



20-1-7 Challenge Week #14: Hide It 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #15: Nuke It   Feedback: Microwaving the kitchen sponge before and after use was a simple habit quickly adopted by our whole family. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Nuke It: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #15

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
NUKE IT: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #15


How do you clean/sanitize the sponge that you use to clean your family's dishes, pots & pans? Like sneakers, kitchen sponges are replaced far less frequently than recommended. When researchers check bacteria counts on kitchen sponges, the numbers are are impressive- both in restaurants and in homes. (Oct 2016, International Journal of Food Science, Microbiological Safety of Kitchen Sponges Used in Food Establishments)

It makes sense that a sponge is the ideal culture ground for bacteria, as moisture combines with tiny food particles from scrubbing. However, I'll be the first to confess that I only recently began "nuking" our sponges, which I find to be easier to remember than tossing the sponge in the dishwasher. Interestingly, microwaving your damp sponge for 30 seconds or tossing your sponge in the dishwasher with your dishes are both more effective than using chemical sterilizers, such as bleach. 

How much does sterilizing your kitchen reduce the spread of measurable disease? I wish that I had an evidence-based answer, but I do not. What I know is that the vast majority of Americans consume the highest proportion of food in their own home, and food-borne illness is extremely common. For me, cleaning the sponge (and replacing the kitchen sponge at least every other week) is a simple healthy habit, like using only dishwasher-safe cutting boards that you wash after every use.

BOTTOM LINE: This week's challenge is to make it a daily habit to microwave your kitchen sponge for 30 seconds to reduce bacterial counts in your own kitchen.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: Meditation

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5: WATER

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6: Exercise BOOST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7: FLOSS

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining

20-1-7 Challenge Week #11: YOGA 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #12: CLUTTER CONTROL




20-1-7 Challenge Week #14: Hide It FEEDBACK: For me, placing my phone in my purse is a simple, easily sustainable, safety habit. Your car should be a texting-free zone, and driving without visible access to your own phone will make you frighteningly aware of how many drivers sharing the road with you are more interested in THEIR phones than traffic. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

HIDE IT: 20-1-7 Challenge, Week #14



Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
HIDE IT: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #14
I'm frankly embarrassed with the frequency that I use the "FIND My iPhone" App (what a Godsend for distracted minds!) However, this week's challenge is not to FIND it, but to purposefully HIDE it- when we DRIVE. Parents of teenagers- what do we tell them every day? "DO NOT TEXT & DRIVE", right? RIGHT.

And then- how many of us have our iPhones sitting in the drink holder...calling our names, pleading with us to simply take a peak at that red light? Or stop sign. Or maybe just a glance, without touching, in response to the beckoning vibration of incoming messages. So what are we actually doing ourselves, and teaching our young drivers? You guessed it- our actions are saying that you CAN text and drive.  

Tomorrow, HIDE IT. Put your iPhone in your purse, backpack, glove compartment or back seat. Leave on your bluetooth for emergency, truly hands-free calls if you must, but STOP LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE. Focus your attention on the road and the other cars- and all those drivers who are texting, checking messages, and NOT looking at the road. It's terrifying, no joke.

What if you need for phone for GPS and no one else is in the car to help you? Trust me, these smart phones can talk out loud- no visual needed.

BOTTOM LINE: HIDE your smart phone from sight BEFORE you start driving, and take it out when you are parked with the engine turned off. And please, challenge your spouse, kids & friends to do the same. 


20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: Meditation

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5: WATER

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6: Exercise BOOST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7: FLOSS

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining

20-1-7 Challenge Week #11: YOGA 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #12: CLUTTER CONTROL


20-1-7 Challenge Week #13: NEW SHOES- Feedback: my knees, shins and hips thanked me immediately for getting brand new running shoes, and I have put a reminder on my calendar to examine my SOLES in 6 months. 


Monday, March 27, 2017

If the SHOE Fits...20-1-7 Challenge Week #13



Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
If the SHOE Fits...20-1-7 Challenge Week #13

While the saying goes "If the shoe fits, WEAR it," this week's challenge is almost the opposite, because we are talking about your athletic shoes. Call them sneakers, tennis shoes, running shoes, whatever- here is the important challenge. Look at the bottom of your shoes. If the tread is obviously worn smooth in any part, it's time for NEW shoes. My mantra is "yes, new shoes may be expensive, but NEW SHOES are cheaper than NEW KNEES (or hips)."

Over and over in my twenty years of practicing family medicine, I see injuries/aches/pains that can be prevented by proper footwear. If you are walking or jogging regularly for exercise, odds are good that you should be replacing your shoes every six months...even though the "shoe still fits"- meaning you have no foot pain, and the tops may even look "practically brand new". 

Look closely at the picture above, and notice the circle pattern...and lack thereof, in an unequal fashion on the two shoes. When these shoes were new, every section had that circle and line pattern. Now you can clearly see I have worn through the tread, and I am overdue for new shoes. 

BOTTOM LINE: Look deep into your "soles" to see if it is time for new shoes! While this is not my typical "daily" 20-1-7 Challenge, I will commit to getting new shoes TODAY that I will wear in my daily 2-4 mile dog-walks. 

PS. I strongly encourage you to head to a local running shoe store with experienced and knowledgable sales people to be properly fitted for shoes. They should not only measure your foot, but watch you walk/run/jog to help advise you on your shoes. Locally here in Austin, I recommend Ready to Run.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: Meditation

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5: WATER

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6: Exercise BOOST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7: FLOSS

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining

20-1-7 Challenge Week #11: YOGA 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #12: CLUTTER CONTROL- in 10 minute daily organizational attacks. FEEDBACK: Wow, I should have started this decades ago! At least for my personality, this technique worked wonderfully. I am amazed how much I was able to get done in a short burst of cleansing, one drawer at a time. By picking the areas I spend the most time (like bathroom/kitchen drawers and laundry room), I am reaping the mental benefits of feeling more calm and simply by removing visual clutter. 

As for my YOGA do-over...less success there. Perhaps I need to try an actual class some time- for me, the less interactive apps were a bit of a hassle to use (to look at the small screen, figure out the pose, etc.) I also had achy wrists (from computer overuse on a photoshop project) that contributed to sapping my motivation for yoga poses.


Monday, March 20, 2017

CLUTTER CONTROL: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #12

                           *"AFTER" Pic of my Closet                *Roll up Magazines for Boots

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
CLUTTER CONTROL: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #12: 

My family is NOT inherently neat and tidy. Paper clutter engulfs our kitchen counters, home office and dining room table ten times faster than I can sort, record, and recycle. Scientific studies have well documented that visual clutter ADDS significantly to stress/anxiety, and that LACK of clutter does the reverse. I tend to be an all or nothing person, so when I start to spring clean, I obsessively purge one closet or room, taking the entire day. Point in case- in January, I literally took every single thing out of my walk-in bedroom closet (which had not been emptied since we moved in 20 years ago!), and then re-filled starting from scratch. It took NINE HOURS...but I am happy to report it has stayed beautifully neat with relative ease, especially since I donated an SUV carload to charity, considerably thinning out my wardrobe. Every morning, my clean closet makes me smile, and even motivated me to clean the adjoining bathroom drawers and linen closet- but I never reached beyond the master bath. 

So- this week's challenge canNOT be to clean a room every day, because like the rest of you, I can't spend a ton of hours on this! Since I have an "ahem" SLIGHTLY competitive nature, I decided to go with a ten minute, stopwatch (phone timer) controlled cleaning/organizing spree per day, racing the clock to see how much I can accomplish. I realize I have drawers that can't be touched in ten minutes, but I'm betting I can find at least 7 areas in my home that concentrated 10 minute purging can make a significant impact. 

What method should you use? Right now, the Marie Kondo method is certainly sweeping my Facebook pages, and I'll admit though I laughed at the "does this item spark joy" approach initially, I actually have found it to be very liberating, allowing me to "release" many things- especially clothing- to new owners, rather than tucking that old beloved shirt back into my stuffed drawer. I will confess that I now have three boxes set aside to mail off to create t-shirt quilts for our girls (yes, there's a groupon for that! I will no longer save this in the garage for that day that I take up this new craft.) As I cleaned, I ironically unearthed  The Clutter Diet from my clothing shelves- and found useful tips there as well, like using a rolled-up magazine to make your boots stand up (great use for my journals!) Whatever works for you!

BOTTOM LINE: This week I will challenge myself to daily 10-minute cleaning attacks on my clutter clusters, in the hope of decreasing visual clutter to decrease stress!  (*and I will actually DO last week's YOGA challenge. Typing this to hold myself accountable!)

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: Meditation

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5: WATER

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6: Exercise BOOST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7: FLOSS

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining

20-1-7 Challenge Week #11: YOGA FEEDBACK: 
Well, once I started vacation, I completely dropped the ball on this one. No point in lying, right? LOL! Good news is I am making the rules, so...I am actually adding the yoga challenge to this week's challenge, doubling up. Sometimes we all need "do-overs!" 



Monday, March 13, 2017

A Bit O' Yoga: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #11

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
Bit O' YOGA: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #11 

YOGA...As a family physician, I have recommended yoga for many of my patients. Honestly, I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone who might NOT benefit from yoga. For myself, however, yoga falls into the flossing teeth category- I KNOW I should do it, I know that "older me" is going to be mad at current me for not doing it, but I haven't been able to find a way to make it stick. So, here I go again- it's well worth another shot! Full confession- I have never actually attended a yoga class, partly because I am not blessed with the "flexible" gene, and have always been embarrassed when stretching in other aerobics classes. I have, however, purchased and used multiple yoga tapes and DVDs, so I am familiar with the basic poses and truly have found yoga beneficial...but have not managed to keep it an ongoing priority. For this week's challenge, I am shooting low and going to download a few different apps that target a brief yoga daily stretch. 

BOTTOM LINE: This week I will bring back a "bit 'o yoga" in my life by adding in daily guided yoga stretches through using 5 Minute Yoga & Daily Yoga Apps. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: Meditation

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5: WATER

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6: Exercise BOOST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7: FLOSS

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining Feedback:
Phew! It's amazing how much we can associate a beverage or food with relaxation/celebration/reward, and I definitely missed my wine with dinner. As I head off to spring break vacation in California, I will enjoy wine again- but this is a great exercise to repeat every few months to be sure I am not exceeding medically recommended limits.