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.