Running on Coffee

Meditations in MotionCoffee time! I can’t believe it has been a month since the last time we sat down and talked with our favorite hot drink. Pull up a chair and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about my float therapy session. I had never done float therapy before. When I received a gift card for an introductory session from my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas I didn’t know exactly what to expect.

I pictured floating in a coffin-like enclosure in complete darkness, which made me slightly apprehensive about trying it. As it turns out, this mental image was completely inaccurate.

Meditations in MotionThe place where I floated is called Bala Float Center. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a very nice woman who explained the whole process to me. I was taken into a spa-like private suite with a changing area, shower, and float room.

I was instructed to take a head-to-toe shower using soap (including washing my hair) before I entered the float room. The float room was about five feet by eight feet with a glass door, kind of like a big shower, except the ceiling sloped from normal height at one end to about three feet high at the other.

Inside the float room, there was a control panel which I could use to turn the lights on or off, adjust the loudness of the new age-y relaxation music, or activate the intercom to communicate with the receptionist if needed. The room was filled with about a foot of saturated Epsom salt solution heated to body temperature.

I stepped into the room and lowered myself into the water. My skin immediately began to itch. A lot. At first, I thought I would have to get out of the water and cut the session short, but the itchy sensation quickly disappeared and I began to relax.

I spent a few minutes of the hour-long session playing with the controls to determine the optimum conditions. When I turned off the lights, it was pitch black. Having my eyes open or closed looked exactly the same. Because the room was so large and I could move around when I floated, this was rather disorienting. I turned the dim lights back on. I found it more relaxing to float with the music off.

After I had all the adjustments made, I wondered what I would do for the 55 minutes left in the session. I am not a good relaxer. Being completely still for almost an hour seemed daunting. I started doing meditation-like mind exercises, trying to let thoughts come and go, not holding on to any one thought, just noticing where my mind wandered. I soon became very, very relaxed. I floated.

And, before I knew it, time was up and I had to take another shower (my third of the day). As I washed off the Epsom salt solution, I noticed my skin was extremely soft and silky. This lasted for several days after the float. I also noted that my muscles and mind were both in “hang-loose” mode, kind of like during savasana in yoga or right after a good massage. That lasted for the rest of the day.

I will definitely float again. Thank you to my son and daughter-in-law for introducing me to a wonderful new experience.

Meditations in Motion

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about my new diet. Unfortunately, this new diet was not completely voluntary.

As part of my annual physical two months ago, I had the typical bloodwork done. My cholesterol was always a little bit on the high side, but my doctor was unconcerned because my good cholesterol (HDL) is very high and my ratio of bad (LDL)-to-good cholesterol is very low. This time, my total cholesterol was not just a little bit high, it was through the roof.

My doctor wanted me to begin taking cholesterol-lowering medication, but I asked if I could attempt to lower my cholesterol through diet. I have four months to try.

Even though I don’t eat much meat, I was eating full-fat yogurt five or six days a week for breakfast, drinking full-fat milk, cooking with butter, and otherwise consuming a lot of saturated fat. I didn’t realize that to maintain good cholesterol levels, I not only had to watch my cholesterol intake, I had to watch saturated fat as well.

Cholesterol is only found in animal products, so French fries, for example, contain no cholesterol, but they do contain saturated fat. In fact, lots of food contains saturated fat. Look at the labels in the grocery store sometime. I was amazed.

My goal is to eat less than 10 grams of saturated fat each day. The salad pictured above, which was our dinner last night, along with some home-made honey oatmeal bread, contained spinach, cabbage, edamame, spiralized sauteed sweet potato, and spring onions with a tiny bit of spicy peanut dressing.

The peanut butter in the dressing contains saturated fat, but I used less than a tablespoon and the edamame contains (yes!) saturated fat, but I still met my goal of under 10 grams per day. I got the recipe here from this vegan blogger. It was delicious.

I still dream of ice cream.

Thank you for joining me for coffee this month. As always, I enjoyed our talk.

I am linking up with Coco from Running With Perseverance and Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner for their Ultimate Coffee Date, Kooky Runner for Tuesday Topics, Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love, and Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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66 comments

  1. WHOOOO… I dont know if I would like that. Did you ask about the itching?
    I have a friend that does that regularly around here & I just dont think I can do it…but I’m also not a ‘relaxer” kinda person

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t ask about the itching. I have very dry winter skin. I think it was just the salts entering my skin through the tiny little abrasions. It only lasted for less than a minute. I am not typically a relaxer, either, but I do love to get a massage and I did like the float experience! πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. “After I had all the adjustments made, I wondered what I would do for the 55 minutes left in the session.” Well I laughed at that line – I would imagine it would be a very different experience and I have never heard of a “float room”. I have found as I have gotten older that any light in my room seems to bother me – not only in my room, but another room – the smallest light seems to bounce off the ceiling. I have metal rolling blinds, so the house is pretty much in total darkness when I am sleeping. The diet is interesting – how will you “carb up” for a long race. Are carbs allowed if no sauces on your pasta or butter on your bread? You recall I passed along that gout post awhile ago to give to your son. Years ago, when the news was full of high cholesterol, I went to all skim or fat-free dairy. I hated it. Then all of a sudden the Dairy Association said “no worries – eat full-fat dairy again” and I gladly obliged. When I had the gout in my big toe and researched what I was doing/eating that caused it, I was like you and would not take meds, but control my diet. So I got rid of triggers and discovered one was full-fat dairy products. The saddest was no more chocolate milk after a walk (no more chocolate milk for you either Laurie as they don’t make it in skim, the lowest fat content is 2%. Good luck with the diet – hope you can lower your cholesterol without meds. Eat oatmeal … it is good for controlling high cholesterol – I’ve been having a bowl every morning for breakfast for decades.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have been eating oatmeal, Linda, with almond milk. I don’t buy dairy milk at all anymore. Sadly, no more chocolate milk for me after a long run. Maybe I could try chocolate almond milk once in a while, just for a treat. I bought fat-free yogurt, but I don’t like it nearly as well as the full fat, so I think yogurt is probably off the menu now. Carbs are fine. I can have the tomato sauce on pasta, just not the cheese or butter sauces. I don’t eat margarine on my bread – I usually just eat it plain, but sometimes I might dip it in a tiny bit of olive oil if I have it with pasta. I have been eating a lot of rice and I actually like a baked potato with just salt and pepper. The trick is to bake it for a super long time – hours. When I worked as a waitress, I used to eat the baked potatoes for dinner at the end of the night that had been baking all night long with just salt and pepper.

      My son is controlling his gout mostly by diet too. He must take his medication if he feels a flare coming on, but since he has changed his diet, that hardly ever happens anymore. Thank you for sending that information to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve never had almond milk in any flavor … I stopped all the full fat I had really begun to enjoy again after the gout issue. I had the one flare-up, changed my diet and upped the water – so far so good. No more toe issue. Can’t have that with walking. As to yogurt, I am eating Oikos Greek Yogurt – here is the link Laurie. It is very good, no fat, and a lot of protein. I would miss yogurt.
        https://www.oikosyogurt.com/greek-yogurt-protein/triple-zero/

        I often have it when I return from walking now that I have given up the chocolate milk. I’ll wait for you to try the chocolate almond milk and tell me if you like it – I do have Hersheys, the syrup … a new kind I bought just for an occasional treat … 0 fat, some sugar, click on “smart label” for nutrition info: https://www.hersheys.com/en_us/products/hersheys-simply-5-syrup-21.8-ounce-bottle.html
        Your diet is admirable and it must be tough … I use Smart Balance but not a lot of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sugar is OK for me, just not saturated fat. I have found some no-fat Chobani yogurt I like and I will check out the Oikos too. I used to always buy plain yogurt and add fresh fruit to it myself. I thought that was healthy, but no!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like the no-fat Chobani too and had it all the time until I discovered the Oikos. I like the coconut cream and salted caramel the best of all their flavors. I used to buy the large containers and mix them with no-sugar applesauce … I do that sometimes too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi – enjoyed the floating experience with you- and glad you said no to drugs – and I invite you to check on – make that research – please – the lies about saturated fat and how meat is always the bad guy- especially life giving red meats with grizzle and collagen –
    Check out kelly brogan, Mark hymen – and marks daily Apple –

    Peace

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am not a good relaxer either! But I do love the water–it sounds so relaxing! I wonder if there is a place like this around here. I didn’t think I’d enjoy a massage, but I do now and I go once a month!

    I hope your dietary changes help your cholesterol! I am with you on the statins. I take enough stuff for my RA–which I don’t like at all!

    Liked by 2 people

    • There probably is a float spa near you. I live in a much smaller, more conservative town and there is one here! I didn’t realize it, but they are everywhere! I absolutely love getting massages. My doctor prescribed them for me once a week at first for my injury, but (sadly) now I am down to once a month.

      I am doing everything I can to try to lower it by diet. I don’t want to take statins.

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  5. Oddly enough I am not a great relaxer in those sorts of circumstances. For instance I visit a local salt den occasionally, where you just lay there for abut 45 minutes. It’s relaxing, but I still can’t say it goes by super quickly.

    I didn’t know they used an epsom salt solution for that — that’s got to be good for you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought I would be claustrophobic too, Lois, but it really was not bad at all. Thank you for the good wishes. I am going to try my best to stay off medication if possible.

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  6. Not tempted about the float therapy. I have never even gotten a massage.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    Ugh to any kind of diet but yes it is better than medicine. No ice cream….what? Hope it works for you…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. There is a new float spa in Napa, and I’ve been too chicken to try it out, due to my tendency toward claustrophobia. But your review is mighty reassuring. BTW, I think it is massively unfair that with all your running and healthy living you have high cholesterol. Boo on that.
    Maybe float more πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Why am I not surprised to read the words “There is a new float spa in Napa”? πŸ™‚ I was afraid I would be claustrophobic too, but it really was not an issue at all. It was a room, not a “coffin”. Boo on the high cholesterol, indeed. I blame it on bad genes.

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    • I think I will go back. Yes, the water is continually circulated and heated, so it stayed the same temperature for the entire time. It was very comfortable.

      Hmmm…I will share the recipe. I usually make the dough in the bread machine, then bake it in the oven.

      Like

  8. Liked the story about your experience with the float tank. Back in ancient times, these were called isolation tanks. There was a business in Seattle called Tank Works that sold sessions, just like you did. You didn’t revert back in evolution, I hope. That’s one of the plot themes of the old Wiliam Hurt movie “Altered States.” He plays a researcher who takes drugs and goes in an isolation tank and pops out an ape-man. Good stuff! Probably weird even in the 80s.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t revert back in evolution as far as I know! Before I floated, I was picturing a tank, but what I actually got was more like a room. I was thinking sensory deprivation, but I wound up leaving the lights on. I remember “Altered States”. Man, that was a long time ago!

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  9. I tried float therapy last year and ended up really enjoying it. I was really anxious at first as well but quickly relaxed and even think I fell asleep in there. Mine was 90 min which seemed so long at first. I would try it again. Thanks for linking for coffee!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m so glad you wrote about the float room. I hadn’t heard of it before. We changed our diet after I was diagnosed with diabetes. My blood sugar is now back to pre-diabetic level. I hope we don’t have to lower our cholesterol any time soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’ve wanted to try floating but as of yet I haven’t. I think I’d feel the same way. I’m not a good relaxer either. Glad the whole experience was a positive one AND that there are lasting benefits. Crazy how your cholesterol crept up. I’m typically borderline but, like you, my good cholesterol is typically very high and triglycerides are super low so I don’t worry. Your salad looks great!

    Liked by 2 people

    • My cholesterol was borderline for a while but has been creeping up the past few years. I think it may be hereditary, but I am going to give it my best shot at not having to go on medication. The salad was really yummy (if I do say so myself!)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I hope your changes in diet make a difference and you don’t have to go on medication to control your cholesterol.

    Way back in the 90’s the owner of the health club where I worked bought a pod for floating. He use it all the time, but I never used it. The rest of us were kind of grossed out because the water never seemed to get changed…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Debbie, I do too! I do not want to start taking statins!

      I was picturing a pod for floating too. I was pleasantly surprised that it was more like a room than a pod. Ewww…it’s gross to float in water that was never changed!

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  13. Laurie,
    Thanks for sharing about your floating experience. It sounds like it would be a challenge for me but I would be willing to try it. I have not heard of this kind of spa treatment before.
    Make it a great day whatever you choose.
    Ali

    Liked by 2 people

  14. This was great, Laurie. I wrote about my float experience about a year ago ttps://wordpress.com/post/swooninggrace.com/411. I think it’s wonderful to try new things; normally, it’s hard for me to sit still and once I surrendered to the float experience, magic began to happen. The aches in my neck and hands just melted away.

    Also, I have high cholesterol in addition to high good cholesterol. I’m lucky that my doctor doesn’t push meds, and he’s not too worried about it because I guess i have good ratios. I think my weakness is eggs, butter and cheese. I rarely eat ice cream, and I do eat full fat milk products but in moderation. An acquaintance of mine went on lipitor and she had nothing but BRAIN FOG so she stopped the medication. I personally like to try diet, liestyle changes and exercise first before resorting to meds.

    I’ll be looking forward to hearing more about your diet changes and how it helps. Bravo to you!

    Cheers!
    Susan Grace

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Susan. I am going to read about your float.

      I am going to try to stay off the meds as long as possible. Before this year, my doctor didn’t worry about my high cholesterol because, as you say, my good cholesterol, triglycerides, and ratio were all good. My total is inching closer to 300, though. Hoping for a good report in a few months.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am wishing all good luck on this front here! You will know exactly what to do if and when the time comes; in the meantime, you are doing the right thing by trying diet changes. I had a co-worker who swore by NatureMade CholestOff as part of her overall health regimen to lower cholesterol.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I did a similar thing but there were 6 of us in the flotation pool and we kept bumping into each other-the stress of not wanting to kick a stranger in the face or elsewhere was a bit interfering!!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Laurie, I’ve wondered about float therapy. Thanks for the detailed report! About the cholesterol: Sugar is a huge factor in elevated cholesterol/lipids. Watch out for the sugar in flavored and “fruit” yogurts, almond and other non-dairy milks (they come both sweetened and unsweetened).Please thoroughly research it before going on statins; most of the people I know who have taken them have had serious side effects.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jean, I just had a friend who told me that she went on the keto diet and eliminated sugar. Her cholesterol went down 24 points in 3 months. I had no idea. Thank you for the information. I will make that change today.

      Like

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