44 months to retirement.

With just 44 months and counting I am setting up monthly obligations to the preparation of another complicated move. We have decided that before we sell our home we must first purchase our retirement home. It will be an action plan where 6 months prior to retirement we will travel to the area of choice after setting up appointments with a local realtor. The house must be small as we will maintain our minimalist ways and it must be affordable. Depending on the area we will ultimately choose will most likely make the biggest difference in affordability.

I am moving my checking and savings out of a Community Credit Union to a bank that has branches in most area’s of the country where we will retire too. This can be a complicating process and things like Direct Deposits and Auto Bill Payments have to be changed. I will leave the old bank account open until I am sure that I covered everything. Another reason for making this move is to establish a minimum of at least two solid years of business with the new bank as there may be the possibly of having to take out a mortgage on the retirement home. I am saving pretty darn hard and hope it doesn’t come to that, but I want to make sure that If I do, I will be ready.

Other things this month include the reduction of unnecessary items. I built a Google Chrome Box computer last year and I no longer use it. It’s just sitting around and taking up space. I reset the computer to factory settings and will try to sell it this month and put the proceeds in the Savings account.

Each month I will be going room to room and searching out other items that we no longer use or need. I may sell those items online or just save them up for a big yard sale next Spring.

Leaving the work world behind there will be so many items that I just will not need any longer. As we are both working we both have a car. The older vehicle will be sold upon retirement. I have a lot of clothing in my closet that revolves around my career and these items to will be sold or find their way to a non-profit organization.

Our real ambition is basically getting rid of everything we own and starting fresh in retirement. The cost of moving things is just as expensive as replacing them. If it were a local move then it would certainly be worth keeping it all, but moving 3000 miles away cost us well over $10,000.00 back in 2012 and I am sure that it will be even more expensive in 2023. I have the Grand thought of simply getting in our car and driving across the country with nothing. No pressure. We can stop along the way and visit places we always wanted to see. This is the way to start a new chapter in your life.

So, September is a month of change and reduction. Only 44 more months to go.

Posted in adventures, aging, america, family, finances, frugal, life, minimalist, prepared, simple living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Mountains of Tomato’s

The second half of the month of August is always a joy to me. This is the time where my acquired “Square-foot-gardening” skills start to show the rewards of working those raised bed gardens pay off.

The heirloom tomato’s are ripening at a quick pace this year and I am sharing them with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. I have been yielding about 12 tomato’s per day. Both yellow and green squash has made for some pretty delicious side dishes. Early summer provided for 12 huge broccoli plants that tasted better than candy. This was the first year I grew lemon cucumbers, which purity by accident. My organic supplier mixed up the plants. Lettuce went quick this year even though I replanted twice.

Next years goal is to try to start everything from seed. Without a small greenhouse I will have to try to do this indoors and the difficulty with that is a curious cat. Hmm. I think this was the reason I purchased the plants in the first place from the organic nursery.

Gardening for me is probably one of the simplest joys I find in life. Time spent in the garden is my time to get away from the stresses of life and just focus on nature. That joy also seems to be replicable as it ignites joy in those I share vegetables with.

Posted in america, diet, family, food, frugal, fun, gardening, health, life, mindfulness, minimalist, nature, Oregon, permaculture, primal, simple living, stress, vegan, vegetarian, whole food plant based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Retirement in 45 months? Ahhhhh

Reaching the grand age of 58 and contemplating my future brings about so many thoughts of the past. I am down to 45 months before I reach the age of 62 and am eligible for Social Security income and can officially leave the workforce behind. Sharon is five years older than me and will be leaving the workforce before me. This is something we didn’t ponder when we fell in love so many years ago, but is more than a reality now.

We have worked hard and continue in this matter and along the way lived a frugal life and played by all of the rules, which I am learning are no so common. Our home is paid in full and we are contributing the maximum allowed into our 401k plans. From the outside it appears that we will be able to have a comfortable retirement, but on the inside I feel an overwhelming fear. Can what we are doing today carry us through years of non-employment tomorrow? I certainly hope so. It is not so much I worry about managing our retirement, but the things I fear are those of the unknown. Should we be in a better position before we step into retirement? How long will we live? Will pensions dry up and leave us broke? Will the stock market crash and empty out our savings? What if? What if? What if?

I think about the past, those early years when money seemed to come and go as quickly as a glass of sweet tea on a hot August afternoon. How much crap I purchased that today lays in the bottom of a landfill, how much interest I payed for those crappy items I thought I needed so badly. The desires of youth fuel the economies today and unchecked can leave one in a precarious position in the future. Thank God I caught wind of these behaviors years ago and developed a plan to reverse its curses.

Although I still worry I know that we may be in a much better position than many. Recent stats tell me that at least on third of those in America over the age of 65 are living below the poverty level. Most reasons are self inflicted and others caused by outside sources. The loss of a job, medical issues, the 2008 housing crash, mental health, addiction, and other reason’s.

On the upside we don’t mind and actually find great joy in living a frugal lifestyle. Other than planned trips across the country to see family, our spending is surprisingly low in comparison the the average of those our age. We will continue to do the best we can and pray for a healthy future.

Posted in adventures, aging, america, family, finances, frugal, life, minimalist, simple living | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

A Talk with my Inner Coach

Based on what my fitbit is telling me I am burning an average of 3000 calories a day, yet my body weight continues to yoyo up and down. I know that weight lifting is building muscle and muscle weighs more than fat, but I still should be on a pattern of dropping a little bit of body weight as I know I am burning fat. So I decided to talk to my inner coach and see if he could give me a little insight on what is going on. Know understand that my inner coach tends to be a little on the rough side and doesn’t take any shit from me.

 

Billy: So I am here because I want to burn more fat while building muscle. I want to continue to reduce my waist size and see my overall body weight start dropping.

Inner Coach: Are you eating correctly?

Billy: Yes, a small bowl of oatmeal with a little granola and a lot of various berries. Lunch a little bit of rice with lentil stew and a lot of vegetables and usually the same for dinner but sometimes with added sweet potatoes.

Inner Coach: Sound like a good balance for a vegan diet. Hmmm…. Is this all you are eating during the course of the day, or is there more I should know about?

Billy: Well, actually during the day I do snack on things like pretzels when I feel hungry. And yea, I do have a couple of beers after work, but that is all. Oh yea, I sometimes reach for potato chips or popcorn after dinner sometimes.

Inner Coach: And you know all of this and you come to me seeking answers? Ok, here’s the  advice I will give you. No more fucking snacks between meals! No more beer after work! and definitely no snacks after dinner! You have to train your body to be satisfied with just those 3 healthy meals. If you are feeling hungry between meals it may simply mean that you are not eating enough during a meal. Reduce the amount of food you eat at dinner by 1/3. Now let’s talk about your exercise routine.

Billy: Oh, that’s an easy one. I am fast walking 3 miles on the treadmill at least 4-5 times per week. On Saturday and Sunday I hit the gym and perform a mixed weight lifting routine that last approximately an hour and a half to two hours.

Inner Coach: If you are doing cardio more than two days in a row, stop it. Allow your body to heal for at least 24 hours before performing the same cardio routine. Your weight lifting sessions and two long and should be reduced to a max time of 45 minutes to 1 hour. You must find a way to create a routine where you spread out your body building routine to more than just two days. Spit up both Saturday and Sunday with Tuesday and Thursday. Too much of anything brings about inflammation which I don’t have to tell you can reap havoc on your body. You need to find balance with both your cardio schedule and body building schedule.

Billy: But it is hard for me to perform a body building routine during the work week as the only time I have is early morning and the gym is closed at that time. This is why I try to make up for it by performing so much cardio during the week.

Inner Coach: What you are doing simply does not work. I don’t care if you have to find another gym that is open in the early morning, or if you have to invest in some equipment to perform body building at home, but either way if you don’t make the change you will not find the results that you seek and may also injure yourself in the process.

Billy: Thanks Inner Coach. I will take your advice with great enthusiasm and find a way to change the path I am currently on.

Posted in aging, body building, cardio, diabesity, diet, fitness, food, health, intermittent fasting, mindfulness, simple living, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, whole food plant based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Burning Fat, Building Muscle, Development of a New Plan

After moving between heavy weight lifting on the weekends mixed with an average of 3 miles on the treadmill 5 times per week, I am know looking for a little more balance. Right now my weightlifting routine consists of 4 days every two weeks. This means that I am doing the first two routines on Saturday and Sunday and the next two routines the following Saturday and Sunday. This is not working out for me as too much time is passing before routines. I love going to the gym, but the problem is that they don’t open during the week until I am just about leaving for work. No time for a Mon-Fri workout at the gym.

Thank God for the treadmill in the garage that allows me to do cardio, but if there was a way to lift weights two days during the work week this would solve my problem. I have been looking pretty hard at the set of Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells along with stand and bench. I talked to my trainer about this option and he said that it could work and he could definitely build my a great routine. The only problem I am having now is dealing with the cost. I know that it is a true investment as my health is important to me and the fact that they pretty much last forever. With the holidays upon me I believe that my best option is to wait until January to ensure that I don’t go over budget.

The bottom line is that there are 4 elements that must be strictly adhere to if I wish to acquire the results I need to overcome Type II Diabetes and repair the damaged inner parts of my body.

  1. Whole Food Plant Based Diet
  2. Reduction of Stress in my Life
  3. Cardio Exercises
  4. Weight Bearing Exercises

The Whole Food Plant Based Diet allows my body to receive all of the nutritional elements required to provide my cells with the tools they need to normalize while providing my immune system with super foods to help destroy the foreign invaders. The Reduction of Stress includes a new attitude that lets me know that I do not control everything in life and when things happen I can get through them OK. It also includes quiet time to read, write or meditate and practicing stretching of my body before workouts. Cardio is essential to keep the blood flowing and strengthen the heart. And Weight Bearing Exercise are the key element to keeping my bones strong.

I need not worry too much about my body weight as it goes up and down like the Stock Market. I look at the big picture of reducing my body weight by just around 1 pound each month. The real results come from burning off excess body fat and building muscle, yea it’s all about the waist size.

For now I will continue with this routine but will throw in some isometric exercises during the week and anticipate lifting bowflex weights in my garage on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Posted in aging, body building, cardio, diabesity, finances, fitness, food, health, meditation, mindfulness, minimalist, simple living, stress, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, whole food plant based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fitbit and Weight Lifting Apps

I decided to purchase a Fitbit Charge 3 a few weeks ago to help me stay on track. For the most part I do love it as it acts as both a watch and a BPM monitor. I like knowing how many steps I take each day and how many flights of stairs I climb.

The app is a bit discouraging as any other apps I have tried to use for fitness goals. Within the fitbit app there is a goal setter where I can set a goal for weight loss. The problem is that it really isn’t realistic as I am not only performing cardio, I am also weight lifting. Lifting heavy weights causes muscles to grow and the body to retain water, which also increases body weight. So even though I am burning fat my overall body weight will increase. I could perform body measurements each day, but who has the time for that.

The technology certainly is getting better, but even the weight lifting apps I use don’t describe the individual routine I am performing. I may be doing dumbbell fly’s but the the app only shows chest fly’s performed on a machine. After trying several I have decided that going back to using the individual paper card where I can write in the exact exercise I am using for a particular routine serves me best.

Another feature I really don’t like about the fitness apps are they are always trying to act as a personal trainer. I come from the old school philosophy that having a fitness trainer there with you to guide you through each exercise before starting a 3 or 6 month routine not only is helpful but teaches us how certain exercises performed wrong can actually cause injury.

I suppose that for those who choose to just do cardio and track their food intake the fitbit is ideal, but for us older folks who depend on resistance exercises to keep our bones strong it just doesn’t work.

I will continue to wear my fitbit but will utilize it as a tool to keep me motivated and less on a performance tracker.

Posted in aging, body building, diet, fitness, food, health, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mom passed last week

Conscious confirmation to self that all is well

Cardio all week and my body weight drops, Weight lifting on the weekend and my body weight goes up. But progressively my body weight is dropping slightly each week as I am burning fat and building muscle.

A whole food plant based diet is what I eat. No meat, no dairy, no added oils and no manufactured foods. Starches are Basmati rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Lots of dark green and colorful vegetables and berries.

I am healing on the inside and feeling wonderful on the outside.


My mom passed away last week and I had to fly from Oregon to New Jersey. Mom was a really good hearted soul and I will miss her greatly. At 78 cancer took her. Just two years ago she made it through breast cancer and was stamped cancer free. She had no idea that cancer was eating her alive through the liver, kidneys and spine.

I spoke with Mom each Saturday morning and never heard a complaint from her. In fact her mood was always happy and joyful. She laughed and joked with everyone right up to the last day she passed. No pain, No suffering. I am so grateful each day that she passed this way.

Mom lived a very simple life and found so much joy in a family gathering where she cooked those traditional dishes her Mother prepared. Whenever there was a problem she was always the first one there to help. She didn’t have much but what she had, she gave freely. At 76 she received a letter from someone named Eric. Eric is her son that she was forced to put into adoption when she was just 19 years old. This brought incredible joy to her and ended up spending some pretty incredible quality time with her long lost son.

If there ever was a reason to feel good about changing my diet to a Whole Food Plant Based one, Mom’s confirmed cancer is certainly an eye opener. I believe that if she too had adopted a healthier lifestyle she may have avoided being attacked by cancer. But only God would know this. I do know that she has been welcomed with open arms and is spending quality time with family and friends who passed before her.

One of the questions we are always asked by our care providers is about any family history of chronic diseases. It is said that genetics plays a big role in the chances of us adopting the same illnesses that our family has. I don’t know if this is all genetics as much as it is lifestyle. What I do know is that I am going to pay closer attention to it and do everything in my power to avoid cancer or heart disease. Living now with Type II Diabetes is a challenge in itself as I have to closely monitor the glucose in my blood each day. For right now it seems that I have T2D under control and as long as I continue to eat right and exercise I believe that I will not have to suffer.

I too will leave this earth and reunite with Mom and so many others who left, but for now I will fight with every ounce of energy I have to stay alive as long as I can. I have both the tools and knowledge to avoid and even reverse any disease that may come my way and I will utilize both to make sure that I have lived a full life. Conventional medicine does a wonderful job of helping us live with certain disorders but I know that so much more needs to done to protect our bodies from adopting a disease, making our bodies strong enough to fight a disease and allowing our bodies to return to a healthier state after years of abuse.

There is so much information out there. All you have to do is search for Whole Food Plant Based on the internet and get started.

I love you Mom and will miss you forever.

Posted in aging, body building, diabesity, diet, family, fitness, food, God, health, life, minimalist, nature, Oregon, simple living, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, whole food plant based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

This Mornings thoughts on Whole Food Plant Based

Whole Food Plant Based is leading to yet another success story. Miraculously my blood sugar has dropped down from an average fasting number of 160 to 110. My overall body weight continues to drop slowly at an average of about 1/2 pound per week. My BMI is at 25.8 and I am shrinking in my clothing.

All of a sudden I can’t seem to function properly without fast walking 3 miles each morning on the treadmill. I look forward to Saturday and Sunday when I get to head to the local gym and work my body pretty hard with weights.

Body image is certainly an inspiration as I can see my midsection getting smaller each time I look in the mirror. I know that with full commitment that it is now possible to return my body to the image it was many years ago when I participated in many sports. But as these thoughts certainly make me smile they are ultimately not the real goals I set out to accomplish. The real goals are the things I cannot see in the mirror. It is the plaque that has built up in my arteries after so many years of abuse, it is the revitalization of a pancrease that is stubbornly slowing down the processing of sugar, and it is the microbiome that has been compromised due to all of the abuse it has taken by unhealthy eating.

The human body has an innate system of survival and can heal itself when properly taken care of.  A nutrient rich diet without processed foods, meat, dairy or added oils is the key to returning an abused body back to a healthy one. While I entertain myself by redeveloping my body image through exercise, it is the foods that I choose to put in my body that work on the inside. Someone once said, “If you take care of the inside it will reflect upon the outside.”

I know that there are so many who disagree with this approach as they rely on many of the foods I choose not to eat. This is a matter of choice and I too have been guilty in the past of taking the same approach. As I go back to some earlier posts I see the words that I write and the habits that I formed that I believed then were right, but I can no longer agree with as biochemistry has moved forward in so many ways and we come closer to understanding the human cell and what it needs to stay healthy and work correctly. It is unfortunate that we don’t see too much of this science because there is little money backing it like the pharmaceutical companies, but still it is managing to make its way out to the public.

Look, I know that as we age it is just natural for out bodies to start breaking down. And I know that one day I too, like so many before me will pass away. If I know some simple facts that would ease this process, make it less painful, more enjoyable and lengthen the time span for it to occur, then there is no reason in the world not to practice this lifestyle.

So I will be the old dude with the six pack abs walking down the beach. The one who questions the ingredients in the foods served at a restaurant, and the one who continues to smile and find joy in both people and things around me. I will be the one who always questions conventional wisdom and looks outside the box for alternative answers to health. I suppose that I will be that happy, “pain in the ass” who just never can go along with the crowd and rebels against the things I just don’t believe to be completely true.

Posted in aging, body building, diabesity, diet, fitness, food, health, life, mindfulness, minimalist, Oregon, primal, simple living, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, whole food plant based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Results are in

I just received my latest blood test in the mail and I will share the results. Keep in mind that the differences in levels have occurred in just 10 weeks. That is when I started the Whole Food Plant Based diet and started an exercise routine.

Before After
Cholesterol 286 206
Triglyceriedes 300 186
HDL (Good Cholesterol) 49 51
LDL (Bad Cholesterol) 188 138
A1C 8.0 6.6

Right after the blood test I noticed that my fasting blood readings in the morning had suddenly gone from the 150 range down to the 100 range. I have six months to continue this plan of attack before my next blood test. My goals are obviously to bring my overall cholesterol level under 150, increase HDL, reduce LDL and bring my A1C to under 5.0.

I met with a trainer on Saturday who helped my put together a systematic weight lifting routine where I will be working my body 4 days out of the week. In between this workouts I will be hitting the treadmill each morning to fast pace walk a minimum of a mile. I will also be mindful of “overdoing it” and recognize when I simply need a day of rest. If I see the results that I anticipate in six months I may coin the word “Vegecise” if it hasn’t already been coined.

Posted in aging, body building, diabesity, diet, fitness, food, health, life, mindfulness, minimalist, simple living, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, whole food plant based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Under 100

Finally my body broke the spell it was under. Blood sugar reading this morning was a 98. Woo Hoo! All the discipline and patience is finally paying off. Pure, wholesome vegan diet, some cardio and some resistance exercises. It seems that all it took to return me to the healthy Billy I have always been.

Now all I have to do is get the results of my blood test and if all is as I am predicting I will truly have cause to celebrate. Bring on the Broccoli,

Posted in aging, body building, diabesity, diet, fitness, food, minimalist, simple living, type II diabetes, vegan, vegetarian, walking, whole food plant based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments