Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (4/25-5/2)

Brewing mugicha in a half-gallon jar.

The arrival of warmer weather means it’s time again to start brewing mugicha, or roasted barley tea (麦mugi = barley, 茶cha = tea). Last year I ran out of the tea bags we had brought with us from Japan, and when I asked our daughter-in-law if she would send me some more she sent packages enough to keep me in mugicha until we leave in 2023! I brew a half gallon every other day, and have been enjoying two big glassfuls every day.

So refreshing!

I first tasted mugicha when I was 18, and thought it was absolutely awful (I actually gagged). How could anyone drink, let alone enjoy, this bitter beverage? Although it’s definitely an acquired taste for Western palates, over the years I have come to enjoy and appreciate how refreshing mugicha is, and it’s now my favorite hot weather beverage, much more than iced tea which I also love. Besides refreshment, mugicha has many beneficial properties, including being rich in minerals and antioxidants, and it’s a natural source of melatonin, benefitting sleep (it’s also naturally caffeine free). It is also believed to improve blood circulation and help prevent cancer among other healthful properties.

A 22-oz bottle of the most popular commercial mugicha costs around 50 cents in Japan. It’s the one place I don’t mind buying a plastic bottle as I know it will be recycled.

We had some great meals last week, helped by our big shopping trip last week and picking up a couple of things at the farmers market. Artichokes take me to a happy place and they were a good deal at Costco with four giant globe artichokes for only $6.99. They’re each big enough that one is almost too much for both Brett and me to finish. Steamed is my favorite way to enjoy an artichoke along with some sort of dipping sauce, preferably with lemon in it.

Sunday: Grilled ham & cheese sandwiches; roasted red pepper & tomato soup

Monday: Pasta with Thai peanut sauce; spicy coleslaw

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner (bacon and scrambled eggs with green onions); steamed artichoke

Wednesday: CookDo mabo nasu; steamed rice; cucumber spears

Thursday: Grilled chicken & apple sausages; sautéed green beans; artichoke

Friday: Thai chicken mini pizzas

Saturday: Pork & rice burritos; honeydew melon

We repeated last week’s Thai chicken pizzas as there was spicy peanut sauce to be used up (and they’re delicious!), and the planned chicken tikka masala was bumped to this week after we bought some beautiful eggplant at the farm stand and used it for mabo nasu. Here’s what’s planned for next week’s dinners:

  • Italian sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions
  • Chicken-rosemary risotto
  • Chicken tikka masala (bumped from last week)
  • InstantPot pork chops with sauerkraut and apples
  • Mini pizzas
  • Pasta with marinara and Italian sausages
  • Ham fried rice

Out and about in the park last Thursday. I always get a kick out of seeing what appears to be a schefflera tree growing out of the palm tree.

Walking was somewhat hit or miss this week, because the weather was so unreliable. Last Sunday was beautiful, so we decided to take advantage of it instead of taking a day off like we usually do. Monday we stayed home because of rain, and the only walking we did was the over two miles we accomplished during our trips to Costco and Walmart. Wednesday brought more bad weather, but then Thursday and Friday were gorgeous, with blue skies and cool breezes, and we got in two days of walking over five miles. Saturday we went to the beach for the afternoon instead of walking, and then stayed home on Sunday to get our regular day off and a no-drive day. This coming week doesn’t look much better as far as weather is concerned, but I always make my daily eating plan and calorie allotment based on not getting to walk

My hips have been bothering me lately, more consistently than in the past. There’s nothing excruciatingly painful going on, but I have become aware of a dull ache that’s there more often than it’s not. I don’t think it’s arthritis (I hope it’s not arthritis!) as the ache is more on the outer side of my hips, and believe it’s more related to my bursitis. But who knows? The interesting thing for me is that I usually don’t feel any pain when I’m walking, or at least not until the end of the walk, but more when I’m not walking. For now, over-the-counter pain medication helps, but I guess it’s something I need to ask my doctor about next time I see him. I may also check with our upstairs neighbor, a semi-retired orthopedic surgeon, and see what he has to say. Maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit when it comes to exercise?


16 thoughts on “Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (4/25-5/2)

  1. I’d talk to a physiotherapist about the hips. I always figure that if I can fix something with exercises instead of drugs I should—unfortunately the exercises only work if I actually do them though! Erica


    1. I’m with you on the exercises, and it’s what most doctors have recommended in the past. I haven’t been doing them but I think it’s time to get started again.


  2. I have this happen sometimes, and I’ve found an effective stretch. Sit in a chair, put one leg up on the other at a 90 degree angle, and then gently lean forward to stretch the bent leg hip. I do it before and after walking when they are bothering me. I hope it helps!


    1. Thanks, Denise! This is similar to the one a former doctor instructed me to do, although it wasn’t in a chair. She felt that the pain was due to chronic bursitis, which is what I think is still going on. I don’t get the sharp pains from it any more, but it seems the walking still aggravates it (more on my right hip than my left, but they both ache).


  3. Your hip experience is so similar to what I experienced. I was walking just about every day down to the Anini overlook. I figured I just needed exercise. The pain hit me after my walk was over and continued for hours. Then I tried the pool for my exercise. Much better and easier on my hips. I thought I found the secret. I was toned up in 2 week! But, my hips were no better. I decided that I would only have one doctor do the surgeries and said I would wait until he was available. X-rays showed massive deterioration, I was shocked to see them. The doctor said it should have been done 10 years ago. Aspirins, which work wonders for me, kept pain levels down. Left hip was replaced in January 2020 and right hip was done in July. I was in physical therapy within 3 days of each surgery. Don’t wait like I did, nothing helped, but try to get Dr. Rovinsky. He is truly the best. The care at Wilcox was exemplary, once again.


    1. I am seeing Dr. C next month, and this issue will be first on my list of things to discuss with him. I am not going to wait to see if it becomes unbearable. I believe it’s related to the bursitis I’ve had for years, and the walking we do know keeps them aggravated, but who knows? I hope, hope, hope, this can be taken care of without surgery, but I’m thankful to have the name you suggested. Wilcox has always been exemplary, in my opinion. Brett has received wonderful care for his recent surgery and follow-up.


      1. Your reply made me very happy and relieved. Dr. C. convinced me it was time and I’d recuperate quickly. He wasn’t lying!! I asked Dr. R. –On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you think I’d do?? He replied, “11”. He said I’d pop right up. By the way, Dr. R’s credentials are absolutely tops. His P.A., Frank, is a doll and does the follow-ups after Dr. R. is satisfied. I just can’t rave enough about my experience. The schedulers are fantastic. Please don’t wait like I did. It’s so worth it.


      2. I honestly think my pain is due to chronic bursitis, and hip surgery won’t/can’t help, but we’ll see. I think it’s going to be more of a case of combining medication and exercise to get it under control, or at least I hope so. I have faith in Dr. C to get it right. By the way, I love his haircut – almost didn’t recognize him (and the mask didn’t help either).


      3. Dr. C is so adorable. We both trust him so much. His range of knowledge is fantastic but won’t hesitate to send you to a specialist. My bet is that you have some bone on bone going on with that hip. Get x-rays and go from there. I even had cysts in my hips! They were a mess. I was shocked when I saw them. Oh, Dr. Rovinsky also made my legs match in length!

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  4. Just an observation about your hips….you switched to new walking shoes recently. Could they have had an impact on your hip pain?

    Also I found it valuable to have a PT evaluate my walking. She discovered that I was pronating on one side, which I was totally unaware of.


    1. The pain was there before the new shoes, and my hips have actually felt better. What I’m doing now though is walking longer and at a faster pace. My doctor has sent me for PT before, and he may again for this issue. But I think it’s more a case of medication and exercise (stretching) to get things feeling better. I switched my pain medication as it’s supposedly easier on my stomach but it doesn’t help at all.


    2. I had tried switching shoes, went to Vionics. It helped for a brief period of time. Just needed to swap out the old hips.


      1. The pain is very dull in my hips, but it’s there almost all the time now. That’s what’s annoying. I’ve had bursitis for nearly 30 years now, and can’t get rid of it. But I still hope it’s nothing more than that.


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