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Blue M&Ms Welcome A Healthy New Year

1 Jan

I cannot think of one person I know who does not like M&Ms.  My personal favorites are peanut butter or peanut.   I remember as a child my mother doling out regular, plain chocolate M&Ms to my siblings and me.  It was a process.  We each had to have the same number of each color: Tan, Red, Brown, Green and Orange.  If there was a variation, there was trouble. Which is strange because they did not taste any different, but we all had favorite colors so having an equal amount was important, especially at Hanukkah when we used M&Ms to play the dreidel game! 

My Blue M&M swag.

However, notice the colors!  There were no Blue ones when I was a child.  They did not join the mix until 1995.  I remember the election that Mars held that year.  We could vote on blue, pink or purple.  I had two young children, ages 9 and 4, with whom I had discussions on the vote as my daughter loved purple.  At the time, I was busy: teaching in a high school, taking care of my children, free-lancing for a local newspaper where I wrote a commentary column.  But the vote on M&Ms was so important for me, I took time out to vote: BLUE! Blue won hand downs with over 50 percent of the vote. (Perhaps a precognition for November 2020?)

My loving blue M&Ms from the time they were available, became a reason for family laughter  since from that point on, I only wanted to eat the blue ones.  I remember going to family life cycle events, and just picking out the blue M&Ms from the bowls.  One year, at my niece’s bat mitzvah, one of my cousins brought me over a little of tub of all colors, since he knew I loved M&Ms.  But I remarked, “Now I only eat the blue ones.”  He came back a bit later with a bowl of blue ones that he had collected from all the bowls. He is an excellent cousin!

When I play mah Joong with my friends, or go to a party,  I still only eat the blue M&Ms.  It has become so well accepted, that as others reach into the bowl, they often pass the blue ones on to me. They don’t even think about.  I get the blue ones. 

 It is a bit difficult when the holiday ones come out.  Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, NO BLUES.  But Easter is fine as there are light blue ones!

I have three reasons for my obsession with blue ones.  First of all, blues and teals are my favorite colors.  Why not eat what I like?  I also love blueberries!  But I have another more important reason.  I am actually allergic to dairy.  I get really ill if I eat too much.  So limiting my intake of M&Ms by only eating blue ones, contains my addiction. The final reason is weight control, by only eating the blue ones, I am able to reject other colors and not overeat.

When my children were younger, I fabricated a bit.  I might have told them I ate the blue ones because they were better for me, healthier.  It was, at the time, wishful thinking.  Eventually my children figured out my ruse, and they would laugh whenever I gave that explanation.  But then in 2009 I found out that all these years, I was actually correct! 

My daughter was in graduate school, when I sent her an email telling her to laugh no more!  Scientists had found out that the blue dye used in blue M&Ms and blue Gatorade, known as Brilliant Blue G (BBG), was good for you.  They found that it stopped the inflammation that increased damage when someone had a spinal cord injury.  (See link below.)  I was being proactive, eating only blue ones!

A few years later, imagine my delight when I found the M&M World store in Las Vegas.  I had never been in such a store before, and the sights within filled me with glee.  There were bins with many colors of M&Ms you don’t usually see.  And several of different colored blue and teal pure chocolate ones. Although not my favorites, I still had to fill a bag. There was all sorts of M&M items to admire.  I had to purchase some blue M&M swag that now lives in my kitchen.

Blue, teal, dark teal, light teal and some green M&Ms

But why is my first blog of 2021 about Blue M&Ms? 

Last night, since we could not go out for the holiday, we participated in two Zoom events. On our family New Year’s Eve Zoom with my sister, brother and sister-in-law, and nieces and nephews, my daughter and us, the topic of M&Ms came up.  My lust for blue M&Ms was once again publicly announced and I must admit some ridiculed!

My sister-in-law admitted to a peanut M&M addiction.  I said I had it as well, but only the blue ones.  They all laughed, except my daughter, who knew what was coming! Yes, I told them all about the medical properties of blue ones. They did not seem to believe me, so I sent them the link listed below.

That led several of us on the Zoom, to leave the room,  return with our M&M bags and locate a blue M&M to eat. As we displayed the blue M&M, as we expressed wishes for a healthy year and vaccines for all as we enter 2021.

Wishing you all a very happy 2021 and the joy of finding something you enjoy as much as I enjoy blue peanut and peanut butter M&Ms.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%26M%27s#:~:text=In%20early%201995%2C%20Mars%20ran,replaced%20tan%20in%20late%201995.

https://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-07/good-news-animal-lovers-and-folks-spinal-injuries/

Walking Through the COVID Pandemic

24 Dec

Walking as saved my sanity through the past nine ten months.  

I walked the Gezer Park trails with my real estate agent/friend.

I have been walking several times a week for over 20 years. When it has been nice, I walked outside with one of two friends.  When it was cold, my main walking buddy and I walked inside at our gym.   She and I have been walking for the past 20 years.

When the virus shut everything down, walking became my lifeline.  We were told going outside to walk was important.  And we were told as long as we stayed six feet apart, outside was okay.  With that advice, my walking dates increased.  Instead of walking three or four days a week, I upped it to six or seven days a week sharing these walks with two different friends. 

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with my neighbor: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with my walking buddy and when in town, another friend would join us.   On these outside walks, we visited and talked.  We shared our feelings about what was going on in the world. We discussed our families and what we were going through.  We spoke about how important it was having each other to walk with during this time.

Occasionally I walked with other friends. My real estate agent/ friend and I walked Gezer Park once and around my new neighborhood another time. I loved walking at Gezer Park because my daughter and son in law got married there! A close friend and I eat outside on some Thursdays and then go for a walk when we can. There are other friends who have graced me with a walk as well! Thank you to all my walking buddies! Being with you outside has been wonderful!

My husband and I often take walks on the weekends. These are additions to my walks with my friends.

My main walking buddy and I have done charity 5 Ks together.  How would we do it this year. Well we figured it out and we did. We signed up for the “Run For Ruth We Dissent” virtual walk. We donated to one of the charities listed and then walked together the 3.2 miles needed.  Our other buddy could not sign up because the registration closed, but she walked with us.

The start of our walk in my old neighborhood.

Since I moved during the pandemic, my old neighbor and I have been alternating walking sites. One day in my old neighborhood trails, the next time at the new house. We realized that the tail system by my old house hooked up with the trails by my new house in a three-mile trek. We walked it! My husband dropped me off at her house, and we walked back to my house. Then I drove her home.

On our 3-mile walk through the Tomahawk Trails.

I used to make 10,000 steps about three or four days a week.  Now I have hit that goal almost every day.  I just ended a 56-day string of 10,000 or step days.  I finally took a day off hitting just 6700 steps.  I am back at six consecutive days of walking over 10,000 steps.  Before COVID, I averaged walking 22 – 26 miles per week. When I went over 26, I was ecstatic.  Now I average 29 – 38 miles per week!  A major increase.

Walking has become the silver lining of my pandemic experience. 

Now the weather is getting colder.  We have had several very warm days, even taking advantage of one and going to our local arboretum. Walking in the afternoons has taken over our morning walks. Too cold at 8 am, so we walk at 2 pm.  But some days we just cannot walk outside.  Because of the risks of indoor exercise at our gym, we have decided not to walk there.

Monet Gardens, Overland Park Arboretum

In the pre-pandemic days, I would have just taken these days off.  But now, I get on my treadmill and walk the 2 to 2.5 miles I would have walked with my friends. Some days, I walk slowly, 3.5 miles per hour while I watch my favorite HGTV shows.  Other days, I hustle and try to up my speed and incline to get my cardiac workout. 

Instead of seeing walking as a chore and thinking I could be using my time more wisely.  I now know that walking is what has saved my sanity, my health and my feelings of isolation, as I have walked by way through the pandemic.