Category Archives: Health

New Year’s Resolutions or NOT!


As the New Year approaches each year, I struggle with New Year’s resolutions. I know, the New Year has already started; I am still coming to terms with all the resolution business. Normally, making a list of resolutions is just not my thing. In the past, I would dutifully write my list and TRY to keep them. According to statistics, most people don’t keep them past the first month is not the first week. That was me! So out went the resolutions. But I still always feel that tug I should make some kind of commitment for the year.

So this year I decided to do something different. My epiphany — it doesn’t have to be a list of ‘things’ that I want to accomplish for the entire year! A list that usually gets lost in the shuffle of papers after a few days. I need something that I can say to myself each day to remind myself of the things I want to do. If I have a beginning phrase, something that I could type up (hang up on my desk, mirror, and refrigerator etc. so I will see everyday) then I could add my own ending each day. For example, if the beginning statement was, “Go for…” I could add my own ending. Go for a walk. Go for lunch. Go for a massage. You get the idea?

Next I would need to come up with something that would stimulate a significant ending. “Go for” was not very stimulating or motivating. It had to be something that would get the creative juice flowing to try something new and step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. Additionally this phrase needed to be the call to action for a daily reminder that there were things I wanted to accomplish each day.

I could try the Nike motto, “Just Do It”. But that’s been over done. What about, “Today is the day you will…..”? or “Make time”? or “….Make it so”? Then I found this little sign on the internet.

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DON’T MAKE A RESOLUTION MAKE YOURSELF

Perfect! My phrase would be….. “MAKE YOURSELF”

This will give me the push I need to make myself better AND make myself take action.

So, I am feeling pretty good about my newly discovered method of starting the year. What do prefer? Resolutions? To Do lists? Neither? Or maybe that perfect catch phrase!

I’ll keep you posted on how all this works out!

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Beauty Tips For Healthy Summer Skin

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As the sun shines ever so brightly during the summer, we all want to get out and soak up some of those rays. But, the sun can be harsh on tender skin.

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the body? It happens to reside on the outside of the body, protecting other organs within. The skin allows oxygen and other nutrients to be absorbed while preventing harmful substances from entering. It also excretes waste products that are harmful to the body.

The skin also acts like a crystal ball. It mirrors the health of the inside of our bodies. When something is out of whack there, the skin will show the world and you.

So, how can you keep your skin looking great – especially during the summer months when you want to show it off? Here are a few beauty secrets anyone can utilize.

* Drink water – Water is important for the body. Many of our cells are composed of water. Without it, the body cannot function. Each day, we lose water through sweat, respiration and urination. It must be replenished. Remember, when you feel thirsty, you are already in the process of becoming dehydrated. Here is a tip to make sure you drink enough water each day. Divide your weight in half – that number in ounces is the amount of water you should drink each day. EX.- Body weight is 150 divided by 2 = 75. You should drink 75 oz of water a day.

* Remove dead skin cells – This is often done through exfoliation. Using a sugar scrub once a week can remove excess dead skin cells from the body and the face. Exfoliation also prevents pores from being clogged, resulting in pimples. You can also dry brush your skin with a good natural bristled brush.

* Make good food choices –  In the summer, everyone wants to go light. Choose raw salads foods that are not fried. Eat smaller meals more often instead of three heavier ones. Choose fresh fruit and veggies over refined sugars and foods. Eating a lot of unhealthy fat can lead to an acne problem with the skin.

* Wear a hat – When you are out in the sun, wearing a hat protects the sensitive skin of your face from not only the sun but also from wind damage.

* Wear sunscreen – Even if you are gardening, sunscreen is important. Without a layer of protection between you and the sun, the harmful UV rays are allowed to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and damage them. You can go out for some sun without sunscreen for about 15 minutes a day but make sure if you are out at the beach, lake or exposed to the sun for long periods you use a safe, non-chemical sunscreen.

* Moisturize – The heat can dry out your skin. After a long day outside, bathe and then moisturize your skin so that it can stay supple even while you sleep. Here is a list of chemical safe moisturizers.

Is your skin ready for the summer sun? In order to keep it looking good, protect it first.

 

Aches and Pain After A Workout

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Have you started to exercise or changed your exercise routine? If so, you may have noticed that you feel some discomfort the first few weeks into your routine. It is not uncommon to feel aches. But if you do, here are some ways to alleviate them.

Before we get to the normal aches and pains of a workout we need to make one point clear.  Have you heard the saying ‘No pain, no gain?’ That is not always the best advice. If you ever feel pain after a workout, something is wrong. Start by investigating the pain. It could be a cramp, strain or sprain. When an exercise movement causes pain, the first thing to do is to stop what you are doing.

Aches are another story and can be caused by muscle soreness. If you wake the next day and you are sore in the muscles that were used in your previous workout, the body is responding to being used in a new way. But, even so you don’t have to suffer through the aches.

Alleviating the Pain

Here are some ways that you can get past the pain. We will start by discussing the R.I.C.E. method.

* Rest: If you feel discomfort or pain in your muscles or joints during or when performing activities after your workout, give your body a rest. It could be that you are just new to the routines, but also overuse of a muscle can lead to a weakness. If you are weight training, leave at least 48 hours between each muscle group to allow for muscle repair. Poor form can also be a cause of strain.

* Ice: Using ice packs on an area of soreness or injury can provide short-term relief from pain. Try a fifteen-minute treatment. Then move your limb around and see how you feel.

* Compression: This also alleviates some pain and can reduce swelling that is putting pressure on vital tissues in the area. For a sprain or strain, try using a compression bandage like an ACE to keep fluid from accumulating in the area from inflammation. Keep the bandage snug but not too tight to cut off the blood supply to the area.

* Elevation: Another way to reduce or eliminate swelling is to elevate the hurt area. If it is a limb, use pillows or a stool. Try to raise the injury or ache above the level of the heart for best results.

Other than R.I.C.E. there are other ways to help aches and pains.

* Sit in a bath of warm water. This can help with swelling and also take the pressure off of the area from the buoyancy.

* Massage: Loosening the muscles can stretch out any kinks that are leading to pain. It may take a deep tissue massage which can be slightly uncomfortable at first.

* Stretch: Gentle stretching can keep muscles supple when exercising. A good warm stretch can avoid some injuries. Try a warm up and a cool down after every exercise session.

These are just a few ways to bounce back from the aches and pains of exercise.

What do you do to help alleviate soreness or aches after a workout?

Aside

Inflammation afflicts millions of people each day and it’s a natural response to an infection or an injury.  Your body knows how to handle most inflammatory responses naturally.  Chronic inflammation, however, is your body’s response to a disease such as arthritis, diabetes … Continue reading

Getting Enough Nutrition? KISS Yourself

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You’ve heard of the acronym K.I.S.S. It stands for Keep It Simple Sweetie (or Stupid, it’s up to you). Everyone makes getting the proper levels of nutrition hard. No matter what fad diet is out there, they over complicate it so that everyone is confused. No one knows what to eat anymore. It’s just all so confusing.

One person says eat 30 bananas a day. Another person says avoid all wheat products. The next says you can only eat 1200 calories per day. The list goes on and on. It can get downright frustrating trying to be healthy. But, the truth is, nothing is more simple than getting enough nutrition so that your body can benefit and become healthier than ever.

Eating nutritionally and being healthy boils down to this:

  • Avoid Processed Food
  • Avoid GMO Products
  • Avoid Added Hormones
  • Eat As Close to Nature As Possible
  • Drink Plenty of Filtered Tap Water
  • Move Around Every Day
  • Rest

In truth if you are always eating as close to nature as possible the first three are easily taken care of. Then you just need to stay hydrated, move, and rest. How easy is that? Nothing can be easier than eating highly nutritious foods. And, nothing is simpler for your body than digesting those healthy foods and getting the nutrients out of those foods. Your body is designed to do that. Nothing at all complicated about it.

The other fact is that you don’t even have to be perfect to reap the rewards of a nutritious lifestyle. If you just do the right thing 90 percent of the time, you’ll pretty much get close to reaping 100 percent of the rewards. That means that 10 percent of the time you can indulge, in moderation, in so called off limit foods and be fine.

Deprivation is a thing of the past when you focus on abundance, adding in things instead of subtracting, and not making it difficult. You don’t have to be a 5 star chef to put nutritious healthy meals on the table each night and to offer an abundance of healthy snacks. You also don’t have to be rich.

Keep It Simple Sweetie.

Smoothies

berries-2558_150 Ah!  Smoothies!  I love a good smoothie!  Lately, I’ve been obsessed with pumpkin smoothies that actually give me a feeling of eating pumpkin pie.  Yesterday I made a green smoothie with spinach, pumpkin, avocado, coconut milk and pumpkin spices.  It was soo  delicious and full of important fats, vitamins, minerals and protein.  Kept me full from lunch until dinner.

In keeping with the theme of quick meals, the smoothie may be the best way to get those fruits, veggies and protein in all at once.  If you’re pressed for time, you can pull a few items, throw them into your blender and voila!  Instant meal!

In reading about smoothies, I came across a post by Running To the Kitchen.  I love this blog and  Gina always has something yummy posted like her Blueberry Coconut Chia pudding.  But I digress.  Gina blogged about the ingredients to make the perfect  smoothie.  You’ll find recipes for some great smoothies as well.

What is your favorite smoothie recipe?  Share with me if you will.  Thanks.

juice-114628_150Enjoy!

Healthy Meals In A Flash Part 2

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The next part in this series “Healthy Meals In A Flash, we will move onto that mid-day meal – lunch!

Eating in the middle of the day, several hours after breakfast, re-energizes your body and can raise blood sugar levels especially when your focus and concentration are dwindling. Even if you only eat a small lunch, you can renew your energy.  Eating lunch can help you feel refreshed and ready to finish your workday.  In addition, eating lunch keeps your metabolism active, especially if you have a moderately sized meal and a snack before and afterward. “Extended periods of starvation between large meals creates gaps which keep metabolism from staying active,” says Dr. Kurt Hong, the Center for Human Nutrition director of Huntington Medical Foundation.

As much as you need to eat lunch, you also need variety.  Lunch can be one of those meals that allows people to fall into a rut.  My girls would get stuck on peanut butter and jelly for lunch for what seemed liked months on end.  But lunch can be so much more with a smorgasbord of ideas.

So what are some good options for your mid-day meal?  There are quite a few that don’t have to include a stop at the fat (oops, meant fast) food chain of your choice.  Again, making a plan is key.  As I would pack my daughters’ lunches each night, I wasn’t as prepared when deciding what I would eat at work the next day.  Without a plan, your best efforts for healthy eating can be sabotaged.

Start with some simple items you can keep on hand and remember that lunches don’t need to have sandwiches in them all the time either.  Use a variety of items packed in single servings for your family.

Leftover are a great quick meal.  Leftovers from dinner are usually better the next day anyway.  Pasta, soups, meats, roasts, and chicken make great lunches.  Pack them in containers where they can be reheated but don’t use plastics with BPA’s.  Children can also take those leftovers.  If they can’t reheat them, wrap up some chicken from the night before, a piece of fruit, grapes or fruit sliced up, and some carrots, zucchini, pepper strips or broccoli pieces and you’re set for a nutritious lunch that’s easy to eat.

Any of the foods listed for breakfast can also be used for lunch.  You can make a smoothie the night before and put it in a drink container.  When you’re ready to drink your smoothie, give it a good shake or stir and you’re set! Image

Wraps are a great way to include veggies and meat from the left over dinner findings.  You can use lettuce to wrap up any ingredient you like.  Use your imagination and try different combinations.

Here is a list of healthy lunch ideas for you to try.  Some do need a little prep but most are grab and go!

1.  Hard boiled egg, avocado and tuna mixed.  Can eat in a wrap of lettuce.
2.  Yogurt and banana
3.  Hummus, avocado, carrots and spinach wrapped in lettuce
4.  Asparagus and salmon wrapped in lettuce
5.  Stack cucumber, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and greek olives for Greek Salad bites.
6.  Tuna salad made with avocado instead of mayo.
7.  Tuna salad on tomato or cucumbers
8.  Avocado with sunflower seeds.
9.  Make ahead meatballs, freeze and pull out what you need for lunch.
10.Almond butter with apples and bananas.
11.Bake or poach chicken breasts.  Cut into strips and refrigerate in separate bags to grab and go,
12.Chicken salad – avocado, cilantro, salt and lime juice.
13.1 cup of vanilla greek yogurt, and 1/2 cup of blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.
14.Salad with veggies and hard boiled egg,
15.Turkey, avocado and hummus wrap.
16.Chicken, berries and avocado salad.
17.Baby spinach, raw apple, sliced toasted almonds, raspberry vinegarette and feta cheese salad
18.Egg salad – mix hummus with eggs instead of mayo.
19.Turkey wrap – sliced turkey, avocado, mustard, tomato wrapped in lettuce.
20.Salmon salad – can of salmon over lettuce with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Whether you make an elaborate meal or pick a few items as you run out the door, you can make a lunch that will give you that pick-me-up until your next meal.  Be sure to plan ahead so you can keep those goals you are working so hard toward achieving.
Do you have any favorite lunch recipes?