Spotlight On Peas

Hello beautiful people. Today’s foodie spotlight is on peas. Yeah, peas. Stick with me here ok?

Eat your peas… they’re good for you



I haven’t led you astray yet have I ? Don’t answer that…

I recently had a new revelation on the lowly little pea. Over the weekend I had thrown down the usual big meal for the fam. I had made mashed potatoes, a slow roasted brisket and also an amazing carrot recipe that everyone went nuts over. You can find it in my spotlight on carrots post ( hint it’s the one wrapped in bacon)

In a crazy way I thought peas would go good with all of it. What was I thinking??

Me, trying to pass them to people around table, “here, have some peas”

The response ranged from “ewww gross no!” to looks of horror as if I were attempting to poison them at the table.

Where did I go wrong? How did I fail as a mother? Heck, as the main provider of cooked food, how is it I couldn’t convince them that peas are indeed, tasty little morsels?

What is the pea, exactly?

The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Pea pods are botanically fruit, since they contain seeds and developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower.


How’s that for an interesting fact you probably didn’t know?

 Green peas are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus and folate. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium and choline.

A one cup serving of peas contains 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. Peas are also really high in Vitamins A and C

Peas have many good things in them but it’s also important to remember they are a part of the “starchy” vegetable group ( corn, potatoes, peas, beans) meaning they contain three times the amount of carbs as their non-starchy counterparts.

If you can’t have fresh green peas, the frozen variety retains their color, texture, and flavor better than canned, and it’s great to know that the above characteristics aren’t affected when they’re frozen for one to three months. But neither frozen nor canned peas have an unlimited shelf life. Research on the matter has shown that the nutrient content of frozen peas begins to diminish during storage, so they should be eaten within six to 12 months.

Only about 5% of the peas grown are sold fresh. The rest are frozen or canned.

Canned or frozen peas are also high in sodium due to processing methods, to eliminate a lot of that, wash them first.

When buying frozen the petite types are often more flavorful.

Are there any health benefits to eating peas?

Yes! they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits ( hello anti-aging food) they could help support blood sugar regulation, they promote a healthy heart,  and could protect against stomach cancer.  They also contain 45 percent of the Daily Value in vitamin K for blood coagulation, and nearly a quarter of what’s needed daily in thiamin, vitamin A, and folate.

How about some fun pea trivia?

Green peas are the immature seed of dried peas often called field peas.

Dried peas which have been eaten for over 5000 year and were a stable during the Middle Ages. Field peas were easy to grow and saved many from starving.

Fresh green peas did not become popular till the 16 century.

Peas  have such high quality protein that many commercial protein powders are starting to use it. This avoids the possible side effects of soy, or dairy products.

Canada is the largest producer of peas in the world!

Peas aren’t  just for eating…

ok well, yeah, they are but do you know a frozen bag of peas makes an amazing ice pack? the peas are moldable around areas on your body to direct cold treatments. I’ve often used bags of peas as ice packs.

Have you ever used peas as ice packs ?

Time to eat…

Here’s a few fun recipes to try out if you wanna experiment with peas….



In summary although peas are often treated like a cheap side “green” veggie in restaurants  to add color to a plate, they are a tasty, healthy and nutritious “fruit” that offers many health benefits to us.

Do you enjoy them? If so do you have ways that you like eating them?


Focus, Perspective And Weight Loss

Focus. Perspective. Seeing something in a different way. Clarity.

Focus: the center of activity or attention .

Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.

When it comes to pursuing personal goals regarding weight loss or improved health and better eating habits we all have that “thing” we focus on that keeps us in forward movement to (hopefully) achieve that goal.



We might post a picture of ourselves from years back from a time where we felt like we looked good or were at a good weight.

We could use certain items of clothing as a goal to work back to wearing that we’ve out grown.

We may restructure some of the foods we eat and how much we eat of them.

For many, the scale is the judge and jury of our success, or lack thereof.

The scale of course, offers a visual reward or assessment of how we’re doing in our week with our weight loss goals.

Back in the day, when I was just starting my journey, I’d hop on it almost daily wanting positive rewards and feedback from it.

I’ve written a couple posts on the scale….

If it told me what I thought was “good news”, my day was made. I felt awesome. I felt like I was being a superhero in the weight loss department.

If it told me less than good news ( in my mind) and by that maybe I lost no weight that week or had “only” lost a pound ( have you ever seen one pound of fat?? You’ll never say that again once you do) or worse yet, worse than the coffee pot not working one morning, was the dreaded I had gained a pound or two that week.

That was enough to make me feel like a failure. A bit of a loser. Those nagging self-defeating thoughts could creep in….

“why bother? You are never going to do this anyway?”

“wow, after all you’ve done and no weight loss, but a gain?”

“Just give up”

“Might as well just eat ( you fill in the blank here) whatever thing I had withheld from myself.

Lots of ways for me to get de-railed from my goals. The scale was definitely one of the bigger challenges to overcome.

I know I’m not alone in this misguided perspective of the scale and our weight loss and fitness journeys.

The scale and I  are like friends who meet twice a year for coffee.



Where it changed for me.

When I first started out, the scale was a tool to show me that I indeed, was having less gravational pull 😉 that did help to offer motivation.

But after I’d had my mental “ah ha” moment of keeping the scale in it’s place it became easier for me to embrace other things that offered a “reward” for my work and diligence.

This shift in thinking offered me the encouragement I needed to keep going. Maybe it will offer you encouragement too.

My perspective had to change.

When I first started getting out and moving again, I realized after finishing up my walk one night how good I felt. I felt proud of myself for moving and getting out, I felt happy and I felt strong. None of that had to do with any weight loss. The numbers on the scale had no bearing on how good I felt overall when I finished what I was doing.

Not a lot had changed at that time, really, as far as obvious outward changes.

But there were things that  I felt that made me feel good, mentally and physically. I liked the tired feeling, or having sweat running down me from exertion. I liked how I felt good and strong just from the act of doing it.

I loved the accomplished feeling of doing it.

Nothing feels better mentally than wrapping a good workout. I’ve come a long way since my beginning evening walks


My perspective changed in learning to embrace new changes in myself as new disciplines were being formed and slowly put together. These changes had nothing to do with a changing scale or looser jeans.


What does your perspective look like?

If you’ve been on a journey to get fit yet are often side tracked, where is your perspective? How do you approach getting to your goals? Is it based solely on having less gravitational pull ( i.e. the scale? ) Do you determine your success by that alone?

Learning to shift your perspective to the whole picture will help you move along celebrating other things that are happening with you as well.

You know that discipline you are building from making a daily commitment to get your exercise in?

Don’t underestimate that. When you learn to train yourself to daily exercise it makes other things in life easier to be disciplined in.

As an endurance runner, I’ve learned I have to put out a lot of strength and not just physical, but mental too. Once you’ve run 26 miles, or better almost 32 you realize you take can anything in life head on.

I learned that strength I built in training carried over into all areas of my life and that was pretty cool.

Building your new habits and practices can help give you confidence in all areas of your life too.

Focus or perspective

So as you pursue whatever you’ve set before you the question to ask is are you focused on it? Or do you have a positive perspective on it?

If you are “just” focused on weight loss, making it the center of your attention, then it will be all you can see.

If you have a broad perspective approaching weight loss and fitness then you will be able to see all different aspects of the process and can embrace those things alongside the visible change of numbers of the scale.

You can learn to celebrate changes in how you are eating, the choices you make in food, your approach to eating, and how much you eat.

You can see improvements in your overall fitness when you climb a flight of stairs and aren’t out of breath, when you can walk briskly and it just feels good, when you can lift heavier things with ease, or when your body begins to reflect a new overall strength in tasks.

As your perspective changes and you embrace all of the changes you are going through you will begin to see there is more to having a whole balanced perspective on health and wellness than the ever shifting numbers on a scale.

Are you a more focused person or one who has more perspective on the big picture?

The Tortoise And Hare Weight Loss Approach

Do you remember the kids story “The Tortoise and The Hare”? It’s been in existence since the dawn of mankind.


A quick summary, the rabbit challenges the tortoise to a race, confident of his abilities to win he dashes so far ahead that he decides he’s done enough and has it solidly in his paw to win, so he decides to take a quick nap on the roadside.

Meanwhile, tortoise who has been plodding along, is taking it slow and steady, keeping his little beady eyes on the goal of the finish line.

He eventually passes sleeping hare and ultimately winds the race and the big time bragging rights in the forest that he beat the mouthy, sassy hare in a race.

hare 2

I hope tortoise worked it for all he could.

Today we’re gonna talk about the goal of weight loss and fitness journeys in that context.

I did a mini post on it for my social media last week and the idea has kinda kept growing. Basically, I thought about how there were two types of people when they decided to get serious with the idea of weight loss and fitness.

They are either the tortoise or the hare in their approach to it, go all out, or slow and steady.

The Hare approach

Don’t get me wrong. I think the hare had a crazy amount of confidence. I like that. Confidence is good. It can help you take on things you never thought possible and help you own yourself in a whole new way. Hare was a bit too confident though in his approach to being successful at reaching his goal. I’m pretty sure he didn’t plan well or make provisions for the unexpected.  Hare was going to go all out with everything he had and thought he’d accomplish his goal in a quick amount of time.   Unfortunately, by the time he knew what was happening his prize had slipped away from him and he didn’t hit his goal.

All to often I observe people decide that they are going to lose weight and start exercising. It’s a common wish and desire among thousands. Making it happen for them is often another story.

So when they decide it’s time, they are possibly armed with a little information and a long ago workout idea or plan they haven’t done in years.  They decide “come Monday, it’s time to diet”. All the negative not “good” food is gotten rid of, sometimes by consuming it in preparation for Monday.

They make radical, broad, sweeping changes in their daily nutrition often cutting out the very things they enjoy. They restrict their calories in a way that leaves them feeling miserable most of the day ( hungry) and embark on a to vigorous exercise plan that their dormant body isn’t used to.

They may often have goals that are to lofty for the time frame they have in mind ( to much weight loss to soon, a fitness level achieved that might take longer, getting into a certain size etc) they weigh in constantly hoping their restrictive diet and new exercise will work wonder miracles in weeks.

They are often very focused and determined, but miserable along the way. After weeks of drastic restricitions and their bodies hurting from doing to much to soon, they begin to make excuses or begin to revert back to those comfortable old eating habits. Eventually, they lose sight of the goal, their prize, and lose the race they set out for.

The Tortoise approach

Those who are the tortoise in the pursuit of weight loss and fitness know that it will be a slow, steady race. They understand that getting to the goal isn’t going to be fast. They don’t look for weight loss schemes to get them there faster. They understand that they just need to settle into a new routine and let their bodies naturally do what they are meant to do.

They don’t wait for Monday or a special occasion. When they determine they are going to do it, they just start.  Even if it is on a Wednesday.

They won’t throw in the towel if they have an off day. They will simply keep going focusing on those positive changes.

The tortoise people will learn to make slow steady changes in how they eat, and they will eat enough food to keep the hunger away and not to much to allow for weight loss to occur. They will not have a “last supper”  mentality that says to eat everything “bad” in the house because they will never have it again. They begin to understand that if they want a chocolate chip cookie along the way, they can have it and still keep moving to the prize. They learn to appreciate healthy, nutritious foods and not view them as punishment because they aren’t eating a big burger and extra large fries.

They start to see how their body feels and looks from eating healthy foods and then those less nutritious foods seems not so desirable anymore. They have new energy and realize, hey! I think I’m gonna win this race. Along the way, they may pass others who sped off in the beginning with some weight loss gimmick or shake or whatever but because they’ve learned to sustain their bodies with real, whole foods they’ve not only got energy but they’ve been slowly, steadily losing a bit of week each and every week and those little amounts are now starting to add up.

Each day that has gone by they have tried to make small, healthy, choices and decisions everything from passing on the stale office donut to getting up 30 minutes earlier to get a workout in and the prize is in their reach. At this point the tortoise is so comfortable living a new lifestyle with healthy habits they have no worries about getting to the goal.

It may have taken a bit longer, but their results will be permanent.

Which are you?

If you are among the many who desire to make changes in their life by  losing weight or getting more fit how do you approach the race?  Does the speed off and get there fast seem appealing? You just want the weight, flab and lack of energy to disappear over night so you’re willing to try whatever the new kid on the block is with weight loss sorcery. Maybe you don’t buy the sorcery but you just think the extreme cut everything out and be restricitive approach will get you there already.

Or perhaps, you’ve already been around the block a time or two with that approach and know it’s a process going nowhere.

You’ve learned and know and understand you haven’t gained weight and gotten out of shape overnight and it’s going to take some time to reverse the process. You just settle in for the long haul, taking it one day at a time celebrating each new day as you make decisions that will transform your life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I want to win this race!



The first step to being successful is having a desire to do it. An understanding that it will take time is your first move to being a tortoise and not a hare.

Allow for changes to take place that need to take place. You didn’t gain weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight.

Make small daily dietary changes, not broad sweeping ones that leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

Eat a bit less. Don’t eat seconds. Add in a veggie or fruit if those are low on your nutrition list. Go for a walk if you haven’t exercised in a long time.

Schedule activities for yourself that you enjoy that make you feel good, mentally and physically.

Make new healthy recipes instead of eating out.

Learn to find activities to do when you feel like eating.

Weigh in only once a week. Look for other ways you are improving mentally and physically.  There is much more to process than your gravitational pull on this earth.

Settle small realistic goals. Continue to adjust as you reach them. ( i.e. focus on losing only 5 lbs at a time and not the whole 50 you really want to lose)

With some consistent, slow and steady moves, you will reach your weight loss and fitness goals and maintain them forever.

Tell me. In your approach to help and fitness are you the tortoise or hare?


The Rewards Of Rest Days

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the importance of rest and recovery times.

You’d think it should be easy, right? It should be easy to just take a day off and not train. It should be easy to come off of months of heavy training for an event and greatly reduce my training volume and just enjoy some easier workouts.

There’s a couple factors that can come into play here, well, at least for me. Once I’m disciplined to something it’s very hard for me to not do it. I can be rather driven with whatever I’m focused on.  Mentally as well, it’s hard to not do it although I intellectually grasp the importance of focused rest. My body and mind thrive on it, that structured often intense training.

When I work this hard, rest days are essential.


My mind and body need the work but they also need the rest.

I’ve also learned active rest doesn’t involve laying on the sofa eating crappy food and being lazy.

Well what is involved with recovery?

Recovery times are designed to let our muscles heal and recover from all we put them through in training. It allows the body to repair and strengthen itself between workouts.

In a crazy way, when we exert stress on our muscles, it damages the muscles fibers causing them to break apart.  During recovery these fibers heal stronger than before, which in turn makes your muscles stronger.

When we rest and eat good foods, our body heals, recovers and builds new tissue.

Active rest for athletes can mean anything from a brisk walk ( what I’ve used when I recover from running a marathon for a couple weeks after) to short easy runs, cycling or anything that doesn’t stress the body.

For me in the past year, yoga has been a good form of not just active recovery but  it’s also a wonderful, different form of strength training. Not only that, it also stretches and works those areas that tend to get tight from my running, cycling and strength training.

I’ve come to embrace so many of the moves that although sometimes at the start are a bit stretching, lead to feeling so good. It gives me some looseness and I feel better with it.

And although it helps with recovery, I think it’s also a wonderful strength tool as well.

I did a couple articles on my yoga shenanigans, find them here….

Stretching, bending, flexing and whatnot

Ok I’ll admit. For years I was awful, totally awful, about taking time to do some dynamic warm ups before running or anything else athletic.

I just wanted to get at it.

I was a wee bit better when I finished, but after always feels so good and my body has earned it after working hard.

Since then I’ve learned more importance in taking that time to do activities to  help keep me loosened up and prepared for what I love to do.

…..although… I can still be bad about short changing myself on it….. you have permission to give me a hard time if I don’t.

Tools of the trade

There are other things I’ve been schooled on my road to being a ordinary, middle aged female athlete.

It took me a few years to get through this  “school” but now I know how important some things are.

For instance a foam roller. I would’ve never believed how amazing a cylinder of hard foam could feel on my body.

Foam rollers if you don’t know, are a method of self massage that lets you really key in on areas that are tight and achy. They also can help promote blood flow to recovering areas and break up knots and tension in muscles.

Then I went to Airosti for some treatments a couple years ago and the therapist told me I should be using a pvc pipe to roll on ’cause my muscles would adjust to foam.

I laughed. I told her she was crazy.

A hard pipe??? to roll my body on?

Ah well, laughing isn’t what I do with it now days as it’s my favorite device of torture… I mean… recovery haha



She was right. The pipe presses into muscles in a different way and doesn’t give as foam will. I use it on my back and roll up to my shoulders.

My quads seriously have a love/hate relationship with it. It kills my calves in a good way.

The pipe wasn’t the only thing I was schooled on.

A lacrosse ball became really good friends with me too. It’s perfect for working into arches of my feet into those muscles and tendons that need released. It also becomes a device of torture when you lay on the floor and position it in a tight muscle in your shoulder and press into it.

A solid ball of torture


Sweet mother of heaven. It puts me somewhere near death and blissful relief, I’m not sure which.

Another acquisition I got for Christmas is a roller with knobs all over it.

Are you seeing a weird pattern here? Devices that hurt, yet weirdly help haha

it looks something like this…..


and it’s perfect to get areas that are knotted or tight.

All of these are wonderful tools for recovery to help tight muscles, to increase blood flow, and promote healing.

And of course, let’s not forget ice and heat which not only help recovery, but gosh, they can feel so good too.

Of course other factors like staying well hydrated and eating good whole foods also contribute to a good rest/recovery day or days.

Learning to embrace days of rest and recovery goes with the athletic process, I’ve learned. slowly but surely. You too should learn to embrace those days as times of healing and restoration for not only your body, but your mind too.

Tell me, if you train or workout, do you allow or take rest and recovery days? Is that hard to do? What are some methods you use for recovery?


Sweet Potato Spotlight

Let’s talk about food. Ya’ll seem to really like food posts and I love offering up spotlights on various fruits, veggies and healthy meals.  Today boys and girls, we’re gonna talk about sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite “go to” foods


Now if I mention that and you think “Hey, that’s Thanksgiving food!”

Well just hold on a minute. If your idea of eating them involves a lot of sugar and butter, well.. we need to talk….

Now don’t get your feathers ruffled up. I know it’s tasty and hopefully you eat them like that once a year but let’s be honest. With all the sugar, butter, marshmallows, etc. it might, just might, negate the goodness of the lowly, not really attractive looking potato.

Here’s the low down on them

Although they’re soft and creamy enough to be put in pies and called dessert, sweet potatoes are also a surprisingly nutritious vegetable.

For a one cup serving they come in at only 114 calories. They pack a whopping amount of Vitamin A in the form of beta- carotene  providing 377% of your daily needs.

They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

If you’re wanting to lose weight the sweet potato is a healthy, low calorie, satisfying food to add in your daily nutrition. Just as long as you don’t load them down with sugar, butter and other stuff 😉

Why are sweet potatoes good for you?

Well besides all the good vitamins and minerals mentioned above, consider this,

For as sweet as they are, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index (which means they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream). … Manganese helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and thus maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and it can even stabilize your appetite. It also helps the body utilize antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber helping the digestive system.

That all sounds like a win, right?

What about some health benefits?

Due to the color-pigmented vitamins, sweet potatoes are high in anti-inflammatory benefits.  One sweet potato contains about half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamins A and E also support a healthy immune system and are powerful disease fighting antioxidants. While orange sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A, purple sweet potatoes are packed with the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is responsible for red, blue and purple colors in fruits and vegetables.

The high level of Vitamin A also contributes to healthy glowing skin and hair and promotes collagen growth.

Ok well sign me up. But how do I cook them?

There are all kinds of healthy and tasty ways to eat sweet potatoes year round. Below is one of my favorite, quick and easy ways to eat them. You seriously can’t go wrong roasting any vegetable in my opinion.

Oh, brussel sprouts are also making an appearance with them, don’t go hatin’ on them ok? Roasted together with olive oil and cracked pepper and sea salt are amazing.



Cold sweet potatoes are always tasty the next  morning tossed in with my other veggies and eggs.

If you don’t like those options, I’ll toss in a couple recipes here from my Pinterest board for you.

You’re welcome for the last one 😉

You can always turn a potato into a meal by adding healthy proteins like lean chicken or turkey. Black beans are pretty tasty with it too.

Wrapping it up….

Oh. Yeah you can wrap them in foil and just bake them too, nothing fancy required there. Sweet potatoes are a healthy. low calorie, food choice that offer again, lots of good nutritional value to your daily eating plan.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ways to eat them, but be mindful too that various add in’s can move up the calorie count.

Tell me, do you like sweet potatoes? Do you eat them all year, or just occasionally?


Your Happy Healthy Heart

So it’s a cold, grey day in my part of the world. After a busy morning getting a strong training session in and some always necessary house work, and then working on some of my other fun projects (  revamping old furniture) I decided I deserved some coffee and writing time.

My training though, it’s hard to take myself outside to the building I use on cold mornings ’cause like, it has no heat.

This can work in my favor in several ways. Usually, it means I get out there and get moving with some cardio to get my blood stirring so I warm up fast.

Today I decided some time spent  boxing should do the trick to get me warmed up.  It always works….

Boxing. It not only gets your heart rate up, it warms you up fast too.

Toss some angry music in my ear, add my well worn pink gloves, 20 minutes later I’m in a full sweat, cold air and all.

Oh. Wait.

What cold?

So the boxing warmed me up for 45 minutes of strength training, i.e. muscle building time. I might mention though, all those solid metal weights, not much warms them up when you first grab hold of them!

Overall, a nice strong training session.

That boxing though, it’s a form of cardio that I love for a variety of reasons. Like, I can punch something as hard as I want and not get in trouble haha. It can be very, very good therapy.

But lets not forget its great upper body and core workout too, but it also has great benefits for getting the heart working hard. We can forget that those internal muscles of our heart and lungs need strong training as much as our arms and legs, well, actually they need it more.

That’s what I wanna talk about today… our heart and exercise and some other stuff too.

Here in the states, February is heart month.

However, I’m thinking if you’re reading this you’re alive, which means you have a beating heart, and it needs proper care so wherever you are in this world, you can read this too.

Let’s look at some facts….

Yeah, yeah, you know I’m gonna offer up some facts here, don’t you? Maybe you’ve seen “facts” in your own family if you have loved ones who’ve suffered or do suffer with heart disease.

But do you know, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. ?

And do you also know that it’s preventable ? Making heart healthy choices, knowing your family history, knowing risk factors you have, and having regular check ups are all a part of proactively caring for your heart.

Heart disease (which includes Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics and Whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer

Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually

In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.

Direct and indirect costs of heart disease total more than $320.1 billion. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity.

Women and heart disease….

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

Every minute, approximately one woman dies from heart disease.

Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat

An estimated 6.6 million women alive today in the U.S. have coronary heart disease.

90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke. This stat is sobering for yours truly sitting here writing this. As a woman who feels she leads a healthy lifestyle, eats well, exercises often and has a low family history, the idea of being in the 10% of no risk is perhaps slim.

The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men and are often misunderstood.

Men and women are not the same when it comes to heart disease.

Well gosh, thanks for all this good news….

Remember earlier, I said this was a preventable disease? Unfortunately, our lifestyles can be one of the biggest problems for developing heart disease. A high fat, processed diet lacking good quality heart healthy foods and inactivity are often the culprits to heart problems.

Those things, we can make changes on in our lives. We can begin to exchange foods that aren’t so great for heart health for ones that are. We can put on shoes and start walking each day. Almost everyone has the ability to walk. Start there, but just start moving.  Do it at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

You get a gold star if you do more 😉

Clipart Illustration of a Healthy Red Heart Running Past
exercise does your heart good

Failure to exercise (walking or doing other moderate activities for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week) can contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease as physical activity helps control weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes and, in some cases, can help lower blood pressure.

Find some posts I’ve done on exercise here if you need some more reading material…

Adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and transfats and high in unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, etc.)  I don’t talk about specific “diets” but I did a review comparing two, one I can endorse as practical, livable and good for you. Find it here….

Maintain a normal body weight with caloric adjustment

Avoid smoking and recreational drug use

Have no more than ½ to 1 alcoholic beverage per day.

Know and review your risk factors with a trusted physician. Your physician may recommend medications to control cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

Know and understand your family history. Next to your personal care of yourself, this will help you assess any potential problems that are out of your control.

People who are overweight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have none of the other risk factors. Excess weight causes extra strain on the heart; influences blood pressure, cholesterol and levels of other blood fats – including triglycerides; and increases the risk of developing diabetes. 66% of Americans over age 20 are obese.

If you have diabetes be aware that the condition seriously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even if glucose levels are under control. More than 80% of diabetes sufferers die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.

With all that being said

By maintaining a heart healthy diet, doing active vigorous exercise, knowing your family history and having regular checkups you can be sure to keep your heart in the best shape you can.

So when you’re out there exercising and your heart is beating strongly in your chest, appreciate all it does for you and continue to show it love back by doing things to keep it healthy and well.

What do you do to keep your heart strong and healthy?


Benefits Of Elderberries



One of the things I enjoy about writing is the freedom to write not only on health and fitness, but also on a wide variety of topics as well. I talk a lot about healthy foods and what they can do for your body but today I wanna talk about a supplement.

I know, I know. A supplement. It’s not my usual style for sure but this one I think bears examining a little.

Here in the states, the flu right now is extremely serious. You can’t see the news without more awful stories coming out about  people dying, many are children.

This supplement kept coming to me in a variety of ways so I figured I needed to investigate it further. I will always encourage real, whole food sources over supplements, but I believe this supplement is most likely easier for people to get their hands on, thus receiving the benefits.

I’ve been reading about  elderberries, and how they can actually help slow the virus or cut the duration shorter.

What are elderberries?

Elderberries are the fruit of the flowering plant known as Sambucus, more commonly referred to as elder or elderflower.

You will mainly find elderberries in the Northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America, although some southern species are grown in Australia. The berries are black or very dark blue and have a sharp, sweet flavor that makes them highly preferred for desserts, syrups, jams, jellies, spreads, and as the base for various cocktails and drinks.

Since most of the berries in the genus Sambucus are toxic, caution is suggested and cooking the elderberries before consuming is always a wise choice. The branches, leaves, and twigs of all species contain trace elements of cyanide, which can build up in your body and eventually kill you, so be careful! ( how’s that for a fun and random fact??) if you decide to buy elderberries make sure you get them in a licensed reputable store. Don’t pick and eat wild berries as not all are safe to eat.

However, despite the implicit risks of elderberries, they are packed with beneficial nutrients, so they have been a part of  traditional medicine for hundreds of years and some health benefits have become more commonly acknowledged. We’ll look at some of those below.

  Elderberry actually has a very long history of medicinal use. Most historians typically trace it’s healing power back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the father of medicine  and who described the plant as his “medicine chest” due to the wide array of health concerns it seemed to cure.

Used for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

Do I have your attention now? It certainly grabbed mine when I started reading about it.

Health benefits of the elder plant

It naturally improves colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, allergies, chronic fatigue, and constipation.

Get this… studies have shown when used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the extract has actually been found to reduce the duration of the flu with symptoms being relieved on average 4 days sooner.

During the ’95 flu epidemic the government actually employed the use of elderberry to fight the flu.

Elderberry has been the subject of numerous studies that shows it can actually decrease the duration and symptoms of the influenza virus. The high levels of antioxidants present in the extract are able to interfere with the activity of the virus itself.

Wait.. there’s more….

when it comes to antioxidants power, elderberry is higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries!

Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. Elderberry extract has been shown to be a safe, efficient and cost effective treatment for colds and flu.

With elderberries anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it naturally helps clear and heal sinus issues.

Other ways it has been used and has benefits include:

It can help lower blood sugar, it’s a natural diuretic and laxative, and with it’s antioxidants and flavonoids as well as its high Vitamin A content, it makes it excellent for skin health.

The high levels of essential minerals help promote bone strength and development of new bone tissue.

Where do I get this super power food/supplement ?

As mentioned above, if you buy the berries, make sure they are from a reliable source. They offer many health benefits, including a high dose of daily fiber.

However, you can buy supplements that come in the forms of syrups, lozenges, and capsules. Dosing varies for each so it’s important you follow the directions on the package. These products can be found at local health and wellness stores or purchased online. These supplements as mentioned when taken accordingly can help with colds and flu.

Of course, if you feel like doing it, you can always make your own syrups from the berries.

Are there any side effects?

As with any herbal remedy it’s important to be aware of anything unusual you may experience. Signs of reactions could be a rash or difficulty breathing. Both should have immediate medical care. As mentioned it’s a diuretic so if you have kidney problems you may need to stay away from it.

In summary

This post is not meant as medical treatment or to suggest not using all available healthcare to keep you and your family well. It was intended to inform and educate to help alongside your health care choices. There is enough research to support elderberry helping with colds and flu that I thought it was relevant enough in this time to share with you.

Share with me. Have you tried this? If so, what has been your experience?