Monday Musings

Hello Monday. Quarantine day 854…or something like that.

Are we having fun yet?

I guess I’m really grateful it’s spring and the weather has been gorgeous and since I’m supposed to be home it gives me scads of time to basically do whatever the heck I want.

Not a bad thing right?

I’m grateful too that I can retreat to my hill country home with 28 acres surrounding me with gorgeous views.

I’m grateful also for having a fun little business that I work out of my home. Lately I just find it relaxing and therapeutic.

I’ve also had time to start work on one of my personal projects, an old antique table and chair set. Getting that done will give me alot more space in my barn…space for more furniture 🤣

Here’s a look at that table.. before I started

A sneak peek.. I’ve been busy..

I got the great idea to sand table top. Have I ever mentioned, I hate sanding? This is gonna be worth it though.

Oh. Chairs. It has chairs. I’ve been working on those too. 😱

I need to get this set done because I have an equally old stunning set to do for my dining room….

It looks like this……

Ah.. I love how beautifully old school elegant it all is. I can hardly wait to transform it.

Anyway, even with all that’s going on I feel grateful for all the good things too.

I’m grateful even though my shop is closed, I’ve got several custom orders to keep me busy and making a little cash. It’s rather cool to do things I love and get paid for it as well😉

It’s not all smooth sailing

Hey, I feel like you do too. I miss just deciding to randomly go somewhere without a care in doing so.

Now, I feel almost guilty popping into the store to get a few things. Like…get it…go…get home.

Stay there.

I think what I really.. hate…are the looks on people’s faces. How they look at you like you might brush something off on them. The avoidance of making eye contact or scurrying away. A human disconnect.

It is what it is.

I will do my part. I only go to get what I need and leave.

I keep sanitizer in my car and use it before and after going somewhere. I try to be mindful of my “position ” around people.

I find it all tiring and going home really is a much better,more comfortable option.

Even with all of that…

I’m grateful. Life is still good. I have all my needs met.

I’m glad I can take care of my own nails and that I got my hair all pretty before the salons had to close. 😉 That certainly isn’t earth shattering but small things make me feel good.

And feeling good in a weird world right now, helps.

Making time for self care

More than ever we not only need to take care of our physical health, but mental health too

Exercise is good for both.

Again, I’m happy I’ve been doing the home workout thing for years so it’s life as usual for me. For others though it’s an adjustment of figuring out what to do.

With the weather turning nice, getting out for daily walks is a good option for most everyone. With extra time for many right now, there’s no reason to not get some purposeful movement in.

You may also consider a new hobby or activity to pursue. Start a new book or pursue an online course.

Life is still going on,even if it’s not so conventional right now.

Even though my shop is closed I’m making plans for new business opportunities.

There are plenty of things for us to keep focused on and we can use this time for growth and learning and hopefully not feeding our fears or anxieties.

Before I go…

We are entering birthday season in my family. My kids always request some favorite cake for me to make for their birthday.

My daughter in law found a rather different one this year and…oh my…I can’t say how good it was. It got rave reviews and I think it would make a great Easter dessert.

Lemon blueberry cake with lemon cream cheese frosting.

And because I know you will want to try it, I’ll attach the link for you

https://pin.it/6RbzCio

Tell me…how are you doing out there? Are you using this time to pursue something new? What is helping you move through these days? Do you feel grateful for what you have?

Immune Boosting Foods

It hasn’t escaped my attention these past few weeks, people asking questions on Facebook about what they should “take ” for a strong immune system.

I discussed it in yesterday’s Monday Musings post. My response on Facebook was a post on what I observed on a shopping trip.

I couldn’t help but notice when I was trying to pick up a few items last week that a vitamin I’ve taken for years was sold out as were many other vitamins/supplements

I joked that people were picking a fine time to decide to be healthy..

Seriously though, you can’t just throw a bunch of vitamins and supplements in and expect it to be some magic potion.

I actually read an article yesterday where a doctor said the same thing.

Keeping your body healthy and strong should be a daily goal for all of us, not just when you want to avoid a virus.

Let’s talk about food

Your best line of defense is feeding your body foods that help build and keep your immune system strong.

Real food. Your grocery cart is your best line of defense.

What are some of those foods? Let’s take a look.

》 Citrus fruits …interesting factoid…do you know your body doesn’t make or store Vitamin C? This is what most people turn to after they’ve caught a cold. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. They are key to fighting infections.

Popular citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, and tangerines.

As mentioned with your body not producing it, this should be a vitamin you get daily fir immune health.

》Red Peppers

If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

》Broccoli
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.

》Garlic

Garlic is found in every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

》Spinach

Spinach made the list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.

》Yogurt

Look for yogurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are preflavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.

Yogurt can also be a great source of Vitamin D so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.

》Almonds

When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat soluble vitamin meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.

》Papaya

Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Papayas have decent amounts of potasium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.

》Kiwi
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin k, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.

-》Berries of all types.

Blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, elderberry etc. ( be sure to check out my post The Benefits of Elderberry) these dark fruits pack powerful antioxidants. Berries are a great source of vitamin C which is thought to help prevent damage to your cells and also protects the immune system against deficiencies. Dark berries like blackberries, strawberries and blueberries not only taste great but they are also a great source of flavanols which are highly effective antioxidants.

》 Poultry

When you’re sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food with a placebo effect. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.

Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.

》Shellfish

Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc.

Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.

Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:

  • crab
  • clams
  • lobster
  • mussels

Keep in mind that you don’t want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg and for women, it’s 8 mg. Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.

In conclusion

Keep in mind, these are a few foods to help build a strong immune system. Remember your best medicine is heading to the produce aisle for all of those wonderful colored fruits and veggies and making them a part of every meal.

I realized writing this, I eat almost all of these things, but wow, I need to try papaya!

Tell me do you have favorite foods that support a strong immune system?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday ya’ll and another day in paradise.

In this weeks edition…

Am I the only one troubled over humanity lately?

The lack of common sense, greed, and overall panicky hysteria have left me scratching my head.

The craziness at the grocery stores can just stop any time now.

I actually decided I’d get up and be at store when they opened yesterday to get a few things that have thus far, slipped from my hands.

I don’t want to be one of “those people ” but it almost forces my hand when I actually “need” items I would just go buy. Not to hoard…just regular shopping ya know?

When I pulled into the lot ( at 7:50 a.m.) it was to see a long line of people in the chilly wet morning that not only came down the street but wrapped around to the front of bulding waiting to get in.

Hundreds of people.

The store was only letting 50 people in at a time.

No thanks.

I left.

Really, staying home in all this isn’t torture when you deal with this fresh hell.

I just wanna buy eggs like a normal person again.

Speaking of food

I’ve seen a lot of posts with people asking what they should do or “take” to have a strong immune system.

First, you should always be concerned about having a strong healthy body, not when you are just worried about fending off the latest virus.

Second, the way you make your body strong, inside and out, is to feed it good, healthy, nutrient dense foods. By that I mean foods with as few or little ingredients as possible, single ingredients are a big win. ( think all kinds of colorful fruits and veggies) nothing replaces or works as good as real food.

Yogurt.

Yogurt is rich in probiotics including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidus. These strains boost immune function and may even help reduce both the length and severity of colds. Beneficial gut flora are needed for proper digestion, detoxification, and immune function.

Other factors to consider.

Get adequate rest, exercise, drink plenty of water, limit stress ( turn off the tv and social media bombardment of current issues!) Get outside, enjoy fresh air and sunshine, do a project or hobby that relaxes you.

Just a few tips and suggestions as we navigate through this interesting time in life.

Oh. And yeah, let’s not forget my lovely breakfast pic.

Plenty of sauteed veggies with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and green onions. Also a good dose of dark berries for all of their awesome antioxidant properties and of course, eggs for protein, because muscles 💪

And another thing

I’m semi-amused over all the posts I’ve seen touting “how to workout at home” or how to exercise while the gym is closed.

Hey…I’ve been making home workouts cool long before now 🤣

Honestly, I’m grateful this isn’t an issue for me.

I have an area carved out in my barn I share with my vintage project furniture (that can sometimes be seen photo bombing me) and random tools and whatnot.

I don’t need a whole lot of space to kick my own butt.

I’ve managed to collect enough items that I can mix up a pretty good workout

Between lots of weights, a punching bag, and my recently aquired elliptical machine, not to mention my own body weight, I can mix up all kinds of fun

Of course I have my bike for my favorite gym, outdoors.

Here’s my word to you. Find ways to take yourself out and move.

Walking is still largely available for us all to do. Nothing clears my head more and helps me feel refreshed than being out for a good walk or run.

Right now with current situations walking could be the therapy you need mentally and physically.

Also, just because you may not have weights or equipment at home doesn’t mean you can’t use your own body for body weight exercises. Thanks to Google you can search up plenty to do. Pinterest has lots of options as well ( check out my Sassyfitnesschick board there as well as other exercise boards I have)

Keep in mind too that there are lots of heavy items around your house you could use as weights. You can also pick up some cheap resistance bands at the store which will give you some strength training

Jump rope. It’s not just for kids. Yeah your heart will feel like it’s gonna explode and you’ll be screaming you’re out of shape, but keep at it and you will get better.

If you’re wanting to get a little home “gym” started may I suggest your local online sales?

I have several things I’ve scooped up that was someone elses better idea….like my 50.00 elliptical I shared with you in last weeks Monday Musings.

Decide what you like, what you would stick with and go on a hunt.

What else are you doing while you’re stuck at home? 🤔

Get creative with ways to keep body and mind active and to most importantly, keep a positive mental attitude.

On topic of being home

Let me say that by nature, I’m a very social person. I like being out going, seeing people,talking…maybe talking some more…hubby says I could talk to stump 🤣 so having places cut off from me to go to right now is a rather…odd…feeling.

Like my Starbucks locked their doors on Saturday. Ouch.

Yeah, I can still drive thru for coffee. I never do…I go in so I can see and talk to people. I get to know the baristas and the regulars…I like that contact.

I get it though…the why of it..

But being at home however, doesn’t leave me sitting on my sofa wondering what to do after all my toilets are cleaned and the final dust bunny is gone.

Not when I have a business that I literally work at home. If you’ve followed me you know I have a little side hustle flipping antique and vintage furniture.

I have all kinds of projects waiting for my attention not to mention custom orders.

I’ve kinda liked having some time to really devote to my work.

Check out this sweet piece. I got it this week and just had to start it because I knew how I wanted it.

Obviously, it’s before look.

This is a piece I want to keep, but won’t.

One of those job hazards…wanting to keep things. 🤪

Oh, I got this 50s retro kitchen pantry this week. It’s gonna need some work before a new paint job. I can hardly wait to get to it as I haven’t really done a retro piece and I have alllll the cool ideas in my head for it.

Sometimes…I have to much in my head….

Anyway, i.

Your turn! Tell me how you are coping with all that’s going on right now? Have you picked up a new activity to keep busy? What strategies are you using to deal with life?

Smart Nutrition

Good nutrition. Smart nutrition. It’s a topic that comes up a lot and it’s a topic I’ve fielded not only for myself, but talking with others who desire to live a healthier lifestyle in regards to foods.

 

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Colorful foods are always healthy choices

 

Add to that, for most of us, we have busy lives and schedules and food sometimes is well, an afterthought.

There could be a tendency to grab just whatever is convenient or at hand because we’re tired or worse yet, our hunger is on full blown overdrive.

I am notorious some days for being hungry, yet feeling to lazy to make myself something. This is especially dangerous when it’s been a day I’ve trained hard and my body is wanting some good quality nutrition for all it’s work that morning.

Someone, please admit, there are days you feel like that too. Hungry yet the idea of making food or even putting something together seems like to much trouble so you just skate by.

Not ideal, I know.  There are some days I admittedly feel that way.

I’m smart enough to know my body needs proper fuel not just post workout, but also for a busy day of activities.

Yours does too.

Smart nutrition where does it start?

I’ve had friends jokingly ask if I’d follow them around and slap wrong foods out of their hands or  tell them they’ve had enough at the dinner table.

It always makes me laugh. Maybe, we all want someone like that. This tough love accountability person who snatches a donut from us or reminds us we don’t really need that big Mexican platter for lunch.  This person would simply follow us around like some muscular side kick directing our food choices.

I hate to break the news but smart nutrition, well, that starts with you.

It has to start with you because really, ultimately you are the only one making the choices.

Maybe you want to blame the co-worker for stocking piling donuts in the break room or use the reason you’re to tired to not make healthy foods so you stop at the fast food drive thru.

For example….

I’ve been helping my son at his shop this week. I ran out to do some errands for him and drove through a local fast food place for lunch to take back with me.

No. Not burgers and fries.

Although, I will admit, fries are at the top of my most favorite non- necessary food items.

However, they happen to make some amazing salads and that’s what I was after.  I love salads, not as a “diet” food but as a “healthy, nutritious good for my body” food.

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Now tell me how tasty this looks…..protein, fruit, and leafy greens

 

Eating it leaves me feeling satisifed, yet also energetic and not sluggish like I’d feel from a meal heavy in more simple carbs.  I’ve eaten like this long enough that it’s a no brainer for me to go for healthier choices.

Although… why… why can’t salads smell as good on the wind as the smell of greasy foods??? hahaha

We encounter choices each day in how we eat. There can be an endless list to reasons why we don’t make smarter, healthier choices in our nutrition each day.

But when it comes down to what we put in our mouths, no one is standing there shoveling it in but us.

We are responsible for our own nutrition, good or bad.

Well where do I start?

No one understands better than I do that you just don’t magically develop good nutritional habits over night.

You just don’t.

You don’t undo or change a life time or years of eating certain ways without some determination and discipline to see it through. If you’re reading this I may assume you are wanting to eat nutritionally smarter.

Getting started requires a bit of a mental shift in your thinking. The foods or snacks you reach for. Your beverage choices. How much you eat. When you eat. It all takes some time and planning.

Oh yeah… planning helps. Some tips and tricks…

we live busy lives.  Planning somewhat is crucial to success in developing smart nutrition habits.

Sitting down and thinking about meals and snacks and ingredients needed when you aren’t hungry is the best place to start. Once you’ve developed a plan and utilized it for awhile you won’t have to think so much about what you’re doing.

Consider your lifestyle. Do you work? Do you need healthy easy meals that won’t take much time to prepare or could be prepped in advance? Crock pots and one pan dinners are at the top of my healthy recipe ideas. If you need creative ideas, Pinterest is loaded with them.

You would need to consider your work meals. Maybe you don’t take a lunch but really, it’s the best way to ensure you are eating foods that you’ve chosen and aren’t going to be subject to grabbing whatever is easy in the work cafeteria.

Food prep. Ok I’m not really into that. I know what I like and what works for me so I don’t make containers of food to keep in ‘fridge.  I’m also at home so it’s easy enough for me to make my meals based on what I want.

However, making and prepping things like fruits and veggies in advance will make it easier to grab it for lunch or to make up a easy salad if you don’t have to chop a lot of stuff, I sometimes will buy already cut and prepped veggies because I appreciate the convenience of it ( like broccoli )

Hard boiled eggs, cheese cubes, or sliced lean meats will make lunch prep quick and easy.

Try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. ( fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc) the more colorful, the better.

Cheetos don’t count by the way 😉

Learning to swap out high calorie or less nutritious foods is another way to being smart in making a healthy change. For example, swapping chips for crunchy veggies with ranch dip made with Greek yogurt is a way to not only cut calories, you get a little protein in with the yogurt. Greek yogurt is very high in protein and all I eat now days. I buy the non-fat plain and add my own fruit, nuts etc. or use it as a base for dips and cooking that requires sour cream.

Don’t forget your drinks. Sugary drinks contribute to your daily calories and are not a part of a smart nutrition plan.

In conclusion….

becoming smarter in nutritional choices takes time. Don’t get discouraged if you make choices you think you’ve “failed” in.

Really, an awareness shows you that you are trying and are aware of choices so that’s a good thing!

Take each day at a time, try to make wise choices in that day, celebrate your victories and learn from your mistakes.

Each day makes you smarter in your nutrition habits and leads to a healthier body and lifestyle.

Tell me… what tips or ideas work for you in regards to smart nutrition ?

 

 

 

The Art Of Self Care

be_good_to_yourself

 

In todays adventures boys and girls, we’re going to branch out into something a little broader, something that encompasses more of us than “just” our bodies.

One of the buzz words out there right now is “self care”.  It’s a term  who’s meaning is most likely fairly obvious.

Let’s define self care as any activity we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health.

In a world that is increasingly more hectic and busy with lives that sometimes have us running in different directions with all kinds of responsibilities it’s easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our to-do list of important things.

Where I’m at now in life, at the age I am, I’ve learned not only is self care perfectly ok, it’s also necessary. Self care for me involves everything from my daily exercise to reading something I enjoy or escaping to a warm bubble bath if the day has left me stretched thin as well as many other things that can soothe my body and mind and keep me a happy, healthy functioning woman.

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Somehow, being upside down, is one of the ways I enjoy self care 😉 #yoga

 

I make no excuses for it or apologize for it. Nor should you. We don’t get any extra awards in life for not taking care of ourselves.

Even with all that said, many do not, or think they aren’t important enough, to practice self care viewing it as perhaps selfish to do so.

Eh.  Perhaps some may believe it’s selfish.

I don’t really think it is.

Honestly, if you don’t take care of you, who will? And no one will take care of you better than you. ( gosh that’s a lot of “you’s” haha)

Self care keeps us not only healthy in all aspects of our life for (us) it benefits those we are involved with too ( family, friends, co-workers etc) I’m pretty sure they enjoy us when we’re at our optimal best.

So where do you start if you aren’t already practicing it? Or maybe you are to a degree but are looking for other ideas.

Let’s consider the three points mentioned: Mental, physical and emotional.

The most important thing to understand on this topic…. it isn’t a one time deal.  Much like eating properly, exercising, and anything else we do, it’s an ongoing process. Practicing small self care things each day should be something you train yourself to do. Now with that in mind let’s move on. Below you’ll find a few tips or suggestions to help you get going. I’m offering up five various ideas but you will probably be able to come up with others for yourself.

Mental self-care

Social media. Pretty much everyone is on it in some way. There can be a lot of negativity and things that aren’t positive when we log on. Some days I don’t spend much time there because honestly,  I just don’t need to view what’s on it. Weed out people who don’t offer positive vibes to you or at least mute them if their posts are troubling or pull you down. Unplug and walk away for awhile.

Do a mini-declutter. Nothing makes me feel more frustrated or overwhelmed than things seem disorganized or out of hand. Spend a few minutes on a drawer, closet or any other area that might be bothering you.

Take another route to work or change the way you go if you ride a bike or run. It’s mentally refreshing to have a different point of view.

Get out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing I’ve found more mentally engaging than getting out of that place I’m most comfortable. It will grow you.

Be selfish. Yeah there it is. The selfish word again. Do something each day for you that you enjoy that brings you pleasure or happiness. It’s really ok.

Body self-care

Exercise. Of course this doesn’t come as a surprise that this would be my first suggestion. Moving your body will not only help you physically, it helps mentally too.  Find mini times to move through out your day as well. A quick 10 minute walk or some basic stretches to loosen you up.

Learn to breathe deeply. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in yoga it’s practicing those deep breaths through all the moves. You can simply learn to take three deep, slow breaths anytime in your day. Breath in deeply, let your diaphragm expand and feel your lungs really fill with air. Slowly exhale.

Laugh. Read something funny you enjoy or watch a show that evokes laughter. Laughing is good for the soul too.

Make small changes in your diet. Maybe drink an extra glass of water, try a new vegetable or swap a sugary treat for something healthier.

Take a quick nap. A power nap can refresh and energize you for the rest of your day. Remember to keep it between 10-20 minutes

Emotional self-care

Let’s refer to emotional or care for our souls. After all we aren’t just a body wandering around and our souls need some care too.

Write out your thoughts. For me personally, writing can be the most  cathartic thing I do for myself. There are times I let my humor out and there are times I write and feel like I’m bleeding all over what I’m sharing. Write out what makes you happy, sad, angry etc

Help someone. That’s explanatory enough. There is satisfaction in helping others.

Make a small connection. Connect with the checker at the store, the barista who serves your coffee or the person in line with you. Hubby often wishes I wasn’t so skilled in this area of making connections  haha

Splurge a little. Buy yourself a treat that you might not always indulge in.

Pray or meditate. Whatever you choose to do find sometime to just be alone and reflect. To let life breathe over you. Use that time to center your thoughts and reflect on the things in your life.

There you go.  A few ideas, some suggestions, to help you with this idea of self care.  Hopefully you will come up with a few others that are specific to meeting your needs.

The most  important thing to remember is that you are valuable and self care is not a special treat or a one time thing. It’s to be practiced in a variety of ways every day to keep you healthy and well for you and those you love.

Tell me. Do you have any special self care tips or suggestions?

Optimal Health

Optimal health. What comes to your mind when you hear those words? A certain image? Lifestyle? A look? Perhaps it’s what happens inside of you that you can’t see… like all systems working great. Is it the “perfect” picture of health? Energetic and vibrant looking? Rosy skin? Clear bright eyes? A lack of illness or disease? Strong with the ability to do all your daily tasks with energy?

As I’ve noted before there are a lot of buzz words out there today that “health” companies use to make their product sound more appealing to potential customers, to sell you on it.  Usually the words are descriptive and designed to make you think that by taking/using their product this very thing will be given to you.

Magically. No effort.

The marketing of these products is nothing less than impressive, but the times I’m choking and rolling my eyes over some of the claims….

Keep in mind these company claims are in turn, regurgitated by the sales people who largely don’t really know what they are talking about either. It has been interesting to note the fine print showing up on many labels now that these products aren’t FDA approved or endorsed.

Ok  I digress… but my current thought was generated from the catch phrase on some products promising this ….

Optimal health

First of all, what does optimal mean ? Webster defines it as most desirable or satisfactory.

Health is defined as the condition of being well and free from disease.

So optimal health could be defined as a desirable and satisfactory state of being well physically ( and mentally) and free from disease or illness.

Sounds good, right ?

Isn’t that something we all desire and should seek to keep? Or if we have health issues shouldn’t they ( if possible) be something we strive to improve or reverse? There are many conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, blood sugar issues etc that can be changed or reversed with improved health.

But here’s where I get tripped up… every. single. time.

Why am I going to take a man made product to help me achieve optimal health? Why am I going to spend my money on a product when I could buy healthy food with it?

It does amaze me that people are willing to do so many things other than what they really should be doing which is focusing on eating real, whole foods and making changes in their nutrition and exercise program.

A focus on better food quality will go a long way to achieving optimal health.  That will show up inside and out on you.

So how does one achieve optimal health?

First, it has to be something we desire and intentionally pursue. It will require consciously choosing a different lifestyle. You will have to be purposeful in your choices and decisions.

Learn to move more. Our bodies need exercise and are made to move. Active, vigorous movement allows our blood and lymphatic system to flow the way it’s designed to.  Not only that exercise benefits our mental well being as much as our physical. Exercise is good for lots of reasons but that’s not my focus today 😉

Food. Obviously, your diet should be loaded with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They should be present at all your meals.  I don’t think I can stress enough the huge benefits of adequate fresh produce. To me, optimal health is achieved with good quantities of  produce.  Your daily food intake should also include whole grains, lean meats and dairy products.

It should be light on empty calorie foods that offer not a lot in the nutritional category. This includes of course, sugary drinks, alcohol, refined processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, sweet breads, fast foods, salted foods etc.

Water. Our bodies are made up of a lot of water. Water transports waste from our bodies and hydrates us. Water is essential for our health. It helps our skin do it’s job of regulating body temperature through sweating, water is essential for circulation of nutrients through the body, it aids in digestion and creates saliva. Drink your water.

Your mind. Read. Learn to play an instrument. Take up a new hobby. Go back to school or take a class on something that interests you. Be willing to learn and grow your mind.  Find something that interests you and become an expert on it.

Your soul.  Whatever nourishes your soul, find time for it. Prayer, meditation, scripture reading, devotionals, whatever your personal preference is, find something that feeds your inner being.

Optimal health has the potential to be achieved with a balanced lifestyle that feeds the body, soul and mind. It will also vary from person to person as to what needs to be addressed to reach that goal. It requires us to be intentional in the pursuing and maintaining of it but it will be well worth our efforts.

 

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Eating Disorders And The Dark Side Of Food

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I was reminded of something again the other day that I hadn’t thought about in awhile. It’s something I’ve largely walked away from but it can, at times, still have it’s lingering claws sunk into me.

Disordered thinking about food and eating.

I guess on some levels, we all grow up with some kind of disordered thinking when it comes to eating and feeding our bodies.

If we’re fortunate we live in a family where balance and health is taught. We may or may not be so fortunate.

Food was always important in our family. Holidays, celebrations, birthdays, big Sunday meals, food was a part of everything.

That’s not inherently, bad. Food is a part of life and a part we should be able to enjoy and have fun with. Food nourishes us and gives us life. Food brings us together.

Unfortunately, food can also become as much of an addictive, powerful, and deadly force in our lives as drugs or alcohol.

My grandmother and mom were amazing cooks. It’s where I learned that nothing compares to homemade baked goods. They taught me how to read recipes and be inventive. I totally acknowledge I learned all I know about food and cooking from them.

Both of them, were also morbidly obese.

More was always better growing up. Clean your plate. Leave nothing behind. Seconds, well, of course you should have them. Eat until you felt your stomach would come through your skin.

That is such a gross feeling. It’s one I haven’t experienced now in so long I can’t tell you… I haven’t eat like that in more years than I can count… and I don’t miss it at all.

I’m not beating up on my family.  It’s just the truth of my reality.

It wasn’t till I was a full grown adult that I could really see much more clearly the impact food had on my family… in a negative way. Besides my grandmother and mom having all kinds of health problems from being to fat, there was the emotional aspect of food and eating that I could identify much more clearly.

Food was comfort. Food met unmet emotional needs. Food was love.

I was in a family of overeaters and binging on food was quite common.

Eating disorders at it’s finest.

Thankfully, as I began my health journey and started getting a handle on my weight and where I was heading, I also had eyes that started clearly seeing what I had grown up with thinking it was normal and ok.

It wasn’t. Overeating and binging on food is never ok.

And I’m not talking about, you know, Christmas dinner where you have an extra roll and potatoes. Those are special occasions where you might be tempted to eat a bit more than usual. I’m talking about it as an unhealthy lifestyle.

The other ugly end of the spectrum  of course, is not eating or withholding food. Anorexia and bulimia,   two major eating disorders wreak as much havoc on people as eating to much food.

All of them, incidentally, are listed as mental illnesses. Did you know that ?

All of them in their own ways, destroy the body. Food is one of the few things we have power over in our lives…what we eat…how we eat.. how much we eat…we have exclusive control. In a world that we might seem to have no power… we have power over our food intake…or lack thereof.

Consider a few of these stats:

One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia.  2-3 American women suffer from bulimia.  An additional 10% of women report symptoms consistent with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge disorder eating leaving the numbers at a staggering 75% of American women who endorse some unhealthy thoughts, feelings, or behaviors related to food or their bodies.

Of course these numbers don’t reflect men who suffer from these diseases as well.  The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders states approximately 8 million Americans suffer with eating disorders. There are indications from other forums that those numbers are actually, higher.

Those are staggering numbers.

Eating disorders — such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males

 

Now back to my opening line of thoughts that still sink their claws into me…

No, I don’t believe I ever had a full blown eating disorder. Well, I know I didn’t.

Disordered thinking regarding food, absolutely.

There were times, certainly, when I was pretty thin. After all, isn’t that what’s pushed at us?

Be thin. Thinner is better. Except during those times I never viewed myself that way… I didn’t see myself as I really was…mentally I thought I was heavier… but the world saw a very tall thin woman.

 

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I ran the gambit of things growing up and well into adulthood.

Skipping breakfast, not eating till dinner, eating ridiculous small portions that weren’t enough food, pushing a lot of water, chewing gum to try and ignore my hunger, frequent check in’s with the scale, crazy fad diets.. yeah…disordered at its best. Thinking about food all the time or when I could have it (weird how when you are in those places, food can dominate your thinking, especially when you keep yourself hungry all the time) then when I finally allowed myself to eat… of course.. it was inhaled because I was so hungry.

Those thoughts can sometimes still creep in…

Like thinking about the calories of something when I know I need to eat…like after or before a workout.  Thankfully, I view food more as fuel for my body and a way to nourish it now days but sometimes I find myself thinking… maybe I don’t need that…

Maybe I should skip a meal.

Maybe I don’t need a pre-snack before a long hard workout.

Ignoring my hunger when I know I need to eat.

Sometimes not eating enough food.

 

However, those thoughts are rare now, and I think I have an overall healthy attitude with food and keeping it in a proper place in my life. I know eating well not only fuels my daily activities but what I enjoy doing physically.  I’ve learned eating three (healthy, nourishing meals) keeps me from being hungry and not thinking about food all day.

Not only that, good nutrition and athletic activities have given me a strong, powerful body that I prefer now over the vague quest to just be “thin”.

Some of you reading this might struggle with that very thing: keeping food in a proper place and relationship for what it is. Maybe you struggle with your perception of yourself.

Perhaps you’ve been there but have it managed now.

Food is, and will be a huge part of our lives. Understanding how we relate to it and the role we allow it to play in our lives is huge.

Again, as I mentioned earlier, it can also be a “power” issue.

The power to choose. The power to withhold. The power to overdo. The power to eat and hide it. The power to secretly eat to much and throw it up.

This can give us a sense of “control” when our worlds might be, or seem, out of control. Unfortunately, for some, these diseases can become what controls their lives.

These are such deep, broad issues that I’ve barely touched on. The reasons why someone struggles with it is wide and varied.

Eating disorders have no economic or social boundaries. Both sexes can struggle with them. Having an awareness of the issue is the first step to wellness and a healthier relationship with food.

For more information or help visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Need Supplements From Door To Door Salesmen?

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So before I dive into todays topic, I will preface it with this side note.  I started my morning off with a HITT workout ( high intensity interval training) I had been pondering a rest day… which is never easy for me to do… instead I pick a quick 22 minute HITT sesh as my other option 😛

Anyway, I’m now at the local coffee shop writing as it seemed like a fair thing to do, give the legs a rest.  But then I decided to wear these cute little heeled booties with my new sweater dress and my legs are asking… “why?”… but hey… fashion before function, right ? 😉

Have I ever mentioned, next to fitness stuff, I love fun fashion? yeah.. well maybe that’s a future post waiting to happen…

But for now… on with the show!

Todays topic.

It was generated by some articles I was reading the other day that got me once again to thinking and pondering what was being said and then, well here I go again, climbing on my  “snake oil pedaling” band wagon.

I’ve talked before about all the hype of “health and wellness” companies, the products that are offered, the claims that are made, and the money it costs for these items.

Some of the propaganda is quite enticing to people who are desperate and wanting something, anything, to fix the health and weight issues.  Something other than exercise and eating better…

I’ll tell you… so much of it hurts my heart that they are going to throw their money away on stuff and still be in the same boat they are 6 months or less from the time they started shoveling it out.

Now listen, if you’ve got something that works for you, great. If you’ve found something that works alongside what I refer to as the basics ( eating good wholesome food, in the right portions, minimal crap food, and plenty of exercise) good for you.

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My issue is sales people that tell you that you “need” stuff in the products to be healthy or to lose weight.

For instance, here’s what tripped me up….this article was saying how you needed to take chromium because it’s not produced in your body.

Ok first of all… most people are not really going to care or know what it is much less feel like they need to run out and buy if cause their body is in desperate need of it.

Well… here’s a little lesson on this mineral our body needs that wasn’t included in company info…

Chromium is actually a trace mineral that our body uses in very small amounts for healthy functioning.  Chromium plays a role in the insulin-signaling pathways that allow our bodies to control the amount of sugar we take in, it balances blood glucose levels and gives us stable energy.

Here’s the kicker though… it’s easily found in the majority of foods that we consume… whole grains, cereals, meats, potatoes, vegetables, etc ( please don’t buy into the “our ground has been stripped and our foods have no good nutrient value anymore” nonsense) … you can also get more from cooking in stainless steel and drinking tap water. Since we use so little of it for natural functioning most people take in more than adequate amounts to sustain what they need. Meaning, a supplement is not necessary and the body only “washes” what’s not needed.

The only people found to (possibly) need a supplement might be those with diabetes or the elderly.

Like any supplement it is possible to take more than you need for a healthy body and although overdoses are rare to much can cause toxicity and some serious side effects. It is always best to consult your doctor when considering certain supplements , vitamins, and minerals or other products  you are thinking to add to your daily diet.

Todays thinking has become “if a little is good, more is better” and that’s not true. Our bodies are beautifully wired to work in a perfect balance and throwing in more than we need is often not helpful or can cause health problems if dosage is to much.

And a final reminder… no matter how well meaning your family member, co-worker, friend, neighbor etc… who are selling “health products” … they are often only sharing published information the company has generated that they in turn feed to you.

Keep in mind they are not your doctor, a nutritionist, or health care specialist and you should always seek advice of professionals before taking products you may not need

Be your own advocate. Do your own homework. Know what it is you are considering  putting in your body before you invest your money into something you may not need or benefit from.

Breakfast Makes Champions

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Breakfast. The most important meal of the day, or so your Mom always told you. Turns out she was right. So why then, do so many people not take Mom’s advice ?

Breakfast is the most skipped meal of the day.

Why? Two reasons are at the top of the list. People believe they are “to busy”, or they view skipping breakfast as a way to help “lose weight”.

Oh, I was there in the past. I, like many out there, had this ridiculous misguided notion that if I did, it would help me lose weight.

So it went like this:

Wake up from an all  night fast. ( bet you never thought of it like that, did you? But think about the last time you ate…you’ve been fasting)

Think about how I needed to lose weight ( or if I was at a “thin zone” it was to help keep me there and I decided starvation mode was a much better plan than anything else.)

Start my day and then get progressively hungrier.

Finally, lunch time, with a small amount of food.

Then afternoon hit and the “small” snacking began to try and off set the hunger I’d been battling all day. “Just enough to hold me till dinner…..”

And then… the main event… the BIG thing I’d waited for. My first real, satisfying meal all day long.

Dinner. Let the feasting begin.

Are you shaking your head agreeing? Been there done that? Maybe you still do. I hope not.

I have been reformed from such thinking, a few years now.

Why?

I figured out I feel better ( go figure) I eat better in my day and I eat less, and hey I’m really not into starving for fun… not anymore… food is good.

Unfortunately, the thinking that breakfast leads to weight loss is just not true. In fact, it works against us.  Feeding our bodies something in the morning kick starts our metabolism, stabilizes blood sugar, gives our bodies necessary vitamins and minerals and hey, our tummy stops making bad noises 😉 It also reduces our risk for over eating or cravings later in the day. It also stands to reason without properly fueling your body, you will be lacking energy and be less physically active.

I’ve learned by paying attention to my body if I eat a good, solid protein packed breakfast, I don’t think about food for a long time.  I don’t crave anything and I feel level ( meaning my blood sugar level stays nice and steady which helps with cravings or getting hungry)

I ‘ve also had to learn from an athletic standpoint that I need a “mini meal” or snack before I take off on some physical activity that will keep my body going for an hour or hours.  This has been a process for me because my old way of disordered thinking is ” I don’t need those extra calories”… but actually I do.

I’ve also had to learn how to fuel my body after my long workouts. Now days the danger for me is not eating enough sometimes to really replace what I’ve lost and keep me from getting hungry soon after again.

Breakfast is important. Breakfast is the kick start fuel for our day. If you’re athletic it plays an even stronger role in your day.

Do you know you should structure your meals in probably the exact opposite of the way you eat them ?

We tend to eat dinner as our biggest meal of the day. Ideally you should start with breakfast being your bigger meal, a smaller lunch, and dinner being your lightest meal.

If you think about it, it makes sense.  You need more calories and energy to take on the demands of your day than when you are winding down for the evening and going to be more sedentary.

So if you aren’t a breakfast eater, or think you are just “to busy” to eat it what do you do ?

First, if you aren’t try be practicing with small things in the morning. Maybe a banana and milk or a glass of oj and a piece of toast… anything small to begin the shift of making it a new habit.

If you think you’re to busy.. trust me… I get it! Some mornings I come sailing in from a workout with my mind on what I need to get to and before I know it I’m cleaning up and I know I need food but I just don’t have time to cook.

One of my favorite easy protein packed go to “meals” is a bowl of non-fat plain Greek yogurt loaded with fresh berries and almonds.  I can easily eat it while I’m getting ready.  I also use cottage cheese sometimes instead of the yogurt.

Consider other things that are fast you can eat… fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, cheese, a bagel, oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts.. Get creative with things you like that are easy and fast to eat.

The idea is to find foods you can eat that will give you energy, help kick start your morning, and give you the best start to your day you can get.

With a little practice you’ll be on the road to eating a good breakfast and having more energy for all you have to do in your busy day 🙂

 

So You Hate Exercise

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I’ve heard it all now at this point. The exercise jokes. The good natured teasing. The “hey can you do this?” as friends share crazy exercise stunts with me. My son calls me when he needs muscles for a project. If I mention needing something from the store I’m told “well, run and go get it” Recently with the Pokémon Go games going on my sons are asking me if I want to walk 5/10K’s  to “help them out” …..

Ah yes… and you know what? I love it.

Exercise has made me strong and fit and able to do things in the rest of my life when I’m not exercising. When I’m jokingly told to run to the store for something, I honestly know I could do it. When I’m asked to help lift heavy things, I know my body has been trained and I can respond and do the task at hand.

I haven’t always embraced the workouts or been excited for the new  adventure for the day.

Oh no.

I grumbled. I  whined to myself. I found excuses. I pondered ways to wiggle out of doing it. I hated how hard it was.  I didn’t like how my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest or my legs felt like rubber.

No, I wasn’t a huge fan of working out.

And from what I’ve gathered, a lot of you aren’t either. You cite many of the same reasons.

I’ve talked to so many people, trying to encourage them, that if they just start, just take the steps to do something every day they will be on their way.

It isn’t easy. I won’t lie. You have to intentionally get your body dressed, up and out for whatever fun activity you have planned.

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You have to determine that your workout is just as important as the breakfast your going to eat, or the job you will go to, or the grocery shopping you will do or anything else.

That, is a very intentional move my friends.

I talked to a young friend recently whom I hadn’t chatted with in awhile. He told me he had gotten into a routine, going to the gym, and that weeks on vacation had derailed him. But, as he was eager to tell me, “I could hardly wait to get back to it. I know you always told me I could get to that point  ( of wanting to do it) but I had to get started to understand that”

He was a former ” I hate exercise” person.

I know others who were in that club and who have come to the other side 😉

I think, there are some common threads that the former “I hate exercise” club members have in common ( I included myself in this club too)

  • There is a desire, a wish, to improve and be better.
  • The individual learns to ( daily) power through any excuses and go get the job done.
  • They are realistic and start with small goals and gradually increase their activity.
  • They select something they enjoy doing, want to do, and look forward to doing.
  • They understand they are in a competition with no one but themselves.
  • Set backs can happen and you just get right back at it again.
  • Strength isn’t built in a day and you learn to appreciate your body for the amazing machine it is as it adapts to the demands you put on it.
  • You recognize that giving your body purposeful movement isn’t to be viewed as a negative, but rather, a way to show love to it.
  • You begin to love the changes and all the energy you get from your exercise.

Perhaps even now, you are still in that club, but you have the desire to change.  Awesome!

Consider these things as you make that move:

Be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Commit to the process. Make no excuses. None. ( unless you are honestly ill or injured )

Pick an activity you WANT to do. Heck, pick a couple. I think variety is what keeps you from getting bored. Not only that, multiple activities work all of your body.

Buy the right gear or equipment for your new activity. Even now nothing makes me more excited to get to my activity than knowing I have something new to wear 😉

Focus on the day you are in and just do that day.

Celebrate yourself when you are done. It’s ok to tell yourself “good job!” I mean, honestly, when I come flying back in from a run or miles on my bike, I have no one standing there cheerleading my efforts. It’s ok to be proud of yourself for getting out and getting it done.

Share your accomplishments on social media. Not only do you have accountability, whether you realize it or not, you will be an encouragement to someone else.

Finally, learn to view exercise as a way to love your body and to celebrate all the amazing things it can do.

What motivated you to start exercising? Has it been easy to stay with it?

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