Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Hate Tofu. What About You?

I know a lot of people have health and wellness or losing weight as New Year's Resolutions.  Wonder how many are still on the band wagon now that it is almost February.  Perhaps it would be motivating for all of us to share some of our favorite healthy foods---meals that you really enjoy eating. I have tried to get excited about tofu and sneak it into the spaghetti sauce but, to tell you the truth, I don't like it.  And I don't like beets either or split pea soup, no matter how healthy they are.  Here are some healthy meals I actually prepare at home and really enjoy eating.

Lentil soup made with a hambone and served over a little brown rice.
Oatmeal with apples and a few nuts, sweetened with Splenda.
Scrmbled eggs and cheese.  My husband makes the best ones!
Chili made with turkey.  Double the beans and tomatoes.
Black bean soup over brown rice, topped with salsa.
Homemade vegetable soup with little or no meat.
Pasta salad heavy on the black olives + Zesty Italian dressing
Lettuce salad +gabanzo beans+black olives+vinagrette

Do I eat this well all the time?  No I don't.  Life is short and we must have time for ice cream too.  And sometimes a hotdog with slaw on top.  All things in moderation I say.  But the more easy-to-fix healthy foods we have in our repetoire, the more likely we are to "go to" them when we're running on automatic. 

What do you prepare that is healthy and delicious?  I'd love to know.  Thanks for sharing!

Friday, January 28, 2011

How To Be Thinner and Happier

This is a reprint from Dr. Amen of The Amen Clinic. I hope you enjoy it!

“It’s not magic, it’s simple mathematics getting thinner, smarter, and happier is not hard if you do it by the numbers. One of the biggest lies professionals tell you is that you don’t need to count your calories to lose weight and get healthy. Of course you do. Not counting your calories is like not knowing how much money you have in the bank, and yet you continue to spend, spend, spend and wonder why you’re bankrupt.

It is not as simple as calories-in versus calories- out. You want high-quality calories in and high-quality energy out. A 250-calorie candy bar is not the same thing as a bowl of lentil soup, a piece of wild salmon or a walnut and blueberry salad. Demand high-quality calories from your food and, be careful with how many calories you eat and drink. The average 50-year-old man needs about 2,200 calories a day to maintain his weight, while the average 50-year-old woman needs about 1,800 calories. To lose a pound a week eat 500 calories a day less than you burn. Women on average are consuming 335 calories a day more than they did 30 years ago. That equates to an extra 35 pounds of fat a year on your body. Men are consuming more calories as well. No wonder you are always on a diet! You have to get your calories under control, not for 10 weeks but for the rest of your life!

If you are having trouble with your weight, order a copy of the Change Your Brain, Change Your Body Daily Journal and write down everything you eat and drink. If you do this, I promise that you will stop wasting your calories. For example, I was in a chain restaurant recently and thought I would order a “healthy salad.” When I looked online I was horrified to discover that it was 1,400 calories, so I ordered something else. Like high-quality calories in, I also want you to think of high-quality energy out, which refers to exercise and new learning. Low-quality energy out is using cigarettes, caffeine, or diet pills to rev your metabolism. Exercise is the fountain of youth and boosts blood flow to your brain and chemicals that help your mood and your memory. And, you don’t have to go crazy with exercise; you just have to be consistent. Regular exercise has been found to help you lose weight, treats depression and decreases your chances of Alzheimer’s disease. I tell my patients walk like you’re late for 45 minutes 4 times a week. Strength training is also important. A simple, but highly effective workout regimen that also boosts brain function is found in the book, The Amen Solution.

Here's to a healthier you and me!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Do You Commit Financial Infidelity?

I just heard a new term, "Financial Infidelity".  When you go out, shop, spend money and hide it from your  spouse, you are commiting financial infidelity.  There are those among us who have so-called shopping addictions and, historically, they are the top financial infidels out there.  Addicts often hide their problem so no surprises there.

Others of us just love to shop as opposed to those who just love to buy.  There is a big difference in spending an afternoon shopping around and perusing the deals and new fashions and actually filling shopping bags and taking them home.  Overspending is one thing. Hiding it is another.

In these days of economic downturn there are probably many other categories of shoppers who may be keeping something from their spouse.  When money is very limited in a relationship, partners do not always agree on how it should be spent.

Lest you think I am just referring to females in the family, think again.  Boy toys and clothes-aholics abound among men too.

Lots of financial gurus are there to help us.  A TVshow called Till Debt Do We Part helps couples spend better and get out of debt. Have you seen it?  The Dave Ramsey radio show , on drive-time radio, does the same thing in a different way...and is inspiring.

We've all got to get a better grip, use resources available to us such as those mentioned above, find a methodology that works such as the Envelope System, the Writing It All Down System, the Saving Your Change System, the Snowball System, or the Rice and Bean System. 

Financial Infidelity extends to secret savings and secret accounts, even secret banks!  I cannot even imagine!  I am so blessed to have such an honorable and honest partner who loves to see me spend on myself...much more than I do.

If you are close to someone who is commiting financial infidelity against their partner, encourage them to talk about it and maybe eventually they will reach out for help. It's only a matter of time until they are 'found out' anyway.   Be their advocate...if they will let you.  If you fall in this category yourself, just admit it. Honesty remains the best policy.   Bring it out in the open and get support for change.  All things can be healed and this is no exception.

If you find this helpful or entertaining feel free to Tweet/Facebook or Link To This Post.  Thank you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sleep More, Weigh Less

NEWS FLASH!  Popular post update:

This post from way back in January 2011 needs an update.  All sleep issues in my house have been solved!  No more sleeping in another room to get a good night's sleep.  
"What worked?", you say.

I'll tell you the two things that fixed all my sleep problems.
  •   Going to the gym.  Whoa.  Don't leave yet.  Here is how I now use exercise to get a great night's sleep.  I go to a class a 8:30 AM.  It may be Pilates, or Yoga, or Total Body Sculpt, or Spin, or Step.  It usually includes cardio and a good sweat! 
  •   Getting up early.  My morning routine is described below and it hasn't really changed.
I can almost promise you if you incorporate these two things in your life, you will sleep better.  You may even start sleeping like a baby.  Try it.   

Original Post:
A good night's sleep! It makes us feel better, look better, handle the day better, be in a better mood, perform better and on and on. And, as we've all heard by now, the better we sleep, the more it will help our weight loss. If you are asleep, you cannot eat. That's obvious but there are scientific studies about what goes on in the body during sleep that backs up the weight loss theory. Since, for many of us, trying to lose a few pounds is a way of life why not look at this simple strategy?

Maybe it just isn't so simple. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to get a solid night's sleep. Some people don't have this issue but many do. What about you?

At my house, our sleep time has gradually turned into a 3-ring circus. And we are old codgers who should really be settling in for a long "winter's nap". To start with my husband's work schedule has him going to bed around 7:00 PM! I'm a night owl so I don't climb in the crib until 12:00 or so. No matter how quiet I try to be, my settling into bed usually wakes him up. The dog is so happy when I finally join them that his tail wagging adds to the "unsettling".

At 4:30 AM the clock goes off. Hubby might hit the snooze a couple of times, more interruptions. Then he gets up. At 5:30 I get up because we like that time together and I like making his lunch. My spiritual time is at 6:00 AM so I don't go back to bed when he leaves for work. Furthermore during the night he makes at least one trip to the bathroom, the dog may bark once and walk around the bed to sleep beside me and then beside hubby. Throw in a little snoring and you have quite an evening shaping up. Don't envy me!

Our solution, and we both hate that it has come to this, is to sleep apart a few nights a week. It's not just that sleep correlates with weight loss. It's also one of the most effective factors of healthy aging. There are other less drastic steps the experts advise us to take. A lesser known sleep inducer is tart cherry juice which
contains melatonin, downed before bedtime. I'm going to try that one. Having a personal care routine is said to help, enjoying a mini-snack from this food list, or even having sex. I say, whatever works!

If sleep is a serious issue with you it may be worth checking to see if you have something that can be treated like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or plain old insomnia. It's very worth seeing a doctor if you suspect any of these conditions.

(P.S. Just found a post on Living The Balanced Life with lots more excellent sleep info! Check it out.)

Share with us what helps you get your zzzzzzzzzzzs. Sleep and be healthy! Sleep and by thin(ner)!

PS: Photo Credits:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Giving and Receiving

My husband and I are both numbers people but I am the one who enjoys working on our income tax returns.  I know what you're thinking...something must be wrong with her!  Maybe so but there is something about gathering the previous year together and bringing financial closure to chaos, that paves the way for another new beginning.  Kind of like sweeping the crumbs from the floor right before a party.

Itemizing deductions is my favorite part, especially Charitable Giving. I like reviewing what we have given during the year.  Our U.S. tax system is set up so that we are not taxed on money we give away.  I'm not sure how that got started but it's a good thing...for lots of reasons. 

Don't think that I "give to get".  I don't subscribe to that practice although I know it works.  Put another way, I know that whatever I give, I will get back...and even more.  However I don't give for that reason.  I give, selfishly, to make my heart feel good...and to help someone else.  One organization can beg relentlessly for money and not get a penny from me.  Another can barely express a need, and, if it touches my heart, I rejoice in helping them.

Here is a favorite 'giving story'.  I was shopping in Belks back in the fall.  A delightful young lady helped me.  She was way beyond the average sales person.  I thanked her and we ended up sharing our day and other events.  My heart opened as a result of her story.  In a few days I returned and told her to choose two items of clothing for herself she really loved.  She was shocked as you would expect.  Finally she realized I was serious and she went to the Sales rack and the Clearance rack and said, "Maybe I can find something here."   I said, "Shop for yourself the way you shopped for me.  Find the best deal you can but make sure you LOVE it."

Never before have I done this type of giving.  No, it wasn't tax deductible but I can't express the pleasure I received from the experience.  We didn't exchange names or information, and I haven't seen her since.

About two weeks later I was shocked to receive a totally unexpected check in the mail for $60.  Guess what? The amount I paid for her two blouses was also $60.  Coincidence? I think not.

"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Are You A Hugger?

Happy National Hug Day!

Breaking News Flash!  Have you heard?  Hugs are good for you!  We knew that but science has taken time and resources to prove it.  Men, it seems, need at least one good 30 second hug from their spouse to make a difference in how they feel.  Women need a 60 second hug from their spouse to achieve the same results. 

Oxytocin, the feel-good hormone is released and promotes bonding between the couple.  Cortisol, a stress hormone, and blood pressure are both reduced by hugs.What simple medicine that doesn't cost a penny.

When I was a child, I don't remember people hugging unless they were at a wedding....their own wedding.  I know I wasn't hugged very much and neither was my husband even though we were both from loving families.  I had a "hot 'n heavy" boyfriend for five years before I met my husband, and even though we kissed a lot (and all that) we never really hugged upon greeting.

Now everybody hugs.  I've even heard this generation called Generation H for all the hugging.  Hugs are good to give and receive everyday.  They feel good.  They make you smile and, it seems, they are good medicine too!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is Your Vacation Free?

Vacation!  Just the thought puts a smile on my face.  A free vacation?  Well that would be nice.  Unless you have a friend or family member who gives you a few nights in their vacation condo, I don't think you are likely to come upon a free vacation.  You hear about them, but of course, there are always strings attached.  Strings you probably don't want to pull.

Here is a way to make that next vacation seem free.  Save up for it. If you have the money waiting in the bank to be spent on a few days away or a dream vacation it might seem free. A vacation is somehow more relaxing and stress free knowing you don't need those credit cards and you won't be greeted with a malbox full of bills when you return home. 

Consider having a savings account at the bank earmarked for vacation, a "vacation fund" if you will.  You could always take your vacation money from your regular savings but somehow it's more freeing if the money is sitting there with a sign on it that says "vacation".

Anytime you get free money, throw it in this account.  An unexpected gift, a refund when you changed to Geico, a check from Ebay when you sold those old golf clubs, or an income tax refund.

Our all-time favorite vacation was a trip to California.  We loved San Franciso and Pebble Beach,  but the  best part was a few nights spent at Shelter Cove.  I bet you haven't heard of it.  This remote, almost wild little refuge  at the bottom of a long treacherous drive down a mountain, rewards you with the most glorious and relaxing sites nature has to offer.  A feast for the eyes and the spirit awaits you.

What is your all-time favorite vacation?  We would all love to hear.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dr. Mark Moyad and Staying Well

This post gets a lot of hits every day. Probably just comes up when people out there are searching for Dr. Moyad. Anyway, I decided to add a little more to the post to make it just a little more interesting to you who stumble upon it. The new part of the post is in italics, like this paragraph.

A few years ago I heard Dr. Mark Moyad speak to an audience of doctors, nurses, and patients at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. His lecture was outstanding. He had me from "hello" all the way to "goodbye".

You know when you hear a lecture you only take away a small portion since we only remember 10% of what we hear....or so they say. My "take-aways" from his lecture were:

1. Keep a shaker of flax seed on your kitchen table and shake it on your food every day. You won't really taste it and it will, painlessly, do you a lot of good.

2. Get a good multi-vitamin, eat right andt it go at that. You don't need a hundred supplements.

3. Eat a lot of watermelon! Yae! It's the very healthiest red fruit out there. Tomatoes, a close second.

I'll come back to this post often and update it as I remember other things he said. PS. I do have notes too. I'll find them.

Since then I have looked for him and followed his wellness advice. I just ran across this video and thought I would share it with you. Yes, I know it's on Fox News but I promise it is totally, 100% non-political.

Dr. Moyad is, and I quote, "the co-director of the men's health program at the University of Michigan. He received his master's degree in public health from the University of South Florida, where he was one of the lead investigators of the L-tryptophan dietary supplement study that helped to remove this dangerous supplement from the market. He published his first medical article in college on the relationship between a compound found in cottonseed oil and male infertility. Dr. Moyad received his M.D. from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is currently working part-time on his Ph.D. in pathology and N.D. (naturopathic doctor) degree."

The man knows his stuff! More later.

Enjoy the day! Be well!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Money In Your Pocket

It's Friday afternoon at the grocery store.  The line is long.  First there was the lady with all the coupons who paid only $2.98 for $100 worth of groceries.  That took awhile. By now I've perused all the magazines and have learned new tips for a red hot sex life and how to lose 20 pounds in 10 days.  Pretty good day's work I'd say!

The line is finally moving!  Not fast, mind you, but at least it is moving.  The lady ahead of me is fishing money from the bottom of her purse.  She knows she has change and intends to find the exact amount.  It takes even longer and everybody is getting antsy but ...I must admit...I've done it myself many times.

No more though.  Suzie Orman, well known financial guru, says you should not spend your change.  Pay with bills only.  If your purchase is $15.23, give the cashier $16 and pocket the change.  If it's $24.72, give them $25 and take the .28 home.  Why?  It has nothing to do with moving the line along.  Suzie says take your change home,  empty your change out every day and you will have an extra $30-$60 at the end of the month.

If you're saving for something special you might try this technique.  I personally love paying with exact change and NOT breaking my bills but I am going to try this.  I'll throw it in the Vacation Fund!  Who knows where it may take me!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Both Ends Of Life

If you are a blogger and haven't checked out SITS, it is a place of learning and support.  You'll find ways to improve your blog and get more traffic and comments while supporting others at the same time.  If you already are a SITS blogger then you may have stumbled over a "Pajama" post today.

Many SITS bloggers are active and amazing 'mommies', meaning  they are in the time of life when little children take a lot of your time.  They are balancing a lot and sharing their ups and downs, their joys and sorrows. They know the power of focusing their thoughts more on the joys. 

I am a Boomer so often I don't relate to their daily patterns, except by thinking back to those lovely times.  Now I am in a different, just as wonderful time, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  But back to the pajama post.  A young mother posted a picture of her darling children in their matching winter PJs.  Can hot chocolate and a story book be far behind?

What came up for me was my mother.  She is 90 and currently snowed in at my house.  Her sisters are 80, 83, and 88.  Her brother is 92.  They have their various challenges but work to maintain a high quality of life.  All are amazingly healthy.  This year three sisters spent Christmas morning together for the first time since they were children.  My sister bought them all matching Christmas gowns!  Their stockings included oranges, hard-to-find cluster raisins, and old fashioned candies...things they remember from childhood Christmases.

Both ends of the life span are wondrous.  We tend to welcome the "front" end...of course we do.  There is nothing, nothing, nothing like welcoming a new little life into your family and into this world.  A blank slate full of possibilities awaits.  On the other end of life, the slate is very full of memories and experiences that are just as precious and celebrated but maybe not lifted up as much as they warrant. 
Here's to both ends of life and the glorious middle!  Enjoy writing on your slate every day, whatever it brings.  The best is yet to come!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Painting Finally Finished!

It took me forever!   This apple study in oils is all about me 'learning all about red'.  It doesn't really tell a story or have a message but I learned a lot doing it and I LOVE IT!  It's not the greatest photograph but you get the idea.
16 X 20
Not For Sale

Thanks for looking!

Well What Do You Know?

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  I like that one.  Did you see this quiz in Parade Magazine Sunday?  It's pretty good.  See how you do.  Answers at end.


1.  Drinking milk will make a cold worse.  True or False?
2.  Honey can help burns heal.    True or False?
3.  Gargling with salt water will help a sore throat.   True or False?
4.  Women have more "senior moments" then men.  True or False?
5.  Men are less likely to go to the doctor than women.   True or False?
6.  The most dangerous place to gain weight is all over.   True or False?
7.  Going outside with wet hair will cause you to get a cold.   True or False?
8.  Being able to touch your toes is a good way to test your risk of heart disease.   True or False?
9.  Cranberries may reduce cavities.   True or False?
10. Caffeine is the best source of energy in the afternoon.   True or False?

ANSWERS:    See how you did.

 1.  False.  Does not make you have more yukky phlegm like some people say..
2.  True.  Honey, yes.  Butter, no!
3.  True.  Reduces swelling.  Feels better.
4.  False. Men over 70 forget more.Sorry men,  Blame Mayo Clinic.
5.  False.  Really?  Yes.  Men go to doctor more than women IF they are worried about their heart.
6.  False.  Most dangerous place to gain weight is the "BELLY"!
7.  False.  More likely to get sick if you are a couch potato.
8.  True.  Rigid body correlate with rigid arteries.  Not good. 
9.  True.  Cranberries are good go your teeth AND your urinary track.
10. False.   Best source of energy in afternoon is a 10-30 minute nap.

How'd you do?  Any surprises?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Freezing In The Deep South

OMGosh!  When have we EVER, EVER, EVER had a white Christmas Day followed by a big snow in January?  Maybe never!!!  We are just loving it...most of us anyway.  I know, for you Snowbirds this is no big deal but for us Southerners, it is a very big deal! I stayed up til 3:00 AM just looking.

At home, no work, looking outside all day, a nice warm fire, a good book (Loving Frank), a good movie (The Soloist), and all the food we need.  The whole world should be so lucky.

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  I've been away for months and I really appreciate you and your comments!

The Back Yard

Friday, January 7, 2011

Salvador Dali Exhibit In Atlanta

The Salvador Dali Exhibit has been at The High Museum in Atlanta for a few months (2011) and I finally I got to see it today.  I think anyone would agree Dali's art is amazing whether you like it or not.  Elton John likes it and owns several originals.

Dali's painting is surreal, so unconventional.  A melting clock, wet cats flying through the air, hippopotamus horns, and nudes with dirty feet...his range of subjects and presentations are beyond imagining.

Gala, his wife, was in many of his paintings.  He just adored her.  Even though she had numerous affairs,  their marriage stood the test of time.  She often helped him paint floating items by holding them up in the air while he painted.

Dali returned to the Catholic Church after years of rejecting, searching and questioning. I like that faith was so important to him that it drove him to want to know more and more.  His paintings contain many religious icons: the Christian fish, angels, halos, rhinos, the cross of Christ, and Madonnas.  He wanted a scientific understanding of the Virgin birth. (Don't we all!)  He even wrote the Pope asking for such an explanation but never received an answer. One of his paintings included an ostrich egg because it has the ability to hatch on its own without need for warmth from the mother's body.  He used it to represent the Virgin birth...a birth without need of human fertilization.

You can just go anywhere in your mind with his paintings.  If you haven't viewed any of them in awhile I encourage you to take a look and try and see his thought processes.  Better yet, get a book that explains them.  I surely couldn't get it on my own!  Way too weird for me.  The painting below is said to be his most famous.