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Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others — November 29, 2014

Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others

 

 

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Celebrate World Water Day — March 21, 2014

Celebrate World Water Day

“780 million people – about one in nine – lack access to safe water.  And 2.5 billion people lack access to a toilet.”

One Photo Helps a Family Get Clean Water

I love the work Matt Damon is doing with water.org.  They have a special campaign going on right now where Johnson & Johnson is donating $1 for every photo you donate.  The campaign goes until June 10, 2014 (or until it reaches the goal of $50,000, whichever comes first)

So share your photos and help a family get clean water today.

Water Day.org

Introduction to Water.org

 

 

The Best New Year’s Resolution: Lose 10 Pounds — January 14, 2014

The Best New Year’s Resolution: Lose 10 Pounds

Stop Dieting.

I love this!

I have to admit that the times I have lost the most weight and when I feel the best are when I pay attention to my body, eat healthy food and exercise.  Just like Sandra Aamodt, I lost 10 pounds when I stopped dieting.

If you are constantly on a diet or you think you need to start one, then watch this video.

For further inspiration head over to Body Building.com to start a free training session and start the new year with healthier goals.

 

 

 

 

I’d Like to Take a Nap — September 24, 2013

I’d Like to Take a Nap

English: inside one bedroom

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

According to Russell Foster this statement is wrong at so many different levels.  In his TED talk “Why do we sleep?” Russell discusses the myths of sleep and why it is important for us to take sleep seriously.

In the 1950’s people averaged 8 hours of sleep every night.  Today it is very common for many of us to get only 5 hours of sleep.  Teenagers need 9 hours of sleep every night but many get only 5 hours.  This is not enough!

This lack of sleep leads to traffic accidents, poor memory, poor creativity, poor judgement, stress, drug and alcohol use, weight gain, loss of memory and a weakened immune system.

If being tired is bad and sleep is good, why don’t we make it a priority in our lives?

Perhaps we think more like Thomas Edison:

“Sleep is a criminal waste of time and a heritage from our cave days.”  

or as Margaret Thatcher said, “Sleep is for wimps.”

I like this TED talk by Russell Foster.  I am beginning to like the concept of getting more sleep.  In fact, a short nap sounds really good right now!  Maybe companies like Google could start encouraging all employees to take afternoon naps.  A short twenty-minute nap every afternoon may actually help us be more creative and productive in our jobs.

What do you think?

Scared Sugarless — August 17, 2013

Scared Sugarless

Sugar

“In 1700 the average Englishman consumed 4 pounds a year.

In 1800 the common man ate 18 pounds of sugar.

In 1870 that same sweet-toothed bloke was eating 47 pounds annually.

Was he satisfied? Of course not! By 1900 he was up to 100 pounds a year.

In that span of 30 years, world production of cane and beet sugar exploded from 2.8 million tons a year to 13 million plus.

Today the average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar annually, or more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.”

(excerpt from Sugar Love – National Geographic – August 2013)

Baking is a huge part of my life, so it can be assumed that sugar is one of the ingredients in my desserts.  To compensate, I am extremely conscientious of the types of foods I choose to eat on a daily basis.  I try to stay away from processed foods, food items with chemicals and food items with hidden sugars.  Seriously, do they really need to put sugar or corn syrup in pasta sauce or bread?

I was in Walmart the other day browsing the vast aisle of breakfast cereals.  The choices seemed endless, yet I have never seen so many boxes of cereal and not been able to find one that did not have added sugar or other chemicals.  I had hoped to find a simple box of raisin bran, yet sugar appeared on every box.

This worries me.

I’m not an extremist.  I do not shop at health food stores.  I’m not vegetarian (although I have strongly considered it).  I am a regular person looking for a simple way to shop for healthy food.

I will always strongly defend the pleasure of eating a wonderful dessert, but this is something that is enjoyed on special occasions and not something that is generally consumed several times throughout the day.  If I am going to eat sugar, I would save it for a fabulous dessert like chocolate mousse cake rather than eat the same amount in a bowl of breakfast cereal.

I’ve always read food labels and anytime I can’t even recognize what is on the label, it does not belong in my shopping cart.   We have huge stores with very few healthy choices.  Most Americans are overfed, yet undernourished.

Something has to change.

Did you know that some reports have suggested that ONE American consumes over 150 pounds of sugar each year?  This is more than my body weight in sugar.  That is absolutely frightening.  What is this type of eating doing to our children?

I love the talk Jamie Oliver gave several years ago at TED.  I totally agree with his evaluation of food, especially in our children’s schools.  Unfortunately, his plea for help has still fallen on deaf ears. (I’m posting a link to the video below).

I also recently watched Hungry for Change on Netflix.  In this video food chemicals are described as drugs; drugs that in a normal market would be considered illegal.  Dr. Northrop makes a statement that any mother shopping for kids’ breakfast cereal may as well roll up the child’s sleeve and give heroine shots.  Obviously this movie was made to shock us, but maybe that is what we need right now.

I truly believe that we need to stop dieting and get back on track thinking about food the way it was meant to be.  It is actually quite simple.

My Philosophy on Being Healthy

Find food in its most natural state.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.

Stay away from over processed foods and added chemicals.

Support good local farmers.

Have an occasional dessert.  (Bakery Diet)

Exercise to be flexible and strong.

Have a good network of friends.

Be kind to others and happiness will follow.

Teach every child about food.

Move Away from the Computer and Start Walking — June 21, 2013
Rethinking Transportation — May 24, 2013
The Bakery Diet — February 26, 2013

The Bakery Diet

mini chocolate cream cakes

In high school I worked in a bakery.

Every day I was surrounded by a plethora of unbelievably enticing aromas.  The pastries were artistically lined up in the display case.  There were also a vast array of cookies – everything from warm chocolate chip to creatively decorated sugar cookies.  The refrigerated cases were filled with chocolate eclairs, cream puffs and various fruit and pudding based pies.

and the donuts . . .

I cannot even begin to describe the enormous collection of mouth-watering donuts!  The bakery was also famous for a huge danish filled with cream cheese.  Customers had to order it ahead of time to ensure that it would be available.

The desserts were addictive and the bakery had a strong following.  The customers often asked me how anyone could stay thin working in such a wonderful bakery.

I’ve thought about that question over the years.  The reason I was thin was because I could eat these fabulous desserts anytime I wanted.   (Don’t hate me yet, I am not one of those girls with a high metabolism.  The distinction is that I could choose to eat these desserts at any time.)

This sounds like a new best-selling diet, right?

A bakery full of high calorie foods and you can eat whatever you want.  It’s too good to be true.

The interesting thing is that over time I tried every product in the bakery.  My excuse to sample the entire bakery menu was so I could properly educate the customers.  What a great job!

One important thing that I learned when I was working in the bakery is that a diet heavy in sugar does not provide enough energy for an entire work shift.  If I ate a lot of desserts during the day it left me feeling sluggish.  On those days I usually left work craving a healthy meal.

I learned to eat healthy food before going to work to provide the energy that I needed to get through the day.

I always knew that I could have whatever dessert I wanted.  Ironically, when I knew that I could have it, I didn’t really want as much.

How is this different with individuals who “go on a weight loss diet”?  Immediately, the items that are restricted become the main things we think about.  They are the foods that we start to crave constantly.  Normally a person could easily have a late breakfast and not feel hungry, but once the concept of restricting food is put into the mind, that individual wakes up obsessing about food and all of the items that are now restricted.

There was a girl who worked in the bakery with me who constantly thought about calories.  She always said that she should not eat dessert.  Sometimes she caved in and had a small bite.  The problem is that she never felt satisfied and she always felt guilty.  She kept going back and “sneaking” more bites until eventually she had eaten far more than if she had just sat down and enjoyed a full cookie or brownie in the first place.

My philosophy on food is “do not say that you cannot have something.”

This is the ultimate path to destructive health.  If you choose not to have something for specific health reasons, that is another story.  There is a huge difference between saying you can’t have it and CHOOSING not to have it.

Paris has some of the most wonderful pastry shops in the world.

Sitting in a cafe in Paris is an experience I’d love to replicate at home on a daily basis.  The desserts are presented as works of art.  Half of the enjoyment is visual.  The other amazing thing that happens in a cafe, and something that seems foreign to most of us, is that the food isn’t eaten quickly.  The desserts are savored.

When I am savoring every bite, sometimes I don’t even need to eat the entire dessert.  I am often satisfied with just a few spoonfuls.

This is something to consider the next time you are thinking about restricting calories.  Is it causing more harm than good?

Personally, I prefer to follow the concept of the bakery diet!

Slow down and listen intently to your body.  It usually knows what is best.

(If you are interested in the mini chocolate cream cakes pictured above, the recipe can be found on Bake Chocolate Cake)

Healthy Comfort Food — February 21, 2013

Healthy Comfort Food

There have been two predominant ways to describe the air this winter.  It is smoggy or it is snowing.  Today it was snowing again which was actually quite a relief from the smog, but not a welcome site for the endless mountains of snow we have already piled in all available spaces.  Now, add to this ping-pong game of air quality a wicked head cold.  Needless to say, I am desperately longing for weather that is warm and clear at the same time.

I’m thinking a few weeks on a sunny beach is an ideal cure for a cold, but since that is not currently an option, it is definitely time to bring out the spicy foods to act as a natural decongestant.

I recently saw a recipe in Good Housekeeping for Broccoli Soup.  It looked delicious, so I decided to make a quick batch.  I added some extra ingredients to make it a bit more spicy, which is exactly what my body needed.  The spicy chili pepper sauce, along with curry and fresh lemon juice is a wonderful combination for clearing the head.

This is the perfect healthy comfort food recipe.

Spicy Broccoli Soup

16 oz organic frozen broccoli florets, thawed
16 oz reduced sodium soup broth
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
7 drops Ghost Chili Pepper Sauce
dash of cinnamon if desired

There are a couple of items I need to clarify for this recipe.

Soup Broth:

For the broth I used Organic Better Than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Base.  I buy it at Costco and it comes in Beef, Chicken or Vegetable.  For this recipe I used 2 teaspoons of bouillon base mixed with 16 oz of boiling water.  Any favorite reduced sodium soup broth would work in this recipe.

Chili Pepper Sauce:

I use Melinda’s Original Naga Jolokia Pepper Sauce which is supposedly the World’s hottest pepper from India.  The ingredients in this sauce are wonderful.  It includes carrots, papayas, lime juice, vinegar, onions, passion fruit, citric acid, garlic and salt.  This sauce is also known as Ghost Chili.  Beware.  It is hot!  I only used about 7 drops in this recipe.  This sauce is sometimes difficult to find, so tabasco sauce or any other favorite hot sauce could also work in this recipe.

Puree the broccoli with the soup broth.  Pour the soup into a pot and add the milk, curry powder, salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice.  Stir in several drops of Ghost Chili Pepper (depending on your preference).  Personally, I think the spicier the better, especially for head colds.

Heat the soup until hot, but do not boil.

Stir in a dash of cinnamon if desired.  Spoon into 3 cups for serving.  This is a very thick soup.  Add additional broth, milk or water, if you prefer a thinner soup.

This soup is not quite as good as the beach vacation option, but it works.  If anyone has extra plane tickets to a warm climate, send them my way:)    Enjoy.

Broccoli Soup

My Workout Slump — February 15, 2013

My Workout Slump

I am in a workout slump.

Not just the “I don’t feel like working out today,” but the kind where I try to run the same speed and distance I did three months ago and I can’t do it.  How did this happen?

Let’s see . . .stress, or maybe Stress, or did I happen to mention STRESS?  This, however, is counter productive since exercise is the perfect solution for dealing with stress.

We all develop habits good or bad and three months ago I had healthy habits.  I was exercising every day and eating healthy food.  What happened?

I blame New Year’s Resolutions.  Not mine.  I rarely make them.  I am referring to the thousands of people who decided in January to make it their goal to get fit and lose weight.  They bought memberships to the gym.

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