Friday, June 05, 2015

Taking a Break

Dear Readers,

I will be taking a break from blogging for the remainder of June so that I can focus my attention on other things.  Thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my blog.  I sincerely appreciate your support.  I invite you to take this time to read previous posts you may have missed in the past or reread ones you've enjoyed.  You can also find me on Etsy by clicking here.  Take care and see you in July!


Five for Friday - Five things I Did Differently Today

I am a creature of habit.  I do my best when I'm in a routine.  However, sometimes a change of pace is refreshing.  Occasionally, they lead to new routines.  Here are some of the things I did differently today.

1.  While I was waiting for my food to reheat, instead of getting on the computer I called a company to have my name taken off a mailing list.  I also called my mom.

2.  To return an item, instead of driving, I walked to and from the grocery store.

3.  On the way back, instead of just passing by the fountain in the shopping center courtyard, I sat and enjoyed it for a few minutes.

4.  Instead of buying a Father's Day card, I made one.

5.  Instead of trying to read the community newsletter while watching television, I focused only on reading the newsletter.

Have you changed your routine in any way lately?  How did it go?  Please share!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Oral Health

I'm grateful for a successful dental appointment.  Everything checked out fine and I'm not due for another cleaning until December. My hygienist and dentist really had me laughing at some of the conversations we were having. It was exactly what I needed to ease my anxiety. Plus it always makes me feel good when I'm told what a great job I've been doing maintaining oral health. Although everything is fine, my hygienist always gives me tips for how to improve. I appreciate that she's so thorough. At every appointment I'm reminded of how far I've come. It's nice that my hygienist and dentist have been a part of my journey since almost the very beginning of when I really started taking care of my oral health. They've seen where I've been and they've helped me arrive at where I am today.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Are you looking for ways to improve your blood sugar?  I first saw the suggestion to try eliminating all flour and dairy for two weeks in a book I'm reading by Dr. Mark Hyman.  For the most part, I have taken this advice.  I do still eat whole fat yogurt for the on a daily basis for the probiotics, but I have eliminated all milk and cheese from my diet.  About once a week I eat a small bite of products made with flour.  I no longer eat it on a daily basis like I used to.

I am amazed at the results I'm getting!! In the six years I've been monitoring my blood sugar at home on a daily basis, I have never seen such a significant difference in such a short period of time!  If you're struggling to find ways to improve your blood sugar, this may be something you can try.  What do you think?  Will you give it a try or have you already?  What results have you gotten?  Please share so we can accompany each other on the road to good health!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Mindful Monday - Letting Go

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell

Friday, May 29, 2015

Five for Friday - Five Small Changes Resulting in One Significant Improvement

I am always looking for ways to improve my blood sugar, and overall health in general.  Recently, I've made some seemingly small lifestyle changes that, according to my home checks, have improved my blood sugar.  Here are five of those changes:

1.  I've started taking daily walks.  Usually I walk for about 20 minutes a day, sometimes more.  
2.  I've cut down on, but not eliminated dairy from my diet.  The only dairy I continue to consume on a regular basis is whole fat organic pasture-based Greek yogurt.
3.  I've cut down on, but not eliminated flour products from my diet.  It recently occurred to me that I may be addicted to products made with flour.  After reading about the suggestion to give up flour I decided to give it a try.  While I still do eat it once in a blue moon, I have cut down significantly.
4.  I've been decluttering.  Less stuff means less stress.  Less stress means better overall health.
5.  I've increased the size of the weights I lift from 2.5 pounds to 5 pounds.  

According to my home glucose monitor, my average blood sugar for the month is normal.  Time will tell if it is consistent with the official test I will get next month!  Either way, it is clear that there has been some improvement.  Best of all, I've developed a lifestyle that I can maintain.  

What are some changes you've made that have resulted in better health?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thankful Thursday - The Best of Both Worlds

I'm grateful for having the best of both worlds in my own neighborhood. The grocery stores, gas station, etc. are all close by, but I also don't have to go very far to be completely surrounded by nature.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mindful Monday - Taking Yoga off the Mat and Into the World

"We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.  If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other and then this moment will have been worthwhile." - Deepak Chopra

Friday, May 22, 2015

Five for Friday - Maximizing Kitchen Time

Eating healthy is often associated with spending more time in the kitchen.  It can be tempting to stop and pick up fast food or packaged foods at the grocery store to reduce the time you spend doing the work.  

Once you develop some new routines, however, this will change.  You will start to notice positive changes in how you feel and you will want to spend time preparing healthy foods at home.   Here are a few strategies than can turn your life around in a healthy way:

1.  Plan to spend a period of uninterrupted time for each meal.  The time you spend on each meal can vary each day and throughout the day.  Decide how long you can realistically spend in the kitchen and commit to it.  Give yourself time to prepare a healthy, tasty meal, but don't feel like you have to spend all day in the kitchen to accomplish this, because you don't.  

Here is what a typical meal preparation day might look like for me:

-15 minutes to make my morning smoothie, about 45 minutes to drink it (usually while I'm doing something else), and about 5 minutes to clean the NutriBullet. 

-15 minutes to prepare a sandwich and a side of veggies for lunch, 30 minutes to eat, and 5 minutes to clean up.

-5 minutes to dish my dinner out (most often it's leftovers), 20 minutes to reheat it in the conventional oven (during this time I often make a salad), 30 minutes to eat, and about 10 minutes to clean up.

The time you spend preparing meals, eating, and cleaning up will vary according to yours and your family's needs and schedules.  The point it to commit to a certain amount of time for each meal and stick to it.

2.  Develop a healthy relationship with your kitchen.  Think about the relationships you have with others.  How do you nurture those relationships?  You probably spend some time with them and you spend some time apart from them.  Both are healthy in a relationship.  The same applies to your kitchen.  You probably don't want to spend all day in the kitchen, but you do want to dedicate a certain amount of time to it. Give your kitchen the gift of time.

3.  Eat hearty servings of raw food.  For example, maybe have a smoothie for breakfast and a salad with dinner.  No cooking involved!  Need I say more?

4.  Eat primarily with the intent to nourish your body, not just satisfy hunger.  You have choices about what to eat.  Ask yourself, "How will this nourish my body?"  If you can't answer that or if the answer is, "It won't," then it may not be worth eating.  Of course, splurging happens once in while.  Just don't make those once in a whiles add up to everyday.

5.  Invest in a few kitchen essentials.  Some of mine are two cutting boards, the NutriBullet, and a quality knife.  Figure out what works for you and invest in them.  Focus on just a few essentials.  This will save you money and clean up time.  Fancy gadgets can be fun, but sometimes they cause more stress than they're worth.  Enjoy a few good quality ones that often have multiple uses.

What works for you when it comes to maximizing your time in the kitchen?  Please share!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thankful Thursday- Stairs Design

I'm grateful for those who designed the outdoor stairwell in my community and the alternate route to the shopping center for those who don't do stairs. The stairwell has about 15-20 steps that are not very steep. After each set of three or four steps there's a platform, so it's not just one long flight of stairs. I like the break from the steps in between. The railings are also very useful to me. It's a flight of stairs I feel very comfortable walking on my own, which is rare.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - When You're Sick

There will be times when you're just not feeling well.  (If not, way to go!)  This past Sunday I was not feeling well.  I didn't feel like eating or drinking much, but I wanted something to keep hydrated and keep my energy as up as it could be.  I have a box of crackers that I used to eat on a regular basis.  Although they are the healthiest I can find in the store, they are not healthy enough to be eating daily.  So, I now save them for those times when I'm not feeling up to par, but need something in my stomach.  They came in really handy on Sunday!  

One thing I realized is I need to change the juice I've been buying.  I rarely drink juice anymore and I therefore rarely buy it.  In fact, some of the juice I have will expire soon.  It's all 100% juice with no added sugar.  However, it isn't organic and is likely loaded with GMO's.  While it sufficed this weekend when I was sick (I drank a mere 4 ounces) I know in the future I need to make changes.  I don't want to add GMO's to my body when I'm already sick!

So, what's Tuesday's tip?  

Stock up on healthy non-perishables for those times when you are not feeling up to par.  

It will keep you from splurging on the unhealthy, but easy to consume stuff.  Just don't use this as a reason to eat these emergency non-perishables too often.  I'm talking about keeping them for those times when you are truly feeling sick and cannot muster up the energy to prepare healthy food in your own kitchen.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mindful Monday - My Anchor

"Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.  Conscious breathing is my anchor." --- Thich Nhat Nanh 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five for Friday - Benefits of Walking

Many of us are aware that walking is good for our health.  Sometimes when those benefits are not immediately visible, it can be discouraging.  I am hoping my daily walks improve my cholesterol and blood sugar, but I won't know that until my next scheduled blood test.

In the meantime, there are some benefits that I have noticed without having had a blood test yet.  Here are five of those benefits:

1.  Improved Concentration - Sometimes when the afternoon slump hits I take a walk instead of taking a nap.  When I return I'm more alert and able to focus on what needs to be done.

2.  Improved Emotional State of Mind - After a walk I am better able to deal with difficult situations in a rational way.

3.  Increased Awareness - I have been living in the same building for over ten years, but only now am I noticing certain things - different species of birds, plants, trees, and even the layout of the environment.

4.  Increased Strength and Stamina - Since I started taking almost daily walks about six weeks ago, I'm able to walk for longer periods of time and at a faster pace.  I'm able to do much more than I ever thought I'd be able to.  When I first started taking regular walks, I thought my limit was 10-15 minutes.  Even then I was able to walk for at least 20 minutes when I actually put it to the test.  Now, sometimes 30-45 minutes goes by without me even realizing it!

5.  Increased Confidence - I've become much more confident in what I'm capable of doing and this confidence filters into other areas of my life.

How does walking benefit you?  Have you noticed any of these benefits?  Please share!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Better Days

I'm grateful for this beautiful day that made my walk more pleasant. Even the birds were celebrating.  We've had oppressive humidity and temperatures in the 80's, which is difficult for me to tolerate.  Today's lower humidity and temperatures reminded me that tough times are followed by better days. Everything will be okay.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - Follow Your Heart

What your passion is today may change tomorrow...and that's okay.  Give yourself permission to follow your heart.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mindful Monday

"Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow". ~Henry David Thoreau


Friday, May 08, 2015

Five for Friday - Alleviating Writer's Block

Don't know what to write about?  I'm not going to suggest topics.  That's up to you.  What I'll do is give you five strategies for alleviating writer's block.  Here we go!

1.  Take a Walk.  Even if you don't make an intentional effort to think of ideas while you're walking, often ideas come to mind this way.  It's also a great way to clear your mind, which leaves more room for fresh ideas!

2.  Meditate.  Again, a clear mind leaves more room for fresh ideas!

3.  Listen to music.  Just feel the music and let it flow through you.  Ideas will often follow.

4.  Take a nap, but keep it short.  Power naps are great for re-energizing your body and your mind.  If you sleep too long this may backfire, so try to sleep no longer than an hour.  My preferences is usually 20 minutes when I need a power nap.

5.  Express your creativity in a different way.  For example, instead of writing, try doing something else like drawing.  Free your mind and just cut loose.  This relieves stress and clears your mind.

What other ideas do you have?  Please share!  We all experience something like this at certain times.  In fact, it was writers' block that inspired this post! :-)

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Success with the Scooter!

A few weeks ago I shared my frustrations about not being able to shop in the local natural food market independently and easily.  You can find the original post here and the update here.

When I was in the store recently, a manager saw me and came to talk to me about my request.  He was unsure about the details, so I called the manager who met with me several weeks ago.  I am happy to report that the management has agreed to order a motorized scooter with a basket!  I was elated when I heard the news!  This is exactly what I was hoping for.  There is no given time frame for when it will arrive, but you can be sure I'll stay on top of it. ;)  I'm grateful that they recognize the need for this, realize it's possible, and that they're finally following through with my request. This is going to help so many other people besides myself!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Mindful Monday - Listen with the Intent to Understand

Over the past week a lot has been said about the events taking place in Baltimore.  Social media exploded with images and comments about what people think is right or wrong.  We've shared opinions and exercised our right to speak freely.

But how much listening have we done?  I mean, how much have we truly listened?  Not much.  As students this is a skill we were taught.  An expectation, actually.  Yet, something happens in adulthood.  The very thing we're expecting our children to do is something we as adults are not doing enough of ourselves.  How can we expect our future generation to do this if we're not following our own set of expectations?

Of all the comments I've seen on social media, the one I'm about to share with you had the most profound impact on me.  It was written by a sports broadcaster in Baltimore.  I invite you to read it.  When you read it, read it with the intent to understand.

" Over the past couple of weeks as tensions have risen to a boil in Baltimore I have intentionally avoided making any comments about the swirl of surreal scenes that have unfolded: A drug store burning, tear gas in the streets, an empty Camden Yards, Ravens players reaching out to high school students, angry crowds, prideful parents, hopeful residents, prayerful communities. I have watched a flood of traffic fill Twitter, the indelible images stretching across TV screens, and the screech of anger from all corners of the larger community and all walks of life. It seems as if everyone wants to be right and wants to pass judgement.

Here are some of the things I have learned:

- Complex problems don't lend themselves to solutions of 140 characters or less.

- Opinions and emotions are dangerous dance partners.

- Telling other people how they should live their lives flies in the face of the concept of liberty.

- The right of expression must find common ground with the rights of property and business owners to achieve real effectiveness.

- There comes a point at which talking adds nothing more than noise to a situation.

But the most important thing I have taken away from Baltimore's spring of 2015 is that we all need to listen more. Perhaps one day they will develop an app for that, an app where we just listen to each other—with no need to comment, contest, challenge, or confront. Just listen.

There are more than enough commentators to this situation as it moves from percolating anger to joyful celebration. I won't be one of them.

I am not African American. I do not live in a neighborhood with high crime and low employment. I do not feel helpless or without resources. I have never flinched because I made eye contact with a police officer. And I am not qualified to comment on how life looks and feels from any of those perspectives. But I am qualified to listen. We all are. And it is my greatest hope that what we have seen unfold in Baltimore becomes a spring board not to a larger platform for any individual or groups, but simply an inspiration for all of us—people of any age, any race, any gender—to put more pause into our lives, more pause filled with the lost art of listening. Not listening to judge. Listening to understand. Not listening to agree or disagree. Listening to understand.

No life can be brought back. No injury can be unrendered. No errors in judgement can be corrected in the past. But if we listen without need to judge we can begin to change the future together and create a future where understanding replaces undermining, a future where empathy diffuses anger, a future where we build stronger relationship instead of merely rebuilding old problems that will find a way to erupt again.

This is my hope for my town and for yours—wherever you call home. Because if you think this is a problem that belongs to only Baltimore then I would suggest you aren't listening." - Gerry Sandusky

As we begin a new week, I invite you to join me in truly listening.  Be mindful of what others are saying.  Don't judge or listen with the intent of stating your opinion.  Listen with the intent to understand.  Permanent and positive change can only happen when we've mastered this skill.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Five for Friday - Five Positive Newsworthy Events

Five Positive Things Have Been Happening in Baltimore This Week

1. Today there are only two places listed on the website I looked at for closings and delays. This is a huge improvement from Tuesday!

2. When school was closed on Tuesday due to the rioting that took place Monday night, some students voluntarily used their time to clean up the streets. THIS is the future of our youth. Many adults voluntarily helped as well.

3. Although for the first time in Major League Baseball history a game was played in a stadium full of empty seats, The Baltimore Orioles managed to pull off an 8-2 win yesterday! Fans showed their support in various ways. Some stood at the gates of the stadium, some rented hotel rooms that overlook the stadium and watched from there, and some watched from the balconies of their apartments. Many others "checked in" at the stadium on their smartphones. They were there even if they couldn't be there!

4. Children are taking care of the police officers, making sure they stay well hydrated. THIS is the future of our youth!

5. Music is being used to bring people together. ONE THOUSAND people showed up for an outdoor concert on Wednesday!

What are some positive things that happened in your neck of the woods?  Please share below!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Carefree and Fun

I'm grateful for my evening walk when I heard and saw children laughing and playing basketball in the neighborhood.  They were so carefree and happy.  It reminded me of when I was growing up and I would play outside on beautiful spring evenings like today.  It's good to know some things haven't changed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My 200th Post!

Today is supposed to be "Tuesday's Tip", but instead I want to take this opportunity to simply say, "Thank you!" to those who read and comment on my blog.  Today is post number 200!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Musings - To Be a Tree

My roots are firmly grounded. They go so deep that I can't even see where they begin. My trunk is strong and huggable. It's winter, so there are no leaves on my limbs. It's a bit chilly, but I know from past years that it will get warmer and I'll be okay. Oh, look! It's starting to snow! My limbs are embracing the snow as it acts as a blanket. I feel warmer now. 

As the temperature begins to warm up and spring is arriving, the snow melts. The warmth of the sun allows my limbs to begin budding. Hello, little birdie! Come have a seat on me! Flowers begin to grow and people are in awe of my beauty. Soon the flowers begin to fall and coat the ground with a blanket of pink. My limbs begin to turn green. I feel a little sad to see the flowers fall, but once again I think back to years past. I remember that the flowers will grow again in due time. 

It's summer now and the weather has turned a little hot. There are some people looking for shade and they choose me for comfort. The coolness of the shade I provide allows them to have a nice picnic lunch under me. When they leave I notice the sky turning darker. Looks like a typical summer thunderstorm is coming. I'm a little fearful of of storms, but I know that I've been through so many. I'm strong enough to get through it. I will be okay. I welcome the rain, as it keeps me healthy. When the storm is over I notice a vivid and full rainbow embracing me. 

Soon the weather beings to turn cooler and my leaves change colors. All kinds of colors. I am my own rainbow. I enjoy them for a while, but know that eventually they must fall. It's the ups and downs of life I must face. I know they'll be back next year. 

 In the meantime I'll once again enjoy the winter snow as the cycle begins again.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five for Friday - Spot the Birdies

Can you spot the little birdies in these five pictures?  It's tough even for me and I was there!  I'm not sure how many, but probably around five of them. ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - Start a New Healthy Habit

Earth Day is coming up tomorrow.  Instead of celebrating on just one day, why not begin a new healthy habit that can continue throughout the year?  I have been taking a lot of walks over the past couple of weeks.  Most days I walk for about 20 minutes.  Today, for the first time, I'll be leaving my car at home and walking to my Zumba class.  I hope to make this a weekly habit when weather permits.  It's one small change that can make a big difference in my health and in the environment.

What can you do to celebrate Earth Day year-round?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five for Friday - Five Tips I Wasn't Told

Throughout my journey to get healthy, I have been given useful tips.  In the beginning, it was enough.  However, I'm at the point now where I'm looking for more.  While I certainly appreciate the support I've been given, there were certain lessons I learned on my own through further research online, in books, and by talking to others.  Here are five tips I wasn't told that I figured out on my own and have been working well for me.

1.  Stop drinking soda.  I was told that it's okay to continue drinking soda once a week.  I understand the logic in this, as it might deprive me of something I enjoy.  This worked in the beginning because I was gradually cutting down on soda.  However, if I'm going to continue to improve my health, completely eliminating soda from my diet is a must.  It's been almost one year since I had my last one!

2.  Choose organic.  There is a lot of research out there that proves organic dairy and organic produce are healthier than their conventional counterparts.  While I've always been told to eat my veggies, organic seems to be on the back burner with many people.  The benefits of organic are worth spending the extra money, in my opinion.  In the long run, it leads to better health, and therefore possibly less medical bills.  I'd rather spend that money on food than on medical bills.

3.  Choose whole fat over fat free.  Fat free is not always healthier.  Milk and eggs are whole foods.  When you trim the fat, you trim the nutrients.  And then there's processed foods.  If it's fat free it likely has something else in it that's unhealthy.  I have been drinking organic whole milk and eating organic whole eggs almost everyday for several months.  I've actually lost weight and my cholesterol levels have improved since I made the switch. 

4.  Watch for the smoke point in cooking oils.  One of the most common cooking oils is olive oil, yet it's one of the unhealthiest with which to cook.  Oils such as sesame are healthier when cooking.  Olive oil is great to add after the food has been cooked or on salads.

5.  You can do more.  I was actually told by someone that I'm doing everything I possibly can to get healthy.  I simply won't accept that.  It's a nice compliment, but I know I can do more.  This is why I continue to look for ways to improve my health.

Have you learned something on your own that has helped improve your health?  Please share!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Getting out of Bed

One of the lessons I learned in the year following the passing of my best friend is that sometimes you have to make yourself do things you may not initially want to.  Some days simply getting out of bed can be a major feat.  Today I'm grateful that I mustered up the energy and motivation to get out of bed.  I believe the choice to do this will shape my day in a positive way.

Is there something you've done that you initially didn't want to but are grateful you did?  Please share!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - Jot Down Your Thoughts

Always have pencil and paper, or perhaps even a note-taking app on your phone, handy.  Write down your thoughts as they come to you before you forget them.  Ask me how I know. ;)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mindful Monday - Celebrate Life

I am always amused when people complain about getting older.  To me, it's a gift.  There are always going to be obstacles to overcome no matter how young or old we are.  Yesterday was my birthday and I'm grateful to be celebrating another one.  I used to think of junk food as a "treat", but just in the past year I've come to realize the best treat I can give myself is the gift of good health.  This brings me happiness.

I came across this quote that really speaks to what I believe:

"God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well." - Voltaire

May you all enjoy this gift of a new day.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five for Friday - Declutter Your Mind

This is the final week for the decluttering series!  Don't you feel lighter? :-)

Here are the links to the previous posts in this series:
What to Declutter
Decluttering Actual Items
Decluttering Technology
Decluttering Your Schedule
Declutter Your Body

Today's post is about decluttering your mind.  Here are five ways you can do that:

1.  Take action on all of the other decluttering ideas in this series.  When you declutter various areas of your life, you are also decluttering your mind.

2.  Meditate.  Doing this on a regular basis, or even just sometimes if you're just starting out, will help to clear your mind.  There are different ways to meditate.  Experiment and decide which method works best for you.

3.  Write it down.  Either write for yourself or write a letter to someone else.  When I write I prefer to write for other people.  It's a way of venting and also seeking advice.  Everyone's different, though.  I know people who write for themselves and it works great for them! 

4.  Talk to someone.  This is a great way to process information because you're getting the perspective of another person.  Try to talk to someone who will give you unbiased feedback or perhaps you just want someone who will listen.  Sometimes just talking through it, and not necessarily getting advice, helps.

5.  Take a walk.  I have started to do this on a daily basis just this week, and my plan is to keep it up as long as weather permits.  It has incredible physical, mental, and emotional benefits.  I walk about 15 minutes a day.

How do you declutter your mind?  Please share below!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Restaurant Staff Who Offer Healthy Alternatives

I'm grateful for the waiter and chef who answered my questions and fulfilled my requests in an attempt to make my dinner out a little healthier:

1. I asked if the salmon was farm-raised or wild-caught. I asked once before over the phone and they said it was wild-caught, but I asked again in person just to make sure. The waiter wasn't sure, so he asked. It was wild-caught, so I ordered it.

2. One of the menu items was a side of sauteed spinach. I requested to have it steamed instead. That was the first time I had requested such a change and they easily accommodated. From now on I'll always make this request. Even if the chef at any given restaurant won't do it at that time, it might give them something to think about for the future.

3. As always, I asked for the pasta on the side so it wasn't swimming in the sauce. I don't like a lot of sauce, so this way I could just take how much I wanted and mix that portion with my pasta. The pasta was the most unhealthy part of my meal, and I didn't even eat all of it. I brought the rest home. I think I did pretty well eating as healthy as I could, but next time I may ask for the same dish without the pasta.

Have you had any experiences like this where you asked for something that wasn't on the menu and they accommodated?  Please share below!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Mindful Monday - The Main Question We Should Ask About Diabetes

"Ponder this: From 1983 to 2008, the number of people in the world with diabetes increased sevenfold, from 35 to 240 million. In just three years, from 2008 to 2011, we added another 110 million diabetics to our global population. Shouldn't the main question we ask be WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? instead of WHAT NEW DRUG CAN WE FIND TO TREAT IT?" - Mark Hyman, MD

Friday, April 03, 2015

Five for Friday - Declutter Your Body

The decluttering series continues!  Just two weeks to go!  Here are the links to the other posts in this series:

What to Declutter
Decluttering Actual Items
Decluttering Technology
Decluttering Your Schedule

Aren't you feeling lighter already?  Today's post is about decluttering your body.  Here we go!

1.  Stop Drinking Soda.  Even if you are not feeling nor seeing the harmful effects of soda now, you will eventually.  In fact, you may be seeing and feeling them without even realizing it.  When you cut down and quit, you will feel so much better mentally and physically!  Click here to see how I did it.  I wrote this post two years ago when I was cutting down.  It has now been almost one year since I've had a soda and I have no desire to start again!

2.  Avoid anything with the ingredient, carrageenan.  It's harmful to your health and has no nutritional value whatsoever.  Food Babe has a lot to say about this chemical!

3.  Exercise!  It's healthy, fun, and makes you feel great mentally and physically!

4.  Get enough sleep.  Your body needs time to re-energize.  Give yourself the rest you deserve.

5.  Shed unwanted pounds.  If you eat healthy, exercise consistently, and get enough rest this will happen in due time.  Don't obsess over the numbers.  Focus on living an overall healthy lifestyle and watch the magic happen.

Do you have any strategies for decluttering your body?  Please share!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - Just ask!

Children often do not hesitate to ask for what they want.  It is important to hold on to this character trait as we become adults.  Yesterday I wrote about an experience I had at the local food market.  Today I called the manager and requested an in-person meeting with him.  To my surprise, he was available at that time so I went over there right away.

When we met in person I explained to him the background of my situation and why I want to be able to do all of my grocery shopping there.  He listened attentively, explained that there are always people there willing to help, but also expressed understanding of my needs.  As far as getting a wheelchair or motorized scooter in the store goes, he actually said to me that it does start to sound like excuse after excuse after a while.

He is going to speak with someone in upper management about it this week.  He took my number so he can call me after that.  If I don't hear from him in one week I will give him a call back.  I asked if I could speak with someone in upper management, but he said he'll speak with them first and if that doesn't get us anywhere then he'll refer me to them.  

No guarantees were given, but I feel hopeful this is heading in the right direction.  Perhaps one day soon I'll be able to buy my lemons and limes as easily as everyone else can.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mindful Monday - Lemons and Limes...No easy task!

All I wanted were lemons and limes. A simple and quick shopping trip, right? 


I couldn't even get two feet into the store without realizing how slippery the floor was from the rain. Despite repeated requests for motorized scooters or manual wheelchairs with baskets, they don't have them. Instead of giving up and leaving the store, this time I decided to make a statement. I asked one of the the store employees, who fortunately just happened to be near the front entrance, if he could get my wheelchair out of the trunk of my car for me and set it up. He did and I thanked him for his help. He then went back into the store figuring I would be fine from there. I thought I would be too, but when I got to the doorway my wheelchair got stuck and couldn't get over the little hump to get into the store. The door is automatic, which is a good thing, but if it's anything like other automatic doors I've seen it could have closed on me when I got stuck. Again, fortunately the same guy was right there and he helped me in. I picked my lemons and limes, checked out, and again asked for help to get out of the store safely and to put my wheelchair back in my car.

I love this store. It's a locally-owned business that specializes in the kind of food I feel are best for my health.  They have more organic produce and healthy food in general than I've seen anywhere else.  I want to be able to go as I please and do my shopping there independently like everyone else. The inside of the store is wheelchair accessible, but if I can't even get in the door without obstacles what's the point? My problem would be solved if only they had a wheelchair in the store. They just added a second food bar. Nice, but why can't they keep one wheelchair or motorized scooter, maybe two, there? 

I think it's time to move past the phone calls and request an in-person meeting with the manager.  I plan on calling him this week to set that up.  Stay tuned!  

In the meantime, let's all try to stay mindful of accessibility.  Please share your experiences below!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Five for Friday - Decluttering Your Schedule

The decluttering series continues!  Today's post is about decluttering your schedule.

1.  Make a list of the top three things you need or want to get done on a given day.  If you must list more than three, then list them and circle only three items that are top priority.  Get those three things done and if you have time work on everything else you listed.  Highlighting just three at a time helps maintain focus on what's important at any given time.

I have an app on my phone for this.  I have an ongoing list of things to do.  I uncross (tap) three things each day.  Then I cross it off (tap again) when I've completed that task.  Once I complete the top three items then I work on other things.   At the end of the day I delete tasks that I no longer need to do.  If it's something I'll need to go back to another day (laundry, for example), then I leave it on the list and keep it crossed off until it's time to work on it again.

2.  Write appointments and due dates on your calendar.  Even if something is months away I write it on the calendar (in pencil in case I need to erase it) in the kitchen and put it on the calendar on my phone.  That way I have it when I'm on-the-go as well.  This will help prevent conflicts, especially when you have a lot to schedule.

3 Just say, "No!"  Don't hesitate to decline invitations when necessary.

4.  Set aside time each day to check your email.  When it's not time to check it turn off any notifications that might distract you from getting other things done.  Reading and replying to emails throughout the day can take up a lot of time.  A little time here and a little time there adds up.  This may even cut down on the amount of emails you receive because people will receive you're not glued to it all day. 

5.  Schedule time for yourself monthly, weekly, or daily if possible.  Spending time with yourself and doing only what you want to do will help recharge your internal batteries.  Don't underestimate the value of making time for yourself!

Here are links to the other posts in this series:
What to Declutter
Decluttering Actual Items
Decluttering Technology

How do you declutter your schedule?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Mindfulness

I'm grateful for mindfulness because it leads to better physical and emotional health.  

What are you mindful of and how does it improve your well-being?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - Practice Yoga

Are you wondering if yoga is right for you?  After you read this blog post I hope to answer that question with a resounding, "YES!  Yoga is for me!"

How I got interested in Yoga
2010 was a life-changing year for me.  In addition to retiring on disability, my best friend since pre-school passed away.  It took me a long time to adjust to life without a job and without my best friend.  Yoga was one of the first steps I took in moving on.  I had heard about it for a long time and I knew a few people who were benefiting from it.  I decided to try one of the poses at home and I discovered I was able to do it and benefit from it "my way".  I decided to go online to see if any classes were being offered in my area.  I chose to look for a class rather than doing yoga at home for two main reasons.  One was I wanted a way to get out and socialize with other people.  The other reason was because I felt an instructor would be able to guide me since I'm not able to do a lot of the poses the traditional way.

A Welcoming Atmosphere
When I found the yoga center online I called to find out if I would be a good fit for any of their classes.  I explained that I have spina bifida and I told them what I can and cannot do.  I was told to come in and talk to one of the instructors for Therapeutic Yoga.  The person I spoke to on the phone felt that it could work.

When I went to the yoga center I felt incredibly welcomed.  The yoga instructor who taught and still teaches therapeutics was willing to work with me.  Over the years I've had a few different yoga instructors and they have all welcomed me and worked with me in this way. 

Information from the Internet
I have used the internet a lot to find ways to adapt the poses.  My instructors have always been helpful in this way, but sometimes when I feel I can do things differently I look it up and share it with my instructors.  They've always been willing to accommodate me when I want to try something new.

Sometimes when I'm not able to make it to class, like when the weather is bad, I find videos online that I can follow.  Since my instructors have helped me find ways to modify the poses I use what I've learned when I follow along with the videos.

Five Benefits of Yoga
1.  Self-awareness
2.  Stress relief 
3.  Better Balance
4.  Better Posture
5.  Increased Strength

All of these lead to better overall health, the biggest and most important benefit of all.

Are you now convinced that yoga is for you?