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!