What everybody ought to know about Thanksgiving!

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Halloween is over and Christmas decorations are up all over in the stores.  What happened to Thanksgiving?

Yes, everyone loves Christmas, a time to celebrate love, peace, sing songs about a new-born king….but let’s face it, it’s mostly about PRESENTS!!  And I’ll tell you a little more about that later.

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So ok, what is Thanksgiving?  It’s a day the family gets together to over eat, watch football and get into political arguments, where someone in the family gets angry, hurt or embarrassed am I right?  Well, it doesn’t HAVE to be that way if you take Thanksgiving the way it was meant to be.

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Thanksgiving started out as a religious celebration with feasts and thanking God for the MANY blessings He had given.  Actually, the first noted Thanksgiving wasn’t at Plymouth Rock, it was in the 16th century conducted by the Spaniards and French.

Thanksgiving services were routine in Common Wealth Virginia as early as 1607.  Jamestown, the 1st permanent settlement held a Thanksgiving celebration in 1610.

The “First Thanksgiving” that we all learned about in school and by watching Charlie Brown, was held in 1621 at Plymouth Plantation.  The Pilgrims had a celebration after a bountiful harvest.  The celebration lasted 3 days and took place somewhere between September 21-November 11.  The celebration was held by the 50 survivors from the Mayflower and 90 Native Americans.  The feast was cooked by the 4 surviving adult women and daughters and the help of servants.  It consisted of fish, water fowl, turkeys, venison and Indian corn.

In 1789, George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving day to be celebrated Thursday the 26th of November.  Then in 1795, he proclaimed the day to be February 19th.

Thomas Jefferson chose NOT to celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday was removed during his term as president.  Madison renewed the tradition in 1814 at the close of the War of 1812.  Once again the holiday was declared as a holiday “for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” and held on November 25, 1814.

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In 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a federal holiday as a proclaimed national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”.  Once again, the celebration was to be held the last Thursday of November.  Since then Thanksgiving has been observed annually in America.

During the late 1800’s, Thanksgiving traditions in America varied from one region to another.  A traditional New England Thanksgiving consisted of a raffle held on Thanksgiving eve for prizes such as a turkey or a goose.  A shooting match on thanksgiving morning was held as were church services.  The traditional feast included turkey and pumpkin pie.

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Guess what showed up on the scene also in the late 1800’s??  FOOTBALL!!  First the games were high school games played in Massachusetts.  Pro-football took center stage in the 1890’s and the football tradition goes on today.

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In New York City, people would dress up in fancy masks and costumes and roam the streets in “merry-making” mobs.  In the beginning of the 20th century, this turned into what they called Ragamuffin Parades.  Children would dress in ragged adult clothes.  

In 1920, Philadelphia kicked off the season with the Gimbel’s parade.

In 1924, Detroit started a parade.  Today it is one of the largest parades in the country.  It is always followed by the annual Detroit Lions football game.

Also in 1924, the Macy’s day parade began.  The parade is filled with floats and big balloon characters.  The last float of the parade features Santa and the kick off to the Christmas holiday.

Then in 1939, President Roosevelt broke the tradition once more and declared Thanksgiving to be the 4th Thursday of the month, instead of the last Thursday, that is when the month happens to have 5 Thursdays.  WHY??

 

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The country was in the Great Depression at the time.  With the push of Fred Lazarus Jr., the founder of Federated Department Stores ( later Macy’s), he had the President believe that an earlier Thanksgiving would give merchants a longer period to sell products before Christmas and increase their profits.  With the extra profits and the extra spending it would help the country out of the depression.  Needless to say, at this point in time, advertising Christmas before Thanksgiving was thought to be inappropriate!

So here we are 80 years later, the Christmas decorations in the stores are put up in October!  Leave it to the department stores to push spending and take the joy out of Christmas and total ignore Thanksgiving.

Anyway, in 1941, Thanksgiving was FINALLY signed into law and declared to be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.

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Let’s always remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving.  It’s a time to thank God for the blessings in your life.  Your family, your health, your home, job, car, money, animals…!  Even if you don’t think you are blessed with the job you want or a house you don’t like, or that cell phone that’s outdated…take a step back and think of the people who would give anything to have a job or a roof over their heads or even someone to talk to.  Also, be thankful for the little things that mean so much…a smile, a flower, a sunset, the rain, or that penny you found in the parking lot!!

Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday, it should be an everyday celebration!

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday!!

Laura

 

 

 

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Unbelievable stories of the paranormal

 

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Halloween is at our door once more.  It’s time for parties, candy, and costumes, but why?

Halloween was part of the ancient Celtic religion over 2000 years ago.  It was practiced in the regions that now are Ireland, the UK and northern France.  This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the cold, dark winter.  The Celts also believed that this time of year was often associated with human death.  It was believed that on October 31, the barrier between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits got REALLY thin.  It was on this night, it was believed, the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.  People would gather to light bonfires, offer sacrifices, wear costumes and pay homage to the deceased.

 

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Halloween as we know it today didn’t really get its start in America until the last half of the 19th century.  It was a night of trickery and sometimes ended in violence.  Between the 1920’s and 1950’s people were wanting the trickery and violence to stop.  So began the parties at school or in homes.  The idea of going house to house was an idea to give children candy as a good gesture rather than having them run around getting in trouble.

It’s also a night for dressing in costumes and watching scary movies!  To be quite honest, I’m not one for watching horror shows.  I have enough real “ghost stories” in my everyday life!  Even as I sit here writing, my electronics are “playing games” with me by switching sites or shutting off!  Some say that’s a sign of paranormal activity…I guess I’ll let you decide!

I will admit that I am hooked on a couple of paranormal TV shows.  Are they true?  Who really knows for sure, but, like I said I have had my own experiences.

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Being raised in a Christian household, I was led to believe when we die, we sleep in our graves until the Second coming and then will be lifted to Heaven.  So, when I had my first experience, naturally I was ridiculed and told there are no such thing as ghosts!  But then maybe that’s a parents way of comforting a scared 10-year-old.  The trouble with that was it made me think I was CRAZY!!  So, ok, I learned to live with the creepy shadow that lived on the stairs next to my bedroom.  Let me tell you, there were many sleepless nights and yep, I was a teenager sleeping with a nightlight!

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The next time I had an experience was after I was married.  We lived in an old, two-story house.  I was in my early 20’s with no job at the time, so, when my husband went off to work, I’d sneak back to bed, which turned out not to be the smartest thing I ever did.

I’m sure you all have been in the state of dozing.  Not really sleeping and not really awake?  It was during this time, I felt a presence in the door way of the bedroom.  I looked over and there was a man with a trench coat standing there and just as soon as I saw him, I felt him on top of me!  My body froze with fear!  I couldn’t move, I couldn’t open my eyes, and try as I might I couldn’t scream.  Then, as quick as it came over me, it was gone!  I was like WHAT IN THE HECK JUST HAPPENED!!  Once again, I thought it was my imagination.  I didn’t tell anyone.  Naturally, we NEVER learn from the first mistake, after all, I must have been dreaming, right?   Well, it happened at least a half-dozen other times until I got smart and stayed downstairs on the sofa.

I did tell my husband about the experience and he too was a non-believer.  So, I tried to pass it off again.  That was until my mother-in-law happened to mention something in passing about some evil thing that happened in the house.  She never did say what it was but, I’m sure the residual presence is what I felt!

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I finally made a believer out of my husband when we moved into an old farmhouse.  The land was homesteaded right after the Civil war.  I knew the second I walked into that house there was something I didn’t like about it.  Once again….my imagination!

Actually there were a few experiences there, but, the one that made him a believer was when the baby woke up in the middle of the night crying.  I was rocking him back to sleep and I heard people talking!  Mind you, this house was miles from anyone and it was about 2a.m.!  I shouted to my husband to get up and look if anyone was outside.  When he came down the stairs, he too could hear the voices.  He went outside and walked around the house.  No one was there.  The conversation continued on for a few more moments….then…silence!

We moved on into town where the activity was non-existent.  When we moved to our present location, my oh my, how the activity picked up!  Thank goodness, it wasn’t an evil type of thing, mostly a guardian type, I’d say.

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I’m pretty sure we have more than one spirit in this house.  The one that was here, was an old man in a faded red almost pinkish shirt.  All I could see was his face and shirt as he peered in the kitchen window as if to see who was living here.  Every once in a while, he would be looking in through the window at the kitchen door.  Once again, I never told anyone that I saw him.  He wasn’t scary, he was just nosy!

It wasn’t until my daughter came to me and said she had the weirdest experience.  She said, “I thought I saw and old man looking through the kitchen window.”  I asked what was he wearing?  She said, “He had a pinkish shirt!”  Wow!

This old man never entered the house.  He usually kept his eye on us from outside until one night when my daughter and her new baby were staying with us.  She woke up to find him standing over the crib!  She had enough!  It’s one thing for him to look through the window, it’s another having him in her room!  Needless to say, I saged the house.  I haven’t seen him since.  Hopefully, he went to a better place.

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I could bore you with more ghostly tales of things falling off walls, sounds of tools falling off the garage shelves and the stereo turning on and off.  Or the experiences I’ve had working in the nursing home, like the smell of chocolate chip cookies throughout the building before a resident passed or hearing your name being called when no one is around.  But I’m sure you have your own ghost stories.

If you do have some stories, I’d like to hear them!!

I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!!

Remember….those footsteps you hear down the hall might be someone from the past!!  BAAAHAAAAAHAAAA!

Laura

 

Is your mood affecting your life?

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So, it’s MONDAY AGAIN!  The alarm rings, you hit snooze and hope for 5 more minutes of bliss.  After the second snooze alarm, you throw back the blankets and head for the shower.  By the time you’re dressed, the coffee is ready and you reach for that glorious first sip!  Then off to work you go without any breakfast.

Once at work, you grab another cup of coffee and go to your office.  Within five minutes of being there, in comes the first complaint of the day.  By the time you get that fire put out, you look at the clock and you’re late for a meeting.  For the next hour, you are stuck in a small, stuffy room listening to more complaints and the famous, “what are you going to do about it” routine from a boss that has absolutely no idea what’s going on in your department.

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Meeting is adjourned and back to the office in hopes of getting some actual work done.  You sit down to your computer and finally you get started on that report.  That is until the next complaint from your employee comes in!

Finally lunch time!  But wait, you don’t have TIME to eat…you have that errand to run across town and clothes to pick up from the cleaners!  Once again you head to the drive in and grab an espresso.

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Back at work, it’s the same grind.  This time you get lucky, they’re serving donuts at the 2 o’clock meeting!  By 3 o’clock, you can finally get back to your office and start that report that is due tomorrow afternoon.

5 o’clock hits, just a few more paragraphs and it’s out the door.  Only to remember you forgot to get your prescriptions filled, so, it’s back across town at rush hour.

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By the time you get home, you are too tired to think about cooking.  You look in the fridge and there’s nothing in there except for a box of take out from Thursday night. You throw it in the microwave, grab a soda and curl up on the couch and watch TV.  All the while hating life and hoping tomorrow won’t come.

Does this sound like you?  Do you know what’s WRONG with this picture?   First off, life isn’t going to get better if you are living on coffee, soda, donuts, and take out!  Yes, I realize you are living on a hectic schedule but you are also killing yourself slowly but surely!

Your body needs fuel just like your car.  By living on caffeine, sugar, and processed foods that are high in salt is like putting sugar in your gas tank.  Your car will eventually need repaired or replaced.  It’s pretty hard to replace your body, you need to take care of your body and make sure it gets the nutrients it needs before it’s too late!

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So? What are you suppose to do when time is limited?  First thing, try not to hit the snooze button!  If you can get up when the alarm goes off, you will have time for some breakfast.  Say, a bowl of instant oatmeal with a banana.  Without going into scientific details, let’s just say oatmeal has mood-boosting minerals.  It also slowly releases energy into the bloodstream, which keeps blood sugar and your mood stable.  The banana is a great mood-boosting carb rich in vitamins and minerals that help your body in many ways.  If you REALLY can’t get up in the mornings, try boiling some eggs in the evening and have a hard-boiled egg for breakfast along with some whole wheat toast and honey.

If you need a mid morning pick me up, carry along some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or brazil nuts.  It only takes 3 brazil nuts to get your recommended daily amount of selenium.  Selenium is your mood-booster!

 

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Ok, lunch time!  Yes, you have a million and one things to do in that little bit of time, but, make sure one of those things is to grab a bite to eat.  Try to stay away from fast foods that are deep-fried or breaded beyond recognition.  Opt for a spinach salad with either turkey, chicken or tuna.  If you are trying to lose weight be careful about the salad dressing.  Also, put down that soda and grab a bottle of water.  Make sure you are drinking at least 64 ounces of liquids a day.  Yes, this can include that first robust cup of coffee.  Just make sure you drink plain water through out the day!

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If the 3 o’clock slump hits and you HAVE TO HAVE something sweet.  Try eating a couple  squares of DARK chocolate.  That’s right you can have chocolate as long as it is at least 60-70% dark cocoa.  Dark chocolate helps reduce stress hormones and anxiety levels.

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You finally made it through the day.   Believe it or not, you ACTUALLY have some energy left!!  Since your fridge is empty, stop at the store and grab some salmon, broccoli, and brown rice for supper.  In less than 30 minutes you can have a healthy mood-boosting meal.  You can even enjoy a glass of wine!!

Not only will you feel better, your mind will be clearer and your employees will love you!!   Well, ok, maybe that last thing is a little far-fetched!  But one thing is for sure, you will feel better!

Please leave a comment if you would like more diet tips or what kind of foods you should eat for a better life!

Happy eating!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pull the trigger on ADHD

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Did you know, 8.7% of children age 3-17 years, suffer from ADHD according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention?

So?  What is ADHD?  Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is thought to be caused by developmental differences in the brain that affects the parts controlling attention, concentration, impulsivity, activity levels and memory.

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Symptoms can include, over looking or missing details or handing in homework that is not done.  Having difficulties paying attention or remaining focused during class or lengthy reading.  Often seems not to listen when directly spoken to or their mind is elsewhere even when there is no distraction.  School work can be a chore, they start fast, then lose interest and get side tracked.  Is their desk or backpack a mess and disorganized?  Do they suffer from poor time management?  Does your child avoid or dislike school work?  Do they lose things, such as homework, glasses, keys or phone?  Do they get easily distracted and forget to complete chores?  Does your child have difficulties sitting still or waiting to take turns?  Do you find that your child is always interrupting you or talks excessively?  If so, you might want to get checked out by a Doctor.    ADHD seems to be on the rise, the question is why?

Doctors and parents have begun to turn to nutrition.  What you feed your children on a daily basis can have a huge impact on the severity and frequency of ADHD symptoms.  Foods that contain high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, saturated fat, caffeine and processed foods like deli meats have been linked to triggering ADHD symptoms in children.

Studies have shown that foods high in vitamin B, protein, calcium and trace minerals have actually reduced symptoms on a regular basis.

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It has been found that foods high in protein like, eggs, beans (navy and soy), goat cheese, and chicken can help a child’s concentration.  High complex carbs like, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and grapefruit have been known to aid in sleep.  Foods high in Omega 3’s also help in treating symptoms, like, salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, walnuts, brazil nuts, and almonds.  Also, foods rich in trace minerals such as spinach, kale and watercress or whole grained cereals and breads.

The studies have shown the WORST foods you can give you child with ADHD are the following: ice cream, yogurt, cow cheese.  Why the dairy products?  They have found that kids with ADHD tend to have an intolerance to cow’s milk which can trigger ADHD symptoms.  Try to remove dairy products from your child’s diet for 6-8 weeks to see if it helps lessen the symptoms.  If so, you can change to soy or nut products.

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Besides dairy products, sugar is also on the hit list.  Sugar strips the body of the vitamins, enzymes and minerals required to help stabilize moods.  Stay away from sweets which include fruit juices.  Make sure the juice you buy is 100% juice with no artificial sweeteners, colorings or flavorings

Coffee, chocolate and pop also contains caffeine which is a stimulant that triggers symptoms.  Not to mention, pop contains artificial flavorings and colors.  Chips also fall into this category.

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Frozen pizza is a real danger.  All the ingredients are triggers for symptoms.  The processed meat, the flour in the crust, the cheese….Frozen pizza or pizza bites are not healthy for anyone!   If you want pizza, make it at home and use natural ingredients.

Last but not least, watch out for “yellow” vegetables such as corn and squash.   Yellow vegetables have been known to trigger symptoms.

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If you have a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD or have symptoms go back and do a food log of what your child has been eating over the course of the week.  If they have been eating processed meats, milk, pizza, pop, chocolate…..you might want to try changing their diet.  After all,  if you can make your child feel better why wouldn’t you?

Good luck and healthy eating

Laura

 

 

 

Magnesium, who knew??

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Isn’t it crazy that we all run to the doctor for a “quick fix” pill for our aches and pains, when in reality, our problems just might boil down to the foods we consume, or don’t consume?  Eating healthy isn’t just a gimmick.  Eating the right foods that contain the right vitamins and minerals can keep our bodies fueled for a long and healthy life.

Today, I’m going to talk about the mineral, magnesium.  I’m sure some of you have heard about this.  Magnesium helps with just about every body function from breaking down proteins we eat to helping with depression!  Magnesium plays an important role in your body’s ability to keep your heart, kidneys and muscles healthy, also, keeps your bones strong.

Symptoms of low magnesium can be hard to recognize.  If you find yourself being tired all the time, that can be a symptom.  Sure everyone feels TIRED at some point in their lives with work and kids, but  an insufficient amount of magnesium can make you feel tired and weak.  Often drs. don’t check for magnesium levels at this point.  Unfortunately, this feeling of fatigue won’t go away until the magnesium levels are back to normal.

Muscle spasms and cramps are another sign of a low magnesium level.  If you are suffering from uncontrollable and unpredictable spasms and cramps and its not due to inadequate stretching, dehydration or over-exertion, have your magnesium level checked.

Magnesium is vital for proper muscle contraction and can affect your most important muscle….the heart.  If you are suffering from arrhythmia, magnesium can help you maintain a normal heart rhythm.  There have been studies on how magnesium affects your heart and if it can prevent heart disease or lower the risk of heart attacks.  While there is no guarantee, the studies have shown a positive effect on heart health.

Do you suffer from dizziness?  Not the type that happens when you stand up fast, but, from dizziness that seems to last all day.  Low magnesium levels can give you feelings of vertigo which can totally ruin your life.  If you are suffering from dizziness that just seems to be getting worse, check your magnesium level.

If you seem to have never ending nausea and vomiting, yep, once again it can be due to low magnesium.  Although, you can suffer the same if your magnesium levels are high.  If you are taking a supplement, it’s important to have your levels checked.

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Magnesium also impacts your nervous system.  Tingling and numbness can be a warning sign of a deficiency, especially if it keeps getting worse.  It’s common to feel these symptoms in your face, feet and hands.  I just want to add, numbness is not to be something to brush off.  There could be a real serious problem so make sure you get medical help.

Another interesting fact is, having a low magnesium level can affect your personality!   Do you or someone you know seem to be having abnormal amounts of confusion and irritability?  Or do simple things seem overwhelming?  Is there mood swings?  Are you having trouble sleeping?  Do you suffer from restless leg syndrome? You might want to have your magnesium level checked, before you are prescribed mind bending medications.  Drs. don’t often check magnesium levels for symptoms like these.

Along with the personality changes, low magnesium levels can cause panic attacks and/or anxiety.  If you are suffering from these regularly it could be due to magnesium deficiency.  This can lead to a vicious circle because the stress from anxiety can lower your level of magnesium even more.

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If you are suffering from high blood pressure, try taking in more magnesium.  A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension did a study and the results were that the people with the healthiest blood pressure, had the highest levels of magnesium.  Those with low levels of magnesium had high blood pressure.  Another study revealed that eating magnesium rich foods approximately 100 mg a day, would decrease the risk of having a stroke by 8 percent.

It has also been found that a lack of magnesium could play a role in developing type II diabetes.  Low levels of magnesium are 10 times higher in people that are newly diagnosed with type II diabetes.

A deficiency in magnesium can also increase your risk of developing bone problems like osteoporosis.  Your bones store large amount of magnesium, so when levels of the mineral are low for a long time, it can lead to bone loss.

Another symptom of magnesium deficiency can be migraines.  Researches say that migraines can be caused due to the dilation of blood vessels and that nearly half of the people suffering from migraine headaches show to have a low amount of magnesium in their blood.

Now here is something we don’t like to talk about, but, if you are having trouble with bowel movements, part of the reason might be having a low magnesium level.  Magnesium has a relaxing effect on many parts of the body, including the digestive tract.  If these muscles contract more, it makes it more difficult for waste to move through yours system, resulting in constipation.

On the other end of the spectrum, so to speak, are you having trouble with acid reflux?  Just like I previously mentioned, magnesium plays a key role in muscle relaxation throughout the body.  This includes the valves at the top and bottom of the stomach, which allow food to move through the body as it should.  If the cause of your acid reflux is a magnesium deficiency, most over-the-counter medications can actually worsen the symptoms.  So be sure once again to talk to your dr. and get your magnesium level checked.

Now that you know some symptoms of magnesium deficiency, what can you do about it?  These are a few foods that are loaded with magnesium and I would recommend that you would try to incorporate them into your daily diet.

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First, Avocados.  They are loaded with magnesium.  So go ahead and add an avocado to a salad or sandwich.  Avocados are also a great source of potassium and protein, which helps keep you feeling full and helps in the muscle building process.  Avacodos are high in the “good” fat, but still, unsaturated fat, so consume in moderation.

Then there are the DARK leafy greens.  Swiss chard, kale, and spinach are packed with magnesium.  These greens have virtually no calories or fat so enjoy.  Just remember to be careful with what you “dress” them with if you are watching your calories.

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Now there are my favorites!  Cashews and dark chocolate.  Both can help with regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.  They also help with high cholesterol, hypertension and other heart health issues.  Just remember dark chocolate means having a higher cocoa percentage.  Anything with  60% would be ideal.  No milk chocolate!!  One word of caution, the nuts and chocolate are high in fat, so, take in moderation.

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Pumpkin seeds aren’t just for Halloween anymore!  They are very high in magnesium.  Make sure to leave the shells which contain the most helpful nutrients.  Also another important seed are flax seeds, they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and magnesium.  All are very good for body health.  Add the seeds to salads, sauces, and cereals or buy whole grain breads with flax seed.

The last food I’m going to include is tuna.  Tuna is loaded with magnesium and low in calories and fat.  Tuna can contain mercury, which is unhealthy if consumed in high quantities.  Also canned tuna contains lots of added salt, so, try to limit your consumption of canned tuna and go for the fresh.

Once again, I want to encourage you to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

If you find yourself with any of the above symptoms and the drs. can’t figure out a cause, ask for a magnesium test.  After all, eating healthy is a whole lot better than taking meds you don’t need.

Happy eating!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

The season for change

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Can you believe August is coming to an end?  I have no idea where the summer went, but, I think, I might have missed it!  I’ve noticed the days are getting shorter, the nights, cooler, and before you know it, Jack Frost will be knocking at the window pane.

So, now that the summer vacations are winding down, the kids are back in school, Fall gives us a time to transition into gearing up for….dare I say it??  CHRISTMAS!!  Do you find it a little unnerving to go into the stores where they are putting up Halloween decorations AND Christmas decorations at the same time?  Anyway, I’m getting off on a whole other subject!

Today, I want to check in with you and see if anyone out there reached their goal of losing weight, buying healthier foods, or have made a change for the better in their life.  Since I started this blog 6 months ago, I have lost 15 pounds!!  Most of the weight loss was due to more exercise as in walking and weight lifting.  I must admit, I can’t give up my sweets, but, I have cut down on what I was eating.

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As you know, most of my blogs have been about eating healthy and exercise.  I can not stress enough the power of exercise!  You don’t have to go to a gym or hire a trainer.   No matter what your age, get up and WALK.  If you haven’t exercised in a while, just try to walk around the block or even to the corner of the street and back.  Do this for a few days, then push yourself to go just a little farther.  Work your way up to a mile a day.

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If you have access to a swimming pool, that’s even better!  You don’t have to know how to swim, just get in and walk a few laps in waist deep water.  Remember how much fun you had as a kid, playing and splashing in the pool??  I bet you’ll be amazed how time will fly!

Another great way to get some exercise is Yoga.  If you are greatly overweight, you can check out my pins on Pinterest, look for, the lunch lady!!  The key is to start small.  You can’t expect to lose 25 pounds in 2 weeks or go down 3 dress sizes in a month.   Keep going one day at a time!!  If you lose 2 pounds a month, that’s 24 lbs in the year!

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If summer has passed you by, Fall is a great time to get up and get out!  Enjoy the sunshine, the crisp air, the changing colors of the trees.  

Remember the holidays are coming with all the candy, cookies and goodies!  If you go through the winter putting on extra pounds, it’s just going to be that much harder to take them off next Spring!

If you would like a free, personal BMI reading that tells how much body fat you are carrying around, send me your height and weight to my email: larsonlaura74@gmail.com and I’ll get you started on your way to a better life!!

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I hope you can take advantage of this new season!  Can you imagine yourself WOWING everyone at that Christmas party??

Take care

Laura

 

 

Post card from Colorado

Hi Everyone,

I don’t really have a “blog” today.  My family and I just came home from a wild weekend trip to Colorado.  We hit the ground running trying to cram everything we could into 48 hours!

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I must confess I LOVE Colorado Springs and all the little towns around the city, but, the main draw to me are the mountains…of course, right?  We didn’t get “into” the mountains on this trip but just seeing them is so magical.

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I will say, in those 2 days we ate more than our share of fast foods and sweets!  But on the other hand, walking through the mile stretch of the Cave of the Winds and it’s 100 stairs was good exercise after sitting in a car for 6 hours!

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The next morning we took an early jaunt to the Garden of the Gods.  By 9 a.m. the place was packed with nowhere to park.  We did find an out-of-the-way place and after all was said and done, we had walked almost 5 miles in just a few short hours!

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Once again we jumped in the car and headed for Pueblo Colorado.  The Arkansas River runs through the town and it is beautiful with all the statues, fountains and landscaping.  After the mile walk around the river, we sat and rested in the shade taking in the peacefulness of the city.  Of course our day didn’t end there, we HAD to walk around the historic district and take in a few antique stores!!

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When we finally made it back to the hotel, we ended the day with a swim and the hot tub.  Bed time came early because we had one more thing to do and that was to get up bright and early and hit the stream for some trout fishing!!!  I’m not a fishing type of person, so I did stay back and let my daughter and grandson go.  They had a great time standing knee-deep in a cool Colorado stream catching rainbow trout.

Needless to say, we all had a wonderful time, but the trip home was LONG as we all were tired!!

The point of this blog,  get out and enjoy life.  Instead of sitting on an exercise bike watching the pedometer or being on the floor counting reps, get out and walk, climb nature’s steps and find the beauty you are missing by being stuck in a room watching life go by.  How do you start?  Just put one foot in front of the other!

I want to thank you all for taking time to read my blogs and if you enjoy the topics please feel free to share.  Also if you have questions or have something you would like to talk about, please leave a comment!!

Have a great week!!

Laura

 

 

When do you need probiotics?

 

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I received this question from a follower the other day.  She was wondering if she should get some supplements to take just because it seems the thing “to do”.

I’ve heard many pros and cons about probiotic supplements. Probiotics are supplements you take to help put good bacteria back into your system due to a loss of bacteria, such as from taking antibiotics.

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Some health benefits of probiotics are, reducing inflammation, helps with depression and anxiety, lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels, can reduce blood pressure, enhances immune function, helps with skin disorders such as acne, rosacea and eczema, and a wide range of other health problems.

There are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics.  They all have different benefits.  The major three probiotics are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and a yeast found in probiotics called Saccharomyces boulardii.  These will help with diarrhea, IBS, and lactose intolerances.

There are also, L. acidophilus which is the most important strain of the Lactobacillus species.  It supports nutrient absorption and helps with the digestion of dairy foods.  B. longum helps maintain the integrity of the gut wall and it is a scavenger of toxins.  B. bifidum, is critical for the healthy digestion of dairy products.  It also is important for its ability to break down complex carbs, fat, and protein into small components that the body can use more efficiently.  L. rhamnosus, is a great travel probiotic.  This bacteria can help prevent occasional traveler’s diarrhea.

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Ok, so now you know the names of some of the healthy bacteria, don’t be so quick to run to the store to pick up a bottle.  Probiotics sold in stores may or may not have live bacteria!!  SAY WHAT???  Yes, that’s true so before you waste money on a bunch of dead bacteria, I’ll tell you why.  Since probiotic bacteria are living organisms, their health can be affected by their environment.  In years past, probiotics had to be kept in the refrigerator,  new delivery systems have done away with that for the most part, but, you still need to protect the bacteria from too much exposure to light, heat, and moisture. Not only do you have to worry about the supplements from the manufacturer but where the store is displaying them.  They shouldn’t be in the sun or near a heating vent.

The best supplements will use a delivery system that ensures a significantly high percentage of bacteria will reach your intestines alive.  Look for details on the packaging or marketing materials.  Also look at how the product is packaged.  The most preferred packaging will be in thick, opaque bottles with desiccant pouches.  There are some new styles of blister packs that also work well.

Also, the probiotic industry doesn’t require that products have expiration dates.  So, if you pick up a bottle with no expiration date, should you really buy it?  An expiration date on a probiotic supplement is the manufacturer’s promise that the bacteria will remain active and potent at the levels specified on the label until that date.

With all this being said, if you want a heathy gut you can run out and buy prebiotics (which are more or less fiber) and/or probiotics but in my opinion, stick to heathy foods!

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Examples of prebiotics are: asparagus, leeks and onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, Brussels sprouts, bananas, apples, flaxseed, wheat bran, oats, and legumes such as black beans, soy beans, kidney beans, lima beans and even peanuts!

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Examples of probiotics are: yogurt (choose yogurt with active or live cultures), Kefir, a dairy product.  Sauerkraut (make sure its unpasteurized), pasteurization kills the live and active bacteria.  Tempeh, which is a high-protein meat substitute made from soybeans.  Kimchi, which is a fermented cabbage.  Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea drink.  Pickles that are made without vinegar.  Pickles are cucumbers left to ferment for some time in a solution of salt and water.  Buttermilk, but only the traditional buttermilk.  Cultured buttermilk commonly found in America does not have any probiotic benefits.  Types of cheese like gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese.  Dark chocolate and soy milk can also be good sources of a probiotic.

These are just a few examples but if you are healthy and can eat one or two different prebiotics and probiotics a day, your body will thank you.  The choice is yours.

*If you are having serious problems with any kind of bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhea/constipation, I would suggest to get checked out by your doctor.

If any one else has questions, please write it down in the comment box!

Happy eating!!  Laura

 

The good ol’ summer time

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Can you believe summer is almost half way over?  It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes!!

This has been a very busy summer for me.  As anyone in business knows, when you are short-handed, someone has to bear the brunt of the storm and unfortunately, it was me.  Never the less, it’s all good.  I finally have a weekend off and I’m happy to say things will be somewhat normal for the rest of this month!

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I hope you all were able to have some fun times at the lake, or with family or took a nice vacation.  We all need that point in time to forget work, personal problems, and the daily grind for a few days.  That is why I started an inspiration board on my Pinterest page.  Not just for everyone, but, mainly myself!  A lot of the pins are to keep going for weight loss and  exercise, but they do hit the mark when it comes to work and other things going on in your life.  The main meaning is DON’T GIVE UP!

If work is really stressing you out and you feel you have given all you have without any appreciation, then another quote for you would be DON’T BE AFRAID TO START OVER.  If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place.  Maybe it’s time to find something that will make you happier.

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Stress is a killer on the body and mind.  Stress puts your body into overdrive causing panic attacks, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, weight gain or loss, impairs brain function, gastrointestinal upset, alcohol or drug addiction, fertility problems, and makes you more susceptible to physical illness.  So?  What can you do?

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Exercise is a great way of reducing  stress.  Go for a walk or a jog.  Get that fresh air and sunshine pumping into your body.

Healthy eating is especially beneficial.  Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Grabbing that bag of potato chips or pint of ice cream won’t help!  It will actually make you worse.

Prioritize your to do list.  Figure out what is the most important and get that accomplished.  Don’t sweat the small stuff!!

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One of the most important things to do is to make some time for yourself.  Find something that you love to do and take some time to enjoy life.  It could be reading a book, cooking, coloring, painting, playing with your dog, gardening or start a new hobby that you’ve been putting off.

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Also remember to BREATHE!!  I know this sounds insane…you HAVE to breathe, but, it’s how you breathe.  Take in a deep breath through your nose and let is out slowly through your mouth.  Do this a few times and feel how much more relaxed you become.  Of course there is meditation, massage and yoga.

If stress is affecting your daily life and nothing seems to help, make sure you talk to your doctor.  There IS help out there.  Don’t ever give up after all, life is about moments, create them, don’t wait for them!!

Have a great summer!

Laura

 

 

 

Depression and obesity is there a link?

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In this day and age, bigger is always better, right?  WRONG!!

Watching the food shows on TV where the host eats a 3 pound hamburger and a pound of fries just to get a T-shirt and a picture on the wall is crazy!  And don’t forget the 1/2 pound burgers are becoming the norm.  After all, who wants to eat a piddley kid size hamburger?

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What people aren’t getting is, fast foods are greasy and full of calories.  They can be loaded with chemicals that you don’t even know about.  Just for fun, go to the store and grab a box of pizza rolls and read the ingredients. I did and it is AMAZING!! Can you believe we give this to our kids??? Creating food to last on shelves for weeks at a time are becoming a literal science project.  The chemicals and hydrogenated oils in foods can and do lead to brain abnormalities causing stress, anxiety, depression and weight gain.

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When you are stressed out, what is the first thing you reach for…comfort food, right?  Who doesn’t want that donut or piece of cake in the office lounge for a pick me up?  In the evening when you feel down and craving “feel good” food do you choose a meal of fried chicken with mac and cheese, or go out for that hamburger, fries and soda, or pizza and beer.

In reality, these foods are not going to help.  They can make your anxiety worse and cause you to fall into depression.  When you reach for sweets to “calm” yourself, what you are really doing is making your blood sugar rise, which in turn, causes the brain to go into  overdrive, yes, it makes you feel good for an hour or so, but then you come crashing down, feeling tired and can cause a panic attack.  The best thing to do is leave simple carbs alone.  That means don’t go for sugary snacks like candy, donuts, cakes, sugary cereals, soda, and fruit juices.  Try to eat more complex carbs that keeps your sugars on a level plain.  Complex sugars would be whole grain cereals and breads or whole fruits like apples and bananas.

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Ok, so, you don’t eat snack foods but like diet sodas or energy drinks.  Diet sodas are full of  artificial sweeteners.  These sweeteners cannot be digested by the body.  They can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.  As for energy drinks and coffee, they are full of caffeine which can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.  Caffeine can actually cause panic attacks and cause sleeplessness.  Try to avoid energy drinks at all costs!  If you are thirsty, stick to water.  After all, we humans are 70% water!!

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As for the fast food diet plan, the fries, onion rings, crispy chicken, fried fish and all that other good deep fat fried foods are cooked in hydrogenated oil.  It’s not heart healthy and can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, not to mention weight gain. It can clog your arteries and narrow the blood flow to your brain, making you feel sluggish and depressed.  Another thing with fast foods, they are loaded with sodium(salt).  Too much salt in our diet has a negative effect on our brain.  It causes fatigue and damages the immune system.  Not to mention that eating an overload of salt leads to weight gain, high blood pressure and water retention.  Too much salt can trigger panic attacks, anxiety and depression.

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Alcohol will also cause depression.  It’s true, one drink can make you feel calm and relaxed, but, drinking in excess will cause anxiety.  Alcohol affects the body and nervous system and can cause hypersensitivity, increased heart rate, lowered blood sugar levels and dehydration.

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Let’s talk about that big plate of mac and cheese that our mom’s would give us to “make us feel better.”   Research does show that people who have anxiety say, they’ve noticed an increase in anxiety symptoms minutes after eating dairy products.  Why is this?  Dairy is an inflammatory.  It can cause havoc on the digestive system.  So, if you do suffer from anxiety or depression, when it comes to dealing with dairy, the answer might be no.

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Last but not least, is that big meat lovers pizza you ordered.  The pizza is full of processed meat!  With all the chemicals in processed meats, it’s a full on war with your gut!  Gut health is a major contributor to chronic anxiety.  Not to mention that the crust is made of white flour and gluten, they are not your friends.  Gluten can trigger anxiety symptoms, depression and mood disorders.

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Now that I took away all the yummy foods, what can you eat to make you feel better?  Lets start with a healthy diet consisting of dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and swiss chard.  Leafy greens fight against all kinds of inflammations.  Severe depression has been linked with brain inflammation.  Not only do the greens contain vitamins such as A,C,E, and K, and minerals, they boost your immune system and have anticancer effects.

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Next are the Omega-3 fatty acids.  These support brain function and reduce depression symptoms.  Foods rich in omega-3 are fish, such as, mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, white fish, sardines and anchovies.  Try adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week.  Walnuts are another example.  Not only are they full of Omega-3, they are packed with fiber and contain valuable amounts of copper, manganese and vitamin E.  There are seeds like chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds.  Believe it or not, egg yolks can be a good source of omega-3.  Soybeans and navy beans are another favorite.  They are also a good source of protein and fiber.  If you eat rice, you might want to try wild rice.  Wild rice is actually a grass, but, it is loaded with protein and fiber.  It’s also high in B vitamins, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium.

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Vitamin B12 is another important source for brain health.  It plays a key role in converting nutrients to energy.  If you feel exhausted or your mind feels foggy, then it’s time to get more vitamin B12.  Foods sources for B12 are, fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy.  It is also found in fortified cereals and soy or rice milk.  An interesting fact, many people over the age of 50 that suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, suffer from problems like dementia.  The result is that many people confuse the deficiency with dementia and are mistakenly diagnosed. What might be a surprise to you is that beef is one of the best sources of vitamin B12 and zinc which is important to brain health.  Turkey is also a good source.  Shellfish will give you the healthy B12 vitamin and also rich in potassium and iron.

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Another important vitamin to help with depression, is vitamin D.  The best source of vitamin D is SUNSHINE!  I know when I worked 12 hour shifts, it would be dark in the morning when I went to work and dark when I went home. Being stuck in a building all day, is no fun.  If you can, get out and enjoy the day over your break times.  It will give you the boost you need.

If you can’t get outside, you can also get vitamin D in fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon or fortified products such as dairy products orange juice, soy milk, and cereals. If you think you’re tired from all the stress at work or lack of sleep, it may be due to the lack of vitamin D.  This is the vitamin you need for your body to create energy.  You might just want to put down that high energy drink full of caffeine and grab a cup of sunshine.

What this all boils down to, stop eating processed foods high in chemicals and fats.  Start eating a healthy diet rich in meats, greens, beans, seeds, and fruits.  If you can’t pronounce the foods on the ingredient label, put the food down and walk away!!

With depression and obesity becoming an epidemic in this country, maybe it’s time we get back to basics.

Happy eating!!

Laura