Busy hands!

We finally made it to March!!  I know the weather is going crazy around the country this weekend, but, for me, it’s 70 degrees and sunshine!  You can always tell when springtime is near when the sandhill cranes start coming in by droves here in Nebraska.  That is a sight to see if you are ever in this part of the country!!

One thing about spring, it makes a person want to get outside and take in the fresh air.  It’s a time of regrowth not to mention my favorite time of year.  I can’t wait to get outside and start planting flowers and yes, I even like mowing grass!

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If you haven’t started an exercise regime yet, now is the perfect time!  I know I’ve said this before, but, gardening is a great way of exercising,  digging holes, squatting down to plant, and walking to get the hose….believe me, you will feel that in your legs and back!Mowing grass with a small, push mower is another great way to get steps in, plus sunshine and vitamin D!  Soon it will be time for bike rides, swimming, and walks in the park.

All of these things are great things to do to get you up and out of the house and forget about running to the fridge or cabinets for something to eat.  As they say, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so keep your hands and mind busy on other things than junk food!  Get creative!  Start thinking about something you have never tried before.  Which brings me to my point of busy hands.

I have a couple of followers that have taught themselves not only creative ways of de-stressing, but, keeping their minds off food.  One has taught herself to make jewelry.  In the winter time she designs and makes beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pins.  In the spring, summer and fall, she goes to flea markets and sells her products.

 

 

 

Another one of my followers taught herself how to crochet.  She started out slow learning how to chain and a couple of stitches, but now, she has made beautiful afghans, baby hats for hospitals and even sweaters for her cats!!  She has just started to make little stuffed toys.

As you can see both of these women are very artistic and talented!! Also, if you are interested in any of their work, contact me at this site!

So, when you are feeling BORED…..drop the chips and the chocolates and get your mind and hands BUSY!!

Good luck and I hope to see some pictures of your artistic work!!

Laura

 

 

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Put one foot in front of the other

put one foot in front of the other
Take an adventure, get up and start walking!

 

It’s been almost a month since I wrote “Time for a New Start”.

Just wondering how you are doing out there?  Did you find the 500 calories a day to cut out of your daily diet?

I did hear from a reader, she and her family are working hard on continuing to knock out those unwanted calories.  She bought herself one of those wristbands that tells you how many feet and miles you walk, and how many calories you have burned.  It’s a great motivator for her.  She gets very excited when she is nearing her 10,000 steps for the day!!

I think that little gadget is a great tool to use to keep your motivation up.  She told me, she walks between 3 and 5 miles a day at work!!  Who would have guessed?

I know I used a pedometer while mowing my grass on a HOT, summer day.  I couldn’t believe when I looked and had walked 3 miles!  I thought I was just hot and tired!!

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As far as exercising goes, things like taking the steps at work, or, instead of trying to carry all the groceries in one trip, take a bag at a time, mowing grass using a push mower, taking the dog for a walk, raking the lawn, gardening and the list goes on and on, are all easy ways to exercise.  You don’t have to twist around or bend backwards to get exercise, especially for people in my age group!!  Just get out of that chair and WALK!!

With Spring on the horizon, there is no excuse to sit in the house!!  Get out and get some fresh air and sunshine.  Not only will being outside get you away from the fridge, it will put you in a great mood.  There is nothing like a healthy dose of natural vitamin D!

Let the adventures begin!!

Laura

 

Nature’s cure-all

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I thought it would be interesting to discuss a few things about the foods we eat.  Today, I’m going to talk about garlic.

We all love the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove or the warm bread dripping with garlic butter, but, where did garlic get its start?

Garlic is naturally grown in Central Asia and Northeastern Iran.  It has been used as a seasoning and as a medicine for thousands of years.  Garlic was actually found in ancient pyramids!!

So, what was garlic used for?  Back thousands of years ago, garlic was a natural   medicine.  In Egypt, they gave it to the slaves to help with productivity, strength and heat stroke.  They also used garlic oil for skin disease.  In Greece, soldiers ate it to enhance courage and performance.

Garlic was also thought to cure small pox, intestinal worms, circulatory ailments, depression, edema, animal bites, joint disease, seizures, and to prevent you from getting the plague.

Oh, and let us NOT forget….the Europeans used garlic to keep vampires, werewolves, and demons away by wearing a string of garlic around their neck or hanging it in the windows of their homes.  Garlic was also rubbed on chimneys and key holes for added safety!!

In the 19th century, American Indians were discovered using garlic as a tea for flu-like symptoms.  Louis Pasteur reported that 1mm of raw garlic was as effective as 60mg. of penicillin.  During WWI, garlic was known as the Russian penicillin.  Garlic was used in WWI and WWII as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene.

Not only is garlic used for medicinal purposes, it’s also known for its natural repellent.  Garlic is used in the UK as an insecticide and nematicide for controlling the cabbage root fly and red mites on poultry.  It is also used as a meat and fish preservative.  Garlic also repels rabbits, moles, birds, garden worms, mosquitoes, slugs and other insects.

With all its history, modern science is doing research with garlic for preventing cardiovascular disease and on certain cancers such as upper digestive tract and stomach cancers.

Why is garlic such a cure-all?  It’s not when eaten in a typical serving size of 1 to 3 cloves.  When used per 100 grams it contains several nutrients that exceed 20% or more of your daily value.  Garlic has vitamins B6 and C, thiamine and pantothenic acid, as well as calcium, iron and zinc.  It also contains the minerals, manganese and phosphorus.

With all the wondrous things garlic can do, unfortunately, bad breath and smelly body odors go along with the product.  The chemicals in the garlic are absorbed into the blood and travels to the lungs and is released through skin pores.  Brushing your teeth and taking a bath will help only so much.  The smell has to eventually go through your system.  FYI, taking sips of milk while eating garlic will help neutralize bad breath.  Parsley is another good cleanser.

Some people have allergies to garlic.  Symptoms include, irritable bowel, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcerations, nausea, breathing difficulties and in rare cases anaphylaxis.  Garlic may also interfere with medications you are taking.  Before you think about taking garlic in high doses or a supplement, make sure to talk to your doctor first!!!

I hope you enjoyed this little informative blog.  Maybe the next time you sit down to your favorite meal, you can start some table chatter!!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cup runneth over

pexels-photo-176649.jpegDid you know 60% of your body is made of water?

Not only do you need to eat right, but, you have to drink plenty of fluids to refresh yourself every day.  The old saying of drinking 8, 8 ounce servings of water was the norm, but, according to Clemson State University, you need to drink 1 quart (4, 8 ounce cups) of water for every 50 pounds of body weight.  A 200 pound man would need to drink 16 cups of water a day!!

Why on earth do we need that much water?  Water brings nutrients to our cells and also removes waste from our cells.  Every part of our body needs water to function!

If we don’t get enough water, our bodies will show symptoms such as, bad breath, dry mouth, dry eyes, fatigue, an increase in heart rate, decrease in blood pressure, constipation, decreased urine output, muscle cramps, and loss of skin elasticity.  Severe dehydration can cause death.

When exercising, it’s a good idea to drink, 2 or 3 cups of water 2 hours before your workout.  While exercising, try to drink up to a cup of water every 15 minutes.  If your workout is strenuous and lasts over an hour, you might want to drink a sports drink for the added electrolytes and salt to regulate your body.

If you are exercising in extreme heat, make sure to drink more water.  By the time you actually feel thirsty, you are already starting to get dehydrated.  Increase your intake by 2 or 3 cups.  Even though water can help with regulating body temperature, it will not help prevent heat stroke.  Make sure you can exercise in some shade.

If you are on a diet, drinking water can also help you to lose weight.  Sometimes our bodies don’t recognize that we are thirsty, but, give the feeling of hunger.  Try to drink a glass of water before meals.  Also, instead of high sugar drinks, try drinking water with your meals.  If you don’t like the plain taste of water, add some fresh lemon, lime or drink carbonated water.

Just a fun fact, when you are on a diet, you can eat vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini, radishes, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, spinach, broccoli, carrots, peas and white potatoes or fruit like, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches, pineapple, cranberries, oranges, raspberries, apricots, blueberries, plums, cherries, grapes and bananas without gaining weight, why?  Because they are mostly water!

Make sure to check on the children and elderly!  These categories of people can’t feel the need for water as much as the rest of the population.  Dehydration can happen fast if children and elderly are vomiting or have diarrhea.  Hospitalization could be necessary.

Also, if you want to avoid a hangover after a night of partying, try to drink some water in between alcoholic beverages.  The headache from drinking is your body’s way of telling you, it’s thirsty!!!

CHEERS!

Laura

 

 

 

 

Not tonight, I have a “headache”

ache-adult-depression-expression-41253.jpegWe’ve all had headaches at one point in time, but, when a headache becomes disabling, it’s more than a headache, it’s a MIGRAINE!

The mere sound of anything above a whisper can bring you to your knees, not to mention, the light from a lamp can feel like a laser beam blasting into your eyes.  The upset stomach, the fatigue, the “wish I were dead” feeling all signs of a migraine.

There are many things that can trigger a migraine, stress and hormonal changes to weather changes.   I’m going to talk about some food triggers.

Unfortunately, there are MANY foods that we enjoy everyday that can cause a migraine to hit.  With Valentine’s day just a couple of days away, BEWARE!

If you are planning a romantic night with perfumed candles, red wine, bread and cheese.  Migraine sufferers, you might want to think twice.  All of the above are major players in triggering migraines.  Yes, even the perfumed candle.  Smells are a great trigger.

If your sweetie shows up at your door with chocolate…..say thanks but don’t eat it!  Chocolate is the top contender for bringing on migraines. So?  Now that I blew that evening out of the water, what do you want to do??

Pizza and a salad??  Oh no, the yeast in the crust can cause a migraine, salad is ok as long as you don’t use a salad dressing made of balsamic or red vinegar.

Chinese food??  Sorry, Chinese food is loaded with MSG which can lead to a super migraine.

Ok, how about, Mexican food??  No way! Unless you stay away from chili peppers, beans, sour cream, olives and avocados!

So, you decided to stay home and have hot dogs, pickles and beer?  Sorry Charlie, processed food, pickled anything and beer are big NO NO’s!!

Well then,  you decided to skip supper and go out for breakfast.  First off, skipping meals can make your blood sugar go hay wire and could trigger a migraine!  But,  you love bacon, eggs, fruit, coffee and milk.  It sounds safe enough doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, processed foods like bacon, lunchmeats, ham and fish will flare a migraine.  Whole milk is a trigger and so are fresh or dried citrus fruits.  Bananas and red plums are also a bad choice.  That coffee…if you already drink it on a regular basis, ok, just a cup or two.

The caffeine in coffee, tea, and soda will all trigger migraines.  Oh, and for the record, don’t try diet soda, the asparatame and other artificial sweeteners can reek havoc.  There are also snack foods, fatty foods, ice cream, yogurt, and food dyes that can turn your head upside down leaving you to scream for mercy.

So?  How do you figure out what food you can eat?  You can start with a Migraine Journal.  The journal should contain a detailed description of your migraine attack.  Write what you were eating before the attack, how long the migraine lasted, and the symptoms you experienced..

If you do want some good news.  When you feel a migraine coming on, make sure  you drink plenty of water.  If you like, munch on things like watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce or a baked potato (skip the sour cream!).  These all contain high levels of water.  Other things to try are whole grain cereals including oatmeal and brown rice, cherries, pumpkin and sesame seeds, brazil nuts and almonds.

Here’s to a GREAT time on Valentine’s day!!!

Happy eating!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s mind blowing!

pexels-photo-769525.jpegI was talking to some moms at my grandson’s basketball game today, they were all complaining that their young teens would forget their heads if they weren’t attached. The moms were all wondering why the kids can’t remember to hand in their homework,  do their chores, or for that matter remember what they were told to do just 5 minutes ago.

Yes, part of it can be the age of the kids, after all life for tweens and teens can be overwhelming with teachers and parents pulling them in all directions.  There is SO MUCH to remember!!

One thing for sure is to make sure your kids are getting enough sleep.  These kids need up to 10 hours of sleep a night to be totally rested.  Yes, I know, what kid that age wants to go to bed at 8 or 9 pm, right??

Let’s look at nutrition!

If you send your child off to school with a sweet roll,  a piece of toast or a bowl of sugary cereal they will get “mind fog”.  I know breakfast is a crazy time of the day with everyone getting ready at once but, if you want your child to succeed, you might want to think about what they put in their mouths.

So?  What are “brain foods”?  Start the day giving your child an egg.  Eggs are packed with choline, which helps memory development plus a great source of protein.  Make a breakfast burrito,  an egg sandwich or hard boiled eggs for an on the go meal.  Or have eggs for supper a couple times a week.

Peanut butter is also a great brain food.  It’s a good source of vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes.  Send them off to school with a piece of peanut butter toast and a banana.

Have some Greek yogurt on hand with fresh berries.  Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and even cherries are full of antioxidants, and vitamin C.  If your child doesn’t like yogurt, try putting berries on oat cereal or oatmeal.  Oatmeal is a great source of fiber and vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium and zinc which makes our bodies and brains function to the highest level.

Then there are vegetables.  I’m sure kids are the first to turn down veggies, but, if you can get them to eat things like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and spinach you have won a battle!!  You can get the little cherry tomatoes, sweet potato fries, pumpkin muffins, baby carrots or make a spinach salad.

Don’t forget the MILK!  Dairy foods are packed with protein and B vitamins which are necessary for the growth of brain tissue.  Milk and yogurt are energy for the brain.

We must not forget that children need lean beef.  Not just for the protein it gives but also beef is a great source of iron.  Iron is an essential mineral that helps kids stay energized and concentrate at school.  Beef also contains zinc, which helps with memory.

If beef isn’t your thing, black beans or soy burgers are good choices.  Both are full of iron. Kidney and pinto beans are also a great brain food because these beans contain more omega 3 fatty acids than other beans.

Which brings me to the last important brain food…..FISH.  Salmon is the best fish because it’s rich in omega 3s and vitamin D.  Tuna and sardines are also high in omega 3s.  Omega 3s help kids to function and focus.

Although this sounds like a lot of information, it’s pretty basic.

Breakfast can be eggs and toast  or oatmeal and berries.  Lunch, salmon patties and a spinach salad with tomatoes, cheese and sliced eggs.  Or a tuna sandwich with spinach leaves and slices of tomatoes.  After school snack, string cheese or yogurt with berries.  Supper,  beef, sweet potato fries, black bean salad.  And DON’T forget to serve an 8 ounce glass of low fat milk with each meal!!

I hope this gives you a little insight and I can’t wait to hear back from you moms!!

Take care and happy eating!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TWEEN SCENE

pexels-photo-256658.jpegI had a very good question from a reader.  What can I do to help my 12 year old lose weight??

First off, remember that body changes are happening in girls, ages 11 through 15.  For boys the changes start between 12 and 13 and actually don’t stop until boys reach age 19.  So, what does that mean?

During these growth spurt times, approximately 20 percent of adult height and 50 percent of body weight are gained.  So naturally, your children are going to be gaining weight.

This is also the time NOT to start body shaming your kids.  I know, I heard it from my own family.  My parents said things like, you’re not fat, you’re pleasing plump, or you’re just big-boned.  Yeah, that helps!!  Of course siblings on the other hand just come right out and call you FAT and to ADD a little extra zing….fat and UGLY!!  I remember crying and locking myself in my room at family get togethers.  To tell you the truth, up until just a few short years ago, I truly believed I should be walking around with a bag over my head to hide my ugliness from the world!!

Body shaming at this age can lead to all sorts of complications like, depression, anorexia, bulimia, and low self-esteem.  It can also cause the child to feel unwanted which leads them back to eating for comfort, which in turn, makes them gain more weight.

What is a parent to do?  For one thing, be supportive!!  Tell your child that this is natural.  Their body is changing and preparing for adulthood.

The main thing to do as a parent is to load up on foods your child needs like protein, calcium based foods, fiber, and foods high in vitamins C and A and for girls make sure they get some extra iron.  Adolescents need 4 glass of milk or equivalent (cheese, yogurt) a day.   4 ounces of lean meats, fish, or 2 eggs with yolks at meals for protein and iron.  Citrus fruits, tomatoes, yellow vegetables and leafy dark greens for the A and C.  Don’t forget to get whole grain and enriched breads and cereals.

Since Tweens and Teens are always on the run you might want to send them with things like, small packs of nuts or sunflower seeds, fresh fruit, individual packaged, unsweetened cereals, mini muffins or bagels, yogurt, popcorn or oatmeal raisin cookies (as long as they only eat a couple and not a whole dozen!).  Make sure to steer away from chips, cookies, candies, and soft drinks.  Also,  be very cautious when it comes to nutrition bars.  Read the labels!!!  A lot of those bars are loaded with sugar and CALORIES.  One nutrition bar can have more calories than a candy bar!

Also, try to get your children away from the video games, cell phones, tablets and TV.  Remember the days of jumping rope?  Try to make exercise family time.  I’m sure if you work at a desk all day you will enjoy the benefits of a family game of soccer, football or basketball or a walk or jog around the block.  A half hour to an hour a day would help burn those calories.  Not to mention, clear their minds, help them sleep, and put them in a better mood!!

Remember, be supportive!!  Don’t sit in the house and tell your child to go out and get exercise while you sit and watch TV eating potato chips!!  Children learn habits from their parents.  Be your child’s super hero!  I guarantee, it will help bring the whole family closer.

Take care  🙂

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

How ya doin?

It’s been a few days, have you decided what 500 calories a day, you can live without?

To get the ball rolling, let’s talk about exercise.  If you are like me, you are at a point in life where your joints hurt and there is NO WAY you can bend yourself into a pretzel.  Your jumping jack days are over with and FORGET about jogging.

The good news is, you don’t have to do those things!  All you have to do is to start walking.

If it’s been a while since you’ve actually “moved”, start slow.  Walk to your mailbox, the end of your driveway, or to the end of the block.  When you open that door, take a deep breath of fresh air and feel the warmth of the sun.  What better way to get rid of the winter time blues!!

Before you know it, you will be walking down the driveway and around the block!  Walking for 30 minutes a day will help burn up calories, clear your head and boost your mood.  Maybe you can recruit a friend or a furbaby to go with you.  I have NEVER seen a dog turn down the opportunity to go for a walk!

Good luck to you!  If you have any comments, I’d like to hear them!!

Let’s begin to enjoy life again!!

Laura

 

 

 

Time for a new start!

Now that we know what causes us to overeat, what are we going to do about it?

The new week is starting, let’s get to work!!

To find out where you are getting all those extra calories, I recommend going over the last 3 days and write down what you ate.  Don’t forget the afternoon candy bar or the midmorning donut!!  Write down EVERYTHING that you can remember.

Did you know to lose 1 pound at week, you need to cut your intake by 500 calories a day? So?  What would be 500 calories?  That big dish of ice cream before bed.  Those 2 candy bars a day.  That sweet roll you had to have with your coffee.  Or upsizing your french fries and soda at a local fast food place.

You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight.  When you do, most of the “fast” weight that drops is water.  Then you start to lose muscle mass.  We have to learn to make simple nutritious changes in our diets.

We all know we need 5-7 servings of fruit and veggies a day.  I know, I’ve said it myself…FIVE to SEVEN servings of fruit and veggies…..UGH!!  But, in this age of bigger is better, there are 2 servings of fruit in one large apple.  10 grapes are considered one serving, as are 6 strawberries.  Doesn’t seem like a whole lot put in that perspective does it?

As for vegetables, 1/2 cup of canned or frozen vegetables is a serving.  One cup of lettuce is a serving.  So, if you want a salad, and you add some tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, you can almost get 3-4 servings of fresh vegetables in that one salad.  Just make sure you watch the amount of salad dressing you add.  A salad at a fast food place can equal the calorie count of a medium hamburger!!

Ok friends, do your homework!!  Find out where you can cut back on those unwanted calories!

Let me know how it goes!

Laura

 

 

 

It’s HUMP day!!

Ok…we made it to Wednesday!  This week has been long and I still have miles to go!

Which brings me to the next subject, eating when you’re TIRED.  Does anyone else out there grab cups of coffee or soda and maybe some cookies or a sweet roll to wake up?

Seems like it’s mornings where I’m tired, I CRAVE sweets.  Why?  Well, I could tell you because I need a carb high in which I do, but, unfortunately, grabbing a sweet roll or a handful of cookies will make you crash in an hour or so.  When that happens, what do we do?  Do we stop to get something with protein and a small amount of carbs to make us feel full and happy?  Most likely, if you’re like me you head to the lounge at work and find someone brought cupcakes or donuts!!  Once again, goodies filled with unwanted calories and a sugar spike only to come crashing down again.

What should we do on days like this?  Eating a decent breakfast would be a great thing to do!!  Eggs, sausage, a piece of toast with a little jelly, and a piece of fresh fruit would be perfect.  The eggs and sausage would fight those hunger pangs you get mid day and the toast and jelly would give you the energy boost you need.    Also, the egg breakfast would be around 300 calories as to where the sweet roll could be anywhere from 500 calories up depending on size.

I hear you, you don’t have time in the mornings to cook let alone sit down and eat a big breakfast.  There are some good, fast, frozen options out there.  Just make sure to read the labels.  One serving is ONE SERVING.  If you eat 3 sandwich biscuits or whatever, remember to add the calories!!

Once we find the hidden calories and start reading and following labels, we might just start on the road to losing weight!!

I hope you have a good week and keep in touch.  If you have any questions hopefully I’ll be able to answer them.

Laura