“There’s a big difference between empty fatigue and gratifying exhaustion. Know the difference. Life is too short. Invest in the activities (and relationships) you deeply care about. Value what you give your energy to. Focus on what matters and let go of what does not.”
I love this quote! Pause for a few moments and allow it to resonate deep within.
Redefine this Season of Spring. Go through each room of your spiritual ‘house’ and do some deep cleaning.
Liberate the mind, body and spirit by letting go of the things that are no longer meant to be. How do you know what these things are? If we spend any time at all getting quiet….and then really listening; we will know. Deep in our hearts, we will know.
I live in a part of the world that fully undergoes four unique seasons. Some months, it may seem like all four of these changeable climates are rolled into one. With the seasons, our bodies and minds should naturally follow suit.
Many complain of feeling drained and tired after having gone through the harsh winter months. That’s when we truly need to re-evaluate our physical activities and the meals we are consuming. Get outdoors and breathe some fresh air. A brisk walk, especially in one of our beautiful parks; always soothes my spirit and energizes me.
The cold, dark winter months often mean dishes heavy on ‘comforting’ carbohydrates and not much in the way of vegetables. Now is the time to make that seasonal shift toward energizing and lighter foods. Focus on creating meals that provide a wide array of colors and nourishment. Exchange ’empty’ carbohydrates for satiating, complex carbohydrates. These keep us feeling full and provide energy needed for outdoor activities.
And then there is the delicate issue of removing people and situations that may no longer be conducive for enjoying a positive and healthy way of living. It does not mean we don’t still love and care about those people or situations; just that it may be time to move on. It’s never an easy process. It can be downright painful. Exchange activities that are draining for ones that promote feelings of excitement and growth. No one feels energized while stagnant.
Our lives are a reflection of our interests. Our physical design is an accessory that reflects our luxurious and delicious way of life. We enjoy our lives most when we are energized by our surroundings.
Traditions vary from culture to culture regarding meals prepared to usher in an epic New Year. I find it fascinating that these foods are considered fate changers!
—Grapes. New Year’s revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight; one grape for each stroke of the clock. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.
—Cooked Greens. Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason; their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune
—Legumes. In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind.
—Pork. The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. Pork is consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.
— Sauerkraut. The Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of mashed potatoes, pork roast and sauerkraut was created out of seasonal practicality more than true luck. This is a tradition I am familiar with and except for the pork, still enjoy today.
—Fish. Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year’s table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of ‘Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World’, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages.
—Cakes. Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served from Christmas to New Year’s around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items.In certain cultures, it’s customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year.
Certain customs require leaving a bit of food on your plate past midnight to assure your pantry will be well stocked.
It’s always fun to look beyond your own customs and traditions. Whether you believe in ‘luck’ or not; food is an important part of our celebrations and heritage.
Many of these delightful cultural traditions derived from what was locally available and seasonal.
Food is meant to be enjoyed and provides our bodies with energy, health and vitality. The foods we consume truly can change our fate by creating good health.
In an effort to ‘have the edge’ over other humans, whether those ‘others’ are the competition, peers, co-workers or humankind; often leads to a slippery slope. That slippery slope can lead us to another type of edge. Hanging out on the edge can often spell d-a-n-g-e-r.
I was thinking about this week’s headlines regarding Coconut Oil. Nothing creates more confusion than conflicting reports in the world of health and nutrition. The question is; Why were we putting the stuff in our coffee, our oatmeal, cooking with it and eating it right out of the jar to begin with?
We have heard from well meaning pushers of Coconut Oil that it is antimicrobial and contains lauric acid. We were told it was an aid for Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering from epilepsy. The white stuff contains these amazing things called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) and that they can aid in fat burning and weight loss. We’ve heard these MCT’s also can provide energy. We were sold the idea that our brains loved this stuff and so does our skin and hair.
There it is. That edge. Why did we rush to the store and buy tons of this stuff to begin with? To have that edge. To run faster. Be leaner. Have shinier hair and more beautiful skin. To focus better at work. To perform better at the gym. To have ‘that edge’. Which very often drives us to do some pretty crazy things without batting an eye.
I’m picking on Coconut Oil only because it has been the latest ‘darling’ of the health and wellness world. There are shelves and shelves of supplements, diet aids, contraptions, and nonsense that we fork over our hard earned money to help us find that ‘edge’. In a world that capitalizes on our imperfections; we need to find a better ‘edge’. We need to take a more radical stand and stop falling for ‘hype’ at the expense of our health.
There is a plethora of product pushing aimed at our weaknesses. It hits us right where it hurts. Where we feel vulnerable. Social media, magazines, newspapers, and TV, all take part in this pushing us to the edge to gain an edge. We fall prey to TV personalities telling us we need to go out and buy this or that. Misinformed friends, relatives and yes, sadly, people in the health and fitness industry, provide information without research. All too often, this advice teeters on the edge of being harmful.
We must become better informed prior to falling for the latest fad. Ask questions. Dig deep. You know that saying, just because it’s in print, doesn’t make it true? Pay attention to who, what, when, why and where.
I admit, I have a jar ( a big one!) of Coconut Oil in the pantry. I tried it in my coffee and almost threw up. I tried cooking with it and smoked up my entire kitchen. I blopped a spoonful in my Oatmeal (another experience with feeling ill) and I’ve rubbed the stuff on my feet (that worked!).
We need to stop being so gullible and believing that these things will provide that Edge we’re looking for. Better yet, why do we think we need to have that Edge to begin with?
Authenticity, passion, and believing in the power of wholesome food will get you there faster than Coconut Oil or whatever the next fad will be. Sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night, keeping hydrated with fresh, filtered water, eating food that elevates mood and energy, taking brisk walks; these will give you that Edge you’re looking for.
Aging is inevitable, and “Old age,” as Bette Davis once said, “is no place for sissies.” Much of the way we age has to do with our genetics and the way our parents and grandparents aged.
These factors cannot be controlled. But there are proactive steps we can take that can make a big difference.
—What we eat. Yes, nutrition matters. Sugars, unhealthy fats and carbohydrate heavy diets age our skin. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, salmon, and flaxseed, help our skin manufacture the essential oils it needs to protect itself and maintain a youthful appearance.
—Sleep. Beauty sleep is real. During sleep, our body releases a growth hormone that helps restore collagen and elastin, the essential building blocks of young, healthy skin.
—How much we eat. Overeating creates a host of unhealthy scenarios in our body. Learn to stop when satiated and full.
—Exercise. Literally, the fountain of youth. Maintaining muscle mass, as well as strength, can keep us independent and reduces the risk of dementia. Exercise strengthens the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and mental focus.
—Skin protection. Sunscreen. After only a few moments in the sun, our skins stops making essential vitamin D, and begins to make skin cancer. Protect the largest organ on our body; our skin.
—Get social. Maintaining a close circle of friends and family is essential to aging well.
—Think positive. I can’t say enough about this one. We truly are what we think. Spend time using positive aspirations, and engaging in positive activities. Negativity drains the life out of us!
Aging with class, grace and beauty starts within, and radiates outward.
–Whole Grain Bread
–Whole Grain Pasta
–Whole Grain Cereals (Steel Cut Oats, Old-Fashioned Oats)
–AVOID Simple Carbohydrates, such as white bread, sugary treats, cookies, pastry, white pasta or crackers which tend to reduce serotonin levels and do not promote a good night’s sleep.
–Low fat cheese
–AVOID high-fat cheese, deep fried anything, chicken wings.
–Lean proteins are high in the amino acid, tryptophan, which tend to increase serotonin levels. Fatty foods are just the opposite, and tend to take longer to digest, keeping you awake.
HEART HEALTHY FATS
–Natural, no sugar added Peanut Butter
–Natural, raw Nut Butters
–Raw, unsalted Nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts)
–AVOID highly processed foods which are high in fat (snack chips, potato chips, french fries or other high fat foods, which will decrease serotonin levels.
–Herbal Teas (peppermint or chamomile)
–AVOID anything caffeinated after 2 pm.
–These herbs contain chemicals that can reduce tension and promote sleep
–AVOID red pepper, black pepper or anything too ‘spicy’ as they tend to have a stimulatory effect.
One of my favorite ‘go to’ anti-aging regimens contains only ONE INGREDIENT!
Raw, unsalted; the walnut is one of my favorite anti-inflammatory and anti-aging foods.
Simple, natural and readily available. The Walnut contains more apha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid, than any other nut. While most nuts contain monounsaturated fats, only walnuts are comprised primarily of polyunsaturated fat (13 grams out of 18 grams total fat).
The key is quantity and balance. A handful ( 12-14 walnut halves or 1/4 cup is equivalent to one ounce) is just the right amount to toss atop your Oatmeal or on top of a micro-greens salad or stirred in with vegetables.
The Omega-3 fats are essential fats. The body is unable to make them from scratch, and requires food as their source. Walnuts are an exceptional source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Food compounds such as fatty acids can help calm inflammation.
Walnuts also provide a powerhouse of other nutrients that help build optimal health.
Some of the most effective anti-aging products are the foods we consume.
What if I told you the foods we eat have a direct impact on how our skin, hair and nails appear? Anti-oxidant rich foods, such as dark, leafy greens, blueberries, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and fatty fish, like Salmon, all provide a protective benefit to our skin. Consuming yellow / orange fruits and vegetables, like carrots or apricots, provide the skin with natural beautifying properties. Did you know a bowl of oatmeal ( old-fashioned, steel-cut) contains an abundant source of silicon? Silicon is considered a beautifying mineral, which, among other health benefits, can restore the natural glow of the skin.
The best foods for our skin, hair and nails also provide the body with the best health overall. A diet rich in vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds and lean protein, plenty of water, while minimizing consumption of processed foods and sugar, will keep your skin glowing and naturally beautiful.
It’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves! We can’t serve others from an empty vessel!
I do not honestly believe that people intentionally mistreat their bodies….It’s simply a lack of knowledge as to what to do to take better care of themselves.
It’s not radical…It’s not about dieting. It’s about making better choices and living thoughtfully!
20 Ways to Love Your Body
Compiled By: Margo Maine, PhD
1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.
2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.
3. Become aware of what your body can do each day. Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
4. Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
5.Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance. Try one!
10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy.
11. Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.
12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.
Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Loving your body means you get to feel like that again, even in this body, at this age.
16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself—without mentioning your appearance. Add to it daily!
17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
18. Search for the beauty in the world and in yourself.
19. Consider that, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
20. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty
When you think of couples that seem so natural together; you can’t help but think of Fred and Ginger. They were nothing short of magical together.
Certain foods are natural combinations, as well. Peanut Butter and Jelly, Turkey and Dressing, Eggs and Toast, to name a few. We all have our favorites, healthy or not.
However, some foods don’t seem to pair together well at all. But, boy do they work hard together! These are the food pairings I’d like to share.
It’s called ‘Food Synergy’!
Food Synergy is a term believed to be coined by researcher David Jacobs, Ph.D, according to HuffPost Healthy Living.
The basic idea is that foods affect our health in a number of complex ways, and we may get even more bang for our buck when certain foods are eaten together.
Here are a few of these Dynamic Duos:
Tomato and Avocado—
“A study from Purdue University explained that carotenoid nutrients, found in colorful produce like tomatoes, can’t be absorbed by the body unless they are delivered with a little fat. Tomatoes are well known for containing the carotenoid lycopene, which may decrease the risk of some cancers. To get all the disease-fighting benefits, pair them with about a quarter of an avocado, worth about 4 grams of absorption-boosting monounsaturated fats. Other nutrients in fruits and veggies, including vitamins A, D and E, are also best absorbed with a little fat, so it’s a smart idea to mix one of these healthy sources into your next salad.”
Oatmeal and Vitamin C (oranges, grapefruit)–
“Oatmeal is a well-documented heart helper, but eating oats (and other whole-grain foods) with a side of vitamin C can help stabilize cholesterol levels to keep arteries clear.”
Black Pepper and Turmeric—
“Black Pepper slows down the metabolism of curcumin, the anti-oxidant found in turmeric. Curcumin contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Adding pepper increases the absorption of curcumin. In fact, Melissa Rifkin, R.D. explains that using the two spices together “improves the bioavailability of curcumin by 1000 times!”
Broccoli and Tomatoes–
“Pair the cancer-fighting powers of lycopene-rich tomatoes with broccoli for extra protection against prostate cancer.” Two are better than one!
Apples and Grapes–
“The flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant behind many of the health benefits of apples, and also found in berries, may help fight breathing problems and some cancers and keep memory sharp. But, when eaten in tandem with catechin, another flavonoid, this time found in purple grapes, the combo may inhibit blood clots and boost heart health.”
These are just a few of the many dynamic duos in the food world.
Put them together and they can provide even more nutritional impact than when eaten alone.
Eating a variety of fresh, whole foods, especially some of the ‘power’ couples, can boost help nutrition. Including delicious recipes in your week, taking advantage of Food Synergy can be yummy and beneficial!