February 26, 2009
So to keep away the bad bacteria, eat the good bacteria!
Tip: Look for yogurts that have the "contains live & active cultures" seal on the product. Don't buy yogurt if it does not have this seal: you're not getting your healthy bacteria if the stamp is absent!
Many grocery chains carry very cheap, very healthy brands of yogurt with this "live & active culture" seal. My favorite is Dannon "Light & Fit" Plain Vanilla Yogurt, which costs about $.88 at the grocery store.
Another benefit of yogurt is that it contains tons of calcium, which is great for any active person because it keeps bones strong and fends off osteoporosis later on in life. Take a Vitamin D supplement to help your body absorb all that wonderful calcium!
Should you cut even more calories and eat less, or should you exercise more?
Exercise experts suggest the answer: exercise more.
The reason for this is that if you cut out too many calories in order to lose weight, it will actually cause your metabolism to slow, because your body will be going into starvation mode, trying to conserve all the energy it gets. Of course, this is for extreme dieters and calorie-cutters, but the fact remains for the rest of us, that you should up your exercise routine if you're already watching your caloric intake.
If you're a runner, the experts suggest alternating between running fast & slow, for that extra calorie burn. Running slow for long periods of time builds endurance & teaches your body to burn more calories throughout the day. Running fast burns more calories during exercise, so combining both is recommended for the ultimate calorie burn.
This fast & slow combination can apply to any sport or physical activity: walking, swimming, cycling, weight lifting, etc. All you have to do is alternate your speed. But caution: start out slow you don't hurt yourself!
Some experts only recommend doing this "speed work" once or twice a week.
Try this suggestion for a few weeks, and you'll probably see results and lose those last few pounds!
February 20, 2009
Quinoa also contains lots of carbohydrates and magnesium, folate, iron, and fiber. All of these nutrients are necessary for our bodies' peak function. Quinoa also cooks up in half the time as brown rice. It usually takes 15 minutes to cook, and the proper ratio is 2 to 1 water-to-grain.
This grain can be found in bulk at most "whole foods" or "fresh fare" markets.
(idea found in Runner's World magazine, March 2009)
This family-owned farm market specializes in fresh produce and beautiful flowers of all kinds. Jeff takes great pride in offering only the best of the best, and visitors will find his produce to be fresh, wholesome, and healthy.
This is his blog: http://bloomsandberriesfarm.blogspot.com/
These are his 2 company websites: http://www.bloomsandberriesfarmmarket.com/ and http://www.squidoo.com/VegetableGardener
February 19, 2009
Is your marriage in a rut? Do you feel unloved, lonely, and unknown by your spouse? Do you even remember why you married them in the first place? Are you thinking about giving up on your marriage?
Before you give up, try and make it work. You've probably tried everything you can think of to revitalize your marriage, right? You probably have. But here's a few other ideas you may want to consider & try.
Remember that you not only love your spouse, but you like them, too. Remember when you could sit and talk for hours on the phone or in the car? You have things in common; some parts of your personality are similar to theirs. Engage in conversation about anything deeper than the normal, superficial "how are you?" The typical response to that is "fine." Let your spouse know that you are genuinely interested in them and their thoughts and feelings.
Do things together that you used to like doing, like watching your favorite sitcom, taking evening walks, working outside, going to the park, or eating out. The bottom line is: you can be in love with someone, but you're marriage is only going to last if you remember all the reasons why you actually like that person. Loving is easy; liking goes beyond feelings and involves the mind, personality, and emotions. If you don't like someone, then you'll never be close because you'll never connect. You won't be able to engage in deep & interesting conversations and stimulate each other's minds for years to come. And you won't have anything fun to do together. So remember why you liked your spouse when you were dating!
And if you think they have changed and you realize that you don't like your spouse, take time to examine their lives, hearts, character, and opinions. Chances are, you'll be able to create a long list of things that you like about your spouse. And that will help you re-connect.
Realize that the one thing you want from your spouse may be different than the one thing they want most from you. For example, it is common knowledge that men crave the respect of their wives more than anything else, and that women desperately need to know that their husbands love them. If either of these is thrown into doubt, even for an instant, it can wreak havoc on the person's state of mind, and will cause a gap in your marriage.
Your husband needs to know that you respect him. He believes that if he feels respected by you, then he automatically feels loved. Feeling respect is the gateway to how men perceive love.
Wives, on the other hand, desperately need to be convinced of their husband's love. If they doubt that fact, they will be confused, anxious, over-analyzing, suspicious, and ultimately devastated. Women tend to personalize and internalize everything, so if the woman doesn't feel loved, she'll assume that her husband must not love her and that she is somehow the source of the problem. When a woman feels loved by her husband, she automatically feels respected. There's no question about it for her, because everything else easily falls into place as soon as she feels secure in her husband's love.
So now you realize that men & women want and need different things from each other. Take action! Find out how your husband most wants to know & feel respected, then do it! For example, if you merely say, "Honey, I really respect you," and your husband still doesn't really feel respected, what did you do wrong? Perhaps you simply missed his pressure points. Perhaps what he really needs is for you to let him make a decision in front of your or his friends. Or trust him to take care of something and not nag him about it. Perhaps he wants more respectful "actions" from you, rather than just words. Find out which he responds to best!
All you husbands out there! Does your wife ask you all the time, "do you really love me?" Or some version? Or do you see the question in her eyes, always nagging at her? Why can't she quit worrying if you love her or not? Of course you love her; you married her and you provide for her!
But your wife may simply need you to show her or tell her that you love her in a different way. Instead of words, maybe she really loves it when you hug her and touch her face. Or maybe she really feels your love when you do something around the house without having to be asked. Explore the different ways that your wife wants to feel & hear your love. You won't be disappointed!
Pursue your spouse. This means not waiting for them to make the first move to apologize after a squabble. This means going that extra mile to do something nice for them, like filling their gas tank, without any thought of acknowledgment or gratitude. Remember when you were dating and you did all those sweet and wonderful things for each other? You made her handmade things, you bought him stuff, you went fun places just to be alone? What happened? What made you think that she stopped liking those things? Why do you think that he no longer wants to go to all those fun places?
Do nice things for your spouse, and don't wait for them to make the first move, even if you feel like you've been the only one trying. Sooner or later, your spouse is going to recognize the difference in you and will begin to appreciate all the sacrifices that you're making for them. Keep your chin up and keep going!These ideas are only suggestions, and they are certainly not the only ideas out there on the subject. But I think you'll find if you really get to know what your partner needs and then cater to those exact needs, you're marriage will be revitalized, revamped, and re-romanced! Before giving up on your marriage, give these suggestions a try.
Here's some ideas for small & easy ways to save money, go green, and learn how to re-use some ordinary stuff at home. My husband and I use all of these techniques and they help us save money and feel like we're cutting back on waste.
1. Use cloth diapers for diapering your children, as opposed to the widely-used plastic throw-away kinds. This may sound old-fashioned, but it is a growiong trend among environmentally-friendly mothers. Look around your neighborhood for classes that teach the best ways of cloth diapering, learn how to do it, and start saving money! Cloth diapers: not just for hippies anymore.
2. Buy cheaper toilet paper. A 4-pack of toilet paper is sold at the Kroger chain of grocery stores for 88 cents. Eighty-eight cents! Even if you have a large family and have to buy a lot of it, you'll still save money by buying several 4-packs for 88 cents apiece. It may not be as silky smooth as the other name brands, but you'll get used to it, and you're bank account will thank you. (And I don't think your bottom will even know the difference!)
3. Don't flush the toilet everytime you go #1. I know this may sound gross, but think about how many gallons of water you will conserve by flushing every other time instead of everytime. Of course, I do not recommend this if you go #2. If there's more than just pee pee in the toilet, then by all means, flush it down! If you're alone in the house for the day, or it's just you & your husband that use your toilet, then who's to know? Who's to care if the water is a little bit yellower than normal? Now, if you have guests over, or the bathroom is shared between several people, then this may not be possible or easy.
And don't worry about the smell or the stain on the toilet bowl. If the toilet lid stays down, there should be no smell at all, and if a stain forms around the edge of the water in the bowl, a quick swish with the toilet brush will wash away any stain in an instant.
4. Turn the shower water off when shaving or lathering with soap. If you're a woman and shaving your legs takes longer than your husband in a hardware store, consider turning the water off while you shave, then back on to rinse. It may be a bit of a hassle, but this little trick will stop the water from continuously running when you're not even using it.
The same goes for the sink water when you're brushing your teeth. You may not take that long to brush your pearly whites, but think of how much water gets wasted each time you leave the faucet running, and how much that would add up over the course of just a single week.
5. In the winter, use an electric blanket or heater on/by your bed, and turn the thermostat down. A home that is not well insulated, has no baseboards, or isn't properly sealed around doors & windows will let hundreds of dollars worth of heat escape in the wintertime. Turning the thermostat down just a few degrees (especially when you're not home) could save you hundreds of dollars by year's end! If you're afraid of being cold at night with the thermostat down, put an electric blanket on the bed or use a small space heater. These use electricity, but the extra little amount you will spend on electric for these items will be much less than what you'd spend for heating the whole house those extra few degrees.
6. Stop buying trash bags & Ziploc (or sandwich) plastic bags. Use plastic grocery bags as trash bags. They're not as large so they won't fit as much trash, but they will serve the purpose for absolutely free. You probably get plenty of these plastic bags for free when you shop at the grocery or the drugstore. And the smaller bags will be easier on the trash man's back, too! (Whomever that may be; a stranger, or your husband.)
Instead of using Ziploc baggies for sandwiches and lunches, use those plastic storage containers you've probably got plenty of, stacked precariously on some shelf. They need to get used; so here's their opportunity! A small plastic container may be more conspicuous and bulky than a plastic bag, but it's totally reusable and washable. And most plastic containers are made dishwasher safe nowadays, so there's no excuse!
7. Put gas in your vehicle $10 at a time, instead of filling up. This may cause you to frequent gas stations more often, but if you're tight on money for the day, week, or month, this will save your budget and your wallet. Putting only $10 into your vehicle may also help you to be more conscious about how much you drive and when; it may cause you to drive only when necessary. Putting $10 at a time into your tank also makes it feel like you can stretch that ten dollars out more. Whether it's true or not, I don't know, but it sure seems like it!
Some vehicles (like SUVs, large trucks, or V-8 engines) may need to try $15 or $20 instead of $10. Ten dollars might not even make the needle on the gas gauge move for these vehicles! But I think you'll be surprised just how far your money (and gas!) can stretch if you try this method. This works especially well if you're on an extremely tight budget.
Still trying to feed your coffee addiction while on an extremely tight budget? Is the economy's recession forcing you to become an uncaffeinated horror to your coworkers, children, or husband? Fear not; there is affordable, good quality coffee out there. It's not Starbucks, but you'll get used to it.
Step 1:Realize that you may have to give up Starbucks until your wallet is a little bit bulkier. But don't fret; cappuccino-like coffee does exist outside of Starbucks, for a fraction of the cost.
Step2: Go to your nearest gas station. Chances are, there is at least one "cappuccino" machine inside. These are powder-based coffee drinks combined with hot water to create a tasty coffee treat. The powder is loaded into the machine and contains the caffeine and the flavoring (mocha, french vanilla, etc...). When you put the cup under it and press the button, hot water is added to the powder, making a frothy flavored coffee drink.
Step3: Get over it! So it's not Starbucks, but it's still good. At a gas station, you can get a decent-tasting flavored 20-24 ounce cappuccino for $.99 to $1.40. You get some flavor, you get some caffeine, and you get to save some money! You can't beat a 24 ounce coffee for $1.40! Starbucks doesn't even carry a 24 ounce coffee! And the cups are usually insulated styrofoam, so the brew stays nice & hot!
- Try the French Vanilla flavor first. You won't be disappointed.
- Check for current sales & specials. A newly-opened convenience store had 24 ounce cappuccinos for only $.49! That's right: forty-nine cents. Can't beat that!
- Take a sip on the way to the cash register, just to make sure the water was hot & the mixture is perfect. Sometimes the powder begins to run out and you get mostly hot water.
February 18, 2009
In today's economic slump, jobs are being lost and families are being put under strain. Financial problems are the number 1 cause of divorce in America today. Don't want to end up broke, alone, and miserable? Here are a few ideas to keep your head up & your heart happy.
Be thankful for what you have. The old saying goes "Have what you want; but want what you have." You should pause and take stock of your life. Examine all that you own & possess, and not just the material objects. Think about your boyfriend, husband, children, parents, and friends. Realize that you have it good. You have people that love you and want the best for your life. You have people who look up to you and emulate you. And there are people that inspire you. You have a roof over your head, and most of your bills are getting paid. Things could be much worse.
Which leads to the second point: remember that there is always someone worse off than you. Quit having a pity party for yourself, and reverse your thinking. Count your blessings instead of wallowing in self pity. If you totally reverse your thinking like this, you'll suddenly become grateful and selfless, realizing that you have indeed been blessed.
And when you realize you've been blessed, you'll want to bless others in return. Giving your money, time, and energy, to help another person is the greatest act of love you can do. And perhaps there has never been a better time to serve somebody else than right now when everyone else is busy looking out for Number One; themselves. Besides meeting a basic need, volunteering or helping someone else will satisfy your soul and will make God smile.
Be true to yourself. Do what you want to do. Don't let anyone make you think that you don't deserve what you want in life. Have big dreams, and pursue them! This time of economic crisis is not a time to be frozen with fear; it is a time for you to get creative to achieve all those wonderful dreams you have. You may have to sacrifice to get there, but anything worth having is worth fighting for, right? If it was easy, it wouldn't be nearly so worthwhile to obtain. If you want to quit your "traditional" job and do something that you love but may be frowned upon because it seems less conventional, then weigh your options, consider carefully, then do it!
You were given talents & dreams for a reason. Perhaps God wants you to use one of them, and trust Him with all the other details? This is between you & God, so discuss it and see what He says. He may say "no", He may say "yes", or He may say "not yet." But whatever the question, you can be sure that He will answer, although it may not be the answer that you wanted. But His plan for our lives and our plan for our lives are sometimes not the same.
Look for the "good" in all circumstances. Have you heard the story about the lady who had a recurrence of a very fast-moving form of breast cancer? She would not have known about the tumor growing silently & undetected in her armpit, unless she had been hospitalized with a near-fatal injury. The doctors were able to save her life by running a series of diagnostic tests, revealing her malignant tumor, which would not have been found otherwise, if she had not already been in the hospital for a serious injury. She said that she had lived through the horrible accident; so she was going to live through cancer as well.
She is an example of someone who finds the good in everything, even if it is obscured. This way of thinking will keep you motivated, happy, upbeat, and optimistic, against all odds. Isn't that the best way to be in this world?
Know when to work hard, and when to rest. It takes hard work to get anywhere worth being in this life. But you also must remember to take a day off, sleep in, kiss your wife, work in your garden, take an evening walk, or laugh at your favorite comedian. You need to let your brain and your body rest and recooperate. Lay those heavy burdens on God; He is much stronger than you so He can carry them much easier! Enjoy living; soak in all the beauty of life. If you don't take time out for these important times, then what's the point of all the work? Don't you work hard so you & your family can enjoy a happy life? Well that life begins right now, if you let it. Your family doesn't want a bigger house or more spending money; they want you & your presence at the dinner table.
Have you ever heard anyone on their death bed say, "Oh, I wish I would've worked more...." No! They lament that they didn't spend enough time with family and didn't soak up life to the fullest. Don't work so hard that you have no time left for enjoying life. What a shame that would be.Don't be too hard on yourself. You know that you are your harshest critic. When your inner critic starts belittling you for something that happened long ago or yesterday, give that inner critic a name and tell it to get lost. Realize that you did the best you could, and you may have fumbled the ball, but tomorrow is a new day and you will remember the lesson you learned. Learn the lesson and move on. You owe that to yourself.
February 12, 2009
To get all the benefits, though, choose a low-sodium version, because too much salt will simply raise your blood pressure again. Exceeding the 2,400 milligram daily amount for sodium intake can lead to hypertension.
And of course, chicken noodle soup usually has lots of veggies, which also provide a heart-healthy punch!
(from SHAPE magazine, March 2009, Volume 28, #7)
If your muscles and joints hurt after a hard workout or a long day at work, your body could need more than just an aspirin. Those aches & pains could be a sign that you're not getting enough Vitamin D. Stewart B. Leavitt, Ph.D, says that "Vitamin D aids in muscle tissue growth and calcium absorption. Without enough calcium, the outer layer of your bones can become soft and spongy, making them more susceptible to painful stress fractures and over time, osteoporosis and arthritis."
For the safety of your bones, consume at least 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily.
Because the primary source of Vitamin D is unprotected sun exposure, which may raise the risk of skin cancer, Leavitt recommends taking a Vitamin D supplement daily. "Look for brands with D3, which is absorbed easier than D2."
If you take care of those bones, they will take care of you later.
(from SHAPE magazine, March 2009, Volume 28, #7)
February 10, 2009
Although experts recommend regular colonoscopies starting at age 50, if you have inflammatory bowl disease or a family history of colon cancer, talk to your doctor about having the procedure earlier.
Any cancer caught early has a much better chance of being overcome, so get yourself checked.
(from SHAPE magazine, March 2009, Volume 28, #7)
"Viruses can live up to 2 days outside the body," says study author J. Owens Hendley, M.D. "If they get on your hands and then you rub your nose or eyes, they can make you sick."
Protect yourself by cleaning these areas frequently and washing your hands with soap & water.
(study from SHAPE magazine, March 2009, Volume 28, #7)
February 8, 2009
February 6, 2009
A stroke usually happens suddenly and sometimes has little to no visible symptoms.
It is said that once someone has a stroke, there is a 3 hour window where, if medical attention is received within that time period, then the negative effects of a stroke can usually be completely reversed. But how can you get someone medical attention if you don't realize that they've had a stroke? Sometimes someone will fall down because they've had a stroke, but will seem to be otherwise fine.
So how can you check to see if someone has had a stroke? The easiest way is to remember the first three letters of the word "stroke": S.T.R.
The "S" stands for SMILE. Ask the person to smile.
The "T" stands for TALK. Ask the person to say a simple but coherent sentence, such as "It is very sunny today."
The "R" stands for RAISE. Ask the person to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
Another technique is to ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue looks crooked or is not centered in the mouth, then they may have had a stroke, and paramedics must be called immediately.
All these seemingly simple tasks require the brain to send signals to different small muscles in the face & mouth, and require larger coordination in the arms. A person whose brain has been affected by a stroke will find these movements difficult to perform correctly.
Moreover, if you forget these techniques but are worried that someone has just had a stroke, simply ask them to perform any movements that require a little bit of hand-eye coordination. That would be better than nothing. So be on the lookout!
February 5, 2009
In a SHAPE magazine poll, readers said:
83% said YES
17% said NO
The "YES" respondents' views were that we all have the right to know what our food contains so we can make healthy eating decisions.
The "NO" respondents' views said that, if you're eating fast food, you should already know that you're eating fatty & high-caloric foods, and you shouldn't need a sign to tell you what you already know.
So, what do you, my readers, think? Do you think restaurants should be required to post nutritional facts in the store, readily available for public viewing? Let me know!
Also, if you would like to vote & make your voice heard on other topics like this, you may go to www.shape.com/readerdebate for other polls.
And, just FYI, I know Burger King (at least the Kenwood, OH location) posts nutritional facts right by the counter, although it seems to be a fairly recent development. But as someone who keeps a daily food journal, I prefer knowing exactly how many calories I'm ingesting, even at Burger King!
(poll opinions from SHAPE magazine, March 2009, Volume 28, #7)
As someone who becomes frustrated when I miss a workout or don't get something done I wanted to, this quote is very inspiring. This reminds me that I don't have to beat myself up over a missed workout or think less of myself. I can push those absurdities from my mind and realize that tomorrow is a new day, with new possibilities. Now, I may have to live with the consequences of the previous day, but I do not have to repeat the choices.
I also love the thought of beginning each new day with a high spirit. It's a blank slate, so why not begin it with high hopes?
This quote reminds me of what actor Will Smith's character said in the movie Hitch: "Begin each day as if it were on purpose."
February 4, 2009
Jesus reversed the order by telling us to get the right relationship with God first, always maintaining it as the primary concern of our lives, and never to be concerned about taking care of the other things of life.
"Do not worry about your life....But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:25-33)
Of course Jesus was not teaching that we should care about nothing and take no thought for anything. We would be foolish to do so, and the Lord has given us brains to use. But Jesus does say that it is absolutely unreasonable for us to be anxious, worrying about how we will live. He taught that His disciple must make his relationship with God the dominating focus of his life, and to be cautiously carefree about everything else in comparison to that. He is simply saying that the greatest concern of life is to place our relationship with God absolutely first, and everything else second.
The Holy Spirit must bring us into this harmony, and we must be open to His moving inside us, daily practicing keeping our relationship with the Lord as our utmost priority in life; trusting in God to provide for all our needs as we do so. And He will.
(idea from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest)
February 2, 2009
But Oregano does more than that. German and Swiss scientists discovered that this herb also contains substances that help ease inflammation in the body.
So if you like Italian foods, you're also guarding against inflammation in your body!
(source: natural awakenings, january 2009)
Participants in this study were overweight & obese individuals who were asked to sprinkle a variety of flavoring crystals (savory & sweet) on neutral-tasting foods before eating them. A control group used crystals with no flavor.
After a 6 month period, those using the flavored crystals lost an average of 30.5 pounds, whereas the control group lost an average of just 2 pounds.
The researchers theorize that flavorful food enhances our senses of smell & taste, helping us eat less & feel full sooner, ultimately losing weight.
(source: The Endocrine Society, 2008)