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Monday, June 13, 2016

What Mourning and Loss are Teaching Me About Resilience and Recovery

During the last few months, three family members have been critically ill, and I have been challenged and tested. All three of my dear loved have died, two on the same day and the last on June 2nd.

My heart aches with loss. Yet I am slowly healing and using self-care practices that help me recognize the need to live fully by cutting back on some activities and relying more on others. Meditation, prayer, journal writing, yoga, walking in nature, and limiting outside obligations to a bare minimum all help. Daily living while mourning is a balancing act, one that I review one day at a time.

A life skill I'm using to recover my equilibrium is to record and savor quotations that have meaning for me at this time. Each of the ones I've included in this blog post help my heart stay open for healing and give me hope. The wise words displayed below encouraged me to feel my feelings and let them flow through me, especially when I felt vulnerable, overwhelmed, sad, confused, hurt, angry, or afraid.

Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience, moment by moment ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn




Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi




Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don't fight them. Just find a new way to stand. Oprah Winfrey





Don’t let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert. It’s your soul which matters. Albert Schweitzer





Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.


Thanks for Your Thoughts and Prayers. They Create Powerful Healing

Perhaps when you are challenged, you'll recall this blog post and these quotations will support you. 


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Create a Colorful Red, White, and Blue Dessert 1,2,3




Nowadays, many of us make plans to get together with family and friends during the Memorial Day Weekend for picnics, cookouts, or other gatherings. Want the perfect dessert to serve at your party? It uses fruits that are at the peak of ripeness and flavor right now. 

You're sure to see smiles on the faces of family and guests as you serve this colorful red, white, and blue dessert at your dining or patio table. A three ingredient recipe that's relatively inexpensive, a snap to assemble, and packed with 3 healthful ingredients. What more could you ask? Just follow the 3 steps below.

Ingredients:


1 Quart Organic Strawberries or about 16 oz. of berries that are lightly washed in cool water and hulled (see links below)
1 Quart Organic Blueberries or about 16 oz. that are washed in cool water
1 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut (either fine or coarsely shredded)




Read what Molly Watson shares about washing and hulling strawberries.


4 hulled strawberries


What to Do:


1. Wash and hull strawberries and wash blueberries as described above. Place them in a medium-sized glass bowl and mix them together.

2. Sprinkle the berries with coconut flakes.

3. Insert serving spoons into bowl and place on your holiday table or portion out into individual dessert dishes for a more formal touch.



This is a Berry Good Dessert

Strawberries and blueberries contain many healthful elements. They're high in vitamin C, phytonutrients, and contain no cholesterol. Shredded coconut provides fiber, iron, and healthy fat to satisfy and stave off hunger. 


Look at the links below for additional nutrition facts from Driscolls.com


Nutrition facts about blueberries



Take some time this Memorial Day weekend to remember and honor those Americans who are our war dead. They gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Serve this color rich dessert to honor the red, white, and blue. In fact, serve it anytime you want to top off your meal with a delicious and healthful finale.

For a More Formal Look, Serve in Goblets

Before you go, ask yourself how often you serve summer berries. Do you purchase them at a farmer's market, pick them from your home garden, or purchase at a local shop? Berries lose nutrients and spoil, the longer you keep them it. Serve within a day or two of purchase. What are your favorite ways to serve strawberries and blueberries? Have you made plans for this weekend or is your plan to relax and kick back? Leave questions, comments, and/or share this berry recipe. Sharing is caring and I care about you. Happy Memorial Day Weekend Everyone.

Here's the quotation for today from Jordin Sparks:


"I love berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, anything with an 'errie' in it!"

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Awesome Reasons to Eat Family Meals at Home

Awesome Reasons to Eat Family Meals at Home





Life is often hectic, and filled with responsibilities. Nonetheless, the ritual of eating meals around the kitchen or dining room table can help you and your loved ones feel centered, nourished, and energized. Whether it’s your nuclear family, your life partner or roommate, or a group of congenial friends, eating meals at home together is salve for the spirit, and does wonders for wellness.

 A consistent habit of eating meals together bolsters everyone’s sense of well-being. According to data collected in the National Survey of Children’s Health, 48% of youth surveyed ate a meal together with their families every day during the previous week. Additional studies show that children who knew a lot about their family history, through family meals and other interactions, had a closer relationship to family members, higher self-esteem, were less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, and had a greater sense of control over their own lives.

Gathering with folks to break bread is a relaxing, restorative social function. It’s a great time to put aside electronic devices and daily tasks temporarily. Partaking in regular family meals establishes a tradition of unity as well as provides an opportunity to hone communication skills. Mealtime talk demonstrates by example the “how-to” of polite, effective conversation. Each person involved will have the experience of taking turns to share the happenings of the day, light moments, and the joys and sorrows of being part of the human race.

Slow Roasted Black Eyed Peas, Roasted Carrots, Greens and Sprouts

Research indicates that home cooked meals reap mighty nutritional benefits. The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) has found meals and snacks based on food prepared away from home contained more calories per meal than those based on at-home food. Away-from-home food was also higher in ingredients that Americans over-consume (sodium, sugar, and saturated fat) and lower in nutrients that Americans under consume (calcium, fiber, and iron).

Although it requires planning, know how, and time to assemble and serve a healthy meal at home, you and your family or friends can share responsibility for prepping meals, setting the table, and clean up. When you consciously choose to incorporate a variety of fresh produce, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and fruit into meals served at home, you and your loved ones will get back on the wellness track. Purchase these foods at the peak of freshness and you’ll get more of the body’s daily requirement for vitamins, protein, minerals, complex carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, fiber, water, and antioxidants. Menu planning and cooking food for oneself and others are positive life skills. It’s good training for both youngsters and oldsters. The first group grows up and the second may lose a partner through divorce or death. Both kinds of individuals often need to fend for themselves as they live on their own.  

You can design a more relaxing ambiance for healthy eating and good communication at home than in many restaurants. When you eat at a fast food place or even a moderately priced restaurant, more than likely you will be bombarded by loud music or offensive smells like excessive perfume or rancid cooking oils. Perhaps your serenity is disturbed by people at a nearby table, who shout into their cell phones or are accompanied by a crying baby.

At home, you can regulate the air conditioning or heat to your liking, you won’t get a rush job, or be served by ineffective or rude wait staff. Although there are no large-scale studies to show that it’s more cost effective to dine at home, I’ve found that if I plan ahead, buy sale items and in-season, local produce, and freeze what I can’t use for another meal, I save money and time shopping and cooking. An informal study I conducted indicates that all those interviewed do think it makes good sense to eat more meals at home. Here’s a link comparing time and money saving of a Fast Food Meal vs. a Home-cooked One.

If you eat at home, there’s no need to drive to an out of the way location or get tied up in traffic, before you can eat that meal. Even if you pick a restaurant that’s close-by, it’s hard to assure the cook doesn’t add too much oil, salt, sugar, or processed ingredients rather than serve a low sodium, low fat, whole food meal.




Family connections require attention to sustain them. Make it a point to eat at least one meal together daily, and you will automatically reserve a place in your busy schedule for shared time. Often, it’s the only time when you and your loved ones aren’t rushing to get somewhere else. Make family meals as uncomplicated as possible. To give them a festive flair, serve foods on dinner wear instead of paper plates. You don’t need a special occasion to use a tablecloth and cloth napkins. Decorate your home with flowers and candles to celebrate the next birthday, anniversary, graduation, or other special occasion, when you might have been tempted in the past to eat out. A delicious home cooked meal conveys caring and interest in the people you cook for.
When you and your family eat nourishing food at home, it broadcasts a positive message about warm sentiments and a passion for good health. For fun, gather individual family members together each week, when no one has to leave early. Stay in your pajamas, and each help prepare a meal that includes lean protein and complete carbohydrates, instead of fattening bacon, home fries, and eggs. Before too long, you’ll realize your clothing has gotten looser and it's much more cozy to stay put, than it is to drag yourself out in that rainstorm, heat, or other inclement weather to have a meal in a restaurant. Celebrate the joy of eating the earth’s bounty at home with family and friends. Nurture your body, mind, and spirit by entertaining and eating healthfully at home more often.
The quotation for today follows:
“To make changes like this more widespread we need action both cultural and political. The cultural lies in celebrating real food; raising our children in homes that don’t program them for fast-produced, eaten-on-the-run, high-calorie, low-nutrition junk; giving them the gift of appreciating the pleasures of nourishing one another and enjoying that nourishment together.” Mark Bittman
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Smart Ways to Green Your Lifestyle











Earth Day is tomorrow, and I've been reviewing possible ways to double up on my efforts to live greener. I assure you most of my eco-friendly ideas can be implemented easily, but make a big difference in protecting the air, water, soil, and living beings in a world that struggles to retain its quality of life.

Unless each of us takes a more active role to halt global warming, we and the planet are in deep trouble. 

Even if you don't think this is true, the steps I suggest saves money, conserves natural resources, and are simple to accomplish.

Start from where you are today. When you embark on a green adventure, you're sure to find that many of these actions simplify living by removing clutter from your office, home, and mind. Join the green crowd and make behavioral changes that you and your family can be proud about.

1. Curtail impulse spending by being more mindful and shopping with a list. Make new purchases only if you really need the item. This practice reduces the amount of clutter you accumulate and cuts down on the amount of junk that’s eventually dumped into a landfill. 

2. Plant a tree. This action fights global warming big time, by taking carbon dioxide from the air and cuts down on both heating and cooling costs. Trees also hold the earth in place, prevents soil erosion, runoff, and improves water quality. Trees make your home more desirable, adding as much as 15% to its resale value.

3. Study labels. Don't assume that if a household product is marked "natural" or "green" it is.  Commercial cleaning products can contain limonene (the chemical that gives it a lemon scent). This toxic chemical hurts the lining of your lungs and environment, when it enters the air and water stream. Lemon scented dusting polish can react with other gases in the air to make formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen. Choose fragrance free products or mix up a homemade, environmentally safe olive oil or jojoba oil scent- free furniture polish instead. Buy minimally packaged biodegradable ingredients in bulk. Products made from these ingredients can be stored indefinitely, conserving gasoline, time, energy, and money.

4. Switch from chemical cleaning agents to household staples like soap and water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and elbow grease. Here's an excellent recipe for homemade lemon oil furniture duster and polish from Annie B. Bond.  Lemon Oil Furniture Duster and Polish

5. Carry a reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle instead of reaching for a one-use plastic bottle. Our landfills are overflowing with toxic additives from plastic bottles. Plastic doesn't biodegrade for at least a thousand years. Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. That figure doesn't include the oil needed for bringing those bottles to market and the gas you use to get it to your home or office. If you drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day from the tap, it costs about 49 cents per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400. Here's more about H2O. How to Save Water, Money, and Empower Yourself




6. Reuse, recycle, and conserve daily. Carry reusable shopping bags to the market, department stores, specialty shops or anywhere and everywhere you shop. If you do use plastic bags for veggies and fruit, reuse them (wash and air dry after each use). Hang clothes to dry. Use cloth instead of paper to mop up spills, dust, diaper baby, and to replace paper napkins, etc. Here's an example of one way I re-use and recycle.



6. Join up with Leonardo DiCaprio and many of us, who agree that climate change is occurring at an alarming, accelerated pace. We believe it's important for us as individuals and in groups to work to reduce our carbon footprint. Here's a link to a blog post I wrote about the topic last year. Divest from Fossil Fuels/Reinvest in Eco-friendly Ones. Here's a link to the DiCaprio Foundation, that addresses the same issue. Leonardo DiCaprio Joins-More-than-400-Institutions-Pledging-to-Divest-from-Fossil-Fuels/.

7. Take an earth-saving moment to reflect about how many new ways you can live greener.  Read this post, published a few weeks ago, for additional ideas.  Eat Less Meat and Save Our Planet.


Did you pick up a new green tip or two today? Please comment below. The more we exchange ideas the better off the planet will be! 


The quote for today is from Robert Swan, Explorer and Environmentalist:


“The greatest danger to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it ... The last great exploration on earth is to survive on earth. So as I gaze out the window into my future, I hope to see Antarctica in my midst. I only hope that our children’s children will see it in theirs too. When you gaze out of the window into your future, what do you see?"


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Eat Less Meat and Save the Planet



Eat Less Meat and Save Our Planet



Do you realize how much your food choices matter? Not only do they impact your health and sense of well-being, reducing your consumption of meat by half and eventually switching over to a 100% whole food low fat plant based diet, will make a major contribution to your wellness and the planet’s survival as an inhabitable place to live.

I’ll show you why my research, common sense, ethical and spiritual considerations, and environmental power of this lifestyle change are key reasons to eat less or no meat.

In her Paper, “Food Matters How What We Eat Affects Our Health and the Planet” by Roni Neff PhD., Research and Policy Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) states, “Many of the leading public health threats of our day—including climate change, environmental contamination and resource depletion, hunger and malnutrition, and the obesity epidemic—have strong roots in the current food and agriculture system.” "Food Matters"

To expand on this, here’s an excerpt from a report published in 2009 by Worldwatch Institute. Animal agriculture contributes more to greenhouse gases than the global transportation sector—that’s every single car, bus, plane, train, etc. on this earth. It reads, “Livestock currently amounts to 18 percent of the global warming effect—an even larger contribution than the transportation sector worldwide.” The document, by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang is available here:

A report from Florida International University researcher Brian Machovina confirms, "Reducing animal-based product consumption is realistic if we can offer delicious, convenient, plant-based foods that people want to eat." He continues, “Growing crops, including fruits, vegetables, legumes and soy protein would increase the number of food calories available for people by as much as 70 percent on the agricultural lands currently in use. Soybeans contain twice the protein of beef, pork or chicken, and 10 times more protein than whole milk.” Cultivating produce requires less land than what is used to raise livestock. In an article by Evelyn Perez, see what this research mentioned above shows. "Eat less meat, save the planet"

The World Health Organization (WHO) is getting into the act too. In November, 2015, WHO announced that they were classifying processed meat as a carcinogenic and red meat as "possibly carcinogenic," and the amount and frequency of meat consumption today is alarming. 

We need to cut consumption of meat at least to half, as a start. Even if there were no health concerns like the fact that 17% of all commercial cow meat has been injected with growth hormones and even more is laden with pesticide residue, ethical reasons are plentiful. Untold numbers of people are hungry and starving in the world. Terrible conditions for raising animals prevail in commercial farms, with infringement of animal rights, and pollution from industrial factory farms etc. Raising animals for food is distasteful, for moral as well as environmental reasons. Destruction of natural resources like land, water, and soil, and rising greenhouse gas levels result from this type of operation.  Food Democracy Now Blog.

When you eat less meat, your health improves, and you cut down on medical expenses. Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet that is whole food (not processed or fast food) can save you big bucks too.



To conclude, I plant this seed.





 "A reduction in beef and other meat consumption is the most potent single act you can take to halt the destruction of our environment and preserve our natural resources. Our choices do matter. What's healthiest for each of us personally is also healthiest for the life support system of our precious, but wounded planet."

     -- John Robbinsauthor of "Diet for a New America", and President, EarthSave Foundation, Santa Cruz, California
Link to EarthSave

Before you go, please take a moment to comment on my post. Please share what you do to improve your eating habits and efforts you've made or intend to make to reduce your carbon footprint. 


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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan