Tag Archives: autoimmune disease

Can You Hear Me Now?

Your body knows best.  Are you listening?

Many of us have bodies that are screaming at us; but we aren’t listening. Instead, we grab another Tylenol and hope for different results. Right?

How’s that working for you? Doing the same things and hoping for different result.

Come on, folks!

Case in point is my Great Oatmeal Experiment.

For many years, I have followed the anti-inflammatory style of eating as described in my book, Toolkit for Wellness. The part I was particularly careful about was no gluten-containing grains; no wheat, barley, or rye grains. But other grains such as corn, rice, oats, and others could be problematic because of their lectin and phytate components.

Lectins can mess with the hormone that tells us we are full and satisfied. Phytates can make the minerals we eat bio-unavailable for proper absorption and use by our body.

Each of us has different levels of tolerance.  We won’t know what our tolerance levels are unless we LISTEN.

Listen to what?

Our body talking to us! Do we feel energized? How are those muscles and joints feeling? Headaches again? Unhappy belly? More bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea?

Once your body is “cleansed” for a while by removing inflammatory foods, reintroducing potential offenders has to be handled very carefully.

Just like introducing one new food at a time, not unlike that of a baby learning to eat foods, we have to be careful to reintroduce only one new previously eliminated food at a time, to identify something that is going to cause a bad reaction.

I have corn-based food every once in a while. When corn-on-the-cob “comes in” during the summer, I do indulge. Corn tortillas for tacos? Sure.

Still steering away from gluten.

Enter “Gluten Free Oatmeal.”

I needed to shake up my husband’s breakfast menu a bit; provide more fiber – you know – good for you oatmeal?

I even posted on Foodtalk4you’s Facebook feed about how I had ramped up oatmeal’s “goodness” factor by adding chia seeds and coconut oil. I created another oatmeal recipe by adding collagen hydrolysate and coconut oil. Ramped-up protein and brain healthy fat! What could be better?

I was pleased as punch in making double recipe “vats” of this so I could easily nuke a bowl of goodness for EACH of us in the morning.

Or so I thought.

There are so many factors affecting how we feel. Sometimes it’s hard to tease out the one offending element.

I was still sitting way too much at home while I spent time in my husband’s room (he is confined to a hospital bed at home). On top of that, I am currently writing another book, “Caregiver’s Handbook for Caring for the Bedridden,” which requires more sitting at the computer. Efforts to go to the gym once or twice a week are being met, along with home stretches to break up sitting sessions, and almost daily planks.

But something was WRONG.

Everything from my waist down hurt. Heels first. Then hips. Then legs. Is it possible to get that old so fast? Is this my life forever?

Didn’t seem natural. Certainly, I am living under unusual and stressful circumstances – but, I was falling apart. Grabbing two Ibuprofen, for heaven’s sakes.

We are “Designed for Health”. That’s my mantra. Geez! That’s the name of the classes I teach!

“Can you hear me, now?”

Could it be my “super-healthy-ramped-up-gluten-free-oatmeal?

Only one way to find out.

Stop the oatmeal.

Well, I did.

After just seven days with no more oatmeal, I can get up and start walking with feet and hips that are not screaming.

I listened, and I did something about it.

Yes, I miss my hot, steaming bowl of healthy comfort food, but I LOVE not hurting.

Goodbye oatmeal. Hello happy body!

It’s a choice.

Are you listening? Your body will love you for it.

In health-

Deidre

 

 

Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad!

Espousing coping skills, and actually using them, are two different things. As my beloved continues to slumber more than 15 hours a day now, it would be easy for me to just ‘spin in place’ as I watch his winding down. The three rounds of planks that energized me on Tuesday, are just not motivating me today. My yoga mat is not calling to me.

Today’s coping skill is in shifting focus away from me and onto sharing something good with YOU my dear readers!

I have clipped out and saved so many nifty-sounding recipes for salad dressings; and yet have used virtually none of them. If you are like me, then I even hesitate to share a recipe. Rather, I am sharing a concept instead.

Necessity being the mother of invention, an idea came to mind this week that answered several needs:

  • Something to moisturize some dry leftover baked chicken that was destined to be chopped up into a salad.
  • Something that would use at least a part of my over-abundant supply of mint. Note to self: plant less mint and more basil.
  • Something that would ‘smile’ at me from the salad bowl and lift my spirits.
  • Something that would use up this watermelon that I am the only one eating now.

Voila!

Watermelon Mint Salad Dressing

Remember, this is a concept, not a ¼-teaspoon-at-a-time recipe!

The first step is to smash-up some watermelon.

For my solo serving, I used half of an inch-slice of watermelon taken from one of those mini bowling ball-sized melons. An old fashioned potato masher does the job and leaves some small chunks.

Add some chopped up fresh mint leaves. I generally use the leaves from a 12-inch stem.

Salt

Pepper

Splash of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Splash of white wine vinegar

That’s it! Stir and pour over your salad!

Having made this three times this week, my salad contents have varied with the addition of leftover sautéed okra, avocado, mango, blueberries, steamed broccoli, and of course that chicken.

Salads are a wonderful way to keep soaking up all of that fresh summertime vegetable goodness. Cooking pretty much for one now, I tend to cook more than I need for one meal.

Just convert most leftovers to salads in the summers!

This Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad Recipe concept has revitalized my flagging spirits and has given me fun nutritional meals.

We’ll be needing this added aspect of cooling, as yet another heat wave is in progress!

Thanks for reading-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Balanced

Are you feeling like you need to come up for air? Gasping and gulping in fresh air before taking another dive? That’s me, too! Taking vacations can definitely help, but we need to “breathe” more often than that.

I am already seeing some leaves changing color. Yesterday, a couple yellow leaves skittered across the still verdant and rapidly growing lawn. A quick look around at some sassafras saplings showed speckles of orange leaves.

Where’s the ‘pause’ button? Summer’s half over and there are already signs of fall in mid-July! Yikes!

One thing I’ve gleaned from our daughter’s successful completion of residency in family medicine – is how to survive and thrive. She had, very carefully, selected a residency program that ensured plenty of coping skills with all of its residents including:

  • Weekly group, how-are-you-doing, sessions of sharing the good/bad/ugly happenings, which became spring boards for processing their intense experiences.
  • Every-other-week meditative sessions with the entire group of residents took mental processing into the physical and spiritual realm.
  • Naturally, there was regular exercise emphasizing outdoor experiences … often in groups.
  • Frequent and spontaneous group meals, featuring nutritious whole food.
  • Their group was ever-vigilant to ‘pick up a brother’ when they fell into difficult times.
  • Lots of hugs. The real ones that last for at least three breaths. The healing kind.

What’s the ‘take away’ from all of this?

We cope and heal on so many levels, that a multifaceted approach is best.

In my case as a 24/7 caregiver, just getting away several times a week has helped – but only so much. Solo trips to the gym or walks around the waterfront answered only a part of my needs.

A quiet lunch with a friend or two is helpful; but sharing a meal with several friends meets needs you might not know were there.

What is the dynamic of a larger group?

Perhaps it’s because the conversation is not just about us.

We pour our hearts out to a friend — and that has its place.  Usually in group conversation, however, the talk bounces around; others throw thoughts into the mix, and more diverse news is shared.

There is so much more inner balance to be experienced when we participate in groups of 5-6 or more. Our perspective broadens and, quite frankly, it is so refreshing to have the focus on someone else for a bit. Additionally, we may be just who someone else needs to provide a different thought or a helping hand.

I am seeing that the scope of my ‘balancing needs’ is much broader than I had thought.

  • Improved nutrition- check
  • Time away from responsibilities- check
  • Gym 2-3 times a week-check
  • Meals with a friend or two- check
  • Personal meditation and prayer- check
  • Small group activities — need to do this more

Life is like a multifaceted gem. We need to move it around to let the light shine into all of its angles in order to appreciate its full brilliance.

Coping and balancing are the same. Are you shining light into all of your facets to achieve that inner balance?

I’m still learning … and that’s the best part!

Always learning.

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons From a Gardener’s Promise

If by recent post we have inspired you to take in the “pulse of life” at a local nursery, maybe you are wondering how so many people are gushing with optimism and hopefulness? How can holding a little six-pack of plants instill such anticipation and confidence? Are there bigger lessons for us to absorb and to apply in other aspects of our lives?

How does the gardener approach … well, gardening?

Soil prep. This step is essential for a plant to thrive. Can’t grow in rocks. Think about it. Are we expecting our bodies to thrive while we ‘plant’ them in rocky soil filled with added sugars, unpronounceable chemicals, or ingredients that are incompatible with digestion?

Plant selection. What’s the goal for the plant? Beauty, crop yield, or an attractiveness to butterflies, bees, or hummingbirds? What are our goals? What is the effect of our actions today? Are we being true to ourselves? Are we adding beauty, yield, and attractiveness to the world around us?

Care. This is where the “Gardener’s Promise” comes in. The gardener knows, by doing the right things consistently, the results will come … in time. Water. Pull a few weeds. Prune as needed. Fertilize regularly. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Will the desired results come in a day… a week … or even a month? Often not! Why do we expect instant results for ourselves?

One kind word to an unfriendly acquaintance will not yield a bosom buddy. Relationships are built over time. Generally, a consistent effort to reach out in friendship will break down barriers.

Launching any self-improvement program will need careful and patient tending as well.

Case in point. I wanted to build upon my at-home exercise efforts which always include 2 minutes of daily planks and Super Brain Yoga with Power Poses. I started going to a gym in January that features a 30-minute circuit, along with its other activities. Twice a week. Like clockwork. Hadn’t gotten a swimsuit look; but if I skipped, I could tell a difference.

I wanted more. More results. Is it possible to really have a tighter tummy? I’ve seen videos about grannies who have turned things around. Why not me?

Time to apply the “Gardener’s Promise.” More sunshine (more effort and a wider variety of exercises), fewer weeds (sugar and carbs), better fertilizer (fortified protein shake for lunch), and patience. If you are doing the right things, keep at it day-by-day, and the results will come.

My morning plank routine is now twice a day. I have added 15 minutes of cardio before hitting the machines and doing other exercises. Still not ready for that swimsuit quite yet.

But I am standing taller. I am stronger. When my abs hurt a bit the next day, I know that I am making a difference. Some recently acquired winter bulges are disappearing.

I am remembering the “Gardener’s Promise.”

Happy “gardening”-

Deidre

PS- Cardio exercise today will be 5 minutes longer. Smoothie already enjoyed for lunch. (Primal Protein, frozen cantaloupe, frozen banana, ground flax seed, collagen hydrolysate).

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Celiac Awareness Month – Let’s Talk About Your Guts

It’s Celiac Awareness Month.

Have you been asking yourself questions like these:

  • Is this gluten stuff all a hoax?
  • Is it just a “trendy diagnosis” – as our daughter’s pediatrician once offered?
  • What’s at stake if we don’t, at least, investigate the possibilities?
  • Is going gluten-free worth the effort?
  • Do you have to get tested?
  • What if your test is negative for Celiac Disease but you are still symptomatic?

I have, once again, dove into some of the latest news on Celiac Disease, (CD), and all things gluten for this post. Let me tell you, it was hard to tear myself away from the research, as one article linked to another and another.

While one person out of a hundred is diagnosed worldwide with CD, that number is expected to double every fifteen years. Why? Many people are currently undiagnosed, and the causative factors of pro-inflammatory diets are spreading.

Starting my fact-finding internet tour at Celiac.org, I found that, in fact, a Colorado study found a 3% incidence rate of Celiac Disease for youngsters by the age of 15! Yikes!

In case you are not up-to-speed with the term Celiac Disease, let me recap. CD is a genetic autoimmune disorder in which consumption of gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye grains) results in damage to the small intestine, causing a host of symptoms (See lists below).

So, who should be tested for CD?

It was recommended that anyone suffering from an unexplained, stubborn illness for several months should be tested for CD.

HOWEVER – there are also two more categories of sensitivity:

NCGS– Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity- whereby a person is not severely reacting to the gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye grains, but are reacting on some level, which can be problematic.

NCWS- Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity- whereby a person is reactive only to wheat.

How do you know if you might be reactive to gluten on any level? Check out this abbreviated list of possible signs and symptoms. I’ve seen lists that link scores and scores of common conditions to some level of gluten sensitivity because the resulting inflammatory response to each person is unique. This could be you:

Signs and Symptoms for Adults:

  • Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Arthritic conditions
  • Osteoporosis
  • Liver and biliary tract disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Migraines
  • Foggy brain
  • Dermatitis herpetiforme (itchy skin rash)
  • Infertility
  • Missed periods
  • Canker sores
  • Signs and Symptoms for Children:
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Pale, foul smelling fatty stools
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability and behavioral issues
  • Delayed growth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Dental enamel defects
  • Short stature
  • Failure to thrive
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Check? Check? Check?

Let’s talk about infertility, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, (PCOS), and gluten. There’s a lot. Google those three terms together and you’ll be busy reading for a long time.

According to Nutritionist and Health Educator Melissa Diane Smith, “85% of her PCOS clients test positive for sensitivity to gluten. When these women remove gluten from their diets, they often see a marked improvement in their PCOS symptoms.”

The May/June edition of the Journal of Reproductive Health in 2011 reported a prevalence of silent CD (undiagnosed CD) in female infertility in Middle East and European studies.

An American study of 188 infertile women showed a 5.9% increase of silent undiagnosed CD. Many who also suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) were found to have CD.

Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, writes that 5-10% of women 18-44 years of age have PCOS. He tracks links in his patients with PCOS to high blood sugar and diabetes. He cites the role of insulin is intrinsically linked to PCOS.

How do you know if you have PCOS?

Some of the symptoms of PCOS are:

  • Irregular or no periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Acne
  • Increased facial hair
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Metabolic issues related to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation

Have some ideas popped off the page for you?

Are you seeing yourself or someone you know?

Increasingly, we have to be our own patient advocates. Doctors moan when their “internet-trained” patients slam them with all sorts of “internet-acquired diagnoses,” but you can ask to have certain issues looked at … especially if they have not been able to find any help for you.

You can ask for blood tests associated with Celiac Disease, or any level of gluten or wheat sensitivity. If blood tests for CD are positive, a biopsy of the small intestine may be offered to check for damage. You have to be actively consuming gluten for the blood tests to be valid.

Don’t want blood tests? Simply eliminate all forms of gluten for three months. Celiac.org has sample 7-day gluten free meal plans for adults and for kids on their website that will give you a start. My book, Toolkit for Wellness, will show you ways to not only avoid gluten, but other foods as well that create an inflammatory response within our bodies.

Gluten sensitivities are serious things that contribute to very real illness, disease, and general un-wellness. One doesn’t simply “cut back” on gluten. It’s all or none. A single gluten infraction can sometimes take those who are extremely sensitive as long as three months to get over!

This is serious business.

It’s our choice.

In good health –

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Spring Sings In Color!

Picture this: vitality and positive energy coupled with a calm satisfaction and sense of well-being. That’s something we can use – right now.

Well, I found it!

It may have something to do with the waterfall effect of negative ions that prevail in the air around waterfalls and other moving bodies of water. It may also be associated with the positive vibrations being emitted from masses of growing plants.

Let me explain.

If you want a snapshot of human kind at its best, spend some time at your local nursery this spring.

Take in who you see. Young couples full of anticipation as they decide how to put their own landscaping and beautifying mark on their home. A business man in white shirt and tie after work, selecting flowers and herbs to plant when he gets home. Seasoned gardeners checking off items on a list. Lots of couples of every age. Neighbors. Children. Single people. Many with pensive looks as they imagine plant combinations. Some who are undecided and who are trying not to buy everything in sight.  Every one of them with a little bit of ‘nature’ in their hands, or lots of ‘nature’ in their crowded carts and dollies.

Take a deep breath. The smell of plants and rich growing medium fill the air. Brush against an herb to release the scents of basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and more. Smell the damp soil keeping young roots alive.

Listen to the sounds around you. Discussions about the right shade of rosebush. Questions being answered, not only by nursery staff, but by other shoppers willing to share their knowledge. Offers for assistance from everyone around as someone tries to wrestle a bag of mulch or potting soil onto their cart. The sounds of plants being watered.

Feel the neighborly atmosphere all around you. This is like the opposite of the evening news. Calm and order prevail. Then focus on the young growing plants; they are absolutely exuding a positive aura…you can feel it!

Moving water allows us to relax and feel better because of a change in the charge of ions in the atmosphere. Finding peace at the beach? It’s the negative ions. Feeling edgy on a dry, windy day? It’s the positive ions. In the case of atmospheric ions, negative is better.

You can catch that feeling around a waterfall. That’s why even a garden fountain helps us to relax.

I credit the man watering all of the plants at our local Lowe’s nursery – Joe. Not only is he lovingly giving water to all of the seedlings and plants from the sprinkler head nozzle he holds, he is changing the atmosphere! Calming water sounds seem to caress the shoppers as they select the “just right” shade of Impatiens.

Thank you, Joe!

After multiple trips to several local nurseries, I have created my own little “Eden” on the back porch, spruced up the front entrance to our house, and added to our back decorative garden.

“Satisfaction” hardly describes the feeling after planting all of my beauties!

And sitting from the porch swing, I can survey color, life, nature, attractiveness, and a benefit to local humming birds and bees! What could be better?

Feeling renewed-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Hmmm! Scones That Love You Back

Chef vs. Baker

Which are you? Pinch of “this,” and a dash of “that”?  Or, “one level cup of sifted flour”? Chef or baker?

It’s just that I’m more of the chef type; but sharing recipes requires more refined explanations of measurements for predictable outcomes. Thus, MANY batches of scones have been prepared, photographed, recorded … and eaten. *burp*

Pardon me!

I know, I know. Tough job but somebody has to do it.

Foodtalk4you has been ever so quiet lately due to my caregiving ministrations, which are always a priority. Thank you for your patience and understanding concerning my unpredictability. My dear husband continues to be under hospice care and my care at home. Still confined to bed, his uncomplaining and appreciative attitude is sprinkled with humor, insight, and love.

The kitchen “laboratory” however, has seen a lot of activity as I tried to optimize my favorite scone recipe to give you consistently wonderful results.

With a Valentine’s Day post in mind, I kept making these little darlings in heart shapes. Needless to say, I missed that deadline; but a heart-shaped scone is so precious any time of year! A good way to say, “I love you!” don’t you think?

You can make the typical scone shape which is achieved by rolling the dough into a circle, slicing into wedges, separating the wedges, and baking.

The heart-shaped scones require a bit more effort using a cookie cutter; and can be problematic if the walnuts are not finely chopped. A secret method? I ended up actually filling the heart shape, pressing the dough down to reach the edges and height of the cookie cutter exactly. Consistent results and portion control.

Long time readers of Foodtalk4you and Toolkit for Wellness know that, just because a recipe is gluten-free, does not make it healthy. I am always trying to pack in extra good-for-you ingredients and to dial back added sugars. This recipe for scones that love you back does that with:

Quinoa Flakes- a rare source of plant-based essential amino acids. Those are the amino acids our body does not make by itself, thus we must get them from our diet. Amino acids are the “building blocks” of proteins. Just 1/3 cup of quinoa flakes contains 4 grams of protein.

Collagen Hydrolysate – unlike gelatin, this powder does not congeal. It is a power house of satisfying, satiating, healing protein that is packed with 20 amino acids! Two rounded tablespoons of collagen hydrolysate yields 11 grams of protein.

Walnuts- a great source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and an amino acid l-arginine which is heart healthy. Walnuts have been shown to help with brain function, suppression of tumor growth, weight control through increased satiety, as well as improved blood sugar levels. Experts say that even a quarter of a cup of walnuts a day can positively impact our health.

Regarding all nuts: Please buy raw, organic nuts for maximum benefit. But wait! You’re not done! Remember to soak your raw walnuts overnight in salted water; rinse and drain; then dehydrate at a low temperature (110-118 degrees) until light and crispy. The results are crunchy and much more digestible. As always, refer to your copy of Toolkit for Wellness for the full scoop on the whys and wherefores of sprouting all of your nuts to ease their digestion.

Another plus to this recipe is it requires a minimal number preparation tools and little clean up. Check out my new cool stirring device.

Instead of using a floured surface to roll out the dough, I just use the same parchment paper sheet used for the baking. Easy-peasy clean up!

So, that’s the back ground material on “Scones that love you back.” Let’s get to the recipe.

SCONES THAT LOVE YOU BACK

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa Flakes (I use Ancient Harvest brand)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup collagen hydrolysate (I use Great Lakes brand)
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Rind of one orange, zested
  • ¼ dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • Have on stand-by: 1 or more Tablespoons of ground flax seed if dough is too wet

Wet Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter, melted (I use Kerrygold brand – from “happy” grass fed Irish cows)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice with pulp
  • 1 egg, beaten

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten

Optional

  • Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar Crystals to sprinkle on top before baking

Method

Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

Add wet ingredients, stirring well to combine and create dough. If the dough seems too wet or sticky to a light touch of finger tips, add one tablespoon of ground flax, stirring well. Flax absorbs moisture. Wait a minute to test dough again before adding another tablespoon of it, if needed.

Turn dough out onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Form into a smooth ball and press down to a circle with ½ inch thickness.

For traditional scones: cut into 8 wedges using a knife or pizza cutter; separate slices on baking sheet; follow baking instructions.

For heart-shaped scones: use a cookie cutter to press out shapes, reforming scrap dough into another ½ thick layer until all dough is used. OR use my secret method of filling each heart-shaped scone, hand pressing the dough into the shape, and level with the top of the cutter. Separate scones on baking sheet.

Apply egg wash using a brush.

Sprinkle just a dab of Turbinado crystals on top of each scone, if desired. It looks nice but is not intended to become a sugar-bomb coating.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. My heart-shaped 2 ½ inch across scones take 18 minutes. Scones should be golden brown when done.

Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy these healthy scones for a delightful start to your day.

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For a printable recipe, CLICK HERE: SCONES-THAT-LOVE-YOU-BACK-PRINTABLE

In health-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Up and Prepare For Liftoff!!

Each day, it seems, we are in the cockpit of life preparing for a takeoff. What switches are we supposed to flip in order to “power up” our engines? There are so many on our dashboard. Can we realistically try to flip them all every day; or are there a critical few that will give us the lift and acceleration we need for a good takeoff and flight?

After spending hours every week researching, reading, and experimenting with activities that will, “do our bodies good,” one meal, one breath, one movement at a time, I’m left thinking “Ack!” How can I share idea after idea with my readers without over-whelming them, too?

There must be 50 “good” things I should be doing all of the time just to start my day off right.

Wait a minute.

The goal is not to feel like a failed, spineless weakling if we are not doing these things. The idea is to lead a natural, comfortable life that uses nature’s laws to optimize health – and – to accept the responsibility of intention.

Do we intend to “do our body good”?

We want – no, demand – that our bodies keep us going every day; but are we helping our bodies to do that?

Are we a friend or a foe to our body?

I sure want my body at its best 100% of the time so I strive to “power up” each day as best I can to give my mind-body-spirit the “food” it needs to do that.

Granted, smooth uninterrupted daily routines probably exist only in fairy tales.

Nearing the 10th month of being a full-time caregiver for my sweet husband who is confined to bed, I know full well how easily “me time” can disappear. Keeping myself on an even keel, though, is vital to being at my best for him – and me. Those who juggle kids, family, and jobs find free morning time at a premium as well. I hear you.

So, what are the essential few things I do to power up? You’ve seen many of these before. I will explain any new ideas in more detail.

POWERING UP

  1. ALWAYS: Super Brain Yoga and Power Poses as explained in the last post HERE. If there is time for only one thing, this is it. In addition to reinforcing inner balance and focus, I am filled with thoughts of gratitude – thanks for being equipped for strength and victory. I am open to receive that strength; and feel confident to move forward, no matter what may come my way.

Gratitude increases levels of that “feel good” hormone serotonin; who couldn’t use more of that each day? Be ‘intentional’  by boosting yours.

  1. ALMOST DAILY: Drinking lemon juice in warm water while coffee is brewing. Did your grandmother do this? Mine did. She swore by it and lived to be over 100. Today, we know that a simple drink of lemon juice in warm water is a marvelous detoxifier, helps regulate bowels, and actually helps de-acidify the digestive system! Start by using the juice of ½ of a lemon in one cup of warm water. Swish your mouth out to eliminate remaining juice from reacting with tooth enamel.

Once lemon juice is inside your stomach, the digestive process will cause an alkaline environment that will improve reflux. I refuse to resort to OTC or prescription meds for reflux. Lemon juice in warm water absolutely nails this problem for me. If I skip a couple of days, the reflux returns.

  1. ALWAYS when I am home: Power Coffee often with 2 Breakfast Cookies- plain coffee just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Learn about this amazing drink HERE and these guiltless cookies HERE. After this dynamic duo, I am good for hours!
  1. ALMOST DAILY: Oil pulling for at least 5 minutes, preferably up to 20. Now, this is a new topic for Foodtalk4you, but oil pulling is thousands of years old and is considered medicinal for the whole body.

One of the best articles I have read about the benefits and history of oil pulling is found HERE.  In case you do not have the time, let me summarize this article and why I do this almost every day.

  1. Oil pulling is simply swishing coconut, olive, or sesame oil in the mouth for the purpose of cleansing the oral cavity, refreshing breath, and removing toxins.
  1. It’s easy to work into my daily schedule. Oil pulling can be done first thing during the morning shower; or I often do it after breakfast (Power Coffee and Breakfast Cookies!) while I tidy up the kitchen. This is habit stacking at its best! No extra time needed!
  1. Oil pulling is a safe and effective way to detoxify not just the mouth but the entire body because toxins are absorbed into the oil which is spit out. Coconut oil is highly absorbent so its benefits of moisturizing skin, raising healthy blood cholesterol, increasing energy, and killing toxins are easily accessed by oil pulling.
  1. I see and feel a difference right away. Imagine: fresh mouth with NO CHEMICALS!

How to do oil pulling:

  1. Use 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Just scoop it up with a spoon and put into your mouth and chew on it until it is a swish-able liquid. Hint: You may want to start with a smaller amount just to help yourself warm up to the experience.
  1. Swish the oil around your mouth, flushing the fluid around and between teeth. Take your time and do not be so vigorous that you tire your muscles!
  1. Swish for 5-20 minutes; the longer, the better. Remember, the oil is picking up toxins and needs adequate time to really ‘clean house.’
  1. Spit out the oil which has become white (full of yuck) into the trash. Do NOT spit the toxin-laden coconut oil down the drain as it will clog plumbing. Coconut oil is solid at cooler temperatures, remember.
  1. That’s it! Enjoy natural cleanness and fresh breath. A gentle tooth brushing, and you’re good to go!
  1. TWICE A WEEK: Weight training exercises. I am still a proponent of home-based exercises, (See the exercise chapter in my book Toolkit for Wellness), but I just was longing for the targeted benefits of weight training machines. Give me a good thirty-minute circuit workout, and my body just smiles a great big, “Thank you!”

Since joining the local $10-a-month Planet Fitness Gym, I have maintained my twice weekly visits (or more) since January 1st! By not doing the sweat-inducing cardio machines, I can easily dip in to the gym between errands, change back into my street clothes and carry on.

Twice recently, I did do some cardio, and may keep that as my last stop, one extra day a week, but my main focus right now is the no-sweat 30 minute weight training circuit. Now you can work up a sweat, but my weights are high enough that 10 reps will do just fine, thank you!

So if you are not getting up an hour early each day for the ‘perfect start,’ then just know there are a few things that you can do in your normal, real-life routine that will definitely perk up your body and your day.

A routine that is not forced.

A natural routine.

Something intentional to “do your mind-spirit-body good!”

In health-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Big Game Pizza – “Hut! Hut! Hike!”

New Bern, NC — Even non-sports fans such as moi, (myself), can enjoy a big game, final tournament, or the Olympics, (YES!), every once in a while. What’s a big game without big game food? Can the words, ‘big game food,’ even be uttered by someone trying to, “Do my body good,” at every turn?

If you have the idea converting everything containing flour, (pretzels, pizza, or brownies), over to a gluten-free substitute will somehow magically make you healthy, think again. Going gluten-free can be one of the biggest rabbit holes we can fall in.

Wonder why that weight is not melting away after holding back on gluten? It’s probably because you have a cupboard full of gluten-free equivalents. In other words, you are still eating pretzels, pizza, brownies, pasta, cakes, and cookies. That’s a lot of carbs, folks.

But what about Friday night pizza? What about the Super Bowl? Isn’t there a better way to do pizza besides just getting the local carry-out’s gluten-free version?

YES!

You’re going to laugh when I share with you how I found this.

Shopping at the grocery store always seems to be done in such a rush, you know? I was hastily scanning the gluten-free frozen foods section when I spied what I thought was frozen thin crusts for pizza. A quick read of the very short ingredient list passed the test for no chemicals or high fructose corn syrup. Okay. Grab it. Done. Out of the store.

Upon closer inspection, these were VERY THIN crust objects. Heck. They were tortillas! Geez.

But maybe I was onto something…

Only 24 grams of carbs and no sugar? Eureka! It’s always been the sauce and toppings that called me like sirens from the deep anyway, so here we go!

Prep the baking pan by smearing some olive oil on where the tortillas go and let them thaw.

Pre-cook any desired meats. I sautéed free-range ground beef and turkey, and some ground Italian sausage. My one nod to chemicals was in the few slices of turkey pepperoni.

Prep an assortment of vegetables. I used purple onion, red and yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, baby spinach leaves, and olives. Use your imagination- colors and textures abound!

Then assemble. If not using homemade pizza sauce, I always turn to Classico Brand Traditional Pizza Sauce because it has just a few ingredients and no HFCS.

Sauce. Meat – if using. Onions. Mushrooms. Olives. Spinach. Cheese.

Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese bubbles.

Yum!

This pizza may need to be eaten mostly with a fork, but the experience and taste was definitely a pizza experience.

Maybe this paper thin crust pizza will become your go-to big game or Friday night treat. It has for me!

Now, who is playing in the Super Bowl? Ah, yes! Justin Hardy, who graduated from West Craven High School, where I taught!

Falcons Justin Hardy

 

GO JUSTIN!!

I will be rooting for the Falcons!

Just sayin’.

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Super Brain Yoga” is a No Brainer!

Did you say “Super Brain”? Get a Super Brain? Count me in!

But Super Brain Yoga sounds like a whole routine… Maybe there’s a DVD or a book to buy? No. And no.

In fact, what I’m going to share with you for FREE could have cost you as much as $352.07!

Granted, there are less expensive versions, but it all boils down to doing one simple thing. That information might justify $2.07. The rest of it must be $350.00 worth of history.

The effect of doing this one thing, however, may be priceless!

In fact, doing “Super Brain Yoga” melds right into a power pose that I wrote about last year for the online magazine, Excellence; so, for me, the benefits are doubled.

We’ll look at Super Brain Yoga first; then I’ll explain how this can morph into a power pose that will also set you up for a day of balance, positive self-worth, and forward motion.

Super Brain Yoga and Power Pose may just be the trick for your whole family to do together each morning.

If I were still teaching in the classroom, this is how we would start each day! There are TV news articles about teachers doing Super Brain Yoga daily with amazing results for better attention and performance by the students. Can I get an “Amen!”?

As always, we need to turn to a bit of anatomy and physiology first to help understand why this Super Brain Yoga technique has value. Our brain is divided into two hemispheres. The right brain controls the left side of the body, and the left brain controls the right side of the body. There are also acupressure points in the ear lobe that when gently squeezed activate brain pathways.

In everything we do, signals are being ‘pinged’ back and forth between the two hemispheres through special nerve pathways between them. This simple technique helps balance the two hemispheres’ activities (as revealed through before and after MRIs), and strengthens mental focus and clarity.

In a moment, you can see our FIRST EVER video which will demonstrate the simple steps for Super Brain Yoga as follows

    • Stand with feet shoulder width apart facing north if you are a ‘senior’; or facing east for ‘non-seniors.’
    • Keep the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth.
    • Gently squeeze your RIGHT ear lobe using the thumb and index finger of your LEFT hand. The index finger goes on back of the ear lobe and the thumb goes on the front.
    • Gently squeeze your LEFT ear lobe using the thumb and index finger of your RIGHT hand. The index finger goes on the back of the ear lobe and the thumb goes on the front.
    • Gradually bend your knees into a squat position while inhaling.
    • Gradually straighten your knees to come out of the squat while exhaling.
    • Repeat at least 14 more times

That’s it!

Practicing this simple move each day helps to connect and re-energize the nerve pathways between the two brain hemispheres. Don’t worry about doing deep squats, this is more of a brain thing than a physical exercise. Increasing the number of repetitions over time until you are doing this a few minutes, will definitely, “Do your body good!”

What have I noticed doing this each day?

I feel more physically balanced. I am measuring this by the ease in which I stand on one foot while brushing my teeth. As mentioned in the exercise chapter of my book, Toolkit for Wellness, I do a painless “habit-stacking” balance exercise each time I brush my teeth. I divide the 2 minutes of tooth brushing into two 1-minute segments in which I alternate between standing/balancing on one foot, then the other. Since doing Super Brain Yoga, my “wobble-factor” has vanished.

 

Am I ready to sign up for that genius quiz show? Not yet, but when combined with the Power Poses I will describe next, AND my daily cup of Power Coffee, (see last week’s post), I am most definitely:

 

  • balanced in mind, body, and spirit
  • ready to meet the day with confidence and resolve, and
  • feel energized yet calm

So, what are Power Poses? Let me explain by introducing you to Amy Cuddy.

Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence, puts science into what I’ve known all along.  While we have long been stoked in the ‘mind-over-matter’ dogma – which is certainly well-documented – and I know can work miracles. Cuddy’s proven approach, however, shows that the body can LEAD the mind.

Her tale of personal transformation is also beautifully told in her *TED talk, which is the 2nd most viewed TED talk and can be found here:  TED

In her book, Cuddy shares studies she and others have conducted, as she gently peels away each application of how we view ourselves, present ourselves, and how others perceive us as a result of our ‘presence.’

As she methodically builds her case for the ‘body over mind’ path to a stronger, more positive personal presence, she shares the famous quote of William James (1842-1910), who was a renowned psychologist at Harvard: “I don’t sing because I am happy. I am happy because I sing.”

The very act of smiling and standing with confidence redirects the body’s chemistry to a positive flow. Why not boost your confidence by holding a power pose for 2 minutes at the start of the day?

The studies Cuddy shares demonstrate that body positions of strength (i.e. Wonder Woman, Superman) – that have a more expansive sitting position with arms away from the body and legs not intertwined – result not only in a mindset of strength, but actually produce positive brain chemistry changes.

The ‘victory stance’ is genetically ingrained. People around the world, across cultures, and even the blind, who have never seen a ‘victory stance’ naturally, assume that pose after great personal accomplishments. Feet apart, chin slightly elevated, hands thrown up in the air outstretched.

It’s universal!

Looking forward to a challenging day? In private, assume your Victory Stance and hold it for two minutes. Claiming that victory – in advance – helps assure a more positive approach on your part and sets up those you are working with or influencing to see you as a person of strength.

Victory Stance pre-event poses do not supplant being prepared for a speech, proposal, or interview. Being well-prepared for life’s challenges is still a must. In fact, as you prepare to put yourself in front of others, precede even your preparations with a Victory Stance each time you practice.

Do note, however, that showing up in front of others looking like Superman may be off putting. This do in private before the presentation.

No speeches to give? We carry our ‘presence’ everywhere we go. It colors how we look at the day, and how the world views and receives us.

Practice unfolding those self-hugging arms, stooped shoulders, and minimalist postures trying to make yourself disappear. Practice in private to be ‘bigger’ to take more space. Hold that chin up, open up your chest, and thrust your arms skyward.

Create a more positive and balanced YOU before you start the day by doing Super Brain Yoga followed by a couple of Victory Power Poses!

Let’s roll the video, Sheree! Watch below as I demonstrate the proper procedure for Super Brain Yoga and for the natural unfolding to two Victory Power Poses:

Wow! That was our FIRST online video for foodtalk4you! Hurray!

A big part of personal satisfaction is stretching and growing beyond our comfort zones.

Online video?  Check!

All of my mornings start this way. Super Brain Yoga, Power Poses, and Power Coffee!

2017 is looking up!

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(*)  TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It was conceived in 1984 as a conference devoted to bringing people together from the three worlds of Technology, Entertainment and Design.

In health,

Deidre