Tag Archives: menustration

Superbugs – The New Super Villians

Tag. You’re it!

Let’s talk about disease transmission!

Yawning yet?

Better not. Your life could depend on it!

Oh, sure. Hopefully, you have mastered not sneezing into someone’s face…but there’s more!

While this flu season has not been declared and epidemic – yet – the numbers are staggering, and not only are the seniors succumbing to the flu, but healthy young children – and even young athletic adults are DYING! I can’t wipe the faces of the recent healthy victims from my mind.

It’s so sad when I think about it.

At this point, it’s important to share this challenging flu season is expected to last another 13 weeks! It is NOT too late to get your flu shot. While this year’s vaccine is reported to be approximately 30% effective, it can still be helpful in reducing your symptoms if you fall victim to a flu strain not specifically targeted by the shot. It does take two weeks to achieve full protection from the shot, so time is of the essence.

Additionally, many of my friends are actually experiencing more than one infection – simultaneously! Running to the bathroom with a Norovirus and thinking it’s the flu, then going to the ER only to find out they also have double pneumonia – with no symptoms!

Contrary to what you might think, a virus or a bacteria’s sole mission in life is NOT to kill you. Think about it. You are the host – their home – and they don’t want to burn down their home. What they want to do is MULTIPLY – pure and simple. Keep their species viable; alive and well. As long as you are alive, they are pretty happy feeding off of you.

If you can assist them in spreading their whereabouts, all the better! Go ahead. Sneeze. Cough. Touch a doorknob a sick person touched. Put your contaminated hand to your nose, eyes, or mouth and… Tag! You’re it!

These micro-organisms do all kinds of crazy things to stay alive. When conditions become unfavorable for their survival, for instance, some form spores. Spores are like time capsules full of DNA instructions and materials that – some day or century – when conditions once again become favorable to grow, multiply, and flourish, they will spring back to life. Presto!

What to do?

Citizens in Asia understand the importance of wearing paper face masks. While both my husband and I are healthy, I am going to buy a box of face masks on my next trip out to the store, just in case. I’ll wear one to prevent spreading disease to my husband – sure. Out in public? Well… Maybe we can start a trend in America. It’s only a matter of time before we wise up in the face of an epidemic.

What we need to do is wear dog cone collars to stop us from touching our eyes, nose, or mouth! As ridiculous as that seems, hold that vision in your mind for a minute.

Just count the number of times you touch your face. Better yet, count the number of times someone else touches his/her face. I don’t know what it is; but just why do we do it? Making sure we haven’t lost our face?

It’s a terrible habit. Our faces contain the three most important portals into our bodies: our eyes, nose, and mouth.

Door knobs, elevator buttons, table tops, electronic devices, gym equipment…the list goes on. Anything we touch can be the temporary residing place for the micro-organisms someone else put there through their touch, cough, or sneeze. We touch that contaminated surface and what is it we do all the time with our hands? Touch our faces. Eyes. Nose. Mouth.

Tag. You’re it.

The norovirus that attacks digestive systems, is particularly determined to find a fresh host. Even though you have stopped throwing up or having diarrhea (or both) and you think you are out of the woods – think again.

You are like a walking Typhoid Annie.

You are CONTAGIOUS for at least TWO WEEKS. These little noroviruses are still living inside your intestines and colon even when you feel “better.”

You may have been extra careful washing your hands after hanging over the commode, puking your guts out, but now? How about after a round of diarrhea? Of course  you scrubbed your hands! But now that you are well?

There is no other way to say this: our poop is STILL contaminated after we get well! If the “stomach flu” is racing through your family or through your child’s classroom, it’s because of germ-filled poopy hands touching things. Those things get touched by those who, not wearing a human version of a doggy cone collar, are touching their faces. It’s what people tend to do.

Stop it!

SCRUB your hands after visiting the restroom EVEN when you are well, and stop touching your face!

Well, how are we supposed to wash our hands you ask? I was waiting for that question. Let me cut and paste a segment from my up-coming book about tips for home caregivers of loved ones:

We all think we know how to wash our hands. In a caregiving environment, extra attention needs to be given to hand washing techniques.

Here are the steps:

  • Turn the water on to a comfortably warm temperature and wet your hands
  • Apply a squirt of hand soap onto your wet hands
  • Start humming the “Happy Birthday“ song at a normal tempo two times through during the washing phase; that should translate to 20 seconds which is how long you are supposed to be rubbing those soapy hands
  • Rubbing the palms together, create a good lather
  • Continue rubbing, moving to the back side of the hands, around the wrist, and between your fingers
  • Scrape your fingertips along the palm of the opposite hand, driving the suds under your nails. Repeat for the other hand.
  • You have finished humming “Happy Birthday” twice by now
  • Rinse hands under the running water while continuing to rub all areas of the hands, wrist, fingers
  • Dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucet with a dry paper towel to prevent contamination of your clean hands”

So there you have it. Preventing the spread of disease is up to each of us. Scouring the house with Clorox wipes is helpful, but proper hand washing and not touching our faces will go a long ways in avoiding not becoming the next victim and in not spreading the bad news around to others.

I just made another vat of Chicken-Ginger-Garlic-Lemon soup and some more Ginger-Honey-Lemon Tea today. Yum!

Deidre and Virgil Edwards

 A great discovery from using the leftovers from the last vat was the addition of a can of minced clams! Oh, my goodness! That was so good! The lemon and dill perfectly complemented the clam addition! Make sure to check out last week’s post to grab the original recipes!

In health-

Deidre

PS:  For some reason, I’m going to wash my hands again!

 

 

A Little Bit of T.L.C. To Calm The Winter Storm

Have you noticed?

Can you hear that?

People whimpering… Aches, pains, and just feeling bad are all around.

After maintaining stable health and immune systems through the fall and early winter, folks are dropping like flies to bronchitis, strep, sinus infections, colds that travel through the entire family and even to the pets, (a Chihuahua sneezing is a sad state of affairs), flu, and pneumonia. I have friends on Facebook with tender bodies who even complain their hair hurts.

That’s bad.

Forget the New Year’s party hats. Where’s the chicken soup?

If you or your loved one fall into the category of the “whimpering needy,” then some serious TLC is headed your way! With minimal energy, you can fix these soothing, nutrient-enriched recipes in a jiff! With a few basic ingredients, you can go a long way to body-friendly comfort measures.

One is a healing and strengthening tea, and the other is soup. While others are dashing to the store for peanut butter, bread, milk, and eggs in the face of winter storm advisories, make sure you grab: lemons, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, honey, chicken, quality broth, and green tea.

Background information:

Fresh ginger, lemon, and honey tea is a tried-and-true standard for throat therapy and protection.

Ginger is often referred to as a universal medicine and dates back to ancient Chinese and Ayurveda traditions. Ginger tea contains high levels of vitamin C, amino acids, and trace minerals. As an anti-inflammatory, ginger calms down unhappy tummies and helps to open airways.

Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C and has long been touted as a benefit to daily detox, get-your-body-started-for-the-day, and a help for regularity. My spry grandmother was a firm believer in daily lemon water; she lived a healthy 100 years. So, there you go!

Honey is not only a good source of energy, but packs a powerful load of antioxidant, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is a natural cough suppressant.

Hot or cold, ginger-lemon-honey tea can be just what the doctor ordered. Given the current freezing temperatures, hot is preferable.

Here’s what you’ll need to do for a quick healing brew:

GINGER LEMON HONEY TEA

In a saucepan, assemble:

About 1 to 1 1/2 inch of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon – And a few extra slices of lemon to float around, if desired

Honey to taste

5-6 bags of green tea

6 cups of water

Heat all ingredients on medium heat and let steep awhile.

Strain and serve. Refrigerate leftovers to reheat.

This can be a bit tangy thanks to the ginger and lemon; vary the amount of honey to balance the sweet-to-tangy ratio.
__________________________________________________________________
That wasn’t too hard to do! Now you have something helpful to sip on while you prepare this gentle, healing, and easy-to-prepare meal.

Background information:

Garlic is rich in allicin, which has powerful antioxidant properties and is beneficial to blood pressure and blood sugar regulation (See my book, Toolkit for Wellness for more information about garlic and other allicin-containing foods.)

Chicken soup – aromatic and therapeutic – just ask Grandma. It works!
__________________________________________________________________
GARLIC LEMON HERB CHICKEN

Any cut of chicken will do. Today I used a chicken breast, semi-frozen and chopped into small pieces. Other times, I have used thighs with bones in to stew a long time. Whatever cut of chicken you have around will do.

About 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped (do this at least 10 minutes prior to cooking to release the good things – allicin – that make garlic good for you)

About 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

One lemon, rind ends removed, sliced and seeded

Some onion, chopped (Do this 10 minutes before cooking, as well)

Salt

Pepper

Dill weed – The dill weed pairs very well with the lemon

Chicken Broth – free range, if possible

Optional, rice-based, gluten-free noodles

Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and lemon slices in butter and olive oil until onions are translucent.

Add chicken. If cubed, stir until all sides lose their pinkness. If whole pieces, brown on each side.

Add broth and seasonings to taste. Simmer until meat is done and flavors have incorporated.

Optional: Before serving, add some Thai, thin rice noodles if your tummy will allow. These cook in a couple minutes.
___________________________________
The good thing about this soup is you can eat it in stages as your constitution allows:

Savory broth first.

Broth and a few noodles next.

There is nothing like Mama’s TLC and chicken soup, to be sure, but this comes in at a close second- especially if you are the source of your own TLC!

Cuddles to my friends in need. Sorry you have whatever version of the “crud” you have. Nurse yourself back to health with this healing tea and soup. Don’t try to get back onto your feet too fast or your body will let you know who is boss for sure. Relapses are usually worse that the first round!

Be safe!

In health-

Deidre …  Healing from a sty that has made me feel like I had a cold.

Now, where’s my tea?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace on Earth 2017 or Coconut Ganache 101

Peace on Earth may well come from a heart that’s attached to a stomach that just ingested a bit of the divine … that is … a spoonful of Coconut Ganache.

There is no way to remember a past wrong, a past injustice, or slight while Coconut Ganache still lingers on the taste buds. You will radiate that “Ahhhhhh” moment you’ll  want to shout to the world. Worst enemy? Share the peace that comes from Coconut Ganache. No need for a cake to spread it on  … just a spoon …

For my one post this Holiday Season, let me share this little bit of Heaven. It will challenge you to dish out this goodness with all you meet.   Spread the love and possibly heal a past hurt by sharing the healing “salve” of Coconut Ganache!

While this Coconut Ganache adds to the final touches on a layer cake or a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream, it can best be enjoyed by the spoonful! Forget Christmas cookies … just give them a tub of Coconut Ganache! Spread the JOY!

Here’s the simplest of recipes:

COCONUT GANACHE

16 ounces of good quality dark chocolate, chopped. (I use Ghirardelli mini morsels. If using dark chocolate bars, make sure to chop into equal, small pieces.)

1-15 ounce full fat coconut milk

½ tsp. vanilla

____________________________________________________________________

  1. Put chopped chocolate into medium bowl
  2. Put coconut milk into small saucepan on medium heat. Warm, stirring, until bubbles form at edge and steam rises.
  3. Pour hot milk over chocolate. DO NOT STIR for five minutes.
  4. After five minutes, stir with a whisk until smooth and glossy; about 2 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla; stir to combine.

Use warm or cooled.

To make truffles, double the amount chocolate, and form into even-sized truffles, rolling in the palm of your hand and setting onto parchment.

For excellent gifts, pour into small containers, top with a bow and a spoon!

In this Season of Peace, be a part of sharing the love where ever you go.  Share some Coconut Ganache along with a hug and a listening ear to the one you choose to bless.

In Love-

Deidre

COCONUT GANACHE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

“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!

Please leave a comment about how foodtalk4you is helping you or if you have any questions. Share this article with a friend.

Subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss any posts; an email will alert you each time a new one is up. As always, we NEVER share your email address with anyone.

 

 

(*)  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

 

 

 

 

Christmas Cranberry Commotion!

Are you like me? I simply crave seasonal offerings, and right now… it’s ALL things CRANBERRY!

Long-time readers of this blog know I am a strong believer in seasonal fruits and vegetables. Sure, we can get most every fruit and vegetable year round, but it’s “fresh” from the opposite side of the world. certainly not “fresh” from our area – and NOT meeting our unique cyclic nutritional needs of the season.

My visions are not of sugar plums, but of cranberries. Their tartness compliments turkey, chicken, and pork based protein dishes, as well as a green vegetable that’s oven roasted in the second recipe below.

As we weigh each food choice with the question, “Will this do my body good?” Cranberries are a seasonal choice that sing the reply, “Yes! This will do my body good!”

Remember the mantra frequently heard: “Go for the color!” Rather than lists of “eat this and not that,” just heading for the seasonal colorful fruits and vegetables, will ultimately steer us on a path of exceptional nutrition.

With holiday meals abound, cranberries will add, not only a divine color, but also an abundance of great nutrition and health benefits.

Long touted for ingredients that prevent urinary tract infections, cranberry PILLS are best suited for medicinal levels of such ingredients rather than just cranberry juice.

But the nutritional profile of EDIBLE cranberries WILL deliver powerful levels of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin E
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients

Consult your health care provider if you take warfarin (blood thinner) or have a history of kidney stones, as cranberries may aggravate your condition or alter the effects of your medication.

So let’s dive into two of my favorite cranberry recipes.

CRANBERRY SAUCE

This is not your normal Ocean Spray cranberry sauce which uses a full cup of sugar. This uses half that and yet maintains sweetness levels through the addition of other healthy fruits.

I actually recommend doubling this recipe – trust me, you’ll want to – in which case, in addition to doubling most ingredients, still use just the one orange but use the rind from half of it.

Ingredients

12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and culled of soft berries

½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or one whole cup if not using grated fresh apple)

½ apple, peeled, grated

1 orange – cut rind off top and bottom, quarter, and peel three of the sections and slice cross ways; thinly slice the remaining section with the peel remaining (see photo)

 

Secret ingredient: 1 cup of raspberries or 2-3 Tbs. of Penzey’s Spices Raspberry Enlightenment

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Whole cloves – about 10 buds removed from cloves

1 cinnamon stick

Dash of nutmeg

Method

I actually precooked my raspberries using half of the sugar and then pressed them through a sieve to yield a perfect seedless raspberry essence! Ummm!

 

Using a large sauce or soup pot, add all ingredients and cook over medium heat. As the berries heat up, they will pop. Stir occasionally. As things heat up, you can lower the temperature a bit and “smush” the berries against the pan to assist in “popping.” Continue to cook until ingredients meld into a thick sauce.

Transfer into a serving or storage dish, remove cinnamon stick, and cool. The resulting sauce more closely resembles a jam.

In addition to being offered as a colorful relish to accompany turkey, chicken, or pork, this sauce/jam can be spread on top of nut butters (almond is my favorite) as a twist on PB and J.

_________________________

Next, I pair cranberries with Brussels sprouts. If you are one of those who is not “in love” with this awesome mini cabbage unless it’s hidden in a vat of melted Velveeta (a nonfood for sure), try this!

If there ever was a vegetable “candy” this recipe is it, and it “will do my body good!”

Take a quick check on the benefits of Brussels sprouts and you will be inundated by page after page of information about phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory factors, antioxidant support, detox support, anti-cancer factors, heart health, digestive health – you name it.

Definitely worth a second look to those who have been leery of these little jewels.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRIES AND PECANS

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

Optional: 1-2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped (see the recipe chapter of my book Toolkit for Wellness to learn how to make all nuts more digestible and better for you)

½ – 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped or cut in half

 

4 Tbs. olive oil (use more if also adding broccoli florets to the recipe)

1-2 shallots, thinly sliced

3-5 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

METHOD

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a large baking pan or baking sheet, toss all ingredients until mixed, evenly distributed, and are covered with oil. Turn the Brussels sprouts cut side down. Roast for 25 minutes or until edges of sprouts start to turn golden and crispy. Serve.

Wishing all of my readers the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmases, and the happiest and healthiest of New Years!

We can celebrate and STILL have food that will, “Do my body good!”

‘Til next year-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Day One – Beautiful!

How many times have you had to start over? Losing weight? starting-overExercising every day? Writing that book? Learning how to play the guitar? Liberate yourself from the weight of backsliding or inaction by facing forward and declaring, “Today is a beautiful day to be ‘Day One’!”

That’s what I did recently.

Before the focus of our household became defined by my husband’s hospice care, I was already trying to lose those “last five pounds.” I had been actively engrossed in expanding my exercise repertoHospiceire to include pull-ups – sort of semi-pull-ups – real push-ups, and using a heavier kettlebell. Success was within my grasp! Just keep at it a little bit every day.

After the March 21st trip to the ER, everything changed. Survival mode ruled the day. Stress threatened to overwhelm. The coping techniques I wrote about in Toolkit for Wellness became my best friends.

Stress does a number on how our bodies function. Well, I knew that; but, wow! The pull for carbs – even gluten-free ones – is insidious. I felt I deserved the carb-y treats just for surviving the day.

A good day? Carbs to celebrate!

Exercise? Yeah, right.

WalkingGo for a walk? Can’t leave home without a sitter.

Planks? Push-ups? Have to be later, busy with my husband’s needs.

Gradually over the course of almost four months, I became out of shape and fifteen pounds over where I want to be.

But I am keeping my spirits buoyed by wonderful moments with my husband, the encouragement and frequent contacts with family, friends, helpers, and the wise use of free time at home to enjoy looking at the birds and squirrels, and by coloring.

I placed no pressure on myself for any additional requirements except to eat lots of the veggies I loved.girl-exercising

But it was time to take control.

I think you reach a point when you no longer want to be a ‘victim’ or just someone always in a reactionary mode. I want to call the shots.

So do it! Enter “Day One”!

CoffeeBack to exercises done during coffee brewing time. We drink the stuff every day. That time is already allotted. Piggy back habits by exercising during brew time.

I had to start slowly again. Backsliding does that. Who cares? Who’s looking? Only me. Start over. No big deal. That’s how it works – a little bit every day.

My full-body plank had shrunk to 20 seconds. Fine. Day One is 20 wall-squatseconds. Day Two is thirty seconds.

I find there are ample opportunities to do more movements in the kitchen – exercise central for me. Waiting for a pan to heat up? Squats right in front of the stove. Nuking something for a minute? Kitchen counter push-ups. Waiting to stir the veggies sautéing in the pan? Time for arm circles.

The following is a list of exercises I am currently doing during brew time and at other cooking times. These are fully explained in my book, Toolkit for Wellness, staplank-girlrting on page 237:

PLANKS- These are always first because they are the hardest. Full body plank followed by half-plank. My goal is to do a two-minute full body plank.

SQUATS- These are so easily done any time, especially while waiting for a pan to heat up.

STEPS IN PLACE- Starting with very high and slow steps gradually getting faster and shorter, then returning to high steps. This is my favorite for getting pumped up.push up

PUSH-UPS- These right now are done at the kitchen counter but will eventually follow planks.

KETTLEBELL LIFTS and SWINGS- Returning to my lower weight kettlebell, I do single arm lifts, double arm lifts, around-the-world swings, and standard kettlebell swing through.

BALLET POINTS- From a “first position stance,” I point my toe/leg to the front, side, and back, ten times each for both legs

FLY LIKE AN EAGLEarmsPalms up with arms to the side, lower outstretched arms 1/3rd of the way down to your leg and back up 8 times. Repeat 2/3rds of the way down 8 times. Repeat all the way down 8 times. Continue to do arm circles, palms up both forward and back 8 times. Continue with pumping arms back 8 times. Whew!

TODAY is a beautiful day to be “Day One”! What are YOU working on?

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

Food for Thought – The Anti-Inflammation Diet

We’ve all seen the headlines, “Local man loses 22 pounds in three weeks by not eating one kind of thing!”  My chiropractor was almost  giddy as she shared the news with me that one of her patients had lost 22 pounds in just three weeks by following her advice – and mine, too, by the way – by not eating just one kind of food. He wasn’t that interested in losing weight, he just wanted to feel better. Weight loss was just an added bonus. Do you want to “just feel better”?

When my readers do this, they notice improvements in how they feel within the first week. The added bonus? My chiropractor thinks that, in no way, was that fat loss. What was lost was inflammation.

Pus, perhaps? Ewwwww!

Certainly fluid. Inflammation goes hand-in-hand with fluid rushing to the site of the “igluten-free-foodsnjury.” What if that injury is body-wide? No wonder joints are swollen, hurt, and have limited range of motion.

So what did this man and my readers try? They cut out gluten.

I’ll never forget one of my Designed for Health students who pulled me aside to show how she was able to once again put on her rings. She didn’t have to tell me she had lost weight, her slender face and trimmer figure spoke for itself. Her painful, swollen joints were gone. Her Multiple Sclerosis symptoms were far diminished. Life was good!

She felt better!

She cut out gluten. What-is-gluten

The following excerpts from my book, Toolkit for Wellness, should help you understand the mechanics behind going gluten-free and why the benefits can be so far-reaching for you. These excerpts are regarding gluten only; the lectin and phytates parts have been omitted to save space.

Glutens, and Lectins, and Phytates, Oh My!

dark forestTo quote Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz, “I don’t like this forest—it’s dark and creepy!” “Do you suppose we might meet any wild animals?” To which the Tin Man replies, “Mostly lions and tigers and bears!”

“Lion, and tigers, and bears, oh my!”

When you delve into the forest of so-called whole grain goodness, it’s a clear case of: “Glutens, and lectins, and phytates, oh my!”

While Judy and the gang became fast friends with the bashful lion, we are in no way friends with glutens, lectins, and phytates. Why? What are they anyway? ‘Johnson-Gluten-Graphic-2-1024x680

Well, going back to a better understanding how things work, let’s look at the nature of what we eat.

All living things work very hard to protect their own life. Animals run, jump, fly away, and if caught, claw, squirt toxins, sting, and bite to stay alive.

grainsWhat’s a plant going to do? Clearly not jump out of the ground and run!  Plants protect their precious seeds with coverings that are hard to penetrate, like nuts and their shells. Some fruits have noxious skin such as mangoes. Grains protect their seeds with toxic anti-nutrients: glutens, lectins, and phytates.

Briefly, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. Gluten, the lectins, and phytates found in other grains, can affect a couple factors in the integrity of the structure and proper functioning of the lining of the small intestine.

Remember Dr. O’Bryan’s analogy of the fuzzy, shag carpet structure of the small intestine lining? The shag carpet structuleakygutcureres need to be maintained for proper absorption of nutrients. They can become damaged, bent, crushed even, which renders them useless in nutrient absorption. To keep his carpet analogy going, in the presence of glutens, we now have Berber carpet.

If that’s not disastrous enough, the integrity of the junctions holding the individual cells of the small intestine lining together is compromised and the intestine becomes “leaky”—also known as intestinal permeability. This is where systemic inflammation and autoimmune issues start.

Inflammatory processes are good if we have cut our finger. Temporary inflammation helps witglutenh healing the cut; but body-wide, chronic inflammation leads to auto-immune issues and disease.

All humans produce a protein called zonulin when gluten is consumed. People with Celiac Disease produce way too much. The excess zonulin causes the junctions between the cells lining the small intestine to open up, allowing toxins, and clumps of gluten molecules to get through which are then absorbed into the blood stream.

Imagine molecules of protein escaping from being absorbed for use sickerand instead, are floating around and being seen as foreign invaders. Our bodies will naturally mount an immune response which is what starts the inflammatory process I have outlined previously. Where ever this immune response happens is where trouble happens, pick an organ, any organ; pick a body system, any body system.

Researchers are saying more and more, the bedrock of most all disease is auto-immune in nature. The gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye (and the lectins and phytates in other grains and nuts) are what serve as a launching pad for auto-immune and inflammatory diseases. This is why the signs and symptoms of any level of gluten sensitivity are so broad.

gluten2To summarize an article of Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s, “The Gut-Disease Connection,” from May 8, 2014, the first step in the development of autoimmune disease is leaky gut. In the event we can reverse the leaky gut, the possibility of shutting off the autoimmune response becomes real.

Is that dark, creepy forest of whole gain goodness looking even creepier yet? Can you connect these dots to the ills we see all around us?

Why are we becoming a nation of people who are obese, diabetic, weak boned, anemic, tired, and head-achy, with ADHD in our children, and victim to mounting auto-immune diseases and Alzheimer’s? Has our DNA broken down?

Science is getting smarter but we are getting sicker! What’s wrong Abstract cells in mitosiswith this picture?

1% of us are allergic to gluten in a drastic way and symptoms of Celiac Disease, as it is called, can manifest fairly early in life. There are Celiacs who have no digestive issues; and there are non-Celiacs who are gluten intolerant with plenty of digestive issues. I have read recent articles stating there are some people on the gluten sensitivity spectrum who are only reactive to wheat. But sometimes it can take decades before the relenting damage reaches the threshold of causing life-altering disability. In fact, I want to share Bob’s story with you right now so you can appreciate what gluten overload, good stress, and bad stress can do to an adult body.

Bob’s Story:

After coming to America at age 17 from Asia, Bob enjoyed a totally American life, immersed in its culture, including the Standard American Diet. Fast forward to Bob at age 70, as he and his wife enjoy a summer trip to Germany and Austria. The good stress of a vacation in Europe is easily off-set by enjoying the cuisine-du-jour, which certainly includes fabulous German and Austrian pastries, breads, and bakery goodies three times a day. Ah! Very exciting times! Maybe not enough sleep, but plenty of pictures and good memories.

 Before they returned home that same month, Bob was experiencing symptoms of a cold, some diarrhea (traveler’s diarrhea?), and decreased appetite. Had Bob picked up some kind of virus? Okay, many travelers pick something up, nothing serious. By July, they were home; but Bob became very, very sick with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea every day. Needless to say this trim man of 125 pounds was rapidly losing weight. The doctors ordered a host of tests, especially for cancer; but they all came back clear. One doctor called this “mysterious” and wondered if he had, indeed, picked up something exotic in Europe.

Add to this mix the stress of moving to another state to be closer to family, leaving behind fabulous friends and a strong church community. Needless to say, Bob got worse. By March the following mysterious illnessyear, Bob and his doctors were convinced he was going to die. He was down to 79 pounds. In a last ditch effort, his test results were forwarded to Massachusetts’ General Hospital for further analysis.

Finally an answer was coming!

Bob had become so allergic to gluten, he was “one notch away” from being a person with full blown Celiac Disease. He had become gluten intolerant. It took eight months to finally get a diagnosis. Eight months of suffering.

 Four months later, still on a gluten-free diet, Bob is now back up to 112 pounds and feeling better each day. It took a couple weeks for him to see any changes for the better, but improvements are happening all along as his body heals.

None of us are immune to the onslaught of forces that create some degree of gluten sensitivity.

Nearly 30% of us are non-Celiac, but test positive for antibodies that indicate the body is at war with itself in some way or the other when gluten is ingested.

In all of my readings, I have never heard of a single person who has not felt better after they stopped eating all forms of gluten. They felt better, they often lost weight, their brains were clearer thinking, their aches and pains lessened, their arthritis improved, their energy levels improved, and their bellies were happy. Truly the list goes on and on.

But your grandma lived to be 102 and she ate bread all of the time? Well, Grandma’s wheat was not the wheat we are eating today. The dwarf wheat grown now is especially high in gluten.

What is one to do? Give gluten-free a real try for 30-60 days; and if  your symptoms improve, great! If you improve somewhat, but still have some level of dis-ease, then expand your eliminations to include all grains (rice, corn, oats, etc.). Once you are normalized, try reintroducing non-wheat grains, one at a time, and note your body’s response. Everyone is unique. Maybe you can eat a bowl of oatmeal or a serving of rice.

Take Away Thoughts:

• Aside from adding to a starchy carbohydrate-laden diet, which causes great swings in blood sugar levels and promotes fat storage, grain consumption presents other problems that contribute to destruction of the small intestine lining and can lead to systemic and chronic inflammation.

Take Away Actions:

• Give healing a chance! For just thirty days, eliminate all gluten and just see how improved you feel. I predict you will start feeling better after just 7 days.

 There you have the low-down on gluten. All of the recipes featured on this website and in my book are gluten-free and non-inflammatory.

Put the bounce back into your step by going gluten-free.

Click on the link here to check out Toolkit for Wellness!

In health-

Deidre