Tag Archives: trendy

It’s Not Your Normal (Fattening) Dessert – It’s Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia!

Dessert? I want!

But wait. That’s not good for me. RIGHT?

 

 

 

You’re not going to give me a stick of celery and call it dessert are you?

No way!  Instead, I’m going to share some options with you that revolve around some pretty amazing seeds.

If you’ll permit me to review a short segment from my book, Toolkit for Wellness, I’d like to reintroduce you to:

Chia Seed Secrets

Chia seeds. Possibly the 8th wonder of the world!

Consider this nutritional profile for 2 tablespoons of chia seeds:

  • Protein keeps you full and decreases appetite, two times the protein of other grains or seeds
  • Calcium, calming and beneficial to bones, 5 times the calcium of milk with 18% of the RDA
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, very anti-inflammatory and beneficial, 5 grams
  • Fiber, essential for smooth functioning bowels, 11 grams; 40% fiber by weight
  • Net carbohydrates, which we do not want in abundance, 1 gram
  • 30% RDA of manganese, magnesium, and 27% RDA of phosphorus
  • Full of anti-oxidants
  • Slow absorption which keeps you feeling full and satisfied

If you are just starting to “do your body good” with each meal, you may have some sense of a lack of fulfillment – or downright panic -with no added sugars. Dessert seems to be a thing of the past.

You can rest easy!  All you need to do is incorporate a modest amount of chia seeds into your cuisine.

It’s amazing what you can do with just one tablespoonful of chia seeds, one-half cup of near boiling water, a half-cup of unsweetened applesauce, and six minutes! Just watch as I share with you some chia seed magic!!

One tablespoon of chia seeds in bowl-

 

Add one half cup of near boiling water-

 

 

Seeds are swelling a bit at 1 minute 30 seconds –

 

 

It will be thicker at 5 minutes-

 

 

 

Now stir in your favorite unsweetened applesauce-

 

 

Voila! She won’t win a beauty pageant, but she’s good!

In the recipe section of Toolkit for Wellness, I included a few ideas to dress up these seeds into what I call a jam. If you add berries and cook them in on the stove, you can get a bowl of chia goodness (that will be prettier).

I had some unsweetened strawberry applesauce I used the other day, so the color and texture is a nice shade of seedy looking dark pink. And just remember, this has natural sweetener – no added sugar!

What this chia seed, pudding-like mixture is doing for me is providing satiety through its protein and high-fiber content. That little gnawing feeling that can creep into your tummy around eight o’clock at night will go right away with a bowlful of chia seed pudding.

Your constipated bowels will love you. Regular ingestion of chia seeds can be a great part of assisting in normal bowel function.

No guilt! The seeds are flavorless in and of themselves; what you add creates the flavor. A small handful of dried fruit works well, too.

By the way, this can make a great snack any time of day, and has often been my quick breakfast if I was short on time or didn’t want to eat a lot first thing in the morning.

Chia seeds check ALL of the boxes for “doing a body good.”

In health and EMBRACING all of the goodness chia seeds provide-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Free Affirmations Flash Cards!

As a National Board Certified Teacher, I was well acquainted with affirmationsflash cards. The students loved them. A flash card is the only way to learn facts, in my opinion. I have also used them to benefit my meditative time. Positive messages, or affirmations, are also a hot topic for: stress reduction, calming down before bed to get better sleep, mindfully starting the day, and putting your consciousness and faith in the right place.

These flash cards are near and dear to my heart. They came about as a result of reading Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking. His up-lifting Bible quotes and affirmations that he penned or quoted from others so moved me that I wrote them down on pretty square sheets of paper.

A medical team performing an operation
A medical team performing an operation

Around the time of my retirement in 2012, I felt a need to shore my spirit up with affirmations that would sustain me through a waiting period before some much needed major surgery. Contrary to what I thought, I was not going to just ‘have my usual care-free summer’ then have my surgery in late August. No. My physical activity ground to a near halt. My spirit wanted me to hustle around walking along the beach, straightening up the house in anticipation of a post-surgical healing period, and tucking away teaching mementos.

Nope.

It seems that patience is a life lesson that I keep having to work on. It’s a recurring personal theme. Anyway, to get myself in the right frame of mind, going through these affirmations waaffirmation2s pure gold. After using these precious squares of wisdom and calm on a daily basis, somehow they got shuffled off into a drawer.

Recently, a friend of mine was facing some major surgery herself, and was a bit tearful about the whole thing. This had been something she had vowed she did not want to do, but do she must. When trying to console her and give her my prayers for peace and a successful outcome, I remembered these gems. How I wished I could have handed them to her!

I had needed my surgery badly, too, and was happily anticipating the day of its arrival. After a recovery period of several months, I was going to be and feel so much better. When waking up from the anesthetic, the first thing I said was, “I’m so happy!” I was so happy for the waiting to be over and so happy to start my recovery, but still in need of my affirmations! Recovery can be maddeningly slow.

There is that lesson in patience, again. Without these little gems, I would have gone out of my mind before and/or after my surgery.
We do not need to be getting ready for surgery, though, to benefit from daily affirmations. They are a great way to start, finish, or revive during the day.

These affirmatioCosmetic-Surgery-recoveryns would be best printed by you on some pretty paper. Choose your favorite color or find a great floral print or gentle pattern that would not take away from the message on them. So, print your set; there are 8 pages. Each page has lines for you to cut them out. I do keep mine in a certain order because the flow of thought works well for me. You’ll notice there are some blanks on page 8 and a full blank page for 9 so you can add your own.

How to use your affirmations:

The whole idea behind putting these on ‘cards’ and not just printing them out as a list is to give us an opportunity to mindfully read and reflect on each one; taking time to consider, ponder, and apply its truth.I-believe

Many of these are Bible quotes that may appear to repeat, but the message is from a different source. Sometime we need repetition. The one about the ‘rough being a state of mind’ is in reference to golfing. When the ball lands in the rough, it is our mindset that controls how “doomed” we feel. It’s not being Pollyanna, it’s being optimistic and embracing a can-do spirit. Mindset is everything.

CLICK BELOW FOR FREE AFFIRMATION FLASH CARDS!!  (.pdf format). You can download and print them off!

Affirmation Flash Cards   

So, let’s continue with the positive flow of the New Year.

Gosh, we have tackled: 1) Stress, 2) Kale, and 3) Water intake already! Now we can continue with positive thoughts each day.

It has been a personal pleasure to share these Affirmation Flash Cards  with you! Please share with me any of your own that I could pass on to others!

In health-

Deidre