Category Archives: Healthy Living

Why I LOVE Lemons~!

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lemon juice

Lemons are extraordinarily good for us~! There is a lot of talk about “SUPERFOODS” out there. Lemons are such a common fruit that many people take them for granted. Personally, I have always liked lemon; it is even my favorite smell~! But, until recently, I had no idea how amazing they are for our health. These days I am starting and ending each day with lemon water. At dinner time, I cut a WHOLE lemon (skin and all) into quarters, and throw it into the blender with 6 to 8 cups of water. Brook and I drink 6 cups between the two of us. The lemon peel is the MOST nutritious part of the lemon. “Lemon peels contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself.”  If you aren’t blending whole lemon into your water, use the zest in your cooking~!  And, I just learned today that I don’t have to cut the seeds out of the lemons before blending them into water. They have benefits, too. Here is a nice long list of health benefits of lemons & the peel. OR… you can just take my word for it, stop reading now, and consume loads of lemon~!

Vitamins: Lemons are high in Vitamin C, which is great for our immune system. Lemon peels also contain Vitamin A, beta carotene, and folate with their corresponding benefits.

Minerals: Lemons are high in potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function. Magnesium and calcium in the peel contribute to bone health, also fighting osteoporosis.

Detox: Lemon juice encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract; it also helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating. Lemons also help flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver. The peel can help fight cancer and eradicate toxins.

Skin: The antioxidants in lemon juice help to not only decrease skin blemishes, but wrinkles too! It can also be applied to scars and age spots to reduce their appearance, and because it’s detoxifying your blood, it will maintain your skin’s radiance.

Weight Loss: Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in calming hunger cravings, helping dieters to lose weight.

Inflammation: If you drink lemon water on a regular basis, it will decrease the acidity in your body. Acidic body conditions are the the roots of many diseases. Lemon removes acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.

Calm Energy: Lemon juice provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract. It also helps reduce anxiety and depression. Even the scent of lemon has a calming effect on your nervous system. I have replaced my morning coffee with lemon water, and I don’t even miss the coffee. I was sure I would.

Anti-viral: Warm lemon water is the most effective way to diminish viral infections and sore throats. Plus, with the immune system boost, you’re already fighting infections.

Heart & Cholesterol: Lemon peels also help lower bad cholesterol and keep blood clean (think heart health~!).

The print “Le repêcheur de pépins” is for sale CLICK HERE.  This artist has the little man (Jack of all trades) doing all sorts of bizarre tasks. This series is fun and collectable. This is a very fun ETSY shop~!

Resources:

11 Benefits of Lemon Water : http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/11-benefits-lemon-water-you-didnt-know-about.html

Lemon peel is the cheapest investment in your health:  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7511/lemon-peels-the-cheapest-investment-in-your-health.html

Eat the Seeds: http://www.liveandfeel.com/vegetables/lemon-seeds.html/lemon-seeds.html/lemon-seeds.html

 

Is My Back Pain My Own Fault?

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strong man and pig postcardI am one of the millions or zillions of people who have a back ache, or can get one easily by lifting or twisting awkwardly.

It would be easy enough to blame the heavy box, or the pillow, or the mattress, or the garden,, the car… or…. or…. you get the picture, blame anything possible. But, I suspect I am really the root of this back problem. Maybe you are young, and thinking back aches are for older people, and this blog post is not for you. But, you read on too. NOW is the time to take care of your back, because back aches aren’t for older people either. Many of us actually CAN do something about the condition of our backs, even if they seem irretrievable. I’ve gotten sick of the back problem, and I’m doing something about it. I’m already starting to feel better, and it has only been about 5 days or reclaiming my rights to my own back.

I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty here, for example my husband has a bad back as a result of a car accident. He broke his spine completely in half, and is paraplegic. But even with a seriously messed up spine, he does everything he can to make sure to keep his body strong and healthy. He is an amazing example to me. He rode a hand crank bicycle 20 miles today. Given what each individual has to work with, we have to do our part to get or keep ourselves as healthy as we can be. Often as we start down this road, we soon learn that we have access to better health than we had formerly believed possible~! Be encouraged~! Catch a strong wind of motivation, and take it to the next level.

Recently, I’ve been waking up with a back ache. I get up an hour early, unable to take staying in bed any longer. Of course that would lead me to believe that my bed is to blame, but that probably isn’t the whole story. Actually, the bed I have is a top recommended mattress for conditions like back pain and arthritis. I just bought it 6 months ago thinking my OLD mattress was causing my back pain. That didn’t solve the problem. Bummer~!

Fed up, I ended up on the Healthy Back Institute website (AKA: losethebackpain.com), and found lots of information that made more sense than killing myself with ibuprophen. I watched some of their videos, and found out that my hips are sinking too far into the mattress. This tends to be true of almost all mattresses (even my tempurpedic) , since humans are generally heavier in this area. A simple solution: I can put a folded towel under my middle, and my spine will tweak a bit less while I am sleeping. I also learned some specific stretches for lower back pain. They have videos about neck pain, sciatica, and more. I’ll be watching more of these videos over time.

I posted a blog last year about doing more core strengthening exercises “Being Spineless“. I would like to inform you that I have developed the habit of doing some of these. But, I need to go farther. Five minutes a day ins’t quite enough. The time that I am spending sitting so much of the day has to be counter-balanced.

While clicking some links on the Back Institute website, I came upon the best lower back pain stretching & strengthening routine I have encountered to date. Just exactly what I needed. It has me quite excited. I plan on having a stronger back in the upcoming weeks and months~! Here’s a link: Great Lower Back Relief Video. If you like this instructor, you can search for more exercises by her specifically. She sure looks fit. It turns out that youtube is a great resource, so do other searches, too~! NOW… remember, you aren’t likely to feel the full benefit of exercise right away. AND… avoid the temptation to do the routine 5 times the first three days. Don’t hurt yourself by stretching as far as you USED to be able to stretch a while ago. (I make this mistake every time; that’s why I’m saying this.) You’ll get back in shape soon enough if you stick with it~!

Hey… recommend more links and resources for back pain relief in our comments section, please~!

(The postcard art in the picture above is for sale at: La Cabane En Voyage. I love this image~! It makes me smile.)

Health Food~! Chocolate Nut Ganache

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Choco-Nut-Ganache-600YES… more proof that God is good~!

Healthy chocolate anything is seriously cool by me~!

AND… Guilt Free~! Oh, and it looks like a no baking recipe (aka: raw), too. Seriously, this is like a superfoods version of a snickers bar. YUM~! I can see taking the basic ideas of this recipe, and making the parts into all kinds of treats. But here is the full recipe, and a link to the site where I got it, in case you want to know more about the ingredients:

If you’re in the mood for a dessert recipe that isn’t full of unhealthy fats and sugars but still makes your mouth water, this Chocolate Nut Ganache is for you. Loaded with antioxidants and packed with deliciousness, this nutty, chocolaty ganache will satisfy your sweet tooth and make you the life of the party – if you want to share it! Link to recipe site, Sunfood Superfoods.

Crust:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Ganache and Nut Filling:

Blend into a smooth chocolate ganache and add the following whole or chopped nuts:
1/3 cup each: walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts

Cashew & Cacao Swirl:

Directions:

Step 1: Press crust into 9 inch pie pan
Step 2: Add Ganache and nut filling
Step 3: Use spoon to swirl cashew/cacao mix over the top
Step 4: Chill and serve.

– See more at: http://www.sunfood.com/blog/recipes/chocolate-nut-ganache/#sthash.yA4DKlgz.dpuf

Sprouts and Micro-Greens = Affordable Superfood Nutrition

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A big bowl full of sprouts.

I really would like to eat right, wouldn’t you?

I find that each year, I make small shifts and adjustments toward a healthier lifestyle with a focus on what I put into my body. I think that on some level we create our own health. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that there are other variables, but I will always believe that we PARTICIPATE greatly in our physical, mental, and spiritual health. I have been reading about and incorporating “superfoods” into my diet. But, some of them are expensive…. and it seems like those expensive ones get a lot of press, while the ordinary ones often get a bit less attention. With that in mind, I would like to say a few things about sprouts, which can be easily grown in your closet or counter-top for pennies a day goodness~!

The basic idea is this:

Sprouts are baby plants and vegetables. It turns out that the nutritional profile of these babies prove them to be significantly more nutritious than their grown-up version. Who Knew? I didn’t~! They are chock full of protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and even chlorophyll. I was quite surprised to learn that there all all kinds of sprouts, and that the different kinds have different flavors. Like mustard~! Guess what…. they taste like a slightly spicy mustard, but without all the salt and preservatives. Then there are radish sprouts. Ok… guess again. Yup…. like radishes, but with twice the calcium, and 39 times the Vitamin A of a mature radish. Clover and alfalfa sprouts are mild, and can blend with anything. Beet spouts are RED~! I haven’t found a source of those yet, but totally want to grow some~! (Send me a link if you know where to get some, please~!) Broccoli sprouts are a great anti-inflammatory food. (One Source: SUPERFOOD KITCHEN, by Julie Morris, page 36).

Sprouts are so easy to grow that we should actually be embarrassed if we buy them~! I say that laughing, but in a way it is true. Look at that photo up top. I grew all of that from 2 big tablespoons of seeds. It took about 5 days. All I did was soak the seeds overnight, then rinse them twice a day,  let them sit on my kitchen counter near the sink, and let them get more light on the last day. Simple as that. Then I rinsed away the hulls. There are many youtube videos on this, too, if you like a more visual instruction. Now, in the photo below, I have grown micro-greens. I have these seeds planted in soil. They sit on a window sill. I have to water them every 2 or 3 days. But, they require little care, and then when the individual shapes of the leaves emerge, scissor them down, and sprinkle them over salad or… well…. anything. The baby leaves have so much flavor, you can tell they are abounding with healthy nutrition. We let these grow for 3 weeks. I think we could have harvested them sooner. Oh… this mix has 17 different kinds of seeds. Isn’t that crazy cool~! Wanna know where I got this mix?  Yes, of course you do~! Sprout People Website, the mix is Bruno’s Indoor Garden. I also go to Got Sprouts Website. I’m not the expert; I’m an enthusiast. These links can get you more information, and I’ll add more recipes over time.

Oh…. what do you do with sprouts? Do you have other good sprout resources? Please…. Add comments~! I love that.

Home grown micro greens.

Better Roots, Better Fruit

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This flower means that our 1st cucumber is on the way.

My husband Brook and I have been growing perennials since 1996. But, this year we decided we should eat more organic fruit and vegetables. After checking out of the grocery store and paying for all the food, we decided we might dedicate some effort into growing some of these veggies. It has not gone perfectly. We knew to get good soil, but we didn’t know much about the pots. I want to make it a “container garden” because I can get lazy with gardening. With the containers, I can have the pots near the hose, and I am hoping this will mean less weeding, too. Well, we didn’t get the right pots. Ours were a bit too small, and they didn’t drain properly. We ordered new pots last week, and spent some time over the weekend re-potting our plants. The thing we learned is this:

BETTER ROOTS -> BETTER FRUIT

Once we said it out loud, repeating the motto of the potting company we bought from, we recognized the spiritual truth in this statement. We need to feed our spiritual roots and take good care of them so that we will have good spiritual fruit in our lives. So, what does that look like? Well…

1-  Spend time with God in prayer, and

2-  Giving thanks is a big one.

3-  Brook and I also make sure to read the Bible together each day and search for nuggets of truth to apply to our lives.

4-  It also means proper drainage…. let go of anger, suspicion, fear, and other negative emotions, trusting that God is good and He has our best interests at heart in the long term plan.

Feeling Stronger? …core strengthening exercises

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Well, I have done some of the core strengthening exercises since my last post.  

I have to confess that I haven’t figured out how to fit them into my daily routine yet. So, mostly I forget to do them. As a result, I’m not feeling stronger just yet. I am not opposed to the 5-15 minute commitment it would take to have a stronger mid-section. I just plain forget to do my simple exercises. So, rather than feeling stronger, I’m feeling stupid~!  How hard is it to remember this?  Actually, that is a bit of a joke. I’m not beating myself up here.  But, I do need to figure this out.

Anyway, when I did do a few rather simple exercises, I was amazed to get the sore muscles. That let me know 2 things. 1- My middle definitely needed some help. 2- The exercises are working~! So, that is good news.  Today I did remember to stretch… with dogs jumping on me… a mixed blessing. Later on my husband and I will go for a long bike ride. So by tonight, I should be feeling strong, and tired.

Maybe a theme song? Would “Gonna Fly Now” be a cliche? Hmmnn…. probably….. I actually went on youtube and searched “exercise music” and got 82,000 results~!  That’s funny.

Link

I went out with 2 friends last night. We had Kenyan food. It was new to all of us. So we all ordered something we’d never eaten before, and each tried everyone else’s flavors. It was fun to learn something new. (This is a happiness tip~!) While we ate, we talked about all kinds of this & that.

I was expressing how much I would like to do a mere 15, or so, minutes of stretching and core strengthening exercises each day. I do ride my bike 2 to 4 times per week, fairly long rides (today was 22 miles). Seriously, it is the most humane form of exercise, and is often quite fun. But, I am not doing much of anything for my core or my arms.

One of these friends is very into yoga (& has the body to prove it), so of course she had valid suggestions. The other does a good assortment of exercises. That 2nd friend recommended the Arms/Abs/Buns of Steel workouts. She said they are 15 minutes each, and she rotates them. That seems reasonable.

I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing yet, and how I’ll squeeze this into my daily routine, but I really DO need to get the middle of my body stronger. It is not fair to my back and spine, and ultimately to myself to let this get a tiny bit worse each year.  WELL….  good news. I looked around youtube.com today and found hundreds upon hundreds of exercise videos waiting for me. I admit, I was amused to sit and watch exercise videos, and fast forward through them, too. But, I’d like to find my own perfect custom mix of stretches & core strengtheners. I thought you’d like to know that youtube can be a great resource for adding new or varied exercises to your daily routine…  for FREE~! 

For starters, I liked this one:  Lance Armstrong’s Three-Phase Program – Base Training: Core

Here’s a glimpse of the: Arms of Steel Youtube Sample Video  …. looks pretty good~!

Here’s a Link to Mayo Clinic’s: Slide show of Exercises to improve your core strength