Sunday, December 05, 2010
'Tis the season that many of us donate to food banks for those that really need the help, especially around this time of the year. However, what should we donate? What are the best items to donate to food banks or to food drives? According to several acknowledged sources here is a list of really great donatable items:
- Bag of rice
- Peanut butter (if allowable by the food bank)
- Assorted canned veggies
- Canned fruit (especially pineapple in natural juices)
- Little cups of applesauce
- Canned soups
- Boxed macaroni and cheese
- Powdered milk
- Boxed pasta
- Cooking oil
- A box of teabags
- A can of coffee
- Canned fish (tuna, salmon)
- Canned meats (ham, spam, corned beef)
- Instant oatmeal
- Tins or packages of hot chocolate mix
- Boxed cereals
- Boxed crackers
- Hamburger helper
- Jellies and jams
- Canned chili and meat stews
- Instant potatoes
- Package of dried fruits or nuts
- Package of Jello
This certainly is not an exhaustive list. Some agencies also really need personal hygiene and cleaning products. A good thing to do if you have a central agency is to call and ask what they are in need of most. Some even take fresh produce. Also, some food banks buy food wholesale at a deeply discounted price and will happily take a cash donation as this cash could buy double the food that we could buy ourselves. So, just ask.
Here is a link to a wonderful PDF for those wondering what to put in food baskets or to give to food banks.
So, especially at this time of the year, let's remember the homeless and those families in need and give something to our local food drives and food banks. Thanks!
Saturday, December 04, 2010
I love chocolate! I bet you do too. It is really cool when I read articles backed with research that say chocolate is actually good for me. However (yep, there IS a however), there are some things to consider about eating chocolate.
First, there are many different kinds of chocolate. The chocolate in chocolate bars, for example, is the wrong kind. What is the right kind? Dark chocolate... not white chocolate or milk chocolate,
In a well known study of the benefits of chocolate, the people that ate 100 grams of dark chocolate a day for two weeks lost an average of 5 points from their upper and and 2 points from their lower blood pressure readings and also gained a significant amount of antioxidents. Also, dark chocolate is a mood elevator and tends to increase our mood. In another study done over 18 weeks, people were given only 6.3 grams of dark chocolate per day and in every case, those people had lower blood pressure readings at the end of the 18 weeks. So, even just a little dark chocolate per day can do the trick. And, by the way, there are only 30 calories in 6.3 grams of dark chocolate!
So, why is dark chocolate so good for us? Because it contains "plant phenols". In the case of dark chocolate, "cocoa phenols". Another term is "flavinoids". The trick to remember is that if you eat dark chocolate (like a Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar) you have to balance the number of calories in the chocolate with your other caloric intake. And, you can't just subtract the calories in the chocolate from the great calories you get from fruits and vegetables. You must take them away from calories from sweets and other unhealthy foods. It's all about balance.
So, how much chocolate can I or should I eat? There is no strict recommendation on how much dark chocolate to eat per day. However, the dark chocolate should be at least 70% cocoa solids (read the label). One ounce of dark chocolate (about 30 grams) contains about 150 calories and is better than the Hershey Bar above that has about 530 calories AND it has the same effect. It's all about balance.
I like my chocolate, it makes me feel good, it has healthy effects for me and an ounce of chocolate a day I can certainly deal with. I make sure I read the label and get that 70% cocoa solids and I do not eat milk chocolate or other kinds of chocolates.
ENJOY your chocolate fix (in moderation that is)!
Friday, December 03, 2010
The weather over the past couple of days here has taken away all the snow we had received last weekend, but that's a good thing for me as I am not a snow lover. Maybe some day I will get to spend some time in a southern clime in the winter. I got invited to a Christmas Tea at my Mom's special care home this Sunday afternoon. It is the day when they start decorating the house for Christmas. And do they ever decorate. They have two big Christmas trees, one in the kitchen and the other in the living room. And ornaments and flowers all throughout the house. I spend a lot of time there around Christmas, including having my big Christmas dinner there.
I must say, I have been reading some excellent blogs here on SP lately. Well, I just got into blogging myself. I don't much care if I have any readers, it is just nice to put one's thoughts "on paper" so to speak. It is really a lot more fun than I ever thought it would be and I have met so many new SP friends by blogging. I highly recommend it.
I would like to share with you a lovely poem by an unknown author that I found the other day and also a link to a wonderful video entitled, "Have You Been Told?"
WHOSE CHILD IS THIS?.
"Whose child is this?" I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play
"Mine", said the parent with a tender smile
"Mine to keep a little while
To bathe his hands and comb his hair
To tell him what he is to wear
To prepare him that he may always be good
And each day do the things he should"
"Whose child is this?" I asked again
As the door opened and someone came in
"Mine", said the teacher with the same tender smile
"Mine, to keep just for a little while
To teach him how to be gentle and kind
To train and direct his dear little mind
To help him live by every rule
And get the best he can from school"
"Whose child is this?" I ask once more
Just as the little one entered the door
"Ours" said the parent and the teacher as they smiled
And each took the hand of the little child
"Ours to love and train together
Ours this blessed task forever."
HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD?
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I's rather amazing how our attitude can change with the weather.
I was reading about how the sun affects our mental health.
When you go out into the sun, your body produces Vitamin D and that in turn releases Serotonin.
As Serotonin is the brain chemical related to one person's mood, it makes sense if you don't have enough of those little guys, that you can become pretty depressed.
It goes withoug saying that the more sun you get, the more vitamin D you get and the more Serotonin you get.
Therefore the happier you are when all those elements come together for you.
Unfortunately, not all people are wired the same way. Some people have more difficulty than others to produce Serotonin. Those cases are very affected by the lack of sun. That's why they sufffer from what is called "SAD" (Seasonal Affective Disorder) syndrome during the short days of winter.
Many people who are affected that way will find help by using special lights which will give them the same results as if they were sitting in the sun without the harmful UV. Some people also take a small Vitamin D supplement, on the advice and direction of their doctors and pharmacists.
SO, whenever the SUN appears, get out there and enjoy! Your brain will thank you for it.
Norah Jones-Sunrise (with Lyrics)
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