Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Hmmm. Well, what have I been up to lately? To tell the truth, not much. As far as SparkPeople, I have been logging my food every day and logging my other goals. My main thrill with SP over the past couple of weeks is reading all of your blogs. It's like getting letters from home, haha.
We seem to have been getting a snow storm every couple of days and the streets in the city have been very icy. I don't know why the city doesn't pre-treat and salt the streets better. Some of the side streets are like driving on washboards (our poor vehicles). We just got through another storm overnight and into today. The street plow just went by and the plow that does my driveway has been here. I just got in from cleaning the ice and snow on the car.
It's my Mom's birthday on Saturday. They will have a big cake for her at her special care home. She will love that. I hope to get there, but another storm is expected for Friday, so I'll have to wait and see. I visited her yesterday and she was in fine spirits! She has a form of dementia and doesn't remember one day from the next but she still knows me and likes people to visit.
I am not a snow person. But the nice thing, and what I think about, is that spring will soon be here. March is not that far away. I love the spring... it's my favourite season of the year. I like spring better than summer, which can be very hot and humid here. I don't like driving in the snow... I get very tense and nervous, not so much about my driving but having to watch for others who drive as if it's summertime.
I had some blood work done on Monday. I get a full batch of it done every year as a routine thing. I have an appointment with my doctor on January 31 to go over the results. We have been watching my blood sugar levels and my cholesterol levels. They have been inching higher over the years but I am still on no medications for them. This is another thing I love about SP. It gives me a great place to watch what I eat. And the groups on here are wonderful to get information and to make friends and to ask questions.
I'm about to give American Idol Season 10 a watch tonight. I followed it the first few seasons but not so much in the past as it hasn't been as good. In fact, I thought last season was terrible (what I saw of it and the finalists). Perhaps this season will be better, we'll see. I don't watch much television. I would rather listen to podcasts or music on my iPhone or read. There is not much on television that I like to watch. And all the news today is so negative, I avoid most of it. I also play games online and that whiles away the time.
I have to blog more. I started out with great intentions of blogging every day. I just don't have that much to write about to blog every day. But I'll try and put down a few notes more often. Take care friends!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Hello everyone. I've been a wee bit lax in blogging over the holiday season. But, I hope to get back on track. Over the holidays, I came to realize what many have written about and that is the effects of the words, "I should, I must and I ought to".
Why do these words so negatively impact our general mental health and well-being? When I look back over the holiday season to try and determine why my positivity and drive were low, I began to think about how many times I said to myself, "I should do this" or even worse, "I MUST do this". Using these words can certainly put pressure on you and bring you down.
I found that every day I said, "I should really get to work and do this" or "I must get this ready by 5 pm" or "I ought to send a card to her even though I only send cards to close relatives". Then I would stew over it and let it swim around in my brain until I really became stressed out about it.
Obviously, there are things you "have" to do. Paying bills, shopping for groceries, getting gas for the car. But, having to do something is much different than filling your mind with the shoulds, the musts and the ought to's. These are most often optional words. They are designed to get you anxious and depressed if you let too many of them sink into your subconscious and mull around there.
These types of words sap your energy, your drive and your fun. These are not positive words. They are the ugly, negative words that none of us need to have. I know I have to watch using them or I become overwhelmed quickly.
I had a nice Christmas with my Mom and the residents at her special care home. I went out on Christmas morning and stayed for a long time. She will be 94 in January and, except for her failing memory, she is doing pretty good and often says she wants to live to 100. She has a wonderful, positive attitude and I know her outlook of taking one day at a time has gotten her to this wonderful age.
So I say, eliminate all of the shoulds, musts and ought to's from your life (or as many as you can) and live with my Mom's attitude of "living for the day". Positivity like hers sure as heck beats the negative stuff every time!
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)!
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