Sunday, July 25, 2010
WOW! WHAT A LITTLE GEM THE CUCUMBER IS.
1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!
Taken from an email sent by a friend.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
I guess I was thinking the weight would just mysteriously drop off on its own. Who would think I would not have any adverse health affects carrying around an extra two 50# bags of mulch on my body all day long. What WAS I thinking? If I put THE SPARK on my nightstand, the words and wisdom of the book would just somehow find their way into my head? No, No, NO! I am no longer in denial. I am no longer making excuses. I am no longer pretending to be a Sparker. I am no longer thinking MY way is the best way. I am no longer wasting time. I am DONE. I am doing it TRIED & TRUE this time. I am committed to follow SPARK to the letter.
Okay, so it took about six months for this chronic, yo-yo dieter to check out and discover all the SparkPeople website had to offer. Moreover, the NEXT six months it will all be put into ACTION. I absolutely love the support of the other Sparkers. I have not had such kind words and encouragement spoken to me in a long time. However, I love their honesty and genuineness MORE. When I see their vulnerability by posting before and after photos, I cannot help but get teary-eyed knowing how elated they must be feeling -- knowing THEY DID IT! They persevered and did the work and crossed the finish line. I clap, and shout, and get out of my chair... and that’s the key right there... GET OUT OF MY CHAIR... and GO AND DO it, too.
This IS not just another AHA moment. I NEED to be honest with myself. To show my vulnerability. With bravado, I posted two photos today. Okay, so I am no longer that darling 18-year-old at 105lbs in my red bikini. I am now an 18-year-old with 37 years experience and a morethanafew extra pounds in my XXL red cover up. And because of that, I am doing a good Austin Powers kind of job by hiding behind people and things in the photos. But I assure you, the pounds are soon-to-be GONE. ALL of them. No 35-55 pound loss and be content with that. Nope. This time I am committed to something I would never have done at 18. I am going ALL THE WAY. Soon I will be posting my OWN before and after photos - maybe even in a red bikini!
This morning, on this newfound transparency and vulnerability quest, I also posted my weight tracker for all to see. I NEED the accountability. It just has not been moving as fast as I know it should. I stared at it for awhile. I’m half-way to my first quarter of weight lost - which is a safe way of saying I have just dipped my toe in the water with that 15 pound loss. Somehow, I still felt motivated by that. So I will GO and fill up my water bottle, get my Nikes on, and get my Spark book. Time for Chapter 2. One page at a time. One sip at a time. One step at a time. One POUND at a time. What matters ...is that it IS time.
SPARKPEOPLE: Individual commitment with group effort = team work that makes the dream work. WooHoo!!!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
A story based on Malachi:
A group of women were studying the book of Malachi in their Bible study. In their session on chapter three, they were puzzled by verse three, which reads, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”
The women wondered what this statement could tell them about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to research the process of refining silver and report back to the group at their next meeting.
During the week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention her purpose, just her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched, the silversmith held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.
He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the flame, where the heat was the hottest, in order to burn away all impurities. The woman thought about God holding us while we’re in a hot spot . . . then she thought of the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.
She asked the silversmith if he must sit there in front of the fire the entire time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the flames. If the silver was left even a moment too long, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s the easy part ~ when I see my image reflected in it.”
If today you are in the midst of one of life's trials and are feeling the heat of the flames, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you until He sees His image in you. -Author Unknown
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I received an email from SparkPeople titled What You Missed...April. After reading its contents of articles, inspiring photos, members in the news, new website features and more, I can honestly tell you I appreciated every word because I actually DID miss April - not intentionally, but was down for the month with another heart attack. The word ‘another’ makes me wince. I was not going to write about this personal episode in my life, but I now believe I would be remiss NOT to write about it. It could save a life.
I have always considered myself ‘manageably’overweight. I am an active, healthy fifty-five year old. I never felt my weight was a ‘huge’ problem. I often joked that I was still just trying to lose my ‘baby weight’ from the birth of our last child (who is now a 23-year-old college graduate, by the way). Truth-be-told, the past twenty years have been an unhealthy up and down swing of weight loss and gain. I have tried just about every diet known to man/woman on the planet - including Weight Watchers (twice!), Jenny Craig (twice!), Weight Loss Clinic, Egg & Grapefruit Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet... Yep, I could go on and on, as so many of us could, with this long and futile list. Each time I would lose 35-55 pounds, feel great for a few months, and then gain it all back, plus more.
Four years ago in June, I was at an organizational meeting for women’s ministries at church, and suddenly I felt like someone had picked up spear and threw it into the center of my chest - WHOMP! - and out my back. I thought to myself, what was that?! Then almost immediately, little droplets of sweat formed at my hairline and I knew, implausibly, that I was having a heart attack. At that moment, another woman at the table excused herself to leave for work, and seeing that she was wearing a nurse’s uniform, I followed. In the hallway, I (embarrassingly - why is it women can take care of everyone else but are embarrassed when WE need care?) asked if she had a stethoscope because “I was having really weird chest and back pain.” She grabbed for my wrist to check my pulse, and then informed me it was her duty to take me to the emergency room. She saved my life that morning. If I had been at home when this happened, I simply would have dismissed the unknown pain and laid down for a rest - a really, really looong rest.
What had happened that day in 2006, and again in April of 2010, was a massive adrenalin surge (aka STRESS hormones) overwhelmed my heart with such intensity it stunned the heart and caused it to collapse. It is called "stress cardiomyopathy" but known colloquially as “broken heart syndrome” because most of the time the recipient has just received some devastating or shocking news such as the unexpected loss of a loved one, a job loss, a frightening medical diagnosis, etc. First described medically in 1991 by Japanese doctors, the condition was originally called ‘takotsubo’ cardiomyopathy which means “octopus” because the heart expands and collapses much like an octopus when it propels through the water. These heart attacks are rampant in the high tech/high stress society of Japan, but they are now seeing about one a day in the United States, mostly to women over the age of 50. The difference between this cardiomyopathy and a typical heart attack, is basically, that the typical heart attack usually involves a blockage of the arteries which cuts off oxygen to the heart muscle causing permanent and irreversible damage. In broken heart syndrome, the heart arteries are not blocked and the patient is relatively healthy. There usually is no long term heart muscle damage, and it completely resolves within a few days to weeks. The down side is that it can happen again and again at any time without warning.
After an angiogram, my arteries were found to be “pink, supple, and pristine - not a speck of cholesterol or plaque” (for which I am STILL thanking the LORD!) A heart MRI showed a ruffling of the lining of my heart indicating the collapse. Four weeks after going home from the intensive cardiac care unit, with a heart that was only pumping at a 33% rate, the echocardiogram revealed my heart to be 100% strong. That’s a WooHoo!
The 2006 episode at church, I attributed to ‘the fear of public speaking.’ So what was the devastating news that triggered heart attack #2? I am not really sure, maybe it was just a build-up of day-to-day stress. Or maybe it was the fact that I am still carrying around an unhealthy amount of weight that is putting unnecessary stress on my heart. (They call this ‘slow death by spoon.’) What I AM sure of is, that I have been in denial for the past four years and have done very little to improve my health. How foolish for me to think I could suffer through a heart attack and go on neglecting and abusing my body - and think it would not happen again. This certainly was an expensive wake-up call to finally grasp the preciousness of life, to uncover life’s simple blessings in each day (by de-stressing), and begin to take my health seriously!
True gratitude for SparkPeople flows from my beating heart! I am thankful for the excellent, do-able program, the encouraging support of the community, and the ‘success stories’ which have all genuinely motivated me. Yes, I admit, it had been ON again-OFF again for the past few months, but not anymore. I read, I cry, I get up and I DO! For the first time in a long time, I am on my way to steadfastly accomplishing goals toward a balanced, strong, healthy, positive, productive and purposeful life! I may have missed a few weeks of my life this past April, but I am still ALIVE and oh-so ready to LIVE!!
A word of encouragement to ALL women: 1.) Please spend a few minutes at the end of every day de-stressing. 2.) Please, PLEASE if you EVER feel chest pain of any kind - and, believe me, it does not have to be severe, or in the jaw, or running down your arms, or with shortness of breath - just chest pain, call 911. Do not hesitate, and for heaven’s sake, do not feel embarrassed! WOMEN’S HEART ATTACKS DIFFER FROM MEN’S. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
For more information, you can Google “broken heart syndrome”...
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