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Travelnista's Eleventh Day of Christmas

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

We all know the saying, "Fail to plan, Plan to fail." Goals get you going. Goals
give you a purpose for taking on your new quest to a healthier you. People who live without goals have no purpose. Many people just muddle through this journey to a new you. Please do not make this mistake, you are too important to yourself, your family, and to us.

Goal setting is a powerful tool. In fact, goal setting can make the critical difference between success and failure. One obvious goal of many may be to simply stick to your diet and/or exercise program in the course of a busy, overscheduled daily routine.

While life may seem out of control at times and that you’re a passenger in life rather than the driver, remind yourself that YOU hold the greatest power of all – that is the ability to design your own life. You can wake up every morning and decide to exercise, eat a nutritious breakfast, or you can choose other options that may be detrimental to your emotional and/or physical health. Ultimately, the decision is yours and yours alone.

Here are a few tips to make lifetime commitments through goal setting:

1. Don’t compare yourself with anyone except your self. This is not about winning or losing. This is about making your life better – whatever that means for YOU.

2. Focus on the present – How will you feel after your exercise session today? Will your ability to resist that donut fill you with a sense of accomplishment?

3. Imagine the results – literally. Visualize! Day dream in detail about how you would like to look. Athletes picture themselves performing their event over and over again in their minds until they finally perfect it. If you see your self as soft, sloppy, weak, tired, or stressed, this may very well become your reality for just thinking it. Picture yourself standing tall taking deep breaths, confidently approaching life head on.

4. Take small steps – they DO count! It’s impossible to stop smoking, start drinking 64 oz of water, and exercising 5 days a week. Start slowly, one attainable goal at a time. Begin with taking a short walk and slowly work your way up.

5. Be patient – it make take weeks before you start noticing you have more energy, your clothes are fitting more loosely and you aren’t getting short of breath walking up a flight of steps. When you do recognize these signs of achievement, celebrate.

6. Put holes in your excuses. When you find your self coming up with an excuse not to exercise, go back to the reasons why you want to exercise in the first place. Put a stop to the negative self talk and obstacle formation. Grab that mental sledge hammer and break through!

7. Journal – If you do just one thing related to goal setting, begin journaling. Tracking your progress can help you stay focused. Write down not only your goals, but what exercises you did, how you are feeling and what small changes you are noticing in your everyday life like, not being short of breath or lifting something with ease, or having less pain. Writing your goals in front of your journal would help you to review them daily.

Now I do not think I am going to journal per say because I use my blogs as a journal. I use it as a historical record of where I have been, how far I have come, and where I am am going. I am planning to write out a contract to myself this year. It will plot out my long term goal, it will also entail mini goals in between so the ultimate goal doesn't seem so far away and unattainable, and it will include some rewards along the way. Ii love rewards and I bet you do too!

Unfortunately, there is a problem with most New Years Resolutions. People talk about their resolution and tell other people about them. We really mean to follow through; we might even make plans in our minds to do so. But how often do we use a written goal setting process for our New Years wishes? If we did, we would have a better likelihood of making them come true.

Being goal-directed is important, but few people put their personal and emotional goals into writing. Businesses stay successful because they have written business plans. Many of us are high achievers at work; making and meeting goals is life long in the educational and professional part of our lives. Similarly, we can use goal setting in our personal and emotional lives to help us live less stressful lives with greater balance and simplicity. Why not use this method to make yourself happier? When you write out our goals and plans, your chances of attaining them become greater.

When you know what you want in your life, write down your long term goal. Your long term goal is what you ultimately would like to see happen. Please remember that your long term goal should be positive! Attaining your goals should make you feel good about yourself. They should also be reasonable. A typical resolution might be 'lose 10 pounds' (especially after all those holiday parties) A better way of writing your long term goal would be: 'be healthier about my food choices so that my weight stays where I feel comfortable.' Notice that I didn't say: "I'm a fat slob and need to stop eating so much" (that would be a put-down and would not make you feel better about yourself) or "Fit into a size zero next week" (which may be unrealistic) Remember: you want your end result to be achievable and optimistic! You must believe you can do it!

Now it is time to break down your long term goal into short term goals. Short term goals should be concrete, measurable and time-limited. There should be several of them to attain your goal. Using the above example, your short term goals could start with: 1. Use your Nutrition Tracker for 30 days. 2. Stay within my calorie range every day for 30 days. And for Pete's sake don't always shoot for the low end of the range.3. Use your Fitness Tracker for 30 days.

Then do it! Once you reach the end of your goal, feel good about it. Celebrate in some way. Your achievements are important! Make up a reward system for yourself.

When you complete your short term goals you may want to revise your plan. You can extend the same goals if they are working well for you, or add new ones. So: Make a goal. Turn the goal into steps. Make the steps into tasks. Set dates for completion. You can revise your long and short term goals or write new goal setting plans as needed.

Don't self-sabotage by staying in your comfort zone or denying that part of you wants to grow. Be willing to learn from the experts so you don't re-invent the wheel. Don't start crazy diets or exercise routines. Read as much as you can so you can learn about things to apply to your goals. Try new recipes to keep you on track. Spark as much as you can, there are so many role models here on SparkPeople. Surround yourself with successful and positive people in your life and here on SparkPeople. Learn from them, emulate them, jump on their bandwagon and let them take you to new heights.

Attaining your personal and emotional goals helps self-confidence and improves self-esteem. It makes you move out where you are comfortable and try something different. If you want something strongly enough, you can do it! You will feel life has more purpose and meaning and be more secure and self-reliant. Goal-Setting can help you live your life the way you really want it to be.

"Goals .There's not telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them.'
Jim Rohn

"Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps."
–– David Lloyd George

Remember, you only have to succeed the last time.
Brian Tracy

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ORGANIC811LFRV 1/7/2012 7:39PM

    Wonderful and powerful!

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SEASONS_CHANGE 1/6/2012 9:22AM

    So very true... thanks for posting... sharing this with a bud of mine.

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4EVER21B 1/4/2012 11:33PM

    emoticon Excellent!

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/4/2012 9:25PM

    Thanks Yvonne, I definitely think we need a lot
of mini goals, especially if we have a lot of weight to

I have never been one to set goals, not realistically
& on paper. I want to try it, but never seem to do it.

I did some last year, with the mini goals. Maybe I'll
start there again..

Blessings on you in 2012!

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    Great blog, with great advice. Thanks for sharing it.

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LGAR519 1/4/2012 4:13PM

    I am really bad at setting goals. I have a sparkfriend who helped me set a gosl for January. We're starting out slow. But we're starting!!!!

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    Good suggestions here. Thanks for posting this Yvonne. I hope that you're feeling better than you were. Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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LOOZINITNOW 1/4/2012 1:20PM


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DARA52 1/4/2012 12:11PM

    Great suggestions. Awesome blog, Yvonne. Dara

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MIZCATHI 1/4/2012 11:40AM

    I really liked this blog. When I wrote my blog yesterday outlining my goals for the new year, I was somewhat specific but I know it's not easy. That being said, this morning I had a flash memory of what it actually *feels* like once I am firmly back in the losing fat cycle - when it takes hold the motivation is built in and I don't mind being hungry and seem to get stronger. It's only breaking the habit stage that is the most painful or hard to get through... Thanks for the reminder of how good it feels to set goals and realize them!

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L*I*T*A* 1/4/2012 11:29AM


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Travelnista's Tenth Day of Christmas

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

On the Tenth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me - plenty of water

Water does much more than just keeps fat away. Water has more of a function in our bodies than just helping to curb our appetites.

Incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take for granted, water may be the only true "magic potion" for permanent weight loss.
Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.

Here's why: The kidneys can't function properly without enough water. When they don't work to capacity, some of their load is dumped onto the liver. One of the liver's primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But if the liver has to do some of the kidney's work it can't operate at full throttle. As a result, it metabolizes less fat more fat remains stored in the body and weight loss stops.

The overweight person needs more water than a thin one. Larger people have larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water is the key to fat metabolism, it follows that the over weight person needs more water.

Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration. It also helps to prevent the sagging skin that usually follows weigh loss -- shrinking cells are buoyed by water which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient.

Water helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of -- all that metabolized fat must be shed. Again, adequate water helps flush out the waste.

Water is crucial to your health. It makes up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration - as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight - can sap your energy and make you tired. Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and the very old. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

Excessive thirst
Dry mouth
Little or no urination
Muscle weakness

Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water,it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands. Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water,it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.

Water can help relieve constipation. When the body gets too little water, it siphons what it needs from internal sources. The colon is one primary source. Result? Constipation. But when a person drinks enough water, normal bowel function usually returns.

How much water is enough? On the average, a person should drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day. That's about 2 quarts. However, the overweight person needs one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight. The amount you drink also should be increased if you exercise briskly or if the weather is hot and dry.

Water should preferably be cold. It's absorbed into the system more quickly than warm water. And some evidence suggests that drinking cold water can actually help burn calories. To utilize water most efficiently during weight loss, follow this schedule:

Morning: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.
Noon: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.
Evening: 1 quart consumed between five and six o'clock.
When the body gets the water it needs to function optimally, it's fluids are perfectly balanced. When this happens, you have reached the "breakthrough point." What does this mean?

Endocrine-gland function improves.

Fluid retention is alleviated as stored water is lost.

More fat is used as fuel because the liver is free to metabolize stored fat.

Natural thirst returns.

There is a loss of hunger almost over night.

According to the above calculations I need to be drinking Lake Michigan each day. No seriously, I know that I have to drink more than 8 glasses a day. I am urging all of you to do the math so you can figure out just how much you need to be drinking.

You don't need to sip from your water bottle all day to satisfy your fluid needs. Your diet, including the beverages you drink, can provide a large portion of what you need. In an average adult diet, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. The remaining 80 percent comes from beverages of all kinds.

Fruits and vegetables - besides being good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber - contain lots of water. For example, oranges are 87 percent water, and cucumbers are 95 percent water. Milk, juice and other beverages also have large amounts of water. Conversely, dried fruits, nuts, grain products and baked goods generally contain less water.

Make it count: Meet your water needs through food and beverages
Alcohol - such as beer and wine - and caffeinated beverages - such as coffee, tea or soda - can contribute to your total fluid intake, however it doesn't make sense to drink alcohol to meet your daily needs. Your best beverage is still water. Water is calorie-free, inexpensive when drawn from a faucet or fountain, and readily available in and out of your home.

Have trouble drinking water? I never understood this one because water doesn't really have taste then add lemon or cucumber makes it taste better too. Water is now my beverage of choice. Here is a very simple recipe that I found in SparkRecipes:

Spa Water
Submitted by: EMBERMOON

Refreshing twist for people who hate water

1/2 cucumber with peel
1/2 lemon with rind
8 cups of water

Pour 8 cups of water into a pitcher
Thinly slice cucumber with peel still on
Slice lemon
Add cucumber and lemon to the water
Chill for about an hour

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWEETYKC00 1/4/2012 12:01AM

    good thoughts, thanks for sharing the info!

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SEASONS_CHANGE 1/3/2012 9:48PM

    I'm glad you posted this. I knew that 8 glasses of water isn't enough for those who are heavier and especially for those who are exercising.

Love your blogs


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LGAR519 1/3/2012 8:22PM

    It was very hard giving up my Dr. Pepper for water but I did it years ago.

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DARA52 1/3/2012 7:06PM

    Love cucumber in my water!

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/3/2012 6:25PM

    I enjoy water, so it's not a problem for me.

Thanks for so much information in one place


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    Water is my friend.... for drinking AND for exercising! Gee, maybe you knew that! LOL Love ya, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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    Love water, so so good for you! emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/3/2012 3:30PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MYGOLDENBOYS3 1/3/2012 1:27PM

    Appropriate log for me today. I listened to a nutritionist talking about water on the TV this morning. I immediately went to the kitchen and fixed a glass.

I have been gone from SP for a while but am back. Found I needed it to help me along. Always appreciate your blogs and recipes!

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Travelnista's Ninth Day of Christmas

Monday, January 02, 2012

On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me - healthy fats

The fact is, everyone needs to have some fat in their diets daily. It’s the type of fat that matters in addition to how much you consume. Healthy fats are essential to good health.

The human body uses fatty acids to do everything from building cell membranes to performing key functions in the brain, eyes, and lungs. The functions of fats include:

Brain – Fats compose 60% of the brain and are essential to brain function, including learning abilities, memory retention and moods. Fats are especially important for pregnant women, since they are integral to fetal brain development.

Cells – Fatty acids help your cells stay movable and flexible, as well as being responsible for building cell membranes.

Heart – 60% of our heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Specific fats are also used to help keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm.

Nerves – Fats compose the material that insulates and protects the nerves, isolating electrical impulses and speeding their transmission.

Lungs – Lung surfactant, which requires a high concentration of saturated fats, enables the lungs to work and keeps them from collapsing.

Eyes – Fats are essential to eye function.

Digestion – Fats in a meal slow down the digestion process so the body has more time to absorb nutrients. Fats help provide a constant level of energy and also keep the body satiated for longer periods of time. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) can only be absorbed if fat is present.

Organs – Fats cushion and protect your internal organs.

Immune System –Some fats ease inflammation, helping your metabolism and immune system stay healthy and functioning.

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the different kinds of fats there are. The "bad" fats—saturated and trans fats—increase the risk for certain diseases. The "good" fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats—and to avoid trans fats.

Monounsaturated fats
Are liquid at room temperature and turn cloudy when kept in refrigerator.
Primary sources are plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil. Other good sources are avocados; nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans; and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds.

People following traditional Mediterranean diets, which are very high in foods containing monounsaturated fats like olive oil, tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Polyunsaturated fats
Are liquid at room temperatures as well as at cold temperatures
Primary sources are sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and also foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, and fish.

This fat family includes the Omega-3 group of fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and your body can’t make. In addition, Omega-3 fats are found in very few foods.

Saturated fat
Are usually solid at room temperature and have a high melting point
Primary sources are animal products including red meat and whole milk dairy products. Other sources are tropical vegetable oils such as coconut oil, palm oil and foods made with these oils. Poultry and fish contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.

Saturated fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

It is unnecessary to eat saturated fat sources since our bodies can produce all the saturated fat that we need when we consume enough of the good fats.

Trans Fats
Trans fats are created by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas, a process called hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers – and very bad for you.

Primary sources of trans fat are vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially
hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Trans fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), as well as lowering HDL, or good cholesterol.

Make sure you eat some of these fats daily:

1. Olive oil - The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.

Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

2. Avocado- my favorite fat, thus the indepth list of benefits

Oral Cancer Defense
Research has shown that certain compounds in avocados are able to seek out pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cancer cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells. (ref)

Breast Cancer Protection
Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies. (ref)

Eye Health
Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases. (ref)

Lower Cholesterol
Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week. (ref)

Heart Health
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart. (ref)

Stroke Prevention
The high levels of folate in avocado are also protective against strokes. People who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don't. (ref)

Better Nutrient Absorption
Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados. (ref)

Glutathione Source
Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease. (ref)

Vitamin E Powerhouse
Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health. (ref)

3. Flax seeds / Flax oil have many benefits:

Lowered blood cholesterol levels
Lowered high blood pressure
Increased energy, vitality, and stamina
Increased sense of calmness under stress
Reduced threat of blood clots
Protection against cancers, particularly hormone sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate
Better regulation of blood sugar levels
Eases inflammatory tissue conditions, including arthritis
Alleviation of dry skin, eczema and psoriasis
Enhanced immune system
Increased metabolic rate with a positive impact on weight management
Helps with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Natural laxative

4. Salmon, mackeral, herring, albacore, sardine, rainbow trout, eel contain omega-3 fatty acids.

5.Olives - Olives are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats. Olives can also be a low-calorie snack all on their own. One serving of 20 small black olives is a great snack with less than 100 calories and will contain a good amount of iron, fiber, vitamin E, and copper.

6. 1 ounce of nuts - nuts are now considered as a health food—ironically because of their fats (the good, heart-healthy kind). They also contain an array of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin E and zinc, and are a good source of fiber.

7. Natural Peanut Butter -Natural peanut butter is high in fat - good fat - and it's cholesterol-free and has vitamin E, folic acid, and zinc. In regards to the myth that its loaded with calories. A slice of toast with peanut butter has the same number of calories as toast with a bit of diary butter. But keep in mind peanut butter is higher in nutritional components...

Note:Two tablespoons contains about 8 grams of protein/200 calories, the same protein as 1oz of roast turkey. Yes the calories are a bit high, but protein and nutrition value far out weighs the worry of a few extra calories.

Natural Peanut Butter is better due to regular peanut butter does contain a tiny, tiny amount of hydrogenated fats, less than 1% per jar. Are Trans Fats Listed on the Nutrition Facts Label ? NO There is currently no provision for the listing of trans fats on the nutrition facts label. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a proposed rule for including trans fat on the nutrition label.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    This is amazing! I'll show it to my husband when he comes home. What a great blog. I "liked" it.

Thank you for your education. It's amazing.


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ORGANIC811LFRV 1/3/2012 5:49AM

    Your blogs are a wealth of knowledge girlfriend. I shudder when I read raw vegans going low fat! I go WHATTHEHELL? Fats - healthy ones such as Omega 3's in flax are essential!

Thanks for the blog! (Did you know I'm copying these to present to my future students for dietary information?)

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    Thanks for another excellent blog. Love you, Dawn emoticon

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    Lots of great info, thanks! You put so much work into this, I applaud you!

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/2/2012 8:12PM

    I love the flax seed and the benefits for sure. I love a lot
of the things on this list and use them often.

Thanks again for all you do for us.


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DARA52 1/2/2012 6:03PM

    Am just now infusing some olive oil with lemon zest. I love lemon olive oil for stir frying my veggies! My old bottle was too expensive to replace so I just googled it!

Thanks again, Yvonne. Great blog.

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SEASONS_CHANGE 1/2/2012 5:48PM

    I wonder which olive oil is the best.. there are so many different kinds... thanks for another blue ribbon blog


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LGAR519 1/2/2012 4:02PM

    Very informative. Thanx!

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BE-THE-CHANGE 1/2/2012 3:05PM

    Thanks for all the info!

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L*I*T*A* 1/2/2012 3:04PM

    love it..........thanks

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KNH771 1/2/2012 2:46PM

    I've been enjoying your "Days of Christmas" posts... Thanks!

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Travelnista's Eighth Day of Christmas

Sunday, January 01, 2012

On the Eighth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me - Superfoods

Top 10 Multitasking Super Foods

1. Low fat or fat-free plain yogurt is higher in calcium than some other dairy products and contains a great package of other nutrients, including protein and potassium. It can also be enhanced with other good-for-you substances. "Yogurt is a vehicle food that can be enriched with probiotics for a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, and beneficial, heart-healthy plant stanols," says Zied. "And lactose sensitive people may tolerate yogurt better than milk." Look for plain yogurt fortified with vitamin D, and add your own fruit to control sweetness and calories. Versatile yogurt can also be used in entrée and bakery recipes, in dips for veggies, etc. Don't like yogurt? Skim milk is another super dairy food that has only 83 calories per cup and is easy to slip into coffee to help you get one of the recommended three servings of dairy each day. "Dairy foods contain practically every nutrient you need for total nutrition -- and in just the right balance," says bone health expert, Robert Heaney, MD. "No other food group in the diet is as complete or as economical."

2. Eggs make the list because they are nutritious, versatile, economical, and a great way to fill up on quality protein. "Studies show if you eat eggs at breakfast, you may eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight without significantly affecting cholesterol levels," says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Enjoy them at any meal or hard-cooked as a portable snack.

3. Nuts have gotten a bad rap because of their high fat content. But their protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidant content earn them a place on the top 10 list. The key to enjoying nuts, experts say, is portion control. "All nuts are healthful in small doses, and studies show they can help lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss," says Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer, MS, RD. "I like pistachio nuts because they also contain plant sterols and it takes longer to crack the shell and eat them, making it easier to control the portion. Whether you prefer pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans, an ounce a day of nuts help fill you up. Nuts add texture and flavor to salads, side dishes, baked goods, cereals, and entrées. They taste great alone, too. Zied recommends putting together your own "100-calorie packs" of nuts for easy and portable snacks.

4. Kiwis are among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants, says Ward. "One large kiwi supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C," says Ward. "It is also a good source of potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E, which is one of the missing nutrients, and kiwi is one of the only fruits that provides it." The sweet taste and colorful appearance of kiwis makes it easy to slice in half, scoop out with a spoon and enjoy alone, or slice it into desserts, salads, or side dishes. Kiwifruit can also have a mild laxative effect due to their high fiber content.

5. Quinoa is now readily available in many supermarkets and is one of the best whole grains you can eat, according to Zied. "It is an ancient grain, easy to make, interesting, high in protein (8 grams in 1 cup cooked), fiber (5 grams per cup) and a naturally good source of iron," she says. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to help control your weight and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes, she says. Quinoa is as easy to prepare as rice and can be eaten alone or mixed with vegetables, nuts, or lean protein for a whole-grain medley. Try to make at least half your daily grain servings whole grains. In addition to quinoa, try barley, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat, wild rice, and millet.

6. Beans, beans, good for your heart -- really! Beans are loaded with insoluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste. They're also a good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium. Bauer favors edamame (whole soybeans) because they also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Beans can easily substitute for meat or poultry as the centerpiece of a meal, says Bauer, but they also work as a side dish, or tossed into soups, stews, or egg dishes. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend 3 cups weekly.

7. Salmon is a super food because of its omega-3 fatty acid content. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help protect heart health. That's why the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon twice weekly. Salmon is low in calories (200 for 3 ounces) has lots of protein, is a good source of iron, and is very low in saturated fat. You can simply grill or bake it, top it with salsas or other low-fat sauces, or serve it on top of salad greens. If you don't like salmon, Lichtenstein recommends eating other kinds of fish, like canned tuna. And what about the mercury content? (Mercury is known to accumulate in fish.) "The benefits of eating salmon or other fatty fish twice weekly far outweigh any risks, but if you are concerned, check with your doctor," says Zied.

8. Broccoli is one of America's favorite vegetables because it tastes good and is available all year long. It's a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K, and has plenty of fiber to fill you up and help control your weight. "Some people think beta-carotene (vitamin A) is only found in orange and yellow vegetables, but broccoli is an excellent source," says Ward. You can eat broccoli raw, lightly steamed, stir-fried, roasted, or grilled. Eat it as a side dish, or toss into grains, egg dishes, soups, and salads.

9. Sweet potatoes are a delicious member of the dark orange vegetable family, which lead the pack in vitamin A content. Substitute a baked sweet potato (also loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium) for a baked white potato. And before you add butter or sugar, taste the sweetness that develops when a sweet potato is cooked -- and think of all the calories you can save over that loaded baked potato. "If we eat more foods like sweet potatoes that are rich sources of potassium, and fewer high-sodium foods, we can blunt the effect of sodium on blood pressure and reduce bone loss," says Zied. Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers.

10. Berries pack an incredible amount of nutritional goodness into a small package. They're loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. And their flavors satisfy sweets cravings for a fraction of the calories in baked goods. Blueberries lead the pack because they are among the best source of antioxidants and are widely available. Cranberries are also widely available fresh, frozen, or dried. All can add flavor and nutrition to numerous dishes, from salads and cereals to baked goods and yogurt.

WEB MD - source

Every year depending on the popular flavor of the month / year so to speak the top 10 list changes. Just like sometimes you read coffee is bad for you, month later you will read it is now good for you. One minute they tell you to eat margarine in stead of butter and then they switch back and margarine is out and butter is in. My advice is to try to incorporate as many of the above foods as you can. They are all healthy with great benefits for your body.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEETLIPS 1/2/2012 11:20AM

    Glad you are feeling better. Thank you so much for thr goodies from the team and you. Here's to 2012!!

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SEASONS_CHANGE 1/1/2012 7:08PM

    Thanks for posting this. I read somewhere last week that those steamer bags of veggies are actually not as good as just steaming them in a regular steamer. Apparently, the microwave kills a lot of the nutrients. I have a freezer full of veggie steamers that I plan on opening up and just steaming them the old fashion way.

Happy New Year Yvonne!

and keep on blogging, love your info!


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LGAR519 1/1/2012 4:24PM

    Are you sure that broccoli tastes good!?!?

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/1/2012 1:45PM

    I love just about every one and include most of them in my weekly eating.




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L*I*T*A* 1/1/2012 1:00PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 1/1/2012 12:16PM

    This is a great list to follow Yvonne! Thanks for posting it. I'm loving your healthy ideas here.

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    Excellent list. I've never eaten Quinoa but am willing to give it a try. All the rest I already enjoy & eat. Happy New Year my friend. Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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Travelnista's Seventh Day of Christmas

Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the Seventh Day of Christmas my true love gave to me - a good night's sleep

People naturally want to sleep a little bit more during the winter. But with all we have going on, sometimes sleep is the first thing to go. With a little time management, and some self-discipline, you easily meet your sleep quota needs. Aim for 7-8 hours each night, and try to keep your bedtime and waking time consistent. That way, your sleeping patterns can normalize and you’ll have more energy. Try not to oversleep—those 12-hour snoozes on the weekend can actually make you MORE tired.

Don’t under estimate a nap. A short (10-30 minute) afternoon nap may be all you need to re-energize midday. These are called power naps, and yes even the big executives do this. How do you think they stay on top of their game?

Straight from Spark’s Healthy Reflections

Giving your body and mind a break

“For 16 hours a day, you drive your body hard. You put pressure on joints for hours on end, you expose it to who knows what kinds of germs and bacteria, you put it under major strain and stress, you demand everything it can do and some things that it can't. Let your body have the other 8 hours to itself. It's earned it. After a long day, your body needs to heal and recover. Let your muscles and joints take a break. Your immune system needs strengthened and cannot always be stretched to its limits. Your body has a way of letting you know when it's not getting the rest it needs--it wears down and feels fatigued. And eventually it breaks down. So do everything you can to pay your body back by getting a good dose of sleep. It will love you for it. “

There are so many different things that factor in to your quality of sleep. I find I am sleeping so much better now that I am following a new healthy lifestyle. “Behaving” definitely has had its rewards for me as I used to be a terrible sleeper. So just how do you manage to get the sleep you need?

How Air Temperature Affects Your Sleep?

Pay close attention to your bedroom temperature. Experts agree the temperature of your sleeping area and how comfortable you feel in it affect how well and how long you snooze. Why? “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature -- the temperature your brain is trying to achieve -- goes down,” says H. Craig Heller, PhD, professor of biology at Stanford University, who wrote a chapter on temperature and sleep for a medical textbook. “Think of it as the internal thermostat.” If it’s too cold or too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point.

That mild drop in body temperature induces sleep. Generally, Heller says, “if you are in a cooler [rather than too-warm] room, it is easier for that to happen.” But if the room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up, says Ralph Downey III, PhD, chief of sleep medicine at Loma Linda University and one of the specialists treating Roy.

He explains that the comfort level of your bedroom temperature also especially affects the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage in which you dream.

What’s the Best Temperature for Sleeping?

Recommending a specific range is difficult. While a typical recommendation is to keep the room between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, Heller advises setting the temperature at a comfortable level, whatever that means to the sleeper.

There are other strategies for creating ideal sleeping conditions, too. Experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, for instance, advise thinking of a bedroom as a cave: It should cool, quiet, and dark. Be wary of memory foam pillows, which feel good because they conform closely to your body shape -- but may make you too hot. And put socks on your feet, as cold feet, in particular, can be very disruptive to sleep.

The following are other suggestions to help you get the sleep you need?

Stick to a schedule.
Sticking to a schedule allows your body to set its internal rhythm so you can get up at the time you want, consistently, every single day. Also, make sure you try to keep the same schedule on weekends too, otherwise the next morning; you’d wake later and feel overly tired.

It’s actually known to help you sleep better. Your body uses the sleep
period to recover its muscles and joints that have been exercised. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercise stimulates the body and aerobic activity before bedtime may make falling asleep more difficult.

Taking a hot shower or bath before bed helps bring on sleep because it can relax tense muscles.

Avoid eating just before bed. Give yourself at least 2 hours from when you eat to when you sleep. This allows for digestion to happen (or at least start) well before you go to sleep so your body can rest well during the night, rather than churning away your food.

Avoid caffeine. It keeps you awake and that’s now what you want for a good nights sleep.

Sleep in silence. Sleeping with no music or TV on is more easy and restful. Sleep with no distractions is best for a clearer mind.

Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It’s a depressant; although it may make it easier to fall asleep, it causes you to wake up during the night. As alcohol is digested your body goes into withdrawal from the alcohol, causing nighttime awakenings and often nightmares for some people.

Catch some Zzzz’s, it really does a body good! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEASONS_CHANGE 1/1/2012 7:26PM

    Hmmmm, I didn't know about the alcohol thing. Very useful info

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    As you can tell, I am NOT getting a good night's sleep. I went to bed around 2:30 and here I am up at 5. Potty break, but still... I need to be sleeping. I am going to definitely work on getting 8 hrs of good sleep nightly this year. It's a part of my goals for 2012. Happy New Year. Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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    I guess I'm failing in that one right now since it's the middle of the night. I must work on that one.

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ASHLEEWEBART 1/1/2012 2:14AM

    Sleep is what I need so much to make my life work. It is encouraging to read your writings because I need to be reminded that I do not have to be a night owl! It is so easy for me to stay up a night, and then for days have my sleep pattern re-arranged.

I can get back on track, but it does take some real effort and planning.

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ORGANIC811LFRV 12/31/2011 8:04PM

    I can sure agree that sleep is an important part to a healthy lifestyle. I go to bed early, I wake up early. Normally I do get 8 hours a day.

Thanks for the wonderful write up and reminder.

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DARA52 12/31/2011 6:35PM

    This is so true. And the only part of being healthy that I have not had a problem with. Thank goodness. Sleep deprivation and I do not do well together. I believe that was the reason for my post partum with the first baby. So important to get plent of sleep. Love your blogs. Missed them and will spend some time going back in time to read the info I missed. Have a wonderful New Year!!!

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LGAR519 12/31/2011 3:57PM

    Sleep, or lack thereof, has always been a problem. I had insomnia when I was young. When I worked, it was evenings or nights. And when I moved back home, I worked the day shift. Now my cats don't need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. And They think I don't either. Hubby sleeps when watching TV and is awake all night. I don't know the answer. Hope you can figure out your sleep schedule!

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L*I*T*A* 12/31/2011 2:04PM


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