Heidi

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Mom, desperately trying to get the health thing right! I started this blog so that I can pass along all the great things that I learn everyday on damage control for our wonderful bodies. It is tough to keep up sometimes with all the things going on in our daily lives so hopefully some of the helpful hints that I provide can make your life easier and healthier. I welcome your comments and tips as well! I am a vegetarian, animal rights advocate and avid animal rescuer.
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2008-04-30

Tea, Tea Your The One For Me! Health Benefits of Tea!

Have a cup of tea-you may live longer and be protecting yourself from an array of ailments. The antioxidants in tea appear to improve concentration, gently boost energy, make people happier, lower cholesterol levels, improve cardiovascular health and help guard against some cancers. And some experts believe its flavenoids may inhibit the growth of plaque on teeth (less visits to the dentist). The free radical-inhibiting property of tea is more potent than that of vitamin E, and tea is a proven preventive and treatment for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The polyphenols in tea, especially the catechins, are powerful antioxidants that help ward off diabetes and cancer. I find that drinking tea can be both soothing (nothing like a nice cup of hot tea in the evening) and invigorating (delicious ice tea with all natural Stevia sweetener).

Tea Tidbits

**Slim Down With Tea-As a weight loss tool, tea is a wonderfully cleansing way to flush the system, replace fluids - and pump the body full of powerful antioxidants at the same time. Aside from the health benefits, tea is a zero-calorie beverage, making it your best choice for weight loss. Tea, especially green tea, have been known to speed up fat oxidation and increase the metabolic rate. Along with caffeine, the catechin polyphenols present in tea helps speed up the rate at which calories are burnt, thereby increasing substantially the energy consumed.

**Heart Health- People who consume three or more cups of tea a day have an 11 percent lower rate of heart attacks than those who drink less, according to a study presented to the American College of Cardiology. Other studies suggest that tea may also reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and repair blood-vessel damage in heart patients.

**Green Tea- is famous for its calming effect on both body and mind. Studies have shown that this calming effect is caused by the L- Theanine amino acid found in the leaves of green tea. L-Theanine affects the central nerve system, causing certain substances to be released which cause a sense of euphoria, optimism and serenity while neutralizing the vigor which accompanies the consumption of caffeine in tea.

**Caffeinated Teas -may help to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis, as well as boosting the immune system.

**Brewed Teas are Best-To achieve the greatest health benefits, drink tea brewed from loose leaves or teabags. The longer the tea is steeped, the more antioxidants it will provide (though the caffeine content will also rise with steeping time). Tea should be allowed to steep for at least 3-5 minutes so that the majority of its antioxidants will be released.
Iced teas made from brewed tea leaves are as high in antioxidants as hot teas. Iced teas should be kept in sealed containers and refrigerated. Powdered teas are not as high in antioxidants and thus will not offer the same health benefits. Most bottled teas consist predominantly of sugar and water and are not a good source of antioxidants. More here.

**Herbal Teas-Herbal teas do not offer the same benefits as black, red, green and white caffeinated teas, but they can provide a number of other health benefits.

**Tea provides about 22% of the total intake of flavonoids in the U.S. diet, almost as much as fruits (28%) and vegetables (26%). More here.

**Green tea catechins have been shown to protect the liver against toxins such as alcohol and cigarette smoke.

Tea is delicious and calorie-free to boot! I think I will go and have a glass now. Why don't you!
Heidi
2008-04-28

Going Organic On A Budget-Yes, It Is Possible!

I will be the first to admit (much to my husbands' dismay) that I love to spend money. I love to shop and buying healthy organic food is no exception (who knew grocery shopping could be so fun-but hey it IS shopping). Unfortunately, I have to be on a budget in all areas and this includes my organic food choices. I looked around and found some helpful information on which are the top foods to buy organic if you are like me and on a budget ( I hate the word budget). Here we go-

Top Foods To Buy Organic-Worth The Money

**Peaches-In some studies, they’ve had up to 10 times as much pesticide on them as other fruits and vegetables.

**Apples-Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. Doesn't sound good.

**Strawberries-Strawberries receive a dose of up to 500 pounds of pesticides per acre.Straw-berries and other produce bought out-of-season are the most likely to have been imported, possibly from a country with less-stringent pesticide regulations.

**Milk-While milk is a natural product, all the antibiotics and hormones that go into high-yield cows most certainly aren’t. Some studies on supplements like recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) used in conventional milk production have suggested links to early puberty and other hormonal abnormalities. Danish studies have shown that not only does organic milk have less of the bad stuff, it has more of the good stuff. Specifically, organic milk has higher levels of vitamin E, omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Did you know that Europe has banned U.S. Milk? I also make sure to buy organic cheese, yogurt and all dairy products when possible. More here.

**Meat-. Contrary to a widely reported "fact," meat typically contains less pesticide residue than plant-based foods, according to Debra Edwards, the director of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs. That said, raising animals with conventional modern methods often means using hormones to speed up growth, antibiotics to resist disease and pesticides to grow the grain fed to the animals (plus I think modern methods promote cruelty to animals-had to get that in there). As the EPA puts it in an Ag 101 feature, "Antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones are organic compounds which are used in animal feeding operations and may pose risks if they enter the environment." Consumers looking to avoid meats raised with these substances can seek out certified organic meat. To meet USDA standards, this meat can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones or antibiotics. More here.

**Coffee-Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries where pesticides and chemicals are not regulated. Look for the fair trade certified organic label on your coffee for assurance.

**Eggs-Though they are a terrific source of protein, most eggs are produced using a range of antibiotics and hormones on the chickens that bear them. Given this, the health gains of eating organic eggs are similar to those of drinking organic milk. Essentially, organic eggs mean fewer hormones in the chicken and fewer foreign hormones (or chemicals acting as hormones) in your body.

**Celery, Grapes and Sweet Bell Peppers-Peppers and grapes have thin skins and celery none which creates little and no barrier to pesticides.

**Potatoes-Chlorothalonil, often used on potatoes, can be particularly harmful to children. In Canada, potatoes have been linked to high rates of asthma and asthma-related deaths in farming communities.

**Lettuce And Spinach-Leafy greens are often contaminated with what are considered the most potent pesticides used on food.

Save Some Money And Probably Don't Need To Buy These Foods Organic-

**Broccoli,
**Bananas
**Frozen sweet peas
**Frozen corn
**Asparagus
**Avocados
**Onions:

Levels of pesticides are low even in conventional versions of these.

Now you are armed and ready to save money and go do some organic shopping!

Heidi

The Benefits Of Going Organic

In recent years there has been alot of buzz about going organic. I try to buy as many organic products as I can afford (tomorrow I will write about going organic on a budget) and feel that my family benefits from this. When I first started understanding the importance of organic products I was appalled about what really goes on in the food industry. I am by no means even remotely perfect at buying organic but I am making an effort. If an organic super spy came to my house they would throw me in the your an organic fraud jail. I think I could plead innocence because I do not profess to be more than a wannabe so you genuine health nuts go easy on me. I really do the best I can as far as purchasing organic and you will see why below.

What Does Organic Really Mean??

An organic product is raised, grown, and processed without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, antibiotics or hormones. Only farmers who produce food according to USDA organic standards and become certified by an independent third-party accredited agent can label their product as "certified organic" (with the exception of very small farms with sales under $5000 annually).

Why You Should Consider Going Organic

**Organic products meet stringent standards. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.

**Organic farmers build healthy soil. Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.

**Organic production reduces health risks. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us. More here.

**Taste Better and Truer Flavor. Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food. Let the organic feasting begin! More here.

** Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies. Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.

I found some additional information on which foods you should purchase if you are on a budget and can only choose a few organic items and I will put that in tomorrow's post. So, if you are like me and have to pick and choose you will know which ones are more important than others as far as organic goes. I also support my local farmers market which is a great way to buy produce at a reasonable price. So, please check back tomorrow and check out organics on a budget.

I am still working on my Bikini Boot camp with personal trainer Christopher Warden (see his widget on bottom right) and as soon as we get all the pieces together I am going to do posts on getting bikini ready. I am thinking of some videos, menus, exercises and you can join me if you want on my quest to run around the pool in a bikini in broad daylight with confidence.

Heidi

2008-04-26

Healthy Doggie Cookies With A Cause And Help Gunner The Dog Get Surgery

Once in awhile I feel the need to blog about a cause that is close to my heart-today is one of those days. I am a vegetarian and avid animal rescuer and everyday (literally) I receive emails asking for help finding homes for abandoned animals that are in abusive situations or are in high kill shelters and going to be killed for no reason other than some irresponsible person didn't want to deal with them anymore or take the time to spay/neuter (I'm sorry I do get a bit heated-this is my passion). I do what I can, as do many of the rescue groups and selfless people I meet involved in animal rescue but there are always more animals that need help. It never, never ends. I know tomorrow I will open my email and find several pleas for help (I belong to a yahoo group of rescuers and shelters that receive these emails-we are working together to save as many animals as we can). So, I wanted to highlight a site that has some incredible doggie cookies that are healthy and human grade. Doreen the maker of these incredible dog cookies donates a percentage of her sales to help homeless animals . She believes in giving the best to your pets. Whether it’s in your dog’s food or in their treats. Either way, they are 100% human grade. What does that mean? It means that the food she feeds her dogs is made from the protein that is graded good for humans too. Generally, in dog food, the meat that is discarded for humans, gets turned into our pets food. She has decided, that’s not good enough for your “kids” . She won't let her dogs eat anything that she won't eat and in fact her dog Lucy stopped having seizures once she switched her food over to human grade. Her treats are wheat and corn free and extremely reasonably priced. I would like to commend Doreen for not only thinking of her animals health but for making it available to all of us AND donating a percentage to help abandoned animals (I don't think people in animal rescue ever make a dime because they spend it all on the animals). Let her help give your special kiddo a healthy treat. Low in fat, high in fiber, great in nutrition. They’ll beg you for more! Please visit her site here and get your favorite pooch a healthy treat while helping those who cannot help themselves.

Gunner The Dog Needs Medical Care
Here he is...Gunner, a real trooper! This guy has literally been to hell and back. He's about 4 months old, has lived most of his life in a crate and after being fed horse wormer and suffering a prolapsed rectum, he is recovering nicely with a foster family. His foster mom, Lillian and foster sisters, Star, Luna and Dolly are teaching him how to share, play and love. What a great environment to recover in after going through such an ordeal. Here's what happened: A tiny Pit Bull boy was rescued from a BYB and this is how he was found... His tiny bottom had his rectum hanging out. This little boy has been fed horse wormer every week for the last several months because his previous owner would not properly take care of him or any of the other dogs he currently has. He only gave this boy up because he knows this little thing is destined to DIE if untreated and no one was willing to treat him....his foster mom is not willing to let this baby die.. she is pleading for his life and medical care...

They are taking donations through paypal and even $10.00 can help. They only have $181.00 left to go to cover his medical costs and if they don't reach their goal all the money goes back to the donors (not sure why).

If you would like to help please click here to donate and read the full story on Gunner. Anyone who does make a donation towards Gunner's care please let me know and I will add you to my favorite links list and do a free review of your site on Health Nut Wannabe Mom as well as publicly thank you on this blog (and love you forever:) ).

I really don't like to ask for help but when it comes to the animals sometimes I feel like it couldn't hurt. Tomorrow I will be back to my normal self (whatever that means) and have some great health tips for you.

To you and the animals!

Heidi
2008-04-25

Diet Soda Alternative Zevia With Stevia Tastes Great & A Fun Organic & Healthy Recipe Contest

If you read my blog you may remember that I gave up diet sodas because of all the artificial sweeteners and how bad they are for your health. I began drinking iced tea sweetened with Stevia (Unlike artificial alternatives which contain acetic acid, formaldehyde, chloride, and other un-pronouncables Stevia is a healthy fat free, non caloric, 100% naturally sweet plant with a zero glycemic index that is 30 times sweeter than sugar). I actually like the tea and water that I drink but still missed the carbonation or something because once in awhile I really wanted. a Diet Pepsi ( I hate to admit it but I did). Then along came Zevia the natural alternative to diet sodas. I am very particular about my diet drinks and was not sure how Zevia would stack up. I am so excited to say that I tried all 4 Zevia flavors (cola, lemon lime, orange and root beer) and am over the moon! I love it and cannot wait to get more (keep in mind that I am not affiliated with Zevia or receive any compensation to tell you about it-just love to share the things that I like). I kept looking at the can to make sure that Zevia really had no sugar, no artificial sweetners, no calories, no carbohydrates, no sodium, and no fat. It tasted to good to be true I kept telling myself (again my suspicious nature was trying to fight with me on this) . It is true though, my kids even love the root beer, orange and lemon lime (I'm the cola woman because it has 45mg caffeine which I love). I even had my neighbor and friend over and did a taste test to see if they could tell which was Zevia and which was the popular diet soda. They could not tell the difference (they did however think I was crazy for making them take a taste test-but it was fun). Zevia is a hit and I highly recommend any diet soda lover to try it (and tell me what you think). Zevia still has a special right now where you can receive a FREE six pack and just pay shipping and handling. It is available in some stores but not in my area yet so if you need to you can order it at http://www.zevia.com/. Below is a little information from the Zevia site but you may want to go there to check it out more.

"ZEVIA® is a stevia supplement. It is the world's only all natural sugar free alternative to diet soda. It contains no artificial sugar substitutes - no aspartame (Nutrasweet®), no sucralose (Splenda®), and no saccharin (Sweet 'N Low®). ZEVIA® contains only natural ingredients and comes in three all natural flavors: ZEVIA® Natural Cola, ZEVIA® Natural Orange and ZEVIA® Natural Twist (lemon-lime).

What makes ZEVIA® the world's only all natural sugar free alternative to diet soda?
The ingredients. ZEVIA® contains none of the chemically processed artificial sugar substitutes found in diet sodas. Diet sodas also contain artificial flavors and colors. ZEVIA® does not. With great effort, expense, and painstaking care, Zevia LLC found the healthiest, all natural ingredients available. Many "natural" sodas contain sugar which means calories. Diet sodas are usually sweetened with processed artificial sweeteners which means chemicals. ZEVIA® is the world's only all natural sugar free alternative to diet soda. "
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Healthy and Organic Recipe Contest at Mambo Sprouts
Now onto a great recipe contest I wanted to tell you all about. Annie from http://www.mambosprouts.com/ let me know that they are having an organic and healthy recipe contest. They are giving away great prizes like a year's supply of products or gift certificates to your favorite natural food stores. They are looking for original recipes in four different categories, each utilizing different sponsored products. Wouldn't it be great to win? I think that the last thing I won was a milk shake maker playing bingo in 3rd grade at the community center (seriously). Anyway, if you are interested in participating check it out here and if you win be sure to let me know. Also, if you do decide to participate I would love to post some of your recipes (now that I am cooking and have tossed the microwave that blew up) as I need some quick, easy, and healthy recipes to try.

Heidi

P.S. Don't forget that the Whole Food Nation free trade away program is going on-you trade your multi-vitamins and get to try one months worth of their whole food supplements on the house. No sales tricks, no hounding you. I lost weight and have an amazing amount of energy since taking them. They are FREE! I love Free! Just email me and I 'll let you know where to send your multi-vitamins.
2008-04-23

Microwaves and Your Health-Quick, Hot Food- But Is It Worth It?

I love my microwave (well not anymore since it blew up this weekend but I did) and to be honest have heard the whisperings that it was dangerous to use. I'm an on the go person and did not want to hear that using my microwave would cause any problems. Some people that I respect immensely and know just about everything there is to know about health warned me about my microwave a few months ago. I listened (in one ear and out the other) but didn't want to hear this. No, no, no! Since starting this blog and becoming more health conscious I kept thinking and thinking every time I used the microwave (like 5 times a day-I'm no cook). Finally, when my microwave blew up this weekend I decided to look into the whole microwave danger issue to decide what my next step would be.

I found several articles and most kept coming back to the same source so I will give you a quick rundown and it is up to you if you want to follow through and read the rest of the article at the end of my post.
Almost 90% of the U.S. population own microwaves. Apparently microwaves distort the molecular structure of the foods (don't know what that means but it doesn't sound good). They destroy much of the nutrients and cause many other problems with the immune system over a period of time (hmmm, this is getting sticky). Studies on the effects of microwaves have been quite controversial as microwave technology has evolved over the years. In 1976 Russia even banned the use of microwaves.

Microwaves have been shown to affect foods in these ways-

1.) Reduce levels of vitamin B 12. Vitamin B 12 is essential for red blood cell formation, preventing anemia, and a healthy nervous system.
2.) Decrease flavonoids by 97%! Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial properties.
3.)Break down bacteria-digesting enzymes in breast milk. Babies rely on enzymes from breast milk to establish a healthy inner ecosystem that digests food, absorbs nutrients and protects against pathogens.
4.)Lower levels of sinapic acid derivatives. Sinapic acids scavenge for and neutralize free radicals, cancer-causing agents in your body.
5.) Decrease antibody levels in breast milk. Antibodies in mother's milk protect babies from infections.
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The article- Radiation Ovens: The Proven Dangers of Microwaves by Anthony Wayne and Lawrence Newell goes on to state the following-

Ten Reasons to Throw out your Microwave Oven

1.) Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term - permanent - brain damage by “shorting out” electrical impulses in the brain [de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue].
2.) The human body cannot metabolize [break down] the unknown by-products created in microwaved food.
3.) Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved foods.
4.) The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual [long term, permanent] within the human body.
5.) Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of all microwaved food is reduced or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down.
6.) The minerals in vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens.
7.) Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths [tumors]. This may explain the rapidly increased rate of colon cancer in America.
8.) The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood.
9.) Continual ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations.
10.) Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence (At least I now have a reason for forgetting everything).

Now, I am not telling anyone what to do but it is an interesting article and if you would like to read the full article then go here. I have decided that I am going to cut down and try to stop altogether using a microwave and actually (gasp) cook. I do think moderation is the key and if your not ready to give up your microwave don't-just use it less. I am going to purchase a small convection oven that is like a toaster oven but heats things more evenly and twice as fast as a regular oven. I'll let you know how it goes.

On a more cheery note and not related to health at all, I want to tell you about a fun contest that I am participating in and that you can participate in too if you feel so inclined. Being a new blogger I am realizing just how important back links are. You never know which link will bring you traffic or that may be the conversion you are looking for. Mcneri's Mcweb will be compiling a list of Blogs/Websites and their link phrase keywords to be displayed on his site at the beginning of every month (great way to possibly get traffic). You can earn entrecard credits and the top entries for the preceding month will get reviewed as featured blog in the Blogs of Focus for the month- free! It's really simple (It had to be or I could not have done it) so check out Mcneri's contest here. Also, in case you aren't looking to be in a contest but are interested in relevant and easy to comprehend blogging tips you will want to check out his site.
Best,
Heidi
2008-04-22

Vitamins A, C and E are 'a waste of time and may even shorten your life'


Vitamin users-are you ready for a surprise?

According to a new report out of Great Britain Vitamins taken by around a third of the population do not extend life and may even cause premature death, according to a respected group of international scientists.
After reviewing 67 studies involving more than 230,000 men and women, the experts say there is no convincing evidence that taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E can make you healthier. It says in-depth analysis of the different trials does not support the idea that vitamins extend lifespan.
'Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality,' says the review. Vitamin A was linked to a 16 per cent increase in mortality, beta-carotene - the pigment found in carrots, tomatoes and broccoli which the body converts into vitamin A - to a 7 per cent increase and vitamin E to a 4 per cent increase. However, there was no significant detrimental effect caused by vitamin C. Read more here.
What next? Everyday I find out something new about things that I thought were healthy only to learn they are actually not good for me. This is okay though, because I can share this information with you and find healthy solutions for us all. It's a health jungle out there.

I used to take synthetic multi-vitamins myself until I did a little research and discovered the Pops Whole food supplements by Whole Food Nation. I am not trying to beat you over the head with this (okay, I know I am anyway and am currently obsessed with this offer) but Whole Food Nation is offering a free one month supply of their Whole Food Supplements for your synthetic multi-vitamins. I am not pushing this for my own benefit (I am not making any commission on you trading your multi-vitamins for the free whole food supplements). I just think it is an opportunity for those of you who really care about your health and already take a multi-vitamin to see what you think of these whole food supplements (I am now sounding like my mother). Check here to see if your vitamins are synthetic. Okay, that's it. No more vitamin posts for awhile, I promise. Actually, tomorrow I am going to let you know about a neat contest that will help you get backlinks to your blog from Mcneri's Mcweb and what health hazards have convinced me to not get a new microwave (mine blew up this weekend and it was not pretty). I don't think this will go over well with my family so I will probably have to get a microwave and personally not use it (very tough). This is a hard one because I LOVE my microwave. Till tomorrow!

Heidi

P.S. Email me and let me know you are ready to do the multi-vitamin trade away (see previous post) and I will let you know where to send your current multi-vitamin and a link to give you information on whether you would like the purple or green whole food supplements in exchange. No more nagging from me.

Heidi
2008-04-16

Are You Ready For Swimsuit Season? Is Your Body Bikini Ready?

What an awful question. I mean asking someone (unless they are a Sports Illustrated model or something) if they are ready for swimsuit season is akin to asking them if they had a good time during natural childbirth (they didn't! Trust me, I know). Most friends of mine cringe at the very thought of going into the fluorescent lighted dressing rooms to try on a new swimsuit and then even worse the thought of chasing your toddlers around in full daylight booty swinging in a bikini. Every March/April I start to panic-I get that sick feeling in my stomach when passing the public pool, seeing the new suits and knowing I better get it together because I soon will be spending most days chasing a 2 and 5 year old around a pool in a bikini. Now, I am not one of those women trying to catch everyone's eye -I just want to feel comfortable with myself while running around half naked (bikini) in full daylight around hundreds of people that I don't know (easy, right?). I want to say to myself that this is okay, fun even, instead of dreading taking of my swimsuit cover and sucking in my stomach as far as it will go. Keep in mind that I have that whole I am much bigger than I really am body issue so I guess the swimsuit dread goes along with that. I don't want to be thinner, but I do want to be firmer and toned. So, this year I have decided to take a different approach than years past and instead of spending lots of money on a gym that I will go to only a few times, or crash dieting, I am targeting the areas of my body that I do not like and working on toning them up so that I do feel more comfortable.

Recently while reading other blogs (I love to read other people's blogs) I found a blog by Christopher Warden (he is a Certified Specialist in Health, Fitness and Performance Enhancement) . I emailed him and asked him a few questions and he was quick to reply with some great solutions. He gave me some very specific ideas on how to go about getting my body back in shape and I was really impressed with his knowledge of health and fitness. I am going to put together the daily diet and exercise regimen I will be following based on his advice and share it with you all in the next week and you can let me know what you think or try it along with me. I encourage anyone looking to learn more about getting in shape to visit his sites at http://www.christopherwarden.com/ and http://www.christopherwarden.typepad.com/.
Christopher was kind enought to add the following tips today through comments-
"An important thing to remember is that your body always functions as "a whole" -- never in isolated segments. Focus on training MOVEMENTS, not muscles. . . and not just "problem areas." If your training plan is put together well, if you train with enough intensity, and if you take control of what you put in your mouth, you can see amazing results. . . with the "problem areas" taking care of themselves.The movements that are important to train?
***
1. Horizontal Push (Pushups)
2. Horizontal Pull (Rows)
3. Vertical Push (Overhead Press)
4. Vertical Pull (Pullups/Lat Pulldowns)
5. Quadricep Dominant Movements (Squats, Split Squats, Lunges)
6. Hip Dominant Movements (Deadlifts, Stiff-Legged Deadlifts)
7. Rotational Patterns
*** These are the movements that we all perform as humans, and we want to be able to perform them all proficiently. Specifics of your training program are determined after screening your health history and movement capabilities. Okay, he really knows what he is talking about so we had all better visit his site regularly to get in shape the healthy way."
Now, I thought that I would include some fun tips from celebrities on how they get ready for bikini season.

How The Stars get Bikini Ready (from Life and Style Magazine)

Drew practices Pilates! Forget dieting! Drew Barrymore prefers to burn calories with a workout that includes Pilates, one of the most popular pastimes in Brazil. For a complete cardio session, fitness pro Joseph details a combo of core Pilates moves and capoeira (a Brazilian martial art that includes cartwheels, kicks and flips) in her book.

Cam eats early in the day! An always active Cameron Diaz gets going with a protein-packed breakfast of eggs and meat. "The beginning and middle of the day are when you need a big burst of energy," says Joseph. "In Brazil, evening meals are smaller and lighter." That leaves plenty of room for desert!

Denise's smart snack! "I need foods that energize me," says Denise Richards, who revs up on the Amazon-grown acai berry (now available in stores like Whole Foods Market. Says Joseph, "An Acai smoothie provides enough fiber and protein to last until lunch."Kristen never feels hungry!

"I stopped dieting because it made me binge," Kristen Cavallari tells Life & Style. The reality show alum solved her dieting dilemma by opting for smaller, more frequent meals (she snacks on almonds) to curb her cravings. Explains Joseph, "Meals and snacks spaced throughout the day help keep blood sugar up.

"Gisele fills up on fruit! Brazilian-born Gisele Bundchen can thank her homeland for her supermodel bod. The Victoria's secret stunner says her fav foods are tropical fruits from her country - which she considers to be the "best place to live".

If you have any great tips please feel free to share them. Thanks for stopping by.

Heidi

2008-04-15

No Brainer Ways To Keep Cancer At Bay

I really try to keep an optimistic outlook on life but every once in awhile you hear a story about someone or you know someone who has had cancer and it is very scary. As I do this blog and find more information on health and diet I am seeing a clearer picture between disease and how what we put in our bodies can either hurt or help us. I found the below information in the mysteriously appearing Good Housekeeping that has my name on it and comes to me in the mail each month but that I did not order. Strange but I like the magazine and glad I'm getting it.

Try These Tips To Keep Cancer Away-Plus You'll Probably Feel Better!


Obesity is a risk factor in six types of cancer. Consuming alcohol, red meat and processed meats like ham, sausage and bacon also raises your odds, while eating more fruits and non-starchy vegetables and getting more exercise lower your risk. Apparently these findings are noteworthy because a team of international experts spent five years reviewing all the evidence.

1.) Eat vegetables like baby carrots, a refreshing leafy green salad with some broccoli, tomatoes or cauliflower thrown in, red pepper slices and snap peas instead of eating chips, zebra cakes, and other fun yet not so healthy snacks.

2.) Eat more fruit- freeze grapes, make fruit salsa, warm up an apple with cinnamon and a bit of sugar. Add some berries to your diet-The anthocyanosides in blueberries are currently the most powerful antioxidants known to scientists and are beneficial in the prevention of all types of cancer.

3.) Have a nice relaxing cup of Green tea-Green tea is a rich source of a class of flavonoids known as catechins. Studies have shown that the catechins present in green tea are able to slow or prevent the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells.

4.) Have whole grains whenever possible-Whole grains contain a variety of anti-cancer compounds, including fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, whole grains can help decrease the risk of developing most types of cancer. More here.

5.)Don't count on vitamin supplements to protect you against cancer; in some cases, they may even increase your risk. Visit http://www.howsafeisyourvitamin.com/ for a free report on what really is in vitamins.
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6.) Don't Smoke- "The single most important agent that has been unequivocally linked to cancer is cigarette smoking." It is very ,very compelling:lung cancer, cancer of the throat, tongue,bladder,stomach and lips. I want to thank Mcneri who is an authoritative blogger and also an MD for reminding me of this.

Once again many of the same foods keep recurring for good health, burning fat, helping you sleep, and now fighting diseases. Thanks for stopping by.

Best,

Heidi
2008-04-13

Want To Sleep Better? Try These Healthy Food Choices

Yawn, toss, turn, toss some more-sound familiar? Ever have trouble getting to sleep? Me too, so I decided to see what foods we can incorporate into our diet to be healthy and sleepy. Most of us know not to drink caffeinee before we go to bed and we know that we might not want to have alot of sugar either- but what about foods and beverages that might actually help us rest and sleep better? Since sleep has always been one of those elusive things to me, I started wondering if maybe I could find a diet that would help me sleep better. I did a little research and tried a few of the suggested foods and well, I'm sleepy now so maybe they are helping. I did actually take a short nap yesterday which is unheard of for me. I have never been able to sleep during the day and never could understand how anyone could but today I actually did and it was so nice (some strange dreams though). Once again being the health nut wannabee that I am- I am amazed at how almost everything that I need I can find in changing my diet and so, here are some great suggestions if you are looking to have better quality shut eye.

Apparently foods containing tryptophan-an amino acid that your body cannot make( you must obtain it from the foods that you eat) is used to make a hormone called serotonin.
Serotonin acts within your body to promote feelings of sleepiness, calm, and relaxation. We need adequate levels of Serotonin in our brain in order to fall asleep and rest throughout the night. The key to getting enough tryptophan to your brain to sleep well at night is to combine a tryptophan-rich food with a carbohydrate-rich food. This is because ingesting a carbohydrate-rich food causes your body to release insulin, which diverts many of your other amino acids away from your brain, leaving tryptophan with little competition to cross your blood-brain barrier to gain access to your brain (okay, that is the technical part that I am still processing in my brain).

Healthy Foods To Help You Have A Great Nights Sleep

*Bananas *Flax seeds
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*Potatoes *Whole-Wheat Bread

*Honey *Lentils

*Turkey *Beans

*Hazelnuts *Hummus

*Peanuts *Eggs

*Chickpeas *Seafood

*Oatmeal *Rice

*Almonds *Tofu

*Low-fat dairy *Soy Products
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*Chamomile Tea

Foods that are high in carbohydrates and calcium, and medium-to-low in protein also make ideal sleep-inducing bedtime snacks. Meals that are high in carbohydrates and low-to-medium in protein will help you relax in the evening and set you up for a good night's sleep. More here.

Some suggested healthy meals and snacks to help you get a good nights sleep are-
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*Rice, black beans, and guacamole

*chili with beans, not spicy

*Whole grain crackers with peanut butter-honey would be great on this too!

*tofu stir fry

*Bagel with peanut butter

*Oatmeal or raisin cookies (okay maybe this one and the next aren't the healthiest but they do taste good)

*Ice-cream (organic preferably)

*Glass of warm milk (organic preferably)

*Tuna Fish sandwich on whole wheat bread

If you are like me you will look at this list and say mmmmmmmm I can have cookies and ice-cream and fall into a deep wonderful sleep- but as always-moderation is the key and so is good sense (I think I lost mine). Thanks for reading and here's to a healthy, happy nights sleep!

Best,
Heidi
2008-04-11

6 Months Later-A diet Changed and Health Regained-Plus I'm Thinner And Healthier

I want to write today about how my life has changed since I have made some changes in my diet, and all the foods that I choose on a daily basis. I am telling you this so that if you are on the fence about getting serious about changing your diet for a healthier one I may sway you to do so.

I finally began getting serious about my health about 6 months ago when I started taking a Whole Food Supplement. To be honest with you, I wasn't too optimistic that things would change much for me but I knew that because of my busy lifestyle I needed to make some changes in how I was eating instead of either no food (too busy) or fast food so I decided to give it a shot. I started taking the Pops (the whole food supplements)-one in the morning and one in the evening. I was impressed with these because although I am a vegetarian and eat no meat, I was still not eating fruits and veggies and these supplements had 23 fruits and 23 vegetables in them so I knew that at the very least I was doing myself a small favor (it turned out to be the best thing I could have done for myself). The person who told me about whole food supplements said that once I began taking them, I would probably find one thing leading to another (meaning I would want to become healthier or something). I just smiled and nodded (would never have believed it myself) and bought my supplements. It's not that I didn't want to be healthy but I just did not want to have to put the thought into being healthy (yes, I was being lazy)-I was putting so much thought and effort into other things. What I soon realized is that the supplements were eye opening to me-so much so that I started this blog and find myself researching and studying every night about the effects that my diet has on every aspect of my body and mind and everything. I love finding the foods that can make me less moody (that is putting it lightly), the foods that make me smarter (I'm still waiting for that to happen), how to satisfy unhealthy cravings with a healthy alternative and the list goes on. So, below are a few of the changes that I have seen in myself and some of the changes that I made that maybe you might want to try. WARNING-if you already are a health nut go easy on me and remember that I am still a health nut wannabe and have a long way to go!

Some Healthy Changes Made to My Diet

**Cut down on eating lots of heavy and unhealthy carbs like chips, bread, fries, etc (you get the picture) and substituted nuts for these cravings and as I have said before-it worked!! Nuts are one of the wonder foods of the world and satisfy when you have a carb urge or just want to feel full.

**Stopped drinking diet sodas and eating any products with Aspartame, NutraSweet, Sorbitol, (artificial sweeteners) and instead drink water and lots, and lots of iced tea with Stevia (natural calorie and carb free sweetener, that I love).

**Cut down on eating cookies, brownies, chocolate (don't get me wrong, I still eat them but just find I don't crave them as much so I don't eat as many) and all sugary sweets and instead reach for a variety of fruits.

** Only drink and eat organic low fat dairy products (no hormones, and funk for me).

**Switched to whole grain instead of white bread, crackers, pasta and whatever else.

**Make sure that I eat at least 2 huge servings of vegetables (I just ate a bowl of carrots and green beans and was so proud of myself) a day (keep in mind that 6 months ago I would have 2 huge servings a week).

**Faithfully take my Pops morning and evening and never, ever miss (I can really tell a difference when I don't take them).

Results-Now We Are Talking

**Lost 6 pounds without even thinking about it or making an effort (keep in mind I am a neurotic freak about my weight so this was huge for me). I made myself gain 3 pounds back because I was too thin in my opinion and have an agreement with myself that I can't get below a certain weight (weird weight issues that I have).

**Increased energy! I can go, go, go and still feel great at the end of the day. I am more alert (bye, bye sluggishness) and just have a renewed zest for life (it sounds corny but hey, it's true).

**My skin is the best it has ever been! I was a makeup artist for years and know the best high end products, tricks, etc but even I was not prepared for the clear, smooth, softer and younger looking skin that I suddenly have (and no botox like my friends).

**I am nicer (just ask my husband) and I don't feel as irritable and cranky.

**I feel better inside that I am more aware of my body and health and what it can do for me. I am happier with myself than I ever have been because I know that I am doing something that is changing my life and those around me. It just feels good to take care of yourself.

Now, I am far, far from perfect but implementing these small changes has really made a difference for me. I really think that the Pops whole food supplements I take are a big factor. I stopped taking my vitamins (if you get a chance get the free vitamin report offered in the upper left hand corner and you'll see why I stopped taking my vitamins) and switched to the whole food multi's.

I just thought I would share this because I was completely surprised at what a difference 6 months and some small healthy changes could make. I remain committed to finding more and more ways for all of us to be healthy without being too hassled!

Best,

Heidi
2008-04-09

Feeling Blue? Try These Healthy Foods To Give You A Boost

Food, food, glorious food! I love to eat and am having so much fun learning just how important our diets are to every aspect of our lives-including helping to boost our spirits. It is wonderful to have information on health and diet so we can feel more in control of our lives and be our best inside and out. After reading this you will have no more excuses to be cranky, got it?!

We've all had those days when we feel down and don't know why or we just need a pick me up (actually we have had those days when we are outright terrors if the truth be told). These healthy food choices will actually help to rev your engine and chase those blues away. Hello sunshine!

**Try Some Dessert- Yes! You read that right, try some dessert! Sugar soothes us when we're feeling stressed out ( I know that to be true and will take full advantage). But before you binge on a pan of brownies, cookies and candy, know that a little sugar may soothe you, but too much will wreak havoc with your blood sugar. So, as always moderation is the key here.

**Beans -Like most legumes, beans are rich in iron. If you're low on iron like many active people are--you can be tired and have trouble sleeping, which as we all know can make you cranky, cranky, cranky. Beans are great thrown in salads, over white rice, in a tortilla with salsa, in chili and soups.

**Bananas-Stress and the lack of magnesium are so closely related that it is a good idea for those who lead an active life to add foods rich in magnesium, such as bananas to their diet. Increasing the intake of magnesium reduces anxiety and makes for better sleeping.

**Oranges-Two glasses of fresh orange juice are enough to help say goodbye to some nervousness, bad moods and depression; lack of vitamin C, can make you irritable and cranky.

**Chocolate-Hurrah! Hurrah! Now I know it cannot get any better than this! Some experts believe that like many other foods sweet and rich in carbohydrates, chocolate can have a soothing effect; others, however, consider that the caffeine and other substances contained in chocolate could act as stimulants. I don't care why, I am just so glad to hear it! Ahem, moderation here though, again.

**Spinach and Lentils-Both Lentils and spinach are full of folate, a B vitamin that you need to make the serotonin that makes you feel good. Folate is strong enough to ease clinical depression, say researchers and low levels of folate have been linked to depression. A cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid-so try some lentil soup and be happy and healthy. Also, you could add frozen spinach and make a low-fat spinach dip, have a nice spinach salad or use on sandwiches instead of lettuce. More food tips here, and here.
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**Walnuts- Are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids-a type of fat that's needed for brain cells and mood-lifting . Also been shown to relieve mild depression. I love to eat walnuts as a snack but they are also delicious on salads.

**Salmon-Salmon is also rich in omega fatty acids and canned Salmon with bones contains vitamin D which has been linked to possibly increasing our levels of serotonin- one of the key neurotransmitters influencing our mood.

I found this recipe Warm Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Goats' Cheese on delia.com. You could use spinach salad, add walnuts and lentils and hopefully you and your guests will be feeling great.

I am going to start having more walnuts, oranges and bananas for snacks and incorporate spinach and lentils into my diet. Don't worry, I already have the desserts and chocolate covered. To feeling better!

Best,

Heidi




2008-04-08

How Watching Sports Affects Your Health And Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU

Last night I watched the Final Four national championship basketball game between KU and Memphis. Now, I am no sports woman(I would rather watch almost anything else), however I am a big KU fan as my mom lives in Lawrence (where KU is located), my husband and I graduated from KU and I was at KU when they won the national championship in 1988 (Oh, what a night!). To make a long story short, KU is a big basketball school. When I attended KU and to this day you can just feel the excitement and energy during basketball season when you go down to Lawrence. There's just nothing like it, so when KU was in the Final Four and then the championship game well you could feel the rippling of excitement even here in Kansas City. The game last night was amazing, entertaining and had me on pins and needles the entire time . It got me thinking about how watching intense sports games can affect a persons health. I was up and down, up and down on an emotional roller coaster for two hours (one minute I'm covering my eyes and the next, the usually calm me is jumping on a booth seat-yes! A booth seat!! Who am I? I was having an out of body experience or something) not to mention I ate and ate and ate lots of unhealthy foods that I would not ever have around. After witnessing such intense behaviour in myself and everyone else at the sports bar (and I was sober) I figured I had better check this out as by the time the game was over I was exhausted.

Heart attacks, choking on hot dogs, fighting, bursting blood Vessels and more-Fans, especially those who smoke or have high blood pressure, come in with heart attacks from the exertion of walking up the ramps at football stadiums,or from the sheer stress of watching the games. In January, a Steelers fan suffered a heart attack during a tense moment against the Indianapolis Colts.
Patients are commonly treated for extreme sunburn and dehydration, because they drink too much beer in the heat. When it's freezing outside, fans are at risk for frostbite if they're not properly covered up. Simply eating and drinking while being distracted by a game can be a problem. "People eat hot dogs and they jump up to cheer for a touchdown and choke on the hot dog," Dr. Jeff Kalina, associate medical director of the ER at the Methodist Hospital in Houston says
.
Some people have a nervous habit of playing with the tabs on soda and beer cans, which can lead to fingers getting stuck in the can or people choking on broken tabs. Others try to open a twist-off beer bottle with their biceps, causing lacerations. Sometimes fans hurt other people, making spectating a contact sport. Fights break out at games, drunken fans jump around in their seats and fall onto the people below them, and partying tailgaters get hit by cars. Fans have even thrown TVs out windows and pulled out their pistols. For more information on these crazy antics please go to
MSNBC where I found this article.

To be honest with you this will probably be my only blog on sports (unless KU wins again next year) so I wanted to include a little information about a sports site that I actually read and enjoy(shocking). The reason that I enjoy The Sports Dollar is that they focus not only on how to have a great sports blog but also how to have a great blog in general. I have taken many of their tips and applied them easily to my blog. I first started out with no knowledge and these guys really helped me with their consistent posts on social media sites and a lot of do's and dont's. It is also full of interesting sports information that I can actually take and have a conversation with my husband about. If you have not had a chance to visit The Sports Dollar and are interested in learning some great blogging tips or sports information check it out. http://www.thesportsdollar.com/

Well, personally I am done watching anything sports related for awhile. I was a wild woman last night watching that KU game and need to get back to me. Good luck to all you sports fans and may you not choke on your hot dog while watching your favorite event.

Best,

Heidi
2008-04-06

Top Ten Power Foods-If You Want More Energy Try These Healthy Choices

Everyday that I write this blog I become more and more aware of how important the right diet is for our overall health, immune system, body weight, energy level, moods and so much more. If you are anything at all like me then you need all the energy you can get to keep up with all the things each day puts in front of you. The below foods will get and keep you going full of energy as well as giving your immune system a nice boost.

Healthy Foods To Give You A Natural Boost

**Berries-Ooooohhhh, I love berries and now I have even more reasons! Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are high in vitamin and fiber content, they're an excellent source of antioxidants, compounds that protect our bodies from the stress of day to day living, and fresh berries are kind to the waistline; they are naturally high in water and low in calories. Dried berries also provide excellent nutrition, but since most of the water is missing, their calories are more concentrated and you’ll usually wind up eating more of them.

**Citrus-Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C; one orange has a whole day’s requirement.They’re also loaded with soluble fiber which lowers cholesterol, maintains healthy blood sugar levels, and helps you to manage your weight.

**Salmon-Cold-water fish, like salmon, mackerel and herring, are premiere sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are fats our bodies can’t produce, so it’s essential we include them in our diet. If you read my post about healthy hair, you will notice salmon was included in that post as well.

**Vegetables-There’s no such thing as a bad vegetable so eat up. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are a crucial component of any healthy eating plan. Orange and yellow-hued veggies like winter squash, carrots and sweet potatoes and leafy greens contain carotenoids, a pigment our body converts to vitamin A. Eating lots of these vegetables will help maintain healthy skin and hair, protect against prostate cancer, promote healthy vision and even provide protection from sunburn.
Lycopene, the plant chemical responsible for the ruby red of tomatoes and watermelon, is believed to fight cancer and promote heart health.
Green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are sky-high in potent anti-cancer compounds like sulforaphane and quercitin.

**Nuts and Seeds-Almonds, pecans and pistachios are rich in protein. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids. Toss sesame seeds in a meal for extra calcium and vitamin E.
Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are particularly good sources of phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, which promote heart health. These are easy to take with you for on the go energy. I take nuts everywhere and eat them all day. As I have mentioned probably a hundred times-nuts are my number one diet secret!

**Olive oil-Olive oil is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol. It contains Vitamin E and antioxidants
and is an excellent replacement for unhealthy saturated fats like butter. I take a spoon full of olive oil before eating spaghetti so the bad fats in the pasta can't make me fat. Extra virgin olive oil is also great for healthy skin.

**Tea- Recent studies have shown drinking green tea might boost metabolism, oolong teas can lower blood sugar, and black teas can promote oral health. Tea contains half the caffeine of coffee and packs a punch of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants believed to protect against heart disease, certain cancers and stroke.

**Legumes-Beans, peas, peanuts and lentils are all part of the legume family. Legumes are rich in folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and antioxidants. Their high protein and complex carbohydrates provide steady energy that lasts for hours. Also great for vegetarians (like me) who need protein.

**Whole grains-They’re delicious, inexpensive and packed with protein, B vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some immediate benefits you might notice are stable blood sugar, less hunger between meals, and better weight management.

**Lean Protein-Protein is an important part of every diet and is found in many different foods. Lean protein, the best kind, can be found in fish, skinless chicken and turkey, pork tenderloin and certain cuts of beef, like the top round. Low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, ricotta and other cheeses supply both protein and calcium. I also love extra firm tofu for a great protein!

It is very clear that whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy, and fruits and veggies are essential for so many positive benefits to our health. All these were inclued in my last couple posts as well (fat burning foods and healthy hair foods).
ref-The Food Network

I am on the go so much and hate to admit it but I do have a hard time fitting in all these foods all the time. I take a whole food supplement called The Pops by Whole Food Nation and they have one supplement for energy, and one for calming. I take about 2-4 capsules of the energy in the morning (it also naturally speeds up my metablosim-woohoo weight loss) depending how much energy I need, grab my nuts and some tea (caffeine) and I can go all day and night feeling great. I used to be exhausted all day and couldn't wait until the end of the day but now I enjoy my days and am no longer sluggish! So, go get some power foods and start feeling your best!

Best,

Heidi
P.S. What are your tips for natural energy ?
2008-04-04

Natural Zevia With Stevia For Diet Soda Lovers, Cheerios, And Help A Dog Walk

This is a bit offbeat from my normal posts but I feel all are related to health in one way or another and I wanted to get some exciting information that I just discovered to you all regarding Stevia (please see post below if you have not already). I wanted to have a clever title like four for Friday or something but I only have three so I guess I could have waited for Thursday and said Three for Thursday but am not one for patience and can't wait so lets get to it.


Zevia-The Natural Alternative To Diet Soda And It's Free!!

If you read my blog you know that I recently gave up my main addiction and love- Diet Pepsi. I am doing great (thanks for all the well wishes). I gave up Diet Pepsi because of the ingredient in it called Aspartame. I did some research and found all kinds of dangerous side affects and just decided I would do without ( I drink ice tea with Stevia-I can give up the aspartame but NOT the caffeine). I do miss the carbonation and drinking soda and found an ad for Zevia-a new soda that contains the natural herb Stevia (which is much sweeter than sugar, delicious and calorie free). I was so excited and went right to the website to find out more. I found out that right now they are offering a free 6 pack of all three delicious Zevia varieties - Zevia Natural Cola, Zevia Natural Orange, and Zevia Natural Twist (which they claim are healthier and taste better than diet soda). You do have to pay shipping and handling and that comes to $10.95 but well worth it in my opinion. Now, keep in mind that I have not tasted Zevia yet, but am putting my order in and can't wait (please note that I DO NOT sell Zevia or have any affiliation with them-just wanted to let everyone know about it because it sounds great). According to the Zevia website, Zevia contains none of the chemically processed artificial sugar substitutes, artificial flavors or artificial colors found in diet sodas. Zevia is all-natural, has five calories or less, and only 20 mg of sodium. You can visit their website at http://www.zevia.com/ to order and learn more. Also, for more information on the dangers of Aspartame and the wonders of Stevia please read my earlier posts.

Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts

I had an email from a nice lady named Brie who offered me this great information and thought that I would pass it along.

Cheerios is raising money to provide cholesterol screenings for women in need. They actually did a survey recently that found while heart disease ranked highest (38%) in terms of chief health concerns among women; only 50 percent of women have had their cholesterol level checked in the past year. In fact, more women have checked their computer for viruses (78 percent), checked their tire pressure (56 percent) and checked the batteries in their smoke detector (53 percent) than have had their cholesterol level checked (50 percent). And women with low incomes are less likely than others to get their cholesterol checked.

The Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts will raise money through specially marked boxes of Cheerios in which codes from boxes can be entered at cheerioscircleofhelpinghearts.com. For every person who enters a code at Cheerioshelpinghearts.com, $1 will be donated to WomenHeart to support women’s health education and provide cholesterol screenings for women in need. Cheerios will donate up to $300,000 to WomenHeart, the nation’s only patient advocacy organization serving women with heart disease.
Okay, I feel really guilty because I don't think I have ever had my cholesterol checked and now I guess I should.

Help Dolly the Dog Walk Again

I don't really do posts about donating or buying things to raise money for neglected and abused animals but this one struck a chord with me. I do a lot of independent animal rescue and take in anyone and everything that meanders to my house (my husband jokes that people know I will take them so just leave them in our yard). I have a 3 legged cat, a one eyed cat and one who can't walk from cerebral damage so I know all about how hard it is financially to help special needs animals. Anyway, the people that are trying to help this dog are actually rescue folks and once her surgeries have been completed they will find her a home. Another rescuer is selling human grade healthy dog cookies and for every 10 bags of cookies sold, she will donate 5 dollars to Lillian’s Dolly fund. The link is http://www.doreensdoggiedelights.com/ and I will list it on my blog links as well.

In January, Dolly was found in a 8'x8' pen full of feces. Her water bucket frozen, and the three sided lean to she lived under had fallen and cut part of her scalp off. She slept on wet straw. Her rescuers were told she was terribly timid and wouldn't come out, but after the daughter called her name she came to them and after being petted by loving hands she followed them everywhere. They took her home to have a chance to feel loved. The first month they had her, they tried everything they could to find medical help for her. In that time she totally blossomed . They were told she was hit by a car from her previous owners and they left her lay to see if she would live or die, she lived and had to suffer the pain of healing with these broken bones untreated all of this time, this happened at the young age of 10 to 12 weeks. The previous owners abandoned her last summer and the person her rescuers got her from took her in to keep her from getting shot from the other neighbors (who are these people?-karma will get them). Dolly is now in need of surgery to walk. To find out all about Dolly the dog (what began as a serious case of neglect and abuse but is getting a happy ending ) go to http://www.fundable.com/groupactions/groupaction.2008-04-03.5596675887. If you want to buy some cookies to help with funding or donate a little to help Dolly I am sure it would be much appreciated.

Again, I know this an unusual post but all are close to my heart and maybe yours too. My next post will be back to normal (whatever that is). I am thinking caffeine, detox, not sure yet but I will be back on track.

Best,

Heidi
2008-04-01

Foods To Help You Burn Fat Faster

Last month I received a copy of Good Housekeeping magazine in the mail. I found this very strange because I knew that I had not ordered it- if I was going to order a magazine it would be something more like People, US magazine or some tabloid trash that I adore. At first, I thought maybe it was a mistake and would have someone else's address on it, but it had my name and address. I still have not figured out this mystery but figure either one of me well intentioned friends or in-laws sent it in hopes I would become more of a homemaker (fat chance). The point of this is that I received another issue today and found this article that I loved and thought I would share with you. The article is about the top 7 super foods to eat to slim down faster. I'm always looking for help and thought these sounded great.

Super Foods To Rev Up Your Metabolism
**Tofu-is a good source of leucine-a friendly protein that helps you stay thin. Dietary leucine in tofu is an amino acid linked to maintaining muscle mass and reducing body fat during weight loss. I think that the extra firm tofu is the best so if you are new to tofu I would give this a shot first..

**Green Tea-has caffeine and catechins (plant nutrients) that might help raise your metabolic rate by up to 3.5 percent. So studies indicate that green tea may give you an increased metabolism, a positive effect on blood sugar and insulin regulation, and possibly the inhibiting of certain enzymes which are required for the processing of carbohydrates and fats. It is recommended to sip 32 ounces a day. I love green tea with a little Stevia-cold or hot!

**Lean Meats-are rich in protein, which takes more energy to digest than carbs or fats. Protein makes you feel satisfied too. (I'm a vegetarian but I refuse to be biased).

**Whole-Grain Cereal-complex carbs in the morning are a great way to fuel your body for the day ahead. I find that these also keep you fuller longer so you aren't apt to snack on unhealthy alternatives.

**Coffee-Caffeine speeds up your metabolism making it easier for us to burn more calories --- even while at rest, and coffee gives you more energy for a tougher workout that lasts longer, making it possible to burn more calories (if you exercise that is-I am still working on getting the exercise in).

**Low-Fat Dairy-it is packed with protein and helps build muscle and banish fat. Pls. keep in mind that due to all the bovine growth hormone in our dairy products I am not a big proponent of dairy unless it is organic and then I say proceed with some caution. Did you know that U.S. milk is banned in Europe because of the bgh hormone? Another scary food thought.

**Nuts-packed with protein and fiber, a handful (or entire jar a day in my case) at snack time keeps your body full. Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows that my number one diet secret is NUTS. I love them and it is the only way I can stay thin. Long live nuts!
ref for this article from my mysteriously appearing Good Housekeeping April 2008.

Best!

Heidi