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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2008-10-30

It Will All Get Better In Time-Conquer Those Food Cravings

The combination of Halloween chocolate in my house and someone getting the best of me really, really, really got the best of me (don't you hate that-just when you think you have it all figured out). I am not even going to tell you how many of those mini snickers and Hershey's chocolate bars I ate as you might vomit just at the thought. I have had my eye on the chocolate for days now and was actually quite impressed at my willpower (I should have known it would all come tumbling down-chocolate always wins).

I really thought that at my advanced age of almost forty I would have been smarter, not so naive and far less trusting but apparently I still (will I ever learn) can be too quick to believe the best and most unrealistic of scenarios. Without saying too much about it just know that the chocolate is helping me get over the incident and that this is another one of those experiences that you hope you learned from THIS time (though with me it will probably take several lifetimes). Okay, enough self pity, lets get on to the actual post of how to help control those cravings and not eat an almost entire bag of candy when you have a bad day.


HOW TO CONQUER FOOD CRAVINGS

**EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS DURING THE DAY-If you skip meals (ex. breakfast) or go too long without eating, your blood sugar levels will fall too low, which is a perfect recipe for food cravings, overeating and even binges. Allowing 3-4 hours between meals/snacks is a sensible maximum for women, although 3 hours is better. Men typically can safely wait 4-5 hours. And you don't need to eat much: even a single oat-cake can be enough between meals to keep eating urges at bay. As well as maintaining stable blood glucose levels, regular eating helps your metabolism to burn calories at an efficient rate. Finally, studies show that regular eating helps to reduce cravings associated with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). I hate to say this but I don't think that I can go 3-4 hours without something. I am a snacker so maybe just some smaller healthy little meals would work too (for those of you who read this blog often-need I say nuts would be a good snack).

**REDUCE YOUR INTAKE OF DRINKS THAT ACT AS STIMULANTS-According to some experts, stimulants (ex. sugar, caffeine in tea/coffee, caffeinated soft drinks-all things I of course enjoy)can cause fluctuations in blood sugar, and should be avoided or at least consumed in moderation. Switch to herbal teas, spring water and diluted pure fruit juices.

**RECONDITION YOUR BODY NOT TO HAVE THEM AT ALL-Ohmg! Did I really write that???? Not to have them at all???? What would life be like without the occasional pizza, the brownies, cookies, chocolate and of course the highly revered by me Diet Pepsi craving??? This is why I am a health wannabee because the thought of life without those dear yet junky foods sounds sad and lonely (please tell me there are others out there in this world who feel the same so I don't feel so pathetic). Okay, let me say it in a way that sounds more doable to my ears (and those in the health nut wannabe's club ears)-Recondition your body to have them in moderation. How about that? Sounds better, don't you think? Apparently,when it comes to cravings, it is like a wave-the urge goes up, it crests, then it goes back down. The trick, then, is to surf the craving crest and get past it. Do things that distract you from thoughts of eating. If you normally go to the convenience store and get Laffy Taffy and chocolate in the morning then instead pick up the phone and call a friend, go for a walk, read my blog, whatever it takes (within reason). ref-Whole Foods Market March/April issue.

Good luck!
2008-10-29

I Am Not One To Brag But..... I Received An Award!


Okay, I will just admit it-I love to receive awards (and presents so you can all keep that in mind on my birthday) and so when Mommawannabe (whose blog is so fun) awarded me the Uber Amazing Blog Award, it really made my day! It is always such a huge compliment when other bloggers enjoy reading my blog and I love to pass on to others the blogs that I love as well so this is a great opportunity for me to tell you about a few of my fave blogs (what a long run on sentence that was). Now keep in mind that I have so many blogs that I love it is impossible to award them all so I am sticking to these five for now. I hope you will stop by and visit them as well as Mommawannabe-you will be glad you did.

And the Uber Amazing Blog Award goes to***********

foongpc of My Very First Blog

Betchai of California

Dori of A Yellow House In England

Caroline of The Zen In You

John of Out Of My Hat

Keep in mind that if you don't want to pass this award on or post it on your blog that is okay with me (I will just cry and cry and cry-just kidding).

Here are the rules -
Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:
~ inspire you
~ make you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ a great read
~ has an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing
!

The rules of this award are:

* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
*
Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.
2008-10-28

Think It’s All In Your Genes? Go For A Walk

I have a friend who is always telling me that she cannot lose weight because of her entire family is overweight and she must have inherited a “fat” gene. While I do believe that our genes play an important role in our overall body shape I do think that there are always things that we can do to keep ourselves slimmer and healthier regardless of our genealogy.

“Finnish researchers studied a group of “mismatched” identical twins-one obese, the other normal weight and found that the obese twins were well on their way to diabetes, with a worrisome degree of insulin resistance. Since their genetic makeups were exactly the same as their siblings’, the problem had to lie somewhere in their lifestyles. They discovered that the difference was exercise-without it, genes that help convert food to energy were suppressed, leading to insulin resistance and weight gain.”

One exercise that I enjoy and that most people can do is to go for a walk. “ As a matter of face, University of Copenhagen researchers asked 10 volunteers to reduce their steps from an average of 10,500 per day to 1,300 (10,000, or roughly 5 miles, is considered ideal. The participants’ belly-fat levels increased by 7 percent after just two weeks of cutting back. Study authors say that skipping the gym doesn’t cause obesity; being sedentary is the real issue. “

It is nice to know that you can get the benefits of exercise by keeping physically busy and just walking. So next time take the stairs instead of the elevator or park your car a little further away and walk-the benefits really do add up.

2008-10-26

When Things Go Bump In The Night So Does Your Blood Pressure

While reading the health section in a recent Good Housekeeping magazine I found this interesting tidbit and thought it was one of those unusual things regarding health that is good to know. Apparently when we sleep (sleep is so mysterious to me) and we are subjected to high noise levels our blood pressure goes up whether we wake up or not.

“This is what researchers found when they studied 140 sleeping adults, monitoring their bedroom noise and their blood pressure. Airplanes passing overheadtemporarily boosted systolic (upper number) pressure by an average of 6.2 points and diastolic (lower number) pressure by 7.4 points; heavy road traffic and loudly snoring bed partners were just about as bad. “The higher the noise level, the more blood pressuer increases,” says study leader Lars Jarup, M.D>, Ph.D., of Imperial College, London. And while you may think you’ve grown accustomed to the regular racket, your blood pressure hasn’t-the same level of noise elicits the same response every time. With long-term exposure, your pressure may simply remain elevated. If you live near an airport or on a busy road, you can install double-paned window or wear earplugs.” Ref-Good Housekeeping, October 2008

This is one of the reasons that I find sleep to be such a mystery. I would have never thought that while sleeping the loud noises around you could affect you so much. My sleep problem (since I know you are all just dying to know) is that I have never really been a good sleeper, I always wake up throughout the night and then even worse find myself eating the chocolate or cookies I won’t allow myself to eat during the day. I wake up the next day and think oh no when I see the empty chocolate wrappers. Apparently my subconscious (and conscious) love of chocolate even manifests itself as I sleep.

2008-10-22

Try these Smart Sprinkles For Your Health

When I think of cinnamon, ginger and cloves I think of fall and winter with visions of pumpkin pie, cider, and cold nights snuggled under my covers. So, this is the perfect time of year to let you know all the benefits you can receive by sprinkling a little ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger on your favorite foods.

These spices used in pumpkin pie, gingerbread and other holiday treats contain powerful disease-fighting antioxidants that even outscore the better known antioxidants like blueberries and pomegranate juice. Ground cinnamon tops the list, followed by cloves with ginger not far behind.

Try sprinkling a pinch of ground cloves over a baked sweet potato (I am not a sweet potato person but I hear this is good) or shake a little cinnamon into cocoa or hot tea. Another great treat is sautéed carrots with ground ginger (about ½ teaspoon per pound of veggies). Of course those are all the healthy choices but how about some pumpkin pie with extra ginger and cinnamon or some gingerbread cookies (now we are talking)!

Ref-Good Housekeeping magazine

2008-10-20

Need To Boost Your Mood? Try Some Physical Activity!

Have you ever noticed how when you sit around for long periods of time you become moodier (at least I do) and then when you get up and do something physical you seem to feel better? Now a new British health survey of 20,000 people reveals that any kind of physical activity can actually lift your spirits. Researchers also noted how little physical activity it actually took to make a difference-just one to three 20 minute sessions a week reduced the chances of suffering from distress such as depression. The biggest impact came from doing anything-apparently even sweeping, mopping, etc for at least 20 minutes every day. “Daily activity knocked down the distress score by more than half”, says Mark Hamer, Ph.D., of University College London.

It is nice to know that you don’t have to do aerobics for an hour a day or run a marathon to get the mood lifting benefits (because with me that is not going to happen right now) .

Between my children, work and the animals I feel like I never really sit still so maybe this is why I am a generally happy person. So, go out and take a nice walk, or mop those floors-you will feel better!
2008-10-16

Want To Lose Weight & Keep It Off? Try The 80/20 Rule

This diet, that food, those pills-ahhhhhh-it gets so confusing trying to figure out if the food you heard last week was great for weight loss is still good for weight loss this week or if it has suddenly turned into a taboo food that will pump you up into a blimp. I am always one of the first ones (okay maybe I am not out of all the millions of people in the world but I think I am) to jump on the- this will make you skinny bandwagon if it sounds even remotely reasonable ( I am not even going to get into all the ridiculous things I have tried). So, now that I am older and wiser (I wish the wiser were true) I know there is no miracle diet that lasts forever.

Tonight while I was reading my book, "Eat, Shrink and Be Merry" by Janet and Greta Podleski (for some reason I like to read this cook book and pretend I am really going to cook-that will be the day) I came across the 80/20 rule. This is simple, reasonable, healthy and still allows you to dive into your favorite foods once in awhile. Below is their take on how to stay slender and trim-

"Moderation, moderation, moderation. Most foods in moderation are okay. Most foods in excess- even some healthy foods-are not okay. It's our excesses that can lead to problems. Obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease are not the result of eating "unhealthy" or "taboo" foods every once in a while. They're usually the result of regular consumption of unhealthy foods-day in and day out, year after year. A helpful and realistic healthy eating guideline is the 80/20 rule: Eighty percent of the time, try choosing foods that are nutritious, high in fiber and low in bad fats. Twenty percent of the time, eat what you wan and let yourself and an indulgence. Craving chocolate ice cream? Scoop up a small serving and savor every spoonful. Then get back on the healthy eating track for the rest of the day. It's not every morsel of food you eat that's important-it's what you do consistently, over the long haul that really counts."

This is pretty much how I eat on a daily basis. I try to eat healthy and then I allow myself my "taboo" (I like that word) foods. If I did not have self control I would eat the "taboo" foods all the time and be huge. I think this is a reasonable way to stay slim as it works for me!

P.S. Halloween is a hard time for the 80/20 in our house as we just bought tons of chocolate so after just polishing off 3 mini Hershey chocolate bars (and feeling very guilty) I am going to strive for 70/30 until Halloween ends and this chocolate is gone (God willing it will not all be "gone" to my stomach).
2008-10-15

7 Random Things About Me That Might Make You Go HMMMMM-I’ve Been Tagged

I have been tagged by two of my very favorite bloggers, Dori from A Yellow House in England and Marylou from MaryLou’s Art ADventure to tell you all seven things about me-some random and some weird. At first I didn’t think that I had too much to tell (I mean come on me quirky? Yes, apparently so).
Here it goes!

1.) I despise ketchup (mayonnaise too but really despise ketchup). I cannot stomach the sight or smell of it. I don’t know how to emphasize how much I dislike ketchup-I mean we are talking an unusual and out of the ordinary dislike. I once dated a guy in college for two years and the final straw (things were going to the wayside anyway) was that he covered my fries in ketchup. I mean he KNEW how much I despised ketchup and I thought well if you can forget that Adios (this may seem harsh but come on, after two years of dating me you STILL cover my fries in the despised ketchup-we had problems). Yuck, yuck, yuck. I don’t even want to think of the despised and hideous ketchup.

2.) I want to see a nice ghost. I believe in ghosts but have never seen one and I would like to see one providing they were nice and nothing out of a scary movie. I know a lot of credible sources (I think they are credible but that is not saying too much) who have seen ghosts but not I (Oprah even said on her show once that she saw a ghost so why not me?). I have been wanting to see a nice ghost since I was a kid and we played with the Ouija board (are those even around anymore?).

3.) When I was little I got locked in one of those VERY small bathrooms on an airplane and now will be close to death before I go to the bathroom on an airplane. I swear it was probably 30 odd years ago but the memory and fear are frozen in time in my mind (I know, I know I need to get over it and go to the bathroom on an airplane).

4.) This is just a horrible, horrible confession but well we all have skeletons in our closet (I hope most of mine are buried for good) but if I could choose to be on a desert island with only one certain food and beverage it would be……diet Pepsi and chocolate. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I know that I should eat the fruits and veggies and I usually do but if I could choose and it would be good for me I would always choose diet Pepsi and chocolate over anything else!

5.) I love to read British murder mysteries (Morse, Poirot, Adam Dagliesh, Richard Jury-these are characters in my favorite books) and watch British murder mysteries and historical dramas. I love Pride and Prejudice (BBC version) and all those Masterpiece Theatre shows. Love them. This is not weird or quirky but maybe falls under random.

6.) I am a strict vegetarian and animal rights activist. Before I had my children I would do peaceful protests against animal cruelty. I get anxiety when I see people wearing fur coats and will not tolerate any kind of cruelty against animals (any kind of animal). I would not eat my cat or dog so why would I eat a cow, pig or chicken? That is my philosophy but I do not push it on others or judge those that do choose to eat animals. I do not wear leather either and wish more shoes were man made materials as I am a shoe freak!!!!!

7.) When I was young I was in beauty pageants (even won a few) but then I realized I was not really beauty pageant material (way too clumsy and just not into the whole thing). I don’t really enjoy displaying myself so I figured it was best to pack up my bags on the beauty pageant circuit (this is a secret as my friends now did not even know I was in beauty pageants-they would probably balk at the thought of me strutting up there in a gown). My kids like to play with my old crowns now so that makes it all worth the agony.

Now to the 7 people I need to tag and please don’t feel obligated to follow through but it is fun

1.) Sara at My Life as it was, is, and will be
2.) Nancy at Chilled White Whine
3.) Mike at Live Life 365
4.) Confessions of a Fitness Diva
5.) Swubird at Senior Tales
6.) Robin at Healthy Living
7.) Beaded Tail /
2008-10-13

Lose Those Cravings-Pinch And Think Them Away-Really

As anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows, I love sweets (chocolate in particular) and of course to be healthy I need to find ways to have my sweets in moderation (no fun but must be done). I recently came across a couple of interesting ways to possibly tackle this constant craving of sweets that are not painful and easy to do so I thought I would share these tidbits with you.

Thinking It Away-Stop obsessing over the object of your desire

Have you ever noticed that the more you think about something the more you want it(in my opinion this holds true for food and that one person who is always elusive to you)? Well, now new data suggest this also holds true for chocolate. Researchers told 67 women to either think freely about the chocolate or suppress their thoughts of it-then gave them chocolate to eat. The thought suppressors consumed about 50 percent more than the unrestricted thinkers. This is worth a shot but I am not sure how this is going to work for me because thinking or trying to not think of chocolate makes me want chocolate. Basically I want chocolate all the time.

Pinching Away Those Cravings-Literally

Looking for an ancient Chinese secret to help you fight those cravings? Try pinching your nostrils or earlobes for 10 seconds and those cravings will pass (I tried this and it worked for me-but don’t pinch too hard ). Apparently the nostrils and earlobes are acupressure points that help to suppress cravings.

Give these a try and let me know what you think. So far so good for me!
2008-10-10

Having Trouble With Entrecard Drops-Sorry

I just wanted to let all you entrecard droppers know that for some reason I have been having a hard time with my entrecard drops. It seems like it takes a couple minutes to drop on even one card (I do tend to exaggerate but this time it really is about 1-2 minutes) so I am not getting my drops in. I am trying and will continue to do so but didn't want my regular droppers to think I had stopped dropping. Is anyone else having troubles or is it just me? Sorry and I hope to get back to dropping soon!
Heidi
2008-10-08

Hey Sugar-Try These Sweet Alternatives


Are you a sugar addict like me? There is nothing that I like better than chocolate, cookies, cake and well you get the idea. I would rather eat dessert than just about anything I think. However, I understand that my sugar intake has to be in moderation if I want to be healthy.

Studies show that the sweeter your diet, the more nutrient deficient it is. The average North American consumes about 150 pounds of sugar per year, no wonder chronic disease is on the rise. Try to cut back on refined sugar and artificial sweeteners that serve up nothing but empty calories. Instead, choose natural sweeteners that offer some beneficial, health-promoting properties. Honey , contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes, plus antioxidants that protect against illness. Honey won't raise your blood sugar either, because it has a moderate effect on insulin. Another great choice is molasses since it is grown in mineral rich soil. It contains the valuable b vitamins and other important nutrients, like iron. Of course no post on sugar substitutes would be complete without me adding how much I love Stevia (an all natural sweetener that you can get at Whole Foods-it does not raise your insulin levels either so your body does not freak out and think it needs to store fat).

If you are having a hard time cutting out the sweets I recommend giving fruit a chance. Yes fruit has sugar but it comes in the form of high fiber and fiber lessens the blood sugar peaks, hormonal havoc and weight gain. Raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, grapes and bananas are all great choices that I personally enjoy when I feel the urge to make a dash for my favorite chocolate bar. Most fruits are high in fiber, low in calories, high in water content, great tasting and convenient. They contain disease-fighting antioxidants and the hundreds of beneficial plant chemicals that scientists have recently discovered protect us (kinda like the phytochemicals in plants protect them).

I know there are days that you just really need that sugar fix and nothing else will do so I say on those days indulge yourself and then go in moderation the rest of the week. I have days that if you even think of taking my chocolate away you might want to turn and run in the other direction.

There are lots of substitutes for sugar that are very satisfying so give those a try-your body will thank you.

Reference-Eat, Drink and Be Merry by Janet and Greta Podleski

2008-10-05

Vegetarian Lunches And Snacks For Children-My Guest Post

This is such a compliment to me that Dr. Nicole Sundene of Kitchen Table Medicine asked me for some suggestions on vegetarian snacks and lunches for children. Her blog is one of the most popular health blogs on the net and she is an incredible person and resource for all things good and healthy. Since both of my children are vegetarians (as am I of course) I gave her some of their favorite treats and snacks that keep them happy and healthy. Your child does not have to be a vegetarian to enjoy and appreciate these snacks and lunches that my girls love so please stop on over at Kitchen Table Medicine and check out my guest post and browse around Dr. Nicole's site-it really is amazing. Thank you Dr. Nicole! You have no idea what an honor it is to be a guest blogger on your site.
2008-10-04

A Very Special Friendship Award!


What a perfect week for me to receive the "Propagating Friendship Award" from Polly at Random Ramblings! Polly's blog is one of my favorites that I visit daily and Polly is indeed a great blogging friend who is always helping me out with tips and ideas as well as just a nice dose of friendship. I feel so grateful for this award as well as for the friendship it represents. I thought and thought over who to present it to but I think you know who you are. I share this with all of you who visit and comment on my blog and give your friendship so freely. There are just too many of you to only present it to a few of you. Please display this award proudly on your blog and pass it on.

Again, thanks to Polly for presenting me with this (by the way, if you have not visited her blog you will want to check it out! I am sure you will love it as much as I do- Random Ramblings)! I needed something fun and nice this week and receiving this award really made my day. That's what friends are for!
2008-10-01

Freshen Your Breath With A Little Green Tea

Since starting this blog about a year ago and learning so much, one of the things that I have really put to use is all the incredible benefits of green tea (you can read my post Tea, Tea You’re the One For Me if you are interested in knowing more about the benefits of tea). So, today while flipping through the October issue of Good Housekeeping the article on how green tea can freshen your breath really caught my eye. I probably drink at least 5-6 cups of green tea a day (I am not going to lie-this really takes some effort on my part but I do it) and now I have even more reason to drink up. Forget the mints and gum-have some green tea.

A Breath Of Fresh Air

First I want to thank Swubird for giving me the idea for that title. He left a comment on my last post saying something to the effect that my next post on fresh breath would be well a breath of fresh air and I just loved it so thank you Swubird.

Gum, mints uh uh you are going to need green tea if you really want fresh breath according to a group of “Japanese researchers who tested a variety of breath fresheners in the lab. Bad breath is largely caused by sulfur compounds created when bacteria in the mouth break down proteins, so the scientists measured how well would-be-fresheners could either deodorize the compounds or halt their formation. Sugarless gum, mints and parsley-oil products all struck out. Toothpaste removed the odor but didn’t cut production of stinky substances. Only green tea powder succeeded at both properties. The secret: a chemical in the tea that also has antioxidant properties. So end dinner with a cup of green tea or try some delicious green tea ice cream. Beyond the tea’s benefits, the fat in the ice cream helps remove odor-producing bacteria says lead reasearcher Ken Yaegaki, D.D.S., PH.D.”

I personally like my green tea with a little more flavor so I sometimes buy the kind with pomegranate or other flavor in it. I think I will go have a cup now, won’t you join me?