Tag Archives: healthy living

Get Moving

Let’s face it — many of us live a sedentary lifestyle.  Much of our days are spent sitting — at work, in front of various types of screens, even driving.  I think that we move is more important than how, so choose something you enjoy, or have always wanted to do.  What is important is that it must be something you will actually do and keep doing.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Walk – take a nature walk, walk to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Even try parking at the edge of parking lots and walking to the building.
  2. Get a weighted Hula Hoop and learn how to get it moving.
  3. Dance – Whether ballroom, hip hop, modern dance, square dancing, ballet or even belly dancing, taking a dance class will get you moving.  It can also be a lot of fun.
  4. Take up a sport you’ve always wanted to try or get back into something you used to enjoy.
  5. Practice yoga.
  6. Jump rope.
  7. Go to the gym.  Whether you’re into weight training, cardio or classes you will find something here.  Try to keep in mind that you are working out for your own health and fitness, not to compete with others.
  8. Train for and participate in a charity run or walk.
  9. Ride a bike.  Consider riding a bike instead of driving.
  10. Jump rope.  Grab a few friends and try Double Dutch.

So get up off that couch and get moving!  Your body will thank you for it.











Healthy Living A to Z: X is for Xanthan Gum

If you are a gluten free baker you are probably familiar with xanthan gum. Many believe this is a necessary ingredient in gluten free baking, but some people are sensitive to it and others prefer to avoid it for other reasons.

Xanthan gum is made by mixing fermented sugars with the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. It has medical uses for lowering blood sugar and total cholesterol in people with diabetes, as a laxative and sometimes as a saliva substitute for people with dry mouth. Xanthan gum is also used to thicken and stabilize foods, toothpaste and medications. [Source: http://www.webmd.com]

I don’t use it in my gluten free baking. I have learned to use the properties of various gluten free flours to increase stability and produce a nice texture. Some flours such as brown rice and buckwheat work fine on their own. Blends with at least some starch in them (corn, tapioca, potato, arrowroot, etc.) also seem to do well. Adding flax seed meal to the flour may also help. By not using xanthan gum in gluten free recipes you will not necessarily avoid it entirely as zanthan gum is used in commercial products, including salad dressing and medications as well as some gluten free flour blends

To use xanthan gum or not is your choice. Do your research and be aware there are other options.

Healthy Living A to Z: W is for Walking

My grandmother was a walker. So was my mother. Both were extremely healthy in their 80’s. In fact both could out walk me.

We all know there are physical health benefits of a good walk. According to the Mayo Clinic, a brisk walk can help maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, strengthen bones, lift your mood and improve balance and coordination. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612

But there is more. Walking can also be a way of quieting our minds and becoming centered.

If you know you should be more active, stop beating yourself up over not finding time to go to the gym. Start where you are and just get moving. A great way to start is to get up and go for a walk.

November Follower of the Month: Sally Cronin

Genie’s Note:  Our Follower of the Month for November is Sally Cronin of Smorgasboard.   Sally has a wonderful personal story of personal growth and lifestyle/attitude change.

Twenty years ago I weighed 330lbs and eventually dragged myself along to the doctor for the usual lecture about my weight. By this time in my life I had been every size under the sun and had also half-completed nearly every diet available. On this occasion, the doctor who had run some tests, told me that unless I lost the extra weight I would not survive past my 40’s.

That was a wake-up call and a very loud one too.  I changed my life around from that point on.  I spent the next two years studying both nutrition and the human body so that I could design an eating plan that would work and I would stick to.  My life is very different now and I love the fact that my experience enables me to help others in the work that I do.

But, more importantly my message is this. Do not leave issues, whether they are health, relationship or work until you are almost beyond help. If you have a problem there is always someone to listen and advise.  And if family and friends are not an option there is massive amounts of information on the Internet to help you find an expert locally who can.


Healthy Living A to Z: V is for Variety

You may have heard the old saying variety is the spice of life. Variety is important for health and longevity. The following are ways we can use variety to our benefit.

Eat a Variety of Foods
The best way to get the important nutrients you body needs is to eat a variety of foods, preferably minimally processed or whole foods. Be sure to get variety in the colors of the fruits and vegetables your eat — think eating the rainbow. The nutrients give the foods their color.

Engage in a Variety of Physical Activities
We all know that it is important to get up and move. One way to keep this from becoming drudgery is to vary your activity. Run, walk, play tennis, soccer, basketball, dance, take an exercise class. Mix up your activities, make them fun and you will get more out of your workouts.

Engage in a Variety of Mental Activities
It is important to keep the mind active throughout life. This can be done by taking classes, learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby or doing puzzles or word games.

So what are some of the ways you get variety in your life? Talk to me.

Healthy Living A to Z: U is for Understanding

I have found that people tend to have trouble staying with lifestyle changes if they are simply making changes because they are told to. Feeling forced to do something (even if to save your life) or blind obedience to a set of rules often brings about rebellion.

It is important that we truly understand what we are being called to change and why. So where do you begin?

1. Learn everything you can about why you are being called to make this change. Do your research, then sit with the information for awhile. Let it become part of you.

2. Look at the consequences of not making changes.

3. Realize that you do have a choice. Are you willing to live with the consequences of not changing?

4. Embrace the change. Welcome it into your life. Make if a part of who you are.

Once you can reach a point of choosing health and life and not feeling forced to do something against your will, life will become much easier. Remember you always have a choice.

Healthy Living A to Z: T is for Time

You can tell how important something is to you by the amount of time you devote to it. Take a minute to stop and reflect on your values. What do you consider most important? Now look at how you spend your time. Do the two match up?

I know that out of necessity work consumes a great deal of time for most people, but does it consume you as well? Do you still make quality time for family, friends, faith and rest? Do you take the time needed to live a healthy, balanced life? This is not a frantic, over the top workout at the gym squeezed into an already too busy day.

How much of the time you spend on various activities is really necessary to get them done and how much is based on unrealistic expectations and excessive pressure (internal or external) to “succeed” or be perfect? This is one I struggle with and I am sure I’m not alone in this.

Our time here on this earth is limited. It is precious. Spend it wisely.

Healthy Living A to Z: S is for Salmon

Copyright 2014 R.A. Robbins
Copyright 2014 R.A. Robbins

Salmon is known for containing high levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. Omega-3’s have also been associated with improved mood and cognitive abilities, joint protection, eye benefits and decreased cancer risks.

Look for Pacific salmon which is more likely to be wild caught. Atlantic salmon is more likely to be farmed and more likely to have lower Omega-3 levels and contains dioxins. Canned salmon is usually wild Pacific caught and can be a good option. http://www.healthybenefitsof.com/p/salmon.html

Salmon is not difficult to prepare. It can be baked, broiled, even grilled. Experiment with seasonings and sauces on your own or there are many wonderful salmon recipes available.

We like our salmon fillets baked or broiled with a little spicy mustard.  Sometimes we break it up and serve it as a salad on a bead of greens.  

We also love salmon patties made with canned salmon. I bake mine at 400 degrees on a baking sheet coated with a little pan spray instead of frying. They are not as crisp on the outside, but still good.

Healthy Living A to Z: P is for Portion Control

It is possible to eat too much, even eating healthy food. These are two tips for controlling portions I use.

Plate size can help control how much you eat. If your dinner plates are very large, try using a salad plate. You can still have a full plate, while consuming less. Remember meals still need to be balanced and at least half of your plate should be vegetables.

Have two instead of one. When I prepare certain foods I know we will always want two. When I make muffins, I make minis so we can still have two and eat the same amount as if we ate one. I also make my salmon patties smaller so Bob can have two. He never notices they are smaller.

How do these work? These little tricks fool the brain into thinking you are eating more than you actually are. When you are finished the brain can tell the body “that’s good, we’re done.” Of course there is a scientific explanation, but it’s not as much fun.