The little things DO matter. PROOF!

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Have you ever walked by someone and avoided all eye contact because you didn’t want to have any type of personal exchange?  Come on, admit you’ve done this once or twice at least.  Well, if you haven’t, you are probably one of only a few people in that category.  I have done this in my youth because I didn’t want another person (probably a cute guy) to see me without makeup or nice clothes.  As I have grown older, I realize no one cares if I wear makeup or designer clothes.  However, people will remember my smile, a nice compliment, or a kind gesture.

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Who wouldn’t remember my daughter’s sweet smile?

I know… I know… I am sure you have heard that people remember the negative more than the positive.  This does happen.  We all know gossiping people exist who love a sad or tragic story to share. However, in the end, people make mistakes.  People are not perfect.  There will be another poor soul on the gossip stage soon enough.  In the end, we are all going to leave this beautiful earth and what will it matter?  So, don’t get caught up in the gossip and negativity.  I challenge you to this!  If you take the high road, you’ll probably rest better at night.

Oddly enough, I was recently reading the book, “The Accidental Instructional Designer: Learning Design for the Digital Age” by Cammy Bean.  Of all the books I have read, I never really thought a book about Instructional Design would include this, but it did.  In fact, Bean (2014) says, “… we seem to remember the bad things about people we meet more than the good” (p. 136). She goes on to say we learn from mistakes and this is why she added this to her book about e-learning.  (Designers can use stories about mistakes to teach lessons.)

Thus, the reason I decided to discuss this today is because I feel strongly that reading about the usefulness of negativity (through mistakes) combined with what I am about to share is no coincidence. Earlier today, I received a kind message from a former Starbucks Barista in Georgia that I barely knew.  She was always pleasant and a great Barista, but I only knew her briefly.  Six years ago, she was pregnant.  I told her wonderful things about being pregnant and positive things I learned while pregnant.  She reached out to me today to let me know how big of an impact this had on her and her son.  She emailed me the following.

… Idk if you remember but when I was pregnant with my son you were so excited about that kid even though we didn’t really know each other! That love you showed, believe it or not, has shown through that kid! I wish you could meet him just to see the love he gives off! Everybody falls in love with that kid! Believe it or not, he’s six now.

So, in the end, people do remember the nice things. Even though it may be beneficial to create a humorous story about a goofy, mistake-prone character to teach a lesson online, in the real world, kindness must prevail.   I may never have heard that story, but I did hear it at the perfect time.  I had to share it with you as proof that small things do matter.  Small things can turn into big things!  (After all, she made me smile 6 years later and thousands of miles from the original place where I shared my love and warmth with her.) I CHALLENGE you to avoid the negative and embrace the positive each and every day. It will make a difference.

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Remember: Keep on Smiling!  (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Hugs and Kindness,

Mel

Reference:

Bean, C. (2014). The accidental instructional designer: Learning design for the digital age. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

A Christmas Towne Adventure with a Keto Pizza Meal

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Oh boy, Oh boy, excited to share this recipe with you!

There has been so much going on recently that I’ll have to combine two topics and share the others with you next week.

First, I’ll discuss Christmas Towne!  (By the way, I literally just said that in my best movie trailer announcer voice.) In my former small town in Georgia, I always looked forward to a fun community Christmas celebration that occurred the first Saturday of December.  It was always top-notch with special performers, amusement rides, local dancers and singers, and more Christmas cheer than can be put into words.  The kick-off was a Christmas parade and the entire thing was FREE, well, except for the vendors.  Last year, my daughter and I prepared a thermos full of hot cocoa and sat on the street, along with hundreds of other people, and watched the parade.  Initially, I thought our move here in Alaska would end that.  However, I got a surprise when I discovered an event for local communities that lasted more than one day.

Last weekend, we went to a Boy Scout camp turned Christmas Towne in Chugiak, Alaska. I thought it would be a fun outing for the family since there were supposed to be free crafts for visitors to create, reindeer, and a Santa Clause. When we arrived, we began strolling through the village to eventually get greeted by a lady.  She asked us if we knew where we were going or whether we needed help.  Of course, we answered that we needed help.  She pointed out things that were going on in the Towne.  Since we went with our neighbors down the street, we had company too, which was nice.  There were definitely crafts for children (and adults) to create in the main building where Santa was located.  Caris and I wanted to take a picture with Santa, which we did, but Santa ended up not being very nice.  In fact, he mocked my southern accent, openly, and with a laugh.  I almost allowed my good-spirit to fade away and comment how Santa shouldn’t do that, but decided it was pointless.  Instead, I decided it wasn’t worth him crushing my spirits and moved on cheerfully to the next location.

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Our crafts are in the bag! P.S. Santa doesn’t like southern accents.
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This reindeer was so beautiful!
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This was the location of the snow ball play.
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A local restaurant after Christmas Towne… Yes, he is hungry!

After we finished crafting, we met a reindeer.  Caris really enjoyed it.  The wonderful lady who was responsible for the reindeer told a great story about her job as the oldest elf and intrigued us all.  We also had a snowball fight!  There was a huge field of synthetic snowballs that wouldn’t melt and we all spent about 15 minutes playing around with those.  Another feature at the Towne was a Smores making area where anyone could spend time warming up and, if desired, make some smores.  All-in-all, it was a very fun day and it was FREE!

Now, to change subjects, you know I can’t leave you without a wonderful keto recipe creation.  Yesterday, I made a delicious keto pizza with a cauliflower-pesto crust.  It really tasted amazing with our bacon topped side salad.  The recipe is below.

Keto Pizza Dinner

Ingredients

2 bags of cauliflower florets

1 TBSP garlic powder

1 TBSP of your favorite pesto

A clean kitchen towel

½ cup of Mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Your favorite pizza sauce

Your favorite pizza toppings

Steam cauliflower with the smallest amount of water needed to do so.  Drain.  Then, put cauliflower in Vitamix (or whatever mixer you own) and make into a smooth paste like texture.  (I received a Vitamix over 5 years ago from Micah and it is the best machine for kitchen creativity.  I have nothing but wonderful things to say about mine. There is a link below if interested in checking it out.) Then, dump cauliflower onto the middle of a clean kitchen towel.  Start getting water out of the paste.  I pull together like a bag and push out as much as I can.  My towel held so much water it began dripping!  So, I opened it up and used some clean paper towels to get the remaining fluid off.

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You need to take off the stems because these aren’t needed for the crust. Steam.
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Blend in your mixer until you get a smooth texture. (This isn’t smooth yet.)
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This is what my pizza looked like after draining and adding garlic and pesto.
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This is the what my pizza looked like after the first bake.

Next, preheat oven to 450 degrees and put cauliflower paste into a bowl.  Add the garlic powder and pesto to mixture and mix well by hand.  Once mixed, put cauliflower mixture onto a non-stick sprayed tinfoil covered pan.  Shape the mixture into the pizza shape you like.  (I always prefer a circle.)  Make sure it isn’t too thin, but you definitely don’t want it too thick or it won’t be crispy.  I sprinkle a little more garlic powder on it at this stage.  Bake for 12 minutes until starting to look brown on edges.  Take out of oven and spread a thin amount of pizza sauce onto paste.  Add meat (if you want.)  I added ground turkey.  Then, top with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 7-10 more minutes, based on your oven’s cook time until top is brown and cheese looks bubbly.  Serve with a side salad. Our side salad had mini bell peppers, diced boiled eggs, cheese, and bacon on it.

Warm wishes,

Mel

What the heck is bone broth? Why do I need it? How do I make it?

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Bone broth may help a person manage symptoms of autoimmune disorders and much more.

My family enjoys my cooking, most days.  They love my savory dishes, my sweet dishes, and little snacks I create, just because I get the urge to create something. However, the one thing they do not like is the smell of my bone broth cooking.  Why?  It is likely because I have to cook it a minimum of 48 hours (if chicken bones) and 72 hours (if beef bones) and after a while, the smell does become a little overwhelming.  However, the benefits are well worth it.  I guess the point of all of this is if you end up deciding bone broth is something you want to make, you may want to find a safe spot in your carport, back porch, or barn to slow cook it if the smell bothers you.

I have been hearing a lot about the benefits of bone broth for a while now.  Back in March, I had a neck injury that really got me down.  I started researching the best things for spine health.  After all, I have always been very active and I don’t necessarily need to be a 20-year-old gymnast, just a happy mobile 40-year-old mom.

This homework led me down a path that opened my eyes to many things, but I will start with my bone broth discovery.  The benefits I knew about from before the injury were: it helps leaky gut (my daughter is autistic and they typically have leaky gut syndrome), helps promote healthy bones, and is supposed to make your skin glow.  However, after some research (some in my own home natural health books), I started making discoveries.  Bricklin (1976) told a story in his Natural Healing book about a woman who came in with arthritis in her knee for over a year.  She said it was so bad she could not sleep at night and could barely walk.  She started taking vitamin C, vitamin E, BONE BROTH, and dolomite.  In two weeks, the lady had very little pain and was walking “freely” in one month (Bricklin, 1976, p. 26).   There was another story in that same book that really hit home with me where a man came in with an arthritic neck for many years and after traction and painkillers, nothing worked.  He thought BONE BROTH wasn’t for him.  The author writes, “He did not believe that bone meal or anything else could help him because he had spurs on his cervical spine, but after beginning the bone meal regimen, the nurse reported the pain was 50% better in just five days” (Bricklin, 1976, p. 27).  Okay, I thought, this all sounds good.

Another one of my resources was Dr. Amy Myers book.  She is known for her book, “The Autoimmune Solution” where she discusses reversing inflammatory symptoms and diseases (Myers, 2015).  I personally think if you live long enough, you’ll eventually have some minor issues or major issues associated with autoimmunity.  Our environment has been tainted with chemical spills, pollution, GMOs, and too many other things to discuss here for even the purest eater to not have any exposure to something dangerous.  If you didn’t know, autoimmune disorders can be everything from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, to multiple sclerosis and skin disorders. (If you haven’t read her book, you must get it. It is a great resource for anyone.) She has a recipe for bone broth on p. 226 but my recipe is much simpler that I’ll share with you in this post.  But wait, did you get that?  She mentions this recipe in her book on autoimmunity!  There must be something to this stuff! (Her book is below.)

If you think about your grandparents, or great grandparents, or even great-great grandparents, depending on your age,they cooked full meals.  They cooked chickens with bones in them and didn’t order a quick boneless chicken nugget meal made with GMO meats.  Granted, life was much harder physically, back then, but still they didn’t seem to have all these autoimmune issues that we’re having today.  I like to say, “remember the good parts, leave the bad parts” when thinking about past occurrences.  Use this same philosophy with foods from our ancestors.

All I can say is I have noticed when I drink bone broth regularly that my skin looks healthier, it has a nice color and a healthy amount of softness too, so that is a bonus.  I also feel overall much more energetic, so there must be something to this stuff.  And…I can’t say my neck is perfect every day, but it definitely helps.    My easy recipe is below. I hope you enjoy it.

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This organic chicken isn’t going to be wasted! Boiling the raw chicken starts this process.
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Meat in one bowl.  Bones on a plate.
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Onion and garlic are great for this recipe
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I cut my onion in large chucks to make it easier to strain.
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This is what it looks like after day 1. You can add another cup of water if needed.
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This is how rich the color is after day 2.
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I am straining out the broth from the chicken mixture.
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McKinley approves of these soft bones!
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My first cup was a good one.

Chicken Bone Broth

1 organic whole chicken (you do not want to eat minerals from a genetically modified chicken, get the good stuff)

Chicken broth from cooked organic chicken

Garlic cloves

1 medium – large onion

¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother)

Carrots (optional)

In a large boiler, add chicken and water to cover chicken.  Boil until done.  Debone chicken and make something fabulous with the meat.  (You won’t need the meat for this broth recipe so this actually makes a meal!) Add bones to a large crockpot with enough water to fill crockpot about ¾ full AFTER adding the juice from the cooked chicken, an onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, and apple cider vinegar. Get this mix to boiling by putting on the highest setting for a few hours.  Then, cut to lower setting for duration of cooking (for chicken, this will be 2 days).  If you want carrots, I would add after 24 hours of cooking. Plus, you’ll stir once at the end of day 1 as well.  This is literally a “set it” and “almost forget it” recipe.

After 48 hours, turn off crockpot and let cool.  Once cooled, strain the broth.  The apple cider vinegar you added to the water initially is what helps the wonderful nutrients such as collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin to leech out.  However, there may be some minerals left in the bones.  I typically eat a few right after cooking and save the rest for my dog.  The bones are so soft that there isn’t an issue with splintering.

Lastly, I do my best to drink 6-8 ounces a day.  If I can’t make it, I have been known to buy.  The purchased broth is never as good to me.  It is similar to a canned soup versus a homemade soup in regards to depth of flavor.  Also, please consult your physician for any medical recommendations based on your personal circumstances.

Hugs,

Mel

References:

Bricklin, M. (1976). Natural healing., Emmaus, PN: Rodale Press.

Myers, A. (2015). The autoimmune solution. New York, NY: Harper One.

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Swimming, Detoxing, and Snow Cleats

steam

I was talking to my mom the other day and told her we are swimming regularly now to get in some low-impact exercise.  She questioned me in a perplexed way, “SWIMMING?” I then had to explain to her that we decided to join a gym with an aquatic center in order to get some much-needed pool time.  Even though we’re in Alaska, we can still enjoy swimming in the local gym’s salt-treated pool. Caris and I on one of many gym adventures are shown below.

swimming, family, fun, pools, slides, smiles

Initially, when we first visited to consider joining, I thought the place was too much facility for us.  After all, we are used to gym equipment, a little treadmill/elliptical, and occasional summer swimming.  However, this place had all that and more.  They even have one of the best detoxing options — a steam room and a dry sauna.  Caris and I like steaming, or using the dry sauna, at least once a week while refueling with a Kombucha (fermented tea.)  Caris tells me the steam helps her release stress.  For any child, much less an autistic child, to have this happen is amazing.  I feel like we are sweating out the bad and putting back in the good when we drink our Kombucha simultaneously while steaming. Even though I read about health topics all the time, I wanted to see if there was any evidence I could share with you to support our perception.  I discovered a fairly recent article where Assistant Beauty Editor Runa Bhattacharya said, “Both steam rooms and saunas make you sweat, which can help unclog your pores and give your skin a flushed, glow-y look… Saunas use dry heat, which makes your pores release more sweat, while steam rooms have more moisture in the air, which can help plump up your skin…” (D’Angelo, 2011, p. 1). Well, now, this sounds like we’re on to something with this steam/sauna schedule.

Furthermore, the reason why Kombucha is so good to consume at the same time is because it is a probiotic and probiotics can help our immunity. I have also heard that it is great for arthritis and joint issues but according to Krieger (2014) there is no evidence to support these claims.  However, based on my experience, it is worth a try if you can get your hands on some good quality Kombucha. I typically buy either the “GTs” brand but I have been branching out and really like the “Brew Dr.” versions as well. I always feel wonderful afterwards and have that “glow-y” skin D’Angelo (2011) mentioned.  These two are shown below if interested.

After the swim and steam yesterday, we ended up walking around the neighborhood.  It snowed all night through noon, so there was lots of snow all around.  One thing I didn’t realize until I lived here in Alaska is that walking on melted snow can be treacherous.  When the snow turns to ice… EEK!  (Do you remember that commercial where the lady falls and can’t get up?  Yes, I do too and I do not want that to be any of my family.)  Icey sidewalks aren’t fun when you want to go walking for fun or are simply trying to get from point A to point B.  However, snow cleats are a great snow tool and there are many different name brands of these. Fortunately, since I did my homework weeks ago, we were able to walk around in the Subzero brand.  So far, so good… I would recommend these to anyone visiting a cold climate prone to ice.  I found some that look very similar to ours.

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You fit the snow cleats on the bottom of your shoes. Caris is showing how these look.

Lastly, I will bid you farewell and leave with some recent pictures we took of the scenery near our neighborhood.

backyard in alaska, trees,
This was taken the day before it snowed all night long!
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This was also taken the day before it snowed all night.
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The children heading to the local park after the snow fall.
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Snow words!

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Hugs,
Mel

References:

D’Angelo, J. (2011). The steam room at the gym: Does it actually do anything? Self. Retrieved from https://www.self.com/story/the-steam-room-at-the-gym-does

Krieger, E. (2014). Kombucha: Is it really good for you? The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/2014/10/28/7ba5f68a-5ad6-11e4-8264-deed989ae9a2_story.html?utm_term=.6d7a848bbbf9

From Avocados-n-Eggs to Donald Trump

How long have we been in Alaska again? Oh yes, a little over 2 months… I am not sure the reason, but a day seems like 2 or 3 days. A week here feels like 2 weeks. Time is completely different. For the most part, everything is different.

Today, I’ll share with you some really neat experiences we’ve had right by our home. As I have already mentioned in several prior posts, some of our neighbors are amazing people. The family across the street from us has chickens. These chickens have the Shangri-La of chicken coups built by them, of course. What else would you expect from tough Alaskans? Caris was impressed by being given permission to pick up some eggs to take home with us. The best part of that experience was breakfast the next morning. Since we eat eggs for breakfast 99.9% of the time, this was something we needed anyway.  These eggs were fun to pick up and functional (because we ate them almost immediately.)

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Caris loved picking up the neighbor’s eggs.
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Eggs, Avocado, Fresh Thyme over toasted wheat bread

avocado

If you noticed in the breakfast picture, avocado is another of our breakfast favorites.  I read about how food can help heal (or help hurt) us AND I have a lot of health books too. I know avocados are some of the superstar foods. Our skin loves these little fruits. In fact, since these little gems are full of lutein and zeaxanthin to help protect our skin from harmful UV damage (Roberts, Green, & Lewis, 2009), the benefits go beyond beauty. A few other benefits include being heart healthy, good for weight maintenance, and great for balancing hormones for some people (Shatzman, 2015). Okay, I will move on past my obvious love of avocados.

Most recently, we were invited to our other neighbor’s house for a Halloween party. They had the best decorations and great food too. Caris enjoyed hanging out early in the night. She dressed as a baby in a cute onesie. I threw some stuff together for about $4.00 and said I was “Halloween tacky.” Micah didn’t wear a costume and Connor didn’t participate this year. Yes, Donald Trump was there too.

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Caris was able to hang out for a little while early in the night.
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An inexpensive Halloween costume (knee high orange socks not shown)

Hugs,
Melissa

References:
Roberts, R. L., Green, J., Lewis, B. (2009). Lutein and zeaxanthin in eye and skin health. Clinics in Dermatology. 27: 195-201.

Shatzman, C. (2015, July 13). 6 foods that balance your hormones for younger looking skin. Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/beauty/hormone-balancing-foods-better-skin

Epsom Salt Detox Bath? Try it!

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I hope the start of your year has been wonderful so far.  My 2017 has been great!  My daughter committed to join the fitness group that began on January 2 and I am so happy that she did.  She has stiff knee joints, which I think stems from her autism, but no one has ever linked these two for us on a medical-level.   She also has sensory issues so finding the right fitness program for her was challenging.  I wanted her to find something she enjoys so she will be more likely to stay with the plan, which I hope helps increase her flexibility.  So far, so good… 

Furthermore, since many people have New Year’s resolutions to be more active, I feel inspired to talk about something that may help us work out some of the soreness of those new workouts – Epsom salt baths.  For years, I have heard Epsom salt baths are great for stress relief, reducing inflammation, and detoxing.  It seems to work wonders for me in the “feel good” department because I am more relaxed afterwards.  Thus, there must be something to this.  If you don’t believe me, do a little research in your downtime.  For instance, go to Amazon and type “Epsom salt” in the search bar for books and you’ll see lots of different options listed. In fact, Cross (2016) is one author who gives an entire section on the benefits of Epsom salt on your health.  Topics in this section of his booklet range from helping with cramps, eliminating skin problems, improving your heart’s health, to boosting magnesium levels (Cross, 2016).  If you didn’t know this already, magnesium deficiency is responsible for many problems.  Dr. Murray (1996) shared a few signs of this deficiency such as being tired, irritable, weak, having muscle cramps, and being susceptible to stress, none of which are good things.   So, there is something important to the first author’s discussion of improving health in the booklet, All you need is Epsom Salt-Honey-Baking Soda.

Finally, another suggestion is to exfoliate while you are soaking.  Exfoliating our skin actually helps encourage blood flow necessary for healthy skin (Roizen & Oz, 2008) not to mention making our skin happy from sloughing off dead skin cells.  Thus, after your workout (whatever that may be), soak in a nice hot tub of Epsom Salt for half an hour.  (I typically put in about 1 ½ cups of the Dr. Teal’s version in my bath, but there are various suggestions “out there” for the amount to add.) Then, purchase some exfoliation gloves (shown below) making it super easy to exfoliate your body while soaking! Also, listed under image are some ways to purchase these wonderful products.

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XOXO,

Mel

Cross, C. (2016). All you need is Epsom Salt-Honey-Baking Soda. Amazon. Kindle Edition.

Murray, M. T. (1996). Encyclopedia of nutritional supplements. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing.

Roizen, M. F. & Oz, M. C. (2008.) You: Being beautiful. New York, NY: Free Press.

A Sweet Tooth could impact Your Skin’s Health. Really! How?

As you know by now, I have a lot of books about nutrition and health (a few are listed below beside a sweet photo of my children when they were young. Awww.)  I started reading about these subjects when my daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder (a non-existent diagnosis now).  At that time, most of the books I read were about autism but discussed the power of nutrition for those diagnosed.  Since then, I have read more health and well-being books for all ages.

books-for-health

Today, I will continue discussing sugar since my last post pertained to how I curbed my sweet tooth with Shakeology.  I will share why curbing a sweet tooth is important specifically for skin quality.  (There are many other health reasons to avoid excessive amounts of added simple sugar such as sexual health, headache prevention, low energy, (Roizen & Oz, 2008) but I will save that for another article.)

Simple sugar is one criminal in causing chronic inflammation, which is bad for us, because it creates a poisonous environment that can allow disease processes to form like diabetes, heart-disease, and even depression (Diaz, 2014).  However, it also speeds-up the aging process (Perricone, 2004) and thus disturbs our skin texture and quality.  You may be thinking about simple sugar and wondering how it can create a poisonous environment.  Let me explain based on one of my favorite books, The Perricone Promise.

Dr. Nicholas Perricone (2004) says it best when he discusses inflammation.  He states:

Foods that we eat can either be pro-inflammatory (they provoke an inflammatory response) or anti-inflammatory (they suppress the inflammatory response.)  Pro-inflammatory foods are those that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, resulting in the release of insulin into the bloodstream.  The chief culprits in the pro-inflammatory arena are sugar and foods that quickly convert to sugar in the bloodstream, such as potatoes, breads, pastries, juice, chips, and rice cakes.

We have to understand and accept this simple but painful fact of life: Sugar can be toxic.  Ingesting sugar causes a rise in blood sugar, resulting in a burst of inflammatory chemicals that spread throughout our bodies. … This inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen, resulting in wrinkles. (pp. 11-12)

So, now, you may be asking yourself, what can I eat that isn’t pro-inflammatory, causing wrinkles?  Are there any good, quality forms of sugar out there?  Of course, there are some.  Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz (2008) give the suggestion to avoid simple sugars by looking at the words on labels and avoiding those ending in -ose (except ribose) and avoiding those with syrup on the label because syrup is another name for an added sugar. In addition, Dr. Peeke (2005) suggests avoiding all processed sugars and replacing white sugar with applesauce, stevia, or citrus juices, to name a few suggestions.  One additional suggestion is to avoid any grain that isn’t whole grain because it will turn into simple sugar too (Roizen & Oz, 2008).  AHA, this explains why some people search for whole grain breads versus the white bread options!

In the end, avoiding white sugar and other processed sugars is a good idea.  If you crave sweet treats as much as I did, having something to help curb that craving while offering dense nutrition to help boost your energy levels is a smart thing to do.  I decided to try Shakeology because the company offered a 30-day money back guarantee, even with an empty bag return.  I figured I was worth it.. Of course, the rest is history, and I am definitely a believer.  The last bonus is the taste.  Since I add mine to 8 ounces of milk, it tastes like a milkshake when I use strawberry or chocolate, or a Frappuccino when I use the café latte flavor.  If you are interested in ordering, let me know.  Tip: You get 30 servings if you order a bag but only 24 servings if you order the multi-pack box

XOXO,

Mel

References:

Diaz, C. (2014). The body book. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Peeke, P. (2005). Body for life for women. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.

Perricone, N. (2004). The Perricone promise: Look  younger, live longer, in three easy steps. New York, NY: Warner Books.

Roizen, M. F. & Oz, M. C. (2008). You: Being beautiful. New York, NY: Free Press.

The What and How of a Shakeology Sampler Party

First of all, what is Beachbody?

Beachbody is a fitness company that puts the customer’s convenience first but doesn’t sacrifice quality.  They offer many different at-home workout programs accompanied by a premium nutrition plan.  Another bonus of the Beachbody company is the ability to access nutrition plans created by highly trained experts. For example, when I purchased the Master’s Hammer and Chisel challenge pack, I received a full program and nutrition guide, food measuring cups, the DVDs, the Performance energizer and recover powders, as well as a helpful workout calendar.  I was impressed!  My friend ordered the Slim-in-6 challenge pack and received a full program and nutrition guide, resistance bands, a bag of Shakeology, and a workout calendar.  Since my package didn’t come with Shakeology, I added that to  my order because I heard many good things about it over the years and figured since nutrition is a part of being healthier, I couldn’t miss out on the chance to add that to my daily regime.  In other words, this company has worked hard at making sure the entire puzzle is complete by offering customers the healthiest nutrition drink on the planet!

Secondly, what is Shakeology?

Do not let the cute-as-a-button name fool you.  Shakeology is a sugar-sweet name for a nutrition POWERHOUSE. It is great for those who are training or for just about anyone who wants more energy and better nutrition.  Plus, once you try it, you’ll be hooked.  All the flavors taste great!  My favorites are cafe latte and strawberry. However, tasting great is one thing but what about the outcomes of drinking it?  Just today, I received an email on the results of the latest study performed on approximately 3,000 Shakeology users.  They found 86% of respondents said their energy levels increased, 81% said it kept them full until their next meal, and 72% said it helped them lose weight while using it (*Team Beachbody, 2016).

Okay, okay, so I get a full workout and a nutrition drink, what else?

The last great thing about Beachbody is they give you a FREE virtual fitness coach when signing up for one of their programs.  The virtual fitness coach motivates you and acts as an accountability friend/cheerleader. Since many people fail to meet fitness goals because of a lack of motivation, this keeps fitness seekers accountable and constantly moving toward their fitness goals.

Shakeology Sampler Holiday Party Details

shakeology-fruit-sampler
Shakeology Sampler Holiday Party

As you may know, I liked the company so much, I decided to try on the Beachbody coach “hat”.  I truly believe in the company’s mission, the products, and the team.  To properly kick-off my first 2017 fitness group, I did something a little different and threw a Shakeology sampler holiday party at my house where samples of café latte, chocolate, and vanilla flavors were given.  Since most of the ladies in this group are local, it was easy to throw a festive meet-and-greet at my home.  Not everyone was able to attend the event because they aren’t in the local area (which is normally what happens), but those outside of the area will be given just as much support virtually throughout the 90-day challenge period. There are several ladies (and one gentleman) doing the 90-day challenge with me beginning on 1/2/2017.  So far, programs chosen for this multi-program group include: Slim in 6, Tai Cheng, The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, and Country Heat.  Plus, people joining the fitness club in January have the coolest unique opportunity to win money JUST for using the My Challenge tracker app!  Ask me how to do this if interested in earning money to get fit by using the new app. How cool is that?

Your Invitation

If you want to be a part of my fun fitness group beginning in January, or any other month for that matter,  and get motivated to complete your fitness goals, email me or send me a contact message on this website.  You can work out in the comfort of your home and gain a supportive community of friends trying to accomplish similar goals.  There are no quick fixes or gimmicks with this program.  It takes hard work, but you WILL meet some pretty cool people and check off some health goals while doing it. How awesome is that?

XOXO,

Melissa

*Study Reference Found on Team Beachbody email received on 12/21/2016 at 11:08 a.m.

Exfoliation? A glowing secret.

What do most men, Christie Brinkley, Beyoncé (All the, 2014) and this blogger all have in common? (Think about it. I will wait. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.)

If you can’t decide on the common element among all these people, do not worry. I am going to share this with you. The common element is they all exfoliate their faces on a regular basis.

Exfoliation of the face is very important to zap away dullness and make our faces glow.  About 4 years ago, my husband purchased me the Clarisonic Mia 2 for Christmas. It was the best (and only) face washing device I have ever received. In fact, I have already used one so much it went to the Clarisonic graveyard.  I now have another one, shown below in a fun design.

clarisonic

Exfoliation on a regular basis actually helps eliminate the rough outer layer of our skin (Roizen & Oz, 2008).   Thus, any products that you use will work much better because your skin will absorb more of it. Men exfoliate their faces when they shave and do not even realize it because it is a daily necessity for most.  This may be why they tend to hold up better than women.  I am sure you have heard someone say about an older man, “He looks distinguished in his old age.”  Since I do not have a hairy face (thank goodness), exfoliation with the Clarisonic Mia 2 saves the day for me, every day!  When I slough off dead skin cells with it, my facial lotion (more on that later) works better to keep my skin healthier.

However, I am not a super model so let’s get it straight from the super model’s mouth.  Christie Brinkley, interviewed by Megan Cahn in Elle magazine, said this:

In the beginning of my career I read an article about the reason that men always look five years younger than women is because they shave. It said that the daily exfoliation from shaving gives them that rapid cell turnover and keeps their skin glowing and looking so great. So I thought, well, I am just not going to let them have that advantage. So I went to the health food store—my mom was the original health nut—and got an exfoliator. … So I really wanted to have a great exfoliator that can be used daily, because most of the ones in the stores are meant to be used every couple of days, but I want to have that feeling every day. (Cahn, 2015, p. 1)

Thank you for the feedback Christie… So, if you aren’t sure what to request from Santa, just go with the Clarisonic. Your face will thank you by being healthier and more vibrant.

Homework: Check out this device and decide if it is good for you.  Oh yeah, have a wonderful holiday season too!

Hugs,

Melissa

References:

All the celebrities are doing it! The case for daily exfoliation. (2014, December 9). Belle Mocha. Retrieved from http://www.bellemocha.com/2014/12/all-celebrities-are-doing-it-case-for.html

Cahn, M. (2015, March 5). Christie Brinkley on skin care and the secret to staying young. Elle. Retrieved from http://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/news/a27143/christie-brinkley-on-skincare-and-the-secret-to-staying-young/

Roizen, M. F. & Oz, M. C. (2008). You: Being beautiful. New York, NY: Free Press.

Green Tea Kicks Major BOO-TAY!

One thing I‘ve found that is a well-being must-have and isn’t that hard to do is drink green tea daily.  Don’t think of this as a chore, but more like an anti-aging, cancer fighting, antioxidant booster for your body.  I drink green tea just about every day.  I will admit it.  Initially, when I first started drinking it, it was a chore.  I wasn’t in love with the flavor.  Nowadays, my hubby and I curl up to watch a movie and I fire up the pretty red kettle to make a delicious cup of hot green tea.  I have tried many different brands over the years but find they all taste very similar so I just buy the less expensive version these days.

green-tea
The Lovely Red Kettle

Since I don’t drink sugar very often (more on that in the future), I use honey to sweeten my green tea.  If you do not like the taste of honey, try agave nectar.  Agave is my favorite sweetener for coffee because it is low-glycemic, which isn’t a bad thing for any of us.  Okay, now you are probably wondering why green tea is such a “boo-tay” kicker.  Let me explain…

Our body is subject to inflammation, which is a bad thing.  Inflammation is responsible for disturbing proper functioning of our cells (Perricone, 2004).  This isn’t good!  It speeds up the aging process and makes us more susceptible to getting cancer, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders, to name a few issues (Perricone, 2004).  Thus, we want to consume anti-inflammatory foods and beverages whenever possible.  This is where green tea comes in to fight the bad guys.

Dr. Michael Murray, a Naturopathic Doctor, who wrote the book, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements discusses the benefits of green tea and describes green tea “polyphenols” (the compounds in green tea) as powerful.  He says:

“The popular custom of drinking green tea with meals in Japan may be a major reason for the low cancer rates there. With the cancer rate in the United States rising, more Americans might want to start drinking green tea with their meals” (Murray, 1996, p. 326). <— Argh, wordpress isn’t letting me block quote this quotation so sorry for you APA lovers out there

In addition, let us not forget the skin care benefit.  Roizen and Oz (2008), both medical doctors, discuss how green tea protects our thin outer skin layer (the epidermis) by helping thicken it as well as protect against photo damage. For those of you who do not know, photo damage is caused by exposure to the sun and causes aging as well as skin cancer (Tortora & Grabowski, 1993).  If you remember my discussion on a prior post about retinoids/vitamin A, just think of how powerful green tea and a topical solution like tretinoin (the drug name for the topical cream) could be.

Homework: Get green tea and drink daily. You can even make a big pitcher for your family and add some agave nectar.  It doesn’t have to be hot tea. It can be cold too!

Hugs,

Melissa

Resources:

Murray, M. T. (1996). Encyclopedia of nutritional supplements. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing.

Perricone, N. (2004). The Perricone promise: Look  younger, live longer, in three easy steps. New York, NY: Warner Books.

Roizen, M. F. & Oz, M. C. (2008). You: Being beautiful. New York, NY: Free Press.

Tortora, G. J. & Reynolds, S. (1993). Principles of anatomy and physiology. New York, NY: Harper Collins.