Monday, January 15, 2018

12 Items to Fit Into Every Day

Wonder what a Nutrition Researcher/MD fits into his daily routine? We can gain insights into how to sustain a healthy lifestyle, by reading about the Daily Dozen Checklist below from Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM. 






Dr. Greger wrote: "In my book, How Not to Die, I suggest we try to center our diets around whole plant foods. But, some plants are healthier than others. For example, you can apparently live extended periods eating practically nothing but white potatoes. That would, by definition, be a whole-food, plant-based diet—but not a very healthy one. All plant foods are not created equal.

The more I’ve researched over the years, the more I’ve come to realize that healthy foods are not necessarily interchangeable. Some foods and food groups have special nutrients not found in abundance elsewhere. For example, sulforaphane, the amazing liver-enzyme detox-boosting compound, is derived nearly exclusively from cruciferous vegetables. You could eat tons of other kinds of greens and vegetables on a given day, and get no appreciable sulforaphane if you didn’t eat something cruciferous.

It’s the same with flax seeds and the anticancer lignan compounds. Flax may average a hundred times more lignans than other foods. And mushrooms aren’t even plants at all; they belong to an entirely different biological classification, and may contain nutrients (like ergothioneine) not made anywhere in the plant kingdom. (So technically, maybe I should be referring to a whole-food, plant- and fungus-based diet, but that just sounds kind of gross.)

It seems like every time I come home from the medical library buzzing with some exciting new data, my family rolls their eyes, sighs, and asks, “What can’t we eat now?” Or, they’ll say, “Wait a second. Why does everything seem to have parsley in it all of a sudden?” or something! They’re very tolerant.

As the list of foods I tried to fit into my daily diet grew, I made a checklist, and had it up on a little dry-erase board on the fridge, and we’d make a game out of ticking off the boxes. This evolved, into my Daily Dozen: the checklist of all the things I try to fit into my daily routine. 

By beans, I mean legumes, which also includes split peas, chickpeas, and lentils. You know, while eating a bowl of pea soup or dipping carrots into hummus may not seem like eating beans, it certainly counts. We should try to get three servings a day. A serving is defined as a quarter-cup of hummus or bean dip; a half-cup of cooked beans, split peas, lentils, tofu, or tempeh; or a full cup of fresh peas or sprouted lentils. Though peanuts are technically legumes, nutritionally, I’ve grouped them in the Nuts category, just as I would shunt green beans, snap peas, and string beans into the Other Vegetables category.

A serving of berries is a half-cup fresh or frozen, or a quarter-cup of dried. While biologically speaking, avocados, bananas, and even watermelons are technically berries, I’m using the colloquial term for any small edible fruit, which is why I include kumquats and grapes—and raisins, as well as fruits that are typically thought of as berries, but actually technically aren’t, such as blackberries, cherries, mulberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

For other fruits, a serving is a medium-sized fruit, a cup of cut-up fruit, or a quarter-cup of dried fruit. Again, I’m using the colloquial rather than the botanical definition; so, I place tomatoes in the Other Vegetables group.
Common cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale. I recommend at least one serving a day (typically a half-cup), and at least two additional servings of greens a day, cruciferous or otherwise. Serving sizes for other greens and vegetables are a cup for raw leafy vegetables, a half-cup for other raw or cooked non-leafy vegetables, and a quarter-cup for dried mushrooms.




Everyone should try to incorporate one tablespoon of ground flax seeds into their daily diet, in addition to a serving of nuts or other seeds. A quarter-cup of nuts is considered a serving, or two tablespoons of nut or seed butters, including peanut butter. (Chestnuts and coconuts, though, don’t nutritionally count as nuts.)

I also recommend one-quarter teaspoon a day of the spice turmeric, along with any other (salt-free) herbs and spices you may enjoy.



A serving of whole grains can be considered a half-cup of hot cereal, such as oatmeal, cooked whole grains, or so-called “pseudograins” like amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa, or a half-cup of cooked pasta or corn kernels; a cup of ready-to-eat (cold) cereal; one tortilla or slice of bread; half a bagel or English muffin; or three cups of air-popped popcorn.

The serving size in the beverage category is one glass (twelve ounces), and the recommended five glasses a day is in addition to the water you get naturally from the foods in your diet. I explain my rationale in my video, How Many Glasses of Water Should We Drink a Day?

Finally, I advise one daily “serving” of exercise, which can be split up over the day. I recommend ninety minutes of moderate-intensity activity each day, such as brisk (four miles per hour) walking or, forty minutes of vigorous activity (such as jogging or active sports) each day. I explain my reasoning for that in my video, How Much Should You Exercise?

This may all sound like a lot of boxes to check, but it’s easy to knock off a bunch at a time. One simple peanut butter/banana sandwich, and you just checked off four boxes. Or imagine sitting down to a big salad. Two cups of spinach, a handful of arugula, a handful of walnuts, a half-cup of chickpeas, a half-cup of red bell pepper, and a small tomato. You just knocked out seven boxes in one dish. Sprinkle on your flax, add a handful of goji berries, and enjoy it with a glass of water and fruit for dessert, and you just wiped out nearly half your daily check boxes in a single meal! And, then if you just ate it on your treadmill—just kidding!

Do I check off each glass of water I drink? No. In fact, I don’t even use the checklist anymore; I just used it initially as a tool to get me into a routine. You know, whenever I was sitting down to a meal, I would ask myself, Could I add greens to this? Could I add beans to this? (I always have an open can of beans in the fridge.Can I sprinkle on some flax or pumpkin seeds, or maybe some dried fruit? The checklist just got me into the habit of thinking, How can I make this meal even healthier?

I also found the checklist helped with grocery shopping. Although I always keep bags of frozen berries and greens in the freezer, if I’m at the store and want to buy fresh produce for the week, it helps me figure out, you know, how much kale or blueberries I need.

The checklist also helps me picture what a meal might look like. Looking over the checklist, you’ll see there are three servings each of beans, fruits, and whole grains, and about twice as many vegetables in total than any other component. So, glancing at my plate, I can imagine one quarter of it filled with grains, one quarter with legumes, and a half of the plate filled with vegetables, along with maybe a side salad, and fruit for dessert. I happen to like one-bowl meals where everything’s mixed together, but the checklist still helps me to visualize. Instead of a big bowl of spaghetti with some veggies and lentils on top, I think of a big bowl of vegetables with some pasta and lentils mixed in. Instead of a big plate of quinoa with some stir-fried vegetables on top, I picture a meal that’s mostly veggies—and, oh look! There’s some quinoa and beans in there, too.

But there is no need to be obsessive about the Daily Dozen. On hectic travel days when I’ve burned through my snacks, you know, stuck in some airport food court somewhere, sometimes I’m lucky if I even hit a quarter of my goals. If you eat poorly one day, just try to eat better the next.

To help track your progress, volunteers created Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen apps for both iPhone and Android. You can download and use them both for free; no ads, no cost.

My hope is that the checklist will just serve as a helpful reminder to try to eat a variety of some of the healthiest foods every day. Please consider volunteering to help out on the site."

It's fun to see the video that goes along with the text above ( both were published  Here's how it appears on nutritionfacts.org.

Please take a moment to comment in the space provided below. Do you include the daily dozen into your eating and lifestyle plan? If not, which things do you think you need to add? Are there any foods or lifestyle changes you'd like to make to feel healthier and happier? Please let me know that too.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Use Colors You Love in the New Year

I'm envisioning colors I love, and using that color energy to wish you a fantastic New Year! 

You can take advantage of color energy too. Learn to identify and visualize specific colors you love to unwind, relax, support, refresh, and delight you. 

The choices you make, the people and projects you reserve time for, and the things you find important enough to focus on— will determine your sense of abundance and contentment. Choose Wisely.







Breathing in, I calm my body,

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment

I know this is a wonderful moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh, poem above from  Being Peace.


To discover more ways to use colors for health see tips to help you.

Also read previous posts I've published. They offer color tips and self-care ideas at the place where a healthy lifestyle and colors intersect. Here's just a few...

Help with Affirmation Creation

Use this color to Give LOVE and Feel LOVED

How to Take Better Care of Yourself



Please don't forget to comment and re-share (just make sure to provide a link back to this post). 

Do you have goals for the New Year? What colors do you think can help make you feel empowered, clear-headed, balanced, or inspired and why? 

Please comment below. Do you already use color energy to enhance daily living and when do you use it? What colors resonate with you? 

For journal writing activities and colorful tips for self-care, pick up your copy of  Colors of Joy.


Order an Autographed Copy



I wish you health, joy, love, serenity, and inspiration in 2018. 💗



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Friday, December 15, 2017

Shower Power and Affirmations




I’ve discovered a fun way to increase my sense of well-being. I combine self-care hygiene of showering and the energetic shift that occurs when I recite affirmations, to improve health and happiness.

When you try out this wellness practice, you’ll see how quickly it both cleanses your body and converts negative thinking into more positive attitudes and actions. Why does this pair improve our outlook? Read on.

Bathing in warm or hot water helps wash off more than dirt and grime. The steam from the shower reduces nasal congestion and soothes a sore or hoarse throat. 

When we shower shortly after awakening, the rushing water helps us start the day with a fresh outlook. 

If we choose to take our shower in the evening, it relaxes muscles after a long, tiring day and prepares us for a good night's sleep.

As water from the shower shoots down, the water pressure helps improve blood circulation, opens and unclogs pores, and can even reduce the sensations associated with a headache. This is an easy, natural way to cure headache pain with no side effects.
Observing water's clear, fresh color stills our mind and soothes our spirit. The sound and feel relaxes us.  Use all your senses. Tap into the healing power of running water, and connect with your body’s heat. Open your eyes and mind to cleansing and take the first simple step to refresh yourself.
Now, on to the second part of my equation. The affirmation definition I like best is, “An affirmation is a declaration that confirms something is already true and bountiful in life.” 
When you declare affirmations aloud in the shower, the sound reverberates, and makes two healing modalities more powerful than just one. 

Use shampoo and soap to lather your body. Then as you wash, make brushing motions an inch or two above your torso or on your skin from head to toe.

Imagine brushing off aches and pains, negative thoughts, and heaviness in your heart. Make the motion of removing things from other places, where you sense you need cleansing. Brushing can be done with an actual (touch) or symbolic brush and is a physical way to release stale energy. 

Keep in mind, this process can help you shed fear, anger, grief, or other troubling feeling trapped in your body. So make the motion of brushing off all things that no longer serve you well.


Repeat the following affirmations, as the water washes over you. Speak aloud, with as much conviction as you can muster. 

1. “As the water rushes over my body, I notice my muscles are free of tension, my mind is free of worry, and my thoughts are free of uneasiness about those things that are left undone or I have no control over.”

2. “Shower water and soap cleanses all negative energy from my body, mind, and spirit. I let go of dissatisfaction, judgments, and comparisons with others as cares wash down the drain.”

3. “I move forward and prosper.”

4. "I keep life simple by lovingly focusing on my own business, and gently release thoughts of others and fully appreciate the results of my own actions."

“5. I recognize that self-discovery and healing are day-at-a-time processes. 

6. "I am kind and caring with myself and others."

7. "I learn from my experiences, and understand I have the option of starting over any time I have the need for a do-over."

8. “I live each day with positive intentions, take things in stride, and enjoy challenges."

9. “I visualize myself immersed in a pool of love, peace, and compassion.”

10. “I relish quiet time spent in the shower, and my inner peace is a power of example to others.”




For in-depth affirmation adventures, pick up a copy of Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. This 12 week guided journal program helps its readers combine color themed activities, affirmations, journal writing and reflection, with tips for self-care. 

It’s perfect for women who are introspective as well as those who want to be more self-aware and happy. 

Colors of Joy is affordable, provides hours of entertainment and discovery, and is a healthful way to be good to yourself. In fact, it makes an eye-catching holiday or birthday gift for all the women you care about.








Please comment below in the space provided. 

What self-care activities do you think help you the most and why? 

Do you use affirmations as a self-care helper? Explain.

Are you consistent with your pre or post work self-care routines? Please explain why or why not.

Before I sign off, I encourage you to reserve time to nurture yourself during the holiday season and into the New Year. Warm wishes for vital color energy always, to help you Live Each Day Happy and Free! 


Further reading:

Expressing affirmations aloud is an effective way to reduce tension, and this scientific study from Carnegie Mellon backs it up. 

For more about affirmations see: Encourage Optimal Health.

For details about the color of water read this.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Hanukkah a Mini Guide to the Jewish Holiday



Hanukkah is a joyous, festive Jewish holiday. This year as you wish a Happy Hanukkah to others, you'll have read this blog and understand a few of the customs and symbols associated with the holiday better. 

Hanukkah spans eight nights and eight days and begins this year on the night of Dec. 12, 2017. It commemorates the Israelites/Maccabees' victories over the Greco-Syrians in regaining the ancient Temple in Jerusalem (approx. 164 BCE-142 BCE). This enabled Jews to practice our religion freely. 


Legend goes that when the ancient Jerusalem Temple was reclaimed, there was only enough oil to burn in the eternal light for one night. A miracle occurred, and the oil burned for eight days and eight nights. The custom of lighting eight candles (one a night) on the menorah is a celebration and tribute to the miracle of light and religious freedom. Perhaps that's why this holiday came to be called The Festival of Lights. 






What are traditional Hanukkah colors? Accessories, from table linens to toys and serving dishes are customarily blue and white or blue and silver colors. The most obvious explanation for this color scheme is the Israeli flag, designed by the Zionist movement in 1891 and officially adopted in 1948, is blue and white.


Hanukkah is observed differently around the world. In America, a child may receive presents, attend a Hanukkah Party, sing songs, and play a game with a dreidel ( a spinning top). In Sephardi/Spanish Jewish homes, you might see the menorah, hanging suspended at the doorpost of each house.




Eating is a big part of any Jewish holiday. One traditional food served in the U.S. is a fried potato pancake called a latke (a symbol of the oil). To entertain during this holiday at my house, I prepare Vegan Potato Latkes and offer the recipe to you. You don't have to be Jewish to like them, so give it a try.


Potato Latkes (pancakes) Vegan and Gluten Free (Makes approx. 15 pancakes)



Ingredients: I use Organic Ingredients Whenever Available


4 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled

1 medium yellow onion chopped fine
1 flaxseed egg: mix 1 Tablespoon whole ground flaxseed meal with 3 Tablespoons water and let sit for at least 20 minutes before using
2 Tablespoons gluten free Matzo Meal or gluten free old fashioned ground oats
a pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil or olive oil spray

What to Do:



1. Mix up ground flaxseed meal as described above.

2. Grate potatoes with the grating blade of a food processor.

Note: If the potato mixture is left too long in the air, it will turn an unattractive gray color. Work quickly or add 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice to the mix, before you portion it out.

 3. Place the grated potato in a colander and press down in order to remove as much liquid as possible.

4. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together, except for the oil.

5. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet, until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into the oil. Drop about two tablespoons of the mixture into the pan for each pancake. Flatten pancakes with the back of a spoon to get a somewhat uniform size (about 2-3 inches in diameter).

6. Fry pancakes at medium heat four or five minutes. Turn carefully and cook on the other side for about the same amount of time.

7. After each pancake is cooked, drain on a paper towel.

8. Top with apple sauce, fruit compote, cinnamon, or other sweet spice.



💙

Another custom of the holiday is to give small gifts such as golden or silver metallic paper covered chocolate coins (gelt) to each child after the blessing for the candle is chanted and the Hanukkah candle is lit each night. That means children are getting at least eight presents in all.

Susan from Organized 31 was kind enough to give me permission to use her photo and let me supply a link to her post, which illustrates blue and silver gift bags to hold these small treasures. The crochet directions come from Sara Rivka from Creative Jewish Mom. What a crafty idea and follow through.



A handmade Hanukkah gift is a special way to celebrate. #hanukkah
source, Susan at Organized 31

What's the correct spelling for Hanukkah? Hanukkah is not easily transliterated into English, and accounts for why there are so many ways to spell it. Hanukkah and Chanukah are the two versions that are most widely used and accepted. 


When we gaze at or meditate about light from the Hanukkah candles, it may help us look inside ourselves more deeply. Recently, I've been reflecting on a quotation from Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul.


"We are carrying God's light within us. It burns like a pilot light, always available to help us and guide us. It's our responsibility to honor and tend that light, to keep sharing it and spreading it." 



That's an important reason why I blog.

How do you shine your light in the world? Do you feel by sharing your gifts, you make the world a better place to be? 


Please comment. You're welcome to share your favorite holiday practice or tradition with my readers and me. Let the light of brotherhood and sisterhood shine.






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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This Nov Use Purple to Inspire You

Purple is my November color, symbol of creativity and higher wisdom. Those who respond to purple may have an artistic or dramatic flair. Some wear it, because they intuitively know it balances thinking and calms hyperactivity. Purple can help you too. Use it to give you a sense of connection and to soothe your spirit.
Gaze at the mandala below. It suggests the continuous circle of life. If you desire completion, continuity, or a new beginning, envision a purple mandala. Place a purple drawing or representation of a mandala in your home meditation  area. Then, while you mediate, know that purple energy supports you in each moment as thoughts and feelings freely flow through you. 




Lavender is a calming essential oil made from flowers that are purple. It's a traditional remedy for insomnia or restlessness at night. It also works to heal scratches, burns, headaches, and worry. When you have trouble falling asleep, imagine a field of Lavender flowers. Sprinkle a few drops of Lavender essential oil on your pillow or tip of your nose. It helps you drift softly off to dreamland.
In the color spectrum, purple has the shortest wavelength and vibrates at the highest frequency. Purple paint is a blend of relaxed, cool blue with excitable, hot red. This hue is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also signifies wealth, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, independence, and magic. In some cultures, purple symbolizes mourning, decadence, and the supernatural.
Want to put more purple into daily living? Wear an Amethyst ring or bracelet to feel protected and serene. Place purple crystals in your work or home environment to feel less pressure about deadlines and reduce stress.





Place purple orchids or another purple flowering plant beside your computer, tablet, or reading area to take note of its beauty, relieve eye strain, and give you a fresh perspective.





Put purple in your life when you are learning to integrate new skills. Use purple pencils, markers, or other drawing material to encourage your imagination to work in practical ways.
Purple is the color of the crown chakra, the energy center that supports trust, devotion, inspiration, and wisdom. Focus on the area at the top of the head and envision purple. It can help you to feel unity within yourself, with others, and with the Universe.
November is a good time for purple. The color conveys grateful energy. Think of purple's rich color before you start a project or are at a gathering. It will help you view your experiences as building blocks to greater understanding and knowledge. 

Purple is a great Thanksgiving color, one that reminds you to count your blessings. Perhaps its ability to inspire will motivate you to serve red cabbage, radicchio, eggplant, or purple grapes at a festive meal this season.


Red Cabbage, Japanese Eggplant, Radicchio

The holidays are fast approaching, and I wish you'd consider purchasing the interactive self-care journal Colors of Joy. Its color themed activities include ones that feature purple. 


Purple Chapter Start from Colors of Joy


Colors of Joy is an eye-catching addition to any woman's self-care journal library. In fact, it makes an attractive gift for all the women you care about. See more and order Colors of Joy  on my Website. If you prefer, order it through Amazon Books. 

Before you go, please comment by scrolling down below and posting your comment in the space provided. I'd love to know about your relationship to purple. For me, it's a unifying color that makes me feel happy, peaceful, and alive. How does purple make you feel? Do you wear it often and for what reasons? Did my blog post and illustrations help you in some way? Please comment below. 

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