Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight On Health Benefits Of Apricots

In this blog post, I wanted to spotlight the health benefits of apricots.

Apricots
Apricots

Like the banana, apricots not only are a sweet, tasty fruit, but are loaded with a variety of healthful nutrients. Did you know that the apricot is considered one of the healthiest fruit in the world?¹ That’s Right! The apricot has many health benefits.

Apricots contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. They also contain potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper and are a great source of fiber. In addition, they contain a healthy dose of iron, which helps carry oxygen and blood throughout your body and is vital for muscle and brain health. When I developed iron deficiency anemia a few years ago, dried apricots became a staple in my pantry.

Dried Apricots
Dried Apricots

In fact, in my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little bit about how I developed iron deficiency anemia and how it lead me on a path to learning more about nutrition and eating healthier foods, such as apricots. They are a sweet treat and make a healthy snack. They also are an iron-rich food source which helps to sustain your energy.

Apricots not only help with anemia, but are useful for a number of other ailments including indigestion, constipation, and aid in heart health. They are also beneficial for lowering cholesterol, can help with eyesight deterioration and are beneficial for your skin.

Heart Health
Heart Health

Apricots are related to plums, but look more like a small peach. Apricots have a soft, fleshy texture with an outer protective skin and are grown on trees. While it is not clear where apricots originated, they date back to ancient times and were popular in China, Armenia, Greece, Rome and India.

Apricot Tree
Apricot Tree

Make sure you enjoy this tasty fruit and its nutritional benefits while it is in season, or the dried version throughout the year!

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Nandy, Priyadarshini. “8 Amazing Apricot Benefits: The Nutritional Heavyweight Among Fruits.” Food.ndtv.com. N.p., 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.

²”10 Impressive Apricot Benefits.” Organic Facts. N.p., 01 June 2017. Web. 17 July 2017.

5 Simple Ideas To Plan Meals

With the obesity epidemic on the rise, many people today are interested in eating healthier to help avoid health problems down the road. That is good news. The problem is that not everyone knows what is healthy or where to start. One simple thing you can do to start eating healthier is to plan meals and make more meals at home. I know some of you might think, this is easier said than done, but all it really takes is a little meal prep, organization and a positive attitude.

Easy Meal Planning
Easy Meal Planning

For me, planning meals has always been easy. I was raised in a family of six kids, so we were all expected to help out. I was in the kitchen at a young age and learned to cook, bake and plan ahead. I know this is not the case for everyone and some of you may find cooking challenging. In this blog, I thought I  would share 5 simple ways to help you plan more meals. Remember—cooking does not have to be hard or overly time-consuming. It can be fun, enjoyable and provide a delicious experience.

Easy kitchen cooking
Easy kitchen cooking

Let’s Take A Look at 5 Simple Ways To Help Plan Meals:

  1. Spend A Little Time Each Week Looking For Healthy Recipes—

    recipe book
    recipe book

    When it comes to cooking, a little pre-planning can go a long way and can make your life easier. You can start by making a list of some meals you would like to make. If you are not sure, pull out a cookbook, or a box of recipe cards and start paging through for some ideas. You can also browse recipe blogs and websites, or take a look on Pinterest. They have thousands of ideas and you can search by themes, specific ingredients, or categories and save your favorite ones to a Pin board to easily find them again. It doesn’t really matter where you look, the point is to find some recipes that appeal to you and get you inspired to cook. Look for recipes that contain healthy ingredients such as vegetables, fruit, meat, whole grains and good fats.

  2. Make Your Grocery List—

    Alt grocery bag
    grocery bag

    After selecting your recipes, you will want to make a grocery list. Check your refrigerator and pantry to see which items you already have on hand. Write down the ingredients you need to purchase, or enter them in your phone App if you prefer to organize a list that way. There are many phone Apps available for lists. I use one called Out of Milk for my grocery list, which is easy to use and I like.

  3. Prep Food Ahead Of Time—

    Alt chopped vegetables
    chopped vegetables

    Once you have the groceries you need, you can prepare some items in advance to make things easier for your self during the week, when things are hectic. You can get your family involved and if you have kids, make sure you involve them in the process too. You can have them help chop vegetables to have on hand and ready to go for salads, stir-fries, entrees, etc. It works best to store vegetables in glass containers, so you can easily see them and know what is what. If you want to save yourself more time, you can also pre-cook some meat such as sausage , or hamburger. This way you will have it ready and waiting to just heat up and combine with the seasonings and vegetables, etc. that you need for your specific recipe.

  4. Plan On Having Leftovers—

    chicken breasts
    chicken breasts

    Many people don’t like left overs, but when it comes to meal planning, having left overs is a good idea and actually saves you time. If you are already planning to make a dish with chicken, why not cook a few extra chicken breasts? That way you can have some on-hand for a salad the next day, or some chicken tacos, etc. If one of your meals includes rice, why not make some extra rice to have on hand and ready to go for another meal. You can easily heat the extra rice in a frying pan with olive oil and add in some vegetables, and herbs and spices such as Cajun, Tumeric, Basil, etc.  This can be done with other grains too. You can also incorporate left over quinoa, or another grain for breakfast. You can add fruit, nuts, almond milk and more. Be as creative as you like and don’t be afraid to try new ideas.

  5. Keep Your Pantry Well-Stocked—

    pantry
    pantry

    When you are pressed for time, it is important to have the items on hand that you need to make your meals. It can be very irritating when you find out you are out of a staple item, such as olive oil or coconut oil, and have to stop the cooking process to run to the store to continue cooking. To avoid this hassle, make sure you keep your pantry well-stocked with items that you use every day such as salt and pepper, other seasonings, flour, vinegar, etc. You may also want to keep eggs, lemons, herbs, and other fresh items you use regularly stocked in your refrigerator. Make sure you always check your staple items before going grocery shopping. Believe me, it will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

If you are looking for more information on healthy eating, living and cooking, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon in paperback and a Kindle version.

 

Nutrition: Red Light, Green Light—An Easy Way To Code Food

When it comes to nutrition, many people today are confused, and rightly so. There are literally thousands and thousands of food products to choose from, each with their own packaging claims. While many processed foods are tasty, convenient and easy to prepare, not all of them are healthy and provide the nutrients that your body needs and craves. It is hard to know which ones are good for you. What consumers really need is an easy way to code food, so they can make better choices.

processed foods
processed foods

Recently I posted something on social media asking people to look back at their childhood to find an exercise they might like. As I was thinking about this and my own childhood, a simple game we used to play growing up, called “Red Light, Green Light” popped into my head. It was a fun running game, where one kid was the stop light and called out colors to make you stop or go. Anyway—the name of the game stuck with me and got me thinking this might be an easy way for people to decipher their food purchases. Like the colors of a stoplight, we can divide food into 3 simple color groups.

Stop light
Stop light

Red Light Foods—
Red light foods are those foods that are highly processed and contain a lot of additives and preservatives. If the ingredient list starts out with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, etc., you should take a hard look at it and decide if the product is something you really want to buy. Typically red light foods such as potato chips, have a long list of ingredients, many of which are to hard to pronounce. Most people don’t have an idea of what these hard to pronounce ingredients really are, which is scary when you think about it. It is nice to know what you are ingesting, especially if it could have some negative affect. You should try and avoid red light foods when possible. If you do eat them, try eat them more on occasion, or sparingly.

potato chips
potato chips

Yellow Light Foods—
Yellow light foods are foods that are minimally processed. Think bagged vegetables, salads, nuts, seeds, raisins, etc. Some of these types of foods may have several ingredients, but don’t typically contain a long list of other additives or preservatives, so they are considered safe. You can feel comfortable buying these foods. You should shoot for foods with 5 ingredients or less, when possible. If they have a few more it is ok, just try and avoid foods that have a long list of ingredients.

bagged nuts
bagged nuts

Green Light Foods—
Green light foods are whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, bulk nuts or seeds and meat. These foods come from the earth and provide our bodies with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Think greens, berries, quinoa, cashews, pumpkin seeds and chicken. Our bodies need the nourishment these types of foods provide to function properly and optimally. You should try and base your diet around whole foods. Make sure to eat plenty of vegetables, protein and include good fats in your diet.

whole foods
whole foods

If you are interested in finding out more about eating healthy and living a healthy life-style, my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” has more valuable information. It is available on Amazon and I offer a Kindle version too.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Nutrition: Vegetables For Vitality—Spotlight On Celery

In this blog, I wanted to spotlight the vegetable, celery, as it has important nutritional value.

Celery stalks
Celery stalks

Celery is one of those vegetables that doesn’t have a real distinct flavor, but packs a real punch when it comes to nutrition. Like beets and kale, celery has a variety of medicinal properties. Many people are familiar with adding celery to soups, and a variety of recipes, but don’t necessarily buy it to enjoy alone. Celery is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It also contains vitamin A, C, D, K, B12, B6 and is loaded with fiber, so it makes a good crunchy snack.  Some people enjoy it with peanut butter, or other dips.

Celery with dip and peanut butter
celery with dip

It has a host of other healthful benefits as well.

  • Reduces Cholesterol:
    Snacking on celery may help reduce artery clogging cholesterol. That’s good news. Celery contains a unique compound called  3-n-butylphthalide (BuPh) that helps lower lipids. It also contains phthalides that stimulates bile juices and works to lower cholesterol.
  • Helps Prevent Cancer:
    Studies show that eating celery is beneficial, as it may help fight against the formation of cancer, especially breast cancer and leukemia.  Celery contains protective compounds called polycetalines that help prevent toxicity in the body and fight carcinogens.
  • Helps Lower Inflammation:
    Celery is an anti-inflammatory food that contains a variety of antioxidants. It is beneficial to those suffering from arthritis and gout, as it helps to reduce swelling and pain around the joints.
  • Helps Reduce Bloating and Aids in Digestion:
    Celery helps to reduce bloating and aids in the digestion process, which is great for many people that suffer with digestive issues. Celery has a natural diuretic effect that helps the body detox. That’s because it is rich in both potassium and sodium, which helps to regulate fluid in the body. Make sure you snack on celery if you want a natural digestive aid.
  • May Help with weight loss:
    Celery may help aid with weight loss, as a very low caloric food. It is also loaded with fiber, which helps you feel full and can help satisfy your satiety. It’s diuretic properties also can help beat the bloat, which many people often feel.
  • Helps prevent high blood pressure:
    Celery is also beneficial to those with high blood pressure. Celery seeds, especially may help control elevated blood pressure. You can add celery seed to soups, stir-fry and more.

Celery can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. I like to add celery to my green juice or smoothies, as it helps to get rid of that bloated feeling and gives me a little extra fiber to start my day.

green juice
green juice

Celery can also be added to salads for an extra crunch and to boost your nutrient intake.

salad with celery
salad with celery

Many people like to add celery to soup, as it gives it some added flavor, as well as adds to the nutritional properties.

celery in soup
celery in soup

If you are looking for a quick, easy snack, you can try fresh celery stalks. Why not add a little peanut butter and raisins for some extra protein and iron. This is a favorite for many kids, as well as adults.

celery with peanut butter
celery with peanut butter and raisins

If you haven’t been adding this vegetable to your diet, you might want to give it a try. It can be part of a healthy diet. If you want to learn more about about eating healthy and living a healthy life-style, feel free to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, available on Amazon.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹”15 Incredible Celery Benefits.” Organic Facts. N.p., 01 June 2017. Web. 05 June 2017.

²”10 Benefits of Celery + Nutrition Facts and Recipes.” Dr. Axe. N.p., 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 05 June 2017.

Curiosity Killed The Cat?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a dog person rather than a cat person. It’s not that I think cats are bad, or hate them, it’s just they are different than dogs. Dogs get excited when they see you, like attention, enjoy being loved up and are known as “Man’s best friend.”

Cats on the other-hand can be fickle, temperamental and often like to keep to themselves. They also can be mischievous and can get into their fair-share of trouble. Reminds me of the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat!”

If you haven’t heard that one, it is an old proverb that reminds us of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.¹ While it is often good in many situations to mind your business, truth be told…sometimes it is necessary to question things or try different ways of doing something. Maybe cats are on to something? After all—how can we make progress, or get ahead, if we don’t question how things are done or why certain circumstances exist? We need to be inquisitive sometimes. That’s how we got to the moon, can visit all kinds of places on an airplane, typewriters became a thing of the past and why there are fewer and fewer land-lines installed. Yes—indeed curiosity can be a good thing!

With the obesity epidemic on the rise and countless people who have health issues related to their diets and nutrition, it is time we all become a little more curious. We need to start to question why people are getting sick and why it is that more than half of the population is over weight. What is going on? That is a difficult question to answer, as it involves problems created on many levels involving the food supply and food system, from industrialization, big business and lobbyists for farmers and drug companies influencing our government. If you look back in time however, especially the last 50 years or so, it is easy to see how our food has changed and that is a big part of the problem. Society today eats more processed foods containing artificial ingredients and preservatives than real, wholesome foods. Many people don’t know the difference either and that is scary and sad.

Michael Pollan, in his book, Food Rules an eater’s manual, tells us, “Not to eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”² Now there’s something to contemplate and something for us all to consider. Wow! I can just imagine my great grandma walking into a grocery store today. Talk about curiosity! There are literally thousands and thousands of food products to choose from. Some of our great grandmothers would be more than curious. Some of these old ladies would probably freak-out and get their bloomers all in a bunch with all of the changes and selections!

But seriously…there is so much available today they probably would be dumb-founded by the sight of it all. Just imagine if they went to buy a few simple items and found all this strange stuff lurking in the many grocery store isles like, Kraft Singles, Gogurt, or something called Hot Pockets. I mean, think about it? Kraft Singles aren’t even cheese. It’s a man-made item, which is supposed to resemble and look like the real thing. “It’s actually a pasteurized prepared cheese product that is individually wrapped in plastic. It can’t even be referred to as cheese because of an FDA rule that states that it must be at least 51 percent real cheese.”³ Yikes! I thought cheese was a dairy product and you needed a cow, or a goat to produce it?

Yogurt in a tube is another strange and somewhat ridiculous thing. It not only is loaded with sugar, it’s available in some weird flavors and promotes putting some plastic packaging in your mouth. What happened to eating with a spoon anyway and who wants yogurt that tastes like bubble gum? That sounds disgusting, at least to me!

Oh and the Hot Pockets! Austin Powers may have made them popular, but Great Grandma would probably be thinking she is buying something to help her iron her clothes with a name like that, instead of some sort of processed bread product. They’re actually processed pizza bites that are loaded with corn syrup, imitation butter, cheese and a whole bunch of other stuff. What is L-Cysteine hydrochloride anyway? I don’t know either. Make sure you read the food label before buying this one item.

In my new book, Wholey Cow A simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little bit about the importance of reading food labels and taking care of your health. We all need to pay more attention to them and notice more what we are eating. Make sure you look at the number of ingredients and notice what they are. If the list is long you may want to look for a similar item with fewer ingredients, as there is less of a chance of eating a bunch of preservatives or food additives.  If the list contains a lot of ingredients with hard to pronounce words, you’re probably better off not buying the product. You can look for something that has more natural ingredients, or opt for something else altogether, like an apple, banana, or some carrots.

Now there’s a thought! Let’s all try and get a little more back to the basics and be more like the cat when we choose our food because if we don’t, our lack of curiosity just might kill us.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹”Curiosity Killed the Cat.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 May 2017.

²Pollen, Michael. Food Rules and Eaters Manual. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print.

³”The Dirty Truth About Kraft Singles You Might Not Want to Know.” Spoon University. N.p., 23 July 2015. Web. 30 May 2017.

10 Iron-Rich Foods To Sustain Your Energy…

Did you know that iron deficiency anemia affects more people than any other condition?¹

That’s right! For some of you that may be surprising or alarming, given the fact that many people aren’t aware of the symptoms or the condition. I was one of these people, that is until a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with it myself and had to deal with the ailment. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon, I talk a little bit about the causes of iron deficiency and how it lead me on a path to learning more about nutrition. I also talk about how eating a healthy diet and living a healthy life-style can help with a host of health problems, including vitamin deficiencies. In this blog, I wanted to share some information on 10 iron-rich foods that can help sustain your energy, whether you are iron deficient, or not.

Let’s take a look…

  1. Spinach—

    Spinach is rich in many minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to your body. It contains non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods. When I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, I started eating a lot of this leafy green, as I needed to consume a certain amount of iron-rich foods. I also added spinach to my morning smoothies, as well as other main dishes I would cook. Many people enjoy spinach salad, but this powerhouse vegetable can be added to many entrees. Try adding it to your spaghetti sauce, chow mein, lasagna, stir-fries and more for added energy and nutrients.
  2. Kale—

    Kale is another green that is rich in iron. In fact, kale contains more iron than spinach. (Kale contains 6 % iron, where spinach contains 5%.) Kale is also rich in fiber and other vitamins including vitamin A, B6, C, folate, calcium, copper and more. Kale has a unique taste and a texture that is course and dense. Some people like kale salads, while others may mix it with other greens. Kale can also be added to smoothies and can be eaten raw or cooked. It can also be added to other main dishes for an added boost of vitamins and minerals. I enjoy kale, as well as spinach. Give it a try if want to add more nutrients to your diet.
  3. Black Beans—

    Black Beans are not only good for you, but taste great. It is no wonder they are a popular food in many cultures. They are rich both in iron and fiber and also contain plenty of protein. They also contain other valuable vitamins and minerals including calcium and manganese and have trace amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you. Black beans have a dense texture and can be eaten alone, or added to other entrees or dishes such as rice or quinoa. I like to add black beans to taco meat and rice. I also like to eat black beans as a side dish. They are delicious heated with a little spinach, onions, tomatoes, and spices including tumeric and cajun. Give it a try if you like, or come up with your own favorite recipe.
  4. Beef—

    Beef is rich in heme iron, which is found in animals and attached to proteins. If you happen to be iron deficient, heme iron is the best source of iron for your body. That is why I eat beef several times a week. Growing up, I ate a lot of beef, but as I got older, I kind of got tired of it. Over time however, my body began to let me know I needed to add more of it back into my diet. If you enjoy beef, know that you are getting a healthy dose of iron, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that a serving of beef, or other meat should only be the size of your fist.
  5. Chicken—

    Chicken also contains heme iron and other vitamins. It is a popular choice for many consumers and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Many people enjoy it as a main entree, or use it in other dishes such as pasta, enchilada’s, stir fries, etc. Chicken is also a healthy addition to salads and various side dishes. Again—Keep in mind that a serving of chicken should also be the size of your fist.
  6. Eggs—

    Eggs have been a  staple in the diets of many consumers for years. It’s not surprising, as eggs contain protein, carbohydrates and fat. They are also a good source of choline and iron, which is found in the yolks. Eggs contain a healthy mix of both heme and non-heme iron, making them unique. Eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways and are a popular breakfast item. I like to add a variety of vegetables and meat to my eggs to enhance their flavor, as well as their nutritional value. Feel free to add whatever vegetables you enjoy with your eggs to help boost their nutritional value.
  7. Nuts—

    Nuts are a great snack food and are not only delicious, but nutritious. It is no wonder they are a  a popular snack choice for many consumers. Nuts are loaded with many healthful nutrients too including protein, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and copper. They also contain healthy fats (MUFAS), which your body needs and craves. Many nuts are also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells. It is especially important for those with iron deficiency anemia and works to prevent it as well. I enjoy almonds, cashews and other varieties of nuts daily. Make sure you grab a handful of nuts to snack on to enjoy their health benefits.
  8. Strawberries—

    Strawberries are a popular fruit and enjoyed by many consumers. They are sweet, delicious and loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They actually are considered a super food since they are nutrient dense and promote well-being. Strawberries contain vitamin C, which helps promote eye health and immunity. They are also rich in fiber, which helps aid digestion and contains some iron, which helps to carry oxygen throughout your body. Snack of this tasty fruit and enjoy its many healthy benefits.
  9. Apricots—

    While there are many varieties of fruits, the apricot is considered one of the healthiest in the world.² It is loaded with healthful nutrients and has many benefits. Apricots contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and contain plenty of fiber. They also contain a healthy dose of iron, which is a vital element for muscle and brain health and also works to regulate body temperature. Although I like apricots, it wasn’t a fruit a bought a lot of. When I developed iron deficiency anemia however, I began buying dried apricots to snack on. They are sweet and make a healthy snack.
  10. Pumpkin Seeds—

    If you are looking for a crunchy, tasty snack, why not try some healthful seeds such as pumpkin seeds? They are good for you and packed with a bunch of feel-good nutrients. Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of nutrients including magnesium, manganese, zinc, protein, and copper. They are also high in fiber and are a good source of iron and omega 3 fats.  You can eat them alone, or add them to yogurt, smoothies and more.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Wpadmin. “22 Shocking Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics.” HRFnd. N.p., 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 May 2017.

²Nandy, Priyadarshini. “8 Amazing Apricot Benefits: The Nutritional Heavyweight Among Fruits.” Food.ndtv.com. N.p., 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.

³”9 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2017.

Food Fortification—Friend or Foe?

You may have noticed when you are out grocery shopping, that some processed foods are fortified with certain vitamins and minerals. But why is that and is fortification good for you? That is a good question. Let’s start by by defining food fortification.

“Food fortification is a process where nutrients are added to a food product where it did not actually occur.¹ Some examples of fortification include adding vitamin D to milk, calcium to orange juice or adding omega-3 fatty acids to eggs.

“Fortification is a common practice and is supported by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. It is not a bad thing and is used to intentionally increase the essential micronutrients in foods whether they were originally there before processing or not.”²

In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon, I talk a little bit about food fortification and what to look for when buying packaged foods.

Many consumers these days get confused while out shopping because there are so many products to choose from. Many products also contain various packaging claims that often promote one or two nutrients in the product, such as iron or calcium. While getting extra iron or calcium can be good for your diet, eating added sugar, hydrogenated oil, and other chemicals or preservatives is not. That is why it is so important to read those food labels. If there are a bunch of other ingredients listed, many of which you can’t pronounce, you are probably better off finding some other food choice.

Remember—a diet rich in whole foods is the best source of nutrients for your body. Make sure you choose wisely.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹”Food Fortification.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 07 May 2017. Web. 11 May 2017.

²Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. N.p.: Barbara Rodgers, n.d. 26. Print.

Create A Wabi Sabi Life…

While we all have heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” isn’t it funny how many of us look for perfection in so many things? From finding that perfect home, perfect car, perfect mate, or perfect job, people always seem to be striving for perfection, especially in our Western culture. The Japanese however, have a different concept in regards to beauty and perfection—wabi sabi, or “imperfect beauty.” So what exactly is wabi sabi?

According to the article, The Wabi-Sabi Self, by Jessie Sholl, “Wabi Sabi has its roots in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and is sometimes explained by using the example of a well-loved teacup, made by artist’s hands, cracked or chipped by use.

Such traces remind the observer that nothing is permanent—even fixed objects are subject to change.”¹ The cracks and chips are seen as an asset and are prized, instead of making the cup seem, old and broken. Author, Leonard Koren, tells us that “wabi sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, the antithesis of our classical Western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring, and monumental. Some examples would be an asymmetrical heirloom vegetable, crow’s feet, frayed sleeves of a favorite sweater, exposed brick, variations in the grain of wood or stone, or a first draft of a book.”²

In the United States, most of us have grown up in a world of ideals with the media constantly influencing our thoughts of perfection. We strive for the best job, ideal body, perfect weight, etc., and often times, if we don’t have them, or can’t achieve them, we beat ourselves up, sabotage our well-being, or cause ourselves and others, unnecessary stress. While we all have things that we don’t like about ourselves, many of them are things that we can’t change, like big feet, curly hair, a large framed body, or wrinkles. We need to remember instead what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art,”³ so embrace your laugh lines! They are a snapshot of joy!

I recently finished writing a book. This was a new endeavor, so while I was excited and inspired, I also felt a little overwhelmed at times and had some anxiety during the undertaking. After the editing process, I still noticed some errors and kept beating myself up, trying to get the book and layout just right. After awhile, I realized I could make changes forever, but even some of the best books out there aren’t perfect and contain mistakes. While oversights can happen, it doesn’t make the whole book or project bad. It just shows our human side. So I sent my book off to print, realizing it was my first book and probably wasn’t perfect and probably never would be. I reminded myself that it had a lot of useful information and a good message for us all, which is why I wrote it in the first place. It’s called Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living and can be found on Amazon. I hope you check it out.

Here is the link.

Maybe we should all embrace a little Japanese wisdom and let some of our desires for perfection go. After all, what is wrong with being more authentic and accepting ourselves and the things the way they are? Choosing a wabi sabi life might just make us all a little happier.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Reference:

¹ Sholl, Jessie. “The Wabi-Sabo Self.” Experience Life. January/February 2014.

² Roberts, Gretchen. “Wabi Sabi Your Life: 6 Strategies for Embracing Imperction,” Whole Living. October 2010.

³ Sholl, Jessie. “The Wabi-Sabo Self.” Experience Life. January/February 2014.

7 Healing Benefits Of Ginger

Aches and Pains—we all get them from time to time. Although they can be a hindrance and sometimes bring us down, it doesn’t always have to be that way. In fact, there are a number of things you can do to help keep them in check, including eating healthier. Did you know that many whole foods have healing properties and medicinal effects? That’s right! Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties and vital nutrients that can help reduce pain and swelling.

Ginger is one such food.

Ginger, considered a root by many people, is actually an underground stem of the ginger plant. It originated in China and has been a popular plant for thousands of years because of its healing properties and vast array of uses.¹ Ginger has many therapeutic benefits, which actually come from gingerols, the oily resin from the root that are highly rich in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.² Ginger is considered both a spice and an herb and is used by many for cooking and preparing various recipes. It is also popular for tea, as it has warming effects and a unique, spicy taste.

Let’s take a look at some of healing benefits of Ginger…

  1. Powerful Anti-Inflammatory—Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is often used for joint problems and beneficial to those who suffer from arthritis. Many have experienced reduction in pain and increased mobility. It is also helpful for other ailments including bronchitis, coughs and colds and tendonitis.
  2. Reduces Symptoms of Motion Sickness—Ginger has been shown to reduce the signs of motion sickness, dizziness and nausea. Give it a try if you have troubles sailing, driving, other motion-related problems, or morning sickness.
  3. Contains Anti-Fungal Properties—Many people with fungal issues opt for antibiotics to treat the problem. Why not try a natural cure? Ginger has been shown to help with athletes foot and other fungal infections.
  4. Calming Effects—Many people are affected and suffer with stomach problems, cramps, nausea and more. Instead of reaching for an antacid, ibuprofen, or some other over the counter remedy, why not include add a little to your diet? Ginger has been shown to help with gastrointestinal problems, nausea, menstrual cramps and more.
  5. Boosts Immunity—Many people suffer with coughs, colds, flu and other ailments throughout the year. Why not build your immunity by adding more ginger to your diet? A slice of ginger daily, or a cup of ginger tea can do wonders. I started adding ginger to my morning smoothies and green juice and noticed a huge difference this winter. You can too!
  6. Helps Fight Cancer—Studies show that ginger is helpful in the treatment of cancer, especially ovarian cancer. Although more tests need to be done, it has been shown that taking ginger supplements, or taking ginger essential oil is useful. Ginger tea is also helpful.
  7. Helps Diabetes—More and more people these days suffer with diabetes. Why not help prevent and possibly reverse diabetes, if you can? Ginger has been shown to improve diabetes and enhance insulin sensitivity. This is good news for many.

If you don’t currently use ginger, you might want to consider adding this powerful food to your diet. It not only tastes good, but helps prevent many ailments.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Sources:

¹Carson, Tara. “Is Ginger an Herb or a Spice?” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 24 Jan. 2011. Web. 02 May 2017.

²”10 Medicinal Ginger Health Benefits.” Dr. Axe. N.p., 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 02 May 2017.

³http://ezinearticles.com/?So-What-is-Up-With-Ginger—Is-it-a-Spice-Or-an-Herb?&id=3112758

4″Ginger Root – Side Effects, Uses And Benefits.” The Herbal Resource. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

6 Metabolism Boosting Foods…

When it comes to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, metabolism plays an important role. Anytime you eat anything, your body goes to work to process the food and nutrients that you’ve ingested. Our metabolism converts the food we eat into fuel for energy, which is needed for everything we do, from walking to running to thinking to working. That is why it is so important to eat the right foods. In this blog, I thought I would share some foods that will help you boost your metabolism.

Let’s take a look at…

  1. Spinach—Spinach and other dark leafy greens are loaded with nutrients, that help fuel your body. Spinach is high calcium, which helps your body maintain a high metabolism. In fact, eating calcium-rich foods such as spinach has been shown to double your fat-burning potential when consuming up to 1300 mg. of the mineral a day. It is no wonder Pop Eye looked slim and trim and muscular. Spinach is not only nutrient dense, but tastes great and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
  2. Grapefruit—Grapefruit and other citrus fruits contain large amounts of vitamin C, which helps regulate your blood sugar. When your blood sugar is stable, you are more likely to feel good, have more energy and feel alive. When your blood sugar fluctuates too much with spikes of high and low, you may feel tired, worn out or sluggish. To avoid insulin spikes, make sure you include grapefruit and other citrus fruits in your diet for a healthy dose of vitamin C.
  3. Broccoli—Broccoli is another vegetable loaded with vitamins and minerals. Broccoli is high in the vitamins C, A and K. In fact, broccoli contains twice as much vitamin C as an orange and is also high in calcium. It also contains selenium, folate and a healthy dose of fiber, all of which help your body to maintain a healthy metabolism.
  4. Almonds—Almonds contain both fatty acids and plenty of fiber, both of which will help your metabolism. Almonds and other nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids, MUFAS, which are good fats that your body needs to move and uses for fuel to function properly. The natural good fats in almonds help spark your metabolism. Grab a handful or 2 of almonds for a snack to aide your and fat-burning.
  5. Apples—Apples are loaded with fiber and help your body feel full. They also help prevent your body from absorbing fat. Apples contain other vitamins including B and K. They also contain magnesium and potassium. Reach for an apple as part of healthful breakfast, or snack.
  6. Green Tea—Green tea is one of the best things you can consume to speed up your metabolism. Green tea is rich in phytochemicals, especially flavonoids and EGCG, which help protect your body from disease. They also contain other antioxidants that help with metabolism.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

“Top 10 Foods That Boost Metabolism.” Health Ambition. N.p., 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

“Metabolism.” KidsHealth. Ed. Steven Dowshen. The Nemours Foundation, June 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Busch, Sandi. “Does an Apple in the Morning Speed Up Your Metabolism?”LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 23 Aug. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Danielle Braff, Linda Melone, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and REDBOOK Editors. “15 Surprising Tricks for Boosting Your Metabolism.” Woman’s Day. N.p., 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.