CONNECTIONS

How many people do you meet in a day? As we go through our hurried lives and pass the same people in the halls of our office buildings or through the aisles of the grocery stores have we ever questioned why we don’t stop and say “Hello!” ” How are you doing?” Our technology has made our lives solitary confinement.  But we  are wired for interdependence.

Our healthy bodies function because of the interdependence of all our body systems. The cardiovascular system cannot function if the pulmonary system is not functioning. The same holds true for the rest of our body systems. Over 75 trillion cells in our bodies work simultaneously to produce health. It is these connections the cells with other cells and the communication that results that provide health or if a break down in communication begins  produce disease.

If our bodies rely on all the cells collectively doing their jobs, then why do we think we can live without human connection. Take a moment today and step away from your electronic devices, talk to the people in your life: Your partner, your children, your friend, the person sitting next to you on the bus, the check out clerk, you mail carrier, the UPS man, the person walking on the treadmill next to you.

Make a connection!

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One Meal for All!

Instead of making more than one meal one for you and one for your family, make a healthy meal for all of you. Healthy food that helps you lose weight is equally healthy for your family. Here are a couple of thrifty, easy meals that you make in your crock pot that are family pleasers.

Two ingredient Chicken with Stir-fry Veggies and Brown Rice

Italian Two Ingredient Chicken

Southwest Two Ingredient Chicken

These meals are great for families that are divided between vegans and carnivores. I don’t eat any soy (but that another issue), so replace the chicken for a meat replacement of choice, if you are a vegan.

The idea is this, it doesn’t need to be complicated, nor expensive. Cooking one meal for the entire family saves money and helps everyone gain the health benefits from it.

Kitchen Counter Workout

Sometimes I get so bored working out by myself that I have to think of easy ways to incorporate exercise into my life. This has led me to the kitchen counter workout. Here are the exercises I do while I wash dishes, chop veggies and cook dinner.

Body Shaping in the Kitchen

  • Squats: everyday when I empty the dishwasher, I do a squat for each item that is in the dishwasher.
  • Calve Raises: Putting my clean plates into their cabinets
  • Leg Extensions: Standing and washing dishes is boring, but adding leg extensions helps the time to fly and kills two birds with one stone.
  • Back Leg Kicks: Cooking on the stove sometimes involves simmering and stirring so why not do some Back Leg Kicks.
  • Buttocks & Ab Tightening: While chopping veggies I do this for how ever long it takes me to get the chopping done.
  • Kitchen Counter Push Ups: While waiting for something to be done simmering I position myself at an angle and do push ups off the counter similar to wall push ups.
  • Standing Crunches: While waiting for food to finish cooking I tighten my abs and do standing crunches to the front and to the side.
  • Arm Circles: I do these when I have something in the oven that needs precise timing because I need to be in the kitchen anyways. I might as well give my arms a workout too.
  • Back Arm Touch: Raise your arms to shoulder height, palms facing backwards and thumbs down. Move arms to touch thumbs behind your back. Once they touch or come close to touching, move them apart an inch at a time for one rep. Doing this while waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven helps us to rationalize having one.
  • Leg Stretch Side Bend: Either lean on the counter or swing a leg up and do a side bend toward the leg that is still on the floor or the side that is not on the counter. It’s a really good stretch.

Sometimes when I want to motivate myself, every time I find myself going into the kitchen for a snack when I am not hungry I will do a set of 10 reps of each of these exercises instead. By the end of the day, I will have worked my entire body.

Small Plate Club

I could have spent hours looking for smaller plates at my local department store. I could not find the right sized plates I was looking for until my husband pointed out that the plates actually look bigger than they did a couple of years ago. If I had only brought a tape measure I could have known for sure. It used to be that eating from a cake plate meant it was smaller than 8 inches.

One of the new plates I purchased were 8 inches, they were the smallest plates within the pattern I liked.

8-inch plate

Here is a  cake plates from dish set that I purchased in the 1990’s

6 1/2-inch plate

And another I bought from a yard sale, have no clue how old it is.

6-inch dessert plate

The sizes for plates from the 1950’s has grown from an 8-inch dinner plate to a 13-inch dinner plate and even greater if you frequently eat in restaurants.

“If individuals eat off the smaller plate, it can result in 22 percent fewer calories consumed, which could result in 14 pounds of weight loss over the course of a year for an average adult.” Brett Blumenthal

Take a stand for your health and join me in the Small Plate Club.

Cheap Herbs

Organic Fresh Herbs

Each time at the grocery store I check to see if they have any fresh organic herbs in the clearance bin in the produce section. I purchase whatever is available, if it is an herb that I use regularly. Here I spent a $1.49 for Thyme and Chives. These organic chives regularly cost $2.79 and the Thyme is $3.59. I already saved $2.10. But the savings continue.

Chives tied into a bundle.

When I get home I take out what I will use and because these items may already be close to spoiling. I dry them around my home. I tied them with string that is long enough to tie onto items around my home.

Chives tied to vertical blind rod.

The chives helps my living room smell wonderful.

Thyme tied in a bundle.

The thyme was a bit more difficult to tie but I took the longer stems and tied them into a bundle to dry.

Thyme bundle hung on hat rack.

Then I hung the thyme on the hat rack where my husband hangs his baseball hats in the foyer.

Drying in a glass on windowsill

The stems that were too small to tie into a bundle, I stuck into a cocktail glass to dry on my windowsill. After about two weeks they will be dried. Then I’ll take the chives and snip them into tiny bits to use on my baked potatoes. For  thyme I will strip them from the stem. To store both dried herbs, I use small glass jelly jars. Total money saved $8.91. Dried organic herbs are expensive.

Taste Your Way To Relaxation

Taste Your Was To Relaxation

Sometimes the stress in our lives gets the better of us and to help ourselves relax we always think we need to spend time and money pursuing relaxation. Our taste buds can help us take that needed breath from the stress in our lives and move us toward becoming more relaxed.

Processed Foods = Stress Overload

 Processed foods trick your taste buds into becoming addictive to certain foods. These foods will add more stress to your life instead of giving your body the nutrients it craves.

Less Sugar = True Relaxation

When I stopped eating sugar I was able to taste what food tasted like. I went from drinking coffee on daily to detesting the taste of it. Giving up sugar has stopped the hot flashes, the nightmares, and the nervous habits I have been plagued with my entire life. It is true that sugar triggers  stress. Take sugar out of the equation and relaxing is inevitable.

A Little Goes A Long Way!

Staying away from salt will help your taste buds taste what food is meant to taste like. It’s summer and I see many people dousing their watermelon in salt, saying it brings out the flavor of the watermelon. What a joke. Salt covers up the flavor and people are tricked into thinking that the watermelon tastes better with it. Watermelon is sweet enough and salty enough without the need for salt. Salt raises blood pressure and can contribute added stress in our lives.

Retrain Your Taste Buds

Start today to retrain your taste buds. Retraining our taste buds takes time, patience and adventurous spirit. Start with one meal a day. I started with breakfast. I replaced a protein fruit smoothie for pancakes and syrup. I also purchased jams sweetened with juice instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. I buy unsweetened almond and coconut milk. Fresh fruit in season has become my dessert.  A nice bowl of berries or melon is a great way to end a meal. Try different herbs and spices in place of salt. My favorite is dill, thyme and tarragon mixed together with a little pepper. It tastes good on anything. The benefits of this exercise is that my stress level is down, and my ability to stay calm and relaxed has grown.

Bulk Buying

Cinnamon 3 ounces = $1.01

When someone says they buy most of their food in bulk, people think that they are stocking up for the winter or waiting for the next storm to hit. When my sons were little, I remember going to the first Sam’s warehouse store that opened in the neighboring town. It was a big deal going there, it was a family date, even though we only went for food, we had to travel up and down every aisle.  The savings were good because I could buy 5 pounds of peanut butter for the month. I also bought 5 pounds of pasta noodles, 3 pound jars of spaghetti sauce, 5 pound bags of frozen veggies, and a container of 4 dozen eggs.

 

As my sons grew so did our bulk buying, but as they left home our use of the bulk stock up stores decreased. I still buy certain items in bulk because it’s cheaper than buying individual containers. The area where bulk buying makes sense is in buying spices. I purchase all my spices in the bulk section of my grocery store. These spices are priced by the pound and I always walk away saving at least $15 to $20. The last time I went I bought turmeric spent a whopping .83 cents on an ounce when a certain online supplier has a special going on for $6.99 for 7 ounces. I also bought oregano, Italian seasoning, and thyme; these cost around .45 cents each. I also purchased 3 ounces of cinnamon for only $1.01. If I purchased them in the spice aisle of the grocery store I would have spent $27.50 but instead I only spent $3.15. Not a bad savings if I say myself, oh wait, I just did. You can have these savings too, just look around city for grocery stores that have a bulk section, they will usually have spices there at a great savings.

.83 cents worth of Turmeric

.45 cents worth of oregano

.45 cents worth of Italian Seasoning

Eating healthy doesn’t need to be expensive if we are open to the possibilities of changing our purchasing habits.