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Beating the odds!

The Superbowl is over and what a game it was!  My husband, being a Patriot’s fan, was beginning to lose heart. The Falcons were crushing the Patriots, making it nearly impossible for them to recover, or even win.  Nevertheless, a most extraordinary game unfolded!  For the first time in Superbowl history it went into Overtime.  With baited breath my husband and I watched as the Patriots dug deep, and with focus and determination overcame the impossible.  We were astounded!

The Patriots had one goal in mind,  they wanted the victory.  Nothing was going to get them down. They were gonna fight hard, and fight to win. Inch by inch, line by line they got closer to their goal, and created a big upset for the opposing team.  It was incredible to watch.

In a similar way, those of us who are trying to lose weight, eat healthy and get fit, have setbacks that can throw us in a downward spiral.  Feeling defeated, they can stop us in our tracks and self-doubt can hold us back.  The task before us seems impossible to overcome and for many of us we give up.

Watching the Superbowl was encouraging, and there are valuable takeaways that can help us on our journey.

  1. When the mountain seems impossible, don’t give up, victory is just around the corner.
  2. Stay focused, keep your eye on the goal and run for it.
  3. Be determined! Fight hard, fight to win.
  4. Overcome ~ don’t let despair, self-doubt, or defeat get you down.  Remind yourself you can overcome.
  5. Take little steps ~ set small goals, win small victories, and the bigger goal will be within your grasp.

Today, as you bask in the epic game, bask in the victory that is within your reach!  Stay healthy, keep fit, and keep glowing!

Think “Green” for March!

March nutrition month

March is national nutrition month so why not think “green” for the month and choose to add a green fruit or vegetable into your eating plan daily?  It’s a great way to add variety and flavor to your meals.  It’s also a fun way to keep nutrition at the forefront of your mind.

I grew up in an Irish household.  My parents were both Irish and we celebrated our Irish heritage throughout the month, especially on St. Patrick’s day.  One of my sister’s was actually born on March 17th and my parents called her Patricia (true story, no I’m not kidding).  To add to that our house was green from floor to ceiling.  I didn’t really think too much of it, but when friends came over they commented that even the “loo” was green.

March was filled with wonderful delicacies like corned beef, champ (mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter), cabbage, potato bread, soda bannock, wheaten bread, bangers and mash, blood pudding, fish and chips (Mmmm chip sandwiches too), Irish stew, pouring mince,.  Of course, it didn’t stop there, fresh cream pastries, pies, cakes, shortbread, flans, trifles, fern tarts, empire biscuits, mince tarts, custard, chocolate etc.  It was heavenly and we always looked forward to it.

Today, I still anticipate St. Patty’s Day, but choose to eat these foods in moderation and to avoid some all together.

I challenge you to join in the March this month for nutrition and “think” green. Reach for a green fruit or vegetable today. You have a bounty to choose from so get creative and explore the possibilities and search out new recipes.

kiwi

Get shapely with your food!

Why not kick your food up a notch and add some shape to it!

Since we’re celebrating “love” for the month of February grab your cookie cutters and start cutting your food into fun shapes. I will be focusing on heart shapes as, it represents love and life.   If you have kids or grand children I am sure they would love to help you out.  Enjoy it and have some fun!

valentine inspiration10                       valentine inspiration9

valentine inspiration7                      valentines inspiration5

valentines inspiration2           valentine inspiration6

Think Red!

love month2

February is the month of Love!  The flavor of the month is chocolate.  The color of the month is Red, and the shape of the month is a heart!

With that in mind I want to turn it into a month of positive healthy experiences.

The first thing on the list is Love.  Oftentimes when we are trying to lose weight or eat healthy we can be very critical with ourselves.  The weight isn’t coming off quickly enough! The bulges are everywhere! My upper thighs look like cottage cheese!  I’ve got too many wrinkles!  My skin is sagging!  I am ugly!  I don’t like what I see in the mirror. etc. etc.  It’s a great month to put the negative self-talk away and replace it with positive affirmations.  It’s time to pamper yourself and have some “me” timeLove the skin you’re in and appreciate all that you are.  It’s time to give yourself a big hug, and a pat on the back. It’s time to praise yourself for staying on track, for choosing healthy foods, for making positive changes in your life.  Be your own cheerleader and love yourself.

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The second thing on the list is chocolate.  The smell of chocolate is in the air.  Replace milk chocolate for dark chocolate.  It is a good option to turn to when you get a craving to have some. It is low in sugar and high in cocoa. Dark chocolate is good for dry skin and erases small wrinkles and fine lines.  It shields against harmful UV rays and adds shine to your hair.  The other option is carob. The polyphenols in it are powerful antioxidants and it lowers cholesterol. It is a natural raw food that is used as a substitute for chocolate in baking and in chocolate beverages.

The third thing is Red.  We have a myriad of fruits and vegetables that are Red.  For the month of February “THINK RED” .  Eat red grapes, apples, pomegranates, red grapefruit, red berries (strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, cherries) red cabbage, radishes, beetroot, red onions, red kidney beans, tomatoes, etc.  These are all healthy and are full of antioxidants.

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The fourth thing is the shape of a heart. Love your heart! Concentrate on foods that “heart-healthy”.  Whole grains, (oatmeal) beans, legumes, fatty fish (salmon, tuna), flaxseeds, nuts and teas (flavonoids).

There are lots of ways to stay motivated this month, these are just a few ways that will keep me on track. Live simply, love yourself, love others.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/06/dark-chocolate-beauty-benefits_n_3710027.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/250365-what-are-the-benefits-of-carob/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/25-top-heart-healthy-foods

Celebrating Milestones & Reflecting!

Well, it’s been a little while since I posted, but there have been some pretty big milestones in our family.   January has been a month of celebrating some very important peoples birthdays.   My mother and father-in-law turned 85 and my mother-in-law turned 80.

All are in pretty good health, and that is due to the lifestyles that they have chosen to live.  My in-laws eat extremely healthy and have done so for years.  In fact, my in-laws grew their own vegetables. (squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, swiss chard, green beans, snow peas, radishes, rhubarb).  They spent the summers at their cottage and had a large vegetable garden that they cared for.  They introduced me to swiss chard and beet tops.  I never dreamed that anyone would eat beet tops or make zucchini bread!  They would also go fishing and eat fresh fish from the lake.  Some of the fish that they caught were sunfish, perch, bass, rock bass, pickerel, cat fish and even a few muskie.  They are also  careful with their water intake and about 30 years ago they added a reverse osmosis water filter(ChaRO) to their tap.  They use this water to drink and cook with.

My mother on the other hand only grew tomatoes, green onions(scallions) and garlic in her garden.  I remember eating lots of tomato and onion sandwiches in the summer.  Mum is not a big fan of salads, however she made them for us and always threw into the lettuce hard boiled eggs, green onions, tomatoes and celery.  Mum and Dad are Irish so we always had meat, potatoes and veggies at dinner time.  Oftentimes, our potatoes were mashed with green onion mixed through it. We also had a fair amount of cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots and parsnips.   Growing up “snack foods” were limited and so was “dessert”.  We had 3 square meals a day, some fruit and one cookie after dinner with a cup of tea.  Mom loved her chocolate and would let us indulge in some occasionally.  Eating out at a restaurant was also an occasional treat; a luxury.

Mom doesn’t smoke or drink.  She has aged well, and many remark that she doesn’t look her age when I tell them how old she is.

Overall they are in generally good health.  Obviously, old age has brought some health issues their way, but it has not stopped them from living life to the fullest.  They all drive, walk without the use of a cane or walker, are active in their communities and churches and live vibrant lives.

They have paved the way for me to continue to pursue healthy eating and I wish them continued health as they live each day given to them.

I spent the past few weeks detoxing so I was able to eat well during the celebrations.  I did, however, have a small piece of cake to celebrate their milestones, but overall I ate well.

Cheers to good health!

How much food should I really be eating?

When it comes to portion size, I find it difficult to know how much food I am actually consuming or serving up at home.

Restaurants tend to serve oversized portions of food so I usually divide my plate in half and only eat one portion of it.  However, if I can visualize portion sizes it is easier to control my food intake.

Here is an easy way to eyeball your food with everyday items:

facts-about-serving-sizes529995426-sep-2-2012-1-600x400                            portioncontrol_pancake2_lg

Baseball = Medium piece of fruit; 1 cup of salad greens

Tennis ball = 1 cup (250ml) of rice, pasta or ice cream

Golf ball = 2 tbsp.(30ml) of peanut butter, jam or salad dressing

Dice ~ 1 Dice = 1 tsp. (5ml) of butter

food portion visual2

Computer Mouse = 1 baked potato

3 Dice = 1oz (30g) of cheese

CD = the diameter of a pancake

Dental Floss Container = 1oz (30g) of chocolate

Large Egg = ¼ cup of raisins, dried fruit

Checkbook = 3oz of baked/grilled fish

Light bulb = 1 slice of pie

Another way to visualize the food portions is to use your hand:  here is a neat diagram to show you the proper portion size.

food portion with hand