FEELING GOOD CAN BE RISKY…

CSAIt’s very interesting that the better we feel, the more we take things for granted. For instance, we’re feeling great because we recently lost a few pounds, so we think one small piece of cake won’t hurt. Or, we’ve been exercising an hour per day for the last week, so what can it hurt to take some time off? Or, we’re making healthy lunches every day, what’s wrong with having fast food one day?

There really is nothing wrong with these things, as long as we don’t break our routine permanently or stop practicing a habit we developed. When I get in this mindset of “what can it hurt,” it’s easy to find myself eating the wrong foods and exercising less, resulting in a lack of energy and other annoying symptoms.

When we don’t feel well, it’s bothersome and we’re more apt to work to improve our health. But, feeling good is just as risky because we lose the urgency to care for ourselves … thinking a little slip won’t matter.

It takes discipline to be healthy and feel well. Part of that discipline is developing a routine and making things more convenient. This certainly makes it easier to keep going on the healthful lifestyle track.

Here are some tips I use:

  1. I schedule my work out time. This time appears on my calendar just like any other appointment. This helps me keep the time free and not double-book myself. Otherwise, I always think I’ll get to it later … and I never do.
  2. I spend Sunday afternoons preparing food for the week. Whether I make a huge broccoli salad, a large serving of quinoa, or a mixture of black bean salsa, I strive to have things ready to eat when I’m in a hurry. Then, I can get up in the morning and have quinoa as a breakfast cereal – or scramble some eggs and dump black bean salsa on top, or grab a serving of broccoli salad to take for lunch.
  3. I keep vitamins handy in the kitchen. Having them some place where I see them all the time helps me remember to take them. I drink a lot of water … so as I’m standing at the sink getting a glass before going to bed, I reach over and grab the vitamins I need to take. They’re hard to ignore if staring me in the face.
  4. Speaking of drinking water. I keep a glass at work on my desk at all times. It’s not one of those plastic glasses, but a nice amber colored antique glass my mother gave me. Once I drink all in it, I refill it right away, so it’s ready to go.
  5. I also subscribe by email and through facebook to several healthful sites: One Green Planet, Full Plate Living, and Natural News to name a few. There are great cooking tips, exercise ideas, and general ways to keep us feeling great. (It’s also not necessary to subscribe to sites that charge a fee. Find sites that work for you, but are offered for free – they’re out there and available).

Once we reach a point of feeling good and maintaining healthful habits, it’s much easier to remain there instead of trying to regroup and start over. So make a plan, develop a routine, and stick to it.

Strive to be healthy!

LONG TIME, NO POST …

return green arrowIt’s hard to believe I haven’t posted anything on this blog for over one year. There have been many health “ups and downs” this past year and I’ve continued to learn about general health, eating well, and the impact this has on my life. I’m going to do better and begin posting on a regular basis again. Just to clarify: I have no medical experience and am merely sharing my personal experiences to help others find a discussion starting point that will help lead them to better health.

I have learned more about my health and my body through my own research than I ever did in a doctors office. I find this sad. Doctors are the people we look to for answers and resolution to ailments and health concerns. I have been disappointed through my life with treatments prescribed by doctors … and still get frustrated with them today. But, more on that later.

My upcoming posts will cover many topics related to health and wellness and finding ways to improve lifestyle. These ideas will relate to reducing stress, caring for the elderly, healthy eating, allergy control, pets, and other topics that create general, overall health.

If you are interested in participating in this journey, please follow my blog and watch for updates. We can learn together.

Strive to be healthy!

ELIMINATING STATIC by Vickie Kline

With cool, dry weather fast approaching, I thought it may be good to re-post this blog from February 2012…

Are you getting shocked every time you touch something in your home… or scaring a pet when you reach to pet them and they get hit with a bolt of electricity… or is your hair out of control because you can’t rid it of static electricity… or are your clothes clinging in all the wrong places? Well, the answer is simple to de-electrify your home or office… simply put moisture in the air, better known as humidity.

During the cold winter months when the air in your home or office is too dry, in addition to static electricity you may experience a dry throat and nose, respiratory problems, nagging cough, dry skin, and have uncomfortable pets because of itchy skin. Adding moisture to the air will solve all these problems and make everyone more comfortable.

The process of adding moisture to the air is simple, a small humidifier is all you need. There are many models available at Walgreens, Walmart, Target, or any general department store. The unit doesn’t have to be big or intrusive, but can be small enough to be out of the way on the floor or set on a small table.

Most problems begin to occur in October or November when the weather turns cold and will continue until things warm up again around March. I run my humidifier in my bedroom during the night for these winter months to help me sleep better and wake up feeling hydrated and ready for the day. Humidity in your home should be 30% to 50% and you can measure this if desired. But, you’ll be able to tell when the humidity is right because the problems will disappear and you’ll be comfortable. (If you reach the point where you have moisture collecting on your windows, the humidity is probably too high and you can cut back on running the humidifier).

So, if you’re experiencing some of the symptoms of dry air this winter, use a humidifier to make yourself, your pets, and everyone in your home more comfortable.

Strive to be healthy!

RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME DEFEATED by Vickie Kline

Those who struggle with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) need no definition or description of the condition. But, for others who are not exactly sure what it is or are curious about symptoms, please read on:

perrier_sparkling_mineral_water-400-400RLS is a strange condition typically described as a tingling, aching, or burning sensation in the thighs and calves when lying down, causing involuntary movement of the legs. RLS is not a major illness, but is uncomfortable and can lead to other issues because of lack of sleep.

Several years ago, I thought RLS was a fact of life I had to accept and had no control over. I never thought of it as a medical condition… just an annoyance leading to insomnia and frustration. Very often I felt sluggish and irritable during the day because of the interrupted sleep during the night.

When I began addressing my health issues, I had appointments at Innerworks Holistic Health Center on a regular basis. While discussing my lack of energy and general fatigue, I mentioned losing sleep due to RLS. The health care worker shared a simple remedy I believe was a major turning point in my health care routine. I was told to drink a 4-ounce glass of mineral water within 5 to 10 minutes of going to bed each night. I know… you think this is crazy and question whether it will work, but if you suffer from RLS, I urge you to give it a try. Again, you must drink at least four ounces and it must be within a few minutes of turning out the light to go to sleep.

RLS can also be a symptom of dehydration. So don’t depend only on the mineral water. You need to hydrate adequately throughout the day, as well. Keeping your body supplied with water will reduce (if not eliminate) leg cramps during the night and help with RLS.

Drink plenty of water during the day, top it off with mineral water before bed, and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Strive to be healthy!

Image courtesy of ImageWiki

NO PARABENS by Vickie Kline

paraben freeAre you familiar with parabens? If not, you should be.

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries to prevent the growth of bacteria and extend the shelf life in products. Parabens are the most widely used preservative and appear in personal care products that contain significant amounts of water, such as, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, cleansers, and deodorants. Parabens are absorbed through the skin and have been linked to cancer and other health conditions since they have some toxicity, which is used to kill bacteria in water-based solutions. I, personally, have allergic skin reactions to products that contain parabens.

So, what to do? Well, check product labels and look for those that are paraben free. I have found a nice line of cosmetic products called La Roche Posay. They don’t carry make-up, but they do have every type of skin care product imaginable. The great part is I can use these and have no reaction. I am also confident that the growth of bacteria is not a concern because other natural, plant-derived ingredients are used to prevent this.

If you have reactions to make-up and skin cleansing products, try going paraben-free. You may be surprised at the results.

Strive to be healthy!

image courtesy of body systems

MOSQUITOES BE GONE by Vickie Kline

mosquitoes_187x154I believe most of you are hopefully reaching the end of mosquito season… but here in Kansas they are still healthy, hearty, and as big as a small bird. My husband and I recently took a vacation to get away from them.

Many people aren’t bothered by these nasty creatures, but I am not as lucky. Mosquitoes are drawn to me like moths to a flame. Once they bite me, I get huge, red welts that are bothersome enough to keep me awake at night. I am usually forced to make a choice whether I want to take part in deck parties and outside activities, or stay inside where it’s bug-free.

Thankfully, I found a solution that works for me. A tip for the next time you plan to be outdoors, and would rather not be a smorgasbord for mosquitoes. Lemon spray. Yep, it’s fairly simple.

I posted previously about placing lemon-scented plants, such as, lemon balm, lemon grass, and lemon verbena, on and around a porch or deck area to help keep mosquitoes at bay. When thinking about this, I wondered what would happen if I actually put the lemon scent on me? Would it be even more effective? I decided to give it a try.

lemon zum mistI found the perfect product in lavender-lemon Zum Mist. The mist is promoted as an aromatherapy room and body mist and it smells lovely. So, I tested it all summer long and actually had friends test, as well. It works.

The beauty of this mist is that 1) it’s made from 100% pure essential oils, and 2) it doesn’t interfere with my respiratory sensitivities. (Many sprays designed to ward off flies and mosquitoes cause me to wheeze and cough). The only down-side I’ve found with Zum Mist is it doesn’t last very long. This means I carry it with me and re-spray often. After spraying, I watch the mosquitoes fly close to me and then back-off. It’s wonderful!

Zum Mist also makes a lemon grass spray, but it didn’t seem to work at all. There must be something about the combination of lemon and lavender that works. I don’t know what part of the world you live in, but you should try this if you’re in an area that has a problem with mosquitoes. Be bite-free, itch-free, welt-free, and smell good… all at the same time.

Strive to be healthy.

EATING FROM THE RAINBOW by Vickie Kline

rainbow foodThis phrase, “Eating from the rainbow,” is starting to show up more and more. So, take a second and think about it… and the benefits. A plate full of color is a plate full of nutrition. Each color (fruit or vegetable) we eat, provides something different and a specific benefit to our body.

There are a lot of unfamiliar terms listed, but concentrate on the benefits…

Reds: tomatoes, apples, beets, watermelon, red wine, grapes, chile peppers, bell peppers, strawberries, beans, red onions. Red foods contain resveratrol, capsaicin, and lycopene. These keep you from getting hungry, can relieve pain, and reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Orange: winter squash, lentils, obviously oranges, turmeric, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Orange foods contain curcumin, beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene,and hesperidin. The benefits from these foods are boosting the immune system, promoting bone cell growth, reducing inflammation, and blood vessel damage.

Yellow: pineapple, corn, papaya, tangerines, lemons, spaghetti squash, and yellow peppers. Yellow foods contain bromelain, limonoids, lutein, and curcumin. The benefits of eating these foods are a release of enzymes that ease indigestion and asthma, lower cholesterol, and promote eye health.

Green: spinach, artichokes, avocados, grapes, green onions, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, parsley, chard, all leafy greens. Green foods contain apigenin, luteolin, catechins, and isothiocyanates. We need these to help fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, to lower cholesterol, and purge the body of carcinogens. Fruits and Vegetables

Purple: purple cauliflower, purple cabbage, berries, eggplant, and purple radishes. Purple foods contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins, which help slow metabolism, improve brain function, and reduce risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

With all these choices, it’s easy to eat healthy and provide our body with nutritional value. Many of these foods will pick up the flavor of any spices or herbs you put with them, so you create the taste. More nutritional value exists if foods are eaten raw, but steaming or roasting are good preparations, as well.

Not sure you’re ready to give up your favorite foods? There’s no need to. If you decide to have pasta, stir in some green onions and spinach. With your rice, stir in purple cabbage and some artichokes. Or, when you prepare a salad, make it interesting with beets, broccoli, celery, and a yellow pepper. The possibilities are endless. You will not only create beautiful meals, but will be “eating from the rainbow,” and eating healthful meals to feel great.

Strive to be healthy!

Images courtesy Feels Like Home and The Top Five Reasons to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

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