The posts on this website are for informational purposes only. Please, check with your health care provider before trying any new exercise or weight loss program. You will find articles about health, nutrition, exercise, relationships, Christian wellness, self-image, the Bible, and hazards of the New Age movement prevalent in the general health, fitness, and wellness communities. My hope is to encourage you on your journey to total health as you live out your Christian faith.
|Posted on June 21, 2019 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
Image by PICNIC_Fotografie on Pixabay.
I’ve had the great opportunity to spend time in conversation with some senior saints about living a long life and what it is like as they come closer to the end of life before going home with the Lord. Our home is still under construction, finalizing g all the details for our final inspection. One of the people helping us finish the details of our home is an elderly man who is 82. Yes, I said 82 years old! He installed our kitchen and bathroom cabinets, solid wood doors and trim, and recently built our front porch with treated lumber—by himself. His health is good at his age, and he doesn’t seem to be ready to retire anytime soon. One disturbing notion is that he will die someday. He knows Jesus as his Savior, a comforting fact. One of the times he was working at our house, he noticed a couple of large field rocks in a rubbish pile outdoors. He checked them out. Seeing one large solid black stone, he asked if he could have both of them. I let him know I wanted one of them for landscaping, but he could have the one of his choice. He chose the black one for his headstone, the one that caught his eye. So, now he has his headstone and his casket he already made ahead of time. He knows he will die someday, but he is ready without dread.
Another conversation I had with him recently while he worked on our porch was about a neighbor lady who is 96. She recently fell and broke her hip, but she has been very physically active doing her own yard work and driving wherever she wants. As she was rehabbing her hip, she was frustrated with a clump of tall weeds outside. Finally, this lady went outdoors and hacked them down. Oh, to be that active at her age!
My mother turns 89 next month. Mom has always been physically active all her life until she cracked a couple of vertebrae in her back, probably when coughing uncontrollably during a bout with bronchitis. Her wings have been permanently clipped as a result. She does eat healthier now than she ever did, and her mind is sharp. I took her to her doctor’s appointments this week. On our drive, she talked about her funeral plans. She feels better talking about it, but it disturbs her more now since she realizes that her life is nearing the end. She isn’t afraid of eternity with God, but the process of getting there. I told her to pray that she dies in her sleep. After all, isn’t that the way we all would prefer to go?
These discussions spurred on some thoughts about staying active and independent toward the end. Maybe I will have that privilege, and perhaps I won’t. What about those of us who have done everything right yet face the health issues of those who treat their bodies like, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we will die” (Isaiah 22:13). My hubby and I are active people who eat clean, yet face health issues in spite of doing everything right. We both redeemed our health after eating horribly because we just didn’t know. I’ve had a heart attack, have arthritis, and a complicated autoimmune mess at mid-life. My Boaz, a former runner, and my cycling buddy, recently discovered he needs to change his already healthy diet and keep track of some health numbers. This newer issue baffled him until he read the side effects of a medication he has to take. That was the issue! This medication for a hereditary condition that helps him live is causing him to approach another health issue! We have no guarantees about our health, even when we do everything right.
What's the Secret to Finishing Well?
The notion of age isn’t always about being old, but our attitudes about age, faith, and living healthy. Those senior saints I mentioned earlier have learned that their quality of life depends upon being as active as possible, eating reasonably, and remaining well-grounded in their faith. You can redeem your health this way. It also helps to have a positive outlook on life as described in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” They also look forward to spending eternity with God, where Jesus has prepared a place for them (John 14:1-4). Regardless of the mansion or room debate from translations, they know where they will be in eternity.
As my hubby and I realize that doing everything right may not mean long life, it does mean living a quality life for those conditions that may be thorns in our sides. We know that we are broken vessels which God has chosen to use in this life to share Christ with people here.
The secrets of living long and well, barring unforeseen instances, regardless of your current health status are:
1. Stay as physically active as long as possible.
2. Eat healthy, nutrient dense foods that are less processed and balanced.
3. Keep a positive outlook on life as stated in Philippians 4:8.
4. Look forward to the place Jesus has prepared for you (John 14:1-4).
How do you view living well into the later years of life? How are you taking care of your body, mind, and soul to help build the kingdom of God, serving Him and others in your station of life? Feel free to share in the comments below.
May God bless you!
|Posted on June 12, 2019 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
Photo by Hari Nandakumar on Unsplash
I have a grill that needs cleaned up for the season sitting in our garage. Thoughts of grilled chicken brats, grilled corn on the cob, salad, and grilled peaches stuffed with seasonal berries have my mouth watering. Our grill is gas, so cooking is cleaner than with charcoal. Some considerations must be observed for safe grilling like not burning your food because the black charred spots on it are a carcinogen. Also, grilling away from the garage, house or shed so you don’t catch anything on fire. Never walk away from the grill while cooking in case the dog or kids get too rambunctious around it. You know all those. Right?
How about the healthy, nutritious part? Do grilling and healthy go together? Absolutely! With all of the fresh produce out now and great grilling options, there is a wonderful array of healthy, delicious summer dishes you can cook up. Here are some great ideas to get your summer grill sizzling… MMMMM! Yum!
Turkey and chicken sausage is lower in fat and calories, but turkey has about the same amount of cholesterol as pork sausage (Food Network). Look for extra lean. Several varieties are available like Butterball, Al Fresco, Aidells, Applegate, and Gilberts which are gluten-free and safer for people with a variety of sensitivities. Others like Jennie-O, Johnsonville, and Hillshire Farms may have more preservatives like sodium nitrite could cause some people with food sensitivities problems. If you have celiac or gluten-sensitivity, check the labels before you buy so you know if it is safe for you to eat. One way I like to grill these is on a metal skewer to cook the inside well about the same time as the outside. Never eat raw or pink meat! I also like to cut chunks to put on the skewers with onion, green or red pepper pieces, and mushroom tops. You will need to watch the veggies to avoid scorching them. You should pre-cook sausage that is raw before putting on the skewer, too. No need to add seasoning. Enjoy it after it has cooled down for safe eating.
Grilling corn on the cob is easy. There are two ways I’ve tried it: wrapped in foil and unwrapped. Either way, be careful about its placement with the flames so you don’t scorch it. First, unwrapped, I start it on the upper rack to get it heated well while meat was cooking, then I toss it onto the flames for just a bit to get that grill-kissed taste. If you put it in foil, spritz it with just a bit of olive oil. An option, too, is sprinkle with just a touch of sea salt. You still get great taste without the fat.
Grilled peaches are on my radar this year. Here is my plan: wash and cut in half removing the pit. Start with the peach slices on the top rack to heat up then put down on the lower grate to get that flame-kissed look and taste. Remove from grill to cool. Mix your favorite berries with either your favorite yogurt or sugar-free fruit spread. Fill the pit-space with berry mixture. Tasty!
All of these ideas are low in calories, sodium, fat, cholesterol, sugar and more. It is big in flavor, nutrition, and health benefits. Everyone will be begging for seconds. Happy grilling!
For discussion: What is your favorite family grace? Who leads grace at your cookouts?
May God bless you!
Chicken and Turkey Sausage - A Healthy Choice? by Food Network. www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/03/chicken-and-turkey-sausage-a-healthy-choice
|Posted on June 6, 2019 at 7:35 AM||comments (0)|
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
|Posted on May 30, 2019 at 8:40 AM||comments (0)|
Photo by Charlaine Martin. All rights reserved.
Last week, I shared briefly about active transportation and how it helps people stay more physically fit. This week, I would like to dig deeper into this topic and help you find ways to put some of these principles into practice.
My hubby used to run regularly, including running 5ks. He also loves riding 20-25 miles with me on the bike trails. I enjoy fitness walking, swimming, yard and garden work, and regular workouts in general. He hasn't been as active since he hurt his back and knees although he began regularly using his elliptical. Our trip, using active transportation, challenged us differently.
Our Discoveries with Active Transportation
First, I bought a great pair of Asics at a store going out of business for a phenomenal price, so I took them with me. Those shoes proved to be my go-to shoes! Walking on concrete and pavement changed the shock absorption of the foot strike phase of walking, and once, running. Without the shock absorption of the walking surface, it wears out the muscles in your lower body quickly. It will also cause considerable wear and tear on your joints, so proper footwear that absorbs shock is vital. I'm used to our floors having either hardwood or ceramic tile on wood with grout that has some flexibility to it. Exercise equipment is designed to reduce the shock on your lower body. The force makes the exertion in the push off phase higher. To sum it up, we felt our day-long workouts, and our Apple watches told us how much energy we exerted each day.
Second, we covered more mileage than just purposely exercising. We rode the Tube (subway), so we had to walk a few blocks to the station, go down several steps, walk through the station, then wait for the train. When we got off, we followed the Map app on our smartphones to get to our destination, which meant we walked several blocks. In some cases, a destination was as much as 1.5 miles away from our station. We discovered we could be more effective at using the transportation system by finding stations closer to the attractions we wanted to visit. Any time we needed to take different rail lines, it means more stairs and quite a bit of walking. On our most active day, I covered 10.7 miles, recorded 22,370 steps, "exercised" 38 minutes (cardio exercise), and climbed 13 floors on steps.
Compare the Stats
I burned a total of 2,045 calories without intentionally doing exercise! Comparing the stats against that active day, I used to do that much working in gyms with my personal workout added to it. I looked at a random active day before vacation without purposeful exercise. On that day, I covered 5.3 miles, recorded 13,329 steps, "exercised" 22 minutes, and climbed 27 floors on steps in our house. I also burned a total of 1,880 calories. One interesting difference to note between the two: I had 3 hours and 19 minutes deep sleep during active transportation on vacation compared to almost no deep sleep during an average active day before vacation! People with fibro don’t get much deep sleep, so you can see how more effective activity can help a fibro warrior get that valuable phase of sleep. The difference in calorie burn was 165 calories in favor of active transportation! I also doubled my mileage. Active transportation is incredibly valuable to increase health benefits and fitness levels.
Active transportation increases your awareness of food and fluid intake. On the negative side, we found ourselves slightly dehydrated. We needed to purposely take a bottle of water with us, but restrooms are not readily available in large metroplexes like London. We found this out when we visited Washington, D.C. a couple of years ago. We learned where clean restrooms were located so we could adjust our fluid intake. Riding the subway also is not an appropriate place to eat, honestly. It is better to eat before or after boarding especially if you have to stand (sometimes seats aren't always available). I noticed most of the regular Tube riders weren’t overweight in general. Now, keep in mind that buses drop people off closer to their destinations, which means they don't walk quite as much, but definitely more than if you commute by car.
Riding the Tube while standing causes your body to build and strengthen stabilizing muscles from the core down. The trains twist turn, bump, and tilt. Your back, hips, knees, ankles, and feet benefit greatly from it. The concern about standing on the Tube was hanging onto handholds above the head for long periods of time reduces blood flow to the arm and hand while stressing the shoulder joint. Someone with fibro shouldn't do it unless absolutely necessary. Also, holding onto a bar can stress the joints in your hands. People living with arthritis in the hands might want to change hands from stop to stop to reduce the wear on their hands.
Another perspective on Active Transporation is that of riding bikes or using scooters (stand and push with one foot-type). There were protected bike lanes everywhere. We also noted rental bikes everywhere. The cyclists ranged from business people in suits to hardcore riders in riding gear. These people exercised more and gained better cardiorespiratory endurance. Their weight was reasonable for their genders, ages, and heights. I didn't see an overtly overweight person riding a bicycle. Besides, you can't eat while you ride! The downside is traffic can be hazardous. Vehicles can turn in front of a cyclist. A pedestrian can step in front of a cyclist causing an accident. It is the most cost-effective transportation hands-down.
General Health Concerns about Active Transportation
According to City Lab, the air quality s in the London Underground is worse than in traffic. The rails have been electrified, but people are in a closed space with recirculated air. The braking of the trains puts particulates into the air. Brake wear, whether on the streets, subway, or rail systems, causes upwards of 55% of the emissions in the air with electrified vehicles. There is also dirt and debris that swirls around in people's faces when the train breezes by the platform. We often had dirt particles get into our eyes. The debris can be hard on people's lungs, and I would guess, troublesome for people with asthma. We noticed scratchiness in our throats and stuffiness in our noses by the end of our vacation. The cyclists with face masks were wise. Maybe Tubers should do the same thing.
How Can You Benefit from Active Transportation When You Don’t Live in a MetroPlex?
You can create your own active transportation health effects without the hazards. We do love our independence with our cars, but our health takes a hit at the same time. You can create your own benefits of active transportation wherever you live. Here are some general tips to remember when doing this. If you cycle, always take a good bike lock system to park your bike. Know the hazards along the routes you plan to take. Carry pepper spray for safety against thieves, harmful people, and aggressive animals. Keep your smartphone handy to call for help, navigate, and track your activity. Safety is a top priority.
Here are some ways you can build in your own active transportation:
1. Walk, cycle, or rollerblade on the hike and bike trails from place to place. Bike and hike trails link cities and towns. You can find where these trailheads are and where they go by checking www.traillink.com. Use a backpack or bike carrier to carry what you need to take or buy. If you have young children, get a jogging stroller or child bike trailer to take them along.
2. If you live in town, leave your car parked at home and walk to the store, doctor's office, etc. The emissions levels are much lower in smaller cities, villages, and rural areas. Use a wheeled carrier to put groceries in to take home. Use a backpack to carry anything you need to take along.
3. Use park and ride to go to work. You can drive to a location where you can park your car and take public transportation.
4. If you live in rural areas, you need to consider the safety of the main thoroughfares. Learn the lesser traveled roads and their particular hazards. Take pepper spray for dogs who like to chase bikes or may come after you when you walk. Again, use a backpack to carry your necessary items. Have a bike carrier to carry groceries with you.
5. Take the stairs instead of the elevators. To learn more about the health benefits, check out Very Well Health.
6. Park at the furthest points of parking lots to walk to your destination.
7. Use MapMyRun to keep track of your activity and the pathway you used. You can also use Life360 to let others know where you are when you travel by active transportation or set up your own. If there is a problem, they will be able to see where you’ve been and where you should be. You can turn the location tracker off whenever you want, but be sure to turn it on before you go.
Make your day work for your health as much as you can. The benefits are enormous!
Feel free to share ways you build activity into your days in the comments or on Facebook. May God bless you!
|Posted on May 21, 2019 at 3:15 AM||comments (1)|
So, we are currently in London, UK. It is a very interesting place. Taking the Underground, also known as The Tube, is considered active transportation. This means that you have to walk or ride your bike to take the subway, train, or bus to a location that is too far to walk or ride your bike. By taking the Tube, I racked up quite a number of steps. Also, there are steps going in and out of the Underground stations. Unlike commuters who drive for an hour or more each way for work, these people get quite a bit of exercise as the walk from home to station to work, often carrying bags and backpacks. Many cycle and use scooters as well. The obesity rate for active transportation workers is lower than their commuting counterparts.
One thing we can't ever forget because of riding the Tube (subway) is to "Mind the Gap". It is painted on the platform at every station, warning Tube travelers to be careful so they don’t step between the platform and the step on the subway train. It also warns those waiting to not accidently step off the edge onto the tracks where they could be run over by an oncoming train. We hear it when every stop is announced. At home, we would say,”Watch Your Step."
I thought about this phrase during as we snaked around bends, on our way to see Westminster Abbey and the House of Parliament. What else could we use Mind the Gap to help us remember something important as believers? First, remember that the British verb mind means to watch out for, to take care of, or pay attention to, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. The term Gap means an empty space or a space between two things, but also the difference between, and a period of time doing something different. So, here a a few ideas of how we could use Mind the Gap for us as Believers:
1. Mind the Gap between us and those who believe differently by being attentive to non believers. Pay attention to others who believe differently than ourselves. We can build better relationships with those who don’t know Christ this way and have a better opportunity to share Christ with them (1 Peter 3:15, Matthew 5:16).
2. Mind the Gap by learning from more mature believers (Titus 2:3-5) and by being sensitive to the stumbling blocks we could put before less mature believers (Romans 14:13-23). Be aware of the difference in spiritual maturity between yourself and others.
3. Mind the Gap by not falling into temptation when helping someone out of sin (Galatians 6:1). Be careful of the gap between believers and non-believer by not stepping into territory that could cause you to sin.
4. Mind the Gap between your own economic situation and those who are in need. Offer assistance personally or give to charities who help those in need without bragging (Proverbs 28:7, 1 Corinthians 13:3). Care for the needs of others when you have plenty.
5. Mind the Gap by keeping a larger gap between our bellies and the table. Eat healthier, lower calorie foods and get exercise as an act of personal stewardship. Be aware of the gap between you and the table.
6. Mind the Gap with God by attending to your relationship with Him (James 4:8, John 10:27).Be attentive to your realtionship with God by spending time with Him in prayer, Bible study, and worship.
As you consider the phrase, Mind the Gap, what other ideas do you have? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
May God bless you!
|Posted on May 16, 2019 at 7:35 AM||comments (0)|
Sorry about no posts yesterday. I woke up to a monster migraine that had me trotting to the bathroom the entire day. I could barely post the notice on Facebook about no posts for the day. Thank you for the well wishes, prayers, and encouragement. You are greatly appreciated!
Since I lost a whole day’s worth of writing, I had to storm ideas for this week’s post that would be done for you in a timely fashion. I think the notion of shopping in health food stores, when and when not to, is a very helpful topic.
This blog post is intended for informational purposes only. Please, talk with your healthcare provider about supplements and health foods for your treatment before you take them.
So many of my clients think I’m going to send them to the local health food store with a grocery list! On the contrary. I might send you to the aisle of health foods at your local grocery store, but not to your local VitaCost or GNC. Why? Because you don’t need to throw your hard-earned cash in the toilet! Way too many bloggers taut the benefits of various supplements, health foods, and more to the detriment of the blog follower.
I remember when my first husband found out about his stage 4 colon cancer. Would-be healthy living “specialists” recommended or dropped off vitamins, minerals, and alternative health supplements. One of them happened to be vitamin B12 sublingual. It was as if the term "sublingual" should be the big selling point! The truth is that it didn't work for him. His doctor said, “Sure you can try it, but you will be throwing your money down the toilet.” One recommendation was D-limonine. The well-intentioned individual was adamant about it. Guess what? Yeah, it doesn’t work. Another was a supplement for breast cancer! First, he didn’t have breast cancer and second, supplements don’t cure cancer. His doctor's recommendation was to eat healthy, nutritious foods that don’t conflict with his treatment.
I think that is the best advice for everyone. First eat healthy foods loaded with vitamins and minerals, then ask your doc or check with organizations for your specific conditions about any supplements. As a fibromyalgia warrior, I’ve been cornered, hustled, and badgered about alternative treatments by all kinds of people. Fibro is actually the least of my concerns. I’ve been blessed by God to be able to do many things people with fibro dream of doing. One such woman was in a Fibromyalgia Take Control class I taught for the Arthritis Foundation. She also had fibro and tauted some expensive supplements, yet she looked like death warmed over. I politely declined over and over, thanking her for her concern. She proceeded to give me a negative review at the end of the program because I wasn’t “sensitive enough”. The truth of the matter, I wasn’t gullible enough to jump from one thing to another with no proof of it’s promises, especially not from someone in worse condition than me! God bless her heart. Some of these supplements are very costly! Others could be dangerous. My family was a pastor’s family doing bi-vocational work with three teens at home. Tossing money down the toilet wasn’t an option for us. Instead, I take an older medication at low doses, eat healthy and exercise. Bottom line.
So, when should you shop at the health food store or go down that healthy food aisle at the grocery store? First, look up the supplement or health food from reliable sources for it’s effectiveness for the particular condition(s) you have. Try the National Institute of Health (NIH), Mayo Clinic, medical groups with .edu and organizations for your condition with .org endings. If it looks like an individual’s blog, look up their resources. If it looks promising, talk to your health care provider. I personally see a D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) who is willing to consider alternative treatments that have been proven effective. Know what you should buy to be cost effective and targetted in your purchase.
The other consideration are specialty foods and supplements at health food stores. Hoards of people shop Whole Foods, among others. The supplements they carry have better quality ingredients than the garden-variety supplement company in your grocery store. If your doctor gives you the thumbs up, then get better quality ingredients for better results. Also, they tend to shop for alternative grains with greater protein content. That is worthy of noting, especially if you are trying to lose weight or get more protein without clogging your arteries. But in all due fairness, you can save money at your local grocery store for some of the same brands of health foods. If it is organic, non-GMO you seek, most grocery stores carry those foods at a competitive price. i go to Big Lots for Bob’s Red Mill products to save about $1 per package for flax meal, gluten-free mixes, chia seed, and hemp seed.You can be a good steward by knowing where to get what you need for the best price.
Do be cautious of your friends and neighbors pedaling supplements and essential oils. Some of these, like Thieves Oil, for example, are blends which makes finding anything like it difficult. Instead, look up the effectiveness of these alternative treatments from the reputable resources I noted earlier, then only purchase what works for your condition, if it does at all. Should it look promising, make sure it won’t cause a problem with anything else you are using or other health conditions. You can purchase reasonable quality essential oils at your local drug store and grocery store without breaking the bank. The markup on tiered level marketing brands is ridiculous! It’s best to keep friends as friends, not business acquaintances. Be wise as serpents, gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16).
Lastly, beware of “Drs” who pedal alternative health advice. They want to sell you something, not help you. I took my daughter to a well-known doctor for a fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatment. He proceeded to tell her she didn’t have fibro, but insisted she take a particular supplement from his store at the check-out desk. His whole lobby looked like a store instead of a doctor's office! Although she experienced some relief, the supplement was ridiculously expensive and not proven to be all that helpful at that time. There are plenty of doctors like this online. Beware!!!
Here are the take-aways from this post:
First, eat healthy.
Second, get exercise.
Third, check out treatment options from reputable resources.
And fourth, check with your healthcare provider. Don’t toss your hard-earned cash down the toilet!
May God bless you!
Question for discussion: What are some of your stories about supplements and other "alternative health" products. No sales, please.
Check these out:
|Posted on May 9, 2019 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
One day, when I was reading through Facebook posts, I came across an organic meal service that advertised how reasonably priced AND healthy it was. That intrigued me so I read more about what they had to offer along with the comments. Wow! Someone decided to blast them for “false advertising” saying how ridiculously expensive it is for a family to eat healthy and organic. Friends, nothing could be further from the truth! We can be good stewards of our finances AND our bodies at the same time.
My Boaz and I eat healthy and mostly organic, with a bit of non-GMO sprinkled in. There are just two of us mid-lifers at home, and we have to watch our grocery budget like most people. I use key tags for stores I shop to not only get the sale prices, but also instant coupons. I also shop the ads and price match whenever possible. Natural food stores are only good for specific items I can’t find anywhere else because they tend to be pricier. Remember that I have to eat gluten-free and allergy-friendly which changes how our grocery budget works. I grow quite a bit of our own produce, too. Everything is cooked from scratch. Recently, we got a membership at Costco and saved a lot on meat, produce, and some gluten-free, allergy-friendly foods. They also have a good supply of organic foods. Their produce is amazing and reasonably priced. We have a freezer to store extra food that freezes well. By the way, my hubby used to raise chickens and wanted to share that as a possibility. Obviously, it isn’t for everyone.
As for exercise, I didn’t renew my gym membership which expired in April. I can pay each time I go instead. But I have exercise equipment, teach online exercise classes, and work in my exercise during my chores. Gym memberships can run from $10 per month ($120/year) to over $500 a year! We have used our Health Spending Account funds at the end of the year to buy exercise equipment like a treadmill. We've turned in my attendance and receipt to our health insurance for reimbursement. I do like to get out of the house to swim, ride the bike trails, or do fitness walking in parks. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get fit.
Single Working Mom with Kids Can Do It
My daughter, Lauren, is a certified personal trainer and single mom with three children ages 3, 4, and 7 who have endless appetites. She uses Ebates to load online store coupons and shops sales. She always cooks from scratch. Two of her big staples with celiac disease in the family, are tuna and rice to fill out meals. She uses eggs quite often because they are an inexpensive source of protein. Crockpot meals save her a lot of time in her meal prep. She drinks water with a bit of lemon instead of pricey sodas and makes her own kombucha.
Lauren also said that food stamp recipients can use food stamps at many farmer markets for veggies. Those with food stamps can get coupons for the grocery store from the vendors for the same amount they spend on produce at participating markets. She said to check with the farmers markets to find out if they participate. WIC also gives money for cereal, rice, juice, and milk for the children.
Lauren works at a gym so she can get her workouts there. She also has some exercise equipment at home.
Work at Home Woman Saves Big
My writing coach, Kathy Carlton Willis, also has some great ideas that she uses to keep costs down for her healthy living. She and her husband share their home with Kathy's mom, so this changes food considerations for this mid-life couple. She says, “It’s possible to look after your WellBeing/BeingWell on a budget. In fact, I lost sixty pounds due to healthy eating and exercise while my husband was unemployed for eight months. Here are some ways I did that:
1. Use the internet and library to research healthy choices, fitness plans and recipes.
2. Buy marked down produce and use right away.
3. Buy frozen produce and supplements on store close-out.
4. Save money by not buying processed/packaged foods.
5. Walk outdoors or at mall with a goal of getting heart rate up and breaking a sweat.
6. Sign up for a free online food tracking site such as myfitnesspal.com.
7. Do calisthenics while watching TV.
8. Try new recipes and see it as an adventure rather than work.
9. Go meatless for some meals.
10. When on the phone, walk fast around the house.
11. Make a fruit side dish that can satisfy like a dessert—doing double duty.
Kathy is an author, writer, speaker, and writing coach. You can find her at kathycarltonwillis.com and on Facebook.
Woman with Family Beginning to Leave the Nest
My niece, Jessica, is married with two kids, one who just graduated college. She lost weight and improved her health simply by using organic, non-gmo foods and cooking everything herself. She also runs on her treadmill regularly. They just started going gluten-free because a family member needed that dietary change. Here are some of her suggestions:
1. Buy organic meats on sale and in bulk. She puts hers in a large freezer. Take advantage of buy one, get one free offers and use coupons that can be loaded onto the store app for your phone or key tag.
2. They picked up on cycles in advertising. You will see organic, healthy, and gluten-free foods in January, which runs again about every three months. She stocks her pantry for the next round of specials.
3. Stores like Aldi can be a lifesaver for families. They have a great selection of organic and gluten-free foods.
4. Combine coupons whenever possible and take advantage of fuel points for gasoline in your vehicle. She uses the coupons loaded onto her key tag during the 4x fuel points. Stack your coupons and offers whenever possible. Sometimes you can also earn gift cards from your shopping to use for food.
5. Work out outdoors. Use Youtube videos. Groupon can also help you find a great deal on studios in your area.
6. Buy produce in season. Can and freeze when you can buy a lot really cheap. Also, if you can grow your own, you will save a lot of money.
7. Buy local. Many farmers sell eggs, grass fed beef and free range chickens. It is far cheaper than in the stores.
Jessica is a speaker for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). She wrote Crimson Sunshine and is a contributor to the Grief Diaries.
Here are some other ideas I’ve shared here at Be Totally Fit for Life!:
1. Stay out of the drive-thru! Not only will your health and waistline thank you, but so will your wallet. Instead, pack your own meals for trips and work. Add ice packs to keep food cold and fresh.
2. Along similar lines, steer clear of those pricey coffee concoctions at the coffee shops. Use a travel mug that keeps your coffee hot for a long time. Add your own non-dairy creamer and honey or Stevia.
3. Shop the perimeter of the store and avoid the eye-level shelves in the middle as much as possible. Breeze past the impulse buys. If you do the self-checkout system, you can easily bag your food yourself to protect your goods from damage and thawing before you go home. You can also do the pre-shopping online to avoid buying items not on your list.
4. Add up how much money you spend on snack foods, sweets, and soft drinks each week. Dedicate that money to lean unprocessed meats, fresh or frozen produce, and other healthy foods (minimally processed).
5. Buy in bulk whenever possible. Divide and freeze or store in vacuum sealed bags for later use. You can also prep meals from bulk buys to divide and freeze to save time and money.
Exercise and Fitness
1. Use the walking track/paths at schools when not in use by students and with school permission. Walk, ride bike, rollerblade, etc on bike and hike trails.
2. Use groups like Zulilly for your exercise shoes or close-out stores for your workout gear.
3. Pick up used exercise equipment at Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Play It Again Sports.
4. Find workouts online. I have a great deal for PraiseMoves and ChiRho Flow by paying $20 per month for unlimited classes to save.
5. Join an exercise class at a church. Many instructors teach for free or donation.
6. Use dvds and online videos.
7. Check with a local Y about volunteering in exchange for a reduced or free membership.
8. Use activity trackers that either aren't expensive or have been refurbished.
1. Do your own massage and avoid the New Age mumbo jumbo. Buy a foam roller and tennis balls and look up various massage techniques with those tools from reputable resources online.
2. Use a massaging showerhead. I do this. The showerhead isn’t expensive either.
3. Don’t waste money on pricey essential oils. Buy small candles that use essential oils for their scents. Put them on a candle warmer instead of burning them.
4. Do your devotions and Bible study during your prayer time. Nothing can change our frame of mind except time with our Creator God (Romans 12:2).
Hopefully, you found some helpful tips you can use. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” May we use what God has given us wisely, whether it is our finances, resources, and our physical bodies for His great purposes.
Feel free to share some of your tips in the comments below. May God bless you!
|Posted on May 1, 2019 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash
I am seriously unprepared to write a blog post because we started moving into our house. Thankfully, it is a step-wise process. We moved my laundry center—a stacked washer and dryer unit that doesn’t come apart. We drained the hoses as best as possible, but it was still a bear to move. I am a bit ouchy this morning thinking about it. I had to coach our grandson, who is a freshman in high school, how to help so he would get injured. He was using too much of his arms and back. So, if you can’t-- or won’t—hire movers, then this post is for YOU!
When I bought that laundry center, the delivery guy was about 5’8’’, thin, and didn’t look strong enough to carry it in by himself, but he did. He had carry straps hauling it in ON HIS BACK! He worked more from his gluts and hamstrings, but if he continued to move appliances like this, his knees probably wouldn’t have cartilage today. He was certainly strong. However, his body will end up with damage over the long haul. Don’t do what he did!
Check with your healthcare provider before trying any new exercise program to make sure it is okay for you to do. I would add that you let them know you will be moving your stuff yourself. There are contraindications you need to know before you go. If you aren't currently working out, hire a personal trainer!
Work Hard and Long
Use proper equipment to move the heavy stuff. An appliance dolly, not a regular dolly, is a godsend! It has a better leverage point to tip the appliance back and it has traction thing-a-ma-doodles that help it glide down steps. Here’s the deal: You still have to do heavy work. So, here are some exercises that can help you prep for this:
3. Upright row
It looks like a lot, but this group of exercises will help you build up to move appliances and furniture. Learn proper form for these to avoid injury to back. Do 8-10 reps 2 sets, work your way up to 3 sets if you have plenty of time before your move. Start at a weight you can only do 8 reps in one set and work your way up to 10 reps before increasing weight. Allow 60 seconds of rest between sets. Only do strength training 3 days a week with 1-2 days between strength sessions. Be sure to do cardio 3-5 days a week and stretch after all of your workouts to prevent pulled or torn muscles. Start your workout 2-3 months before and give yourself a couple days rest just before the move day.
Going for the Long Haul
A move usually takes a full day. A large household for a family with kids can take two days, depending on how much stuff there is. Heavy items like books, dishes, etc should be packed in smaller boxes to make it easier for them to carry and unpack. Tape furniture pads down to make moving furniture a breeze. Tape all boxes shut. These two things commonly cause injuries because they are unsecure.
Now for the fun. You will need to be able to keep going all day. First, fuel well. Have plenty of carbs with good quality protein the day before and the morning of the move. You will burn it off while needing to replenish your muscles and glycogen stores in your muscles. Avoid greasy foods like bacon and that cheap delivery pizza dripping with grease. It will just bog you down. Fuel your work to do well for your day by eating a good lunch and dinner that gives you the carbs and protein for recovery. Drink plenty of water throughout your day.
Second, prep for the long move day. If possible, get into a bootcamp class or Russian-style kettlebell class a couple of days a week. They are intense, so talk with the instructor about your fitness level and about moving your own furniture and appliances. He or she will give you specific instructions for your workouts, especially if you have never done this kind of exercise program before. They may also give you more specific instructions for fueling your workouts. Since I don’t know you and am not your personal trainer, I can’t give you more than the basics.
For moving day tips, check U-haul Moving Day Tips.
Well, we still have more to move. Praying your move goes well. Let us know how it went in the comments below. Work smart to work hard safely!
May God bless you!
|Posted on April 25, 2019 at 8:15 AM||comments (0)|
Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay.
For those of you who regularly read my posts, you know that I love to garden, whether it be to grow food or plant flowers. My kitchen window sill has tomato and pepper plant starts already, but my garden isn’t ready for them yet. I also have herbs like peppermint, basil, chives, rosemary, and oregano growing in my kitchen to snip and use in delicious dishes. We always look forward to the produce which will come from the work I put into it. Tasty, nutritious peppers, beans, tomatoes, broccoli, and more will fill our fridge to overflowing! In the meantime, I have to prepare the soil for the seeds and plant starts. I also need to put up a fence to protect them from hungry creatures like deer, rabbits, and groundhogs who think my garden is their buffet. There is always work to be done throughout the year, but especially now. Gardening provides many benefits for your total health.
I anticipate what to plant during the dreary February cold because it always gives me something to look forward to. This time helps me dream about sunny days and what I would like to grow in my garden. Planning one excites me with a positive view on life when seasonal depressive disorder is in full swing. My hubby keeps telling me that Memorial Day is the start of planting season here in Michigan, but I like to start earlier when possible. I work the soil and add compost to nourish my new sprouts and diatomaceous earth to keep grubs from eating up their tender roots. I get quite a bit of exercise picking up bags of soil, squatting down to plant, upper body work raking and weeding. My heart rate climbs up into the fat burn zone as I toil away for a few hours at the beginning of the season. During the growing season, you will find me weeding, feeding, and pruning plants. Since my garden is organic, I have to be vigilant about dealing with insects and other pests that love to feast on the fruits of my labor. I use neem oil diluted in water to spritz the plants. Some insects like tomato worms and Japanese beetles need a boost of hot pepper sauce added to my bug solution to keep them at bay. There is always something to do that keeps me busy in my chemical-free zone.
At harvest, I have to keep my watch for fresh vegetables and fruit to be ready to pick. Some of these I prefer to pick slightly early and ripen on my window sill near my sink. I bring the harvest into the kitchen to wash and prepare for meals or to put in our freezer for the winter. Fresh and frozen produce from our garden has a higher nutritional value with vitamins and minerals that keep us healthier longer in our mid-life stage. I often share produce with other people who don’t have gardens because I know they would love to garden but aren’t able due to health or living situations.
Did I make your mouth water? You could garden, too, in some form whether it is in garden boxes like mine, pots on your patio or kitchen window, or a community garden. Need more convincing? Here are some of the benefits I’ve discovered from gardening:
1. Fresh air and vitamin D production. Obviously, you should protect yourself from the ultraviolet rays, but getting your dose of sunshine causes your body to produce more vitamin D on its own. That's something we here in Michigan are low on around here. Fresh air also fills our lungs rather than the air we get re-circulated in our homes.
2. Greater well-being by anticipating satisfaction from work. If work, school, or parenting seem unfruitful, your garden can help fill the void. We all need to feel a sense of accomplishment in our daily living, something good to look forward to by the end of our day.
3. Physical exercise with a visible purpose. Does weight lifting at the gym or getting your cardio on a treadmill make you feel like a gerbil on a wheel going nowhere? Then you are probably someone who needs a sense of purpose to your exercise. You certainly know the primary purpose for exercise is for your health, but gardening provides more immediate, visible results from your work.
4. Excellent nutritional value from the foods we grow. Produce from stores is often shipped green-- yes, before it is ripe-- to be ready for your shopping trip. However, the best taste and nutritional punch comes from ripening on the vine in the sunshine. My hubby mourns the loss of our fresh, juicy tomatoes when the snowflakes fly because those from the store taste, well, blah.
5. A tremendous appreciation of God’s magnificent creation. Year after year, I marvel at God's intricate work of a seed that germinates, grows as a seedling, then produces food for our bodies. I love the seasons and their purposes in the growth, death, and renewal processes. Except, I am not a fan of cold. Nope. The birds are smarter than me. What's with that???
6. Long-range planning and troubleshooting work brain cells. If you want to keep good cognitive function for your brain, exercise it by working on solutions to problems. Gardening will certainly do that for you from how to lay your garden out, what to grow, how to deal with disease issues, to pest control, to meal prep. Check!
7. Calorie burn and strengthening through functional training. I've joked on a number of ocassions about farmers who can give my clients as good or better workouts than my Junk Yard workouts. That is, until I watch them staring into their iPhones on monster equipment that looks like a Transformer out in the field behind my house. No jokes here, though. You can seriously kick up a calories burn over the course of an hour or two of functional work by toggling between the aerobic and anaerobic phases of conditioning You can kick it up a notch by adding in interval station work on purpose-- yes, on purpose. You can be lean and strong from gardening.
8. Stronger joints. Your joints are strengthened by putting stress on the muscle heads and tendons. The strengthening in your muscles and joints protect your joints from injury and reduce pain in the overall scheme. If you have arthritis, like I do, you will have pain immediately afterward. Pace yourself if you hurt for more than two hours after you are done. Use ergonomic tools, a garden seat, and a kneeling pad for joint protection and fall prevention.
9. Social interactions when sharing gardening tips and produce. When people come to our house, they often talk to us about my garden and my cute shed. It has become quite the conversation piece, I tell you. You can teach children about growing their own food, share produce with family, friends, and neighbors, or chat at the community garden sharing tips and helps, and maybe a bit of bug repellent.
10. Gratitude for God’s amazing provision. I love to save the best for last because you leave with this last thought: your relationship with God. We can do nothing apart from God's purposes and power. Express gratitude for God's goodness and provision, marvel at the wonders of what He created from nothing, say grace at your meals keeping in mind what you have seen happen. It's not us who grow this goodness, it is God who grows it through us.
Do you garden? If not, would you be able to have a garden or a few pots in your window sill? Even if you don’t like getting your hands dirty, there are numerous health benefits to gardening in whatever form you choose. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
May God bless you!
Other great reads on the health benefits of gardening:
"5 Secret Health Benefits of Gardening" by Kim Hayes. AARP June 14, 2017. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/health-benefits-of-gardening-fd.html
"10 Surprising Ways Gardening is One of the Healthiest Things You Can Do" by Charlotte Hilton Anderson. Readers Digest. https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/health-benefits-of-gardening/
|Posted on April 18, 2019 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
I got a call after I arrived home from a long, grueling work day at the gym: "I need to talk to you about...." So I finished my conversation with that manager, ate dinner and decided to check email afterward. In my inbox were emails from my boss about work-related topics. My thought was something like this: "Why can't work stay at work? This is MY time." So I left the emails unopened. When I stepped into the personal trainer's office the next day, my boss came in and began talking about something related to one of the emails. Of course, I was a bit clueless about the topic because I decided to protect my personal time. She treated me like a slacker when I asked what she was referring to. "Didn't you check your emails? I sent them to you last night." I was single after my first husband died. Sure, I could let work invade my personal time by "marrying work", but I didn't want to live for work. This became a bigger and bigger problem over time. They were not paying me for their invasion on my time. I even offered to keep track of my time dealing with emails and phone calls from work after hours. That certainly was met with indignation. Where do you draw the line between work time and personal time? How do you tame the intrusion of work time into your personal time and space?
The Global Market Place Never Sleeps
In our global marketplace, that is, the world filled with business and trade around the globe, we have been sucked into a vortex of no rest because 1) the customer deserves to have their demands met, and 2) Asian minds treat business much like war in this global marketplace. My Boaz often gets texts and calls at all hours from around the world. Sometimes, he is up at 4 am with a conference call where it is 4 pm. At least they were kind enough to speak with him at the end of their day so my poor guy could get a bit of shut-eye. One difficulty that occurs in the business sector is the lack of meaningful couple time. Divorces are common with executives, managers, and engineers. An engineer who was divorced decided that internet dating would help him find the woman of his dreams. After several disheartening months, he said, “I keep seeing ‘If you are an engineer, move on.’" The amount of disconnect in many professionals’ lives is a home wrecker.
Children often go to before school care, to school, then to after-school care. Both parents either work two jobs or extended hours. They drop their children off early in the morning and pick them up late in the evening. They eat dinner late, give the kids a bath, and put them into bed all in the matter of two hours. When do the kids really have time to connect with their parents? Again, the amount of disconnect in many professionals’ lives is a home wrecker.
Fewer Christians attend Bible study, small groups, and Sunday school classes which means discipleship is not at the level it once was. Church leaders requested authors and writers to help them by writing content that covers some of the gaps they have discovered like covenant, Bible basics, basic Christian doctrine, the concept of sacrifice and redemption, among others. Large churches offer live streaming and video recordings of their services for those who can’t make it to worship. Christians are happy to read short devotions but often struggle with personal Bible study and prayer time. Our spiritual lives are taking a hit at an alarming rate. No wonder many Christians follow Zen Buddhist practices like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga pushed by corporate culture. They don’t understand the God who loves them and gave them new life. They aren't able to sort truth from untruths.
Commutes, stress, lack of downtime, and meaningful connections have led to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Depression and suicide rates have escalated. Lost work time due to recurring illness is also a norm. Most people are relying on various fitness trackers to help them stay active. Yet others hop online to get a workout, while many simply crash at home on the sofa with whatever electronic device is available at that moment.
7 Ways You can Get Your Life Back
If you are anything like me, you wonder how in the world to get back the life you've lost. Here are a few ways to get your life back:
1. Take a moment to look over your life and time. Draw a square with 4 sectors: Personal, Family, Work, and Faith. Figure out what areas are weak for you and what are strong. Then figure ways you can strengthen those vulnerable sectors. For example, if you are suffering by not having your basic needs met like sleep, grooming, downtime, etc. Then write them in with an action plan to build these up. If it is family or faith, figure out what basics need your time and attention then make an action plan to put these back as priorities. After a while, you will begin to see how balance forms in your life. An excellent read: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
2. Start saying, “No.” to time-wasters (Forbes). I’ve watched well-intentioned people take on too many outside responsibilities in their communities and churches to the neglect of themselves and their families. If you are not gifted or talented in those areas, they are not for you to do. If you believe no one else can do it, the way you do, step down from those positions. Chances are it will take three or four people to do what you’ve done because you robbed them of the joy and blessings of doing what they are gifted and talented to do. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you by prayerfully asking God what you should take on and what you should leave to others.
3. Simplify your life. Stop living beyond your income. If you have to use a credit card rather than save up for most of the items you need or want, cut that card and pay it off! You’ve been working for your lender rather than yourself, essentially, enslaved to the debts (Proverbs 22:7). Other ways you can simplify is to clear out the clutter in your home and storage units. Do you need that fancy coffee drink from Starbucks or can you make that at home? See if you can tame your commute by finding a home with less travel time or use public transportation instead. I work from home, while I’m often not paid. We have no debt now, we have been systematically cutting the clutter, and we grow our own food and make gifts for family and friends. We feel so much better living this way. You will, too. Good read: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Also, go to Financial Peace University.
4. Start taking care of your own basic needs to take care of others. Change your eating habits by cooking at home and packing your own lunch. Buy a gym membership, utilize the gym at work, or find an online personal trainer to help you or group exercise class to follow. Restructure your home time to get between 6-8 hours of sleep, even if that means getting room darkening blinds or wearing a sleep mask. Seriously schedule it into your smartphone calendar (The Healthy Leader)! Give these items people names and treat them as Priority One appointments, because they are. When you feel better, you will be better able to care for your family, be productive at work, and attentive at church.
5. Invest in your marriage and family. They are your first and foremost ministry. Your other half needs time and attention that only you can give. Pray together, do devotions together, sit and hold hands, protect intimacy time. Go to a marriage retreat or spend a weekend alone together (Focus on the Family). Your kids are watching how you treat each other because they are learning what marriage should be from you. Then make family rituals like singing songs in the car, doing fun things like playing games and watching fun movies together. Eat together. Worship together. Do family devotions before bed (Intentional Living) Read: Focus on the Family blog posts.
6. Set your phone not to ring or send alerts to you after a specific time at night. Let your boss know that you love your work, but some of the job-related calls and messages need to wait until you come in the morning or just before you leave work (Healthy Leader). Make an agreement with him or her about what must be done and what limits will be acceptable to both of you (Psych Central). Your employer does not own you.
7. The most important part of your life, spend time with God. You can pray with your eyes open on the way to work and on the way home, praying throughout your day and expressing gratitude to God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ). Sign up for a Bible Study plan with a Bible app. Read it at breakfast or lunch. Go to worship and a small group or Sunday school where meaningful interaction takes place (Hebrews 10:24-25). The fellowship of other believers makes a world of difference in your daily life (1 John 1:7).
Since God didn’t create us to work 24/7, let’s work well at work and live well at home with our families, in our communities, and in our churches. Your attention to your needs, the needs of your family, and your relationship with God will shine through.
Thought for discussion: In what ways does work invade your personal time? Where do you need to tighten up your boundaries with your job? What are some issues that have cropped up when you let work take over your personal time and how did you effectively handle it?
May God bless you!
7 Tips for Setting Boundaries at Work by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. July 8, 2018. psychcentral.com/blog/7-tips-for-setting-boundaries-at-work/
"How to Protect Your Right To Your Personal Time" The Healthy Leader. www.thehealthyleader.com/protect-right-personal-time/
"8 Ways to Achieve Better Work Life Balance" by Jacquelyn Smith. www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/04/18/8-ways-to-achieve-better-work-life-balance/#7da050bbaba4
"Your Marriage Needs Regular Relational Investment" by Scott Stanley. 2015. www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/gods-design-for-marriage/commitment-is-the-foundation-for-a-deeply-connected-marriage/your-marriage-needs-regular-relational-investment
"Family Time Means Quality Time". Intentional Living www.theintentionallife.com/family-time-means-quality-time/