Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Let's Get Stretching That Body!

Stretching in the morning

You want me to do what now? I want you to stretch!

Why stretching in the morning? I'm not even awake good.. I haven't had my coffee, the kids are screaming they want something to eat, I have to go to work... excuses... we all come up with them, but there are times we just have to put that all aside and do what's right for our body, and stretching is one of them.

So, why stretching in the morning?
Well, a few things here. Your body has been resting all night and when you wake up your muscles and such are still at rest. So to get them going it helps to do a little stretching. It helps loosen up muscles, get blood flowing and joints. It gets our oxygen and blood flowing to our brain and other organs. And it's good for the bowels. I'm not saying get up and do a whole workout routine, (although that's great if you can) I'm saying just get up and move a little to help your body. A good five to ten minutes can do wonders.

But I don't have time?
Well, yes you do.
You have a few minutes here and there and can squeeze them in. Here is an example of time.
1- You have gotten up, just walked out to the kitchen and drank your first 8 ounces of water and you started the coffee pot. Well, your coffee pot is brewing, you have time! While it's brewing, just stand there and do some stretching. And when the coffee is done, so are you.

2- You are getting ready for your shower. You start the shower, water is getting warm, take a few minutes to do some stretching. When your water is warm to get in, you are done.

3- Kids are screaming and wanting to eat..well, you have to put something on to fix. While things are warming up, cooking, etc.. take a few minutes standing there and stretch.

You can find a few minutes if you want too, and it doesn't call for all sorts of stretching. Just stretching to get the blood flowing, muscles moving, joints loose, and you are good to go. Now, if you have time to do a whole stretching program, then by all means do so. You will feel even better to start your day. But if not, then do what you can.

And Just a note here If you have any kind of health condition, then please, check with your doctor. You and your doctor will decide what's right for you. This is for those with no major health concerns.

So what kind of stretching? Just simple basic stretches.

1- stand up, take your hands over your head and interlace your fingers turning your palms up. Stretch the arms up as high as you can, hold for count of 5. Take your arms, still in the stretching position and slowly bend to your right, hold for count of 5, come back up to center for count of 5, then bend to your left, for count of 5. Come back to center for count of 5, then slowly bend forward until you are even with your waist (arms still stretched out and fingers interlaced) . Hold that for count of 5 and then bend to your toes for count of 5. And then back to waist for count of 5 and then stand straight up with arms over head for count of 5, then release and slowly bring your arms down to your sides.

2- Stretching the neck – Very simple here. Simply lean your head to the left for count of 5, then back to center for count of 5, then to the right for count of 5 then back to center for count of 5, the tilt head forward for count of 5, then back to center for count of 5, then tilt head back for count of 5, then back to center.

3- Leg Stretching - Here if you need to you can hold on to the counter or chair for balance. Bring your right leg up so that it's even with your hip. Your thigh is out in front of you, your calf is hanging down. Hold there for count of 5, then take your calf and stretch your leg out in front, so that your entire leg is stretched out for a count of 5, bring your calf back down so that your thigh is even with your hip again for a count of 5, put your leg down for count of 5 and do the same again. Do this for 3 reps and then switch to the other leg and do for 3 reps. This will help give movement to your knees and hips.

These are just a few that you can do, and they work great for me on just getting up. You can work with other stretches that's best suited for you. But the most important thing is to get up, and start your body to moving, the blood flowing so that you have freedom of movement, more oxygen flowing to the heart and brain and organs.

So let's get stretching and on another leg of our journey to A Year To A Better You!!


Here are some stretching routines I found on Youtube that are simple and easy.
1 - Early Morning Stretch -
2- Stretching in Bed -
3- Stretching at your desk -

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Benefits of Drinking Water

Water can do what??

Well, here we are on another step of our journey and guess what it brings us to?? Can you guess?..

I know what you're saying.. I don't like to drink so much water.. but guess what? What if I told you that simply drinking enough water can:
Help keep you looking young
Help your memory
Help with joint and arthritis pain
Help you loose weight
and so much more.

Would you consider drinking a glass if you could remember things better or have youthful looking skin? I know I am! I want to think and remember things better and I don't want so many wrinkles and I don't want my joints hurting all the time and I do want to loose weight!

So, let's talk about water then.
Water is the single most important nutrient for our bodies and is considered a miracle cure for many health conditions. Water is the single most important nutrient and it's involved in every function of our bodies. We can live five to seven weeks without food, but we, on average, can last no more than five to seven days without water. Seems like that's a pretty important factor here.

Our bodies are about 70% water. Your muscles are about 75% water. Your brain cells are about 85% water. Your blood is about 82% water and your bones are about 25% water. Now, if our bodies are comprised of so much water what do you think happens when we DO NOT drink enough water? Right.. we become dehydrated. Our brain function slows down, our skin begins to sag and wrinkles, our joints hurt and we have more health problems than I can even write here. And seeing I am not a doctor, I will not even try.

When we don't drink enough water our bodies begin to ration it. It draws water from other parts of our body to keep our brain, heart, lung, liver and kidneys functioning. Without it, you can see how other parts of our body suffer and when we don't have it, all our other functions suffer even more. Our bowels begin to shut down. And that there in itself can cause major problems in our body. Such as building up of toxins and we become sluggish and sick. So see, it's very important for us to have enough water every day.

Bottled, Tap or Filtered Water?
Well, seeing how we have so many different chemical’s running off into our ground water, and water companies put so much chemicals, fluoride and chlorine in our water.. in my opinion, they are not a safe source of water. And what many people don't know but bottled water companies are actually less regulated than tap water and can be just as toxic. Bottled water is considered to be a food, so it's regulated by the FDA. Tap water is regulated by the EPA. If you can, and there are many options out there, I would suggest a filter on your water. Now, even then you are still not getting everything. If you can get a complete filter system for your house that does much more, then great. But if you can't, then use filters on your sink or pitchers you can put in the fridge.With Shaklee we do offer Best Water Filter Systems. (See below for link)

When Should I Drink Water?
Most times we drink water when we get thirsty for it. But by then our bodies can be dehydrated. So we need to get on a schedule or close to it. Start with 8 to 16 oz. Of water when you first get up. Your body needs this after resting and rebuilding at night to hydrate us and get us going in the mornings. Then 2 hours later drink another 8 to 16 ounces. Repeat this schedule before each meal and then 2 hours later. Then drink 8 ounces before bed time unless you have problems with acid reflux, hiatal hernia or enlarged prostate.

How much water?
General rule of thumb is take your body weight, divide that in half and that's how much water in ounces you should be drinking each day. Say you weigh 120 lbs. 120 divided by 2 is 60. So at least 60 ounces of water each day. That would be 8 ounces of water 7 times a day.

Can one drink to much water?
Yes, drinking to much water every day can cause your potassium and electrolyte levels to become to low. So you want to balance your water that you drink each day. If it's hot summer and you are outside most of the time, yes, you'll want to add more because your body will be sweating out fluids. But if you stick to your figures as mentioned above, you will be fine.
Water can do what?
As we begin to get on a normal schedule of drinking water we will begin to notice changes. When our bodies are hydrated our skin will become supple again, our joints will begin to move freely, our brains become hydrated and memory function improves. Because your body is hydrated, you may not feel so hungry as you once did. Your body temperature will become normal. It helps cells in the body and helps remove toxins

But you may say.. I hate water, well with what we have went over today, you should take a different view on the matter and consider all the healthy benefits of adding more water to your daily routine.

Here is a suggestion on getting started. Set your water cup in front of your coffee pot, so when you go to get the water for your coffee, fill your cup up first and while your coffee is brewing, drink your cup of water. That will help you get started. And make yourself a little schedule and stick on your fridge to remind yourself. Set up reminders on your phone to Drink Water!

It's these steps we take each day that help us on our journey. So this week, work on getting the water you need and watch your body change and feel better.



Friday, February 8, 2013

Time To Weigh-In

Weigh-in Day

I know, I know.. you're saying... oh gosh, we have to do this?? Yes! To know where we are going, we have to know where we are at. Thus, it's time for us to do that dreaded thing and weigh ourselves.

Over the next few days we need to get a set of scales and measuring tape. I hate it too, but it's for our own good. And we need to weigh ourselves and see where we are starting at. We also need to measure our hips, stomach, bust and thighs. Write this down someplace and keep it to yourself. No need to announce to the world right now. But do keep track in your little book. This will help YOU stay focused.

When do we weigh ourselves?
I have found and read that first thing in the mornings are good. When you first get up you don't have that added water weight or food from your day. And you are in your light pj's so you will get a more accurate body weight.

How often do we weigh in?
Well, from what I have learned and read, this will depend on the person. Some people like to keep track every day. This holds them accountable for their day and what they eat. But on the other hand, some can become discouraged when they don't see loss every day and thus, they quit. For me, I'm good with once a week. If I watch it every single day I tend to become discouraged and fret to much over what I'm eating. And I get so obsessed with the weight loss that I will loose track of why I'm doing this. I'm doing it for the weight loss, but I’m also doing it for better health. So do what works for you. If it's once a day or week or every two weeks, do that. There is no set rule here.

Keep in mind too, as you begin to exercise you may loose weight but building muscle at the same time. So your measurements might not change right at first. And other things factor in here too.. such as women and their cycle. During that time we have bloating, water weight gain. You have to factor these things in. But as we continue down this journey, we will begin to notice our pants getting a little looser, our shirts starting to bag on us some, our shoes getting to big (yes, you loose weight in our feet too). These things are good indicators that what we are doing is working. Just don't get caught up in the number that you loose track of Why you are doing it and that's to gain back your health.

So, run out, buy that scale and see where you are. Don't get discouraged, we have a journey and a destination and that's what we need to look at!

Blessings to you,

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Shopping Trip

My Shopping Trip
Now see, shopping isn't that bad. I got my veggies and I still had some in the fridge, so I didn't have to buy as much. I only get what I need for recipes. And I know you see all that meat, but most of those packages will be divided up. Like the pork will be cut into strips for stir fry and will only take about 2 of them. 

I have to say, I am flexible on my menus. I change and alter when I need to. If something else is on sale, I'll go with that.  Plus I splurged and bought a new wok! Need that for stir fry. 

What you don't see is what's important. NO cakes, cookies, chips, candy, processed foods other than 3 cans, 2 Jiffy corn muffin mix, and 1 chicken broth. That's what we want to accomplish for our goals. NO   junk food! And as you continue along on your new journey you'll be able to see your changes in how you shop. You'll begin to shop in season when you can, stock up on things like your rice, spices, and other things and each time you'll begin to learn just what you need for each recipe. And the biggest thing you will notice after time goes by, you will have hardly any to no processed foods in your buggy!

You can do this!! I know you can!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sample Menu - A Year To A Better You

Sample Menu for Eating Healthy

Now that we have had a chance to look through some recipes, let's put together a menu. What and how we cook it is the most important thing. Instead of covering our foods with sauces and gravy, let's see how we can come up with some creative ideas. And here we get to change up on how we cook. Put the Crisco aside and grab your Olive and Grapeseed Oils.

To begin, we need to take a look at our list. Here we need to have more vegetables than we do meat. We can have meat, but it needs to be more like a side dish than the main. Now, I’m not saying we can't have meat as a main course, but we will need to look at ways that we can fix it.

Now for me, I'm the only one home during the day. So I don't have to get up and fix breakfast, lunch and dinner for my husband and kids every single day. So a lot of my menu/shopping is done for our main meal. As for breakfast, we can make our own breakfast burritos, bran/whole grain muffins, etc. I can fix those during the day while everyone Is gone and have those wrapped and ready for the week. Then in the mornings all they have to do is grab one and go. And, we also have our Shaklee shakes but that comes later in our journey.

So what do we need to cook, Well, like I have been saying.. lots and lots of vegetables. The more the better. Now does this mean I’m cooking tons at one time, no, just what we need for that meal.

Menu for one week:
Monday- Stir fry
Load up on veggies. Here you can do all the vegetables you like and you can use smaller amounts because you will be using several.
Snow peas, broccoli, carrots, bok choy cabbage, fresh string beans, baby corn, mushrooms, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, green onions, celery. You get the idea here. Just play with your veggies.
Brown Rice or Wild Rice
Dipping sauce. - not from a jar, you can make this.
If you just have to put in meat, the take one boneless/skinless chicken breast and chop it up. You want it to be like the veggies.. not the main thing in the stir-fry

Tuesday – Baked Fish Packets
Here I use Tilapia fish (you can use others if you like, but I do not recommend catfish). These are very easy to do. I place one piece of fish on parchment/foil. Then we top it with veggies such as broccoli, string beans, asparagus, roasted bell pepper,herbs, olive oil. Once again, this is one of those dishes you can play with. Try new vegetables. Ones that are fast at roasting. These only take like 20 min cooked in the oven.

Wednesday - Vegetable Rice Soup -(Wednesday is my busy day with church, so I try to make fast dishes)
If you have left over rice, use this to make soup. Add fresh vegetables just like you did in the stirfry and add them to vegetable broth. Cook them until just tender and then add in your left over rice until it's warmed with the food. Only takes a few min.
Once again, if you just have to have meat, only use one chicken breast cut up into chunks. We don't want this to be the main part of the meal, just part of.

Thursday - Italian Wedding Soup
My family loves this so I never have a problem with leftovers.
For this I use chicken broth
tiny bowtie noodles
and I make my own meat balls
For meat balls, I use ½ pkg of ground Italian sausage and ½ lb of good ground chuck.
To that I add some bread crumbs, grated parm cheese, crushed garlic. Mix this well and make into tiny meat balls.
To get rid of the fat that comes from the meat while cooking, start a big pot of water to boiling, once boiling, drop your meatballs into water and let them cook till almost done. Then strain the meatballs

In another pot, start your broth and carrots. Carrots need to be cooking as they take a little longer to cook than everything else. Once carrots are about half done, add meatballs, cook meatballs for about 5 min in the broth and add the noodles. When noodles are about half done, add your fresh spinach and cook till wilted. Salt and pepper to taste.
With this you can have a large salad and go crazy on the veggies. And make your own dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, herbs.

Friday – Beans, Rice, Vegetables
Cook a pot of your favorite beans and season how you like
Cook a pot of brown rice
Vegetables I like to cook are sauted squash and zucchini with onions and garlic
And here they like a pan of cornbread

Saturday - Taco night
load up on your lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, avocado
Refried beans
Black beans – drained
Here you can also use shredded chicken or good ground chuck.
Brown your meat and drain very well. Then add your taco seasonings
for the bread you can use corn tortilla, but a great way to cut down on the bread is use pita bread cut in half. Open the pocket and load up on veggies and sauces
For me, I like using just large lettuce leaves and I don't put meat on mine. I use a swipe of refried beans, black beans, veggies, and sliced avocado.
Make your own fresh guacamole sauce or your own salsa. Very simple in food processor with tomato, onions, bell pepper, cilantro and spices.

Sunday – Roasted chicken and vegetables
Whole chicken roasted with slices of lemon and Rosemary inside
Take parsnips, carrots, small new potatoes and roast them in oven. Cut up into bite size and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, sprigs of thyme
and some steamed asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice

As you see, it's not hard to change up your cooking. Very little has even been fried and you have added tons of vegetables to your diet.
Now, pick up some fresh and frozen fruit. You can make a simple drizzle sauce with Greek yogurt, honey and a little grated ginger. Eat fruits with your breakfast and throughout the day.

My shopping list for this week:
Bag of chicken breasts
1 whole chicken
Ground Italian Sausage ( will only use half of it)
1 lb pkg of hamburger (I buy good ground chuck)
tomatoes, onions, lettuce, avocado, squash, zucchini, bell pepper, frozen snow peas, baby carrots, bean sprouts, bok choy, asparagus,
brown rice
broth (non MSG and low sodium)
dry beans
corn meal
Pita bread
black beans
refried beans

This is just a sample of what you can do. Play with it, try new things, think outside the box and have fun!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shopping and Menus - A Year To A Healthy You

Shopping and Menus

Well, how did you do with our last post, “What Now”? You should have gone through your cabinets, freezers, fridge and pulled out all the living and dead food. What is living food? Those foods that bring live nutrients to our body. Dead foods are those things that have no value at all for our body.

So, now what?
Well, let's go through this. How much dead food did you have? Chips, cookies, cakes, candy, tv dinners, sugar cereals, instant stuff and so on. Well guess what? We get to get rid of ALL that stuff! Yes, we need to get rid of it. The longer it is front of us the more we will eat it! And it has no nutritional value for our body. If anything it weighs us down with added fats, sugars, salts and chemicals. These cause us to feel tired, sluggish, our bowels don't work, cause gall bladder problems, sugar problems, high blood pressure and the list goes on.

What did your live food look like? Did you have any salad mix, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, egg plant, fresh fruit, greens, peppers, cabbage? Anything along that lines? NO.. Well, we need to change that, and we will.

So, how do I go about setting up a healthy life change and shopping? First, you make up your mind to do so, and second you plan! You haft to have a plan set in place. How you plan is pretty simple, or to me it is, but you start out with a menu. A menu? Yes, a menu. With out this you will wonder around the grocery store trying to figure out what to do. I find that it helps me to plan a week at a time. Why, because I do my best to shop with the sales. Most sales papers come out on Wednesday and you can set your menu around sales.

Well, what kind of menu do I start? I don't know of any healthy stuff to cook, or I don't like just salads all the time and my family are big meat eaters. Well, I have a few sites that I go to to find healthy recipes. I go through the recipes and see if I can find modified versions of recipes that we do like and I pick up some new ones. And here would be a good place to ask your family what things they would like to try and what vegetables they like.

I have found for me and my home that if I make meat more like a side dish and the veggies the main, we can do pretty good. This way those who still want the meat are getting it, but they are also getting more veggies as well. This might be something you consider. I can make a meatloaf, but make it smaller in size. Why? Well, they still get meat, but have to fill up more on the vegetables.

At my house I do NOT fry foods. I can buy a can of Crisco and it will last me a year and sometimes longer. Trust me, I catch a lot of flack for not frying. I simply say. No, I wont do it! haha Not everyone is happy with it, but they are pretty much used to it by now. So when I do happen to bread and fry something, they see it as a huge treat! In this area I go with Olive Oil and Grape Seed Oil.

Ok, so.. what do I buy when I get to the store. My rule of thumb is, fresh/frozen produce, fish, fresh/frozen fruits, dry/frozen beans, dry fruits, peanut butter, fiber added/whole grain pastas, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, whole wheat tortillas, honey, 100% fruit juice, real oatmeal (no instant) cheese, wild/brown rice, etc.. I do not purchase low fat foods, diet foods of any kind. Most times those items are full of salt! Now, do I purchase frozen pizzas from time to time.. yes I do. I have no problem eating those on occasions. Just not all the time. Just eat in moderation. And am I so rigid on this that I won't purchase some things? No, I do give them treats at times, but not very often. Just ask my family, they will tell you. Haha

Now, we have an idea of what to purchase, you need to plan your menu. I have found these sites to be very helpful.

1- Healthy Recipes – I love this site because they offer so many wonderful recipes, budget recipes and health tips -

2- The Worlds Healthiest Foods – George Mateljan – He offers weekly e-newsletter and daily email recipes

4- Christian Cooks – She has a show on PBS network that I love to watch. She is completely vegan and vegetarian recipes. But I use her site and show to get many ideas.

5- Go to as well and do a search on Mediterranean and Asian recipes.

These few should get you started on some ideas. Set down this week and work on a menu. This will help you and your family decide on what to do. Play with it. See what works for you. For me, I tend to stick to more Mediterranean recipes when I can and leaning to more Asian cooking as well. I try to do more soups and have at least one day that is meatless.

Ok, so I do this, but the food will be bland and no taste.. Not true!! Here is where the fun comes in! Herbs and lots of them! If you can at all possible, plant some herbs this spring. You can do this in your yard, flower pots along your patio, sidewalk, front door or even an herb bed. Fresh herbs will bring so much flavor to your foods and give them a whole different taste. What herbs? I use tons of basil, I plant mints, tarragon, sage, rosemary, parsley, cilantro, oregano, I purchase cumin, coriander, fresh garlic just to name a few. These add zip to your recipes and even those picky eaters will love it. And just a note here, I do use salt. I like Kosher salt but most times I don't salt my foods a lot. I leave that up to those eating and I use fresh cracked black pepper. The fresh pepper makes a huge difference.

Don't have time for cooking all this, well, you can. Make your crock-pot your new friend! You can do many recipes in the crock pot, purchase a small metal steamer that you put in a pot to steam veggies, and work on casseroles, roasted vegetables in the oven, steam your rice in a rice cooker. There are many ways you can do this. You just have to find the one that's right for you. As I have said before, it all starts out with steps. These steps you will have to work on and make them work for you.

Do you have kids at home, or have to make breakfast and lunch every day? Well, let me say that oats should become your new friend as well.. and to your oats try adding fresh or dried fruit. These are things you can adjust to your family.

I know this may seem a bit overwhelming, but it's easy once you get in the swing of things.
1- start out by finding new recipes
2- make a menu
3- shop according to sales in your area or farmers markets, etc.
4- add herbs for flavors
5- And this week, Don't Fry ANYTHING!! use your oven, crock pot or grill.

Just get in the kitchen and begin to have fun.. this will become a life altering thing for you and you will begin to see how much you can do. Don't tell yourself this is to hard.. tell yourself.. I can do this! I just need to change my mindset and take each thing.. one step at a time!

More to come!