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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Turkey gets pushed out in favor of Santa Claus

I see it….as I drive home from the day’s activities. There are a handful of people who already have their Christmas lights on!! Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the Christmas season (although I think the whole idea that it is Jesus’ birthday, not ours, gets lost in all the gift giving, but that’s a topic for another day)
The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes we hurry up the moment to get to the next big “thing”.
Life is a journey. I know you’ve heard that before, but it needs reminding. Enjoy today. Enjoy the moments. Enjoy the people that are a part of your daily existence on this earth. When I have a particularly stressful day ahead of me, I wish for it to be over. But, as I go about the day, I realize that the different parts that make the whole are not so bad after all. One minute, one hour at a time. Tackle one problem at a time. One situation at a time. Enough said.

Life is a journey, and so is the road to better health. Trust me, I have had my fair share of diets and “get thin quick” disasters. I didn’t gain weight in a matter of weeks; what makes me think I could lose weight in a matter of weeks? And keep it off?
I didn’t get unhealthy in the last few days…and I’m not going to change all of my habits at once! I would be very unhappy!

Health is a journey. Start with one “bad habit” and change it. Here are 6 suggestions for "I DON"T KNOW WHERE TO START"
Don’t tackle them all at once. Start with ONE. These suggestions are not necessarily just for those trying to lose weight. It's also good to remember that your body will function better with good nutrition. By changing unhealthy habits, you can help yourself avoid diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other diseases.

  1. stop drinking soda (even diet soda. Studies have linked diet soda drinkers to greater risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attack and decline in kidney function)
   SWITCH: flavored seltzer water without sugar, plain tea with lemon,  a splash of fruit juice in a big glass of water….

  1. do 10 sit-ups, 10 pushups and 10 squats. That’s all. Every other day, not every day. Walk 5 minutes. Then 10. Then foot in front of the other.
Can’t do pushups? Do them against the wall. Look at for correct way to do these. ACE is a non profit organization that certifies instructors (like me) and provides helpful information.

  1. Cut out potatoes and bread.
 SWITCH: eat Ezekiel sprouted bread. (in the freeze aisle. It is low glycemic which won’t have your blood sugars going crazy) For dinner, eat a protein, cooked veggie and a salad. It takes a while. My husband and I went from eating potatoes or pasta every night to eating salads with our meal every night. Mix up the salads – spinach, kale, lettuce, savory or sweet. Try different ones until you find some favorites.

  1. Cut out dessert and candy.
  SWITCH: eat yogurt for dessert. There are so many yummy flavors out there these days. Try to stay away from the artificial sweeteners if you can. If you want, you can add fresh or frozen berries on top. Sprinkle with Stevia or a little honey. Add a teaspoon of nuts. Our favorite is Lemon Meringue with a crumbled graham cracker (one square) on top. We split an 8 oz cup, which isn’t much but it is enough to satisfy us.
  1. Quit eating fast food for lunch.
SWITCH: bring your own. It takes planning, but you wouldn’t believe how much sugar, salt and fat you’ll be cutting out by making your own. I used to eat a burger, fries or taco 3 times a week! Now, I can’t stand them. Try tuna fish salad, chicken salad made from last nights dinner; Egg salad, ham or roast beef slices rolled around cucumber and cream cheese; Make a big batch of soup on Sunday and eat it all week. Same with a lettuce salad. How about your own quiche? That would be about 4 lunches….and you control what goes into it when you make it yourself. My son made some changes to his lunch and lost weight. He used to make a ham sandwich, potato chips, cookies and soda. Now he eats the sandwich, a yogurt, apple and milk.

  1. Stop eating in front of the TV.
SWITCH: if you find yourself in front of the refrigerator, make some hot tea. Or get some of those sunflower seeds in the shell. They take forever to open. The other alternative is put something else in your hands while sitting – like knitting, Sudoku, a kindle game (I know there are a lot of Candy Crush peeps out there) Just try it for a week. You’ll be surprised after a while, you won’t miss it. Are you really hungry? Opt for some almond butter and apple slices. It will fill you up and won’t raise your blood sugar.

I know a lot of you are already on the healthy track. Please share by commenting what you do that might benefit others!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where do I start?

Five Islands in Georgetown, Maine
WHERE does the time go? What have you been doing this summer? I am one lucky gal, because I live in Maine and it is beautiful (when the sun decides to come out!)

I tend to be a little less scheduled in the summer, I don't teach exercise classes in the summer. Although everything else stays in place (my Reliv business and my art and wine parties) everything seems to be a little slower paced. I like the fact that we have distinct seasons.

I just wrote an article on my newsletter about starting to exercise. Although the middle of summer seems like a strange time to start, I have to be ready for September's classes. When do you start? Maybe you never stop? Maybe you slack off from time to time? Do you find it hard to start again? What are your personal victories? What are your challenges?

Here is a excerpt from my newsletter and a personal update below. Let me know if this helps you get revved up again, or what little changes you have made that works for you. Happy Summer!!

  1. Walk 10 minutes today, or find a YouTube video to inspire you.(I like If watching a video, don’t feel like you have to do everything they are doing! Once you are in the habit of doing something, it will be easier to make the workouts longer. And yes, you have to schedule it. Mornings are easiest for most people, that way you don't get sidetracked later (or get too tired!)
  2. Get up from your desk every hour and walk around the office or building a couple of times. (studies show that moving a little  throughout the day will help a lot)
  3. Fill a pitcher with water in the morning, and drink it all by 7:30 tonight. (if you work at an office, bring a plastic one with you and keep it on hand) Lose the soda and juice. Watch out for those 300 -400 calorie Starbucks! FYI - Even diet soda can prevent you from losing weight!
  4. Get off the couch every time there is a commercial. Netflix? Take a jumping jacks break. (you may feel silly at first, but your family will get used to it)

Change your eating habits. Ugh, I hate it when someone tells me what to eat! Here are some little tweaks that might help.

  1. Give up the French fries. If you need something else, then bring an apple or banana from home.
  2. Pack your lunch. Studies have shown that your own cooking is usually healthier and has less calories than a purchased lunch. Coworkers want to go out? Suggest a park instead. They can pick up their sandwiches, and you can eat your healthy one. Plus, you’ll be outside which is good for an attitude adjustment.
  3. This is interesting – eat lunch, then walk. Sumo wrestlers eat a big meal, then go take a nap. Why? They are trying to store as much fat as possible. Imagine—we eat lunch, then go back and sit down at our desks. Hmmm….how about eating a little early, then taking a walk at lunchtime?
  4. Cut down on sugar and bread. The best thing you can do is get back to basics – whole foods; vegetables, fruits, meats. Use a smaller dinner plate – meat, cooked vegetable and salad. Cut up fruit with a dollop of vanilla yogurt for dessert. Eat slowly and consciously.

Lastly, remember to love yourself for who you are. Your friends don’t care what your thighs or stomach looks like, they care about what’s inside. We are overly critical of ourselves. There are no standards for beauty. I found a fantastic website with FREE workouts. Most everything they offer is free or very little money. They actually offer recipes and 8 week plans for a few dollars, if you’re interested. This couple seems to have one agenda: to help all of us be our best selves!

Update: I have been doing some of the Fitness Blender videos for a few days now. I like the variety. It's been humbling to realize I need to start at lower levels or modify the upper levels. I am being kind to myself. But I am committed to doing something 5 -6 days a week. Everyday is not going to be "all-out". Some days should be "easier" days to give the body a chance to recover.
I would love to hear your feedback. What are you doing differently? If you are still in vacation mode, I understand. Keep this as a reference for when you are ready!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I am tired of dieting….I just want to be healthy! When I go to the store, there is such a dizzying array of choices: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Low Carb, Low glycemic index, low fat, high fiber, all natural, organic, sulfite free, sugar free…..lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!!

On my journey for a healthy diet and a healthy relationship with food, I have tried a lot  different things. So I thought it would be interesting to write them down. Please bear with me as I self indulge. I hope you might find some truths and help as you read:

  1. Eating low carb: (Atkins, Southbeach)This consisted of cutting out everything that had an abundance of carbohydrates. Not that carbs are bad; it’s just that we tend to get carbs from sources that are not good places. Cutting out the breads, pastas, some cereals, potatoes, candy, cookies, crackers….this was not such a bad way of eating. It forced me to eat more salads, proteins like eggs, meat, fish. Lots of vegetables, some fruit but not over the top. The biggest drawback was that I could go over the top on cheese, butter, cream and artificial sweeteners (to get my sweet fix). I also found that once I went “off” the diet, any weight loss came back quickly.
  2. Weight Watchers -- or Counting Calories….same thing. Weight Watchers is a really nice way of keeping track of your food without actually counting the calories. They have a system. Back when I did it, they gave you recipe ideas and weekly meetings which helped you stay on track. The drawback was that I hate keeping track of what I eat. And it took me a while to figure out that although they don’t limit you; you can eat anything you want, you had better switch over to vegetables and protein or you will soon run out of calories to eat for the day.
  3. Low Fat -- which was a trend a decade or so ago. Many diet gurus embraced it, companies started producing all kinds of low-fat versions of real foods that persist even today. Unfortunately, in order to make something taste good low-fat, additives are needed, usually in the form of sugar. What we found is the culprit isn’t the fat, it’s the sugar. My dentist believes everyone should be drinking whole milk, not skim.
  4. Sugar free - Sugar is a big culprit in our obesity problem. I am a self proclaimed sugarholic, which some will say is sugar sensitivity. That means the more sugar I eat, the more I want. It’s a difficult merry go round to get off. Sugar triggers insulin production, which in turn (through a complicated process) creates more fat in our bodies.(and after the blood sugar spikes, it drops, leaving you with wanting another sugar fix). Interestingly, bread, crackers, cereals and pastas are all part of the sugar issue.
  5. THE PLAN - I tried this diet; the author believes that there are certain foods that each of us reacts to, setting ourselves up for indigestion, inflammatory issues and diseases. Then there are certain foods that are “friendly” that our bodies like. We are all different, therefore it is a trial and error type approach. She takes you through step by step starting with some of the most “friendly” foods and then adding others in. I found that kale tastes pretty good when fixed properly. I discovered flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and nuts (I love nuts. I always thought they were too high in fat. Same with avocados!) I also found that I felt pretty good eating this way. I also learned to drink more water. The drawback is that it is very specific what you have to eat, and you have to weigh yourself every day (what a lousy habit to get into.) I also don’t like having to plan ahead with everything I eat, or worry about eating out, a big challenge on this plan. It is also very low in sodium (a good thing!) but difficult when eating out.
  6. Gluten Free - There is a cardiologist that wrote a book called Wheat Belly which he explains is why so many of us fight the obesity/diabetes problem. According to him, our wheat is NOT the same as what it used to be. Producers have tampered with our wheat over the last 100 years so that it is not anything like the wheat of yesteryear. And nobody bothered to test it to see if it was safe for humans. Wheat is in so many things - not just the typical places like breads, pastas, cereals, crackers, baked goods…but also in candy, canned soup and condiments, places you wouldn’t think to look. Now, wheat free is not gluten free; gluten is also in barley and rye. Although it is challenging to go wheat free, it’s not impossible. I am not a big fan of replacing your gluten with processed gluten free foods, though. They contain things I would rather not ingest! The author of Wheat Belly agrees; he suggests staying away from corn starch, potato starch, tapioca, etc which are used in most gluten free prepared foods.
  7. Vegetarian and Vegan - not eating meat; or not eating meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc. Many people swear by their choice and if it works for you, then go for it! I have not explored these avenues myself; I have people in my life that choose eating this way, and they seem very happy with it. Having read Wheat Belly, I would have a hard time giving up all this and wheat. I respect you for your choice, however.
  8. Eating Organic -- Knowing where my food comes from. This has been an ongoing trek for me. I try to support my local farmers. How nice it is to put a face to the products I’m eating. If not local, then organic, then USA. I live 5 miles from an organic farm that produces cheese, yogurt, beef and vegetables. I feel very lucky to have that at my fingertips. Canned goods are tricky- unless you know the codes,  it's hard to tell where it comes from.
  9. I CAN MAKE YOU THIN another book: I read it, and it includes a hypnotic CD that you listen to. I can tell you this; I am finally free from the entire calorie counting, list making, eat this but don’t eat that kind of thinking! His plan is simple. Eat what you want, eat only when you are hungry, stop before you get full, and eat slowly and consciously. He addresses food cravings as well. He helps you love your body. The drawback: if you don’t have a solid understanding of what is good food, and what is not, this won’t help. I don’t think he had in mind that we choose cupcakes and Twinkies as a mainstay. For me, it was the perfect ending to being a slave to diets, and a beginning to a freer, happier self.

DO you see a pattern? I DO! I am continuing on my journey towards a healthier lifestyle which includes exercising at least 3 times a week, and drinking my Reliv shakes which covers my bases for the things I may be missing in my diet (see below). But here are some of the things I am trying to do. Thank you for letting me indulge. I hope you found something here that may be helpful. I am still learning. Remember this is my mantra...yours may look differently...

  1. Eat local and organic as much as possible. At least stay away from the dirty dozen.
  2. Drink at least half your body weight (in ounces) in water every day before 8 p.m.
  3. Cut out or down on wheat. That includes less bread, pasta, wheat cereal (I try to choose oatmeal, rice cereal, etc) Eat more ancient grains like quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat.
  4. Cut down on sugar. This goes along with the reduction of bread/pasta anyway. No cola, (not even diet cola). Less desserts, baked goods. Dark chocolate and red wine as a reward instead. (from the book, The Plan) There are some good sugar substitutes out there - stevia/rebiana, erythritol, xylitol are among the sweeteners that will not impact blood sugar levels. (from the book, Wheat Belly)
  5. Eat whole foods whenever possible. No boxed meals, frozen pre-made stuff. Buy stuff with ingredients you can pronounce. Good old fashioned vegetables that you cut up and prepare yourself. (I don’t eat a lot of potatoes, they seem to keep me from losing weight.) More green stuff. Eat grass fed beef, venison, organic chicken and eggs, wild caught fish. Drink whole milk or almond milk. Fresh or frozen fruit.
  6. Add flax, pumpkin, sunflower, chia seeds to salads. And eat a lot of salads. Avocado and Nuts too. The good kind of fat. Olive and Coconut Oil, yum.
  7. Listen to your body! If after eating a meal, things are not feeling so good, take note. There may be something that is “unfriendly” for you. (from the book, The Plan)

Here are 4 very good rules to live by that goes very well with the rest of this

  1. Eat S.L.O.W.L.Y and consciously. Not in front of the computer, TV or reading material.
  2. Eat what you want (I am trying to follow my other guidelines, but I am happier not getting too nit picky with myself)
  3. Only eat when you are hungry
  4. Stop when you are full. You can always come back for more later.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Polar Bears and Vitamin E

IS IT SPRING ALREADY? DID YOU KNOW that Polar Bears have black skin under their white fur? They live in one of our planet's coldest environments, and their thick fur and layers of fat are essential for survival. The white fur blends in with the snow, but their black skin soaks up the warmth from the sun's rays.

Although I love polar bears, I don't want the layers of fat on me! I find winter to be a tough time of the year for many reasons. Less activity, dry skin, high fat comfort food and not enough sun!
Here's one vitamin that we need to make sure we add to our daily diet: Vitamin E

Researchers have identified a significant drop in the usage of Vitamin E, noting that more than 90% of Americans aren’t getting their recommended dietary allowance (RDA.) What is this considerable group of Americans missing out on, exactly? In addition to improved brain health, Vitamin E offers several health benefits your body needs.

What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is more than a single vitamin. It’s a group of eight fat-soluble compounds. These compounds can be divided into two groups; tocopherols and tocotrienols, either of which can be alpha, beta, gamma or delta tocopherols. Researchers are beginning to find each of these eight members of Vitamin E has a very important role to play in our bodies in their own, individual ways.
What can Vitamin E do for you?
  • Skin Saver: Researchers have discovered that Vitamin E will protect your skin, significantly reducing skin sensitivity to UV rays from the sun. For best results, combine Vitamin E with Vitamin C (you can get both of these in Reliv products).
  • Pain Reliever: Studies have found that Vitamin E, in addition to prescription medication, may actually reduce the painful effects of rheumatoid arthritis. The combination of Vitamin E and the medication showed better results than medication on its own.
  • Healthy Heart: Vitamin E thins your blood, which keeps blood platelets from building up and clogging the circulatory system. When you include the proper amount in your daily diet, you ward off coronary artery disorder and many other heart diseases.

Lacking Much
The Vitamin E deficiency that more than 90% of Americans have can wreak havoc on their bodies. Without a proper supply of Vitamin E, people can develop skeletal and retinal myopathy (persistent or acute damage), impairment of the immune response, red blood cell destruction and more.
Guard Your Sources
Foods like eggs, nuts, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin E. Make sure you’re getting your RDA of Vitamin E by supplementing with Reliv products.
 Your body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to optimally function. To keep your body running in top shape, it’s important to keep some key vitamins in your system. One of these crucial vitamins is Vitamin E, which is found in Reliv products like products like Reliv Classic®, Reliv Now®, Fibrestore®, SoySentials® and Reliv Now® for Kids.