live with physical challenges.
I am NOT a DOCTOR!!! I don't even play one on TV!!! It is my goal to live a more healthy lifestyle. Living well and being happy is what this blog is all about.

"Nothing,' wrote Tolstoy, 'can make our life, or the lives of other people, more
beautiful than perpetual kindness."

- Gretchen Rubin

I write about my own experiences and what works (or does not) for me. Nothing I write is to be taken as medical advice.

Only your health care provider, personal physician,Disclaimer:
I am not a doctor - I don't even play one on TV! This
or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Apples

With so many varieties to choose from, apples offer such a powerful nutritional punch that they are worth talking about!  Many times people overlook the common apple in favor of more exotic fruits (usually more expensive fruits as well).  I challenge you to give the humble apple another chance at the number one spot in your kitchen.

I'm the first to admit that I am an apple-holic!  What Kryptonite is for Super Man, Apples are for me!  I love apples so much because they have done so much for me.  They provide much needed fiber to my diet and the pectin in apples keep my skin clear and blemish-free.  I confess - I do eat an apple a day.  They have helped me shed 80 pounds.  I will also state for the record - that apple a day really has kept the doctor away.  That's a very good thing! 

I want to honor my favorite food today with some fun facts that you may or may not know.  Some of this stuff is relevant and some of it is - well, trivial - so the only time you would need to know it is when playing Apple Trivia.  One never knows when the opportunity may arise!  Well, here goes...

The Adam's apple is so-called because of a popular idea that it was created when the forbidden fruit got stuck in Adam's throat when he swallowed it.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no mention of an apple as the forbidden fruit in the Bible. It is referred to as "fruit from the Tree of Knowledge" with no specification as to which kind of fruit. It was Hugo Van Der Goes who first implicated the apple as the forbidden fruit in his 1470 A.D. painting, The Fall of Man. After that, it became popular to depict the apple as the forbidden fruit.

Johnny Appleseed was the nickname for John Chapman, a kind and generous American pioneer born in 1774 who planted apple seeds in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Apple trees don't bear their first fruit until they are four or five years old.

Half the United States apple crop is turned into apple products like applesauce and apple juice.

The only apple native to North America is the crabapple.

Red Delicious is the most popular and most-produced apple in the United States. Golden Delicious is the second most popular.

The apple is the official state fruit of Washington, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California are the top 5 apple-producing states in the U.S. In all, 36 states produce apples commercially.

The largest apple ever picked weighed three pounds, two ounces.

One medium apple contains about 80 calories.

The word apple comes from the Old English aeppel.

The Celtic word for apple is abhall.

Quercetin is found only in the apple skin. The skin also contains more antioxidants and fiber than the flesh.
China produces more apples than any other country.

The average person eats 65 apples per year.

Apples float because 25% of their volume is air.

*Source:  Health Diaries Published on November 1, 2007

What is your favorite kind of apple?  My first choice is a juicy Golden Delicious.  If I can't get that, then a Red Delicious will do.  I heard a popular coach say once, "If you want to know if you are really hungry, ask yourself if you are hungry enough to eat an apple.  If the answer is yes - then go eat an apple.  If the answer is no - go find something else to do because you are not really hungry!"

It's really true, isn't it?  I keep apples in our house all the time - and I do ask myself that question when I wonder into the kitchen on a food-hunting expedition.  Sometimes I have had to walk back out of the kitchen empty-handed because I was not hungry enough to eat an apple!  Smart person, that coach! 

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my little tribute to the forgotten fruit - the humble apple.  I give you a warm welcome into my kitchen, sweet Golden Delicious apples!  

Apples are Awesome!


Today is JOHNNY APPLESEED DAY!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  • Take a field trip to an apple orchard.
  • Learn about the color red.
  • Learn about the circle shape.
  • Check out different varieties of apples. Taste the apples and tell which ones you like best.
  • Learn about different products made from apples.
  • Make some Home-Made Applesauce.

  • Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Celebrate the Green Smoothie

    Today I want to celebrate my favorite indulgence by sharing some really rockin' green smoothie recipes with you.  I know that I'm diabetic, but I still need a little bit of "sweet" in my smoothies.  Guilty!  Yeah! 

    These green smoothies are a great way to "trick" my body into thinking I'm getting a yummy treat.  I don't even realize that I'm being healthy.  Who doesn't love that?
    Creamy Almond Milk Green Smoothie (makes one quart)
    1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
    3 cups (tightly packed) spinach
    1 frozen banana
    10 frozen strawberries
    1/4 cup dates
    Add everything to blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
    Raw Vegan Pina Colada Green Smoothie (makes four 16oz. glasses)
    4 cups fresh or frozen ripe sweet pineapple
    2 cups raw coconut water
    2 cups ice (if using fresh pineapple)
    1 cup chopped washed dandelion greens
    1/2 cups dried shredded unsweetened coconut
    1/4 cup raw cashews
    1/4 cup dried chopped pitted dates (or more to taste)
    Place in blender and puree until smooth and creamy.  Add a little paper umbrella and enjoy!
     Blackberry-Cherry Green Smoothie Recipe with Vanilla (makes 32 oz.) 
    1 cup cherries, pitted

    1 cup blackberries

    2 small bananas, peeled

    1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla

    3 cups fresh baby spinach

    8 oz. filtered water

    Add liquid to blender, followed by soft fruit.  Add greens last.  Blend on high for 30 seconds or until smoothie is creamy.

    A Simple Sweet Green Juice Recipe (makes 2 16 oz. glasses)
    1 cup spinach

    1/2 cup grapes

    1 cup coconut water

    1 peeled and seeded orange

    2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    1/2 cup ice cubes

    dash of fresh ginger root

    1/2 banana

    Put ingredients in blender and blend well.


    Peach Green Smoothie (makes 2 16-oz. glasses)

    2 medium peaches

    1 cup grapes

    2 cup baby spinach

    1 cup filtered water

    Put in blender and blend well.


    Pear Green Smoothie (makes 2 16-oz. glasses)

    3 medium pears

    1 banana

    2 cups baby spinach

    2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Put in blender and blend well.


     The Best Green Smoothie Ever (makes 2 16-oz. glasses)

    1/2 cup almond milk

    1 banana

    2 small oranges

    1/2 cup pineapple

    1/2 cup carrots

    2 cups baby spinach

    1 1/2 cup ice

    Put liquids in blender first and solids on top.  Blend until smooth.  Add more ice as needed.


    Green Monster Spinach Smoothie (makes 1 serving)

    1 sliced banana

    1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter

    1/2 cup 0% Vanilla Greek Yogurt

    1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (or other milk)

    4 cups baby spinach

    Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.


    Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie (makes 2 servings)

    1/2 cucumber

    1 cup green grapes

    1/2 cup spinach

    1-2 cups water

    Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.


    How to make a perfect smoothie:  Know the two types of fiber - AH HA!!!



    Monday, April 15, 2013

    Taxes and Death - in that Order we Hope

    Ding...  Ding...  Ding...  today is the day - T-day!!!!!!!!!  If you have not payed your taxes, you'd better file an extension - quick!  Yes, it's that time of year once again...  it's TAX DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The only things certain in life are death and taxes.  - Benjamin Franklin

    We obey the law - we pay the tax and then we pray we did it right!  Some people do their own taxes but I won't.  I do not want that responsibility on my shoulders.  I'll just pay somebody else to do it and get all the information to them, thank you!  It's well worth the cost to have that peace of mind. 

    "Everybody should pay their taxes with a smile", said Bob.  "I tried it, but they wanted cash!"  - Bob

    It's so funny to walk into the CPA's office because you know right away everyone is there for the same reason.  We all have that same blank look on our faces.  We know what it is, but we just don't know exactly what it is.  Will it be good news - a refund?  Or will it be bad news - gotta pay in?  Flip the coin and hope the deductions outweigh and you get money back.

    The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. 
    - attributed to Albert Einstein

    It's a little like being in Vegas, actually.  Everyone has that look like - "Come on lucky refund...  come on, baby - roll the dice and win the pot!"  No, tax day is not my very favorite day, but I'm determined to make the best of it.  I think it's funny to see the expression on people's faces as they walk out of the office.  Some look overjoyed while some look like they have just received news that their pet sea monkey died.  I am a people watcher - and people crack me up!

    If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation.  - Farmer's Almanac

    I love the study of body language, known as kinesics (pronounced 'kineesicks') as well.  In the office, no one speaks but if you watch closely, they tell the story without saying a word.  The non-verbal communication began when I watched a man standing at the front desk with his hand in his pocket nervously jingling the change and whatnot.  He must have thought that what was in his pocket would be all he would have left!  

    The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward.
    - John Maynard Keynes

    Then an older couple came in, checked in at the front desk and took their seat.  She was awkward with silence and just kept rifling through the magazines on the table and organizing them as though she was going to burst if she didn't get to speak at some point.

    Indoors or out, no one relaxes
    In March, that month of wind and taxes,
    The wind will presently disappear,
    The taxes last us all year.  - Ogden Nash
    The seating in the waiting area was awkward, to put it nicely.  If you did not have something to read then you would be forced to look straight into a stranger's face, and we were no more than a couple of feet across from each other - very cozy seating area.  It was like a little hallway leading back to the individual offices of the CPA's.  I personally chose to look at their flooring and compare their tile to the tile I have in my own entryway.  I like my color choice better, by the way.

    The United States is the only country where it takes more brains to figure your tax than to earn the money to pay it.  - Edward J. Gurney

    As a general rule, we do not receive a refund of any kind.  This year, however, due to all of the increased medical expenses we've incrued, we get quite a handsome refund.  When we got that bit of good news I immediately announced that I have plans for that money.  The CPA nearly choked on her gum, she laughed so hard.  Yes I do have plans and it's not to pay out for more expensive drugs either.  **sigh**.  

    A girl's gotta do a little livin' while she can, ya know!!!  I wanna have some fun!

    Happy TAX DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    No Housework Day

    My mama used to say, "Cleanliness is next to godliness", and I've read the Bible through a few times and have never seen those exact words!  This phrase was first recorded in a sermon by John Wesley in 1778, but the notion is ancient, found in Babylonian and Hebrew religious tracts.  It is invoked, often as an admonition to wash or clean up!  It was mama's way of saying, "Get your act together" - yeah, no, that's not in the Bible either. 

    Today is Sunday, which by all accounts makes this a lazy day to begin with, but we are celebrating NO HOUSEWORK DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In my world, every Sunday is no housework day, so this is literally a no-brainer.

    But let's think about all the benefits that housework provides, shall we?

    If I clean house for one hour I will burn about 157 calories!  The other obvious benefit of housework is that I will have the satisfaction of knowing I no longer live in a dirty filthy pit!

    According to a recent study, conducted by a team of researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University, individuals who clean their homes on a regular basis and live in surroundings the researchers termed “tidy” are more likely to be fit and physically healthy than their peers who live in dirty or cluttered homes.

    According to NiCole Keith, an associate professor of physical education at Indiana University, “At the end of the day, the interior condition of their house seemed to be the only thing affecting their physical activity. It was not at all what we expected.”

    These findings left Keith wondering, "Are the types of people who take care of their bodies the same types of people who take care of their homes?"  It seems that individuals who are able to stick to an exercise regemen for an extended amount of time are motivated by certain personality traits like self-control and the ability to set future goals and stick to those goals regardless of what's going on around them or how they feel about it.

    There's something to be said about cleaning whether you feel like it or not.  Letting emotional issues dictate whether you clean your house or not - well, that's a little bit like playing Russian roulette.  It's very hit and miss and very fickle.  It's better to just get in gear and get it done.  It's best if I just have a schedule and stick to it.  Whether it's housework or exercise, in the end, I feel better about everything - my house, my circumstances and my creative process.

    To be honest, for me the psychological benefits of a neat, clean, tidy, organized living space far outweigh the physical ones.  I actually get a sort of "high" after I have really dug in and done a good cleaning.  When my home is clean, organized and tidy, I think more clearly.  When my surroundings are in order and make sense, my mind follows suit.

    I especially like to clean during the Winter months or if it is inclimate in any way outdoors.  Boredom can absolutely take over my mind on days when the weather is less than cooperative.  If I begin cleaning my house and really get into it, there's a sense of purpose and a goal.  My house is not immaculate and I don't want to give that impression, but if it's neat and tidy I feel a sincere sense of accomplishment.

    For me, cleaning house is a stress buster.  I know it sounds weird, but I like to clean when I'm alone and it's my time to let loose and have some fun.  My favorite music is funky disco (yes, I said funky).  The Bee Gees CD goes in the player, I put on my rainbow suspenders and I grab my rainbow feather duster and dance my way through the house.  Uh-huh...  there's a reason I don't want an audience! 

    No, I do not have a disco ball - and I don't wear roller skates. 
    Who asked that???

    The quick motion of cleaning releases endorphins, a natural mood-enhancing hormone, into your bloodstream. 

    I'm once again picturing Carrie Fisher in "Postcards From The Edge" calling endorphins, "endolphins".  I just love that movie! 

    It is most difficult for me to buckle down and clean when the weather is gorgeous.  I don't want to be indoors dusting if I can be outdoors doing - well - anything else!  So, I have deemed Spring (the days when it isn't raining) and Summer the months I should not have company. 

    I'm tempted to get one of those signs that says, "My house was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it!"

    Well, mama was probably right - cleanliness is probably next to godliness.  But my housework will definitely wait until tomorrow.  There's always tomorrow!

    Enjoy NO HOUSEWORK DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!