STAY WARM! January/February 2017

January 1st, 2017

What better way to start off January than with a bowl of creamy white bean soup topped with fresh sprouts? Soup sustains me in the winter, so I thought I’d use this photo on my Home Page and post the recipe later in the week, maybe with more soup (and stew) recipes.

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With the first of the year here, many of you are probably making resolutions that will be broken by February, so I no longer make them. Instead I list projects I want to start, continue or finish, like working on my rhyming memoir at least one day a week and sending out at least one freelance query and essay/article. These are just ideas that I can easily adjust.

Just as I exercise to stay flexible, I need to be flexible with my daily plans and not beat myself up when I don’t complete something on my list. I just read an interesting idea in Susan Moon’s excellent book, this is getting old. In it she says, “I’m letting go of letting go.” I like being tenacious about my goals and also sometimes letting go of an idea that isn’t working. So I waffle between letting go and holding on, and I may let go of both concepts!

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Speaking of books, I have several I want to review under the sub-topic of “Healthy Reading.”  Many of your goals for 2017 may include talking better care of yourself, so these books may help. The one above I purchased when I developed severe laryngitis and the doctor recommended it. Clever title which relates to eating more alkaline foods. I will include a recipe or two from the book.

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Of course, February is the month of LOVE. I met my husband Alan right before Valentine’s Day in 2003 and he called me on the 14th to wish me Happy Valentine’s Day, which was two days after our first meeting. So now I like to celebrate this day as a kind of anniversary, but with a twist that it can be love for a friend, a sister, a teacher, with just a focus on love, in general, whether you are single, married, in between relationships, whatever your current situation. Or use this day to shower your pet with love! Maybe I will buy a new giraffe for Valentine’s Day, since we can’t have pets  in our condo. My giraffes around the apartment are my pets! In the meantime, here is my daughter and daughter-in-law’s cat Bunny wearing a red bow for Valentine’s Day.

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February is also Heart Awareness Month, so I will do some research on women and heart disease, since women seem to have different symptoms from men. I think the recipes I post are already heart healthy but will search for some specific foods for the heart and maybe create a recipe with them.

 

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Finally, winter upon us, I hope that those of you in the colder climates will stay warm and help others stay warm. Like a bear, I like to “hibernate” in the winter, catching up on projects and taking time to do indoor activities that are neglected in spring and summer. (When do people who live in Hawaii or Florida do this?)

Or maybe just cuddle on the couch with my husband and read a book, do a puzzle page, or watch an old movie on one of the movie channels. I think being “cozy on the couch” sounds like a wonderful prescription for winter!

 

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P.S. Have a Happy, Healthy, Warm New Year!

 

Holiday Hype: November/December 2016

November 1st, 2016

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By November, more & more trees have shed a blanket of leaves onto the ground, BUT……

As we enter the last two months of the year (already?), stores have Christmas holiday items for sale, almost bypassing Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. Why? Because it is about being thankful and can be celebrated by all people living in the USA whatever  race, religion or political persuasion.

Additionally, Thanksgiving comes during my favorite season of autumn, with leaves clinging to the branches and piles of leaves already on the earth’s floor. (See photo above.) Actually, I feel as though most of the fall has been a busy holiday season with Jewish holidays occupying many days in October, capped with Halloween over the week-end, and now the “getting ready” for the Big Three: Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

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Starting with Halloween, sweet treats seem to be high on the list of foods to buy, make, and serve. This overlaps conveniently or inconveniently, depending your point of view, with November’s American Diabetes Month. I have an introductory post on the 5th about this important issue. Since I believe Type 2 Diabetes is preventable, and it is one disease that responds to a cleaner diet, I hope to post several articles on this topic with recipes that reflect the guidelines of a generally healthier lifestyle, which include diet.

 

……. there are still trees in “full fall bloom,” like these in our condo backyard rimming the pool.

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My first recipe for November/December will be one I made recently with quinoa and veggies. I searched the ‘Net to see if quinoa is a good food to use for preventing or treating diabetes, and this is what I found (direct quote):

Quinoa is an excellent addition to a diabetic diet. A whole-grain with a low glycemic index to support an even blood sugar, it is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Quinoa is easy to cook and flavorful, and you can incorporate it into a healthy diabetic diet through a variety of ways.

Source: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/quinoa-good-grain-diabetics-eat-1759.html. (When I clicked on this today, Nov. 2nd, the address did not work correctly, even though I asked the same question: Is quinoa a good grain for diabetics to eat? If the link does not work, try the question to get to the source.)

The article gives an excellent profile of quinoa, a food native to the Andes Mountains that, in addition to the quote above listing its attributes, is also gluten-free. My recipe (photo below) includes hearty vegetables in season for additional fiber. Watch for it! I also plan to search my archives for other quinoa recipes that I will reprise. (I now use spouted quinoa for additional nutritional benefits.)

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I also have several books that I read during the summer and into the fall to review that may help you maintain a healthy balance and lifestyle as well as one (photo below) that has links to Election Day. All eyes will be on the race between Clinton and Trump as well as other major offices on the ballot and your voice can be heard on Election Day by voting.

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I know you won’t be thinking about food as much as politics next week, but keeping yourself healthy with good food, exercise, and reduced stress is good advice any time of year, especially as we approach the end-of-year holidays with all the media hype, present buying, cooking, and visiting family and friends. Traditional foods that may not be so healthful need not be eliminated, but balance these with foods that do support your immune system, like fresh fruits and (more green) vegetables.

Balance! I think it has become one of the most important words today.

I also notice that almost all the nutrition books recommend eating lower on the food chain (exceptions: Paleo and Atkins diet books), eating more fresh foods and less processed commercial foods, and eating more organically grown foods. I think a healthier diet as part of a healthier lifestyle is finally hitting mainstream media and hopefully that will mean better health for everyone, regardless of age or income!

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I did not see a visual that said:  Happy, Healthy Holidays! so I am adding it as a                        reminder that this website is about health: mental, physical, and spiritual.

P.S. the icons for Facebook & Twitter will soon be at the bottom of each posting.

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