Thursday, February 15, 2018

Blue Zones and More! Live Long and Live Well!

Have you ever heard of the Blue Zones (a few great videos here)? The Blue Zones are 5 locations where people live the longest in the world! I have often mentioned them during my classes and lectures, so it's about time I wrote a post! SO here's a bit about them:

Dan Buettner, along with National Geographic and others, set out to learn about the culture of the areas of the world that have the greatest number of centenarians (people who live to be at least 100 years old). Here six characteristics that tie these cultures together:

  • Mostly plant based whole foods! A lovely variety of colorful foods! Lots of beans and nuts!
  • Strong social (friend and family) relationships - the oldest people are most honored and valued!
  • Physically active, not "exercise", rather movement to live: building, gardening, stirring :)
  • Strong sense of purpose and handle stress well (I'll link here to Lisa Damour's take on resilience in Untangled, with the related post title "Family Dinner" which surely happens every night in all of the Blue Zones!)
  • Faith and faith-based communities
  • Health is contagious! as in you tend to have similar health outcomes with the friends and family with whom you spend your life.

BONUS: The Japanese, in particular, and perhaps others, have several methods to not eat too much: a) prepare everyone's plate, and put the rest away (rather than family style), b) use smaller plates, and c) aim for 80% full (they have a special name for this: "hari hachi bu").

This is cool one or more of these cultures, there is no word for "retired".

Today, Time had a great article highlighting the Blue Zones!

Here are three great lists of Benefits of Eating Less Meat, and Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat. You can use these resources to convince yourself or your loved ones to make a change, or pat yourself on the back for the great changes you have already made. Enjoy!

COMMENTS: which of the benefits most impact you? For me, I knew the health benefits, so it was when I was truly educated about the astounding environmental impact of this lifestyle change, that I decided I would use my power to help save the Earth!

BONUS RECIPE (because everyone loves recipes!):
Cocoa Balls!
1 c ground flax, 1 c walnuts, 1 c dates, 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa, 1/4 peanuts
Blend in food processor ~2 min, form dough into balls, and enjoy!
...similar to other recipes, but this is how I made them today :) OTHER FLAVORS

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ideas for Lent!

Another beautiful season of Lent is about to begin. If you haven't already decided what you will be doing to prepare for Easter, here are some ideas!

This little one loves to help, so she wants to make beds and take out trash for Lent.
Lenten Promise Ideas

Make a family dinner EVERY night. Unfortunately, I don't already do this, but fortunately for my family, this Lent I am going to go for it! You could aim to eat in 5 days per week, or make 2 dinners per week, or sit down to a family meal once per week.

Perform a random act of kindness daily, such as helping someone fill their trunk with groceries, holding a door open for a crowd, smiling and saying hello to a stranger, letting someone go in front of you in line, buying someone flowers, buying someone a treat, making something special for a friend or family member, doing an extra chore/errand and not saying you did, writing a letter or calling a loved one, taking a grocery cart to or from someone, shoveling a walk way, baking or cooking for someone. WRITE IN THE COMMENTS other ideas! Or share a story of what you have done - spread some good news!

Exercise every day, or every other day, anything you can commit to, that is more than you do now.

Give up alcohol for Lent, or on weekdays, or on weekends.

Give up refined sugar (this doesn't refer to whole fruit or whole grains!).

Give up...the internet, or texting, or youtube, or movies, or TV, or electronics in the evening, or turn off your phone for 2 hrs a day...any bit "off the grid" we can get will surely help us with our Lenten goals.

Commit to meeting one of your Dr Greger Daily Dozen Checklist items daily. For example, I will have flaxseed every day during Lent.

Drink 5 glasses of water every day during Lent.

Say the Rosary every day during Lent, or three days per week, or on Saturdays.

Prayerfully review your day with the Daily Examen from St Ignatius.

Go to Reconciliation each week during Lent, or once during Lent.

Do yoga for 10 minutes per day, or 2 classes per week, or once a week.

Sit quietly and just breathe for 5 minutes each morning.

Here are some other examples from a previous post: Other Lenten Ideas 

May God bless you today, and always!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Loads Dr Greger's Daily Dozen Checklist Recipes

Loads Dr Greger's Daily Dozen Checklist Recipes

Dr Greger's Daily Dozen Checklist is a wonderful tool that can quickly and easily help anyone get healthier!

After reading How Not to Die, I began focus even more on eating the foods recommended by nutrition research for optimal health. After a year or so, I started actually tracking my food intake with Dr. Greger's checklist. For the first few months of tracking, I averaged 20 out of 24 check marks, meaning that I was meeting most of my requirements, and eating healthier than ever before!

As soon as I saw my first 24 out of 24, I was hooked! So, from that day (11/01/17) forward, I decided to aim for 100%! Sometimes I have to complete my missing check marks before bed. My odd food combinations at the end of the day can be entertaining. Tonight, for example, I had a 1/2 c frozen cherries and 2-3 large leaves of kale (equivalent of 1 c raw), 1/4 c hummus, and some pistachios. For several months now, I have averaged 23 out of 24 check marks! Meeting the exercise requirement every single day is my biggest challenge, and slowly but surely, I am getting there! 

I LOVE that I am actually eating beans and greens EACH day, more fruits and vegetables than EVER before, and flaxseed and turmeric EVERY single day! Also, having some berries and nuts on a daily basis is exciting because these are foods I love and value, but couldn't say I definitely ate them daily in the past. My family is not quite getting all their daily check marks, but they are doing great, eating lots of beans and greens...mostly with smiles on their faces :). As time goes by, their intakes are improving as well!

So here are some recipes that can help YOU get YOUR check marks! Enjoy!

Recipes to Help YOU with YOUR Dr Greger Daily Dozen

Creamy Carrot or Cauliflower Soup
Madras Chili
Easy Egyptian Stew

Spicy Vodka Pasta
Meatless Meatballs
Cheesy, Meaty Lasagna
Oil-Free Bruschetta

Super Juice 
Mango Recovery Smoothie
5-Checkmark Spicy Ginger Latte (how could I forget?)
Snow Day Hot Cocoa
Power-Packed Ginger Ale

Cherry Lemon Bars
Orange Almond Biscotti Balls
Crunchy Pumpkin Spice Cookie Dough
Healthy Fudgy Brownies
Banana Bread


COMMENTS: Do you use a daily Dozen app? What check marks are hardest for you to get? Do your kids keep track? Have you made progress in your totals? What tricks do you have for getting everything in? Do you have the cookbook? What's your favorite recipe?


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