Health and Wellness Fridays – Honesty

Hello and welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays!  Today, I would like to take a look at honesty.  I’m sure you’re probably wondering what honesty has to do with health and wellness but as we take a closer look you’ll see how we sometimes underestimate how much of a role honesty plays especially as it relates to our health and wellness.

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Being honest with ourselves about how we feel, what hurts, what does not feel right and  what we really need to do to make the necessary changes in our lives can help us live better, healthier and sometimes longer lives.  Too often we downplay our medical issues, disregard reoccurring symptoms and try to convince ourselves that a quick visit to the pharmacy or pharmacist would be the end of it.

If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, we might hear stories like:

“I love food but sometimes I don’t make good food choices.”

“I lack the will power to say “NO” to my cravings.”

“I might need some help to get my health and life where I need to be.”

“I know what I have to do to live a healthier life but I find it difficult to just commit to the process.”

“I’m scared of going to the doctor because I think I have a pretty good idea what’s wrong and I don’t want to have him confirm it so I’ll deal with it myself.”

“I’m scared of the possibility of receiving bad news.”

“I don’t like or trust doctors so I don’t go if I don’t have to.”

“I have better things to do with my money.”

“I don’t want people judging me.”

“I don’t feel comfortable going to public spaces to work out because I feel like everyone is looking at me.”

I can tell you, that as long as we keep making excuses to continue doing the wrong things we would not get the change we want.  The honest reason for this I believe is we don’t want the change bad enough probably because it’s hard to see ourselves beyond who we are today.

We need to not only change the conversation we are having with ourselves but control it. However, most important of all, is to stop lying to ourselves, stop making excuses and stop being bystanders in our own lives.

Honesty starts with US.  What stories are you telling yourself that are preventing you from reaching where you’re meant to be physically or mentally?

Thank you for stopping by. Have a good night and a wonderful weekend.  🙂

 

 

Health and Wellness Fridays : Self-control

Hello and welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays!  Hope you all are having a wonderful Friday. Tonight, I want to talk about the challenges most of us have in exercising self-control especially as it relates to our eating habits.

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Let me first start off by saying that this is an area I personally struggle with.  I know all the right foods to eat and all the unhealthy foods to avoid and yet in spite of all of this knowledge and wisdom – it can be really tough to walk away sometimes.  I know for a fact that I’m not the only person with this issue but let’s keep the focus on me. I don’t want you guys feeling bad or guilty. So just hear me out. 🙂

Self-control means that not only do we have the POWER to control ourselves, our choices and our decisions but that we actually USE that power in our best interest.

I believe we all have self-control the challenge is applying it to the areas of our lives that we have relinquished control – for some it is their finances, others their relationships, and so many other areas but mine is junk food. 🙁

Do I have self-control? Yes! Is it effectively applied to every area of my life? No. Food is one of the most challenging areas for me. Sure, I have the good stuff like my fruits, veggies, nuts, multivitamins, and so on but I also have occasional fries, fried chicken, pizza and Chinese food from time to time.  I know what I have to do and yet there are times when I decide to just throw it out the door and just have what I want and not necessarily what I need.

Do I love myself enough to do better? Yes!  So what’s holding me back from committing fully to the process?  Let’s find out.

  1. Cravings – old habits where you can’t help but want what you want even after you’ve implemented new habits.
  2. Enablers – the people around me who love the same stuff I love so it’s easy to fall back into it.
  3. Self-talk – where I convince myself I’m in control and I walk into an establishment leaving self-control at the door as the aroma of food fills the air.  He better not watch me crossed eyed when I’m walking back out with my fast food in tow so he can pout all he wants.  🙂
  4. Emotional eating – if I am feeling stressed out  you could believe that I am going in search of my comfort food KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) or a good BBQ. It does help to be honest but I do feel guilty after so all I end up doing is transitioning from one emotion to another.
  5. Not eating on time.  This is a major factor in me making poor food choices as I let my sense of smell and sight along with my hunger pains determine what I eat and how much.
  6. The belief that because I make healthy food choices most times that  I can have occasional ‘feel good food’. Life is just too short for diet rigidity.

All of the above factors make self-control over eating habits more challenging.  How do we overcome them?

  1. Eating on time. I try to add little snacks like yogurt, fruit or even nuts to help me not feel as hungry since I’m often stuck behind a desk.
  2. Try to monitor my stress levels and try to distract myself with music to take my mind off of whatever is attempting to throw me off.
  3. Monitor the self-talk. If I feel like convincing myself to go through the drive thru I would try to give myself reasons why I probably shouldn’t go – the line is just too long, the chicken might not even be fresh or the fries might be hot.  It works most times.
  4. As for the enablers, I just started saying NO especially if I already indulged once or twice for the week then anything after that is a no. I end up talking down their cravings as well. Of course, they’ll be a little disappointed and I’ll probably have to provide an alternative but at least we saved ourselves from overindulging.
  5. Cravings – I try not to stifle my urges entirely because food makes me happy. I have made an effort to regulate how often I would indulge for the week and month and try to stay within or under that goal making sure not to exceed it. Example, I might have KFC 2 -3 times for the month rather than 2-3 times for the week.
  6. Being honest with myself about what my weaknesses are and trying to put things in place to improve them for the betterment of ME.

Self-control is inside of each of us we just have to tap into it meaningfully. We all stumble from time to time and that’s okay. We need to support and encourage each other especially in areas of weakness – so let’s pick ourselves up and keep pushing forward. When we give up on ourselves self-control walks out the door.

Our health and wellness is just as important as those other areas of our lives that we apply self-control to if not more so.  It is there to protect us but it can’t work if we don’t use it.

Have a wonderful night and an amazing weekend.  Thank you for stopping by.

Health and Wellness Fridays- Laughter

Pretty Woman, Happy, Young, Female

Friday Greetings to each of you!!  🙂 Although it has been raining all day and most of the night I am happy to report that I’ve been blessed with another day and opportunity to share this earth with each of you.  I hope you’re all having a wonderful day so far and that you choose to make the most of it regardless of the obstacles that try to throw you off your game.

Today we’re going to be taking a closer look at the benefits of laughter to our overall health and well-being.

Laughter, Latino, Autumn, Leaves

Does laughter have any affect on our well-being?  Let’s find out.

Some benefits of laughter include:

  1. Reduce stress hormones
  2. Boosts immune system
  3. Regulates blood pressure
  4. Increases blood oxygenation
  5. Enhance your mood making you feel better
  6. Releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers
  7. Help burn additional calories
  8. Help you cope better during challenging times
  9. Helps improve your sense of humour
  10. Works out the stomach muscles
  11. Improves heart health
  12. Improves memory
  13. May even fight off cancer
  14. Promote creativity
  15. Laughter increases connection with others

Some of us often think that if we or others are laughing then we or they are not taking life seriously.  The truth is, there will always be something going on in the world that we don’t like or agree it.  However, there will also have good things and people as well that should be celebrated and enjoyed and not overshadowed by all of the negativity that can suck the joy right out of us.

Just take a look at the possible benefits to be gained from such a simple act as laughing.    No sign up fee.  No membership fee. Laughter is the easiest and most affordable element we can add to our everyday lives to make even subtle improvements to our overall health and well-being.

Now back to my earlier question, “Does laughter have any affect on our well-being?”  Yes, I believe it does.  When I look around it is almost impossible to miss the visible differences between people who laugh nearly everyday and those who are barely able to crack a smile.  The major differences would include: their uptight physically and in their interactions with others; their bodies seem tense all of the time and some may even be labelled as unapproachable.

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I’m almost certain that if we took a closer look at their blood pressure and stress levels their scores would probably be higher as well and they may not even know it.  Most of us don’t realize until it is too late and we’re forced to go the doctor or the hospital.  Don’t allow the pressures of life to stifle your laughter.

Okay, so we’ve seen the benefits of laughter but there can be some side effects also.  Let’s take a look.

  1. Sore muscles. Have you ever laughed so hard and long that your muscles hurt? The joke or moment was hilarious but your poor muscles paid the price after. That was actually your muscles getting a workout.  The pain is short-lived but the funny memory would live on.   🙂
  2. Persons in recovery from abdominal surgery in particular as well as any other area of the body that may be impacted by laughter should be cautious and if possible try avoiding laughter as this could be painful at least until after they have fully recovered.

At the end of the day, life has its complications from time to time but laughter is not one of them.  Smile, laugh and live each day enjoying every moment where and whenever you can.

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Have a blessed day and a wonderful weekend!  Don’t forget to laugh. 🙂

 

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Health and Wellness Fridays – Eggs

Good day to you all on this wonderful Friday afternoon. 🙂  I hope your day is off to a great start.  Ideally, you would have had breakfast already which may or may not have included our hot topic today – eggs!  Eggs are not only nutritious but they are also a cost-effective and versatile food.

Nutritional Profile

Eggs are an excellent source of choline. They are also a very good source of selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, biotin, molybdenum and iodine. They also contain vitamin B5, protein, phosphorus, vitamin D and vitamin A, amino acids and many other nutrients.  Eggs are not just a tasty treat but a food rich in nutrients.

Did you know?

The top egg producing countries in the world are China, USA, India, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, France and Germany according to Worldatlas.com.

Some benefits of eating eggs include:

  1. Reduce the risk of heart disease
  2. Rich in Antioxidants
  3. Increase HDL (good) cholesterol
  4. Support good vision and eye health
  5. Aid in weight loss
  6. Maintain liver function
  7. Reduce blood pressure
  8. Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
  9. Support brain health
  10. Keep skin healthy
  11. Strengthen muscles
  12. Support healthy immune system
  13. Produce energy
  14. Reduce the risk of breast cancer
  15. Support bone health
  16. Low in calories

Eggs are truly an amazing food and we have a lot to gain from adding them to our diet.  Those of you who have read my seven facts would know  that I am not a fan of eggs.  Over the years however, I have learnt how to include them in my meals so that I don’t lose out from all the benefits to be gained from eating them.

Some frequently asked questions:

  1. Which is better white or brown eggs?

The colour of the egg is determined by the breed of the chicken.  There is no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs.  However, it should be noted that a hen’s diet and environment can affect an egg’s nutrition.

Some people prefer the taste of brown eggs while others insists that white eggs taste better.  The major difference between white and brown eggs are their prices.  All in all,  I think it just comes down to personal preference.  You determine for yourself what you prefer because they are both good for you. 🙂

2. Which part of the egg is healthier the whole egg, the egg yolk or the egg white?

The thing is, the whole egg is rich in important vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients so should you decide to throw away one or the other you would be losing some of the nutrients.

The white of a large egg has 60% of the egg’s total protein with the remaining 40% found in the yolk. There are beneficial nutrients found in the yolk that you would not find in the egg white such as omega-3 fats, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin E and carotenoids.

Unless, you’re preparing a recipe that is specific about using egg yolk or egg white you should try to use the whole egg.

Some possible dangers to be aware of include:

Cholesterol – some believe that because the egg yolk has large amounts of cholesterol that it is bad because cholesterol is associated with causing heart disease.  The reality is saturated fats and trans fat are the real culprits behind elevated cholesterol levels.   If you are however, someone who suffers with high cholesterol it is recommended that you avoid the egg yolk.

Bacteria – in particular, salmonella poisoning is a very real threat.  Try an  avoid eating raw or under cooked eggs. Bacteria can enter the egg through pores in the shells.  There is more risk associated with soft cooked and “sunny side up” eggs than eggs that have been hard-boiled, scrambled, or poached.

Allergy – according to the Egg Nutrition Center , an average of two percent of the population under age five is allergic to eggs.  However, some studies suggest that most of the children seem to outgrow their egg allergy by late childhood.

Handling of eggs – any surfaces that might have potentially come into contact with raw egg should be sanitized with a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine to 1 quart water.

Storage and cooking – avoid eggs that are cracked and have past their expiration date.

In conclusion, eggs are a good source for a variety of nutrients that benefit the body in more ways than one.  Do your research, ask questions, discuss with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend!

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Health and Wellness Fridays – Kale

Welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays!

Today, centre stage we have kale.  Some say it is the king of all the super greens, others call it the “queen of greens” but whatever name you give it at the end of this post hopefully we’ll agree that it is definitely one of the world’s healthiest foods.

Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Kale is a vegetable and it’s a member of the Brassica family along with cabbages, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.  There are so many varieties of kale.  If you didn’t know you might probably mistake it for just another beautiful flower.

Let’s take a look at some below.

Image Credit: Pixabay.com
  • Common kale: is the most common type found in supermarkets. It has large, frilly edged leaves and long stems. The colour can range from light to dark green with a slightly bluish hue at times. It has a slightly sweet taste.
  • Lacinato Kale also known as Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan kale: is an Italian variety of kale. It has crinkly leaves and is dark purplish and green. It has a sweet but slightly spicy flavour.
  • Ornamental kale:  although referred to as “ornamental” is actually edible but be warned the leaves are somewhat coarse and bitter in taste. It has a frilly and fluffy appearance.  Its colour can range from pink to purple to magenta. This colourful variety because of its beauty is often used for displays.
  • Red Russian Kale:  have bluish-green leaves with a red rib. They have frilly edges but they are not as frilly as those of common kale. It is also more tender and sweeter than common kale.
  • White Kale: has frilly white leaves and is slightly peppery in taste.

What’s in it?

Kale is packed with nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and copper.  It’s a very good source of vitamin B6, fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E and vitamin B2.  If that was not enough, you’ll also find iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega 3 fats, phosphorus, protein, folate, vitamin B3 and 45 different flavonoids.  Kale is clearly not a super green to be taken at face value.

Now that we have gotten the nutritional profile out-of-the-way let’s get into the good stuff that is, what is it good for? 

Some benefits of kale include:

  1. Anti-aging
  2. Anti-oxidant
  3. Anti-inflammatory
  4. Anti-cancer
  5. Lower cholesterol
  6. Detoxification
  7. Supports vision health
  8. Supports brain health
  9. Good for skin and hair
  10. Good for bones
  11. Support weight loss
  12. Support immune system
  13. Help with depression
  14. Control blood sugar

Kale has the potential to do amazing things but what is the best way to use it?  Some people like to eat kale raw others prefer to cook it. Whatever method you choose, be sure to wash it thoroughly before consuming.

You could add them to salads, sandwiches or as a side to a dish whatever you feel inspired to do. Cosmopolitan.com has offered 19 ways to cook kale that would blow your mind. Feel free to check them out if you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen or just want to try something new.

Some possible side effects

Kale has come under suspicion as being goitrogenic, a substance that can lead to swelling or dysfunction of the thyroid gland.

Recent studies, however, show that kale and its cruciferous cousins do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy people.

One article has stated that even those suffering from hypothyroidism can eat as much kale as they want as long as it is cooked.

I suggest talking to your doctor to be safe. What might be okay for me, might not be okay for you – so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, persons who use beta-blockers need to exercise moderation when consuming foods high potassium, especially if your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.

People taking blood thinners should also be particularly careful because kale’s high content of vitamin K promotes clotting.

Kale contains oxalates which have been identified as a contributor to the formation of kidney stones. However, according to University of Chicago kidney specialist Dr. Fredric Coe, although kale does contain oxalates it has very small amounts unlike spinach which has large amounts of oxalates which can cause the formation of kidney stones.

All in all, kale is a great food that has a lot to offer but moderation is advised.  For safety consult your health care provider.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend!

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Healthy is not a number but a lifestyle

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Image Credit: Pexels.com

As women it seems our weight is always an issue not only for ourselves but more so for those around us.   We’re either too big or too thin.  If we’re in the middle, we need to tone up.  Everybody has their own idea as what sexy and beautiful should look like and wonder why we’re not trying to get with the programme.

Some of us have come to terms with our bodies and our differences and have chosen to tell such people “to piss off or mind your own business”.  Nobody likes to be constantly compared or reminded that they don’t match the world’s ideal body type.  We’re all different and we should embrace our differences regardless of whether we’re a XS, S, M, L,  XL, XXL, XXXL or higher.

I’m not totally satisfied with my weight and I’ve procrastinated about doing something about it.  The decision to do something about it comes from my discomfort about how I feel at times.  Oh yes, I have my noise makers who so freely point out that I’m not as small as I used to be but I try not to let their words bother me.  I often have to point out that they too have much-needed work to be done in their own lives and suggest they focus on getting their own act together. Amen! 🙂

My goal is not to make myself pleasing or more pleasing for others but rather to get healthier because it is in my best interest to do so.  If my getting healthier through improving my eating habits and getting more active results in some weight loss and dropping a few inches here and there and better health overall – then great!

I found in the past that I just lacked the drive to actually follow through with the workout routines and diets.  It’s hard to lose weight on your own unless you have a strong will. Now with a change in my attitude and a different outlook on life I have come up with the following for 2017.

I made the following promises to myself:

1. I’m going to focus on getting healthier such as eating and juicing more fruits and vegetables.

2. I’m going to start slow and not be too drastic in my eating decisions. Be realistic.

3. I’m going to follow through with this and I’m not going to give up.

4. I’m going to stop making excuses.

5. Try and recruit other people interested in achieving the same goals.  This way we are able to support and motivate each other.

6. Get more active. Go walking, jogging, running, climbing stairs, dancing, buy some weights or maybe even a bike. Either way, I need to be doing more than I’m doing now.

7. I’m not going to let other people’s negativity impact on how I see and feel about myself.

So let’s forget about our weight and focus on being healthy. Let’s do things that help our bodies not hurt them. Ultimately, it’s about balance, moderation and self-control.

I am making a promise to love myself more by taking better care of my body inside and out.  Do you love yourself enough to make those tough decisions?

 

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Image Credit:Pixabay.com