Posted in Family, Health, raising kids

Why is Childhood Obesity on the Rise?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy weekend of kids, writing, and housework. I can feel the energy changing because it’s getting close to the holidays. I know it’s getting busier which means I’m going to be frustrated because I won’t have as much time to write. Boo. But it’s always like this during this time of year, so I just have to suck it up and get through it.

But enough about that, today I want to talk about our country’s weight issues. I wrote a post a couple of years ago titled “Is our Food Industry making Us Fat.” At the time I had just learned that food manufacturers had added sugar to much of our processed food so we would like it better and buy more of their brand. This added sugar adds calories, thus making us gain weight.

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I also learned today that our portion size has grown through the years. I call it portion distortion. Many fast food places have made their portions bigger. For example, a portion of French fries twenty years ago was 2.4 ounces and two hundred calories. Today, the portion size has grown to 6.9 ounces and six hundred and ten calories. This is the reason Diabetes is on the rise and our children are obese.  Even if you’re exercising, there’s a good chance you’re still taking in too many calories.

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I don’t eat fast food very often, but there are times when I use processed food for cooking. For example, canned tomato sauce. Did you know there are two grams of sugar in a fifteen ounce can? I know two grams doesn’t sound like much, but why in the world are manufacturers adding sugar to tomato sauce? Because sugar is like cocaine to our brain. It turns off our over-eating inhibitor, so we eat more, and it is addictive. Doesn’t this sound like what the tobacco industry did to cigarettes? They added nicotine to them so people would become addicted and keep buying their product even though smoking causes cancer and heart disease. They didn’t care. Am I the only one who sees a trend here? To learn more about the negative effects of sugar consumption click here . Negative Effects of Sugar

Sugar does not cause cancer, but it does cause us to be overweight which is a precursor to cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. So, while the food industry isn’t necessarily causing these diseases, it certainly isn’t helping by adding sugar to our processed food.

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What can we do? We’ve got the food industry working against us. First, we can stop eating fast food. I know, it’s hard to do when it’s convenient and we just don’t feel like cooking. However, we must get back to the basics where we cooked our own food. We need to get away from processed foods and fast food. Once we do that, food manufacturers will change their products because they want to keep selling it, and fast food joints will offer healthier alternatives. Wouldn’t you agree? Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about our food industry? Do you think they’re making us sick? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Related Articles:

Is Processed Food Poisoning Us?

Is our Food Industry Making Us Fat?

Is Our Food Industry making us Sick?

An Insidious Epidemic: Childhood Obesity

 

Posted in Health, Women

Stress Relievers for Every-day Life

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a great weekend of writing and running. (I’m recovering now.) It was gorgeous this afternoon and a great time to get out and get some exercise. I forced my boys to get away from their video games and get outside, which they did grudgingly, but I’m sure they enjoyed it. I’m trying to teach them to take care of themselves. No easy task. Believe me.

I’m pushing for them to get outside because when winter flies, I’m sure we’ll be hibernating and it’ll be hard for them to get some exercise, but enough about that. Today I want to talk about dealing with the stress of every-day life and with the holidays coming up, well that can be stressful  too. So, I want to give you a quick list of stress relievers that I’ve used in the past, and continue to still use. Here they are:

 

Stress Relievers:

  1. Exercise: Exercise is my go-to stress reliever. Even a short walk gets those endorphins pumping through my brain, settling me down and allowing me to refocus instead of react.

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  1. Reading: Did you know reading for only fifteen minutes reduces your stress level by right around sixty percent? Reading is an excellent stress reducer, plus it teaches empathy, and improves your vocabulary. For more information on this, click here. 

 

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  1. Forest-bathing: Forest-bathing is another great way to relieve stress, but there are also other health benefits to taking a hike in the woods. The trees in the forest release phytoncides, that we breathe in and these little buggers help strengthen our immune system. For more information check out this post by clicking here.

 

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  1. Laughter:  Laughing is an excellent stress reliever. Take the time to watch a comedy or funny sit-com. It relieves your stress and can also improve your immune system.

 

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So, there you have it. Stress relievers for every-day life and the holidays. How do you manage your stress? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health

Getting Back to Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back again after spending a rainy morning working on my WIP. It was a good weekend for working on it because it is definitely cooler outside. Although, I did get my six-mile run in. That felt awesome. When I was done that is. 😊

 

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          Today, I’d like to talk about getting back to nature. We have become the indoor generation. For a clearer picture of this check out this post here.

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          In my opinion, we’ve become a nation of strivers, trying to be uber-efficient so we can accomplish more each day. We’ve become unbalanced, putting work and accomplishment ahead of our health. So, we try to squeeze exercise and self-care into tiny increments. I know I’m guilty of this, but I’m not the only one.

To be fair, we’ve got a lot on our table, with kids, work, and writing, it’s hard to find the time. But find the time, we must or as the old adage says, “if you don’t make time for your health, you’ll be making time for your illness.” I know this is one hundred percent true.

So, I’ve had to set priorities for what’s important to me. I’ve been forced to pay attention to my health. So, I’m making exercise and getting back into nature a priority. I feel better when I exercise and getting out into nature is a great stress reliever that doesn’t cost any money. Win-win.

I try to run on the treadmill in the morning at least a couple of times a week. I find I have more energy throughout the work day when I run. The frequency of these morning runs will increase as soon as the snow flies, and I can’t get outside on the weekends. But enough about that. I want to talk about getting out into nature and relieving stress.  Did you know that walking through the woods is good for you? It’s true. Check out this post on the benefits of  Forest Bathing.

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                We need to reconnect with nature and be part of the circle of life again. We’ve become disconnected and believe we have risen above that need, but we haven’t. We’re destroying our planet with our quest for money and status. Why has this striving become more important than our health and our families?

That question can only be answered individually. I don’t think we were meant to compete so much that it affects our health, both mentally and physically. I know there’s only so many jobs out there and we must compete for them, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health. Let’s take a step back and slow down. Spend more time with your family, and less time striving. Is all that striving really getting you anywhere? Or are you a hamster on a wheel because you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself?

 

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          Sorry, I digress, I got caught up in the moment. I was supposed to be talking about getting back out into nature. Back on track, folks. 😉

Walking among the trees is good for our health and it relieves stress, so does walking barefoot. Do you remember going barefoot as a kid? Remember how happy and carefree we were? I think part of that happiness was because we were receiving anti-oxidants and reducing inflammation while we were running around barefoot. The practice is called “earthing” now, and it has been scientifically proven to be good for you.

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          So, if you can spend more time in nature, do it. It’s good for you and try to get your family out there, too. What are your thoughts? Do you feel getting out into nature is beneficial? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health

Finding Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long weekend of writing and hanging out with my family. I’m getting closer to the finish line, and I hope I can do this story justice, but enough about that. 😊

Today, I’d like to talk about how important it is to find balance in your life. I’m sure you know that balance is important for your mental health, because the mind and the body work together.

Right now, I’m struggling with balancing everything I’m trying to accomplish, and making time for is exercise. Yet, I know I need to exercise to keep up my health. In fact, my doctor recommended I exercise at least six times a week.

Now, when I exercise, I usually run, and I dedicate an hour to it. The problem is that some nights I don’t have an hour. I get home late and want to hang out with my family for a while, or I’ve had a stressful day at work and all I want to do is sit down and relax, or I’d rather work on my story. So, there are times when I’ve blown it off. I started running in the morning, and I’ve found it increases my energy level for the day, but I still can’t seem to do more than two or three times a week.

 

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There is one drawback to running and that is, when I have to run on the treadmill, it is incredibly boring. I have a hard time motivating myself to do it. So, I decided I’m going to look into a yoga class. I used to do yoga once a week before the kidlets arrived and I enjoyed it immensely. There’s also that mind/body connection with yoga that I miss.  Whenever I finished a yoga class, I always came away with the feeling of being totally relaxed while also being fully aware. It was an awesome feeling that’s for sure.

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I’m going to count that as exercise even though it doesn’t increase my heart rate. I hear hot yoga is good for your body and helps build muscle. Have any of you tried hot yoga? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

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There are some side benefits to yoga, too. It improves your circulation, strength and flexibility as well as your spine health. Spine health is important these days when you sit in front of the computer for most of the day.

Yoga is a great alternative when you just don’t feel like pounding the pavement and it stretches the whole body, whereas running only works your legs. So, there you have it. My plan to work yoga into my already busy life, so I can create balance. Does that even make sense? LOL!

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How about you, what do you do to exercise your body? Any yoga practitioners out there? How do you add one more activity and create balance? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health, Women

When you have Health you truly have Wealth

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope all of you had a great fourth of July and that you’re enjoying your summer.

I know I am, especially now that we’ve got some of that hot, steamy weather I love. That’s what summer’s all about, that’s for sure. I must apologize, I’m struggling a little bit juggling my family, work, writing, social media, and trying to get into shape. So, because of that my blog posts have become a little erratic. Sorry about that.  I’m hoping I’ll get into another routine soon, so I can maintain my schedule. Wish me luck! 😉

 

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Today, I’d like to talk about our health and how society’s portrayal of a perfect body image damages the self esteem of women. We get into the habit of trying to perfect our imperfections when in reality they aren’t imperfections at all. They’re what make us unique and special. We’re all special in our own way and I wish magazines and ad companies would embrace this.

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The reality of the situation is, we eat a lot of processed foods as a society, and a lot of fast food. The processed food contains sugar to make it taste better so we buy it. The fast food is full of empty calories that make it taste better so we buy it. Because of this, we as a society weigh more than we did decades ago.

Our bodies are changing because of this, but the images in magazines and ads are not. Consequently, our self-esteem is affected. We feel bad because we don’t look like those photo-shopped images. Social media isn’t helping either. It’s my opinion, that when we don’t feel good about ourselves we tend to engage in behaviors that help us cope. Some of those behaviors don’t help us either, because when some people don’t feel good about themselves, they eat more carbs to feel better. It’s a vicious cycle.

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So, here’s my solution. We need to focus on our health instead of what we look like. We need to get outside and exercise more. You don’t need to run a marathon to become healthy. You can just get up and walk more. I like to run because it exercises my heart as well, (heart disease runs in my family) but running one mile and walking one mile burns the same number of calories.

Look at your family history and formulate a work out plan that works for you. I run because I need to make sure my heart is strong. You may not need to do that, so pick an exercise you like and that works for you because you’re more likely to stick with it.

Eat healthier, less sweets and more fruits and vegetables. Less processed foods. I try to stay away from them, but I don’t always succeed. I also try to stay away from sweets, but that’s hard to do, too.

Remember corporations are out to make money. So, they have no problem selling us foods that aren’t good for us but taste good. Take control of your health before it’s too late. Because if you have your health, you truly have wealth. I see so many people who’ve worked hard all their lives for money, but they aren’t healthy in their old age and aren’t enjoying any of the money they made.

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So, make sure you’re balancing your life so that you have time to take care of yourself. That may mean spending more time cooking from scratch as opposed to fast food and processed food. Remember if you don’t take time for your health now, you’ll be taking time for illness later.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, I kind of went off on a tangent there, but it’s all good. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you maintain your health. Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Health, Writing

Is it Worth it?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after almost two months of non-writing. Today, I finally broke the trend and did some editing of one of my stories. I’m back in the saddle again and it feels good. Whenever, I go through these stages of non-writing, I always read because I love to, and when I’m suffering from a little burn out, reading is always my “go to” activity. There’s nothing more comforting on a cold, rainy day than a good book. Am I right, or am I right?

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But enough about that. When I first started this post, I was going to give you a good list of some of the books I’ve been reading, but then inspiration hit, and I’ve decided to write about something else. I’ll do the book one later. 😉

 

Today, I’d like to talk about sacrifices. I know it’s not really a pleasant subject, but one that I feel has to be addressed. You see, all the great writers, artists, and athletes made sacrifices to get where they are now. They sacrificed time with their families and loved ones to practice and create. That shows grit and initiative and that’s great. I’m sure they don’t regret their success. However, I wonder if they ever ask themselves if it was worth it?

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At first glance, you may think I’m crazy for having such a thought, but it’s out there now, so let’s run with it.

Was their success worth their sacrifice?

It’s a good question and I wish I had someone like Michael Jordan or Stephen King around to ask. I’m sure they would say yes, but it’s something I struggle with. Because we all would love to have that kind of success, but the time away from family is hard to take sometimes. So, every time I sit down to write, I ask myself, can I indulge my passion at this time? Am I neglecting my family’s needs? Because let’s face it, I’m not going to get these moments back. So, there are times when I put the computer away and hang out with my family, watching a silly movie or watch my youngest play tennis. It’s a conscious choice during these moments to put my writing on the back burner and sometimes it’s hard, but it’s worth it.

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So, whenever you’re feeling bad because you’re not putting as much effort into your writing or you just need to take a break. Stop yourself. Because moments with your family can disappear in an instant and you might not ever get them back and my motto is live without regret.

 

So, do I regret not spending time writing the last two months? Well, there are moments when I think I should be further along in my story than what I am, but then I look at the fact that I was sick, so I had to take care of myself. Then I look at the tennis matches I got to watch and see the joy on my youngest’s face when he would see me show up at his tennis game and the sacrifice was worth it. I don’t regret it.

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Yes, it’ll take me longer to get to that bestseller’s list but that’s okay. I’ll have enjoyed the journey to get there much more because I didn’t miss any important steps along the way.

So, when you see other authors getting an agent or hitting the bestseller’s list and you feel like you’re missing out, just think of it as it’s their time to shine. It’s not yours yet. You’re still working on being a great mom and being there for your kids. You’ll get your moment when it’s your time.

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So, relax and enjoy your journey. Enjoy all the steps along the way. It’ll make the destination that much sweeter!

Thanks for reading my post today! How do you feel? Are you enjoying your journey? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Health, Personal

Getting back into the Swing of Things

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work. I’m itching to get back to writing. I haven’t written anything except blog posts since I’ve been sick. I’m finding out Bronchitis takes a long time to get over, but the worst of it is over. Thank God.

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Spring is finally here, it was supposed to snow last night, and I believe it did, but it didn’t stick. I’m happy about that. Because I’ve been sick, I haven’t been exercising for about a month. I can tell the difference and I’m anxious to get moving again and get writing again.

I’m going to start my exercise routine by walking first, just to see how my body reacts. I don’t want to do too much too soon and get sick again. I’m going to hike in the woods and get some of those healing phytoncides from the trees.

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Trees are amazing. Did you know it has been proven that they communicate through their root system, much like the communication between the synapses of our nerve cells. Isn’t that amazing?

The older trees help and communicate with the younger ones so that they all flourish. Kind of like the female elephants who stick together and help raise the babies. It’s just another piece of evidence that shows we’re all connected. For more information about tree communication, check out this article. http://www.ecology.com/2012/10/08/trees-communicate/

So, if you’re looking to start a new exercise routine, add hiking in the woods as part of it. It’s good for you, both body and soul. Getting back to nature is one of my goals this summer. I always feel better when I’m in the forest or at the beach. Both places are good for you.  The fresh air is good for you. Don’t be a victim of the indoor generation. Get outside and get healthy!!

 

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are some of the things you do to stay healthy? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!