Sunday, March 27, 2011
After writing my Heart Health Blog recently, I got to thinking about ways that I try to keep my heart healthy. I started eating oatmeal regularly a few months ago. I initially started it because I knew it was healthy and more filling then the toast and juice I had been eating. At first, I wasn't thrilled about the taste. I knew the instant oatmeal packets weren't good for me because of the high sodium and sugar content, so I went for the quick whole oats. I will admit that it was pretty bland until I started sprucing it up a bit. I talked about some of those ways in my Natural Sweeteners blog. Some of my favorite things to add to it are: pure maple syrup or raw honey, 1/2 of a mashed banana and cinnamon. Cinnamon alone has several great health benefits. Taking 1/2 tsp. a day can help to lower bad cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, and can increase cognitive functioning and memory. Cinnamon has also been used in cancer research, has anti-clotting components in the blood and is a good source of fiber, iron and calcium. When mixed with a tablespoon of honey before breakfast, cinnamon has been known to help with arthritis pain.
I mix my oatmeal with water and microwave it for 50 seconds. I finish it with a sprinkle of flax seed, which is a great source of omega 3s and doesn't change the taste. I also add Protein after I heat it, which helps to keep me going and full for quite awhile. I am a mom of a toddler and a baby, so the extra boost of energy is much appreciated in my busy days!
Instead of water, my husband has also made a baked oatmeal by adding eggs and milk and cooking them slowly. I haven't tried this yet myself, mostly because of the time factor with my kiddos, but he said it was really good and filled him up until lunchtime.
So if you are looking for a tasty, quick and healthy breakfast option, I would encourage you to take a look at oatmeal. With the right additions, it may just give you what you are looking for:)
Thanks for reading and have a great and healthy week!!
Monday, March 21, 2011
The nice weather has also reminded me that it is spring cleaning time! So, if you know me, you know that I am not a big fan of cleaning. Funny, since I sell cleaners, right? But I really just want things quick, easy and clean! I was inspired to finally tackle my shower the other day. It really needed it. Here is a before picture of the faucet.
You really can't see the tarnish in this picture. It was like this when we bought the house over 2 years ago and I had tried to clean it with some of my other cleaners seen here. To be honest, I had forgotten about it until the other day. It's funny when you look at something every day, you just get used to how it looks. I decided to finally tackle that project and try to get it clean over the weekend. I used Scour Off along with my microfiber sponge and followed up with the Basic H2 all purpose cleaner (1/4 tsp. of Basic H2 to 16 oz of water). It worked great! Here is the after picture:So easy to use and it didn't take me much time at all. I will continue to tackle more spring cleaning projects as the weather gets nicer. What spring cleaning adventures have you done so far?
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I thought that I would share with you one way to help people affected by Friday's earthquake in Japan through Shaklee Cares.
Shaklee Cares is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization, founded in 1992 in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. 100% of all donations to Shaklee Cares are utilized to help rebuild lives, homes, and communities. Shaklee Corporation underwrites all Shaklee Cares administrative expenses. For more information about Shaklee Cares, visit us at www.shakleecares.org.
One of the ways to donate to the people in Japan is through Shaklee care packs. You can see the different packs and info about them here. There is no shipping charge on these.
Here is an email that I received from Shaklee's chairman and CEO, Roger Barnett, about the relief efforts:
Dear Shaklee Family,
All of us are deeply saddened and concerned by what our friends and fellow Shaklee Family Members in Japan have faced since Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. This was the strongest earthquake in modern Japanese history and as you can imagine with an event of this magnitude, we do not yet know the full impact and the toll that has been taken.
We are encouraged that we have been able to reach all but one of our employees in Shaklee Japan, and that we have been able to reach almost half of our Sales Leaders. So far, none have been harmed, but we will continue to try to contact each and every leader to ascertain their safety. And we will continue to pray for their safety and well-being.
We know that you will join us in offering your prayers and support, and we know that you may also want to do more. Through Shaklee Cares®, we have started a special fund: The Shaklee Cares for Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Shaklee Cares will distribute donations to this special fund to help our Shaklee Family Members in Japan to rebuild their lives.
Our hearts and our prayers are with all of the people of Japan. Thank you again for your caring and commitment to helping others that make our company and Shaklee Family so very special. Together, we will continue to create a better world.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I mentioned last week that March is National Nutrition Month! Since becoming a mom over 2 years ago, I have gotten more in tune to nutrition and wellness. It's funny that we tend to not care about these things for ourselves as much as we do once we become parents. At least that is true for me.
I started pureeing vegetables and fruit for my toddler when he started solids and am now doing it for my 7 mo. old. I found that it isn't difficult and takes only a little extra time each week. I freeze the purees in ice cube trays. This not only saves us money on baby food, but also gives us peace of mind knowing exactly what is in the food and what nutrients our kids are getting.
My toddler is a pretty good eater, but he has his picky moments too. I have found Jessica Seinfeld's book "Deceptively Delicious" to be helpful with those moments.
She has some great ideas and recipes where you add pureed fruits and veggies into meals. Since I have been pureeing foods for my 7 month old, I am able to add those to Jessica's recipes or to recipes of my own. My 2 year old loves pasta, esp. mac and cheese. One of the ways to make this a little healthier is to make my own, using whole wheat pasta. But another way is to add some pureed sweet potatoes. He doesn't seem to notice or mind and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and nutrients. Jessica has some mac and cheese recipes too using pureed cauliflower, butternut squash or white beans. Not a bad way to sneak in some good stuff!
Although I do my best to give my toddler good nutritious foods, the truth is, he doesn't always eat them. In order to "fill in the gaps" in our kid's nutrition, both of my kids take good quality vitamin supplements for children.
These really help to take the guess work out of their nutrition. They are also a great drug-free approach for prevention of illness. We are happy to put our money into the vitamins for our family, rather then into the doctor visits, antibiotics, etc. I should also mention that good hand washing is another excellent preventative measure.
I am very happy to say that my kids have never had an ear infection and only a few mild colds and hardly ever a runny nose. After seeing post after post on my facebook from my friends about ear infections and colds with their kids, I am realizing that this isn't the norm with young kids. Our 7 mo. was 6 weeks premature, had pneumonia in the NICU, was on a ventilator to breathe and the doctors told us that he would have a lot of respiratory issues early on. The only thing he has had was a little cold when he was 2 mo. and it came and went within 2 days! We are so thankful for that! I nurse him, so I am comfortable knowing he has also been getting the vitamins and nutrients that I take through my breastmilk which includes protein powder. Dr. Shaklee used to say that if you are only able to take one supplement, choose the protein as it is the building block of all cells. It is essential for kids as they have intense tissue development during this time, it builds antibodies and is necessary for brain development. It has been an easy addition to my 2 year old's yogurt or oatmeal. I am truly very thankful for these supplements that help to keep my entire family healthy!
When talking about children's health, I should mention the importance of keeping a healthy home. I have written a few blog posts about the non-toxic natural cleaners that I use.
I wrote about how I went from 20+ toxic cleaners to only 3 non-toxic ones here. Many illnesses such as asthma and allergies are on the rise with kids. One theory is that this is because of the toxins that they are exposed to at home through household cleaners and laundry products. I really believe that one of the reasons why my 7 mo. old preemie has not had the respiratory issues that the NICU doctors predicted for him, is because he is not exposed to the harsh chemicals at home. My very favorite cleaner, Basic H2 has been a lifesaver when it comes to cleaning. I love it because it has SO many uses, is so concentrated so it saves us money (one bottle lasts forever!), and is completely safe for my entire family and for the environment too, AND it works really well! For example, only 1-2 drops of Basic H2 with 16 oz of water will give you a terrific window/glass cleaner! I love it so much and wish that every family, esp. ones with young children, would use Basic H2 to clean their home. If you are interested in trying it I will send you a sample. Switching brands to Shaklee's Get Clean products will help to keep your family healthy and save you money at the same time. You can't beat that! :)
Whew! Another post packed with info. I hope you enjoyed reading it and gained some ideas as to how to keep the kids in your life healthier. Thanks for reading and have a healthy week!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I was pretty excited to learn that the American Dietetic Association has made March National Nutrition Month! I have been interested in nutrition and health in general for sometime now, esp. in the last few years since I became a mom. My education is in music therapy, so I do have a big interest in health and wellness. Nutrition plays a strong role in that.
This year's theme is "Eat right with color". I love that! Most people, myself included, don't get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. I talked about some of this a few weeks ago when I posted about Heart Health.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. They can help to prevent diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. And I have found that it really doesn't require too much effort to sneak them into food. Try keeping a few bags of your family's favorite frozen veggies on hand and add them to soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, etc. You can do this even if the recipe doesn't call for them. I really love to cook but I really do not like to follow recipes. I tend to put dinners together with what I have on hand, so this tip works well in my house. I like to cook with different spices too, instead of salt. Spices add a lot of flavor without the salt. Here are a few pictures of some dinners I created recently with various things we had in the house. They aren't fancy but they tasted great and gave us some good color and nutrients:
This was a simple stir fry that I put together with chicken breast, brown rice, and whatever veggies I had on hand which were red onions, bell pepper, spinach and mushrooms. I just added some garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, a little low sodium soy sauce and worcestershire sauce and ginger powder. It turned out pretty good!
Here's another for some fish tacos I made. I cubed the salmon (a great source of Omega 3 fatty acid) and cooked it in a little extra virgin olive oil with some cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, and chili powder. Then I sauted some red onion and added tomato and fresh cilantro. (I don't always have fresh herbs in the house but I wanted it for another recipe so I bought it. They are pretty reasonable and add a ton of flavor to dishes and soups. )
Here is the end result of the above pic: salmon fish tacos! yum! I added some fresh spinach and brown rice, a little salsa and sour cream. They were pretty tasty and my 2 year old loved them!
Here is another where I sauted the veggies up and served them over baked salmon with whole wheat pasta. So good and lots of good color! :)
And one more with some asparagus with a vinegar base. My family loves asparagus. One of my favorite ways to cook it is to put it on a baking sheet with some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and add a little course salt or other seasoning. I put it in the oven at 350 for about 15 min. It's an easy side that I can throw in with other things that I am baking.
I am always careful to really clean my fruit and vegetables well before eating or cooking with them. I used to only use water but I have learned that water doesn't always do the trick in removing any chemicals or wax from the produce. So now I use my Basic H2. Just one or two squirts from the window mix bottle (16 oz water, 1-2 drops of Basic H2) and some water cleans them well.
Some other good ways to add fruits and vegetables into your meals:
-add cut up veggies to sandwiches or wraps. I love wraps, so I often do this with beans and veggies and/or left over rice. It's an easy and quick lunch for me and my toddler.
-add veggies to pizza. I love to make my own but if you are in a rush, you can also add veggies to store bought. We got a Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza the other day and I added some spinach and tomatoes to it. Here's a pic:
- add fruit to yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, etc. We made pancakes this morning and I added some mashed banana. Big hit in my house! I have also made them with blueberries. I have been eating a lot of oatmeal lately, and love to put a mashed banana or other fruit in that along with one of the natural sweeteners that I talked about here.
Supplement Your Diet
Since it is very difficult to get enough of the vitamins and minerals that we need for good health from our food, I love knowing that the quality supplements that I take and my husband takes help to "fill in the gap" in our nutrition. I also add protein powder to my oatmeal or shakes in the morning, which help to give me extra nutrients and energy to get through my day. These have been a real lifesaver since I am a busy mom with a 2 year old and 7 mo. old to take care of. My children also take Shaklee supplements and I am so thankful for our family's good health because of them! We are really rarely sick and my kids have never had ear infections. I will write more about children's health next week and share my kid's stories there.
Healthy Weight with FREE Shaklee Cinch!
One last thing to keep in mind when talking about good nutrition is maintaining a healthy weight. They really do go hand in hand. Shaklee has an awesome promotion running right now through the end of March where you can get a Cinch Sampler Pack for FREE!! Shaklee's Cinch Inch Loss Products are a natural and healthy way to lose the inches of fat while keeping the muscle. It's great for people who only have a few pounds to lose or others who have a few more to lose:)
This was a fun post for me to write since I love learning and sharing about nutrition. I hope you took some things from it to use for your own family! Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave a comment with any nutrition tips that you have found work well for you and your family!
Have a healthy and colorful week! :)