Thursday, April 10, 2014

Laugh about it

We’ve all heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.” It’s not a cliché.  The Bible affirms “A cheerful heart is good medicine…” and medical evidence identifies many short and long term physical benefits.  According to the
"A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long haul. Long term, laughter may:
  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier."

Wonderful health and wellness benefits are available for free.

In honor of National Humor Month – (yep, there’s a month for that too), take some steps to increase the laughter in your life.
  • Loosen up a bit.  Not everything is serious.  Look for the funny in life.
  • Embrace your inner child.  Children laugh an estimated 300 times per day while adults laugh somewhere around a measly 20 times daily. That's sad! Remember the fun and ease in your childhood and find appropriate ways to incorporate those actions, ideas or attitudes into your adult life.

    Image source:
  • Watch a comedy. Read the comics or a joke book. Watch a silly YouTube video or follow your favorite comedians on Twitter.  Comedy is a huge industry. Take advantage of the offerings.

  • What people in your life guarantee a good laugh? Those people are gifts.  Seek them out and connect with them regularly. Also pay it forward and let them know how much you appreciate the light they bring.
These 3 people make me smile and laugh everyday.

  • Remember, laughter is not always connected to humor. It is also a result of relief, happiness or joy. Everyday, do something you thoroughly enjoy and more importantly, spend some time in remembrance of how outrageously good God has been to you. 

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,

    and we are filled with joy.  Psalm126:2-3 NIV

Monday, April 7, 2014

Expect and support greatness

High and low expectations can create self-fulfilling prophesies. 
Parents have the God-given responsibility to guide, and nurture our children's futures.  

Let's expect, pray and prepare for greatness.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Roasted Baby Broccoli Recipe

Baby broccoli aka broccolini aka aspiration...isn't she lovely!
Image source:
This beautiful bundle of green is not young broccoli.  It's the hybrid love child of broccoli and Chinese kale.  Broccolini has long slender stalks, delicate florets and a taste that is slightly sweeter than broccoli.  With super food parents, it's nutrient dense - low in calories,  with vitamin A, calcium, folate, iron and 130% the daily recommended value of vitamin C (in an 8 stalk serving).

The sweet and tenderness of baby broccoli makes preparation simple. Give it a quick steam followed by a squeeze of lemon, lightly saute it in a stir fry, or try this easy oven roast method.
  • Preheat oven to 425. Wash and pat the stalks dry with a towel.
  • Lay it out on a sheet pan and mist with olive oil. Side note: I think a non aerosol pump mister is a must-have kitchen tool. It allows you to add flavor and control fat while eliminating the aerosol factor of commercial spray oils.
  • Sprinkle on seasonings and toss to coat. I used Himalyan salt and South African Smoke seasoning.

  • Roast until tender crisp.  This happens fast – about 4-5 minutes.

Quick easy and fantastic. Here I paired it with spicy grilled shrimp and jalapeno grits.  Talk about GOOD! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Healthy Habit Helper - H2O on the Go Bottle

Healthy Habit – Drinking Water
Healthy Habit Helper:  Large Jug

Our bodies are 60% water. Every system needs it to function and drinking enough water daily has many health benefits.

This week brought my spring allergy and sinus beat down, so I upped the focus on staying well hydrated. This large portable water jug greatly helped my intake.  The bottle (called H2O on the Go - $4 at Walmart) has a convenient sports top, it’s BPA free, easy to clean and holds my water quota for the day. (In this case 2.2L/74.4 oz - the Institute of Medicine’s adequate intake recommendation for women.)  

In the morning, I fill it with filtered water, throw in some ice and some fresh mint and I’m good to go for sip sip sipping throughout the day.  Using a container that holds your daily requirement saves time and effort vs. counting, filling and refilling and refilling a glass or smaller water bottle. The visual of the level going down during the day can be motivating (if you're a half empty kinda person). It also saves money and is better for the environment over multiple disposable bottles.  Plus there is something serious about turning up a big jug. 

Downsides -  this particular jug sweats and if most of your day is spent with others in a corporate setting, swigging from a jug may not be a fit...

About Healthy Habit Helpers:  One of the best ways to replace a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. This is often easier said than done. It seems that many unhealthy habits are automatic, they were formed without conscious thought and are hard to stop.  Healthy habits sometimes feel like the polar opposite – meaning they take a lot of focus to start and are easy to let fall by the wayside. This doesn't have to be the case. We can flip this script.

Healthy habit helpers are simple tips, tricks, products or services that make a healthy habit easier, repeatable and hopefully enjoyable.  I’ll try to share one that helps me each week and please chime in with what works for you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy New FitFluential Ambassador

I'm Pharrell/Despicable Me happy to share the fantastic news that I've been selected to be a FitFluential Ambassador!

If you read health or fitness blogs, you’re probably familiar with FitFluential.  If not, here’s a bit about the network and ambassador role from their site:
“FitFluential is a vibrant community of fitness enthusiasts sharing their fitness journey both online and offline through social media. Founded in the U.S. in 2011, this FitFluential movement has expanded our borders and now we have members all over the world.”
"FitFluential Ambassadors are social media influencers who work with FitFluential’s brand partners. FitFluential’s goal is to successfully connect brands in the fitness space with influential fitness enthusiasts. An ideal match is one where the FitFluential Ambassador (and their audience) matches with the brand’s target market. Our Ambassadors have a strong presence on their social media channels, high quality content with a definitive voice and a passion for fitness-related topics.”
I’m excited to be a part of this group of passionate and inspirational ambassadors and welcome opportunities to explore healthy products/services and share findings with you. Stay tuned, there may be some cool giveaways coming your way... (Make sure you are subscribed so you don't miss any good stuff!)

As a learn more, I’ll share more.  I thank God and FitFluential for this open door and exciting opportunity.

So clap along...