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In his book The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, Tom Monte states that humans were built to walk. Walking is a wonderful exercise that doesn’t feel like work and is free. A half hour’s worth of walking conditions the entire body by exercising the muscles, heart, and respiratory and circulatory systems. It also provides perspective while you walk off tension, or can provide time to catch up with a friend or partner if she or he is walking with you.

Have you been hesitating in starting a new exercise regime? No need. Just go for a thirty minute walk, every day if possible. Make it the first step in your new attitude toward exercise.

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I keep granola bars around at all times. I keep them in the house. I keep them in the car. I keep one in my purse. I do this so that I always have something relatively healthy to eat if I find myself out and about with little time and lots of hunger. So I was happy when my friend Darci showed up at our recipe club with a recipe for chewy granola bars. I’ve never made my own granola bars, and, honestly, I didn’t see any reason why I’d want to take the time to make my own. But I have had a couple bags of rolled oats in our pantry for a while and I haven’t eaten them. Since this is the main ingredient in the recipe, I thought: what the heck?! I’m all for saving money by eating what we have in the house and I really don’t like to throw food out (so wasteful).

ingredientsWell, am I glad I made these! Darci was right; they really are easy and it’s virtually impossible to screw them up. Unlike many things that you bake, you can mess with the ingredients willy-nilly and it still comes out great! And this is the way I like to cook: a little of this, a little of that! I think these would also be a great breakfast on the go. They way I made them, they taste like cinnamon raisin oatmeal, but in a bar. How awesome is that?! And I can control the amount of sugar and sodium so I know exactly what I am eating. Also awesome!

Here’s the recipe for Darci’s Chewy Granola Bars:

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup butter softened (I substituted 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup honey (I just drizzled a bunch in without measuring it)
  • 1/3 brown sugar (I used 1/4 cup white sugar because my brown sugar was rock solid and I didn’t have time to deal with it)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used a small package of raisins instead)
  • chopped nuts (I used a bunch of pecans; sorry, again, no measuring)
  • optional: 2 eggs (I didn’t use eggs)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 9×13 pan (I used cooking oil spray).

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool (at least 10 minutes) before cutting into bars.

And VOILA! Yummy homemade granola bars. I think next time I’ll make them with peanut butter instead of apple sauce and chocolate chips instead of raisins. Then after that, I’ll use craisins and almond slivers. And after that….

What do you think would be good?

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How to Get Your Fruits & Veggies

We all know we need at least five servings of fruits and veggies every day, but we sometimes find it hard to fit those into our diets. Five servings equals about 2 1/2 cups. Here are few ideas to make sure you get yours:

1. Start with breakfast. Add fruit to your breakfast — berries on your cereal, banana with your yogurt, half a grapefruit with your toast.

2. Eat them for your snacks. Fruit and veggies provide great energy, and if you pair them with a protein, they can also provide a filling and sustaining snack. For example, apples with cheese, or celery with peanut butter, or dried cranberries with almonds. The possibilities are endless, and delicious.

3. Double up the serving size. The usual serving size of fruits and veggies is only a half cup, so double up and eat a full cup as a serving. Finally, something you cannot eat too much of, provided you don’t load them with butter or salt.

4. Use them as ingredients. Zucchini bread may not be as healthy as zucchini, but at least it has the vegetable in it! Other ideas include putting veggies in other recipes like stews, soups, and chili. You can also put fruit and veggies in a smoothie.

5. Vary them. There’s no reason to get bored with fruits and veggies since there are so many different kinds of both. Vary what you eat; try something new every week!

Source: http://kidshealth.org

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Here’s a re-post of information that I shared several years ago. I like it so thought I would share it again!

I was listening to a podcast by Joel Osteen today (I love his podcasts!) and he had a great analogy. He talked about a glass of dirty water. In the glass was water and in the water were lots of little pieces of dirt and sand. If you keep putting clean water in the glass and let it run over, eventually all the dirt and sand are gone and you have a nice glass of clean water.

He was using the analogy for “detoxing the mind,” in other words, getting rid of the toxic thoughts in your mind (like, I’m not good enough, I’ll never lose weight, I’ll always be a loser, and all the horrible things that we say to ourselves). The point of his sermon was that you don’t necessarily have to work to get rid of the toxic thoughts. Rather, fill your mind with positive thoughts and they will crowd out the toxic ones.

I like the analogy for detoxing the mind, and I think it works for transforming your diet into a healthy one, too. Don’t focus on all the things that you need to take out of your diet. Instead, add healthy things. Eventually, all the healthy foods will crowd out the unhealthy foods, and you will have a healthy diet that makes you feel good. And, it won’t feel like work!

So, each week, add a new healthy food to your diet. Maybe this week it will be adding an orange to your breakfast. Maybe next week you can add a small salad to your lunch. Then a green vegetable to your dinner. Add fresh strawberries to your afternoon snack. And so on.

Give it a try!

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Quote of the Day

If you are going through hell, keep going.

-Winston Churchill

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Running Like A Mother

So I Ran Like A Mother and completed the 5K yesterday. I planned to walk it since I haven’t run once during my “training” for the 5K. But the atmosphere and my friend encouraging me to at least jog got the best of me and I ran (actually jogged) about half of it. It was fun! And I really like the idea of setting a good example for my daughter and making exercise a part of her daily life. I think that will be a great gift to her that will help her stay fit for life.

So that’s the good news.

The bad news (not really that bad) is that I am no longer losing weight. I reached my goal (which is a weight range) about a week ago by just adding light exercise to my daily schedule. You can see what I’ve been doing on my exercise log. Which means that it is now time to start focusing on my diet.

I don’t like to diet in the sense that I can’t have certain foods because, for me, telling myself that I can’t have something is more likely to make me want to eat it! So I count calories and call it an eating plan. I find this really works for me because I can eat anything I want so long as my daily calorie count is within my acceptable range (again, I like ranges not hard numbers). Of course, once you start counting calories you learn quickly what is high and what is low in calories and what fills you up and what leaves you wanting to eat again in an hour. Ultimately, I end up cutting out the “crap” because when I eat it, I am hungrier than when I eat healthy.

Enough of that for now. I’ll keep you posted on my eating plan and progress.Wish me luck!

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As mentioned in previous parts, stress managment is critical to good health. We can’t avoid stress completely, but we can manage and reduce it. Here’s the final idea:

Shop. Shopping is considered “retail therapy” because it releases mood-lifting endorphins and can keep the brain nimble. And walking and carrying heavy shopping bags can be a little low-impact, calorie burning exercise.

That’s our last tip (for now) for reducing stress!

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