Sing Like Nobody is Watching

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Recently I did a performance and many people were telling me that they admired my courage to sing in front of people.  I told them that I just decided that I was going to be brave and not worry about what other people think.

I read a really good book which I highly recommend for anyone that wants to pursue their dreams or goals.  The main thing I got from this book was that you have to do what makes you happy and forget about what everyone else thinks or says.  Also if someone criticizes you, then tell them to come and do a better job.  So that attitude really resonated with me.  The name of that book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  

big magic

Just to be clear that I am a student.  I am not a professional.  My preparation to sing this song began about 11 months prior when I first started listening to this song by Lindsey Stirling called Shatter Me and I just really fell in  love with that song.  I listened to that song over and over on a road trip.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to sing that song because it seemed like a difficult song to me.  I spoke to my voice teacher and she said, “Let’s do it in G Minor.”  So I got the music and we started working on it in December 2017.  It was very brutal at first.  Just painful to listen to.  But I just kept working on it.

After a while I asked my music teacher if maybe someone could accompany me on the violin.  So she was able to find an advanced student to accompany me.  (Please note that she did not want to be videotaped.  We had to actually edit her out because she did not want to have her images on the web.  But Rebekah is beautiful and an amazing violinist.)  The first time we rehearsed together was brutal.  Imagine trying to sing with someone banging drums right in your ear.  I couldn’t believe how thrown off I was.  My music teacher said it’s completely normal.  When the violin accompanies me, I was listening to her play and my timing was off and it was way more difficult than I thought.  It’s like I am distracting her by singing and she was distracting me by playing the violin.  The thing is we had to be in sync with our timing.

wood music classic sound

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In any event this is the results of the preparation.  I watched numerous George Michael Videos.  I became a bit obsessed with him (which is a completely different story.) In any case this is the result.  Thanks for watching and any kind words are appreciated.  Also remember I am a student.  Think of your kid that’s been singing for a couple of years.  T

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach. She has a passion for singing, dancing and following her heart. She encourages everyone to do the same.  Please subscribe to her Youtube channel and Follow Enlighten Your Lives to support everyone’s dreams.  Namaste

Homemade Remedies For Pets Using Essential Oils

Originally Published on OneGoodThingByJillee.com on May 5, 2013

Homemade Remedies For Pets Using Essential Oils

Last week I appeared on a local talk show and shared ideas for beauty products that come from your kitchen cupboard! I also shared a new source for AFFORDABLE essential oils (SparkNaturals.com) that I am SO excited about I can hardly stand it! Now I can indulge in my love of essential oils as much as I want because I’m not afraid of running out! I’m also learning so much more about all the different ways essential oils can be used….far beyond anything I had imagined!

For example, after the show was over I was chatting with the floor director of the show about essential oils and she said that she even uses them on her dog! Really? This was honestly the first time I’d heard of using them on or four-legged friends. She said that last year on the Fourth of July she decided to rub some lavender on her dog’s ears and head before the fireworks started because the “sounds of freedom” usually made her dog go crazy! Apparently the difference was pretty remarkable. Instead of running around like his tail was on fire…she said he was MUCH calmer and endured the whole ordeal without a pet freak-out. Amazing.

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The next day I did a blog post about Spark Naturals essential oils and how excited I was to find high quality oils, for a price that made them accessible to more people! MANY of you commented both here on the website and on the One Good Thing By Jillee Facebook page that you were excited to finally be able to afford to give essential oils a try and some of you actually asked about using them on pets. Makes sense….they ARE part of the family after all! 🙂

Well, I didn’t really have a whole lot of answers at the time…but since then I have been doing a fair amount of research on this topic and have come up with a handful of pet remedies using essential oils that I think those of you with pets will be interested in. Including some I found on my sister’s website – Camp Wander! (Apparently great minds think alike! lol)

Essential Oil Remedies for Your Pets

Homemade Flea Repellant Spray

Mix 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil with 1-2 ounces of mild, organic soap and water. Pour into a spray bottle and spray your pet periodically throughout the day.

Essential oil formulations will need to be applied more frequently than synthetic pesticides, but the benefits far outweigh the exposure to harsh chemicals and toxic side effects. They are great for misting your dog’s legs (and your own) any time that you go out where fleas would be likely to be found.

Homemade Remedies For Pets Using Essential Oils_3

Shampoo

12 ounces water

1 tablespoons of castile soap

2 drops of peppermint essential oil

2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

2 drops of lavender essential oil

2 drops of rosemary essential oil

(If you don’t have all the oils listed, don’t worry, just use what you have.) Combine in a jar. Shake well. Lather and rinse well.

For a “soothing” version, add replace 2 ounces of the water with 2 ounces aloe vera.

Collar

Option 1: Make your own flea collar by taking an average collar and adding some drops of essential oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of almond oil (use dilute solutions when applying to cats as they can be very sensitive to essential oils). Some great flea-repelling essential oil options include cinnamon, rosemary, wormwood, clove, peppermint, and cedar wood.

Allow the collar to dry and then place it on your pet. It’s time to re-dose your pet’s collar when you no longer note the scent, generally every two weeks or so.

Option 2: Buy a cotton scarf or bandana, or use a piece of scrap cotton fabric that will fit around your dog’s neck comfortably.

Lay the fabric flat, and place 10 drops of cedar essential oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil on the fabric. Distribute the essential oil drops evenly over the fabric surface. Other essential oils that repel fleas (and ticks and mosquitoes) include eucalyptus, citronella, rose, geranium, peppermint, lemongrass.

Fold or roll the fabric, and tie it round your dog’s neck snugly.

Ear Infection Inflammation

Apply Peppermint Essential Oil along the ear line, on the outside of the ear (never internally, because it would burn the tender ear canal), applied over the fur down the tube of the ear from the outside.

Soothing Dogs Paw Pads

Dogs who walk on concrete will get rough and dry paw pads. Sometimes the paw pads will crack and can bleed or get infected. To help prevent this, Melaleuca can be applied directly to paw pads to soothe the dryness and fight infection. Don’t over oil the paw pads, because some roughness is required for the dog to have traction.

Soothe Your Dog’s Skin

Just like people, dogs often get dry and itchy skin. Soothe minor skin irritations by mixing 2 Tbsp. of almond or coconut oil and 10 drops of Lavender essential oil. Massage the oil mixture into skin irritations to help reduce itch, kill bacteria and even calm nerves.

Doggie Smells Deodorizer

Ensure that you never hear that your home smells like dog again, by using bergamot oil, a natural deodorizer, two or three times a week on your sweet, yet not so sweet smelling pets. Once again, mix 10-15 drops of bergamot with 8 ounces water and apply a light spritz when needed.

Calming Mist For Dogs

10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

8 oz. of purified water or distilled

Measure essential oil into an empty and clean 8-oz spray mist bottle. Add the water until it is filled. Put on cap and shake well before each use. Spray around the dog and even on its coat since Lavender is a good essential oil to repel mosquitos and fleas. This is great for use in a car with a nervous dog or at any time your dog is over-energized.

Dog Burns

Cool the burn with a cold water compress and then apply Lavender Essential Oil as soon as possible.

Dog Abscess

Clean the wound area and apply Melaleuca directly on the abscess. Continue to apply several times a day. When the pus is gone, you can use Lavender Oil to speed healing.

Doggie Tummy Troubles

Whether it is constipation, dog motion sickness or they just ate something they shouldn’t have….just place one or two drops of Peppermint, Ginger, Tarragon, or Lemongrass Essential Oils on their paw. May also be rubbed on their stomach.

Note about Cats:

Cats are more sensitive to essential oils since they metabolize the oils differently. They are sensitive to strong odors and they generally have an adverse reaction to citrus oils. It is a good idea to consult with a veterinarian before applying oils to a cat.

I hope some of these ideas have opened your eyes to the world of possibilities that are out there for essential oils. I know they’ve opened mine!

Have you used essential oils on the family pet?

Share your experience with us!

If you would like to order essential oils from Spark Naturals, here is a link to their website. If you’d like to save an additional 10% off when you order…use the coupon code JILLEE. 🙂

The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Originally published on TheCut.com on June 15, 2018 By Katie Heaney

The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is having a moment. The first thing you should know is that it’s an umbrella term for a variety of eating patterns that cycle between eating and … not. Silicon Valley is interested, and new companies shilling fast-aiding supplements, like HVMN (pronounced “human,” of course) have popped up as a result. A forum called WeFast, organized by HVMN, boasts thousands of intermittently fasting members, who meet in Facebook and Slack chats to share tips and, presumably, to complain about being hungry.

There are a lot of ways to do intermittent fasting, and a lot of self-proclaimed experts attempting to brand their specific formulations: there’s the 18/6 model (18 hours of fasting to a six-hour window in which you can eat normally), and the 16/8; there’s the 5/2 model espoused by Jimmy Kimmel, in which fasters eat normally for five days of the week and eat only 500 to 600 calories a day on the other two; and there’s alternate-day fasting, which is mostly what it sounds like: one day, you eat normally, and the next, you eat very little, or nothing. As to why anyone would do this, motives vary, from weight loss to better cognitive function to enhanced creativity.

As is the case with most trendy diets, there’s a lot of information online about intermittent fasting, and it’s not all good. Here you can find a solid, science-backed beginner’s guide to the practice, a few different ways to do it, and the health benefits supported by evidence thus far.

So what is intermittent fasting?

According to Dorothy Sears, the associate director of the Center for Circadian Biology at UCSD, intermittent fasting can mean a lot of things. The one thing all forms of intermittent fasting have in common is the cycling pattern between eating, and not eating. But, says Sears, even what is meant by “not eating” can vary — for some people it’s very literal, as in water only, and for some people it might mean only a certain, low number of calories. There are a variety of approaches to intermittent fasting, each with their own supporters and detractors.

Sears suggests a practical model called time-restricted eating. While some studies have shown promising results in participants who eat only during short time frames, like six hours a day, Sears fears such a small window wouldn’t be sustainable over the long term, and might make fasters more miserable than it’s worth. If, for instance, you experience work stress during a fasting period, you’re likely to be less able to handle it than you would be if you’d eaten recently.

“We have these fight-or-flight hormones, like epinephrine and norepinephrine, that get secreted when you have a stressful experience, and then you can get a very quick drop in the blood glucose, where you feel a little shaky. Some people call it hanger,” says Sears. “I think that happening a lot over a long period of time is probably not good for us.”

Instead, Sears suggests a 14/10 fasting-to-eating ratio — meaning you’d eat over a ten-hour period (say, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.), and fast the rest of the time, for example. That way you can still have a social life, and still function at work, while getting all the benefits time-restricted eating provides.

Does intermittent fasting work?

In short: all signs point to yes.

Dr. Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, has been studying intermittent fasting for decades, predominantly in mice. In the late ’80s, says Mattson, there were a couple of studies that found that alternate-day fasting in mice extended their life spans by 30 percent. That finding made researchers wonder if there might be a connection between alternate-day fasting and brain function. So in studies published in the late ’90s and early aughts, Mattson tested this hypothesis, and found strong support for it. “Over two decades, essentially, we found that the intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to cope with and resist stress, the kinds of stress that we think are leading to degeneration of nerve cells,” he says. The way this seems to work, says Mattson, is that intermittent fasting aids in the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is known to be critical for learning and memory.

Now, an important caveat: Most, though not all, of the conclusive research done on intermittent fasting thus far has been on mice. Very few such studies exist for humans, and those that do often rely on very small sample groups. According to Sears, at the time of the review she published last year, there were only 17 studies done on intermittent fasting in humans, and most were very small. “Humans are just so different from one another that you really need to do studies on men and women, and you need to do people of different ages, and people of different disease states,” says Sears. “To do really rigorous testing of health benefits in populations you need to do large studies of lots of kinds of people.”

Part of the problem so far, Sears says, is that the NIH hasn’t funded many of the larger studies on the subject. But she hopes that will change. “When they are funded, and the studies are done, then I feel very strongly that we will start to see strong support of the health benefits of intermittent fasting.”

Mattson agrees that more support can only be forthcoming. He, along with Dr. Michelle Harvie, published a study that found that overweight women assigned to the 5/2 fasting diet lost more belly fat and had greater improvements in glucose regulation than their counterparts, who ate meals as usual but reduced their calorie intake by 20 percent. (Both groups lost equivalent amounts of weight.)

Will intermittent fasting help me lose weight?

Probably.

As with any other form of calorie restriction, evidence suggests that intermittent fasting will lead to weight loss — but again, there are some important caveats: most of the research on humans was done on those who were severely overweight or obese, and most measured weight loss over a period of a few months or less. To date, there aren’t any longitudinal studies on humans who fast intermittently, and we know that most people who lose weight eventually gain it back. This, suggests Sears, is all the more reason to pick a fasting model that you’re able to maintain.

Should I skip breakfast as part of my fast?

The verdict is still out.

While Mattson is in favor of the skipped breakfast (he claims he hasn’t eaten one in 35 years), there’s some reason to believe it really is the most important meal of the day, says Sears. “When you eat a meal, you have what’s called a thermogenic response, where your body produces a little bit of heat. You do that more readily in the morning than you do at night, so when you eat at night, you’re not liberating some of the fuels or energy that you’re eating as heat. You’re keeping all that energy in and storing it as fat,” she explains.

“We have a special hormone system in our bodies that helps us clear the sugar out of the blood, and that hormone is called insulin,” Sears says. “Insulin works really really well in the morning, and then it starts to not work so well in the afternoon, and it doesn’t work so well at night.” In other words, our bodies seem set up to process food more favorably in the morning than they are at night. “When we eat a large meal at breakfast, our bodies can handle it really well. So when it comes to intermittent-fasting regimens, I think the ones that are going to show the most promise moving forward are the ones where the food consumption is in the daytime.”

Is it okay to exercise while intermittently fasting?

Yes — in fact, it’s even better for you.

Most people work out when they can, so it might depend on where you can fit things in, but the ideal fasting and exercise setup might be to fast overnight — i.e., from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for a 12-hour fast, or 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. if you’re going for a 14-hour fast — and exercise first thing in the morning, before you eat, says Mattson. “When you’re sleeping you’re not using as much energy, so when you’re sleeping, the rate of depletion of your energy stores is slower than if you’re active,” he says. “So if you exercise in the morning, then you’re definitely going to start burning fat during the exercise. This is one thing we’ve been studying in animals, and there’s some indirect evidence in humans, that exercising while in the fasted state may amplify or enhance the beneficial effects of exercise on health.”

What am I allowed to eat or drink while I’m fasting?

Again, that depends on your fasting model.

Importantly, both Mattson and Sears say that their research suggests that animals and humans benefit from intermittent fasting even when it’s only done most of the time — whether that means doing the 5/2 model, or only doing time restricted eating during the week. “We think you don’t have to have a perfect adherence to the regimen, you just need to practice it for the most part. Five out of seven days is probably enough to see a long-term benefit,” says Sears.

So, while you’re fasting, you can have water, but you can also chew gum, or have coffee, if you want — maybe even a Diet Coke, says Sears (though she wouldn’t encourage it, either). In a study she’s currently piloting, Sears says she told subjects, “When you’re waiting for your fast to end, and you have one more hour to go, and you want your coffee, have it, but just don’t put anything in it that has calories. So if a woman wanted to have a black coffee with an artificial sweetener, she could do that.” You don’t have to be a true ascetic to make intermittent fasting work for you.

Take the Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

Originally Published on OnHealth.com on June 21 2017, By John A. Daller

Take the Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

19 easy ways to get your 9 servings a day

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

If you thought getting five servings of fruits and vegetables a day was tough, get ready for nine! That’s the latest recommendation from the new dietary guidelines released by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Nine servings translate to about 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day.

We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but how do we go about getting nine servings every day? Most of us had a hard time working in five.

And what about people who don’t even like veggies? Many of us can even picture our mothers urging us to “eat our vegetables” at the family dinner table — or even refusing to let us leave the table until we choked those veggies down. (In fact, some researchers believe that bad experiences with vegetables from our past can affect how we feel about these vegetables now, says Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition consultant to the American Institute for Cancer Research.)

If this sounds like you, eating 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day probably sounds next to impossible. But it’s a goal that’s so important for your health.

“The best nutrition minds in the country made these recommendations after studying the research that show fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and high blood pressure,” says Christine Filardo, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the Produce for Better Health Foundation. “Fruits and vegetables can also help fight the obesity epidemic.”

According to Filardo, the most common reasons people give for not eating more fruits and vegetables are that they often aren’t convenient, and people don’t know how to prepare them.

So what does it take to get into the nine-a-day habit? According to experts:

  • It takes constantly reminding yourself to eat fruits and vegetables.
  • It takes having fruit and veggies available at every turn — at work, at home, in restaurants.
  • It takes making it easy for yourself, because most people today are beyond busy.
  • If you haven’t been accustomed to eating much produce, it takes starting small — maybe going for one serving a day at first — and staying the path.

With all this in mind, here are 19 surefire ways to get you on the road to enjoying fruits and vegetables several times a day.

1. Make fruit salad.

Fruit is much more appealing if it is cut, washed, and assembled into a colorful salad. A couple of times a week, clean out your produce bin and make a beautiful fruit salad.

2. Make a bowl of fruit part of your decor.

Wash whatever fresh fruit you have at the moment and set a big bowl of it on your table or desk. As you pass by or talk on the phone, you’ll find yourself munching on this awesome snack food.

3. Toss some fruit into your breakfast.

Throw some fresh, frozen, or dried fruit into your breakfast, whether you’re having a smoothie, pancakes, French toast, or hot or cold cereal.

4. Throw some veggies in the skillet.

Making an omelet or frittata? Fill it with chopped tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, chili peppers, broccoli florets, or whatever you have on hand. Any or all of these veggies can also be tossed into any potato skillet dish.

5. Crunch on a green salad.

Eat a crisp, green salad almost every day. It’s a cool and refreshing way to work veggies into your lunch, dinner or snack. Load your salads up with as many raw veggies as you can: cucumber, grated carrots, zucchini, broccoli florets, green beans, onions, radishes, jicama, tomato, etc. And try using high-nutrient raw spinach or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce. For a sweet twist, add fruit to your green salads. Strawberries, pears, grapes, orange segments, mango, and papaya all work well.

6. Pair fruit with cheese.

Enjoy some fresh fruit with cheese for a nice (and portable) dessert, picnic, or snack. The fruits that best lend themselves to pairing with cheeses are pears, apples, and grapes.

7. Munch on dried fruit.

Dried fruits make great snacks! They don’t go bad or get bruised, and you can carry them in your briefcase or car (or store them in your desk) for a pick-me-up any time of day. Try dried apricots, pears, peaches, nectarines, prunes, raisins, dates, cherries, blueberries, and more.

8. Add veggies you like to dishes you love.

Spaghetti is one example of a dish that can be secretly supplemented with veggies. Just add finely chopped zucchini, mushroom, onions, eggplant, or yellow squash to a flavorful spaghetti sauce. The smaller you chop the veggies, the less likely you are to notice they’re there.

A few more examples:

  • Layer zucchini slices into your lasagna.
  • Stir broccoli florets into macaroni and cheese.
  • Toss a few chopped vegetables into an omelet.
  • Slide some veggies into a cheese quesadilla.

9. Spoon up some soup.

Have soup as a snack or with a meal, at home or in a restaurant. Choose soups that are bursting with vegetables. You can embellish canned soups with extra veggies, too. Just stir them in while you’re heating or cooking the soup.

10. Drink your vegetables (and fruits).

Some people are just more likely to drink their fruits and vegetables. V-8 or carrot juice equals a serving of vegetables. Or try blending some carrot juice with a fruit juice you enjoy (maybe orange or tangerine juice) and you’ve got a fruit AND a vegetable serving.

11. Vegi-fy your pizza.

If you like pizza, top it with some vegetables. Try any combination of tomato, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, and artichoke hearts.

12. Toss some on the grill.

After you take your meat or fish off the grill, don’t waste the hot coals. Throw some fruits and/or veggies on the grill while you’re at it. You might be surprised at how great they taste!

Often, you can use the same marinade you’re using for your meat. (Just marinate your fruits or veggies separately from the meat or baste them with marinade that hasn’t touched the meat, so they’re not exposed to raw meat juices.)

You can make a veggie kabob with chunks of vegetables (eggplant, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and other squash). Soft vegetables won’t need precooking, but firm vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, or broccoli, will benefit from steam or microwave cooking before they hit the grill.

13. Get them at the drive-through.

You can even get your vegetables at many fast-food chains, as long as you like salads. Wendy’s, for example, offers a Caesar side salad (with 70 calories and 4 grams of fat, not including dressing) or a side salad (35 calories, 0 grams fat, not including dressing). Ask for the fat-free French, low-fat honey mustard, or reduced-fat creamy ranch dressing. Use half the packet and you’ll add around 50 calories and from 0-4 grams of fat, depending on which dressing you choose.

14. Dress up your dinner plate with fruit.

Borrow a trick from restaurants, and add a beautiful fruit garnish to your dinner plate. It adds color and texture to your meal. Try orange wheels or wedges, sliced kiwi, a small branch of grapes, or a wedge of melon.

15. Drizzle on some cheese sauce.

Pour a little cheese sauce or grated cheese over a pile of broccoli spears or cauliflower, and suddenly it’s a whole different ballgame. You can make a lower-fat cheese sauce using reduced-fat cheese, fat-free half-and-half, and no butter or margarine.

16. Serve your veggies raw.

Raw vegetables are sometimes more appealing than their cooked counterparts. When you have a platter of assorted raw vegetables and some delicious low-fat dip in front of you, the vegetables just seem to disappear! Try raw cauliflower or broccoli florets, cabbage, or spinach, along with the usual carrots and celery. Use a light ranch or Italian dressing as a dip, or make your own and keep it ready to go in your refrigerator.

17. Keep fruit in heavy rotation.

TV chef and radio show host Bridget Kelly says that as a mother of two, she’s no longer interested in “sneaking” fruits and vegetables into her family’s diet — she goes for the all-out attack! To make sure fruit is appealing to her family, she has a trick: She serves the most perishable types soon after she returns from the grocery store and saves the hardier types for later. That means oranges and strawberries today (strawberries first because they have the shortest shelf life), bananas and grapes tomorrow, apples and mango the next.

18. Have prepared fruits and veggies ready to go in the fridge.

As soon as Kelly gets home from the store, she rinses all the fruit and puts some out for immediate consumption. The rest goes into easy-access clear plastic bags or containers. Then, when her family shows up hungry, she can toss them the fruit before they go rummaging around for chips.

19. Try a little salt.

Kelly encourages folks, if they’ve never done this, to boil their fresh vegetables in lightly salted water. “I can’t believe how many people aren’t aware of this simple flavor enhancement trick — it can make the difference between your child hating and loving broccoli,” she says.

9-a-Day Recipes

If you’re one of those folks who’s not sure you know how to prepare fruits and vegetables, here are a few simple recipes to get you started.

50/50 Fruit Salad (or Fruit Dip)

Journal as: 2 medium pieces of fresh fruit

Remember those 50/50 orange-and-cream bars? They were the inspiration for this recipe.

1 package (1.4 ounces) sugar-free and fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk

5 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

2 cups melon cubes or balls (honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.)

2 bananas, sliced

2 apples, cored and sliced

2 oranges, peeled and broken into segments

2 peaches, nectarines or pears, cored and sliced

Put pudding mix, milk, and orange juice concentrate in mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat in or mix in sour cream.

Serve the orange dip with prepared fruit. Or, make a dressed fruit salad by adding all the fruits to a large serving bowl. Pour orange dressing over the top and toss gently to blend. Serve immediately, or cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yield: 8-10 cups of fruit salad.

Per cup of fruit salad and dip (if 8 cups per recipe): 162 calories, 4 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 3.5 g fiber, 35 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 6%.

Tropical Fruit Salad

Journal as: 1/2 cup canned fruit in juice + 1 medium piece of fruit

Bring a taste of the tropics to your fruit salad with this recipe.

20-ounce can pineapple chunks canned in juice

2 kiwi, peeled, halved and sliced

2 cups strawberries, quartered

1 large banana, sliced

1 papaya or mango, peeled and cubed (or substitute an 11-ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained)

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest or peel

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/3 cup unsweetened or sweetened shredded coconut (optional)

  • Drain pineapple chunks, and reserve 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice.
  • Add pineapple chunks, kiwi, strawberries, banana, and papaya or mango to large serving bowl.
  • Put 1/4 cup pineapple juice, lime peel, lime juice and honey in a 2-cup measure and whisk together until nicely blended. Drizzle over the salad, and toss to coat the fruits well. Sprinkle coconut over the top before serving, if desired.

Yield: About 7 cups.

Per cup: 101 calories, 1.2 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 4 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 5%.

Vegetable Garlic Saute

Journal as: 1/2 cup “vegetables without added fat” + 1/2 cup “vegetables with 1 tsp. fat”

Substitute any vegetable you like for any of those listed below.

2 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts with loose outer leaves removed, cut in half (about 1/2 pound)

2 1/2 cups yellow squash or zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1/2 pound)

1 large tomato (or 2 small), diced

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Put Brussels sprouts, squash, and a couple of tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on HIGH until vegetables are lightly cooked. Drain well.

Add oil and garlic to large nonstick frying pan or skillet and heat over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts, squash, and tomato. Saute for a few minutes, or until vegetables reach desired doneness. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Per serving: 94 calories, 4 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0.6 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 26 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 44%.

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe – Cauliflower & Walnut Meat

Originally Published on ARespectfulLife.com on January 15, 2018 By RespectfulLiving

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat
I love this Vegan Taco Meat Recipe made from Cauliflower and Walnuts because I can make it in batches, portion it, freeze it, and take it out for a taco salad, a taco, lettuce wraps, or burrito! I have used this recipe for a taco bar at a graduation party and the guests did not know that it wasn’t ground beef!

The images below are some ideas on how you can use it:

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_2

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe – Cauliflower & Walnut Meat

Ingredients

2 Cups Raw Walnuts (unsalted)
1 lb. Cauliflower flourets
2 TBSP olive oil (Optional)
3 Medium Garlic Cloves Minced or pressed
2 TBSP Low Sodium Tamari
1 TBSP Chili Powder
1 & 1/4 TBSP Ground Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
3/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Marmite (optional – will give it a little meatier taste but it is hard to find in the U.S. and has salt))

  1. Instructions

1. Add 2 cups of walnuts to food processor and chop until you have small particles (see picture), remove from food processor and place in mixing bowl.

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_3

Add 1 lb. of cauliflower florets to food processor and chop until you have small particles that are smaller than ‘riced’ cauliflower, (see picture), put in bowl with walnuts.

2. Add ALL other ingredients into cauliflower/walnut mixture and mix thoroughly with your hand, squishing the mixture together until well mixed

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_5

4. Place mixture on a baking sheet with parchment paper, keeping it pushed together so that it is 3/4 inch thick.

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5. Bake in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn mixture over and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, it looks and tastes just like taco meat!

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_3

6. A quick note on Marmite: It is readily available in the UK but difficult to find in the US. Is CAN be ordered on Amazon, I would suggest ordering more than one when you do!

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She Allegedly Retired

blonde hair blur daylight environment

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

It’s been about 7 months since Valerie retired. And  WHOA is in her vocabulary!!!  She had no idea it was going to be the way it is.  Just to summarize that she did work in law enforcement for 26 years and  also wore many hats on top of that.  She studied singing, dance, started a blog and is also raising a responsible teen.  So needless to say prior to retirement she was on a fast paced treadmill.  And was able to run quite fast.  Did she get tired?  Hell yeah but she just kept pushing herself because after all that’s the  way she was trained.  No Pain, no gain.

Fast forward to retirement and now she finally gets a chance to rest and relax.  Umm not exactly.  She designed her retired life to keep herself on that treadmill.  How and why did she do that?  Well she got a puppy, kept up with all of my hobbies and realized that she was really exhausted.  But she kept pushing herself anyway.  Now instead of stressing about deadlines at work, she was stressing about getting the dishes done and doing laundry.  Seriously?  How the hell did that happen?

tired office worker

She realized that people get so programmed to go at such a high rate of speed that it is difficult to slow down.  Imagine when you are on a tread mill and you get off suddenly, well your heart keeps racing and it takes a little while for it to slow down.  Well that’s exactly what happens when you retire.  It takes a minute to slow down.  Except it’s a rude reality check to realize that you never got off the treadmill.  The treadmill just changed from the treadmill to “Plogging.”

The realization that one seriously just needed to rest.  Stopping all work just isn’t possible as a mom, your on call 24/7.  Especially with a puppy.  (counting respiration rates, taking temperatures of a puppy and trying to find her pulse,trips back and forth to UC Davis etc.)

How the heck do you slow down anyway?  The answer is to take time to rest.  Maybe  watching TV is not a waste of time.  I usually watch an interesting movie but you really need that downtime.

happiness

If you allow yourself to rest you will find  that one will start to feel more calm and sleep better at night.  Work still occurs but now just take more breaks and  don’t worry about anything.  Valerie is recovering from all of those years of over work.  Her favorite thing is when  plans are made and the plans fall through.  She stopped putting on make up as much.  Started doing yoga everyday.  Basically getting back to basics.  Valerie realized that “Yoga Teacher heal thyself.” has real meaning. Getting back on the yoga mat and just let go of the past and the future.  Allow yourself the time to rest and heal.

What was the result?  Well She feels way better.  She is more calm and relaxed.

Everyone is different in their experience.  And by the way what works for you might not work for everyone or maybe you want the freedom to explore your own options.  It’s called Freedom of Choice.  So please do what your heart desires.

Remember even cell phones get a chance to charge themselves.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor/dancer and singer.  She recently retired and is redesigning her life.  Life is a journey and it has many ups and downs.  Find the pathway that serves you.  This is a belly dance inspired movement.  She also gives a talk at the end about diet.

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Originally Published on LungInstitute.com on 15 July 2016 By Cameron

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Looking for a natural way to increase oxygen indoors?

For those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the desire for more oxygen can be a demanding one. Although there are options available for increasing oxygen through means such as oxygenators and air purifiers, there are a variety of natural alternatives for increasing air quality that are beneficial for both body and mind. The Lung Institute believes the home should foster an environment of good health and well-being, and with your health in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen indoors.

5. Areca Palm

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As with all plants, the Areca Palm is biologically engineered to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. However, what sets the Areca Palm apart is its ability to also purify the environment it’s placed in by removing dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Areca Palm does well in filtered light and needs to be watered often. For one person, four shoulder high plants should suffice.
Best Placement:

The Living Room

4. Snake Plant a.k.a. Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

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Considered highly efficient in oxygen production, the Snake Plant otherwise known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, is unique for its nighttime oxygen production, and ability to purify air through the removal of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Snake Plant does well in window light and needs to be watered weekly. For one person, six to eight waist level plants are recommended. In an air sealed room, these plants are capable of producing enough oxygen to breathe normally.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

3. Money Plant

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_4_4
Featured by NASA, the Money Plant is renowned for its ability to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air, specifically benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. However, despite the benefit of its high purification rate, this plant is toxic to cats, dogs and small children if its leaves are ingested.

Recommendation & Care:

The Money Plant prefers indirect light and needs to be watered every week or so. For one person, three 18-inch plants are recommended.
Best Placement:

Any room but keep out of reach of pets or small children.

2. Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_4

Arguably the prettiest entry on the list, the Gerbera Daisy is often used as a decorative element in gardening. However, the Gerbera Daisy is also distinct for its ability to produce high levels of oxygen at night while removing harmful chemicals, such as benzene and trichloroethylene. Beneficial for those suffering from sleep apnea and breathing disorders, keep this one on the nightstand for better sleep.

Recommendation & Care:

The Gerbera Daisy prefers bright sunlight during the summer, spring and fall, and indirect light during the winter. It needs to be watered regularly with the soil being kept moist. Due to the decorative nature of the flower, the amount of recommended flower pots is up to the discretion of the planter.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

1. Chinese Evergreens

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_5

The Chinese Evergreen is one of the most common household plants and for good reason. This plant emits a high oxygen content while purifying indoor spaces of harmful chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and other toxins. As its name suggests, it is quite popular in China specifically for its high efficiency in removing harmful pollutants from the air.

Recommendation & Care:

The Chinese Evergreen does well in full shade, and only needs to be watered occasionally with a focus on keeping the soil moist. The number of plants kept is at the owner’s discretion.

Best Placement:

The Living Room

Along with the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, what else can I do to breathe easier?

Although keeping oxygen-generating plants, such as our top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, may increase the quality of life for those suffering from COPD, they are not a form of treatment. And though indoor plants may ease the symptoms of COPD, they will be ineffective when outside the home or workplace.

Currently COPD has no cure; however, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of cellular research. As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life.

If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us at (888) 510-7519 today to find out if you qualify for cellular therapy.

Thinking about starting an indoor plant collection? Have a few suggestions of your own? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts and comments on our list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen below!

Fish oil: friend or foe?

This Article is really important as it discusses Fish Oil which is a very beneficial for the heart. But beware that not all fish oil is created equal.  And some of it can be rancid and you really don’t know about the health of the fish.  Check out this article and then you can decide for yourself what is best.  XOXO Valerie

Originally Published on Health.Harvard.edu on July 12, 2013 on By Howard LeWine, M.D.

fish shaped tran capsules

Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The answer is more friend than foe, if the fish oil comes from food sources rather than supplements.

Omega-3s in balance

What’s so special about fish oil? It’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These must come from food, since our bodies can’t make them.

The two key omega-3 fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in these omega-3s. Some plants are rich in another type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, which the body can convert to DHA and EPA. Good sources of these are flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and canola oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in brain function, normal growth and development, and inflammation. Deficiencies have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, some cancers, mood disorders, arthritis, and more. But that doesn’t mean taking high doses translates to better health and disease prevention.

Fish oil supplements have been promoted as easy way to protect the heart, ease inflammation, improve mental health, and lengthen life. Such claims are one reason why Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on over-the-counter fish oil. And food companies are adding it to milk, yogurt, cereal, chocolate, cookies, juice, and hundreds of other foods.

But the evidence for improving heart health is mixed. In May 2013, for example, Italian researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that omega-3 fatty acid supplements did nothing to reduce heart attacks, strokes, or deaths from heart disease in people with risk factors for heart disease.

Evidence linking fish oil and cancer has been all over the map. Some research suggests diets high in fatty fish or fish oil supplements might reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer. Other research shows just the opposite, a link between eating a lot of oily fish or taking potent fish oil supplements and a 43% increased risk for prostate cancer overall, and a 71% increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer.

Take home message

How food, and its component molecules, affect the body is largely a mystery. That makes the use of supplements for anything other than treating a deficiency questionable.

Despite this one study, you should still consider eating fish and other seafood as a healthy strategy. If we could absolutely, positively say that the benefits of eating seafood comes entirely from omega-3 fats, then downing fish oil pills would be an alternative to eating fish. But it’s more than likely that you need the entire orchestra of fish fats, vitamins, minerals, and supporting molecules, rather than the lone notes of EPA and DHA.

The same holds true of other foods. Taking even a handful of supplements is no substitute for wealth of nutrients you get from eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

What should you do if you currently take fish oil? If your doctor prescribed them—they are an approved and effective treatment for people with high blood triglyceride levels—follow his or her instructions until you can have a conversation about fish oil.

If you are taking them on your own because you believe they are good for you, it’s time to rethink that strategy. If you don’t eat fish or other seafood, you can get omega-3s from ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, and soy oil. One to two servings per day can help you avoid a deficiency of omega-3s.

Experts will surely remain divided on their opinions about fish oil supplements for the general population. And don’t expect any clarity about what to do any time soon. I expect other studies with flip-flopping results in the future.

Following food author Michael Pollan’s simple advice about choosing a diet may be the best way forward: “Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.”

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash

I did try this mouth wash and I do like it.  It obviously has a different feel than store bought mouth washes.  But I feel like it definitely works very well and it’s so inexpensive and eco friendly that it’s definitely worth it.  Thanks for caring enough about Mother Earth to make your own mouth wash.  You’re a Rock Star. XOXO Valerie

Originally published on DiyNatural.com By Betsy Jabs

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash

Ever watched the clock hoping you could endure the burn of your mouthwash for a full minute? I have never been able to stand the harsh burn of commercial mouthwash, so after reading about beneficial properties of peppermint essential oil I did what any creative DIY’er would do… set out to make my own.

Natural and antibacterial homemade mouthwash

We strive to create recipes that are easy to make, inexpensive, and effective – this mouthwash is all that and even has antibacterial and antifungal properties to help keep bad breath at bay. Here’s all you need to make mouthwash:

A container – I use a small mason jar
½ cup filtered or distilled water (find the best water purification systems here)
2 tsp baking soda
2 drops tea tree essential oil (find 100% pure essential oils here)
2 drops peppermint essential oil

Baking soda will settle to the bottom of the jar when not in use, so be sure to shake mouthwash before each use. Swish about 2-3 teaspoons of this homemade formula in your mouth for a minute or two. As with any mouthwash, try to avoid swallowing this while gargling.

Feel free to double this recipe for a larger batch. Making really big batches is not recommended because the oils will continue to blend over time and flavors can change.

Matt and Betsy are passionate about living naturally and building a like-minded community focused on the sustainable lifestyle.

DIY Natural is about rediscovering the traditional value of doing things yourself, doing them naturally, and enjoying the benefits. Welcome to the movement!

Save money and get better mouthwash

A few years ago we paid $3.50 for a liter (nearly 34 ounces) of generic Listerine, and that’s about the lowest price you’ll find. If we divide $3.50/34 we get approximately $0.10/ounce for the store bought mouthwash. Our mouthwash recipe above yields 5 ounces with raw ingredients that cost approximately $0.03/ounce.

If you were to make a liter of this homemade natural mouthwash it would cost you approximately $1.00 which is $2.50 less than the store bought.

Homemade mouthwash delivers us a savings of approximately 250%.

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash_2
Xylitol mouthwash and other optional ingredients

Xylitol is a natural sweetener proven to have a positive effect on tooth and gum health. It is recommended by many natural dentists and is now a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste, gum and mouthwash. It is not a necessary ingredient for this natural homemade mouthwash but it will improve the taste and even the effectiveness. About 1 teaspoon is recommended if using in this recipe.

Matt just ran out of toothpaste and is whipping up a new batch that will include a bit of Xylitol and possibly even some coconut oil for better texture. (Purchase quality coconut oil here.)

Warning: Xylitol can be extremely toxic to dogs. It is best to keep any Xylitol products or items sweetened with Xylitol stored safely away from dogs.

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash_3Matt and Betsy are passionate about living naturally and building a like-minded community focused on the sustainable lifestyle.

DIY Natural is about rediscovering the traditional value of doing things yourself, doing them naturally, and enjoying the benefits. Welcome to the movement!