An Avocado a Day keeps the Doctor away

Move over apples, the new health axiom is “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.”

avocado
pictures courtesy of Pexels

Even though a medium sized avocado adds around 250 calories to your daily intake and 24 grams of fat, the fat is predominantly the “good for your heart” monounsaturated variety.  Avocados also lower our “bad cholesterol” or LDL (low density lipoproteins) because they contain high amounts of plant based phytosterols.

avocado

Start by incorporating avocadoes into your daily meals.  Chopped, pureed, or mashed, use your imagination and avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Just be careful what you eat them with (skip the chips).  Keeping in mind that a healthy allotment of fat is 65 grams within a daily diet of 2000 calories, simply replace the fats you have been eating for years with avocado.  Eliminate the “not so good for you” fats  like margarine or butter, peanut butter, oils, and mayonnaise.  As well as the heart healthy fat, you will be adding vitamins, minerals and fiber with this substitution.

 

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Plan your encore career

Encore careers are becoming increasingly popular, especially within the baby boomer generation.  After a stress laden career, baby boomers are often not quite ready to retire completely, so find a way to continue earning money doing something they enjoy.  An encore career is usually something totally different from  the original career.  This change of focus to something more enjoyable and relaxing can be exhilarating and healthy for active baby boomers.

Growing Bolder's photo.

 

So, if you have been working for years in the same career or same type of job, consider a stress-free encore career.  If you can collect a partial pension or severance package when you leave the old job, all the better.  Find something you are good at that people are willing to pay money for, and start your own business.  It does not have to be a large business and is easier than you think.   You will be amazed at the improvement in both your physical and mental health.

 

 

 

#4 of 4 Healthy Resolutions for 2015: Exercise More

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Sorry, I had to include exercise as one of my healthy resolutions for 2015.  It is probably the most common resolution made, but also probably the least successful resolution.

Exercise is one of those things that the more you do it, the easier it gets to be, and the less you do it the harder it seems to be.  As you age it seems to get worse, especially if you suffer from joint pain or other mobility issues.  I do suffer from mild arthritis, but I realize that the more I move, the easier I can move, and the longer I will be able to keep mobile.  The problem is finding the motivation to keep moving.  The trick, I think, is to incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine so it becomes a habit instead of a chore.

In my very seasonal landscaping business I have no trouble staying fit and limber from April through October, in fact some days I put in six hours of gardening and then can hardly get out of my van when I get home.  When the season winds down late in October, my body seems to do the same.

Exercise does not have to be expensive or complicated.  My favorite form (other than gardening) is walking.  My husband and I try to get a one hour brisk walk in every evening, but I must admit the cold and/or icy weather is certainly a deterrent.  Another form of exercise I enjoy is yoga.  During gardening season, I do yoga stretches before leaving the house in the morning and as soon as I return home.  If I forget to do this before I leave, my back reminds me within thirty minutes of work and then I have to quit earlier than anticipated.

Whatever exercise regime you decide to pursue, remember that exercise can be addictive; the more often you do it, the more you look forward to it, and most importantly, the better you feel…

#3 of 4 Healthy Resolutions for 2015: go Green

picture courtesy of plantpoweredkitchen.com

My third healthy resolution for 2015 is to add more greens to my diet.  For the past few years I have been concentrating on eliminating wheat from my diet (see a previous post about this process) and I must admit to sticking to common (in this area) vegetables like broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, and corn.  Of course this is partly because these vegetables are the favourites within my family of five.

This year I would like to experiment with a few new green vegetables, since many health gurus promote them as beneficial and disease fighting.  Leafy green vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, all of which contribute to good health, something all of us should strive for.

Mustard greens, collards, kale, broccoli and cabbage all contain magnesium and tryptophan, beneficial for the health of your brain and heart.  They are cruciferous vegetables which means they have a role in inhibiting cancer growth as well. Their green color means they are rich in chlorophyll, which keeps your blood on the alkaline side of the pH scale, (see another previous post ) another healthy benefit.

Spinach and swiss chard are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as folate and iron.  Iron is important because it carries oxygen to the blood stream.  These vegetables also both contain oxalates, undesirable compounds to those prone to kidney stones.  Oxalate levels can be reduced though by cooking the greens before consumption.

Leaf, Romaine and Iceberg Lettuce are all common ingredients found in salad bowls.  Iceberg lettuce however contains mostly water with very little nutrients, so be sure to use the darker green (or red) versions of lettuce to maximize the health benefits of vitamins and minerals.

I eat broccoli fairly regularly and add spinach to my breakfast smoothies, but that is the extent of my use of green vegetables.  I pledge to look for these other “greens” in the produce department of my favourite grocery stores.

Go green with me this year!

#2 of 4 Health Resolutions for 2015: Declutter

My second resolution for 2015 is to declutter my life.  This applies both physically and mentally, although the physical version is much simpler and easier to visualize.

We have lived in this house for almost thirty years, so have accumulated much too much “stuff.”  When we purchased the house, we were newly married, with no children.  Thirty one years of marriage and three sons later, the house is bursting at the seams.  Two of these three sons have moved out this past year, so the opportunity to declutter is here.  Don’t get me wrong, I have loved every minute of my house full of boys, and miss them terribly already, but as they move on to independence, I am both excited for them and very proud of them.

We started cautiously with the two unused bedrooms.  Not wanting to imply that we were happy to see them go, we sorted through the things left behind, relegating some of the stuff to the garbage, and organizing the rest.  With those two rooms now sporting a minimalist look, it is now time to move on to the rest of the house.

I finally convinced my hubby to part with the sectional sofa in the basement rec room.  Santa Claus was a big help with that when he brought us a nice new replacement for Christmas:

The “furnace” room is currently under a purging process:

with more rooms to follow soon!

Decluttering a lifestyle is much more complicated.  This involves removing as many sources of stress as possible.  Stress means different things to different people, but basically it is your reaction to things that happen to you.  Some people are stressed just driving to work each day, while others are slower to react to things that bother them.

The problem is, stress can wreak havoc in your life if you let it.  Stress has been blamed for many diseases and adverse health conditions.  Dr Leigh Erin Connealy says “Many times, it turns out that a patient’s health problems are caused by emotions, rather than something physical…stress weakens your immune system, making you vulnerable to colds and infections. It also raises levels of stress hormones, boosting your blood pressure and heart rate, interrupting your sleep, wiping out your libido, intensifying any pains you have, and disrupting your digestion.  The truth is, emotions have a tremendous impact on your health and longevity. Even something as simple as smiling or laughing can boost your body’s levels of natural painkillers known as endorphins.”

So, how do you declutter your life so that stress cannot control and ruin it?  First you must realize what you can control and what you cannot.  If  you cannot control something, like the weather or a traffic jam, do not let it bother you.  If a situation has been bothering you for a long time and there is no resolution in sight, let it go and move on.  The same rule applies to people in your life.  Obviously, some people you dislike cannot easily be removed from your life, but if they can remove them and surround yourself with better choices. For example, if you dislike or disagree with your boss, but love your job, find a way to make it work or find a new job. If you are in a relationship that is not mutually fulfilling, get out of it and find one that it is.  Discover and surround yourself with the things and people that make you smile!

I made the first step in decluttering my life when I retired almost three years ago and my health has improved considerably. Check out a previous post.   I currently surround myself with people I respect and whose company I enjoy.

Start decluttering your life in 2015, you and your health deserve it!

#1 of 4 Healthy Resolutions for 2015: Drink more Water

Happy New Year!  Even though 2015 is still a few days away, I thought I would share the healthy resolutions I have made for the new year, one at a time…

The first resolution is to drink more water.  In a   previous post,  I talked about how important it is to drink a lot of water. I already drink lots of water and have noticed a difference, especially in my energy levels, lack of headaches and the condition of my skin.  However, I read recently that you should drink 1/2 an ounce of water for every pound of weight your scale tells you that you weigh.  (no cheating!)  To me, this means I should consume 65 ounces of water per day, which translates to eight 8 ounce glasses.  Just be sure to drink all of this water before six o’clock each evening, otherwise you will be up going to the bathroom through the night.  If this increase in water consumption seems like a lot to you and you are concerned that your bladder will not be able to keep up, please be assured that your body will adjust within a few days.

My youngest son urged me to purchase a water filtering jug to keep in our fridge.  He says it will help him drink more water too.  As he plays many sports, it is even more important that he consumes an adequate amount of water to keep his body healthy.  For me, having the water jug on the counter or in the fridge creates a great reminder to drink more water.

Water filters are great for removing unwanted chemicals from your drinking water.  Chemicals such as sulfur can alter the taste and smell of water, but the harmful effects of chlorine and other chemicals can cause serious health problems. If you do plan to drink more water in the new year, think about filtering the water you drink to achieve the greatest health benefits.  Filters come in many shapes and sizes; check out the link below for many varieties:

water filters

Increasing your daily intake of filtered water can help you in many ways.  Whether you want to lose weight in 2015, improve your overall health, or both, try filtering your drinking water and increasing the amount of water you consume.  Cheers!

The Best Iced Tea Recipe…

I can’t remember where I saw this recipe, but I tweaked it slightly producing the best iced tea ever, just in time for summer…

  • four green tea bags steeped in 4 cups of boiling water
  • 1/4 cup 100% blueberry or pomegranate (or a mixture) juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Stir all ingredients together, then pour into a pitcher of ice cubes.  Due to allergies and/or sensitivites, I make sure I use 100% green tea with no added flavor or preservatives.  Even “natural flavor” is not natural to me!  The same goes for the juices and maple syrup; they must be 100% (no sugar or artificial ingredients)   If you are feeling really fancy, use frozen strawberries, mangoes or blueberries instead of ice cubes.

If you have been following my other posts, all of the ingredients in this recipe are on the alkaline side of the chart, meaning they are healthy, so drink up…

Lorieb is the mother of three sons, residing in Kanata, Ontario, Canada.  She is the proud owner of GARDENS4U, and spends most of her time designing, planting, and restoring gardens.  Her other interests include reading and writing.  Please check out her website at www.gardens4u.ca

Easy Dinner Recipe: Pork Tenderloin in the Slow Cooker

This recipe (if you can call three simple steps and three common ingredients a recipe) is the easiest ever…

I thought I was heading out of town this morning, so decided to make my family’s favourite pork tenderloin in my slow cooker, to be ready when I returned at dinner time. The weather changed my travel plans, but I still have the same dinner plans.

All you need is a pork tenderloin, one half cup (approximately) of maple syrup and one cup (again, approximately, I never measure) of frozen blueberries. Put the tenderloin in the slow cooker, pour the maple syrup over it and then the blueberries over the syrup. Set the slow cooker to low and let the pork cook 8 hours. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and let it cool (10 minutes) before slicing. Pour the juice, as is, over top after slicing. If you prefer a thicker, gravy-like sauce, stir one tablespoon of flour into a bit of cold water, then add to the juice in the pot. Turn the setting up to high and cook until the sauce thickens. Serve with potatoes or rice and another vegetable (broccoli is our favourite) for a healthy family dinner…

Succulent!!

Lorieb is the mother of three sons, residing in Kanata, Ontario, Canada. She is the proud owner of GARDENS4U, and spends most of her time designing, planting, and restoring gardens. Her other interests include reading and writing. Please check out her website at www.gardens4u.ca