REMEMBER THAT YOUR BODY TRULY IS A TEMPLE or THAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE

I know many of us would like this to be the way we take care of ourselves, on a regular basis, but since this isn’t really all that realistic, let’s look at some other ways.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to create a balance in your life. Being a perfectionist Virgo I’m a list maker by nature, but I also find that those lists help me to stay organized and balanced. Both of which are crucial in my situation. I don’t share this with many, but for the sake of argument I will today.

To look at me today you would think I was the healthiest person you’d met recently. But, I have Systemic Lupus as well as Fibromyalgia and Raynuad’s syndrome. I was only 24 when diagnosed and was so sick I was unable to participate in my own life. I was being eaten alive from the inside. After the first few months with the help of my Rhuematologist and a serious change of habits coupled with an open mind I was able to participate in my own life again. So creating that balance is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself.

You’ll notice that rest and play are about 3/4’s of that pie chart. I was a workaholic sometimes pulling allnighters to get everything done. But, when I started getting more rest (a fact my body would no longer allow me to ignore) and spending some down time for myself, I was able to get more “WORK” done in a shorter time because my attitude was in the right place and my energy had been replenished.

The other area that I had to seriously address was eating. I was a college student working on my credentials and holding down 2 jobs so meals were on the run as well as hit and miss. But, foods and their components as well as their preparation became a crucial part of keeping me well.

Many of us grew up during the “convenience” years. You know when mom opened a can or a box and just added another can of something and there was dinner. Then as a society we began consuming more and more fast food (prepared who knows how) as well as consuming more and more soft drinks and “diet” foods.

Guess what though? Despite being told these are all okay, they really aren’t. The first thing my Rheumatologist did was take me off of ALL foods containing sacchrin, nutrasweet and/or any other preservative like you’d find in a box product or pre-prepared food. Like she pointed out, a little of a natural thing like real sugar or butter go a long way. You know what else? Within just a few weeks of changing my eating habits alone I was feeling tons better.

I cannot emphasize how important it is to think about what you put in your body. As my rheumatologist pointed out our bodies do not have receptors for chemically altered or created “foods” forcing anything like that through your kidneys and liver overworking your body. While I do not advocate any one diet (other than plain healthy eating) there are a few things to consider. Some of the healthiest things you can put into your body grow naturally (fruits and vegetables) while some of the other things we eat like shrimp who are bottom feeders and pigs who will eat anything are not so good for you. As she pointed out a little thought and common sense can guide us well.

Another crucial area is your dental health. I cannot emphasize how important this is. What may be hiding in your teeth and gums may be making you less than healthy. Daily flossing as well as multiple brushings could change your life. Make that dental appointment today!


I ran across the book above tonight at Jamba Juice and wished I’d had the time to research it better, but it looked quite interesting.

I have not read this book below, but loved the title and intend to seek it out also. More than anything else I want to emphasize that if you are not taking care of yourself, you will be of little value to others whether that is your children spouse or elders.

MAY THE MOTIVATION BE WITH YOU TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Change those bad habits, get more rest, play a little more and make those appointments today! I’m living a “normal” life today because I did.

YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE ~ THE ABC’s OF HEALTHY EATING

Many of you know about the ongoing struggle I have been having after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  Even before the cancer, I struggled with living a clean eating and healthy lifestyle to cope with the aspects of Systemic Lupus.  Now sandwiched right before the cancer diagnosis was also a a diagnosis of Systemic Scleroderma which now labels me with a “mixed connective tissue disease” label.  Oh and by the way none of them have cures.  This makes want to find a way to live even more healthy so I’ll be around for the cures!
Without going into a long story, many years ago after the Systemic Lupus diagnosis when I was in college and after 6 months of taking Progesterone and various other drugs, I went to my Rheumatologist (a fortunate recent referral and a truly great doctor and caring woman after several other doctors who really had no clue) and said I can’t live like this!  The Progesterone had put almost 60 pounds on me, I could no longer play racquetball (something I did 3-4 times a week) or jog (something I did 5-7 times a week after being a cross country runner in high school). It took me years just to take off that weight.   LOL at least I was a 90 pound weakling prior to the steroids!
This great and caring doctor sighed with relief and asked me to sit down so we could talk!  Really, she just wanted to chat and chat we did for an hour and a half.  I truly believe that she changed my life forever!
The first thing she did was refuse me a support group – I know that sounds strange, but she truly felt I was better off with my positive attitude working through the steps with guidance.  Step 1 was to change my eating habits.  Remember I was in college, always eating on the run from whatever vending machine was close and diet everything to keep from putting on any more weight.  So, she had me write down my diet for a week and guess what?  When you see it in writing you realize how much all those “a little here” and “a little there” things add up! After that realization was Step 2 – eliminate the “non food” items from my diet.  She qualified these “non food” items as anything that didn’t have a direct receptor in the body.  This included saccharin, aspartame, splenda, anything processed with ingredients the average person can’t pronounce and preserved in a box or a can.  Below is the new food pyramid in an easy to read and follow format.

And here is an easy to follow breakdown!

It is a personal choice, but she also asked me to stay away from pork and shellfish – you know the bottom feeders of the world that will eat anything!  As she put it, garbage in, garbage out via your kidneys and liver!


Step 3 was to get regular exercise, proper rest and meditation to care for my whole being.  Oh and to avoid stress – yeah right, not easy in this world.  Sound advice for anyone, healthy or not!
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So, the bottom line is that you were given only one body and despite popular belief, it cannot be easily replaced and does require the proper fuel and rest to work properly.  The easiest way is to start with a good diet.

ARE YOU WHAT YOU EAT?

When I was a little kid I thought vegetables came from cans and sauces came from packages.  You know, just add water and voile you have spaghetti sauce.   I thought it was pretty cool that we ate like the astronauts – we also drank gallons of Tang. Back then, “original” Tang was still made without artificial sweeteners.  Then I turned 10 and dad cooked for a Thanksgiving dinner with these funny looking green stalks called celery and orange ones called carrots and these big round yellow things called onions and this big pot full of homemade broth and voile I was in love with scratch cooking.  Obviously there was a difference between my mom’s cooking and my dad’s cooking.
From then on I became the family cook since mom worked full time and I learned that I preferred scratch cooking with real food to the cans and packages. This was when I also became interested in nutrition and eating well and began reading labels.
Years later all this knowledge paid off when I became sick and my doctor asked me to not use certain things – things like preservatives and “fake” or diet foods.
ASPARTAME: is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. The most notable name brand of aspartame is Nutra-sweet.
SACCHARIN:  is an artificial sweetener. The basic substance, benzoic sulfilimine, has effectively no food energy and is much sweeter than sucrose, but has an unpleasant bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. It is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, biscuits, medicines, and toothpaste.

There have been studies trying to link aspartame and saccharin to carcinogens.  Some say they are successful, others say they are not – you know all the bureaucratic red tape arguing back and forth for FDA approval type BS.  You are never sure who to believe, but as my rheumatologist asked, which receptors in your body are geared for accepting these things?  Since the answer is none, then all of these go straight to your liver and kidneys for filtering them out of your body as toxins.  I have even read recently that there is a theory that they never leave your body and just keep recirculating.

CARCINOGEN:  is any substance, radionuclide or radiation, that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes.  Common examples of carcinogens are inhaled asbestos, certain dioxins, and tobacco smoke. Cancer is a disease in which damaged cells do not undergo programmed cell death. Carcinogens may increase the risk of cancer by altering cellular metabolism or damaging DNA directly in cells, which interferes with biological processes, and induces the uncontrolled, malignant division, ultimately leading to the formation of tumors. Usually DNA damage, if too severe to repair, leads to programmed cell death, but if the programmed cell death pathway is damaged, then the cell cannot prevent itself from becoming a cancer cell.”

While the world is on this ever faster spinning merry-go-round, does that mean that you or I have to be too?  NO it does not. I have had this major discussion going on recently with some friends about cooking.  They have young children at home and feel that their lives are too busy to cook from scratch.  They also say that they don’t believe that “fast” foods and “package” cooking is all that bad.

Let me leave you with this excerpt from this article: Increased Cancer Risks – Hazards of Genetically Engineered foods so that you can draw your own conclusions.  Think about this and do more research on your own if you like, but remember it the next time you say you are too busy to read a label, know your ingredients or cook from scratch.

“This Brave New World of Frankenfoods is frightening. There are currently more than four dozen GE foods and crops being grown or sold in the US. These foods and crops are widely dispersed into the food chain and the environment. Over 80 million acres of GE (genetically engineered) crops are presently under cultivation in the US, while up to 750,000 dairy cows are being injected regularly with Monsanto’s recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Most supermarket processed food items now “test positive” for the presence of GE ingredients. In addition, several dozen more GE crops are in the final stages of development and will soon be released into the environment and sold in the marketplace. The “hidden menu” of these unlabeled GE foods and food ingredients in the US now includes soybeans, soy oil, corn, potatoes, squash, canola oil, cottonseed oil, papaya, tomatoes, and dairy products.

GE food and fiber products are inherently unpredictable and dangerous-for humans, for animals, the environment, and for the future of sustainable and organic agriculture. As Dr. Michael Antoniou, a British molecular scientist points out, gene-splicing has already resulted in the “unexpected production of toxic substances… in genetically engineered bacteria, yeast, plants, and animals with the problem remaining undetected until a major health hazard has arisen”. The hazards of GE foods and crops fall into three categories: human health hazards, environmental hazards, and socio-economic hazards. A brief look at the already-proven and likely hazards of GE products provides a convincing argument for why we need a global moratorium on all GE foods and crops.

In 1994, the FDA approved the sale of Monsanto’s controversial rBGH. This GE hormone is injected into dairy cows to force them to produce more milk. Scientists have warned that significantly higher levels (400-500% or more) of a potent chemical hormone, Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF-1), in the milk and dairy products of rBGH injected cows, could pose serious hazards such as human breast, prostate, and colon cancer. A number of studies have shown that humans with elevated levels of IGF-1 in their bodies are much more likely to get cancer. The US Congressional watchdog agency, the GAO, told the FDA not to approve rBGH. They argued that injecting the cows with rBGH caused higher rates of udder infections requiring increased antibiotic treatment. The increased use of antibiotics poses an unacceptable risk for public health. In 1998, Monsanto/FDA documents that had previously been withheld, were released by government scientists in Canada showing damage to laboratory rats fed dosages of rBGH. Significant infiltration of rBGH into the prostate of the rats as well as thyroid cysts indicated potential cancer hazards from the drug. Subsequently, the government of Canada banned rBGH in early 1999. The European Union (EU) has had a ban in place since 1994. Although rBGH continues to be injected into 10% of all US dairy cows, no other industrialized country has legalized its use. The GATT Codex Alimentarius, a United Nations food standards body, has refused to certify that rBGH is safe.

All that said, I love this newer style food pyramid, it really shows you how important each food group really is – see what you think.

Attitude Adjustment~It’s easier than you think!

Many of you know that these past few years have been all about “others” needs and that very soon I will be stepping down from that caretaker role to take care of myself. One of the things I have learned most is that everyone has a different attitude AND that attitude can and will define you, if you let it. I recently saw a plaque somewhere (sure wish I could remember where) but I found it here on the internet. I thought it would be nice to share as a motivational tool. Have a wonderful summer weekend! Me, I’m hoping to hit some garage sales and maybe take in a movie.
Instead of a recipe this week I leave you with the

For many people, dieting is like a death sentence as it symbolizes the end of their love affair with food. Gone are the weeklong – or even month-long – binges that are replaced by a strict regimen of healthy eating and exercise.
Nobody’s perfect, especially when it comes to what they eat. If you try to do things exactly by the book and consume every meal on plan, you’re setting yourself up for failure. The time will come when you want to enjoy a small piece of cake to celebrate your son’s birthday. Maybe you just want to feast on a bowl of lobster bisque at your favorite restaurant that you only go to once a year.
Take heart – you can indulge and still stay on a healthy meal plan. A good rule of thumb is to try and stay on track 90% of the time and feel comfortable straying no more than 10% of the time. No weight loss program will succeed if you feel like you’re being deprived. Today show nutritionist Joy Bauer is a big proponent of consuming 90 percent of your diet from healthy foods and 10 percent from fun foods.
For 90 percent of your food, follow these guidelines. Consume three servings of whole wheat starches a day. Eat at least two servings of fresh fruit. Eat as many fresh vegetables as you like. Have a lean protein with each meal. Limit the amount of fats at each meal.
The other 10 percent of the foods you eat should come from those fun foods. Bauer even has a list that includes one ounce dark chocolate, ½ cup low-fat ice cream, 1 ounce pretzels, 1 ounce baked chips, 7 cups light popcorn, 4 licorice sticks and more.
By enjoying your favorite treats in moderation, you won’t be saddled with feelings of deprivation, which will make it far easier to lose.