Monday, December 29, 2008

5 Ways to Improve Your Memory

Do you often forget where you keys or glasses are? Do you often walk into a room and can’t remember why you entered? We all have days when we may think that we are losing our memories. Is this because we have too much going on in our life or are we not challenging our brain as we should be. There are some very simple and easy things we can do to insure that our brain and memory stay as healthy as possible.

1. Play a game - Anytime we can put our memory into action, we need to take advantage of the time. Games which engage our brain to work, such as memory games, math games, jig saw puzzles, and word puzzles are going to increase our memory. (Puzzle books are great to have in the car when waiting to pick up a child from a sporting or other event.)

2. Read a book – Picking up a good book will challenge our mind to think about what is happening in the story. This is especially true in mystery novels and trying to figure out “who did it” Reading material to increase our knowledge on a particular subject is great memory challenge.

3. Take a Class - Anytime you can add education to your daily routine, you are going to increase your memory. You may want to take a class in something you know nothing about, such as learning to speak a new language or how to build a web site. Often it is nice just to take a class to be with others with the same interest as yours. If you have always wanted to learn how to knit or paint, group classes are great for this. You are challenged and encouraged by those around you. Socializing with others helps to keep your brain active.

4. Eat brain food – Eating a healthy diet is like feeding you brain. Your brain, just like the rest of your body, needs nutrition. Without proper nutrition, your brain will become sluggish or will tire easily. A tired brain will not remember those items you need. One of the best brain foods is omega-3. These are found in cold water fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. Foods rich in anti-oxidants are also great for your memory. Great sources include blueberries, blackberries, red grapes, plums, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, etc. Any fruit or vegetable which is dark in color fits into the anti-oxidant group. Studies have also shown that drinking green tea daily helps with cognitive health. There have been some connections made between high saturated fats diets and an increase risk of memory loss.

5. Exercise – Not only is getting 30 minutes of daily physical exercise good for you waist line and your bone health, it goes a long ways in helping with your memory level. Every time you increase your heart rate, your are increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. Studies have show that this can increase your memory level.

By working with your memory now, you will have a reduced chance of memory loss for later in your life. Anytime you can exercise your brain, your brain is going to thank you. Work your brain now to insure good memory for your future.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Electronic Waste - Where Does Yours Go?

I was visiting my dad a few weeks ago and he had just received in the mail coupons for his television digital converter box. Living outside the reach of the local cable company, he has had a dish satellite for years. He knows he will need the converter boxes in order to get the local station and this means having one more remote to keep up with. Wow, what happen to the days when there were no remotes. It seems like now we have remotes for everything.

My dad does have another choice, buy a new TV which will not require the converter box. If he decides to do this, like many homes will, what will happen to the old set. Anyone getting an additional set for their home will not want one which will require the purchase of a converter. This means that the landfills are going to be filling up with tv cathode-ray tubes containing lead, mercury, and plastics. Sure a few sets may be recycled, but at some point a huge amount of sets will find their way to the community landfills to leach toxins into our earth.

If you find yourself left with an electronic device, consider a recycle drop-ff location in your area. Visit to find a convenient location for your electronic drop off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

8 Week Excerise Class??

This past Sunday, I headed off to the gym for a workout. Sunday is not my normal workout day, but the mood struck so off I went. When I arrived, I remembered that there was a new workout class on Sunday afternoon and thought I would check it out. This particular class was advertised as a combination of yoga, tai chi, pilates workout. Okay I do yoga and pilates regularly. I thought how much different could it be. I found out that each pose was held for 8 counts and then you move to the next. The problem with this is that the teacher gave very little instruction cues on how the pose should be done. I found it difficult to follow the class and also that when looking around that I was not holding arms correctly or having my feet in the proper position. After the class, I mentioned the lack of cues to the teacher. I was informed that with only 8 counts per pose, she did not have time to give very many instructions. I see this being a time problem, but where is the teaching in this type of class. Also, I wondered about how effective or harmful doing poses incorrectly could be. I for one had a very sore knee the next day. I have since find out that this is a class taught using a script and doing the same routine for 8 weeks. At the end of 8 weeks, the instructor learns and then teaches the class a new routine for the next 8 weeks. I have decided that this is not for me and will stick to my regular yoga class where every class is different and continuous cues are given throughout the class.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Staying on the Go"

A few weeks ago, our family was spending the night in a hotel. While TV channel surfing, I found a show on how an office was using constant motion to help employees to lose weight. (sorry, I do not remember the shows name or even the network which aired it) Each employee used a special treadmill which had been equipped with a desk top to hold a computer keyboard and monitor. All day long, the employee would walk at a very slow pace while working at their computer. It was found that employees had lost weight without any other lifestyle changes. No additional exercise outside the office or any change in their diets.

I found the results to be very interesting and that we could all learn form this. Stay on the go and you are going to burn calories. Whenever you have the choice, take the stairs over the elevator. When shopping, park far from the store entrance and get some walking in. If you have a desk job, take time out to get away from your desk. Walk around the building a few times, do some simple stretches and bends. The point is get your body moving.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Positive Attitude

I have always found it truly amazing what having a positive attitude can do. Whenever I am struggling with a difficult situation, changing my outlook can make a difference. This holds to be true in family life, social life, or in business life. Finding the good in a bad situation is not always easy. At times, we have to step back and take a look from a different angle. We need to find the source of the problem and work back from there Our approach can change when we know why we are having a problem. It could be that we need to talk to others or that we need to change our own attitude. I have found that approaching with a positive attitude, over a negative one, shows those I am working with that I want a solution. They can see that I am not just looking to get my way. I am interested in what others think.

Taking a positive attitude approach will not only reduce the stress in my life, but it will also create a healthy environment in all areas of my life. Being positive makes for a happier, healthier life.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Power of the Blueberry

This past week I had the opportunity to visit my dad, who lives about one hour from my house. Thanks to my mom who was an organic gardener before it was cool, he has several blueberry bushes in his yard. This year has brought a bumper crop of blueberries. Within about one hour, we were able to pick around two quarts. To me there is nothing better than to be able to eat a fresh picked blueberry. Especially, one which I know has not been sprayed with any pesticides or fungicides. In fact, these bushes are so organically grown we had to cut an invasive grape vine off them.

For a fruit to be so small, the blueberry packs a powerful punch. Not only is it a great tasting fruit, but it also brings with it some great nutritional benefits. When eaten whole in their raw form, the mighty blueberry provides antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins E, A, and C. There is a lot in the news in nutritional world about the advantages of getting antioxidants into your diet. Research has found that antioxidants help to delay or prevent free radical cells in your body from developing into cancer. Free radical cells are present in everyone’s body. Some are produced naturally by our body, while others can enter through our respiratory system. These free radical cells can be in the form of cigarette smoke, pollution, or breathing chemicals in our cleaning products.

Other health benefits have been found to include anti-aging properties. Studies have found that eating blueberries may help with better memory performance. This is a plus for anyone with memory loss or in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have shown the lowering of LDL Cholesterol, which can reduce the incidence of stroke and heart disease. This could be in part due to blueberries are low in fat and high in fiber content. One cup of blueberries contains less than ½ gram of fat and over 3 ½ grams of fiber.

So when you are selecting fresh fruits at the market, blueberries should be at the top of your shopping list. Eating a cup is an all around good choice.

Source: US Highbush Blueberry Council

In no way is this information to replace any medical advice from you physician

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Effects of Fiber on Your Health

Just what is fiber and how does our health benefit from it? These days we are hearing a lot about the amount and kinds of fiber we are adding to our diet.

A very simple definition of fiber is that part of eaten plants which passes through our system without being digested. Fiber can be label as either soluble or insoluble. Our bodies benefit from both types and each type plays important roles in helping to keep our bodies healthy. Soluble Fiber is that part of the plant that is dissolved by water once we ingest it and insoluble fiber remains unchanged as it passes through our intestinal tract.

The benefits of fibers to our overall health are numerous and should not be overlooked. Soluble fiber has been found to lower cholesterol and helps to regulate glucose levels in the blood. This type of fiber can be found in whole grains (bran and oats), fruits (apples, prunes, pears), vegetables(broccoli, carrots), and legumes(peas, peanuts). Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation and has been linked to preventing the risk of colorectal cancer. Insoluble fiber can be found in brown rice, wheat bran, nuts, and seeds.

An additional benefit of fiber in women's diet is reducing the risk of breast cancer. Fiber helps to reduce the absorption of fat and therefor helps reduce the production of estrogen. Estrogen plays a role in the occurrence of some types of breast cancer.

While the recommended amount of daily fiber is 25-30 grams each day, the average American person only consumes half of this. We have increasingly become a society who eats whatever is put in front of us without thinking about a balanced diet. Some form of fiber should be included in each meal which we consume. For those who do not get enough fiber in your diet, supplements are available. These need to be natural supplements and any increase in daily fiber intake should be done gradually. Adding to much fiber at one time can lead to digestive problems, such as bloating and intestinal gas.

Note: In no way should this post replace medical advice from a physician.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Eating Healthy Calories

How many calories are you burning?

We all know that in order to live a healthy life, we need to be aware of the kinds and amounts of calories we consume. In order for our body to function properly, we need calories. This is what helps to build and maintain the cells which make up our body. These cells also include fat cells. If we consume more calories than our body needs, we produce fat cells. When we exercise, our bodies will burn calories. If we are not exercising, our body will turn excess calories into fat.

Every time I hope on the treadmill or the statuary bike at the gym, I am looking at how many calories I am burning. I use this as a guide to help me plan which foods I am going to eat for the day. I know that keeping your weight in check is more complicated than the difference in calories consumed and calories burned. But this is a good encourager for me to stay out of the cookie jar. When I know how long it is going to take on the treadmill at the gym to burn up that one very delicious chocolate chip cookie, I more likely to dig for the will power to put it back.

While playing around on the Internet, I have found several sites which list calorie counters for both foods and exercise. I have put together a simple list of some basic forms of exercise for those who do not have access to gym equipment. I hope that this will help you track those calories you burn when performing any of these activities for 30 minutes. (Please keep in mind that these are average calories burned)

Frisbee - 85 calories
Bowling - 90 calories
Walking for pleasure - 99 calories
Ping Pong - 114 calories
Basketball - 128 calories
Calisthenics- 128 calories
Bicycling - 144 calories
Soccer - 199 calories
Jump Rope - 227 calories
Tennis - 227 calories

As you can see, some very basic forms of fun can be great at burning up the calories. There is no expensive equipment involved and these are some ways to get the entire family moving together.

Just to give you an ideal of how quickly our calorie intake can add up in a single day, I have given you a list of basic impulse foods with their calorie content.

3 Oreo Cookies - 160 calories
1 slice pepperoni pizza - 181 calories
4 oz. Chocolate Ice cream - 145 calories
20 Potato Chips - 150 calories
1 Soft Shell Taco - 210 calories
1 small Fries - 230 calories
1 Fast Food Cheese Burger - 350 calories

When looking at the two above list, I ask you "Are those potato chips worth it". Skip the bad calories and look for the healthy alternatives. Challenge yourself to a healthy eating style. Look to see where you can make positive changes to improve your health.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Are You Living Stress Free?

Meeting job deadlines, completing that volunteer commitment, a child needs to be picked or delivered. Does this sound like you life? There are times when I do not even realize just how stressed I am until I have a moment to slow down and think. We move along thinking that we are doing great budgeting our time, until "bahm" we hit the wall. Suddenly, nothing is working the way it should. The house is a wreck, take-out has become the norm, your kids are waiting to be picked up, things are being left undone with your work, and you have a committee meeting tonight. Sound familiar? How do you re-gain control of your life?

It is time to step back and look at your life. When this happen in my life, first I look to see what I am doing which is not necessary. I have learned to say "no" to volunteer work. There are times when I know that I am not the best person for the job. When asked, if I cannot commit the needed time to do a through job, I graciously turn down the opportunity. If possible, I recommend someone else. I have found that being a volunteer means that you do not have to always say yes.

At other times of stress, I have found that getting back to an exercise routine helps to get the levels of stress down. We all know that exercise is not only good for keeping the extra weight off, but research has shown that reduced stress levels are good for the heart and blood pressure. I have found that just taking a walk around the neighborhood will do wonders for my outlook on my life. If something is worrying me, after a walk, I can focus on the problem and find a solution.

A healthy body can deal with stress much better than a run down fatigued body. You cannot make day to day decisions when you are tired. Getting 8 hours of sleep at night keeps you rested and able to focus on your day. It is much easier to stay relaxed in tense situations, if you are not already tired from lack of sleep. Eating a healthy diet and regular meals give your body the needed energy to function properly. It always seems that it is much easier to become ill when you are under a lot of stress. Most times this is due to the fact that you body is not being nourished properly. Our mothers have always told us to eat breakfast. They new what they were talking about. Your day is being built on the very important meal. Don't skip it.

Take time for yourself. Remember, you cannot help others if you do not help yourself. Set aside 30 minutes to 1 hour a day to do something you enjoy. Yoga, listening to music, chat with a friend, or read a fun book. Whatever it is that you enjoy, take the time to enjoy it.

Go today and start your stress free life!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Change it Up

When you go to the gym, do you find yourself taking the same classes, or using the same cardio machine, or maybe doing the same strength training exercises? If you do, you may not be getting the workout you think. Each time you hit the gym, you need to give your body some variety. By this, I mean you need to work your muscles in a different way each workout.

I always enjoy my yoga class with my favorite teacher. I am use to her voice and her flow from one yoga pose to the next. This past Saturday she was on vacation and I had a different teacher. At first, I thought "Oh no, Where is my regular teacher?". As we got into the class, I realized that I was having to pay attention to the instructor and not just go through the motions. I came out of class feeling like I had had a good workout.

I now plan to switch workout classes from time to time. I feel that this will keep my body and mind on its toes. No more just going through the motions. Next class to try is step for a cardio change. This should be great for burning up the calories.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why only Earth "Day"

My daughter and I were talking this past week about Earth Day coming up and she made the comment that we should always be thinking of the Earth. Not just one day out of the year. She definitely has a good point. Everyone should put the earth first when making decisions about the simple things in our lives. Do we need all those lights on when we are really only making use of one light in the room? What about that quick trip to the mall for one item? Instead of driving separately, how about calling a friend and riding together? The list can go on and on. What are you doing about saving our Earth for future generations?

Ten Ways to help the Earth

1. Turn off computers overnight
2. Recycle the most possible in your area
3.. Run errands during less traffic times of the day- saves gas while waiting in traffic
4. Don't sit in long drive through lines - park and go in for food
5. Purchase cloth shopping bags
6. Ride your bike or walk to local destinations
7. Purchase local grown food - saves on long distance transportation gas
8. Think twice before washing your car - Does it really need to be washed?
9. Take your lunch to work instead of driving to eat out.
10.Purchase from resale clothing shops -

This is just the tip of the ice berg on helping our earth. Feel free to add to the list. It is amazing how helping the earth can make you feel inside. Try it out and see for yourself.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Is Almost Here In East Tennessee

With the warmer days arriving, it is most definitely time to get out in the fresh air. After being shut for the winter, I am looking forward to spending some time out in the yard doing some gardening. If you do not have a garden, flower or vegetable, this is the perfect time to start making plans. Not only is gardening good exercise, but it is also a great stress reliever. So start surfing the net for ideals on what you would like to do in your yard. Add a new flower bed, a water feature, turn a grass area into gorgeous area of color. Visit your local garden center for new ideals. Remember your landscape is just like a painter palette. You get to add the colors and textures.

Have fun gardening!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Have You Had Your Vitamins Today?

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about vitamins. There seems to be those for taking them and those against taking them. I personally feel that we are not able to get all the needed nutrients from our daily food intake. If all the food we eat came directly from our own neighborhoods and not trucked across the country or sometimes from another country, we would be eating the most nutritional food possible. As it stands now, by the time our food reaches our tables, it has been picked before all the vitamins have had a chance to form. Once picked, our fruits and vegetables have sat in a packing warehouse, then loaded on a truck going to the distributors, next reloaded on yet another truck going to the local food store, and finally placed on the shelf to sell to us. Once it reaches our homes, it has spent days, even as much as a week in transit. This is not fresh from the garden. By this time, the nutrients have lost most of their value.
In a perfect world, we would all have a backyard garden to pick at some fresh fruits and vegetables from. But as we all know, this is no longer the American Way of Life. We all have some excuse for not having a small garden plot in our yard. For some, it is as simple as not having a yard to grow one in. For others, it just is not their thing to garden. Whatever the reason is, we simply are not getting the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need. Could this be some of the reason why our bodies are not able to fight off the colds, flu, and allergies that are common in our homes, schools, and workplaces? Are some of our more major illness and disease related to vitamin deficient? Cancer, heart problems, high cholesterol, and obesity are related to how we eat.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Plastic Grocery Bags

Are you still using the standard plastic grocery/shopping bags?
You may be wondering what this has to do with Living Healthy. I am a firm believer in thinking that if the environment is kept healthy, we will live a healthier life.
I just returned from an unscheduled grocery store trip and had to use the plastic shopping bags at the store. Normally, I have my own cloth bags with me. As I was loading my grocery purchases into my car, I realized just long ago it had been that I had to use the plastic bags. I was very surprised at how many bags a $65 grocery order could use. After I unloaded my bags and put the groceries away at home, I counted the number of bags it took. Ten Bags! for 21 items. This just seems like to much plastic for one household. I decided to do some research on plastic bags and found this great site for facts and ordering canvas bags. Take a moment and check it out. The fact page is a real eye opener.

Help save the environment: Use Canvas Bags

Monday, February 25, 2008

Is Your Home Healthy?

Take a moment to look around you home. Are there products in your home which could be causing you to become ill? Are you having more sinus infections than you use to? Do you or someone in your family suffer from asthma? This could be due to the cleaning products in your home. They could be making your home an unhealthy place to live.
Take the time to look at the ingredient list on products in your home. If the product ingredients list contains chlorine bleach, ammonia, formaldehyde, or fragrance, you should consider looking for other cleaning products. You have choices of what to use in order to make your home healthy. Consider making some of your basic products, shop at natural food stores, or shop through websites which specialize in natural products. Be sure to look at the product labels.

Caution : two tablespoons to a cup can be harmful or fatal

Warning : as little as a teaspoon can be fatal

Danger/Poison : only a few drops can be fatal

You should make sure to read all labels before purchasing and using any cleaning products. You never know what may be lurking in those bottles. Remember, even though the products are closed, toxic fumes can still escape into your home. As a society, we spend around 90% of our time indoors. According to the EPA, indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor. air. EPA has also found that the average American home contains more than 1,000 different chemicals.

Chlorine - there are over 15,000 products in commercial use which contain chlorine. These are used daily in bathroom and kitchen cleaning products, laundry products, bleaching of paper products, including tea bags and coffee filters. Avoid the term "chlor" in any product. It is corrosive, reactive, and toxic.

Ammonia - labeled as DANGER.

Phosphates - extremely bad for the environment

Fragrance - avoid products which contain high levels. These are expecially bad for anyone with allergies or respiratory problems.

Formaldehyde - used in personal care products as a preservative to increase shelf life. It can be listed as Quaternium 15, formalin, aldehyde, methaldehyde to list a few.

Hope this gets you started on reading those labels and becoming a healthier shopper.