Live Happy, Live Healthy, Live Green

My tips for living happy, healthy, and green!

Archive for September, 2010

Why I Love Going For A Jog

This morning was a wonderful morning for a jog or a walk. While I was out on my jog/walk this morning I was thinking about how much I enjoyed being outside getting some exercise. There are so many wonderful benefits to heading out for a jog each day. Each morning I pack up my little guy and usually one of my dogs and we head to the park for a jog. My little guy is now 13 weeks old and because I had a c section I have now been able to get back into exercising for the past 7 weeks. I started out walking and jogging in around my house, but just couldn’t get motivated. I figured out that in order for me to get the full benefits of going for a run, I need to be someplace where I enjoy running and where there is more nature. Living in the suburbs of Chicago, I make due with a nice park where there is a running trail goes through some woods, along a small lake/pond, and through an open prairie area.

My favorite things about my morning jog:

Fresh Air/Nature: I love being outside! I am from northern Michigan and am used to spending a lot of time outdoors in the woods or on the beach. Each morning as I go to the park for my jog I get to enjoy a little piece of nature in the city. I get to see the trees, smell the fresh air, and enjoy the sunshine!

It clears my head: Its a great way to clear my mind and focus for the day. I don’t usually listen to music on my jog, I like to just enjoy the peace and quiet and think about life. Like this morning I just think about how enjoyable my jog is, other days I think about what I want for my future and my family, its a great time to think.

Exercise: We all know its good for us to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least 5 days a week. This is an enjoyable way to get mine. I am also still working on getting rid of the baby weight so its a great way to do that as well. Staying healthy is very important to me. I like seeing the other people along the way doing the same thing. It makes me feel good to see people of all ages, shapes, and sizes out there getting there exercise!

Whether you are able to run, jog, or just walk I encourage you to find a place that you enjoy going and spend some time getting healthy! Try it for a week and see if you feel better about yourself, have less stress, and just feel better in general!

Women…We Need To Stay Active!

Here is a list of of : (From Discover Health http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/information/ten-fitness-facts-women-should-know.htm)

Ten Fitness Facts Women Should Know

Getting in shape? Learn 10 fitness facts that will help motivate you to get moving.

Fitness Fact 1. Studies have suggested that walking at a brisk pace for three or more hours a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by 65 percent.

Fitness Fact 2. About 25 percent of American adults — and an even greater percentage of women — are sedentary. After age 44, upwards of 30 percent of women are sedentary, and by age 65, the proportion increases to almost 35 percent. By the time they reach age 75, about 50 percent of all women are sedentary.

Fitness Fact 3. Only about 22 percent of American adults engage in regular, sustained physical activity for at least 30 minutes five times a week, and only 15 percent exercise both regularly and vigorously.

Fitness Fact 4. No matter how poor your current level of fitness, you can start an exercise routine and become fitter and healthier. Even 90-year-old women who use walkers have been shown in studies to benefit from light weight training.

Fitness Fact 5. Simply adding movement into your daily routine can increase your level of fitness. For example, if you park in the last row of the parking lot and walk briskly five minutes each way between your office and your car, walk up and down the stairs at your office during your 10-minute afternoon coffee break, and walk the dog for 10 minutes when you get home, you’ve racked up 30 minutes of exercise for the day.

Fitness Fact 6. Women with heart disease or arthritis actually experience improved daily function from involvement in various modes of physical activity.

Fitness Fact 7. Fitness consists of four components: your body’s ability to use oxygen as a source of energy, which translates into cardiovascular fitness; muscular strength and endurance; flexibility; and body composition.

Fitness Fact 8. To address all the components of fitness, an exercise program needs to include aerobic exercise, which is continuous repetitive movement of large muscle groups that raises your heart rate; weight lifting or strength training; and flexibility exercises or stretching.

Fitness Fact 9. Walking at a brisk pace (a 15-minute mile or 4 mph) burns almost as many calories as jogging for the same distance. The benefit of jogging is that it takes less time to cover the same distance and it benefits the bones; however, it may be too strenuous for some.

Fitness Fact 10. It takes about 12 weeks after starting an exercise program to see measurable changes in your body. However, before 12 weeks, you will notice an increase in your strength and endurance.

Copyright 2003 National Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC)

I hope this helps you get motivated to get/stay in shape and be healthy!

Out of Control Portion Sizes

Since having my baby boy 3 months ago I have been trying to get rid of the last 15 pounds. To be honest it is the first time in my life I have really been trying to lose this amount of weight. I have been starting to exercise again…its hard to get back into it after this long. I also try really hard to watch what I eat. So I have been thinking about what else I can do to get this weight off. And then I was at McDonalds…long story ( I was in a wedding) and asked for a small drink, they handed me a cup and I was amazed that this was considered a small! It looked to me like it should be a large.

Since then I was been thinking about the portion sizes of everything we eat. No wonder we have so many overweight people in this country our portion sizes are completely out of control! So I have done some research and here are some suggestions:

1. When eating out at a restaurant…don’t finish your food. Bring the leftovers home for lunch the next day.

2. Eat on smaller plates, use the dessert size plates for dinner, if you can’t fit the food on your plate, you don’t need to eat it.

3. Post something in the kitchen showing the correct portion sizes! Click here for a printable chart.

4. If you have a kitchen scale, measure your food. You don’t have to always do this, but do it periodically so you can really see how much you are eating.

5. Always read the labels carefully….most the time we eat more then what is consider 1 serving on the nutrition chart

Check out the Portion Distortion Quiz

Loving the Tea Tree Oil

Ok since I have about 7 months pregnant my face started breaking out…mostly on my cheeks. I never really had problems until then and it has continued so far in the first few months after the little guy was born. I have tried changing my washes, lotions, and other products, I tried using some spot treatments, but nothing really seemed to change it. So I went online looking for natural or home remedies and I read about Tea Tree Oil.

Tea Tree Oil is taken from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia.

I went to my local health food store and found some organic tea tree oil and I have been applying it twice daily for the past week and my cheeks are looking so much better! Good thing since I have been in a wedding this weekend!

CSA – Community Supported Agriculture

Don’t have the space or time to create your own organic garden? A great option is joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). A CSA is a farm that offers share for sale that you can buy and them receive fresh organic products. CSA’s vary on the products that you receive each time, but they can range from veggies, meat, eggs, baked goods, cheese, and even flowers. To find a CSA in your area a great resources is Local Harvest or Eat Well Guide. These 2 sites are also great resources or other organic and local farmers markets, restaurants, and farms.

Being Green Everyday

Here is a list of few things we have started doing to continue to be green…

  1. My husband got a bike to ride to work, since we moved a couple months ago we are now only 3.5 miles from my husbands office.
  2. Join are local freecycle group. This is an online group where local people can offer items for free and people can post things they are looking for. A great way for items to be reused and not just thrown into the land fill!
  3. Stopped using paper towel for cleaning. Rags work just as well and this also saves money on buying more paper towel. I use old t-shirts and dish towels as rags which is another way of reusing!
  4. I try to no longer get plastic bags when I grocery shop but there are the times I forget or don’t bring enough bags. So we use the plastic bags for picking up poop…we have 2 dogs and use the bags when we take them out. Much better then buying the special bags to dog poop.

What are the little things you do everyday to continue your green lifestyle?

Cold and Flu Season Is On Its Way

With cold and flu season knocking at our door it is time to get our bodies ready…we need to build up our immune systems!

Things To Do To Get Ready:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Vitamin C and lots of it – supplement and from food
  • Get enough rest…your body can’t fight as well when its tired
  • Exercise…keep your body strong
  • Eat Right to get extra vitamins and minerals
  • Wash Up! Keep your hands clean.

Pretty much do everything you should to stay healthy in general, but just ramp it up a little to be sure you stay healthy during the cold and flu season!

Healthy Delicious Breakfast

My new favorite energizing and delicious breakfast is Low Fat Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins with a Fruit Smoothie

Low Fat Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or use paper muffin liners. Mix together wheat bran and milk, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat in bran mixture. Sift together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into bran mixture until just blended. Fold in blueberries. Scoop into muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

Fruit Smoothie: (I don’t measure)

  • Orange Juice
  • Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 Banana
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen Mango
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Frozen Raspberries

Sometimes I will add some soy protein powder or use apple juice instead of orange juice. This makes for an energizing start to my day, also always take your vitamins with your breakfast!

Monthly Grocery Shopping Trips

After doing a lot of reading on different blogs I have decided I am going to try to do once a month grocery shopping.

Reasons Why:

  • Less time at the grocery store…I hate the grocery store
  • Less opportunity for impulse buys…we all do it
  • A months of meals available and planned
  • Save Money

Step 1:

The first thing I am doing to get this plan started is to create a spread sheet with a list of the dinners we enjoy and where and if I need a recipe for them, also on the spreadsheet I have included side dishes, lunches, and breakfasts. This way when I sit down to plan a months worth of meals I don’t have to open all my cookbooks, magazines, and recipes boxes…I have all of our favorites in one spot. This may take a few ours for me to create, but will save me a lot of time in the longs run and I can add to it as we go with new favorites.

Step 2:

Print out a Monthly Menu Planner I found mine at Organized Home. I will sit down with my spreadsheet and create a menu for the month. First I will mark on the calendar any days I know we will either be out of town or have plans for dinner already. Now I will start with breakfast because that is easy, we usually choose one thing for the entire week and then have some sort of eggs on the weekends. Next I will do dinners, I will do lunches last so I can figure in leftovers from dinners. Lastly lunches for myself and to pack for my husband.

Step 3:

Create a list based off of the menu and what I already have available in the freezer and pantry. During this time I will also go through my coupons and my online coupons to find as many as possible to take a long with me to save money…which is one of my main goals in all this. I will also sit down with the local papers to see if any of the local stores are have a wonderful sale on items I may need. I have not completely decided where I plan to do a majority of the shopping, I leaning to Aldi for the staple items, Trader Joe’s for the majority, and other for sale items and coupon items. Although that may seem like a lot of stopping, but most of the stores I would go to are within a couple miles of where I live.

Step 4:

Shopping day. I will be doing the shopping on either a day I can go on my own…leaving my 2 month old with his daddy or on a day that daddy can come with us. Its not easy to grocery shop with a 2 month old unless he is sound asleep. I also hope to either get to the store early in the morning or later in the evening, I don’t like crowded grocery stores.

Other things I am still working out. I plan to freeze items that are perishable like bread, veggies, and fruits. I also plan to get some fruits and veggies at our local farmers markets which I enjoy visiting. Also if I plan to have an item for dinner twice in a month I will make it once and freeze the second half.

Any ideas or advice would be great. I will report back to let you know how things are working and if it is saving us money on our monthly grocery bills.

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