Making Safety a Priority

Making Safety a Priority

Every day in every way there are bad things happening to people and good things happening to people.

How can you determine which group of people you are in, is entirely in your power.

Here are some common sense tips to ensure your safety:

  • Do not involve yourself in dangerous behaviors.

Drinking and driving, using drugs, or hanging out with people who do will put you in situations that will compromise your safety.

  • Don’t go out late at night unless it is absolutely necessary.

Crime rates rise as soon as the sun goes down. The cover of darkness seems to help criminals hide their crimes. There is no need to make a trip to Walmart or the gas station after 9:00 pm at night.

  • Take caution with your personal belongings.

Keep your car and home locked at all times. Don’t leave valuables in your car–even in front of your home. Secure important papers with personal information in a safe place.

  • Make good choices.

Most of us know the difference between right and wrong. Always chose tondo the right thing in all situations. If you are unsure what is right and wrong–take no action until you can figure it out.

  • Ask for help.

If you find yourself in a dangerous situation–call for help. The police and the fire departments are specifically trained to help us stay safe in our society. If someone is hurt call for an ambulance.

  • Protect yourself from others

Stay away from people who are not safe, who engage in dangerous behavior or who you know are making bad choices in their lives, regardless of who they are. Friends and family who are dangerous or are associating with dangerous people will only bring those dangerous situations to you.

Today, life is becoming more dangerous, it is up to each of us to create a safe space for ourselves. You have the power of choice. Choose the right path and your safety will be ensured.

Make your safety a priority.

The Health of a Nation

The Health of a Nation

In the grand scheme of things, one of the most important things in life is our health.

Being healthy means a great many things. But I am not just thinking about eating right and exercising. That is important but more importantly is the epidemic taking over our country–the drug epidemic.

Drugs have always been available in every society. It seemed that people had fallen prey to this vice because they were already living a dangerous lifestyle and becoming a drug addict was a natural extension of that lifestyle.

It seemed for a while that drug addicts were also primarily found in the lower socioeconomic classes also as en extension of their plight in life.

Now it can be seen in almost every walk of life, every socioeconomic section of society and over many age groups.

The sad part is we do this to ourselves and our society enables it.

Taking drugs of any kind, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, is playing Russian Roulette with our lives.

And it is also a choice. No one forces anyone else to try drugs for the first time or to continue experimenting. Once your body is addicted to a substance we let our body’s needs dictate the downward spiral we began.

Our society promotes drug use, legalizing marijuana, and using tax dollars to provide clean needles and methodone to the addicted. This only serves to perpetuate the problem.

Now people of all backgrounds are addicted to some substance and are living among us creating more and more problems in our society.

Further the human body is extremely strong and can withstand years of substance abuse before it overdoses and dies.

Worse, this drug culture is ruining this nation. Crimes continue on the rise becoming more violent and senseless.

Children are born drug addicted to survive only to be abused or neglected by parents whose primary goal is their next hit.

Law enforcement doesn’t even arrest people for possession of drugs because there is not enough man power or jail space to address the problem.

The drug problem in this country is ultimately going to be the great divider. It is becoming the people that don’t use drugs against those that do.

The health of a nation can be tied directly to its success in this battle against the drug crisis.

A Little Caffeine

A Little Caffeine

Each morning when I prepare my cup of hot tea, I use the time as a moment of reflection.

Sometimes I think about the tasks to complete on that day or I review in my mind events from the previous day.

Many times I use this time to think about events in the past and how those events have influenced where we are now in life.

Everything has a correlation.

The little jolt of caffeine from my tea also helps my brain wake up and see the connections.

It is important to take stock of ourselves, our thoughts, our actions, our goals and dreams.

It’s like making a grocery list that we can check off and use to remind us of what we need and what we don’t.

If you have a hard time collecting your thoughts about the multitudes of things we are responsible for or would like to accomplish — using your tea (or coffee) time is the best place to start.

  1. Brew your favorite tea or coffee.
  1. Use cups you like to drink from-something that is uniquely you.
  1. Breathe deeply and relax.
  1. Focus on the warmth of your cup and let your mind wake up to your thoughts.
  1. Listen to what your mind is telling you.
  1. Practice directing your thoughts to the things you are grateful for.
  1. Allow your thoughts to flow freely but be conscious of when you need to redirect your reflection back to positive things about your past, present or future.

It does take a little practice to train your brain to direct itself to some positive reflection but over time you will find that it helps to order your day and your future goals.

The added benefit of a little caffeine gets your brain activated and firing on your synapses and can many times help you see things more clearly.

All from a few minutes over a lovely cup of tea.

Enjoy your day!

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

The fall weather brings with it rainy days and cooler temperatures. We start to transition our wardrobes to longer sleeves, sweaters, longer socks and warmer pants.

With these changes also come changes in our diets–or at least our cravings–for the season. Comfort foods that will keep us warm (and are delicious!) are a staple of this time of year.

But how do we reconcile our cravings and our desire for familiar and comforting foods when also trying to live a healthier lifestyle?

Most of us think about comfort foods as thick starchy, cheesy, or stuffed meals–like loaded mashed potatoes, ooey, gooey macaroni and cheese, foods with warm gravies, or sweet treats like apple pie and chocolate cake.

Wow! Makes me hungry just thinking about these wonderful dishes.  However, I am not completely ready to give us all my eating well all year long for the indulgences of the season.

So what should we do when our favorite comfort foods do not fit in our current dietary calorie count or our protein, carb or sugar goals? Should we ignore our cravings for the stuffed, creamy, cheesy or chocolaty treat?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Enjoy your favorite comfort cravings in moderation.

You don’t have to deny yourself the foods you love or that have traditionally brought you good memories of other times in your life. If you are watching your calorie count or eliminating your carb intake–the best way to enjoy them is by having a small portion of them. You can give into the cravings without spoiling your nutritional plan.

2. Look for healthier alternatives to your favorite recipes.

The internet is full of wonderful recipes and healthy alternatives that are delicious and can replace some of our old comfort food favorites.  Alternatives to your comfort favorites will provide you the joy and yes–the comfort–of eating what you want while keeping your nutritional goals in mind.

3. Create brand new comfort food recipes of your own.

It is so much fun to experiment in the kitchen and combine your favorite flavors to create a meal that is comforting, delicious and truly your own. This is the best of all worlds combined, you can enjoy the foods and flavors you love and maintain your health goals at the same time.

This is the season, when the weather gets cooler that the lure of comfort foods calls to us.  Find the right balance and enjoy!

 

 

 

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

Stress is the body’s way of reacting to and managing threats or strenuous demands on the body.  The more demands or threats we face from day to day the higher our stress levels.  These levels can get so high that it can affect our health–in a very bad way.

Headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite are common side effects of stress.  Continued stress along with these common side effects can cause us to make poor decisions, have or cause accidents and generally spiral out of control until some develop anxiety problems, depressions and other illnesses that cannot be clearly diagnosed.

We must find ways to reduce and learn to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  This may look different to different people because we all handle stress differently.  Here are some sure fire ways to reduce stress in your life that have worked for me.

  1. Let Go.  Let go of toxic people in your life and toxic situations.  You know where you go and who you are around that make you feel stressed.  Limiting or eliminating these people, places or situations will help keep your stress level down.  You don’t have to feel guilty about it (adding more stress), just decide to wish them well and let it go.
  2. Understand that Everything Changes.  Nothing stays the same forever–we know this in our heads and in our hearts. The seasons change, the economy changes and we change as the life around us changes.  To help relieve some of the stress you are feeling just remember that “this too shall pass.”
  3. You Are In Control.  This is your life and you control it. If something is stressing you out on an ongoing basis–you can change it.  No one can dictate how you live your life. If the stress is coming from a financial situation or your work environment you can make the decision and take the steps to make the changes that work for you.
  4. Focus.  Understand and accept the things that are important to you and focus on those things.  Let the noise of all the other stuff going on in the world pass you by. When you keep your focus on the things that really matter–to you–everything else just extra. Keep your focus.
  5. Gratitude. When you have had a particularly stressful day, take a deep breath and think about all the things you are grateful for.  I bet, as you do this exercise, you will find that the things that were stressing you out are not on that list–so refer back to # 1 and #4.

It is so easy to get caught up in the negative energy of others–and that causes a great deal of unnecessary stress, but worse we continue to do the same things with the same people that are causing the major stressors in our lives and expect a different outcome. By using these 5 steps it has helped me cope with stress and learn to change the stressful circumstances.

I hope they work for you too!  Life is too beautiful to be stressed out about stuff that really doesn’t matter!  Happy Friday!

Hamburger Hangover

Hamburger Hangover

My husband and I have been eating healthier and exercising for over a year now and we have been very pleased with the results.

We are healthier, sleep better, have energy and are fit.

We are not slaves to having to eat anything specific and we are not anti-gmo or only eat organic. But we do watch our portions and try to choose the best foods we can.

We hadn’t eaten in a fast food restaurant in a very long time.

So when we found ourselves at a function where only fast food was available we didn’t think twice about giving ourselves a treat!

I cannot describe how delicious my hamburger with cheese, all the way, with french fries was!

It smelled wonderfully and it tasted absolutely delicious.

We were hungry and we enjoyed it.

The next morning we both woke up rather sluggish.

I was very thirsty and nauseous and I had quite a headache.

My husband felt the same.

We had a hamburger hangover! It took all day, some aspirin and a great deal of water to get past it.

We were surprised and pleased. Our better living has really paid off and we are so healthy now that our indulgence reminded us of the reason why we don’t indulge.

Embrace the healthier lifestyle friends, it really is worth it!

Calories In and Calories Out

Calories In and Calories Out

The hardest part in trying to create a nutritional plan that works is keeping the proper count of calories. Why is this important?  Well because just like you cannot run a car without gasoline a body cannot run without calories. And running the body is what we are all about.

Although some diets and nutritional gurus may say that counting calories does not matter when trying to lose and maintain a healthy weight–they are relying on other processes of the body–like manipulating the way a person’s metabolism works to reach their weight losing goals.

The biggest problem is that these diets do work–at least for a while.  They work as long as you keep to the parameters of the diet strictly. The minute you change anything in these diets the weight comes back–with often a few extra pounds–that the body will save for the next time the body experiences these manipulations.

We forget that we are not meant to be on a the roller coaster of diets–we were made to follow a nutritional plan that provides the needed calories for the energy of living.

So scientifically, if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight–you need to know what is going in and what is going out. And more complicated yet…you need to understand what calories you should be eating for optimum nutrition.

The way I see it there are two major challenges:  accurately counting the calories we are taking in and accurately counting the calories we are burning.  When we eat, we usually think we are eating less calories than we are actually eating–and we are usually not burning as many calories as we think we are burning.

Regardless of the challenges–it is important to note that becoming a healthier you is so important that the counting frustration should not stop us.  This is a learning process.

The best way to measure the amount of food in your servings is to use measuring cups and a food weight scale.  Most solid foods should be weighed while more liquid foods can be measured. Being consistent in weighing  and measuring your foods will help you in keeping an accurate count of the calories.

Once we get “used” to the meals that work best for us nutritionally we tend to stop measuring and weighing.  A chicken breast is a chicken breast right?  No. They come in all sizes and when we stop measuring–the calories creep in.

As with everything that is important in your life–I’m afraid to say–you are going to have to write it down. Keeping a food diary is the best way to know what calories are going into your body. (If you are not a fan of writing things down, I’m sure there is an app for that.)

On the counting calories out side–the same applies.  Every activity burns calories–but each person burns calories differently based on their weight.  The more you weigh the more calories you will burn during any given activity.

There are online calculators that will help you track the number of calories you are burning in any given activity or work out.  Keep in mind that to get an accurate count you have to be diligent about entering the accurate time an activity took place and also the level of intensity that you completed the activity.

Walking a mile slowly does not burn as many calories as walking a mile quickly while swinging your arms. And you can’t count walking for 60 minutes if you stopped and spoke to a neighbor for 10 minutes–you can only count 50 minutes.

Ultimately, though, the only way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to know what comes in and what comes out. There is no scientific way around it. Creating this type of lifestyle when it comes to nourishing your body and keeping fit is much more sustainable.

Count your calories and your blessings! We live in the greatest time of nutritional knowledge–embrace it!

Have a great day today!  Leave me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com…I’d love to hear from you!