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!

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

It seems to be a popular idea these days for people to find a balance in their lives. Many people feel unbalanced–I guess.

But I don’t think many people seeking balance understand what exactly they are balancing. Honestly, neither did I–so I looked it up!

From my readings there are basically 5 categories we can divide our lives into:

1. Love and Relationships

2. Health

3. Work and Career

4. Financial

5. Spiritual

These 5 areas are each interdependent on the others so if one is out of whack, then very likely another area is probably out of whack as well….and so the search for balance is ongoing, and more of a juggling act.

If I look at our lives, mine and my husband’s, honestly, I’d have to say we are pretty balanced.

Here is how I break it down and some suggestions for finding your own balance.

Love and relationships. We have a great relationship with each other and with those around us. How? We are honest, respectful and loyal to those we allow in our lives.

Yes, I said “allow”. You see, you don’t have to allow people in your life that don’t treat you well–that is–with honesty, respect or loyalty. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them all the time but you do have to respect them as individuals.

Health. Our health, both physical and mental, is, in my opinion, very good. We strive consistently to be better. We eat right, we exercise, we get enough sleep.

We don’t abuse alcohol, drugs, sugar or anything else that would harm us.

We feel good and we look good–at least we think so!

Take care of yourself–no one can do that for you!

Work and career. We work. We work a lot. And we enjoy it. Of course there are days that are difficult just like in every job, every industry and every career.

That does not mean we would ever stop working because it makes us feel good! We are contributing to the fabric of our family, our community and our nation.

Work. Work hard and work with enthusiasm–it always pays off.

Financial. This category is easy. We spend less than we earn, we save for things that are important to us. Period.

Spiritual. We believe that there is a higher power than us. We call him God. It is our belief. We feel that everything happens for a reason and are grateful for our relationships, our health, our work and the safety of those around us.

Find your spiritual side, meditate, give thanks. The positive energy will come back to you.

The balance is found between these quite easily if you think about it.

We work in organizations in which we respect people and the work we are doing.

We work to provide a better life for each other and the family.

We spend within our means.

We stay healthy so we can continue working and enjoying the benefits of our work–getting paid.

We are grateful to the higher power that gives us these opportunities.

If you are looking for balance I encourage you to look at each of these areas in your life and how they fit together for you.

The balance is attainable if you really want it. As long as you are true to yourself and take responsibility for your choices you can find the answer. The search is over–your balance is found.

Meal Prepping Lessons For Life

Meal Prepping Lessons For Life

If you have been reading my blog for a while or if you know me personally you know that planning things (everything) is definitely my thing. So in an effort to eat healthier and maximize my grocery shopping I have begun meal prepping.

This has become a very popular trend in many households. And it is imperative for people and families that are trying to live a healthier lifestyle as a new way of life.

Beyond that there are many lessons to be learned from this process.

First you will have to plan for 5 meals a day for 7 or 14 days times the number of people you are responsible for feeding.

What does that teach us? How important our resources are…time, food, imagination, and the freezer.

In your life you are going to want to maximize your time, be grateful for all the things we have (like unlimited foods and freezer technology) and have fun-use your imagination!

Second you have to be able to think out of the box.

Meal prepping has to be varied. You can’t pick 4 meals and rotate them through your meal plan…you will get so tired of your routine that you will slip and quit this newly found and positive habit.

So learning tip, find at least 14 recipes that you can rework in quantity and nutritional value that you can use to add variety to your cooking and eating.

Don’t try to cook all 14 at a time! That’s just crazy–and exhausting–think out of the box, but don’t throw the box out!

Learning to be forward thinking, numbers oriented and how to use strategic skills are very good things to know in this ever changing world of ours.

Third we need flexibility in our lives–especially in our eating habits.

There was a time and place for cooking a big meal and the family ate together–at a table–every night. Children were expected to eat was was made or not eat at all.

While I don’t think we should be short order cooks, in this very busy life we have created prepping meals ahead of time means we can still eat together without having to eat the same things.

This small change teaches us we can meet the likes of all the eaters in our lives and still provide them healthy meals…save time and money…and avoid the fast food line!

This also teaches us that what is important is not the quantity of a food that is important but the quality of the nutrition we are providing those we love.

And fourth, especially in households with kids, we should involve all the family members in the process of meal prepping.

Each person can have an age appropriate chore to be done as part of the meal prepping process. Someone can do all the cutting and chopping, while another mixes and cooks and yet another can keep the area and tools clean.  Dishes won’t do themselves you know!

This teaches us the best lesson of all–with teamwork much more can get accomplished than just challenging the world alone!

The family who preps together–stays together!

Happy Monday! Leave a comment below and let me know if you are a meal prepper!  What is your favorite go to recipe?

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sky is The Limit

The Sky is The Limit

Part of the fun of reaching the empty nest stage of our lives is that we can take advantage of new adventures. And our bucket lists are long!

I am not as adventurous as my husband but I encourage him in his ideas and hobbies. One of his dreams was to skydive–and just a few days ago, on the 4th of July–he did just that!

It was quite exhilarating–and I did not even get on the plane!

I was very nervous while my husband was very excited.  He boarded the plane and I said my prayers.

But I have to confess that once the plane took off down the runway, my excitement also began to grow.

Twenty minutes later, as I watched the sky, a tiny dot jumped from the plane and he began his free fall.  I was stunned and excited and terrified all at the same time while MY feet were set firmly on the ground

The parachute opened and my husband floated beautifully back to earth and made a very graceful landing in a red, white and blue parachute.  He–and I–were smiling from ear to ear, that he had completed a goal on his bucket list.

And even now–a few days later–the excitement of the adventure is still with us.  What is also with us is the knowledge that for the rest of our lives the sky is the limit to what we want to do and accomplish.

It is a very good feeling to know that the only thing that holds us back is ourselves.  Luckily we are learning to let our hair down and go where the winds (literally) takes us.

This experience reminds us that, especially in this country, if we work hard there is nothing that we cannot do.

In this country–we have been able to have our home, educate ourselves and our children, become professionals and secure a comfortable and hopefully adventurous future.

In this country there is nothing a person cannot do–although I find a great deal of people wasting their time arguing and trying to change what is right, what is written, what is established and what is true.

I believe they have not created their bucket list and instead of working towards their goals and dreams they are floating about looking for what that ideal is.

You see, I truly believe that each bucket list is as different as the person who creates it. And it is best if you surround yourself with people that will encourage you in your completion of it instead of just being one in a crowd of people who all think alike.

Be original!  Be bold! And be you! We are all in the perfect time and place! The sky is the limit!

Have a great weekend!  Next week–I think we will work on those bucket lists!

Comment below or send me an email with your thoughts! I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

 

 

To GMO or Not To GMO

To GMO or Not To GMO

These days with all the misinformation and biased information we hear, I have been very skeptical of all that I previously thought I knew to be true.  So in true fashion I have been doing a great deal of reading and questioning and deciding what is true for me.

In my quest to eat healthier I have been reading, watching documentaries and following the news about Genetically Modified  Organisms.  And I am still not sure which side is the right side…

But I do know this–all of the negative reputation that has been brought upon GMO companies, GMO farming practices and GMO foods seems to be a  little over the top.

I remember the saying that if something seems to be too good to be true then it probably is.  And the negative stories of GMOs seem too perfect an argument to boycott the use of them.

After all, if you think about it, foods, specifically the seeds of the foods we grow, have been genetically modified for hundreds–probably thousands of years.

Granted, a thousand years ago, when farmers were choosing the seeds of the strongest plants or cross pollinating plants they were doing so slowly.  Not by choice but because they lacked the knowledge and technology to do it any faster.

The science, over time, has improved the way we grow food, given us the ability  to grow more food using less resources and that has given countries the ability to feed their people and for our country the ability to feed people all around the world.

I ask myself why this is a bad thing?

On the other side of this are the “realities” that question and have concerns about the safety of our food.  That GMO foods are affecting our bodies negatively producing obesity, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, and cancer to name a few.

So I have read a great deal and watch documentaries and informative videos (and will continue to read and watch) until I am satisfied with the information I am gathering.

I have yet to come across any scientific study that proves anything definitively about the GMOs.

Do I believe that people are now suffering from more lifestyle diseases like diabetes II, gluten sensitivities, heart attacks, and strokes?  Yes.  Do I believe that chickens and cows and other farm animals are grown under harsh and sometimes unsanitary conditions? Sure. Do I understand that the same pesticides that help our food grow strong and yield high amounts may cause us humans damage? Absolutely.

But what I don’t believe is that this whole industry is in existence to control the world’s food supply and ultimately cause the destruction of the world like it is depicted.

I am not a crusader–but I do question other crusaders: what are their motives?  Who are these people that ask, protest and try to convince the American people to boycott Monsanto and all the brands it owns plus the financial companies like Vanguard that have their financial holdings?

Are they really concerned with the well being of others or of advancing their own careers through the articles, books and movies they create?

Now–I am not saying that everyone should just eat whatever they think tastes good without checking labels, ingredients, and recommended serving sizes or that all GMOs are good and we should leave ourselves in the hands of these companies.

But what I am saying is that we are intelligent people and we should be careful what we believe.  We should look for the motives behind the movements that are currently raging in our society.

Could these people that are so vehemently against GMOs really be people that have been worked up by others that really want to destroy successful companies in an effort to disrupt the financial structures in our country?

Everything is interconnected.  There are bad people in the world–but I believe and have always believed that there are more good people than bad people in the world and that ultimately we are all striving for a better life. I do not believe that all the scientists trying to make better crops for our food supply are bad people.

So eat as healthy as you can eat.  Enjoy your life. And be careful about the information that is being fed to you!

Leave a comment, tell me what you think!  I appreciate everyone’s opinions!  If you like you can also email me at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com!  Have a great day!

Healing What Ails You

Healing What Ails You

Admit it…all of us have something wrong with us that we are trying to change.  And this may not be a sickness–but it is something that bothers us and we think about it all the time.

For some of us we may think we are: too tall, too short, too thin, too hippy, no hips, big chest, little chest, thinning hair, hair in places you should not have hair…

But for others of us we have pain in our backs, our joints, our neck. We are tired all the time and irritable. We get headaches, our allergies flare up–and not in a pretty way. We feel like the flu is coming on or maybe a cold. We are just not sure but we know something is wrong–so we go to the doctor.

And the doctors run tests, they check us over and they give us the diagnosis:  there is nothing wrong with us. Perhaps we are just over tired, stressed out. Get some exercise they say and try to eat better and they send us on our way.

Sometimes we believe them and go home–relieved–that we don’t have anything–even though we feel like we have something.

Sometimes we don’t believe them because we feel so lousy. So we go for a second opinion, or we seek out a nutritionist, a health coach, a trainer to whip us up into shape again.

There is a whole industry around fixing what is making us feel sick–but we overlook the most basic healer of all–ourselves!

We are the ones that made ourselves–and sometimes our families–feel sick. And luckily, according to the doctor, we are not sick–with a real diagnosable illness yet.

But if we keep doing what we are doing we are certainly headed for the lifestyle diseases:  diabetes, heart conditions, allergies, obesity, IBS, etc.

Some of us have these things but not to a level that shows up on the tests yet–just to a level in which makes us feel miserable because we know exactly what we are doing to our bodies.

Why did we do this to ourselves?  Well because it is easy and because it becomes an addiction.

Look in your pantry–if it looked anything like mine a few years ago–it is probably filled with boxes and bags, cans, jars and bottles. An abundance of food for our in a hurry, have to run out the door, lives.

If we start reading the labels on this abundance we will begin to realize why we feel so bad. And when I say we are addicted, I am really not kidding.  

We are addicted to sugar, to caffeine, to salt and a host of other things–including an addiction to getting our meals on the table quickly so we don’t have to waste time.

And these addictions are bad, because not only are they hard to break, but day after day, they contribute to even higher and more instense desire for the stuff that makes us feel sick.

This is what I did to get on the road to recovery in 2 steps, this was not easy and I struggle still but I am really starting to see the benefits.

1) I cleaned out my pantry and my refrigerator.

This happened in waves.  First and easiest–I took out everything that was expired or had been opened and abandoned and had gone bad.

Second, and to my shame, I ate the foods that were still good until we were out of them. I just could not throw things out.

Third, I stopped buying the stuff that is not good for us.  I started with chips and cereals, cookies, processed, boxed and canned goods etc. You get the picture.  

This process took me about 18 months. Mostly because there would be days when the sugary, processed, crunchy, salty fake buttery goodness stuff would find its way back into my home.

2) I started buying and making good foods.

The hardest part and my continued struggle today is finding good ideas for good meals that are interesting and tasty and easy to make.  For example, eggs are good for us and I love eggs but I cannot have eggs in every meal.

Plus I still like easy, fast meals to prepare and eat on the go!

I am continuously learning about nutrition to incorporate the best balance for me and my family.  

I have discovered protein drinks and shakes (and after trying everything on the market I could find–found a brand that works well for me!)

Now I am reworking all my recipes, and watching my portion size.  I’m still in Step 2.

But already I feel (and see) the benefits of these changes. I feel better, I have lost weight, I have more energy–many of my aches and pains have gone away.

And I did this myself!  I am healing myself by learning and changing for the better.  It did not happen overnight, but it did happen–I did it and so can you!

What challenges do you have in making the dietary changes you need to change the symptoms that ail you?  Drop me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

We only have one life–Have fun!