Simple Foods

Just a few days before Christmas, we will be moving into our new house. I know… it’s a crazy time of year to be moving. One of the things I will not be worrying about is the menu. My plan is to cook and serve simple foods.

These past four months have been, ummm, interesting. We sold our last home in 10 days and had to find a place to stay until our new small ranch home was finished. So we found a small, one-bedroom apartment and stored all of our furniture except our couch, bed and kitchen stuff.

We are so happy to be moving into the house we helped design. It is perfect for us. Small, compact and everything on one level. Timing is less than perfect since I doubt I will be unpacked by Christmas Day. But I have made a deal with my somewhat perfectionistic self. I will be grateful to be in my new house and have my family there, boxes and all.

So back to the food. Although I would prefer to make several dishes (I am Italian after all), I will be making simple but delicious foods, as always, focusing on whole foods. Roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, lots of organic veggies… simple foods.

My real joy will be spending time with our two daughters, son and their families. Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than seeing our grown children. We have kept the same ritual since they were young of opening presents and stockings late Christmas morning. And I will annoy them with my photo taking, as usual.

What is your Christmas ritual?Roasted Chicken

© mpessaris – Fotolia.com

How to Manage Holiday Party Buffets

During this time of year, many of you are invited to holiday parties. Whether it’s a work-related, friends or family, you may find yourself faced with a holiday party buffet. Dishes and plates full of delicious-looking foods are set out before you, tempting you to fill your plate high with all the foods.

You can still enjoy the food and not leave feeling stuffed and frustrated. Here are some tips for enjoying that holiday party buffet:

  1. Contrary to what you may have previously believed, don’t eat right before you go to the party so you won’t be too hungry. Part of Mindful Eating is enjoying your food  when you are hungry. Eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch, or whatever meal precedes the party, but go to the party with your normal meal hunger. Don’t starve yourself though because being ravenous will prevent you from making wise food choices.
  2. According to Brian Wansink, PhD from Cornell, we eat the first 3 items on the buffet 75% of the time. So instead of grabbing the first 3 things, carefully check out the entire table first to see what you really want. And if you’re the one giving the party, put the most nutritious foods first.
  3. Don’t hang out near the buffet table and socialize with family and friends. It’s too tempting to keep going back when you’re visually cued to eat more.
  4. Skip store-bought foods or things you can have anytime and go for the special holiday foods. Eat those slowly, mindfully and savor each bite.
  5. If you choose something that is not so great, stop eating and give yourself permission to get something more enjoyable. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
  6. When you are socializing, you may be distracted and not notice your body’s signals. Pay close attention to your fullness signal. Since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize fullness, if you’re socializing while eating, you’ll give it time to register.
  7. Allow yourself dessert. Check them out carefully. Pick the one you want most. Maybe you can split a couple with someone else. Don’t rush through it because you’re feeling guilty eating sweets after eating party food. If you stopped when mildly full (always the goal), just savor every bite of that dessert.

If you set your intention about holiday parties prior to going, you have nothing to fear. This is a joyous time of year. Live, love and enjoy! If you enjoyed this post, please share using the share buttons below. Holiday Buffet

© photographmd – Fotolia.com

Eating for Energy

Through the holiday season, we tend to eat on the run because of our busy schedules and added holiday festivities. Instead of feeling dragged down, how would you like to feel full of energy?

Holiday shopping, dinners out, parties to attend and family members traveling can add up to eating less than healthy food every day. The result may be feeling sluggish and lethargic. How can you keep up with all of the festivities when all you want to do is climb into your nice comfy bed and sleep?

If you fuel your body most of the time with the food that gives you peak energy, you will be able to enjoy this holiday season without feeling like a party pooper. So now is the time to stock up your pantry and fridge with the following foods to keep you feeling energetic and ready to party.
  1. Instead of sweets and simple processed carbs, focus on whole grains like whole wheat, millet, quinoa and brown rice. Save the sweets for occasional treats and slowly savor them. Sweets and refined carbs spike your blood sugar and then cause it to plummet, leave you feeling wiped out. Complex carbs are absorbed more slowly, keeping your blood sugar stable and keeping your energy up.
  2. Protein found in lean cuts of beef, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken or turkey provide your body the essential amino acids and vitamin B12. Protein also helps transport nutrients in your body and maintain your electrolyte levels.
  3. Salmon and other fatty fish, nuts and leafy, dark green veggies provide omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s improve blood flow in the brain.
  4. Water is absolutely essential. Even very mild dehydration slows down metabolism, causes headaches and zaps your energy. If you dislike plain water, add citrus slices or cucumber slices.
  5. Fiber foods like veggies, fruits and beans keep your blood sugar stable and your energy up. Pairing protein and fiber is the perfect union.
  6. Skipping meals or going too long between meals drops your blood sugar and energy. Eat small meals more frequently and energy-packed snacks in between meals like peanut butter on whole grain crackers, Greek yogurt and fruit or veggies and hummus.
  7. Eat dark chocolate. Yes, it’s healthy! especially 70% cocoa. It boosts your energy due to the caffeine and theobromine, another stimulant, but keep it to 1 oz. per day.
If you replace your on-the-run eating habits with these suggestions, you’ll boost your energy not only this holiday season but throughout the year. Enjoy each other’s company and savor each bite.active family jumping
© michaeljung – Fotolia.com

Give BackJoy

I bet you think the title is a typo. It’s not though. I had the opportunity to trial BackJoy products this past week. BackJoy makes products to sit, stand, sleep and move more comfortably. I’ll tell you about that experience next. But remember #Give BackJoy for later.

They sent me several products to try and I was excited since I live with chronic pain from my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. My joints dislocate daily, so having something to support my body is a big plus. First I tried the SitSmart Posture Plus. It took a little adjusting but it really kept my back and pelvis in alignment. I’ve been using it for the past three days on my office chair. I have the best posture ever! No slouching. As they say, improve posture to prevent back pain. I’m all for that!sitsmart

I could have put it in my car too but I love in in my office chair. Maybe I’ll try that next.sitsmart car

They also sent a pair of shoes or as as BackJoy calls them, Stand Right. Now I have the Worse. Feet. Ever. I have had 19 foot surgeries. My right foot has bone removed, wires and screws placed and bones fused. It’s not pretty and NO shoes fit it or feel comfortable. I skeptically tried the shoes on. It was a little tough getting the right one on because of my swelling (always) but here’s the weird thing… they were comfortable! I mean really comfortable. When I went to bed, I told my husband that I didn’t want to take them off. He said, “What? What did you say?” He was shocked. They are cushiony and have a great arch, but not a hard, uncomfortable one. The interesting part is the sizing comes in a feature called Dynamic Fit. The upper fabric is a technically engineered textile that adjusts to your unique foot, so there is a range of sizes. I have particularly difficult to fit feet and they did adjust to my feet.

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The last product I got to trial was one of their BackJoy Gear- Roller Balls. It’s a portable self-massager. It works very similar to the two tennis balls in a sock technique that my physical therapist showed me for myofascial release. It felt great. I tried it on my back, my IT (iliotibial) band and the bottom of my feet. I had been working at my computer for several hours and had discomfort between my shoulder blades. I used the roller balls for a few minutes and it felt so much better. image (5)

Now back to the #Give BackJoy. As part of BackJoy’s Give Back, Spread Joy Campaign, $100 worth of their pain-relief products will be donated, in my name, to chronic pain and rehabilitation centers (such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the UC Denver Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center) just for reviewing their products.

I often have the opportunity to review products and only agree if 1) I like the products and 2) the company has a positive mission.  BackJoy has both.

Take a look at not only the ones I tried but the other BackJoy products. These are great holiday gifts. And you will also have the chance to be entered to win a nice prize pack of self-care products if you use the #GiveBackJoy hashtag and share how you are giving back this holiday season.