Protein for strength

“Magic” Ingredient that Can Keep You

Out of a Nursing Home…

I saw an article on this come across my desk from the Institute on Natural

Yummy looking deli sandwich stacked with protein and veggies
Healthy choices include protein

Healing and I had to share.  Is it really magic?  Maybe not but it is so right in front of us we frequently miss it.

As women who try to eat healthily and maintain our weight, we’ve noticed that as we get older our metabolism may not work as well.  (Sometimes like I feel there was a Shetland pony somewhere back in my gene pool.)  And…it seems to get worse every year.

So what do we do? Maybe cut out the sugar, avoid or minimize starchy carbs.  Even reduce portions because serving size ties to calories…which add up to pounds.

There’s a new study that shows there is a crucial factor in keeping you strong and healthy, independent and out of assisted living.  If you start now… it will help you avoid that dreaded fate.

So here’s the story…

A study in Newcastle in the UK followed 722 people who were 85 years young.  They logged their height, weight, diet and studied their medical records. They monitored any changes in their abilities and disabilities for five years.

Their results supported their hypothesis that the amount of protein eaten directly related to keeping people strong.

They confirmed that currently recommended levels needed to be raised. Maybe it’s that we’re living longer. Maybe it’s because protein levels are lower per serving in what is available to us versus 50 years ago.

So if you normally have 2000 calories per day, you should be getting about 150 grams of protein. If you’re pinching it to 1200 calories you need 90 grams.

Don’t let conversion get you derailed. It’s not that hard. There about 7 grams of protein in 1 ounce cooked meat. Four ounces boneless chicken breast when cooked yields about 3 ounces or 21 grams.

In addition to including protein in every meal, think about adjusting snacks so they are protein rich.

My naturopath once told me, “protein every time you eat. With every fruit or veggie, (carb), balance it with some form of protein.”

Some excellent sources of protein include:
  • Organic turkey and chicken
  • Grass-fed beef and pork
  • Wild-caught fish and shellfish
  • Raw nuts and seeds, including almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts
  • Pastured eggs
  • Full-fat organic dairy
  • Whey protein drinks
Start now…

Starting as young as you can to live for longevity.  Keeping yourself strong may mean you can avoid that nursing home. You could live out your days living life on your terms and able to do the things you love.

Steak anyone?

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Hungarian Mushroom Soup…Yum!!

Mushroom soup jazzed with Hungarian Paprika warms your body and soul
Hungarian Mushroom Soup warms your body and soul

Hungarian Mushroom Soup gets its name from the incorporation of Hungarian Paprika which as a bit more flavor than regular.

Winter calls for some comfort food and mushroom soup fits the bill perfectly.  War, and yummy, it’s also incredibly good for you.  Mushrooms are full of antioxidants…great during cold and flu season.  Consider this your base recipe and feel free to experiment.

Ingredients:
Organic mushrooms make the best soup. This included buttercup, scallop, lionsmane, oyster, shitake and Maitake mushrooms
Organic Mushrooms make the best soup. This was a 2-pound collection for a double batch.
  • 1 lb. fresh mixed mushrooms (Shiitake, Maitake, Oyster, Lions Mane, Baby Bella… whatever you fancy) chopped  (The first time I had this, they were chopped very fine as he was handing out samples. But chop them however you prefer.)
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 4 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk (any kind you prefer)
  • 1-2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 Tablespoon Hungarian Paprika (kickier than plain . If not in your local store check Amazon.)
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari (soy) sauce
    chop 1 pound organic mushrooms
    1 pound chopped organic mushrooms

     

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I substituted ½ cup white wine)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh ground black pepper or to taste
  • ½ cup sour cream
Directions

Saute’ onions in 2 Tbsp butter, salt lightly.  A few minutes later add

2 cups finely chopped onion
2 cups chopped onion – I used food processor

mushrooms, 1tsp of the dill and ½ cup chicken stock, soy sauce and paprika. Cover and simmer 25 minutes. Set aside.

Melt remaining butter in a large saucepan; whisk in flour, cook while whisking (a few minutes). Add milk; continue to cook, stirring frequently over low heat, about 10

Gently saute onions in melted butter
Saute onions in melted butter

minutes until thick. Stir in mushroom mixture and remaining stock.  Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Just before serving add salt, pepper, lemon juice, sour cream, and if desired additional dill.  Garnish with parsley.

Since I wanted this to be a main dish instead of just soup, I added about 10 oz chopped protein and made extra of the sauce.  Served with crusty bread. Hubby gave it a 10.5!

For my double batch I prepared just the mushroom part and after it

Add mushrooms and spices to onions. Simmer. Make sauce and add mushroom mix.
Add mushrooms, dill and paprika simmer then make the sauce in a separate pan before adding mushroom mix.

 

simmered and cooled, put it in a freezer bag.  Now I can make quick soup whenever I need it.

Note: This can also be thickened a bit more and turned into a super yummy gravy with or without the protein.  How about using some of that leftover turkey or ham and making a melt?  Testing a recipe shortly.

Holiday stress management

Plan now to manage holiday stress…

Frazzled woman pulling out her hair needs stress management
Holiday stress control will brighten your season

Start your plan now to de-stress the holidays.   The winter holiday season can mean you’re super busy not only at work but at home. This means more stress and all of its side effects.

Did you know we women are more prone to depression than men are?  And the winter season with shorter periods of daylight can bring on depression.

Research studies have shown death rates peak in December and January across the US, regardless of what part of the country you live in. Stress is a key part of those numbers.

There are dozens of ways to make holidays less stressful, but here are 5 easy favorites.

1. Dump the expectations to reduce stress!

It is super easy to take on more than even Wonder Woman could accomplish. Think about the things that are your favorite parts of the holidays and focus on those.  Delete those things that create more angst for you.

If that means cutting out long-distance travel, do it.  If it means buying cookies for the school instead of baking them…do it, and don’t feel guilty.

When work gets stressful and overwhelming with clients asking for extra hours…set boundaries and stick to them.

Think about limiting your social engagements to a “doable” level. Instead of feeling obligated to be everywhere and do it all… focus on the events and people that give you the most pleasure.

  2. Make holidays a family team effort.

Get the kids and spouse involved. Delegate so everyone gets a part of the workload and more engaged in the fun. Delegate set priorities and simplify.

Make NEW traditions that focus on involvement, relaxing and having fun.

If that means less decorating or less than perfect decorating or gift-wrapping…go for it.

Maybe it means getting a grip on the spending and setting limits on the quantity and price of purchases.

Maybe it means teaching kids the benefits of helping others.  One less gift for themselves and the opportunity to pick out something for someone less fortunate.

3. Get active…

When we get busy and stressed, often the first thing to go is the exercise routine. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise makes a huge difference in stress management.  Take the kids and the dogs and get out in the fresh air for a walk.

Weather too lousy for outdoors?  Walk at the mall.  Or move exercise into your living or family room.  Kids love games and videos – dig out the PlayStation, Xbox, Wii or Nintendo. There are great exercise games available for all of them.  Let everyone join in and it becomes playtime.

Studies have shown video exercise games are just as effective as a gym workout or a 30-minute walk.

4. Start early to reduce stress

If you wait until the last minute, things always get more stressful. Starting early can make all the difference. Shop early, bake early (and freeze), and decorate in stages. If you mail out cards or write a holiday letter… get them ready to go now.

My personal favorite part of this is shopping.  When we go on vacation…regardless of what time of year that is, I look for gifts that the recipient will love and allow them to share something from our experience.  Be sure to put them where you’ll be able to find them months later and label them with the recipient’s name.

5. Entertaining? Get guests involved.

Instead of trying to do it all, make it a potluck and let each guest contribute.  Guide them with choices so you get a nice diversity not six of the same thing.

To minimize party stress, keep it relaxed and casual.

What are your favorite ways to minimize holiday stress?  Please comment or message me.

Time to call doc?

Image of orthopedic knee pain
Acute pain can impact your life

Is it Time to Call the Doctor?

Ever get up one morning to a strange new pain?  Or maybe you were just going about your day when wham…ouch.  A part of your body that seemed just fine yesterday was extremely unhappy. Time to call the doc?

Nah,  most of us hate going to the doctor. So we decide to wait and do a bit of self-diagnosis.

We’ll take an OTC pain reliever and see what happens. Maybe we’ll try a hot bath, icing, or just rest the area.  But what if it doesn’t improve?

Let me share a story…

Last spring while it was still too cold and rainy to want to walk outside, I decided to take up yoga.  Found a good YouTube guru and followed along.  Took it nice and easy…or so I thought.

Then came stabbing pain in my groin.  First just problems going up and down stairs.

I was pretty sure I’d pulled a groin muscle and my massage therapist thought so too.  Little Advil, little ice, take it easy, stretch the muscle gently. Go for easy walks.  No improvement, nada.

A big believer in alternative medicine, I saw my chiropractor.  My pelvis was out of alignment. He got me rebalanced and things were a bit better.

Then we were in the middle of a move and discomfort got relegated to the back burner. Packing and preparing… then unpacking took precedence.  Oh, and then there was a vacation.  The pain plagued me the entire trip. Sitting for hours on the plane was the worst.

A friend mentioned hemp balm so I got some of that and tried it topically.  It did seem to alleviate the pain. But the Problem didn’t go away.

Finally – after six months I went back to my chiropractor.  Two minutes of manipulations and he told me, “Degenerative arthritis in your hip. Go see your PCP and get an x-ray.”

I did, and then went home and researched. Options could help it… yea!

The doctor’s office called the day after the x-ray and wanted to refer me to an orthopedist. I put them off and waited until I could consult with my chiropractor.  He burst my bubble.  No cartilage. Back to my PCP.

Two weeks later I finally saw the orthopedist.  He confirmed the diagnosis.  No injections would help. Only option – replacement.  So… I’ve got that scheduled.

I have to wonder…What if I’d had called the doc months ago?  How different might the last six-eight months have been?

Conclusion?

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to ignore pain or try to work through it.

WebMD advises that if acute pain doesn’t go away in a month or two, maximum… see your doctor.  If you have shooting pains or it’s worse at night, don’t wait that long.  Acute pain shouldn’t be ignored for six months!

Get pain investigated.  Call your doctor!

what’s wellness

What’s Wellness…

Scrabble tiles spell wellness
Wellness sign with wooden cubes and flowers and stones

     How do you define this hot topic?

 

We can trace the roots of wellness back to Greece, Rome and Asia. They all influenced what we today call wellness.

If we go back to the Oxford English Dictionary, we can trace wellness back to the 1650’s. It referred to the opposite of illness… being in good health.

In the 1970s, a group of doctors created models for wellness including assessment tools.  They established the National Wellness Institute in the U.S. and the modern movement began.

As our modern lifestyle affected millions of people’s health, the need for wellness globally became clear. The Global Wellness Institute was established with the goal of eliminating preventable diseases.

So what makes up wellness?

In my research, I found the “pillars” of wellness defined into from 3 to 12 categories.  But when you look at them… it boils down to three interrelated basics.

Body – if you don’t take care of your body… it will pay you back.

Body self-care includes diet.  Yup, you are what you eat.

It includes movement.  We are made to move… not sit like lumps of coal.  Exercise, stretching, and breathing are all important.

And sleep. The body needs rest and sleep to restore itself.  During the day, we are in protection mode. When we sleep is when the body does self-repair.

Mind – like the body, the mind needs stimulation. It wants input.

We’ve watched the mind of a child grow, learn, remember and build on it. We never lose that need. Whether it’s a formal class, exploring nature or learning anything new…it helps the mind thrive.

Soul / spirit is the third component. It includes how we connect with others, values, beliefs, our emotions.  It’s also tied to our surroundings, our environment.  To flourish, it wants relaxation. A time to slow down and just be. It’s your soul that loves those hugs.

Spa Wellness Insider explores all of these…

I’d love to hear your definition or your favorite wellness activity…. Anything that nurtures body, mind or spirit.  Please post and share…

You might also like my article on the Benefits of Hugs

 

benefits of hugging

Seven Benefits of hugging….

Group of people arms entwined in group hug
Hugging boosts wellness

There’s nothing like a hug from a friend to boost your day.  But did you know hugging can actually help keep you healthy?

Science has been studying hugs for years and their results confirm what we all knew…hugging makes us feel better.  But we underestimate the “why” we need those hugs and how they benefit us every day.

Here are 7 key reasons you should offer and get hugs…
  1. Stress relief – when we hug, it triggers the release of chemical hormones. Endorphins travel throughout our body relaxing muscles, de-stressing us and even improving heart health.
  2. Immune booster – Those endorphins boost our immune system. Ever noticed when people go through a crisis they often get sick or catch a cold?  It’s tied to stress and hugs help you fight back naturally.

Unfortunately, as we age…we may suffer from fewer hugs. Studies have shown few hugs lead to a detrimental impact on health.  Get more hugs and you will stay healthy longer and heal better, faster. Seniors who aren’t getting hugs from loved ones benefit from access to a pet they can hug and stoke.

  1. Connectivity – In a world of electronics, we tend to connect more with cell phones than we do with other people. Skin to skin contact – a good hug, helps build relationships, offer comfort and improve outlook. We know babies need held and cuddled. So, it seems, do we adults.
  2. Self-esteem – Hugs make you feel better about yourself. They build confidence. Hugs reduce fears and anxiety. They also strengthen relationships. Couples who hug more have better relationships.
  3. Happiness booster – The release of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine boost our feelings of happiness and reduce depression. The deep touch we experience during a hug or even petting a cat or dog works on our nervous system.  It helps us stay balanced and even sleep better.  They also work on the part of the brain that makes us feel hunger.  More hugs reduce cravings and can help us keep a healthy body weight.
  4. Improve Performance – Studies show that when athletes give each other team hugs the boost in hormones improves their performance. So send your kids, spouse or friends off with a good hug to improve their day…. And get the same benefit for yourself. Hugging is a win-win activity.  Everyone gets equal benefit because our body activates what it individually needs.
  5. Pain relief – Yup, studies have proved that the touch of a loved one can reduce our response to pain. A hug, hand holding, stroking between those with an emotional connection release hormones that provide a drug-free method of pain relief.
Hugging –

A good hug is genuine. It’s freely offered and accepted. It’s never pushy.  A heart to heart hug that lasts for 3 breaths or about 20 seconds gives the greatest results.

How many hugs?  There aren’t any scientific studies on a quota of hugs needed but the psychotherapist, Virginia Satir is often quoted. People need  4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.  Most of us need more hugs that we are getting.

Facing a crisis

Life is Sneaky… “Gotcha”!

You’re cruising along, everything going great and then life grabs you by the throat and says “Ah-ha, gotcha!” You now have a new life crisis to deal with.  It’s scary, emotional, even devastating.

What we forget is that adversity is really normal.  It’s the unexpected that trips us up.

You might be facing a medical condition or the loss of someone dear to you. Right now we are seeing thousands lose absolutely everything in the horrible California wildfires.

Events like this are traumatic and disruptive. They trigger a huge amount of stress.  To complicate what you’re dealing with that stress can lead to illness which just makes everything worse.

So how do we cope?

Face the demon and try not to panic. Take a deep breath and get some hugs. The comfort of others helps us deal. Support cannot be over-rated. No matter what the problem, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Look for any bright side you can find… yup, sometimes they can be hard to see…

  • You and your family are safe.
  • A surgery can fix that medical condition.
  • You caught the problem early and you just have to get through it.
  • You have a spouse, family, friends and even pets who will love you right through this.
  • There are a lot of people who want to help you.

What can you do?  Make a list. Any action takes you a giant step forward mentally and physically.  It might be as simple as letting family know.

What sort of help do you need?  Physical, mental, support?

Take care of yourself.

You might not feel like it but going for a walk somewhere pleasant can be a boon.  Eat healthy choices. Get plenty of rest – resting is restoring…healing.  Talking things out, meditation, prayer… all can help.

Lean on your team, take actions, care for yourself… and get those hugs.  This too will pass.