Monday, 16 April 2012

A healthy lifestyle

My viewing audience has reached over 2500 viewers in six weeks! Thank you very much! When I look at the stats, I am thrilled, it is growing very rapidly! My foreign countries are growing as well. France, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Scotland, Malaysia, Russia, Malta, Viet Nam, Brazil and on and on. I am having fun with it, and trying to answer all your e-mails, comments, etc. Wee Bear and I researched having a blog, before I started it, and had decided that a healthy blog, needs to be written everyday, to grow your audience. Once you reach a certain point, (what ever you decide) you then, can set the boundaries, of how often you will write. With guidance from my supportive family and friends, we determined three times a week. I will post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, going forward. Thank you again, I love all your feed back!!
Proper nutrition is fundamental in helping one achieve their personal health and fitness goals. Developing a menu that not only nourishes, but also tantalizes the taste buds can be simple or be elevated to gourmet status. I have committed to keeping my meals and ingredients to the freshest, best quality available and to make the plate presentation, beautiful. As, we eat with our eyes. 

*Please know I am NOT a dietitian, nutritionist, or a trainer.  This is from personnel experience and reflect my own opinion.

1. Eat Fruit – It’s good for you, supplies you with vitamins, minerals, fiber, water and more.   Fresh or Frozen, as long as there is no added sugar or additives.

2.  Eat Vegetables - Eat as many as you want!  Cut them up, put them in the fridge and grab them when your hungry!  Fresh is best!  But frozen is great too and since most veggies are flash froze, they don’t lose any of their nutrients. Just don’t buy any with added sugar or additives.  Spice up your veggies with herbs, spices, and olive oil!

3.  Eat Salad – My goal is to eat salad everyday, even if it is a little mixed greens with my dinner.  Salad is so good for you as long as you load it up with a little protein and lots and lots of veggies!!! Wee Bear says, I'm half rabbit!!

4.  Stay away from processed deli meat.  Most of it has added sodium to keep it tasty and has preservatives to keep it fresh.  Make a batch of chicken or turkey. Place it in Tupperware in the fridge and when you want salad with chicken, or a sandwich you can cut up your own meat.  It tastes better, it’s cheaper to make and best of all you know what is in it!  Plus if you keep it more plain, you can dress it up with BBQ sauce, dressings, add on pizza or more!

 5.  Cook in batches.  When I make dinner, sometimes I double up on my rice, pasta, meats, vegetables and more.  For example, if you make a big batch of rice, you can use it throughout the week.  Keep it plain, so you can prepare different meals throughout the week with it.   You can also freeze cooked rice and microwave it in a freezer bag for two minutes, all steamed and ready to eat.  This is a great way to portion control!  You can do this with lots of grains, sauces, vegetables and more. I have my mother sauces, basic tomato, brown sauce and  chicken stock, along with a meatloaf. When I make my meat loaf, I make a double or triple recipe, then I am all set for two or three more dinners.

 6.   Purge the Sugar and bad foods – Sugar is my personal downfall, if I had guts, I'd clean it all out of my pantry, there is no reason to tempt myself. I even have my good Fran's and Oh Chocolate in the wine cellar!! If you have it there your bound to eat it or if you feel sad, bored, happy or deprived you could binge on it. ( I am not a binger, thank GOD) Now I think everyone should be able to have a treat once in a while, or even everyday, as long as you have self control and don’t over do it!  I do have a treat everyday, but balance it with exercise, everyday. It keeps me sane!  But keep the stuff you have no control over, out! Chocolate is my downfall, chocolate anything, but, I can control it. I may have a dessert when out with friends or family, but I make sure to split it, with at least one other person at the table. Or, if I am out during the day and buy a cookie, I throw half into the garbage, that way I know I will not dig in the garbage at Starbucks!  ;-)  I’d rather waist a couple of bucks then have it go to my thigh!!

 7. Drink Water – I used to be really good at drinking water, when we lived in Mexico, but I kind of got out of the habit.  I do try to drink 8 cups a day or more.  I try to finish one cup in the morning with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it, one while working out, one on the way home and I have one before dinner. Then a couple of more during the day.  It cleanses your system, keeps you hydrated and also keeps you full!  As an added bonus you get off your bum, because you have to run to the bathroom constantly. 

 8. Snacks- I believe in eating every 3 hours or so, it keeps my metabolism going and I don’t splurge on junk!   My snacks I try to stay under 150 calories.  I love a tomato hot drink I make (recipe below) or a smoothie made with banana and almond milk. If you are out and about, my daughter and our adorable son-in-law, love Jamba Juice, they took me there last Summer, I loved it! Low in fat and calories!


 9.  Exercise – I can’t say it enough and a lot of time I have to tell myself it’s good for me, and not to be lazy and just do it, even if it is for 15 minutes.  I try to do 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week and Pilates, 3 times a week, for a hour.  I love to hike, so whenever time allows, I go hiking either with a group or with my dogs. I love being outside, there is always something to look at. Strength training is so important, especially for woman.  It strengthens your bones, speeds the metabolism, you burn more calories at rest and personally it makes me feel powerful.  No need to be afraid of strength training, woman aren’t built like men, so you won’t gain huge muscles, but tone and have strength!

Even when on vacation, I take my TRX system, meditation and yoga DVD's. What a perfect atmosphere for yoga and meditation!!

10. White and processed foods – I am really trying to stay away from processed foods and white grains like pasta and rice. This is another hard one!! But, as my cooking instructor said, when asked, "can I cut the butter and cream?" I'll never forget the expression on her face!! Hahaha! She was almost appalled, then, would compose herself and say, "moderation"! Just don't eat the whole plate! In other words, you can have a little Country gravy or a pancake,  you can't have the whole serving! Wee Bear and I, have also got in the habit of splitting entree's, if we agree on dinner. Almost always, we split a beef entree, but, we split most anything, if we agree. If not, eat half when out, the portions are a lot of times double or triple our calorie and fat for a full day!!! We tip the wait staff a little more, for their trouble, and again, it hasn't gone to the waistline!

11.  Healthy Influences -Try to surround yourself with healthy influences like fun family, friends and fitness magazines. Stay away from the negative influences, they only try to sabotage your goals. Last year during the Summer, my daughter, Holly and I created a Hike week, she took a week off from her work and we had so much healthy fun, planning and creating a spa week. We invited friends and family, and organized a hike everyday, that got longer or harder each day, with the challenge hike, the final day. Holly organized a massage for the two of us, at 4 in the afternoon, after every hike. And in the AM, before the hike, sometimes we did yoga or mat Pilates. We all made it work with our schedules, we talked about nutrition, exercise and of course a tiny bit of gossip, we laughed and had lot's of fun. We all took off a couple of pounds and inches. Everyone is looking forward to this now, annual event! And we have more fun family and friends who want to join in! We even had a celebratory dinner, on the final night with our loved ones!

We made our hikes fun by adding fun elements. Here, we posed for a "Owling" picture for GMA. There was a faze, last
Summer, where people would pose like owls and take a picture and post it on the internet or send it in to GMA!! Hahaha!
12. Walk, walk and more walks!

Wee Bear taking Bandit for a walk!

13.  Set small goals and reward yourself – I really believe in setting realistic goals, not ones that are hard to achieve.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure. Don’t say I’m going to lose 20lbs in 3 months, that's a very hard goal to reach, but maybe say, I am going to lose 4lbs this month. When you accomplished a goal, reward yourself! 

Maybe a new pair of shoes, a massage or a movie for your reward!
 *I hope you like my little tips, I personally do TRY to keep with these goals. I’m not perfect, I may not always do it, but the key is to never give up!  You can accomplish anything you want.  Only you have the power to achieve your goals!

 Grilled Veggie Wrap- Joan style!

red pepper, asparagus, zucchini grilled or any you like
whole wheat or multi grain tortilla

Spread tortilla with hummus, add grilled vegetables and kale. I grill my tortilla on each side, just to make it visually appealing. Roll up! Remember, we eat with our eyes.  This is one of my favorite lunches and is portable. The hummus will make the tortilla soggy, so, if making ahead, put the hummus in a small portable container.

*This drink will give you a perk, mid morning or afternoon!

Revitalizer Perk up
adapted from Cal-a-vie spa

1 48 oz. low sodium tomato juice cocktail
3 c. water
2 c. assorted vegetables
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
3 T. chopped basil
2 tsp. fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. crushed hot red pepper or to taste

Combine the tomato juice cocktail, water, vegetables, tomatoes, celery, carrot, parsley, bay leaves, basil, rosemary, fennel seeds and red pepper in a large non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, stir occasionally.

Press the mixture through a strainer set over a bowl using a wooden spoon to extract the juices, or process the mixture through a food mill. Discard the pulp.

Serve hot or cold. You can freeze the mixture in 1 cup increments for later. I don't recommend using any vegetables in the cabbage family as they impart a strong flavor.

10 - 1 cup servings

35 calories   1 gram fat   2 grams fiber per serving
The vista's in Arizona are world famous, just love it! Let's go for a hike or a walk with some fun family and friends! Have a healthy week! Cheers! Joan


  1. Great tips. I TRY to abide by these, too. It's hard, but worth it! I'm going to try your wrap. I always enjoy veggies and hummus, so I'm sure I will like it. I love the photo of you with the vista's in the background. So gorgeous!

    1. That wrap is my favorite!! It is easy! Thanks for the complements! Not a good one of the shoes, but, let's just say, I am breaking them in for a big event this Summer!!


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