A Few of Bea’s Favorite Posts

 

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Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 26 – 3/2/15

Bea’s daughter was in town this week-end, and they needed some “girl time,” shopping and lunching at the mall.  Which meant that writing a post for today’s wellness project fell by the wayside. 

Instead, Bea is sharing a few of her old favorite posts and hopes you enjoy them!

10 Minute Energy Boosts

Can You Hear Me Now?

Ladies, You’ve Got to Have Friends!

 

 

 

 

5 Great Websites for Women

 

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 21 – 2/20/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

 Are you looking for healthy recipes and other dietary information? 

Look no further than WebMD’s Food and Recipes center – you’ll find healthy recipes, slideshows, quizzes, articles about all kinds of food topics

Bea recently found a healthy and easy-to-make enchilada recipe in her inbox, after signing up for WebMD’s Daily Bite newsletter.  

Want to help other women/girls live a better life?  Check out the Live Your Dream website.

Looking for a great online blogging community for women?  Bea recently joined the Blogher Community.  At Blogher, you’ll find tons of articles about food, family, health, style, and more, written by women.  Are you a blogger?  Are you looking for fun opportunities to get involved online?  Take a look at the Blogher Publishing Network, Influencer Network, Visionaries Panel, or Blogher.com Syndication.  

Are you 40+?  Check out the 40+ Style Community Blog and discover a great fashion, beauty and style site. 

Aging Abundantly, by Dorothy Sander, is a wonderful website/blog for us over 50 ladies. I particularly enjoyed her Window to Wisdom post for 2015.  Dorothy also has some good articles for those of us who are what she describes as Late Blooming Writers.  

 

How to Fight Free Radicals

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 9 – 1/23/15

In the January 21st post, Bea asked the burning question: What the heck are free radicals?  The simple answer, based on Bea’s limited knowledge, is that free radicals are evil ninjas, invading our bodies and wreaking havoc on our health and well-being.  

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There is, of course, a scientific definition of these little pests: 

Wikipedia defines free radicals as molecules with unpaired electrons.  These electrons are lonely because they can’t find a partner at their local dating site, ElectronMingle.com.    Because these electrons are hanging out in our bodies all by their lonesome selves, they attach themselves to other molecules and damage them. (They just can’t stand rejection).  The Antioxidant Detective provides a more scientific explanation in this article

There is a scientific theory that links free radical damage in our bodies (which leads to oxidative stress) to the premature aging process. According to this theory, oxidative stress leads to the development of diseases and is harmful for our brains.  For a more scientific explanation of this theory, you can read this article from the  National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

But fear not!  We can fight back!  Like Bea, you’ve probably heard a lot about antioxidants.  They help protect our bodies from the dastardly deeds perpetrated by free radicals.  Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, certain vitamins and other nutritional sources, such as resveratrol and certain spices.*

We can get antioxidants through our diet – choosing to eat the Mediterranean way is one great way to do this.  

Top food and beverage sources of antioxidants include: 

  • Dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and collard greens.  Red and orange veggies such as red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash.  They all contain phytochemicals.  
  • Blue, red, and purple fruits and berries, which also contain phytochemicals.
  • Fatty fish, because of omega-3 fatty acids – wild salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines (ok, you won’t catch Bea eating sardines, but she loves salmon) 
  • Raw nuts – almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamias.  Like fish, they also contain omega-3s, along with other nutrients that can lower cholesterol and protect our brain and heart health.  
  • Red wine – which contains resveratrol, and both black and green tea, which contain flavonoids.  Both of these nutrients are free radical fighters.

*Source:  Read more about free radicals and antioxidants at the Antioxidant Detective site:  Antioxidant and Free Radicals 

For more reading:

Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention 

Why Drink Green Tea?

Related Articles:

 

The Mediterranean Diet for Vital Aging

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 8– 1/21/15

You are what you eat, they say.  Ahh, the infamous “they,” who know all and make sure they let the rest of us know it!  In Bea’s case, she must resemble a 12-grain bagel with cream cheese on the side – since she has that for breakfast almost every day, along with a cuppa famous Tim Horton’s coffee.  (She’s gotten better about breakfast lately – she adds some protein along with berries or some other kind of fruit.  Anyway, “they,” along with a lot of health experts out there, highly recommend the Mediterranean diet.

Eating that way can reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s, and it’s a great way to enhance our heart health.  The food variety in the Mediterranean diet helps fight off **free radicals** with antioxidants and phytochemicals contained in plant-based foods, as well as the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish.

  • Enjoy lean poultry, fish, (wild salmon, haddock, tuna, perch, snapper) and beans
  • Use vinegar and olive oil as salad dressing – choose herbs, rather than salt, to flavor it. Replace butter with olive oil.
  • Munch on (raw) nuts in moderation – nuts are a prime source of antioxidants. A 10-year study of over 85,000 women ages 35 – 59 concluded that eating nuts lowered their risk of heart disease, because they help lower bad cholesterol.*
  • Learn to love green, leafy vegetables, cruciferous veggies, sweet potatoes, and whole-grains
  • Stay hydrated with water. Drink green tea for its antioxidant properties.
  • Nosh on a wide variety of fruits, especially berries of all kinds: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, black berries.
  • Add avocado to salads, or on a sandwich instead of cheese.  Avocados have high amounts of the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, also found in olive oil.*
  • Enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner. It contains resveratrol, which can be heart healthy. (Don’t like red wine?  Try red or purple grape juice or just eat grapes).

Enjoy further reading:

Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet

Source:

*VanTine, Julia, & Doherty, Bridget. Growing Younger – Breakthrough Age-Defying Secrets. Rodale Press.

**Question of the day:**  What the heck are free radicals, anyway?  Find out by reading Bea’s post on Friday, January 23. 

 

7 Ways to Enhance your Physical Health in 2015

 Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 5 – 1/14/2015

  • Add protein to your breakfast. A breakfast that’s high in carbohydrates can make you feel sluggish before lunch. Try a hard boiled or scrambled egg, high protein cereal or Greek yogurt, along with a whole-grain carb.
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable every week. Many fruits and veggies provide us with high levels of antioxidants, are high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Mixing it up by adding a new fruit or veggie every week keeps our palates from getting bored.

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  • Craving something sweet? Pass on the Snickers bar! For a low-calorie treat, try Dole Dippers, found in the frozen foods section of your supermarket – strawberry or banana pieces dipped in dark chocolate (good for our hearts!). Warning: if you don’t like dark chocolate (67% dark cocoa) you won’t like ‘em.
  • Do you drink a lot of soda? Replace one glass of soda with good old water. You may find that once you start drinking water or plain iced tea with meals, your sugar cravings may be lessened. Don’t like plain water? Add a little lemon or lime juice. Of course, if you’re eating pizza, there’s nothing else you can drink but a soda or an ice-cold beer.
  • Work at a desk all day? Research has shown that too much sitting can lead to heart disease, obesity, and other health issues. Get up at least once every hour; walk around your office building or if possible, take a brisk outdoor walk. Fresh air is energizing.
  • Are you on your feet all day at work? Do your footsies a favor and give them a good soaking while you’re enjoying a television show, reading a book, or listening to music in the evening. Not only will your feel thank you, but you’ll also be lowering your stress levels and preparing yourself for a good night’s sleep as well.
  • Do you exercise? Mix it up to keep it from getting boring and to keep your muscles guessing. For example, if you do cardio exercises, add strength training. Try a new workout, such as Zumba or a Spin class. Add yoga for increased flexibility, muscle toning, and improved posture.

 Answers to questions from Bea’s January 12th post:

Most diet experts say we should weigh ourselves once a week, since our weight tends to vary from day-to-day, and people who are attempting to lose weight may find it frustrating to see those up-and-down variances.  WebMD points out the “4 S’s” of weighing ourselves in this article.

For a different point of view, here’s what Melissa Conrad Stoppler has to say in this MedicineNet article, To Weigh or Not to Weigh 

And as for the best day of the week to weigh ourselves?  Bea recently heard the answer to this on her local news station, and the Cleveland Clinic agrees:  Wednesday is the best day of the week to step on that scale.  Read more here: The Best Day of the Week to Weigh Yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Key Strategies for Weight Management

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 4 – 1/12/2015

The reality of losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term (okay, a lifetime) commitment.

Bea’s motivation for making this commitment came from watching her mom suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes; then watching her sisters develop these conditions as they aged. These age-related diseases develop from unhealthy eating as well as carrying around too much extra weight.

What’s your motivation?  Do you want to lower your blood pressure or your cholesterol levels? Do you simply want to boost your energy levels or enhance your self-confidence? Are you looking to get a killer body to show your ex- just what he’s missing?

Whatever your motivation, reaching a healthy weight simply makes life more enjoyable, and adds to quality longevity. And once you make that commitment, there are common sense strategies that can help you reach your weight loss goal.

  • The first step is to set your weight loss goal.  A realistic goal is the key.  I’m sure you’ve seen all those pictures in the gossip magazines of celebrities whose bones stick out and whose faces look drawn because they’re simply too skinny.  They’re not doing their overall health any favors, either.  According to the experts, it’s a good idea to base your weight goal based on your body mass index. Bea’s done a Google search: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has a BMI calculator you can use.  This site also provides some great healthy weight tools.
  • Pick a date to get started and annotate that date on your calendar.  Not picking a date may cause you to continue to put off your weight management plan.  Then do some advance planning: fill your fridge and cupboards with healthy food options, buy some exercise DVDs, sign up for an exercise class, go online to find a support system.
  • Don’t starve yourself: Eating too few calories is counterproductive, because it causes our metabolism to slow down. There are other health risks of eating too few calories, as described here.  The best way to decide how many calories to eat during the day is to consider how active you are in your daily life. The Free Dieting website offers a Calorie Calculator – Daily Calorie Needs.
  • Keep a food journal. We often eat mindlessly, causing us to underestimate what we eat on a daily basis. For at least a week, write down not only what you eat, but also portion sizes. This will help you track the times when you overeat. Being aware of this can help you plan to substitute healthier options at these times. (Don’t forget to count beverages)
  • Eating breakfast is crucial. But not just any breakfast. An all carbohydrate morning meal will cause your energy to lag early in the day, and won’t keep you filled up for long. Instead, include a protein, whole grains, and fruit. For example, try an egg scrambled in canola oil or a whole-wheat bread thin with berries on the side.
  • Fill your lunch and dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. They add anti-oxidants, nutrients and fiber to your meals. You can eat bigger portions of them, since they have fewer calories and fat than meats and processed foods.
  • Speaking of fiber, boost your intake in order to lose weight. Fiber helps block the absorption of calories. Try oatmeal or other high fiber cereal with breakfast, beans for lunch, and whole grains throughout your day. Skip the “white” foods such as white flour, white bread, white rice (all the high glycemic stuff that causes spikes in our blood sugar).
  • Avoid processed foods and cut back on fat intake. Processed foods have too much salt, too much sugar and too many trans-fats. To cut back on fat, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat cheese and yogurt, and bake food instead of frying it.
  • Drink up. Cold water, that is. Believe it or not, researchers have found that simply drinking two 8 ounce glasses of cold water can enhance your metabolism by 30%.
  • Don’t forget to sweat. Some health experts argue that cutting calories is more important for weight loss than exercising. Bea would argue that even if it’s easier to eat 100 less calories a day than to burn off those 100 calories, exercise definitely has its place in the weight management game. Exercise helps you burn fat, strengthens those muscles and bones, reduces stress, lower cholesterol, and builds self-confidence.

For additional reading:

Psychology Today talks about Cognitive Therapy for weight loss, and Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Therapy in this article

Different strategies are necessary for losing weight and maintaining weight loss

Don’t go it alone: WebMD talks about the Secret Formula of Weight Loss

Combine diet and exercise for the best weight loss

Behavior Modification Ideas for Weight Management

Visit Bea on Wednesday, January 14th, to find out how often you should weigh yourself and the best day of the week to do so. 

 

 

 

 

Weight Loss: Don’t Fall for the Hype

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 3 – 1/9/15

c409652_s According to what Bea heard on the local news station recently, losing weight is one of our top resolutions  for a new year.  If this in one of your resolutions for 2015, do yourself a favor:  don’t fall for the hype of fad diets or diet products!  They just don’t work. Whenever you see a hyped-up advertisement for the latest craze (Raspberry ketones, coffee bean extract, cut out all carbs, cut out all fats, and on and on and on . . . ) go to an neutral, non-commercial site and get the facts.   Bea has three rules for losing weight:

  1. Strike the word DIET from your vocabulary, ladies. Ever wonder why the word “die” is included in “diet?” It’s because your body would be happy just to kick the bucket after you starve it by eating too little or worse, attempting a “cleanse” or liquid diet.  Seriously, cleanses can be dangerous.
  2. You have the right (and more importantly, you owe it to yourself and your health) to question celebrity doctors (and other celebrity endorsers) who hype diet products that will absolutely make you lose tons of weight, overnight, no less! One certain doc shall remain nameless (hint: he’s one of Oprah’s good buddies) but he’s been in the news lately for touting misleading and false diet information.
  3. Finally, if  all those diet supplements on store shelves promising weight loss heaven worked, and we spend billions of dollars on them and other diet products annually, why are close to 35 percent of Americans still obese?

But don’t take Bea’s word for it, just ask the experts:

Why do we keep Falling for Fad Diets?

6 Potential Dangers of Juice Cleanses and Liquid Diets

Staying Away From Fad Diets – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 

Watch for Bea’s January 12th post for common sense weight management ideas.  No hype allowed.

Extra Holiday Poundage? Bah, Humbug!

You’ve probably heard that we Americans gain around 5 to 7 pounds around the holidays. With a pound being equal to 3,500 calories, that’s the equivalent of eating 17,500 and 24,500 extra calories between Turkey Day and Christmas! Seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? Now, I don’t know if people actually gain THAT much (more recent studies suggest that we only gain a pound or two) but if you want to avoid any extra poundage, Bea Boomer has a few suggestions:

  • Do NOT eat cookie dough while making those holiday goodies.
  • DO jog in place while watching “Christmas Vacation” or Bea’s persona favorite, “Elf.” (When Buddy is doing his dance in the mail room, why not join him in your living room?)
  • Do  avoid the four food groups favored by the North Pole elves: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

Looking for more practical options?

  • Sign up at a fitness center. There’s a Planet Fitness on many a corner, and it’s cheap! Then actually get up off the couch, go to the gym and work out.
  • Can’t afford a gym due to crazy holiday spending? When it’s mild out, take the dog for a walk or go for a jog with a friend. Do cardio workouts in front of your television; there are plenty of fitness DVDs available at Amazon.com. Do some strength training to speed up your metabolism.
  • Fill your fridge with healthy fruits and veggies, cut up and ready to eat.  Add more fiber to your diet by eating whole wheat cereals or oatmeal.  Switch from white bread to whole wheat. Ditto with pastas.
  • Drink lots of good old water to stay hydrated and ward off hunger pangs. Cold water may boost our metabolism.
  • Avoid drinking your calories: limit your intake of alcoholic drinks, eggnog and soda.
  • Finally, don’t go to a holiday party hungry. Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch to avoid eating too many of those yummy goodies at the Christmas buffet.

Here’s the bottom line: If you want to avoid looking like Santa Claus, you’ve got to take action! In fact, the Big Guy himself just may want to think about trying some of these tips. Those Christmas cookies he munches on all night are probably a nightmare for those reindeer, on that trip back to the North Pole!

 

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How to Use the Internet to Lose Weight

Want to lose 5, 10, or more pounds?

The internet provides some great online tools to help jumpstart your weight loss program, and many of them are free.

To determine calorie intake needed to lose weight or maintain your weight loss:

Calculator.net provides a simple calculator to determine calorie needs. You simply type in your age, gender, height, current weight and choose your activity level. Other links at this site include a body fat calculator and a BMR (basal metabolic rate) calculator.

To keep a food diary: 

My Food Diary offers a 7-day free trial, then costs $9 a month.  This site features a food diary, exercise diary, and a body log to track your progress (weight and measurements). You’ll also find a blog with weight management related categories such as: exercise, lifestyle, nutrition, recipes, etc.

Nutrimirror.com: Free to join. You can keep online logs of food intake and exercise. Downloadable resources include printable food logs, printable nutrition facts and others. Also includes BMI and other calculators. Offers an online tutorial to get you started with the site’s features. Provides personalized reports and statistics to track your progress.

Support groups and weight management programs:

  1. Calorie Count:  Free. Get weight management support from a 5 million member community. Provides calorie counts for foods, phone apps, healthy recipes, a blog that provides tips and success stories. You can also get weight management advice from a team of experts. This site even has a self-directed exercise plan with “how-to” directions for individual exercises.
  2. Weight Loss Buddy: Free. With this site, you find a buddy by filling out a short profile and browsing the buddy results. You can also join a team, ask diet advice from the panel of experts, and your own diet page with plenty of weight loss tools.

These are just a couple of options.  Others include SparkPeople, ExtraPounds, and the oldie but still dependable, Weight Watchers ($)

Blogs for fun and motivation – For Weight Loss and Fitness:

Three Fat Chicks

Roni’s Weigh

Cranky Fitness

Carrots and Cake

Looking for healthy recipes? 

Fruits & Veggies: More Matters

My Recipes

Mayo Clinic Weight Management

How about some healthy snacks?

19 Healthy Snack Ideas

Healthy Snacks from AllRecipes.com

The Minimalist Guide to Eating Healthier

Eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated. Nowadays, supermarket shelves are filled with nutritious foods for meals and snacks. We just have to ignore those shelves of donuts, candies, cookies, and all those overly processed foods that wreak havoc on our bodies as well as our minds.

If you’ve made up your mind to eat more nutritiously, here are some easy ways to do it:

In the produce department, opt for brightly-colored fruits and vegetables.

  • Dark green and red salad greens. Skip iceberg lettuce. Instead choose nutrient-filled options: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, romaine, red or green leaf lettuce, bibb or Boston lettuce. To add fiber to your salad, add celery, cabbage, cauliflower, and green pepper.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts – They are “super vegetables,” according to this WebMD article. These veggies contain phytochemicals, nutrients, and fiber, all very important for our daily diets.
  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, tangerines, clementines, lemons, limes – for vitamin C.
  • Berries of all kinds for their anti-oxidant powers. Apples because they’re crunchy and good with peanut butter. Bananas to top your cereal.
  • More must-have veggies: tomatoes (contain lycopene for fighting cancer) – carrots (containing vitamin A and C) – bell peppers (contain lycopene and folic acid)
  • Sweet potatoes – contain great cancer-fighting nutrients, high in fiber and iron)

You get the picture. Fill up that cart with fruit and veggies and your body will thank you.

While fresh fruits and vegetables are the best choice, frozen produce is a good second choice. They are usually frozen right after they ripen and are harvested, so their nutrients remain intact.

Fiber is fundamental! We need 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Fiber keeps us feeling fuller between meals, helps with weight management and can lower our risk of heart disease and cancer. Eating more veggies and fruits will help provide our dietary fiber. Other options include:

  • Whole-grain breads and cereals. Brown rice. Beans of all kinds. Whole-grain pastas. Read more about the benefit of a high-fiber diet here.
  • Tips for buying breads from WebMD (Avoid bread “myths”)

In the meat department, be a savvy shopper – think lean.

  • Choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets. For any chicken cuts you buy, choose the skinless variety.
  • Ground turkey, extra lean ground beef (90% + lean).
  • Look for the word “loin” in pork products (pork tenderloin, etc.).
  • Leanest beef: round steak, round roasts, top sirloin, chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
  • Fatty fish such as trout, tuna, salmon and mackerel.

Choose good snacks.

  • Nuts of all kinds (not salted and dry-roasted)
  • Instead of buying packaged cookies, make your own and look for recipes that use whole wheat flour, oatmeal, fat substitutes and less sugar)
  • “Light” string cheese – low-fat cottage cheese in single serve packages –
  • Plain Greek non-fat yogurt (add your own fruit and some honey to sweeten it up a tad)
  • Frozen fruit bars – Dole has a good variety, around 70 calories each (with some added sugar)
  • Moderate amounts of dark chocolate – try strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate
  • Kind bars – filled with nutritious ingredients and taste great  Check ’em out at the Kind Website.
  • Find a list of fat-fighting snacks in this article from Health.com.

Miscellaneous:

Use monounsaturated oils for cooking and salad dressings: canola, olive, or peanut oil

Drink more water and unsweetened iced tea rather than sugary drinks

Add ground flax seed to your oatmeal and fruit smoothies

Eat protein with breakfast – egg, turkey sausage or turkey bacon, etc.

For further reading:

Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits

Great Guidelines for Eating Healthier

How to make wise protein choices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miscellaneous tips:

Eat the right fats – choose monounsaturated (canola, peanut, olive oil)

Drink water and unsweetened iced tea instead of sugary drinks.