Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beauty from Within

Now that I have been writing a few posts about nutrition, I figured that it was about time to include another form of health, Mental/Spiritual.

Now, in talking about spiritual health, this does not necessarily mean going to Church or even praying (although that can be included as well).  Spiritual health is knowing who you are, what you want, your beliefs, taking care of your mind, and so much more.  I would like to advise evryone to take at least 5 miutes out of your day to sit down and calm your mind.  Try not to think abotu anything.  Meditate on any bad thoughts you might be having or any stressors in your life right now and just let them go/let them be as they are.  Nothing can be a burden to you if you don't let it.  Like my mom and grandma used to always tell me, "No one can get under your skin unless you let them".  You have the power to control your thoughts and your reactions to those thoughts.

It is important to believe in yourself anf be thankful for all the good things you have in your life.  Positive self-perception is one of the hardest things to teach because it can only be done by the individual.  In my opinion, beautiful people are those who are self-confident, have humility, and believe that they can make a difference by bettering themselves so that they can help other people.  It doesn't matter what other people think about your appearance.  It is amazing to me that no two people are exactly alike in this world.  We might have similar traits or personalities, but there is always something that makes us unique.  Grab onto those things and never let anyone take it from you.  You are who you are for a reason, embrace it and call it you.  Believe in yourself and know that you can do anything.  Beauty comes from within.

Luana ola!

Note:  This post came to my mind as I was reading the first story in An Amish Country Christmas .  It is an extremely good book that everyone should read with their family during the Holiday season!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Staying Active

During these long cold months, it is really easy to cuddle up with a hot cup of tea (or cocoa) next to a fire and read a good book; but it is still important to get exercise and keep that heart in tip top shape.  Now, I am not one to go to the gym.  I did that for the last 22 years of my life.  I was either with my parents, helping them coach volleyball, practicing volleyball myself, or working out to make sure I was in shape for volleyball.  I think I wore myself out!  Now, I like to take walks, go for bike rides, and just remain active throughout my day.  Some of the ways I do this are by taking the stairs, parking far away, practice yoga a couple times a week, and do some jump rope and calisthenics (push-ups, crunches, dips, squats, etc...body weight).

Here are some other ways to stay active throughout your day:

  1. work up to 10,000 steps every day.  Use a pedometer ($10 at your local store) from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, with the exception of taking it off whenever you are going into water of course.
  2. Stand up at work.  Get off that booty and use it the way it was supposed to be support the rest of your body and propel you through life.
  3. Fidget while you work:  use a stability ball instead of a chair, get up every 15-30 minutes and take a lap around the office, stretch in your chair, try some squats or dips in your chair, or just simply fidget!
  4. Take your dog for an extra long walk.  It's good for both you and him/her.  If you don't have a dog, get one.  Studies have shown that dog owners tend to live healthier and happier lives.
  5. Clean your house.  This will be both physically and mentally clearing.  The harder and faster you work, the more calories you will burn and the faster you will get the job done.
  6. Cook at home.  Preparing your own meals means that you know exactly what is in each bite and you can control the portion sizes.  Get the whole family involved in the chopping, slicing, baking, and flipping.  This will ensure that no one person has to make the whole meal, the food will be ready faster, and the kids will be more likely to try new foods because they helped prepare them!
  7. Dance!  Dancing is one of the most fun and easy ways to burn calories.  Instead of going out for drinks and sitting at a bar or restaurant, go out dancing.  Have one or two drinks and dance your shoes off!  The fun will once again be both mentally and physically stimulating.
  8. Last, but certainly not least, do some light calisthenics during commercial breaks.  No one likes to watch those things anyways, so make use of the time you have and do some push ups, sit ups, squats, and planks!
The point of this entire post is to remind people to get up and get moving.  Even if you don't go to the gym, that doesn't give you the right to be a couch potato.  The more you sit on the couch, the greater your chances of getting disease and sicknesses.  So grab some friends or family and get up, get going, and get active!

Luana ola!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


     It's that time of year when everyone goes to the store to load up on Thanksgiving goodies for the table.  On the top of the list for many families is cranberry sauce.  Naturally, the least time-consuming way to go is to get that vacuum-packed/jellied/shaped-like-a-can stuff.  After all, there are so many other parts of the feast to worry about.  The problem, here, is that the cranberry sauce/jelly from a can is loaded with sugar and preservatives; not to mention the BPA-infested lining of the can (who knew?)!

     The better way to go here is to make your own.  This may sound scary and taxing to those of you who have never even thought about making your own cranberry sauce, but believe me, it tastes so much better.  The better taste comes from 2 main categories:  1) fresh, natural, and whole ingredients and 2)you made it yourself!
Making things from scratch lends a sense of accomplishment to the task and makes you feel good.  I have come to find that things taste better to me when I cook them because I know what I am eating and I have put a little love into the food I am about to share with friends and family.

     Cranberries, not only make a great topping for turkey dinners, they are also loaded with nutritional value.  One reason doctors and dietitians recommend cranberries (usually in 100% juice form, because that's most convenient) is because they are great at fighting bad bacteria that cause bladder infections and urinary tract infections (UTI).  On top of all that good news, cranberries are loaded with vitamin C (good for calcium absorption) and antioxidants that can help make your skin look and feel healthy.

Here is a basic recipe for making cranberry sauce:

  • place 1 bag of fresh cranberries in a small pot and fill about 1/2 to 3/4 full with cold water.  Place over medium heat.
  • Add 1/4 cup of sugar, or to taste (optional)
  • Now, let it simmer.  There will be some popping noises (my favorite part!).  This means that the cranberries are opening and releasing their juices, turning the water into a gooey sauce.
  • Keep simmering until all the cranberries have popped, and until it is to your desired consistency.  NOTE:  the more sugar that is added, the more gooey the sauce will become
  • Finally, add some of your favorite spices like cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves/etc.
Some other ways to enjoy cranberries:
  • dried and sprinkled in granola 
  • as 100% juice
  • boiled and mixed into oatmeal/pancakes
If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share in a comment!

Luana ola! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I am no longer counting the days because it has finally become easier for me to resist sweets!  I feel so good and I know I will make it the rest of the month.  I am still not eating any sweets for Thanksgiving (I know, it feels crazy to me too, but it is something I have to do).  I will allow myself to eat sweets begining December 1st, but I know I will have gained more self-control.  As I said before, dessert should be something to enjoy with family and friends for a special occasion, not every night.

Well, it's official, the first snow came today.  Although it only lasted about 5 minutes, it was enough to blanket the ground in white.  The good news is that it is already gone!  The ground is still warm, so the snow melted before noon.  I am just not ready for cold weather and snow yet!

I apologise for not posting every day like I said I would, but school work has been busy and has me all tied up.  Andrew is coming to my parents' house this weekend, starting today (he does not have to work on Veterans Day) so I will be making him some split pea soup either tomorrow or Saturday!  Be prepared for a post with pictures of hot soup and fresh bread.

Stay warm out there!

Luana ola!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 5

My man and I were out chopping wood this morning while it was sunny, but now it looks like its about to rain.  The wind has picked up, and the sun is no longer around...

I am enjoying a hot cup of peach green tea while I putz around on the internet, finishing up the emails and things I did not get to do because of work yesterday.

Because it's Sunday, it will be a day of football, food, and work.  I think I'll try to find a fun article to post as well!

Keep reading!  I promise these posts will be getting more interesting soon!

Luana ola!