1/2 of Americans obese by 2030

I just read a disturbing article that half of people in the United States will be obese by 2030 based on an increasing trend. Obesity isn’t just over weight, being obese means you are 30% heavier than the weight you should be at! That means if you should weigh no more than 190 pounds, you weigh 247 lbs or MORE! This is scary on so many levels because it considers children and the elderly. That means that over 50% of people in their 40s and 50s will be the worst offenders! Other studies are now showing the primary cause is simply over eating.  Too large of portions too many times a day, not necessarily what is being eaten.

Folks, we can prevent this from happening! Teach your children now how to eat healthy for the future!

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15

Have you heard of The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15? There is a non-profit called the Environmental Working Group that looks through government documentation looking for environment and health risks and publish it out to the general public. They include engineers, scientists, lawyers and people in information technology and are starting to make a name for themselves with this latest insight. Check out their website.

Many people find organic produce too expensive or difficult to find but want to avoid the pesticides that can be found in traditionally grown fruits and vegetables. So ….EWG has kindly published a list of the Dirty Dozen produce that you should try to purchase organically. The Clean 15 have the least residual pesticides and is less risky than the traditionally grown version when eaten. Following these guidelines, you can reduce your pesticides by up to 92%.

On a side note, I read that Cilantro, which is an herb so not on the list, has the highest amount of unapproved pesticides of everything studied. How disappointing! I suppose your best bet is to grow your own then!

Here is the list in order of highest to lowest residue!

Dirty Dozen: Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines (imported), Grapes (imported), Sweet Bell Peppers, Potatoes, Blueberries, Lettuce and Kale/Collards.

Clean 15: Onions, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Avocados, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Cabbage, Watermelon, Sweet Potatoes, Grapefruit and Mushrooms.

Spring Cleaning

Okay, I know it doesn’t make sense to write about spring just after you write about summer, but I’ve been a little preoccupied lately! That’s why I’m not writing quite as often as I like………………ANYWAY….about spring cleaning!………………………….

OUCH! I don’t know about you, but when I spring clean, I scrub like crazy! I like everything to shine like new, smell like roses and of course, free of pesky germs! That being said, I put my all into it. Having been preoccupied, I had been less then committed to my exercise routine and I’m paying for it now! My aching back, sore shoulders and tight neck are screaming at me right now. Not to mention the numbness and tingling in my hands! Add to that a number of bruises on my knees and elbows from trying to get just the right leverage on some of those scrubs!

This is a lesson to me, and hopefully to you, that keeping up with your exercise is important to keep your body flexible and strong so you can glide gracefully through these types of events. Now I’m having to slow down, sleep more and I’m just plain exhausted! Set that clock 30 minutes earlier in the morning and start it back up!!!!!

Hold me to it. I will reply to your comment with the truth if you ask, even if I have to admit the worst!

Summer Smoothies

Summer is almost here! I’m working in the garden like crazy! Unfortunately, I get hungry and don’t want to slow down to make a healthy meal. Something quick and easy , yet healthy is what’s needed. Fruit smoothies are the best on a hot summer day. The fruit is loaded with lots of energy and nutrients, and I also add plain, nonfat yogurt for a little protein to keep my blood sugar up longer.

I make my own smoothies at home rather than buy them.  Most places add a sugar source, and many add preservatives and chemicals to keep the consistency smooth. Here is my favorite recipe. Even with the yogurt, my smoothie is plenty sweet without sugar.

1 banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup plain, non-fat  yogurt
Berry, cherry or pomegranate juice

Blend all ingredients in a blender, adding the juice until it’s the thickness you like.

Refreshing!

Definition of My Simple Healthy Life


I’ve called my blog My Simple Healthy Life, but what does it mean?

My – To take ownership. To be committed. To take responsibility. This is something you don’t see as much of these days. Everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault. But you have a greater chance of success if you take this on as yours!

Simple – To be easy. Taking small steps . Breaking down the bigger objective into bite size portions that are easy to swallow. This also leads to a greater chance of success.

Healthy – Usually you would consider healthy as disease free, but realistically, everyone dies of something. It’s inevitable. The definition of healthy for me is relative. You may have allergies. I have hereditary issues to deal with. The idea is to treat your body the best you can to be in the healthiest state you can relative to your situation.

Life – That’s what it’s all about, right? I’m certainly not the one who can tell you the meaning of life, but I can tell you it’s what everyone is searching for. To me, it’s to be happy, feeling good and getting everything you want out of it.

This spells it out. This is what inspires me daily to come up with new and interesting  things to talk about with you. If there is something more you would like to see, let me know.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

What do you get when you have over ripe bananas and a sensitivity to wheat? A LOT OF EXPERIMENTING! I think I created a great recipe for gluten free banana bread last night!

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup soft butter
2 eggs
3 soft bananas
½ cup water
½ tsp salt
1 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp  xanthum gum (find at health food stores or online)
¼ tsp baking powder
1 Tbls cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together sugar and butter and then beat in eggs.  Blend in bananas. Add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Fold in nuts.  Grease a loaf pan and pour in batter. I usually create an indent in the center since they tend to rise too high in the middle and not bake as thoroughly there.  Bake for 1 hour testing with a tooth pick to see if the center is done. Let set for a couple minutes and remove from pan.  Don’t cut until it’s had a chance to cool or it will crumble.

Enjoy!

How to care for fresh cut flowers

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there! You of all people need simplification to make it easier to lead a healthy life!  Has someone given you fresh cut flowers today? There is nothing so beautiful, is there?  If you want that beauty to last, here are the basics on fresh cut flowers.

First, immediately put them in water, but this is only temporary, so it doesn’t need to be in a vase.  Pull out a vase, or container that has a wide enough mouth that will stand up the flowers but not crowd the stems.  The flowers need airflow and good airflow also keeps the water cleaner. Fill the vase about 1/3 full for now. Pull out a cutting board and a sharp knife and cut the bottoms of each flower stem as they may be dry or damaged. It’s best to cut them one at a time at an angle to open a larger surface area to draw more water in. Immediately place in the vase. The less time they are out of water, the longer they will last. If you have some with very thin stems, cutting a bunch at once it fine. If you are like me and find it very  hard to rearrange them, you can pull them out in groups, but work quickly.

Rinse the vase out daily and put fresh water in it, remembering to hold the flowers in another container with water while you do this. Pull out any dead or dying flowers or greens, and if you have some available, replace with a substitute. Re-trim any stems that look bad.  Do not use soap to clean your vase.  If you rinse and wipe it out daily, the water should not get that dirty. If it does, move the flowers to a new vase, wash the new vase with water and a drop or two of chorine. This will sanitize it. Rinse the cleaned vase out thoroughly and set it aside for another day. Because of the small area inside the vase, chemicals may affect your flowers. Overtime, any chlorine residue should break down on the cleaned vase. That’s why I wait to use them again after cleaning.

I know there are a lot of additives people recommend or give with your flowers. I haven’t really found them to make a big difference. I believe some of them reduce the bacterial build up in the water. If you are rinsing and refreshing your vase daily, you should not have this  issue.

So Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy your day, and enjoy your flowers for a long time!

Don’t pester the garden pests

In my early days of gardening I used to stress when I’d see bugs on my plants. My intent was to grow organic and never use pesticides. One of the acceptable alternatives in organics is a form of insecticidal soap which you can make at home with just a little bit of dishsoap in water. It worked, but it frequently left spots on leaves. So I squelched my urge to spray every time I saw a bug and do as the books tell you….hand remove bugs, spray them off your plants with water, and let mother nature take it’s course. They were right! In early spring, my peas always struggle with slugs, snails and aphids. I crush eggshells and sprinkle them around the base of the plants which the snails and slugs don’t like. Plus it adds nutrients to the soil, and birds eat them to increase their calcium for their own egg production. For the aphids, I wash them off with the garden hose sprayer. They continue to come back until a friendly face starts to appear in the garden. Lady Bugs! These bugs will feast on thousands of aphids, completely clearing them from your plants. And they come back to your yard routinely if you don’t kill off the aphids with chemicals. Those chemicals will also kill off the lady bugs, and bees for that matter! You want bees for pollination don’t you? It’s a little hard to get your vegetables to grow without pollination isn’t it?

So you can see where I’m headed. A little initial damage to a plant is not worth poisoning your food and the critters that are part of the chain of life in your garden. Most of these bug outbreaks create little damage and the plant recovers. Birds will eat a lot of bugs that cause problems, and there are a ton of predatory insects that are our friends as well. The unfortunate thing is many people don’t know how to distinguish between the good and bad bugs and kill off those that are doing the most for your garden! Give mother nature a chance to do it for you!

Now, I’m not saying you will never have a situation that calls for some sort of pesticide. Fire ants in a yard filled with children calls for action. But make sure you don’t use these types of chemicals in your vegetable beds. If it kills bugs, it’s probably something you don’t want to ingest. Although some of the containers say safe for vegetable gardens, you may want to ask yourself……..didn’t they say that about that last deadly pesticide the FDA just took off the market?

So, nuff said! If you’re a lazy gardener, it should be easy! Leave your bugs alone in the garden. If you clearly have an infestation, try spraying them with the garden hose or hand picking them off (usually needed with beetles). Watch your garden go through it’s issues just like you do in life and move on. Just like people, some of the most damaged plants just may recover, reaping the most in the end!

Add a vegetable

You know, there are a lot of meals you can make that don’t have vegetables. One way to make them healthier is to add them. Let’s think of some examples…… Pizza is easy. I can add a lot of vegetables on a pizza! Many times that’s all I’ll have on it!. Hamburgers can always use a slice of tomato, onion and leaf of lettuce, but you can increase your vege and nutrient intake and make it gourmet with a great big, fat slice of hierloom tomato, red onion, and a spring mix with a little spinach in it. Spaghetti always has tomato sauce, but you can enhance the standard onion and garlic with chunks of green pepper and squash. Mexican food is the same. I’ve even seen mushrooms added as a taco/fajita topping. Clean out your vegetable tray before your veges rot and add them into your sauces.  A little creativity goes a long way.

A simple way to get your vegetables in and increase your health!

Don’t peel that peel!

Did you know that most of the nutrients of produce is actually found in the skin of the fruit or vegetable?  Are you one of those people that find it necessary to peel your carrots or potatoes before using them in a dish or eating them? Well….STOP!  If you are cooking carrots, just wash them well, cut them up and you won’t know the difference. If you buy baby carrots and eat them fresh, consider buying regular large carrots and leave the skin on, cutting them into smaller pieces. They are cheaper and they store a long time. Potatoes don’t need to be peeled for most dishes. Even mashed potatoes are fine with the skin. Just cut out the eyes (which contain a compound not good in large quantities) scrub the skin lightly and call it good. You can use a vegetable brush to clean  your root vegetables if the dirtiness bothers you . You also don’t need to use those cleaners some people buy.  Just giving a thorough wash is enough.

This fact holds true for most produce, even for those you wouldn’t normally consider eating the skin on, including citrus fruits like oranges. There is also the stalks and cores of vegetables like broccoli and celery. Don’t throw away that banana peel either!  In some cases, it’s possible to use these items, especially when cooking. Think creatively.

What a small sacrifice to make for added healthy nutrients!