Monday, December 31, 2012

Improving Overall Health & Adding Years to Life

Motivation for Monday Fitness:  Improving Overall Health & Adding Years to Life
It's the end of this year, so New Years Resolutions are right around the corner.  Many people make resolutions for improving their overall health  This morning Bob and Caroline Scott of the Louisville Athletic Club stopped by to share a few things that we can do to increase the quality of our health and add years to our lives.

Deuteronomy 5:33 - "Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess."

"There are some really easy ways to add years to your live and improve the quality of your overall health.

  • Eat more raw veggies: Just one cup a day can add up to 2 years to your life.  The reason they should be raw is that cooking depletes the nutritional value by 30%.  You can always throw your favorite dressing on them.
  • Monitor your BMI (Body Mass Index): Keeping your BMI in a normal range will add 3 years to your life.  Excess body fat leads to many preventable diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Eat Nuts: Researchers found that people in a study who ate nuts 5 days a week added about 3 years to their life span.
  • Enjoy Friendships: Having a core group of faithful friends can add 7 extra years to your life.  A study was done on a group of men in their 70s, and researchers found that those with a large network of friends had longer lives.
  • Be positive: Having a positive outlook on life and expressing it through volunteering and helping others on a consistent basis can add about 7 years to your life.
  • Be Prayerful: Praying for a long and healthy life is the most important thing.  Why not ask God for favor when it comes to your life and health?"
These tips and more can be found on Caroline's blog, 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stress & the Body

Motivation for your Monday Fitness:
Stress & the Body

"Cast all your anxiety of Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
Studies have shown that most of us have high levels of stress this time of year.  Bob and Caroline Scott of the Louisville Athletic Club shared some ways stress affects our overall health and how harmful high levels of stress really can be.
"This is a holy season and unfortunately, many of us allow ourselves to get over stressed this time of year.  We tend to forget the true meaning of Christmas.  Some of the physical effects of stress on your body can be pretty serious!  The list is long.  First of all, your immune system becomes much more vulnerable which increases your risk of getting sick.  Other things include sleep disorders, stomach problems, depression, anxiety, weight loss or gain, high blood pressure, heart problems, and severe headaches.  So, if you are experiencing some of these symptoms and they are being brought on by stress, it is extremely important that you do some things to relieve the stress." - Caroline Scott
"Suggestions for calming down and relaxing are obviously taking up exercise.  Plan a time to read your Bible and pray daily.  Or just rest your eyes for a few minutes.  The laundry will always be there!  You should definitely get plenty of sleep and eat healthy.  Plan your time, even if you have to write everything down.  Also, take a few minutes to clear your mind if you feel extra stress coming on.  Turn off your computer and cell phone, and don't sweat the small stuff. Finally, do something nice for a friend or loved one.  It's amazing how the act of giving can relieve stress!  Most importantly, remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!
For more great tips on health and fitness, check out Caroline's Blog

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 6: Hot Cocoa Cookies

12 Days of Cookies:
On the 6th Day of Cookies, I found a recipe that pairs 2 delicious Christmas treats... Cookies and cocoa!  I hope you enjoy this recipe for gooey Hot Cocoa Cookies this Christmas!

Hot Cocoa Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies

Stay Healthy when it's Cold Outside

Tips from Doctors Cold Weather Health:
This morning a Yahoo! article stated that 5 states are already reporting Flu outbreaks are beginning unseasonably early.  Even though our weather really hasn't been that bad so far this season, the 5 states reporting the outbreaks are directly below us.  So I thought it may be a good time to pull out some Cold Weather Health tips from doctors that I found on Prevention Magazine and even

If you feel a cold coming on, should you drink tea or orange juice? 
"There's no question that tea is the better choice. Yes, orange juice has vitamin C, but it may actually suppress your immunity and make you more susceptible to colds because of its high sugar content. According to one study, when you consume 100 grams of carbohydrates in the forms of glucose, fructose, sucrose, orange juice, or honey, you significantly reduce the function of white blood cells that contribute to a healthy immune system. So while it's important to drink lots of fluids, stay away from fruit juices. Plus, hot tea clears the nasal passages. Pour a cup—and get your C from a vitamin."—Michael T. Murray, naturopathic doctor and coauthor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.  Also, new research from the University of Michigan supports the evidence that the antioxidant quercetin may protect against infection by preventing viruses from replicating.  Black and green teas are packed with quercetin.  Sip a hot cup once a day.

So, then which is better: tea with milk or tea with lemon? 
"I wouldn't recommend milk. Studies have shown that the protein it contains counteracts some of tea's health benefits. In my lab we've shown that separately, caffeinated green tea and a high-protein diet can boost metabolism and burn fat. But when we combined them, milk protein lessened the good effects of green tea on metabolism and long-term weight management. We believe the protein binds to the tea's antioxidant polyphenols, making them less available for your body to use."—Rick Hursel, PhD, Department of Human Biology at Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Exercise Indoors or Brave the Cold?
"No matter how low the temperature, I take a brisk walk every day. Exercise boosts the circulation of immune cells throughout the body, and research shows that walking 30 to 45 minutes a day, five days a week in winter can cut your sick days in half." Dr Oz

Should we Bundle up for a winter jog or wear just enough to keep from shivering? 
"You should dress as if it's 15 to 20 degrees warmer outside than the actual temperature. It will be chilly at first, but you'll warm up. If you're overdressed, you can overheat, leading to excessive sweating, which can cause leg cramps and put you at risk for hypothermia. For very cold days, I recommend pants or tights, a moisture-wicking top, a hat, and gloves. And a windbreaker is a must—it'll keep out the chill if the temperature drops."—Elizabeth G. Matzkin, MD, surgical director of the Women's Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital 

Avoid Crowds or Hangout with Friends? 
Hang out with friends. Friendships counteract the harmful effects of stress hormones, and now new research says the more friends you have, the healthier you'll be. Carnegie Mellon doctors gave 83 college freshmen an influenza vaccine and found that those with larger social networks produced more flu-fighting antibodies than those who hung out in smaller groups. Students who reported feeling lonely produced fewer antibodies, as well. 

Have H2O in Flight
Canadian researchers have found that air passengers are over 100 times more likely to get a cold than those who travel by bus, train, or subway. Dr. Oz's rule for holiday air travel: Hydrate. The plane's dry air can sap moisture from the lining of your nasal passages, creating tiny cracks that make you susceptible to infection. Water can help moisten those membranes.

Should we use Echinacea or another supplement?
There's actually no conclusive research proving echinacea to be effective against the common cold. Dr Oz recommends taking Vitamin D. Studies have found that D can stimulate the production of a virus-killing protein, and taking D supplements (aim for 2,000 IU a day) can lead to fewer viral infections.

For the Flu should we take Antibiotics?
"These drugs are not only ineffective against the flu—which is caused by a virus, not by bacteria—but can lead to adverse effects like upset stomach, diarrhea, and even yeast infections. If you get the flu, ask your doctor for an antiviral drug such as Tamiflu. But act fast—studies have found that these drugs work best within 48 hours of the first symptoms." Dr Oz

How can we dodge Germs?
Flu viruses can survive on surfaces for over two hours, but you can't wash your hands 24-7—so when is it most important to scrub up? Scientists from the University of Virginia recently pinpointed the areas of your home most likely to harbor germs: refrigerator handles, remote controls, and doorknobs.

Does chicken soup really work?
Chicken soup really can treat a cold. The hot vapor expands your airways, which helps to clear mucus from the nasal cavity. Plus, University of Nebraska researchers found that chicken soup has an anti-inflammatory effect that may soothe a sore throat.

What about Probiotics, should we use them?
"We recommend taking probiotics—foods or supplements containing bacteria that are good for your health—that include Lactobacillus, because it can reduce the risk of both respiratory and gastrointestinal infections," says Mike Gleeson, PhD, professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University in England. And people taking probiotics were 42% less likely to get a cold than those on a placebo, according to a 2011 meta-analysis of 10 studies

More Ways to Boost Your Immune System

  • Exercise: People who exercise five or more days a week spend 43% fewer days with upper-respiratory infections, according to an Appalachian State University study. "I make sure I exercise to stay healthy," says lead author David Nieman, DrPH. "Aim for 30 to 60 minutes daily. It boosts blood flow so that the immune cells circulate throughout the body."
  • SleepYour immune system needs rest to keep you healthy. In one study done at Carnegie Mellon University, even if people said they felt well rested if they'd averaged fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, they were almost three times as likely to get a cold as those who got eight hours or more of sleep.
  • Eat more garlic: "Allicin, a substance in crushed garlic, helps fight viruses," says Richard Nahas, MD, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa. In a British study, volunteers who took a daily 180 mg allicin supplement caught 63% fewer colds over 12 weeks than those taking a placebo. Garlic cloves contain less allicin (5 to 9 mg), but even two raw cloves a day may help, says Randy Horwitz, MD, PhD, medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson.
  • Use herbs and spices: The oregano in your spaghetti sauce and the mustard on your turkey sandwich can boost your immune system, says Tieraona Low Dog, MD. In winter, she suggests, flavor bean and poultry dishes with oregano and thyme, and add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric to 1 cup of plain yogurt for a spicy dip.
  • Vitamin C: A gram a day of this old standby does help alleviate colds, Dr. Nahas found in a review of studies about integrative approaches to preventing colds. In adults, the result is a modest 8% reduction in symptoms. It doesn't sound like much, "but that can shorten your cold by 1 to 2 days," he says.
  • Stop biting your nails......and wiping or rubbing your eyes or nose: You can't always avoid getting germs on your hands, but you don't have to give them a lift into your respiratory system. "When you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, you put the viruses right where they want to go to cause mischief," Dr. Nieman says. Keeping your hands where they belong sounds easy, but it's a challenge. Adults touch their faces about 15 times every hour.
  • Eat mushrooms: Many kinds of mushrooms may help boost immunity, but medicinal fungi like shiitake, reishi, and maitake may be particularly beneficial because they encourage immune cells to multiply.
  • Eat more fruit: "We looked at everything people ate, but the impressive benefit of fruit just jumped out of the data," says Dr. Nieman, who also studied the effects of diet on colds. People who ate three or more servings daily had 25% fewer days with respiratory symptoms during cold-and-flu season than those who ate one or fewer. The vitamin C content may provide part of the punch, but fruit also contains polyphenols, which have antiviral properties.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 5: Almond Snowballs

12 Days of Cookies:
For day 5, I thought we needed a little "snow" since we've had unseasonably warm weather.

Almond Snowballs: 12 Days of Cookies

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winter Weather Skin Tips

Winter Weather Cure-alls
Let's be honest, Cold weather is rough on our skin from dry, chapped skin to puffy eyes and chapped lips. Here's some tips I shared this morning that I found on Prevention Magazine.

Prevent chapped lips and wrinkles Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold water fish such as salmon and tuna, help skin retain moisture. Berries, especially strawberries, contain vitamin C, which promotes moist, healthy skin. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating foods rich in vitamin C was associated with fewer wrinkles.

Hydrate nails and hair The human body consists of about 60% water. Indeed, water is essential to life and certainly staying hydrated is necessary to maintain good health. Drinking enough water—about eight 8-ounce glasses daily—not only helps move toxins through and out of the body quickly, it also keeps skin cells plump with moisture to prevent hair and nails from becoming dry and brittle.

Protect against sun and wind burn Eating dark chocolate can protect your skin from damage. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids, appears to promote healthy skin and even protect against skin cancer. In the study, women who added flavonoid-rich hot cocoa to their breakfast during a three-month period had 25% less skin reddening after UV light exposure and doubled the flow of blood in the skin, raising moisture levels and reducing dryness. Beta-Carotene, found in foods such as fish liver oil, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots, and peaches, can also help prevent dry, flaky skin.

Relieve dry eyes To soothe achy, puffy eyes, eat more vegetables that have natural cooling properties. Cucumbers, celery, and even sliced zucchini all have high water content, which can help moisturize eyes while reducing puffiness. Citrus fruits and berries rich in vitamin C help reduce inflammation around the eyes.

Breakouts The mineral zinc is known to be a powerful acne fighter, as it may prevent the hormonal imbalances that lead to outbreaks. Zinc is also important for protein synthesis and the formation of collagen, which is fundamental to healthy skin and oil control. Foods rich in zinc include: Red meat, poultry, salmon, shellfish, almonds, peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds.

Day 4: Cinnamon Sugar Pinwheels

12 Days of Cookies 2012:
Day 4's recipe is an easy one.  Thought we needed some quick recipes thrown in there for the spontaneous get-togethers this season.   Enjoy! Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another great recipe! If you would like to share one of your recipes, click [here].

Cinnamon Sugar Pinwheels: 12 Days of Cookies

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 3: Chocolate Wedding Cookies

12 Days of Cookies 2012:
Day 3's recipe is a chocolatey twist on traditional wedding cookies.  Enjoy! Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another great recipe! If you would like to share one of your recipes, click [here].

Chocolate Wedding Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies

Full Body Workout.. in a hurry!

Motivation for your Monday Fitness:
Full Body Workout in a Hurry

I'm really excited about today's Motivation for your Monday Fitness topic.  During the holidays our schedules are crazy.  So it's harder for us to squeeze in workouts.  This morning, Bob and Caroline Scott of the Louisville Athletic Club gave us some tips for a quick workout that will target our whole body and get us in and out of the gym in a hurry.
"This definitely is the busiest time of year for most folks, and many days squeezing in a workout may be the last thing on our minds.  However, it's important to stay consistent with your healthy lifestyle, because with busy schedules, a lot of times, comes added stress.  And we all know what stress can do to us!  So, a good tip for shortening workouts but still getting the same results is to perform compound exercises.  Compound exercises are those that involve two or more joints in motion.  Doing a workout in this manner not only gives you a great strength workout, but also causes your heart rate to increase giving you a great cardio workout as well!  Bob's going to give us a specific workout using just a pair of dumbbells, so you can do this at the gym or at home!"  - Caroline Scott
"The first exercise is a basic squat with shoulder press.  Simply squat down, holding the dumbbells up by your shoulders.  As you stand up, push powerfully through your heels as you extend your arms, bringing the weights together above your head.  Next is the side lunge with a bicep curl.  Holding dumbbells down by your sides, lunge out to the side.  And as you do that, curl your hands up toward your shoulders working the biceps. Return to the starting position and then repeat on the other side.  Finally, do some plank rows.  Get into the plank position (This link breaks it down correctly) with dumbbells in your hands. Pull up one arm, bending at the elbow and pulling your elbow back toward the ceiling.  Repeat while alternating arms.  You could make this more advanced by adding a push up in between.  Try doing 3-4 rounds of 10-12 reps per exercise." - Bob Scott

For more great health and fitness tips, check out Caroline's Blog

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2: Chocolate Turtle Cookies

12 Days of Cookies 2012:
These cookies look so yummy!  I found the recipe this morning.  Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another great recipe! If you would like to share one of your recipes, click [here].

Chocolate Turtle Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Tips: Finding the Right Tree & More

This morning I've been sharing a few Christmas tips that I've found this week.  Here's a recap of what we spoke about, and a few extras that I wasn't able to mention on-air.  Ps... Don't forget the 12 Days of Cookies starts today.  Check out the previous post for today's recipe. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another great cookie idea!

Fresh Christmas Tree Shopping Tips:
I mentioned that Ceci has been sharing that she and her family are purchasing a real Christmas Tree this year.  I've steered away from them for the past few years because of all the sap, but Ceci and I have some great tips to help with that I'll share later in this post.  First, here are a few tips I found on Southern Living to make sure your beautiful choice is the freshest tree of all.

Know your Maximum Size:
I know this seems like a pretty obvious step, but sometimes the excitement of the holidays cause us to forget a few things... like making sure the tree will fit.  To calculate your maximum tree size, measure the height of your ceiling and then subtract 1 foot.  This will give you plenty of room for the star or other tree topper.  Also, don't forget to keep the girth of the tree in mind too.  The smaller your room, the skinnier the tree should be, unless there is very little furniture.

How to check for freshness:
Even with diligent care, cut trees only last about 10 days so your best bet in finding a fresh tree is to cut your own from a farm or purchase one from a store/lot that offers trees harvested within days of delivery.  High prices don't necessarily mean the tree will be fresh.  Before you buy, run your fingers down a tree branch.  All of the needles should stay intact, and your hand should smell like an evergreen. Also, gentle shaking and or moving of the tree should only make very little if any needles drop.  If the needles are falling off, the tree will probably not last through Christmas.

Recut the Trunk:
Once you find the perfect tree, don't forget to recut the trunk on an angle.  You will need to cut the trunk about 1 inch above the end to help the tree absorb water.  If you don't have a saw, most places will do this for you.  Just make sure you get your tree into a bucket of water within an hour of cutting or the pores will seal and you will have to start over. If the tree is fresh-cut from a farm, then go ahead and put it in the stand.  Otherwise, soak it in a bucket of water outside overnight.  You can also spray the tree down with a hose to help remove debris and hydrate the needles.

Holiday Stain Removal Tips:
So now that you've found your perfect real Christmas tree, what do you do with all of that sap?  Or  for that matter, what do you do with all of the other holiday stains?  Here's some tips I found on Real Simple Magazine to help keep the merry in your Christmas.

Christmas Tree Sap:
  • From your hands - Ceci shared a great tip on her Pinterest board a few days ago on how to remove tree sap from your hands with olive oil.  Simply pour a tablespoon of olive oil onto a cloth and rub until clean.  Not only will it remove the sap, it will leave your hands soft.
  • From fabric - With a cloth, dab dry-cleaning fluid onto the stain (Real Simple recommends Guardsman); let dry.  Then immerse the stain for 30 minutes in 1 cup bleach-free liquid laundry detergent with a dash of ammonia (Careful with this - it's strong).  Wash in the warmest water safe for the fabric.
  • From the rug - For a wool rug, scrape off what you can with a spoon, then use a dry spot remover like WoolClean Dry Spot Remover 2.  For a synthetic rug, Real Simple suggests applying Goof Off then blot with diluted dish soap.  Wait a few minutes, then rinse with hot water using a spray bottle.  Blot dry.
Candle Wax:
  • On Table Linens - Scrape off what you can with a spoon.  Place several paper towels on an ironing board, lay the stained area on top of the paper towels then place a few more paper towels on top.  Press with a warm iron.  The paper towels will absorb the wax.  You may need to replace the paper towels a few times to avoid transferring the stains back to the table linens.  If any wax remains, sponge with a Pre-treat spray, blot, allow to air dry, then wash.  Use bleach if fabric allows.
  • On the rug - For wool, cover the wax with a brown grocery bag (one layer) and press with a warm iron.  To remove any wax that remains, use a Wool-safe Dry Spot Remover.  For a synthetic rug, follow the same advice for the wool rug, but Real Simple recommend treating the remaining wax with Goof Off with a dry cloth then rinsing with a damp cloth.  Blot dry with paper towels.
Cranberry Sauce or Apple Cider:
  • On Table Linens - Remove anything solid with a spoon and run the fabric under cold water—do this as soon as you can. Spritz with a Pre-Treat spray, then wash in the warmest water safe for the fabric, using bleach if the fabric allows.
  • On the Rug - Use a spoon to scrape off anything solid. For wool, use a cloth to blot with cold water, then treat with Wool-safe Spot Remover  For a synthetic rug, apply diluted dish soap; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. If the stain is gone, rinse, then dry with paper towels. If the stain is not removed, blot on a solution of ½ cup hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon ammonia (You may want to try this on a test area first). Let stand for 2 to 3 hours, covered with plastic wrap and weighted with something heavy. Rinse with water, then apply white vinegar to the place the stain had been and blot with a damp cloth; dry with paper towels.
Gravy, Butter, or Salad Dressing:
  • On Table Linens - If the stain is still wet, swipe it with a  instant-stain-remover wipe. If the stain has dried, spritz with a Pre-Treat spray and (for wet stains, too) wash in the warmest water safe for the fabric.
  • On the Rug - For wool, use a clean white cotton cloth to blot with Wool-safe Dry Spot Remover, then dab with diluted dish soap. Follow with a fresh damp cloth. For a synthetic rug, apply Goof Off to a cloth and blot onto the stain. Then dab on diluted dish soap and use a damp cloth to rinse. Dry with paper towels.
Coffee or Tea:
  • On Table Linens - Soak the stain in cool water for 30 minutes. Spray with a Pre-Treat solution, then wash in the warmest water safe for the fabric, using bleach if the fabric allows.
Soot or Candle Ashes:
  • On Table Linens - Hold the fabric taut and use the vacuum's hose attachment to remove as much soot as possible. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain to absorb it. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, then vacuum again. Apply Pre-Treat Spray and wash in the warmest water safe for the fabric.
  • On the Rug - Vacuum with the hose attachment. Then, for a wool rug, blot with Wool-safe Dry Spot Remover, using a clean cloth. For a synthetic rug, apply diluted dish soap. If that doesn't do the trick, blot with Goof Off, followed by diluted dish soap. Wait 3 minutes, then rinse by dabbing on hot water. Blot dry.
For more tips, check out the entire article at this link

Day 1: Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

12 Days of Cookies 2012:

The 12 Days of Cookies are back!  I'll be searching for new and interesting recipes to share with you this Christmas!  Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another great recipe!  If you would like to share one of your recipes, click [here].

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Related Links:
12 Days of Cookies: 2011