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Archive for the ‘diet’ Category

Wow, that is a mouthful for the title of this blog post…but, it is what it says it is.  The National Association of Letter Carriers have committed themselves once again to their annual food drive.   They do this to help combat hunger.  In the last two years in the United States, more than 50 million people have found themselves living in homes that don’t have enough food.  This is outrageous, we can all do something to help.  No one should go hungry in a country that supplies other nations with food from our surplus produce that farmers work so hard to grow.

You may say, I am only one person…what can i do?  You can support the National Association of Letter Carriers help stamp out hunger by leaving a bag at your mail box, on Saturday May 14, 2011, with non-perishable food items.  That is only 2 days from now.   Make sure that the items you are donating are not out of date or in danger of expiring any time soon.   Don’t have a lot to give; give what you can.  If you are blessed enough to have the means to give…give generously; we all have a responsibility to share our blessings with others.

Support businesses and organizations that sponsor the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.  This is an amazing grass roots program that blesses your local food banks.  All the food collected by your local mail carrier stays in your local area.  The people you help may be your own friends, family or neighbors. With the economy being so challenging in recent years more people are affected by not having enough to eat.  The numbers of children in homes without enough food is rising.  The elderly are having a harder time making ends meet.  Young wage earners are finding themselves without steady income to support their families sufficiently.   Natural disasters have hurt many families and those people still need to eat.  Churches can’t do it all…they need our help to provide food for those who are struggling with hunger!  Won’t you help?

Would you like to learn more?  Visit their website here:  Stamp Out Hunger and if you happen to have a Facebook account or a Twitter account…then Like them or Follow them to lend your support.  Spread the work online and off.  Tell others about the food drive…encourage others to donate.

Remember to thank your mail carrier.  They are dedicated to helping people stamp out hunger in your community.   Do you know someone who has had to use food from a food pantry or food bank?  Tell them about my friend Connie who heads up a website that teaches people how to eat healthier with the food that they bring into their homes through SNAP, food pantries, commodities, and farmer’s markets.  She does this in a way to help people stretch their budgets and to encourage the people who visit her website to form a community to share tips and ideas with one another.  Her site isn’t just for food stamp users…but for anyone on a tight budget who wants and needs to eat well.  Food Stamp Cooking Club

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Mother Connie

 

I have to say that entering the fray in Babble’s Top 100 Food Mom Bloggers started out simply as a way of honoring my friend Mother Connie.  It has since become more about honoring her AND getting people aware of the impact she is making in the lives of the people who visit her Food Stamps Cooking Club Blog.  You see, Connie has always been about helping people be healthy (she teaches ways to eat healthier while on a tight budget) but she also truly loves connecting with people and encouraging them.

Her blog is one of community.  The people who visit there aren’t simply people who get their groceries from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-food stamps)…even though that is the name of the blog.  It is also written for, and contributed to by, people who receive WIC  (Women, Infants, and Children), Angel Food Ministries, Commodities, Farmer’s Market coupons or groceries from local food pantries.  Connie encourages people to participate with their cooking tips, shopping or marketing tips, health information and to ask questions that she or her readers may have an answer to.

All of this is done with the intention of helping people to stretch their food dollars and to shop, prepare and serve the healthiest meals that they can to their families.  Connie not only accomplishes this…she has been an inspiration to many.  For all of those reasons…I ask you to go here to Babble’s Top 100 Mom Food Bloggers and nominate her.  All you have to do is find her on page 1 or 2 and click on the “like” button to vote for her.   Thanks a lot.  Oh, and go visit her blog…and leave her a comment; she loves comments…tell her Write Where You Are sent you!

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Seed saving is a method of preserving a particular species of vegetable, fruit or flower.   Without families and farmers of yesteryear having the wisdom to save seeds from their own harvest many particular species of favorite fruits, vegetables and flowers would have died out.  Think about how easy it is for people today to run to their local greenhouse or gardening center to pick up the items that they wish to plant.  Our forebearers did not have the luxury of doing that.  They had to work hard planting, nurturing, harvesting and preserving the very food that they put on the table that took care of their families.

Quite often today, many features of specific heirloom plants have been bred right out of plants in the name of hybridisation.  In the world of agriculture, scientists are always looking to improve a particular strain or species of a plant; either by shape, color, size or some other feature deemed to be valuable.  However, in the name of improving a strain…sometimes other things are lost in the process.  What makes a particular fruit, vegetable or flower a favorite is different which is why there are so many variations available today.

If you find one that you love…think about this; will that particular strain of plant that you love be available in the future?  To continue reading: Write Where You Are

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I had the honor today of interviewing Connie Baum the inspiration behind the website Food
Stamps Cooking Club
about why her website is growing in numbers and with such a sense of community.  The site was created to teach people how to stretch their food dollars to purchase foods that are filling and nutritious.  To hear the interview click here:  Write Where You Are

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Where I live in Michigan, winter weather gets to be a little overdrawn.  Winter seems like it is never going to end.  My way of coping is to dive into seed catalogs and gardening magazines.  It is like feasting on dessert after you have been on a starvation diet.  All of those plants with their lovely greenery and colorful blooms just lights up the soul and lifts the spirit.  Not only that, but when you are trying to buy fresh produce you quickly realize the high cost of fresh fruits and vegetables during the winter.  Cold frame gardening can help relieve the burden on your wallet if you build a couple of frames to supplement your produce needs.
Continue reading here:  Write Where You Are

 

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Ok, We are almost to the end of January 2011.  Many people went through the motions of making a New Year’s resolution to get more physically fit.  There are those individuals who decide to put themselves on a diet.  This may or may not work for you.  There are those who are educated enough to understand that the true way to physical fitness is by making a commitment to exercise on a regular basis, in combination with eating the right foods. The hardest part of that commitment, I think, is finding a way to keep yourself accountable.

One way of doing this is by making an announcement to your friends and family.  But, really, who doesn’t get discouraged by having people watch over their shoulders every minute of the day?  Still, having some way of being accountable is needed; otherwise human nature takes over and before you know it…weeks have gone by without any lifestyle changes to your level of exercise and physical fitness.  So what is a person to do who wants to become healthier but has trouble staying focused? To read the rest of this post: Write Where You Are

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     As a Christian I am struggling with the line between fear and faith.  My parents are both cancer survivors.  However, right before Christmas they both had tests done that have come back with suspicious results.

       I listen to my mother say that she is not going to get worked up until she talks with the doctor about the results.  In general, I agree with that.   My mother is pretty much a positive thinker, which is a great thing.

         My father is cut out of a different cloth.  He automatically thinks negatively; he can’t seem to help it.  His mind goes to the worst case scenerio.  It is experience related…he has had the worst case scenerio happen to him before…so he just expects that to be his luck.   Both mom and dad will be meeting up with their respective cancer doctors before the first week of January is over.

          I am a product of both of my parents.  I am at times a positive thinker….and at times, automatically hit the negativity zone.  I don’t like it that that is true; but, it is honest.  I work hard attempting to focus on the positives.

           The problem is…fear.  I fear hearing the situations that they are facing will possibly return them to the medical world of tests, surgeries, treatments, complications, and hospitalizations.  This is a world that is both isolating and overwhelming, with people.  🙂  I realize that that sounds contrary….but, it isn’t.  

     You are surrounded with people in the medical field….this specialist, that oncologist, the anestesiologist (sp?), the radiologist, the pharmacist, the dietician, the family doctor, the nurses, the insurance company…the list goes on and on.  The isolation comes when you must seperate yourself from the general population because of the possibility of infection.  The isolation that the patient feels when heading in for the surgery or the treatment…no-one else can do those things for them.  It is in isolation that fear takes root and does it’s dirty work.  Discouragement can set in…thwarting all of the good and positive things that are at work in the healing process.

     The thing is, once you have been a survivor…your history can limit treatments.  It can also be eye opening to the types of situations you may be facing this time around.  My mother has  developed conditions that can be life threatening, since the last time around.  Both my mother and father had difficult side effects and complications from their various treatments, in the past.

     I am a firm believer that God is in control of everything.  I don’t claim to understand the mind of God.  But, i know that he allows things to happen that are very difficult to go through.  If left to our own devices…most human beings would opt out of the difficult things and shoot straight for the easy path…myself included.  My head knows that much can be learned during these hard moments in life…that God has things for us to gain in those moments.  I know he has things to be accomplished during those moments…he puts people in our path for us to connect with and to share with.  We will do our best to bring glory to his name throughout.  For he is worthy of praise in all things.

        So, I will work at praying that God will have mercy…that he will guide and direct us as we face these additional challenges.  I will ask for wisdom, clarity, patience, faith, courage, strength, healing, financial blessings, and any area of lacking; that we may need to overcome in the face of these trials.  

       What i am thankful for, is that we don’t have to pray for love or sharing; or, willing family members to help out.  We are blessed in those areas.  We are a family that knows how to support one another; and, whoever is in need around us, at the time.   Roomates have often been the recipients of the overflow of our big family.  There have been roomates that had no one to look out for them…they were alone in their journey.  My family is nurturing in nature.   I am thankful for that compassionate part of our family. 

     I am thankful for those in the medical community who also have compassion, skill, knowledge and who are sensitive in the way that they go about promoting healing to their patients and their family members.  They are our allies in the war that has been declared on our loved ones..they are on the front lines of battle trying to help our loved ones to have a full and healthy life; so we pray for all of them who will have contact with us.  We respect their skill and dedication.

     We have so much to be thankful for…and, we are.  Are we greedy to wish for health and financial blessings to meet the demands put on the family as we go thru these things?  I don’t think so.   I know that God has a purpose; I pray that we realize it and make the most of it as he would desire us to do.  I am just selfish enough to wish, as Jesus did on the cross, that this cup would pass from out of our hands; if God so desires. 

         Again…the line blurrs between faith and fear that these medical challenges may not pass from us!

           

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       Oprah has been discussing her frustration with her recent weight gain over the last two years.  This has been an ongoing problem for Oprah (and many others as well) year after year.  Weight gain/weight loss cycles are hard on the body and even harder on the psyche.  No one needs to pile on the negative comments…because the person going through it beats up on themselves enough!  That is part of the struggle.

        The thing is…the up and down roller coaster ride is not one that most people willingly “decide” to get  on.  One day they have struggled to gain control and lose the weight.  They have focussed on the issues at hand and have overcome the struggle. 

          Then, before they know it…they go on about their daily lives and boom…they find themselves back in a position of being overweight and out of shape.  Because in the course of living…they have gone back to old patterns of lifestyle; because, it is easy to slip back into the comfortable way of doing things, without even realizing that you are doing it.

         The thing is…being overweight is a bit of an addictive problem.  Whether it be smoking, drugs, alcohol or sexual addiction; eating too much is a food addiction…food is tied into holidays and traditions, lifestyle, emotional rewards and punishments; as well as, behavioral patterns. 

            Eating sensibly has to be combined with a proper amount of physical exercise to balance the nurtritional needs equal to the calorie burn to achieve a maintained weight.   If you eat more calories than you burn…the weight accumulates.  Health issues start to arise and you feel less like exercising.  It becomes a vicious cycle…one that must be stopped before serious health issues affect the person in  the quality of their life.

            In reading comments that some posters have left on the news websites that ran with the story about Oprah’s weight issues…there were those who were supportive and those who were not. 

          Those who were not…tended to be supremely over-critical about her weight, her money, her media savy as well as her political alliances.  Those who were supportive expressed compassion for her and her battle.  Many had been through it themselves in the past or were also in an ongoing situation with their weight.  It makes her real and approachable because often times, the public views celebrities as people who have it all at their fingertips…someone people often put on a pedastal.

           It is a bit frustrating when you think about all of the shows that Oprah has done about weight loss, healthy dieting, lifestyle changes, cooking healthy meals and snacks only to still be in the same position years later.  She is not the only person to do so though.   

            It is a bit discouraging to think that someone who has “all the money in the world” to hire chefs, personal assistants, personal shoppers, and dieticians is still unable to keep it all together in the weight loss department.  That makes those viewers who have less money and resources, who struggle with weight management,  feel less able to be in control.  In reality, a person who struggles with weight issues is in the same predictament no matter how much money they have.  Their self confidence and body image play a big part in their ability to control their weight. 

            Like it or not, Oprah has built a following through years of hard work on her television show as well as her movies and publishing ventures.  Oprah has developed what most business people and marketers are dying to figure out how to procure…it is called customer or viewer loyalty.  This is a great tool to help both Oprah and her viewers to encourage one another and motivate one another in reaching their goals and maintaining them.

            There are those critics who say that Oprah overshares information about her life…and maybe that is true and maybe it isn’t…but, when you stop and think about it…Oprah knows herself well.  Maybe by speaking her version of personal truth and honesty about her weight…it is her way of holding herself accountable once again.  I for one, wish her luck and good health!

           

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       It appears that since this season of Dancing With The Stars has begun that dancing pro Cheryl Burke has been getting criticized for gaining some weight.  Today on several television programs Cheryl voiced her shock and discomfort with viewers who felt that they had a right to criticize her appearance.  Some of the questions she faced even went so far as to ask if she was several months pregnant.  Other comments were just plain rude and were meant to make her feel bad about her appearance. Her skills were not being questioned…just her appearance.

        Cheryl took off the summer to work on getting her dance studio opened.  While she was off from her normal schedule…she says that she gained about 5 pounds.  Some of the comments that Cheryl heard were very hurtful to her.  She said that the comments online and in tabloids were very in her face and she could not avoid hearing about them.  She said it caused her heartache and made her cry.  When she is on DWTS she is dancing approximately 7 hours a day.  Going without that regular schedule is what caused her to gain the extra pounds.

        Even though Cheryl said that she is comfortable in her own skin and has always been curvy since she hit puberty…those hurtful comments definately affected her.   She said, even with the weight gain..she is still able to fit into her size 4 costumes for the show. 

        I think it is unfortunate that people would feel it necessary to write in to her or about her weight gain.  I think as a society we are becoming conditioned by constant exposure to multi-media venues viewing celebrities and models who are setting a poor example of what is a healthy weight for their bone structure or frame.

         Americans are on a national trend heading towards obesity and that needs to be curbed.  However, we need to educate people not attack them.  Cheryl, as a size 4, is by no means hugely overweight.  As she stated on the television interviews…now that she is back regularily training in her dance routines…she is loosing the weight gain naturally.  She has no intention of going on some radical, unhealthy diet that will appease her critics.  I applaude her for that.  She has a healthy self-esteem and it comes across.

         Shorter stature women, who have the physical characteristic of being short- waisted, tend to show any amount of weight gain quite quickly.  I think, that combined with the television cameras ability to add 10 lbs to a person’s appearance and skimpy costumes that expose many of a womans trouble spots to the camera lense has put an unfair spotlight on Cheryl.  She is a beautiful woman who is talented and active. 

        Those who are quick to judge her, by the weight gain, should take care how they voice their opinion.  None of us would be too willing to trade places with her and be the person who is being judged.  There are few of us who would wish someone we care about to be judged by this same harsh standard.  What kind of an impact does it have on our young people to pick at someone’s appearance because they have gained a minimal amount of weight?  We have far too many people who struggle around the world with their body image; and because of that, they often develop eating disorders such as bulimia/anorexia.  This is a very serious blackmark on our culture.  Do you think it is fair for people to publically chastize Cheryl for her weight gain?  Has someone else’s opinion of you negatively impacted your self-esteem?

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      Are you tired of trying to find family activities that you don’t have to apologize to your kids for; inevitably, many of those so called family activities, violate the very family values that you are trying to instill in your children?  Well, here is an event that you won’t have to justify taking your family to.

       It is the National Baby Food Festival in the Baby Food Capital of the World.  Gerber baby food company is known around the world for it’s innovative production of baby foods and products; and it is celebrating in the town where it all began, Fremont, Michigan. (more…)

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