If you’re like me your relationship with avocados goes something like this: buy them, wait for them to ripen, forget about them, then, when you want to use them, they aren’t any good. Sound familiar?! There really is a fine line between unripe and overripe when it comes to avocados 🥑!
But we really do need to work these little green gems into our daily food intake, especially if you’re approaching middle age. Why? Well, according to a study done at Tuft University, avocados are very high in lutein, a plant nutrient that keeps our brain healthy.
Lutein a member of the carotenoid family of phytonutrients, is closely related to vitamin A and beta-carotene. Lutein is often connected with another carotenoid called zeaxanthin in relation to eye health, but it’s benefits go beyond the eye.
Reduced risk of vision disorders
Improved cardiovascular health
Improved cognitive health
Back to the Tuft University study. Researchers recruited 40 healthy individuals age 50 and over, and tested the lutein content in their brain. Scientists had half the test subjects eat one avocado per day for 6 months, while the control group ate either one potato or one cup of chickpeas per day. Potatoes and chickpeas have very low lutein levels. Both groups kept all other aspects of their diets the same.
At the end of 6 months, the avocado group had a 25% increase in lutein levels, versus no increase in the control group. Other improvements seen in the avocado group include: significantly improved memory and problem solving skills. The study was led by Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. She said:
“Eating one avocado a day is particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels. A balanced diet that includes fresh avocados may be an effective strategy for cognitive health.”
If you’re like me, you always mean to eat more avocados, but they ripen so quickly. It seems one day they’re unripe, then the next, they’re over ripe. Well, when I began receiving avocaods in my produce delivery every week, I knew I needed to solve this problem, and preserve them until I could throw them in my smoothies. That’s when I started to freeze them.
I cut each half into 1/8’s, place them on a parchment covered tray in a single layer and place them in the freezer for a few hours. After they’re frozen, you can put them in a ziplock bag. FYI, this is for use in smoothies. 2 pieces are 1/8 of an avocado. I haven’t yet used them to make guacamole. If I do, I’ll let you know how it goes. For now, I throw a couple of pieces in every smoothie I make. Best of all, I’m not throwing away past ripe avocados any more!
Lemon water was all the rage 4 or 5 years ago. Was it just a fad…a passing phase with nothing beneficial to the body? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Lemon water may have phased out of popularity, but it’s benefits have not.
At the time it became popular, my better half and I drank a quart of warm lemon water every morning. The benefits became so ingrained into our lives that we took them for granted. We slowly stopped drinking this beneficial wonder. Skipping one morning, led to skipping more. Before you know it, our lemon water routine was history.
After my move to Colorado, my healthy and diet routine took a nose dive as did my health. So, I thought back to what I did in the past to aid in recovering my health, and that’s when I remembered my lemon water routine. So, I’ve taken up drinking a quart of warm lemon water each morning and I am SOOO glad I did! It has become my new “pick me up” drink in the morning. It helps with my morning fatigue and also dulls some of the sinus headaches I routinely get each morning, when I’m not eating quite right.
It’s so easy to make. Simply squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lemon into a quart jar and fill with warm, clean, filtered water and enjoy. You may be asking yourself…A QUART OF WATER FIRST THING IN THE MORNING…Now, why would anyone do that? Okay, that’s a lot, but you can work up to that amount. The point is to rehydrate yourself and adding the lemon has so many more benefits than just flavor! Here’s a screen shot from one of the videos below, which discusses the benefits of lemon water to the body:
10 Reasons to add lemon water
to your daily routine
Improves your digestive health. Try it for just a couple of days and you’ll be sure to notice how it helps get things “flowing”!
Helps promote mineral balance in the body.
Improves eyesight – the combination of vitamin C and antioxidants in the lemon help your body fight off eye diseases such as cataracts.
Improved skin health – after 30 days on lemon water, you’ll see fewer blemishes and wrinkles
Aids in liver health – The liver is by far one of the most important organs in the body and it doesn’t get a fair shake. It is constantly bombarded with toxins. Lemon water helps flush toxins from the body as well as harmful bacteria.
Improves immune health – The juice of 1/2 of a lemon provides about 1/2 days worth of vitamin C. As you know, vitamin C is one of the body’s main immune boosting vitamins.
boosts metabolism – it gets your digestive system flowing and by extension your metabolism.
lowers inflammation – modern day diseases all share one main cause…chronic inflammation. Lemon water can help lower this chronic inflammation in the body.
Helps fight kidney stones – the citric acid in lemons helps to dissolve kidney stones.
Weight loss – It improves the body’s ability to lose weight. Lemons help break down body fat, boosts metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity,
In my search for information on lemon water, I stumbled on another drink that is beneficial to the body. I just had to give it a try…
Apple Cider Vinegar Fasting Drink
After watching the video, (below), I just had to try this drink. Here’s mine below. I can tell you it is AMAZING! SO GOOD! I’m hooked. The cinnamon is the star of the show, with a hint of sour from the lemon and apple cider vinegar. I also used swerve to sweeten, as I didn’t have stevia on hand. (It’s on order from Amazon!) This, along with my warm lemon water, will be part of my new daily routine. YUM! See the video below my pic for the how to make it!
Below, you’ll find 4 videos which discuss lemons or lemon water and the benefits to the body. Watch one or watch all. Any of them will help you understand the great benefits to drinking lemon water.
What Happens to Your Body
When You Drink Lemon Water
Benefits Of Lemon Water ~
Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Top Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water
Benefits of Lemon
Look for my main weekly post on the Dimensions of Wellness.
Before I get to the inspiration for this post, (the concept of S.A.L.T.) I wanted to share this little essay, which was originally written to my youngest son as he graduated from high school last year. It was a “little speech” I gave just before I presented his “graduation video”, a photographic representation of his life. This essay is a collection of things I wanted him to remember, the take away from his years living with me, learning from me. I have edited it slightly by removing some very personal sections in order to make it a bit more generic. Below is a photo of my son on his graduation day, approximately one year ago.
For what it’s worth,
here is my “two cents worth”:
“As you move away from home, our job raising you draws to a close. We’ll still provide insight and guidance, but it will be less and less. In a sense, an entire chapter of our lives together is ending. You are now moving into adulthood, headed into the world to see what it has to offer you. We need to trust that we’ve raised you properly, to make good decisions and live a good life. So, this, for what it’s worth, is my sage advice, as you begin the next chapter in your life.
There are many things my parents taught me as I grew up, such as…
always be on time
always try your best
finish what you start
But, there are 3 principles I use to guide my life. I’ve tried to teach these principles to you over the years and lead by example. They work hand in hand, the first guiding the second and the second guiding the third .
1)Treat others how you wish to be treated –
I’ve used this phrase often as you grew up. I often felt it was a fruitless cause, but hoped it would one day sink in. This principle, also known as “the golden rule”, is so important, it is the guiding philosophy to all religions and spiritual beliefs.
CHRISTIANITY – So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
BUDDHISM – Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
JUDAISM – What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
ISLAM – No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
HINDUISM – This is the sum of duty: do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
2)Don’t judge others actions – This principle, can be illustrated by this short story:
A young couple moved into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they were eating breakfast,
the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside.
“That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”
Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry,
the young woman made the same comments.
A month later, the woman was surprised
to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,
“Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”
The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
And so it is with life…
What we see when watching others depends
on the clarity of the window through which we look.
Remember, life is only how you perceive it through your own eyes, your own experiences. The lives of others are like an iceberg, you only see the tip, but there is a vast amount hidden beneath the surface. You have no idea what someone else has been through or their life experiences. You don’t know what has led them to the choices they made. You may think your beliefs and way of life are the only way, but, others think that of their life as well. There are 7.7 billion people on this planet and 7.7 billion views on life, love and God. Which leads me to the final principle.
3)Keep an open mind. –
The most important thing I can say here is: there is no 1 right way, there is only what’s right for you. “To each his own.” another phrase I’ve used quite often over the years. It simply means everyone has a right to their own preferences and choices. Allow that and keep an open mind to those decisions others make. You lead your life, treat others with kindness and respect, and don’t judge the lives of others. Then, you let other people do the same thing.
At the same time, keep your mind open to new possibilities and different perspectives. Life is a classroom. Embrace that. When you come across something you don’t understand, don’t mock, judge or gossip instead, study it, learn about it, and ask questions. Remember, the only stupid question is the one you fail to ask. Never stop learning, growing and changing. We are all just plugging along in this life, doing the best we can with what God gave us. NO ONE is better than anyone else, just different. Discover those differences and embrace them.
Through the process of putting together the video, writing this essay and my son graduating, I realized what a blessed and magnificent life I’ve had with these three wonderful men, my husband and 2 sons. I am so grateful for the beautiful life we’ve had together. We’ve seen and done so many amazing things. Traveling the world, living in so many different places, experiencing new cultures and ways of life has been such an adventure. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Many people have asked me over the years how we can move so much, isn’t it hard? For me, I ask…how can you stay in one place your whole life and NOT travel the world? Remember, it’s all in how you view life.
For so many people, home is a place, a building, with four walls and a roof. As the old saying goes, “home is where the heart is.” My home is, and always will be, with the three men in my life. Whenever we are together, no matter where we are on the globe, I am home.
I am so tired and stressed by the state of our world, that I struggled to find a theme for today’s post. For me, what’s missing is living by the guidance of THE GOLDEN RULE. The main theme for my life and the 3 principles listed above is THEGOLDEN RULE…treat others how you wish to be treated. That’s when I decided to post the essay above.
To add to this essay, I also found a wonderful video which discussed a 4 pronged approach to implement this most important rule. This system goes by the acronym S.A.L.T.
Serve– Use your gifts and talents to help others
Appreciate – Recognize the accomplishments and effort of others and be grateful always.
Love – Love everyone unconditionally, without expectation or exception.
Treasure – Spread kindness. Show dignity and respect to others.
Below is the video that discusses the concept of S.A.L.T. in relation to THE GOLDEN RULE. While this is a video based on the bible and Christianity, there are no limits to this concept.
One thing missing from my essay, had I written it today, is is the defense of others. This is something else I’d like my children to know and understand. It’s important to live by the golden rule. However, it’s also important to understand that not everyone in this world live’s by this concept. Therefore, I’d add a 4th life principle.
4) Defend those less fortunate.
I don’t think anyone would argue that we all desire peace on our planet. Right now, that can’t happen. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and be treated according to the golden rule. After watching many videos and learning from the life experiences of others over the past month, it’s clear there are members of our society that aren’t treated with the respect they so richly deserve. I’d tell my children, if they witness any such disrespect, to step in and help the person being mistreated. We must be a light, a beacon to those still in darkness. We must lift each other up, not push each other down. Only then, will we live together in peace as a planet.
We have all watched the news stories and seen videos and photos of the wild fires that are devastating Australia right now. We sit back and feel helpless as homes burn, peoples lives are lost or endangered and most of all, millions of innocent animals lives are lost.
Here are some statistics:
480 million animals have died as a result of the fires
30% of New South Wales koalas killed
28 people are missing in Victoria
Over $50 million a day lost.
11.3 million acres destroyed, an area larger than the Netherlands.
2,500 buildings destroyed
Air pollution in Sydney makes breathing equivalent to smoking 37 cigarettes.
How you can help
Unless we’re firefighters, it’s likely we can’t go down and help directly. However, there are ways to help from a distance. Almost all organizations are asking for financial donations, instead of goods, or physical items. This is because of the difficulty and time needed to organize and disperse physical goods. Monetary donations are much easier, because they can be given directly to those in need who decide for themselves what is needed. Here’s some places to keep in mind if you’re thinking of donating.
Donate directly to fire departments in Victoria and New South Wales: www.cfa.vic.gov.au These are the states hardest hit by the fires.
Victorian Government: They have established a partnership with Bendigo Bank and The Salvation Army, which assists affected families and communities. Visit this site for more details vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal.
Australian Red Cross 18,600 people affected by the fires, have been helped by the Australian Red Cross. For more information and how you can help visit their website at redcross.org.au.
Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal: This is an Australian non-profit that raises funds and issues grants to rural and regional communities for disaster relief projects. Visit this site for more information: frrr.org.au
Salvation Army Australia: Financial donations are being requested, instead of physical goods. Donate HERE.
St. Vincent de Paul: This Catholic organization currently has more than 60,000 members and volunteers in Australia, helping those in need. How is donated money dispersed? $50 (about $35 American dollars) can provide food for a displaced family; $150 can help stave off bills; and $300 can help clothe a fleeing family that had to leave behind their belongings. Follow this link to donate to the bush fire appeal
WIRES: This organization, based in New South Wales, is the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc., and are Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization. Donations to this organization will go to help wildlife affected by the fires. . Learn more at wires.org.au.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital: This hospital is owned and run by the family of famed wildlife conservationist and “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. They are taking in many animals affected by the fires. Donate at azwh.blackbaud-sites.com.
RSPCA Australia: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia, is the nation’s leading animal welfare charity. Donations will help fund the rescue and treatment of animals affected by the fires. For more information, visit their website HERE.
World Wildlife Fund Australia: Donations to the Australian chapter of the international wildlife conservation organization will help care for injured wildlife. Also, the organization plans to plant 10,000 native trees in critical koala habitat, once the fires have cleared. Donate at donate.wwf.org.au.
Remember, part of social wellness is remembering that what affects one part of society affects all of us. We are all on this planet and in this life together. Helping other people in need, helps all of us.
The holidays are meant to be a time of rest, relaxation, hibernation, gratitude, and togetherness. Unfortunately, modern society and commercialism have changed the meaning of our traditions. We no longer slow down to reflect and celebrate with the ones with love. Instead, we work ourselves even harder to afford the material gifts we feel so pressured to buy, and we celebrate by overindulging in foods that only increase our stress.
To combat the holiday blues and get back to the real meaning of the season, here are three different areas of wellness to start focusing on, with healthy tips and solutions to bring with you into the new year.
Mental wellness and combating anxiety
As the end of the year approaches our mental health is usually the first in terms of overall wellness to become unbalanced. Between the holiday stress, seasonal depression, and self-reflection, it can be difficult to find the joy we once felt as children during this time of year.
If you have not yet started a self-care routine, now is the perfect time to develop one! Start by penciling in the time to yourself and say no to anything that tries to get in the way of that. Even if only for 15 minutes a day, take a moment to step away from whatever is keeping you busy. Take a walk in the cold, brisk air and focus on your senses. What does it feel like to be cold? What do you hear? What do you see? Focus on your breath and repeat positive mantras before returning to what you were previously doing. Doing this allows you to enjoy being in the here and now, replacing your negative emotions with gratitude for the present.
Much of our end-of-year stress and anxiety can be controlled by giving a little extra attention to our physical wellness. Living a more active lifestyle can help keep some of that stress at bay. Try starting each day by completing a quick guided yoga session on YouTube, take a walking break in the middle of your workday, and get in a cardio or weight lifting session before you head home for dinner. Of course, not many of us can realistically fit this into our schedules every single day, but even implementing three to five days of exercise per week reaps significant physical and mental benefits. Not only will you begin to feel less bloated and more toned, but working out will give you more energy and can help clear your mind of negative thoughts.
Nutrition comes hand in hand with physical activity when trying to control stay healthy and stress-free. Some may even argue that if you had to choose between diet and exercise, you should choose diet. There are so many factors that keep us from eating healthily throughout the year– busy schedules make it tempting to grab take out on the way home and working at an office makes it easy to take one of those donuts up for grabs in the kitchen. The holidays only intensify those urges and increases opportunities to consume foods that make us feel bloated, sluggish, and depressed. Reports suggest that the average person gains between seven to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year, setting you back when entering the new year and putting you at risk for weight-related diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
If comfort food is causing you to gain weight, consider joining a guided weight loss program that allows for flexibility in moderation so you don’t have to feel like you’re completely missing out on holiday celebrations. Check out this page dedicated to healthy and easy-to-make meals. Try bringing a few of these dishes to your next holiday party so you don’t have to feel like unhealthy options are your only choice!
Resolutions and goal setting
How many times have you made resolutions in December, but completely forgot about them by January or February? Chances are, you’ve set goals that are either too big or too broad. This year, try sticking to one thing– and get specific! Instead of setting out to “lose weight” this year, it helps to first focus on the bad health habits you currently have that need to be changed. Instead, focus on making it a goal to cut out processed foods, meal prep every Sunday, or quit smoking so workouts become easier and not so dreadful. From there, come up with your next step towards weight loss by writing out a measurable and achievable goal, for example, getting in a half-hour workout three times per week. Once you’ve mastered that, increase your goal to four days and so on. Setting smaller, more attainable goals and reevaluating as you go is much more effective than simply deciding on January 1st that you want to lose fifty pounds this year.
The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many, but with a little effort, the holidays can provide us with a great opportunity to evaluate our current mindset and habits, and can set us up for our happiest, healthiest year yet!
Dear readers: This article was submitted by a wonderful guest author. I’d like to send out a great big thank you for the insightful and informative article that was shared with my readers.