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December 29, 2006

The Days After

In case you hadn't noticed, weight loss commercials flood the marketplace this time of year. And when it comes to unbelievable weight loss claims, the media is a Mecca of false promises. The assumption is, there's tremendous guilt pervading the land the days and weeks following the holidays. Marketers assume Americans are looking for salvation after an overzealous holiday eating frenzy. In fact, during the holiday season, the average American is said to gain an average of 4-6 pounds. (I heard that on David Letterman, so it must be true).

In the interest of science (or marketing), there was some rather interesting information last week, coming out of a new national survey conducted on behalf of Weight Watchers. It reveals that 'over 55 percent of adults in America will look in the mirror to see an overweight “before” rather than the healthy picture of an “after” they desire, which will lead to a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. 61% of women are more likely than men (50 percent), to want to lose weight in the New Year. Women who resolve to lose weight, are motivated more by wanting to look better (87 percent) and/or health reasons (70 percent). Respondents indicated that feeling better (92 percent) was the number one motivational factor for losing weight. According to the survey, a lack of motivation (79 percent) and a craving for forbidden foods (77 percent) were the most likely to contribute to a downfall and breaking of healthy resolutions.'

The information is interesting in that it reveals nothing new. These behaviors, perceptions and beliefs have been articulated to us for over 35 years. Not much new under the sun when it comes to dieting. (Pssst, that’s why diets don’t work). However, if making a New Year's resolution can be the catalyst for women to want to make some healthy lifestyle changes because they would simply like to feel good again, then I'll raise my champagne glass and toast to that!

Here’s to a happier, healthier 2007!

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Posted by Cindy on December 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2006

Tuna with Grape Tomatoes and Greens

The count down to 2007 has begun! If your looking to start the year off with healthy eating, this Tuna salad from Mealtime.org is for you. Colorful, tasty, and quick-to-make (only 15 minutes prep time) this healthy recipe is a zesty twist that will keep you going 'til the ball drops.  Here's to a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Makes 4 Servings

  1 cup canned asparagus cuts and tips, drained and chilled
  1 can (6 ounces) albacore white tuna in water, drained and flaked
  1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  6 leaves romaine lettuce, washed, dried and shredded
  1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  12 grape tomatoes, halved
  1 tablespoon capers
  1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  Juice of 1/2 lemon
  1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  1 teaspoon soy sauce
  1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  1/4 cup peanut oil

Place the asparagus, tuna, chickpeas, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes in a salad bowl. Whisk the capers, cilantro, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, hot pepper sauce and peanut oil in a small bowl. Toss with the salad ingredients; serve immediately.

For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites.

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Posted by Laura on December 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 27, 2006

Healthy Eating – Is Chocolate the Answer?


(A post by Marsha Hudnall)

So how many boxes of chocolate did you get this holiday season?  My bounty included chocolate-covered chocolate cheesecake, chocolate truffles, hollow chocolate pears and apples, chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate covered cherries, chocolate kisses, chocolate hazelnut thingies, chocolate peanut butter cups, shaved chocolate for hot chocolate…and that doesn’t include what I bought for others!  I love chocolate, but must admit that I’m a little tired of it at this point.  I’ll put it all out for my New Year’s Eve party and am sure it will go.

One of my girlfriends will only eat dark chocolate.  Partly it’s because that’s what she really likes – yay for her.  But there’s another part of her that rationalizes that dark chocolate is healthier for us.  Nutritionists caution us about that rationalization, though.  There have been too few studies to make that a solid claim.  A recent article in USA Today explains more.  The president of Scharffen Berger Chocolate – one of my favorite brands! – sums it up well for me.  He says they don’t make chocolate for its health benefits; they do it for its taste.  Yay for him!  I eat what I want, and that’s exactly why I eat it!

Photo by kashmere

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Posted by Cindy on December 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 26, 2006

No Chaos Living

Rth0532l The day after Christmas – what an appropriate time to discuss my new philosophy – No Chaos.

I’m not interested in Controlling Chaos, I’m not interested in living with it , nor am I interested in learning lessons from it and I don’t want to sing about it .

I’m just not doing it anymore. How? I realized that most of the chaos came from me – or rather my attitudes, opinions and reactions. What if having people over were just that – a visit - not a call to cook, clean, shop and spend money? What if going on a trip meant grabbing one pair of jeans, two shirts, one pair a shoes and underwear, not packing like Hannibal crossing the Alps with 88 elephants and 100,000 soldiers.

If it ain’t simple – it’s out.

If you visit me, you might see some dust around – consider it my crown of chaos-free living.

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Posted by Gina V. on December 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006

Holiday Wishes

Winterredhouse_4 We wish for you a holiday
That’s better than your dreams,
Filled with peace, good will and hope
And firelight that gleams,
Overflowing with holiday spirit
Good food and holiday laughter;
And when it’s done, We hope that you
Live happily ever after!

By Joanna Fuchs

There will be no post on Monday, December 25th. Posting will resume on Tuesday, December 26th, 2006.

Posted by Cindy on December 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

Christmas Gingerbread

4 days 'til Christmas and all through the house was the smell of Gingerbread all through the house! A delicious healthy recipe from FitnessAndFreebries.com, this treat will please old and young alike. Whether you're entertaining, giving a gift, or cooking a treat for the family, this is a classic recipe that will be sure to become a family tradition.

(Makes 6 servings)

  3 cups oat bran cold cereal
  2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  2 tablespoons margarine
  1/2 cup honey
  2 tablespoons light or dark molasses
  2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  1 teaspoon vanilla
  1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet with no stick cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine oat bran cereal and oats; set aside.

Place margarine in 2 cup microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Drizzle over combined cereals, stirring until evenly coated; spread evenly in pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool granola in pan on wire rack. Store tightly covered up to one week.

For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites.

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Posted by Laura on December 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Om for the Holidays

Harmony I’ve mentioned before that I subscribe to a daily e-letter from www.dailyom.com.  The emails go into my spam box every day because my computer isn’t working right, and I can’t add the address to my allowed senders list.  But I faithfully go into the spam folder each day to permanently delete junk mail, and drag the ‘daily om’ to the folder I’ve made for them.  Most of the time I don’t read them, but when I do, I am continually amazed that when I apply what they say to my life, I get really positive results.

Yesterday’s email had to do with “Inspiring Harmonious Solutions.”  It was about getting along with people.  What a great topic for this time of the year.  Coping with people -- especially family members -- can challenge even the best of us.  Oy, the stress!  But I put the message to work with a family member I’ve been struggling with a bit, and lo and behold, our interactions turned around for the better!

Do something good for yourself today.  Sign up for your ‘daily oms.’  Like me, you don’t have to feel compelled to read them each day.  But when you feel you need help, like me, you may find they give you a small idea that can reap some pretty big benefits.

Hope your holidays are going great!

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Posted by Marsha on December 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Change Your Life? Change Your Mind!

Tree_cloud_150I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately – where does it come from – internal or external? Is it all perception? How much is too much? What does it really do to our health, and to our health behaviors?

These are questions that have as many answers that there are people to ask them. But it seems that change of mind, change of attitude, and then change of behavior are the primary paths to dealing well with stress. How we realize that is again a personal journey.

If you’re asking these questions, and more importantly, struggling with the answers, I do urge you to consider the once-a-year opportunity at Green Mountain at Fox Run…it is three days that can change your mind, your attitude and your behavior.

January 3rd to 6th of 2007 can be your chance to be immersed in an environment with no roles for you to play, and nothing to be concerned about but your well-being. This is the time for answers without judgments, learning and experiencing without striving. If you’ve determined that you want a different result, use this program to change how you approach everything.

Hope to see you there, gina

Posted by Gina V. on December 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 18, 2006

Josie Leavitt Talks About Humor

Humorist and lecturer, Josh Billings said,” There ain’t much fun in medicine, but  there’s a heck of a lot of medicine in fun."

JosieThis fall, Josie Leavitt, Green Mountain alum, stand-up comic and comedy tutor, coached a sell out crowd of enthusiastic Green Mountain participants on how to perform stand-up comedy during a very special workshop called, 'Just Humor Me'. Recently, I called upon Josie to share some of her thoughts and insights about humor, health and life with our dear readers. This is what she had to say:

GM: You just completed a humor workshop at Green Mountain at Fox Run. Can you tell us what inspired you to put together a workshop about comedy and humor, something some might deem as a bit ‘light hearted’ and why you think there’s value in laughter as a healing tool?

Josie: I had the idea because I’ve been a past participant at GM and have done humor workshop for a variety of organizations.  Many folks had told me they’d felt more confident since performing stand up in front of an audience.

GM: I think everyone can relate to how good you feel after a good belly laugh. What other aspects of laughter or humor do think are important for women in their busy lives?

Josie: I firmly believe that humor gives us power. It gives power of the past, to create humor where once we felt pain or embarrassment. If we can the humor in situations, they become less tense and that can only be a good thing.

GM: It seems like there is increasing evidence that our thoughts, moods, emotions, and belief system have a fundamental impact on the body’s basic health and healing mechanisms. How do you think humor plays into our health and wellbeing?

Josie: I have no medical evidence to support any of this, but I think laughing is just plain good for us.  It’s got to help our hearts because it lightens them. And if there were any justice in the world, laughter would lower cholesterol.

GM: If we can agree that laughter makes a significant contribution to our health, it seems anything we can do to sustain a more positive, upbeat frame of mind in dealing with the daily hassles and problems in your life will help us contribute to our mood and emotional state. What suggestions might you have that would assist women out there to find their inner comedian?

Josie: To find your inner comedian you need to give yourself permission to laugh at everything. Nothing is sacred. Remember that things you struggle with are what are funny. I always tell my students, “had a great day, keep it to yourself.  A day from Hell, now that’s funny.

GM: Given some of the evidence that laughter can increase the immune system and reduce stress, it makes sense that individuals who have a better developed sense of humor, meaning that they find more humor in their everyday life, seek out humor more often, laugh more, etc. How would you suggest women try to work more humor into their everyday lives? How can they laugh it up a bit more?

Josie: Well, one big thing is to actually seek out comedy. Either go to the comedy clubs in your area or rent comedies with your friends. Sometimes, we have to inject humor in our everyday lives. It’s easy to get in a rut and forget to actually do something fun.

GM: We’ve all heard that fat people are jolly. Having struggled with my weight most of my life I felt it was important to have a well developed sense of humor, but I wonder if  being overweight isn’t the reason one develops a self depreciating sense of humor for purposes of defending themselves?

Josie: I think a lot of people who feel marginalized use humor as a way to connect with the in “group”. If you can make them laugh before they at you, you’ve controlled the situation and hopefully staved off some potential hurt.

GM: Josie, can you share in what meaningful ways humor has changed your life?

Josie: Humor has made my life richer.  There’s nothing really as much fun as making someone laugh, or a room-full people laugh. I like that being a comedian keeps me writing and thinking creatively.

GM: In what way have you benefited personally from choosing comedy as a profession?

Josie: I get to share my quirky observations with the world at large. And that’s really fun. I get recognized every once in awhile and that’s fun. It’s nice that folks are enjoying my work. 

GM: What are some simply tips you might share with women that could help better move through life with a brighter and more humorous outlook?

Josie: The one thing I’d suggest is to just try to what’s funny about every situation.  Don’t be shy about laughing is something strikes you as funny. A lot of women suppress laughter because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves. LAUGH and have fun.

*Josie Leavitt currently performs stand-up to sell out shows all over Vermont and New England. Before moving to Vermont, she did stand-up for a living in New York City at Caroline’s, the Comic Strip, Don’t Tell Mama, The Comedy Cellar, and Stand-up NY, where she won the contest for Funniest West Sider. She also performed on the Midwest college circuit. Josie teaches stand-up comedy performance classes at the Flynn Theatre’s Education Arts in Burlington, Vermont.

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Posted by Cindy on December 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 15, 2006

Biggest Loser, Another Winner

I didn’t watch The Biggest Loser this season, although, I did tune in for the final episdode Wednesday night. I did watch several episodes last season, so I knew the finale would be uplifting – and it was. No matter what you may think about the show (and I definitely have my issues with it), The Biggest Loser does change lives. It is emotional and inspiring. Yes, it is a TV show from a network that is desperately trying to improve their ratings, (and they got them), so we can't be shocked to see all the usual drama that reality TV serves up, but it also has something else we don't see very often and that's heart.

This year’s winner, Erik Chopin, is a New York City Deli owner. Erik shed more than half his body weight and was literally unrecognizable. More than the change in his body, he was unrecognizable because of his new found confidence and joy. Pretty dang amazing.

Erik, lost 214 pounds and 52.58% of his body weight - the most for any contestant in the show’s history. Although he lost a lot of weight, he gained the top prize of $250,000 and the title of “The Biggest Loser.” Obviously, a quarter of a million dollars is a pretty attractive incentive to lose wieght, but something tells me Erik lost those 214 pounds more for his health than a fatter wallet. Way to go Erik!

ETA - In my original post (noted above), I talked more about some of the problems with extreme weight loss. I just want to say again, that most of us have lost lots of weight before, but the question is whether we’ll keep it off.  The exercise regime on The Biggest Loser was extreme and in my view not at all realistic for most of us. Whenever one employs methods that are too extreme and does nothing to change their attitude and behaviors for the long run, it will be unlikely that the weight will stay off. For Erik's sake and for the sake of all the contestants who experienced tremendous weight loss, I hope they can find their healthiest weight and manage it successfully.

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Posted by Cindy on December 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack