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  • 2015_6_29

10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Metabolic Syndrome

Get the facts about what you can do to control, prevent, or reverse this group of health risk factors. 

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Do you have Syndrome X? Although it sounds mysterious, or perhaps experimental, Syndrome X is very common. Better known as metabolic syndrome, it is a disorder characterized by central obesity (also known as a spare tire), insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, blood fat disorders, and high blood pressure. Having any one of these factors can boost your chances of developing additional medical problems.

The good news is that with changes in diet and exercise habits, you can prevent, control, or even reverse metabolic syndrome. If you don’t, you could develop significant health risks related to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

The percentage of people who have metabolic syndrome increases with age, so it’s important to start adjusting faulty health habits early on. Don’t wait for the signs and symptoms, which may not even appear until damage has already been done. And don’t wait for a diagnosis from your doctor; some doctors may not even tell you about simple, subtle modifications you can start making today. Here are 10 things you should know about metabolic syndrome.

1. Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to your family history, so ask your family members about their medical histories. Your family’s medical history is yours, too. If one of your close relatives has diabetes or heart disease, you could be a candidate for having metabolic syndrome.

According to Genetics Home Reference, a complete family health record includes information from three generations of relatives, including children, brothers and sisters, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandparents, and cousins.

It may sound like a daunting task to collect this info, but questioning your family can evoke some interesting and heartfelt conversation. It could also protect your children and their children for generations to come.

 
2. It matters where you wear your fat. If you look more like an apple than a pear, your risk of developing metabolic syndrome is greater. Your doctor may criticize you for being overweight, but not mention how fat that settles in your belly boosts health risks more than weight that sits in your butt.

Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies says, “Reducing your waist circumference could have more of an impact on preventing and managing disease than medication.” Carrying weight around your middle, Palinski-Wade underscores, “is an indication of excess visceral fat, a key risk factor for the development of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain cancers.” Focus on reducing waist size even more than the numbers on the scale, she advises.

3. A plant-based diet will help curb metabolic syndrome. Even the proposed Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage a diet that is plant-focused. Julie Upton, MS, RD, of San Francisco and co-founder of Appetite for Health, encourages a Mediterranean style of eating. The Mediterranean diet showcases fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and seafood but has less meat, cheese, sugars, and sweets. Upton says, “Not only is this plan helpful for your heart, but it also lowers risks for metabolic syndrome.”

Although some would think this diet is a strict plan, people who live around the Mediterranean didn’t get together and say, “Let’s create a diet.” Instead, they sat together at the table and shared meals, conversations, and a healthy lifestyle that keeps families close and disease risks at bay.

4. Dietary fiber will help lower your risk of metabolic syndrome by lowering your cholesterol. Your doctor may have handed you a sheet of the foods you should be avoiding, but you might be more successful by taking a more positive approach: Focus on adding foods rich in soluble fiber, like oats and beans. Insoluble fibers like whole grains can provide a “moving experience” by transporting foods through your gastrointestinal tract while keeping you feeling satisfied. Fill at least half your plate with veggies and fruits, and choose whole-grain carbs to make less room on your plate (and in your stomach) for less beneficial choices.

5. What you drink can affect your risk for metabolic syndrome. If you’re lucky, your doctor will ask you about your diet, provide with you some guidance, and refer you to a registered dietitian or nutritionist who can tailor a plan to your particular needs. But it’s rare that a doc will discuss what you’re drinking.

Fruit juices and sugary beverages can make your blood sugar and triglyceride levels soar. Alcoholic beverages may cause hypoglycemia and an initial drop in blood sugar, but those numbers will then climb – especially if you’re consuming mixed cocktails. Water is the best beverage for healthy hydration. But it’s good to know that tea, coffee, skim or low-fat milk, and watery fruits and vegetables provide fluid credit, too.

6. Even a little weight loss could have a big impact. “Too often, doctors don’t set reasonable expectations,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, of New York City, owner of NutritionStarringYOU.com. A blanket statement like “Lose weight and go exercise” is not as motivating as “if you lose a modest 5 percent of your body weight you can make a significant impact on the important numbers like blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol/triglycerides,” Harris-Pincus says.

As an example, if you weigh 160 pounds but your ideal weight is 120, even a drop of 8 to 10 pounds could improve your laboratory test results. It could also even decrease or eliminate your need for medication. Setting smaller and more specific goals could make them seem more attainable.

7. Exercise is just as important as a balanced diet in combating metabolic syndrome. “Your doctor is probably not trained about the types of exercises and their related recommended intensities for improving specific parameters of this syndrome,” says Joey Gochnour, RDN, exercise physiologist and owner of Nutrition and Fitness Professional, LLC, in Austin, Texas. Gochnour points out that even moderate aerobic exercise can improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels just as much as intense aerobic exercise. He recommends exercising regularly, preferably at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week to help ward off metabolic syndrome.

According to Gochnour, “Strength training and intense aerobic exercise may improve your blood glucose sensitivity and reduce elevated insulin levels.” Exercise is a key component in boosting metabolism and burning calories, both of which help you keep your weight down.

8. Sitting too much puts you at risk. “It may sound odd,” says Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN, author of The Diabetes Counter, “but sitting or sedentary activities such as watching TV, using the computer, sitting at work or sitting while commuting have been identified as risks for metabolic syndrome even when you incorporate modest amounts of regular activity into your day.” A recent study published in the British Medical Journal connected sitting time with a positive risk for diabetes, speculating that for every hour of daily TV viewing, a person’s risk for diabetes increased by more than 3 percent.

9. You should get your fasting insulin level tested. When it comes to laboratory values, numbers like blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C levels are commonly checked. It is less often that doctors order a test for your fasting insulin level, yet this test can help predict your risk of developing prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. Insulin plays a key role in metabolism, and high insulin levels can promote obesity, stimulate hunger, and increase the storage of fat.

“When you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar levels rise and your pancreas releases insulin to move the sugar from your blood into your cells to be used or stored,” explains Chere Bork, MS, RDN, Owner of Savor Your Life Today Seminars and Coaching in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But if your body is continuously exposed to high levels of insulin, Bork says, “The receptor cells become inefficient and resistant to the effects of insulin,” and this leaves blood glucose levels elevated. It is insulin resistance that promotes the high cholesterol, high glucose, and high blood pressure of metabolic syndrome — also known as insulin resistance syndrome.

10. You should keep an up-to-date copy of your laboratory values. Your current healthcare provider may not end up being your future provider, but your current body is yours forever. If you undergo any blood tests or exams, ask for copies of the results so that you can keep them filed away at home. It’s essential that you know your baseline numbers and keep track of the evolution of your health throughout the course of your life.

Check out the original article published here!

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Protein Power Eggs for Two

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Celebrate June Dairy Month with this fabulous breakfast. The addition of the cottage cheese makes these eggs extra creamy while adding protein and calcium. I guarantee once you try cottage cheese in your eggs you will never go back to regular eggs. Every taste test I have done in my house, the cottage cheese eggs always win.

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 2 ounces ham, chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Whisk eggs and add cottage cheese. Whisk until eggs and cheese are blended. Stir in chopped ham. Pour into a small frying pan that has been coated with non-stick spray. Stir until eggs are done and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Stir in the cheese. And sprinkle with salt and pepper.

You can always toss in your favorite veggies and seasonings. I also enjoy Penzeys Fox Point Seasoning on my egg dishes. Makes two servings.

Nutrition per serving: Calories 304; Protein 30.1 grams; Fat 19.3 grams; Carbohydrate 2.4 grams; Sodium 792.5 grams

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Ten Reasons Why I Love Dairy

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To celebrate National Dairy Council 100 year anniversary I am participating in Dairy Nutrition Communicators blog party to help spread the dairy love!

  1. I adore chocolate milk and use it as my “sweet reward” instead of a junk food or rich dessert and love knowing I am satisfying my sweet tooth and helping my bones with calcium.
  1. I am uber excited that milk is the ONLY beverage I drink that has 9 nutrients! NINE! Did I say NINE!
  1. I am ecstatic that cottage cheese with fruit (adore blueberries the best) is my go to afternoon snack that is super easy and delicious and filled with nutrition. Fav brand? Of course Daisy Brand!
  1. I am delighted with the result of mixing in cottage cheese into my scrambled eggs making them extra fluffy and with lots of extra protein as I try to eat 30 grams of protein a meal!
  1. My husband Gary is ecstatic that Ice cream is our guilt free evening treat when eaten in small portions and truly savored with warm conversation.
  1. I savor memories of a many glasses of milk split at the family dinner table by one of the kids. Those spilt glasses of milk are now memories of the heart as we have been empty nesters for years and the best my adult kids drink milk.
  1. I delight in eating two cheese sticks from the dairy case when I am starving as I grocery shop instead of eating junk food or a high carb food option. ( I used to munch on a high cal bagel as I shopped)
  1. I love that I can serve yogurt (contains 13 grams of lactose but it’s live cultures help digest the lactose) and cottage cheese (contains 3 grams of lactose) to my lactose intolerant friend who visits!
  1. I love hot summer afternoons and drinking a coffee cooler – mostly milk, lots of ice and a little coffee. Easy breezy way for me to get strong bones from Calcium!
  1. I enjoy nibbling on mini carrots dipped in a Greek Yogurt dip seasoned with Penzey’s S..my fav spice for dips is Sandwich Sprinkle

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The reasons to love dairy don’t end here. Check out more from Midwest Dairy Council.

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5 Ingredients for Energy from the 5 Ingredients for Healthy Living Cookbook

Focus on energy not time! There are a set number of fixed hours in a day but energy has no limits.  Every thought, emotion and action requires your energy; therefore wise energy investment is imperative.

 1.Move your body

The number one energy booster is exercise and yet most people do not want to exercise. You don’t have to exercise for a long period of time. Only ten minutes of walking will boost your energy levels for one to two hours afterward. Ideas – Walk 10 minutes on your lunch hour, walk around the perimeter of any store before you shop, or join an exercise class with a friend.

2. Listen to music

Music is second to exercise to boost your energy and reduce tension during regular tasks.  Your body can feel the music before you even realize you are moving to the beat. Music is underused as an energy booster. Music 60-80 beats creates an atmosphere of creativity, over 80 beats a minute an aerobic zone and under 60 beats a minute a relaxing atmosphere.

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3. Take a nap

Naps provide restorative energy.  Remember to nap for only 10 – 30 minutes as a longer nap will leave you groggy.

 4. Socialize

Can you imagine the energy you would have if you took a walk with a friend and listened to music? Instead of reaching for a candy bar for energy call a friend instead.

5 .Know your energy highs and lows

Ever try to get a project done when you have no energy? You will boost your productivity if you align your to-do list and projects with your energy. Studies have shown our energy is low immediately after waking  even after a great night’s sleep, peaks in the late morning to early afternoon (usually 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), drops in the late afternoon (3-5 p.m.), rises again in the early evening (6 or 7 p.m.) and dips to the all time low before bed time (around 11 p.m.). Plan your projects around energy.

 

See more in the cookbook

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Be Happier: Create a Life List

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I fell in love with Hawaii 33 years ago on my honeymoon. Most people love the quieter islands of Maui and Kauai. Not I! I love the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach. My life list includes living there one month each year! Is that on your life list? Want to join me? This is Haunama Bay, which has the best snorkeling on the island.

Turning the big 6-0 earlier this year and Gary’s retirement at the end of this month has gotten me thinking about my life goals and bucket list. For many years we both had bucket or life lists. And suddenly with Gary having 13 days left to work before he “refires” on June 30th, it seems imperative I work on mine. The Chinese call this “crisis of opportunity” where you want to fill your years left with creativity, productivity and fun.

Why do we care about life lists? Those who know me well know we like lists in this family. We spent considerable time trying to figure out how to effectively use the kid’s vacation days and our budget to visit every state before Danielle went to college. We had the goal for so long it almost was depressing when we visited Alaska, our last state. Positive coaching psychology research has shown that one of the hallmarks of a happy person is their creating, pursuing and achieving their goals. Who doesn’t want to be happy?

Maybe you remember back to September 2007 when Randy Pausch gave his “last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University. The “last lecture” is usually reserved for tenured professors who are at the end of their teaching days. The lecture’s philosophy is “if I just had one more chance to tell the world what matters most what would I say?” For Randy Pausch, it sadly was his last lecture as he was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer, and died the following summer. Randy called his lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” and he talked about the power of a life list and pursuing it with enthusiastic vigor that would propel you even farther. He entertained the audience with his stories and drove home the point of never losing sight of your childhood wonder as it is crucial to your well being.

A good life list gives you optimism and hope for the future. And, goals anchored to your values give us more zest for life – which others quickly notice and want for themselves too.

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Each summer, I get excited thinking about my goal of kayaking ten lakes. I almost get giddy thinking about what fun stuff I really want to do before I die.

5 Ways to Start on Your Life List

Caroline Adams Miller MAPP and Dr. Michael B Frisch authors of the book Creating Your Best Life recommend:

  1. Watching Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture”
  2. Join a social networking site that is devoted to life lists. Check out mylifelist.com
  3. Listen to biographies of famous goal setters like Tiger Woods, or May Kay Ash.
  4. Create a list of people you know who are goal setters. Ask them if they have life lists.
  5. Buy their book and complete the list “One Hundred Things to do Before I Die.”

The easiest way to start on your happiness journey is to identify your values. I have made this easy for you with my inexpensive Value Card Deck.

Remember, your list doesn’t have to be all “doing.” Maggie, my client’s life list includes, “going to Iceland, spending a month in Italy, spending 2-3 months at the cabin, making one quilt, mostly just living as best (not meaning money wise) as I can AND not climbing a wall! Some people would think that it is awfully short but I really want to work the most on being, not doing.”

Graham Greene reminds us “We are all resigned to death, its life we aren’t resigned to.”

Live like this is your last day, someday it will be! Forever, I hold in my heart my sweet brother-in-law who was given 5 months to live and passed sooner at the early age of 60. We have one life to live, just imagine it was one we truly loved. Today is your day. Go. For. Life! Better get busy!

We want to hear what is on your bucket or life list. And we would love to see how we could connect you with someone to make your bucket list come true. Dreams are free and they DO come true!

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Busy Day Gluten Free Cottage Cheese Egg Muffins

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You wish you could eat healthier but don’t know where to start? You thought about eating breakfast but you run out of time?  Start with this easy, quick, make ahead breakfast and jumpstart your day with confidence and good nutrition. Recently, study after study suggests we consume 30 grams of protein per meal. Daily, I eat two hard cooked eggs which only provide 14 grams of protein. Every ¼ cup of cottage cheese is another 7 grams of protein boost, not to mention a good source of calcium. As a Wisconsin Cheesehead what’s not to love about tossing cheddar cheese in almost everything I prepare. I have so many friends that are wheat free that I experimented with using gluten free flour. These babies turned out fantastic. Even the baking time turned out ok the first try. I baked them for 18 minutes to celebrate my birthday on the eighteenth of the month.

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free flour or regular flour
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 2 ounces ham, diced
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 6 non-stick muffin pans with non-stick spray. Set aside. Whisk the eggs. Add the flour and whisk until very well blended. Whisk in the cottage cheese. Add the ham. Spoon the egg mixture into the greased muffin pans. Sprinkle the cheese on the top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean. Makes 6 muffins.

Nutrition Per Muffin: Calories 118; Protein 8.7 grams; Fat 4.6 grams; Carbohydrate 6.6 grams; Sodium 258 mg

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You can add in your favorite veggies too. My favorites add ins’ would be mushrooms, onions, shredded Brussels sprouts (to Gary’s dismay), kale, spinach or red pepper. Create a muffin bar for your family and have all the ingredients out ready for them to personalize their muffin.

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I love using Eggland’s Best Eggs because of their superior nutrition. They have 10x more vitamin E, 25% less saturated fat, double the omega 3’s, 4x more Vitamin D and 3x the Vitamin B12 compared to normal eggs! Plus they have been awarded the Gold Seal as America’s Superior Tasting egg. You have got to check them out.

Daisy brand cottage is my favorite because there only 3 ingredients: cultured skim milk, cream and salt. Daisy is a lot lower in sodium, is gluten free and has no fillers. It tastes “fresh.”

I keep Gluten Free Pantry flour on hand in case I need to serve a gluten free guest. This all purpose flour has been a great substitute for any recipe I have tried. I bought it at Lakewinds my food co-op.

I am not being paid by any of these brands but would like to be!

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Make ahead and toss in freezer bags for those extra busy mornings.

The freezer bags are ready for Gary for breakfast at work and the others are for my 85 year old friend Celine who I prepare food for.

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Taste Life: Featuring Police Sergeant Brady. You’ll never guess the first three words a police officer said to me on my ride along…

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You’ll never guess what were the first three words uttered on my ride along with Sergeant Brady. He exclaimed, “I feel blessed.” And so began my “bucket list” ride along with Sergeant Brady, a patrol supervisor with a police department in the southwest metro area of the Twin Cities. With the event of the big 6-0 I have whole-heartedly grasped the concept that I am no longer infinite and have begun to work diligently on my bucket list. And one of those was a ride along with a police officer. I met Brady when I interviewed him for a city employee Energy Talk and we immediately hit it off with our love for helping people and Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. But knowing Brady, anyone could immediately “hit it off” with him. He is just so likeable!

The ride along began with a tour of the office and meeting many of his colleagues. I sensed gratefulness for each one of them as he introduced me to them. We spent much of the time together on patrol. We drove through city streets, neighborhoods, country farmland, and business parks. What diversity this town has! When we drove through the business park Brady mentioned, “They pay lots of taxes and they like to see the police cars.” I bet they do. Something I never thought about.

Our calls consisted of talking to a young man who was driving without a license, helping a frail 80 year-old who was upset her tulips were pulled up and she thought it was her neighbors, helping a woman who thought someone tampered with her car parked in her driveway, and a drug call where I for sure remained in the squad car. Every call was filled with compassion and empathy. Brady mentioned he had a “head start” on how he was raised with honesty and treating everyone with respect until they don’t deserve it!

5 things I learned from Brady:

  1. Police jobs are difficult to land in Minnesota – 1 positon for 200 to 300 applicants.
  2. Police deal with 7% of the population 75% of the time.
  3. His take on traffic enforcement is educational versus penalizing people and thinks every situation deserves a different response.
  4. His favorite part of the job is helping someone whether it is an 80 year old who fell and can’t get up or a domestic call and helping the woman connect with resources to get her out of her situation.
  5. When it’s 30 below it‘s hard to break into cars and the snow makes beautiful tracks to help catch the ones that do!

I have a new appreciation when I see a police car when I am driving. Instead of my first instinct of angst and asking myself, “Am I speeding” now, I feel blessed they are protecting me and I am wave at them. I wish they would all wave back. Maybe Sergeant Brady needs to teach them all that, hey!

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Why I love Subway®

Have you heard Subway® Restaurants are going to remove all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from their North American Restaurants by 2017?

The new roast beef recipe is the latest phase on the SUBWAY® brand’s journey to improve the food it serves, which started in 2008 with the removal of trans-fats from all core menu items. At that time, the R&D team also started reducing sodium as well as high fructose corn syrup from its products.

Stay tuned as this trend will continue with the introduction of a new, improved ham in August 2015 that will also be free of artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.  Gotta love that! Better get busy and check it out this summer!

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SUBWAY® Restaurants “Always Improving” Historical Timeline:

2015 – Introduced a new recipe roast beef that contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and is made by roasting beef with increased levels of garlic and pepper.

2015 – Removed Caramel color from steak and pastrami.

2014 – Increased whole grains and removed caramel coloring from 9-Grain Wheat bread.

2014 – Each 9-grain footlong now contains 100% of the whole grain requirement and recognized by the Whole Grains Council with the Whole Grains Stamp.

2014 – All SUBWAY® sandwiches and salads free of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

2014 – New premium-cut white meat chicken strips contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

2014 – Removed Azodicarbonamide from all breads.

2013 – Spinach added as a core vegetable offering.

2012 – Introduced chopped salads nationally as a new way to enjoy a fresh, made-for-you salad.

2012 – Italian white bread now vegan friendly.

2012 – Met nutritional guidelines to receive and use American Heart Association Heart Check certification.

2012 – Offers a variety of sandwiches under 400 calories.

2011 – Fortified US Breads with calcium and vitamin D.

2011 – Nutrition calculator, available on subway.com, provides customized sandwich nutrition data.

2010 – Launched “A Better Breakfast” nationwide, which allows customers the same customization and veggie options they have come to expect at a SUBWAY® restaurant but now with egg white and omelet sandwiches.

2009 – Launched global sodium reduction initiative.

2008 – Artificial Trans Fats removed globally.

2007 – Added Fresh Fit Meals™ for adults and kids to menu, providing our customers new meal choices such as sliced apples, bottled water and milk.

2007 – Increased fiber content in wheat bread.

2001 – Complete ingredient and allergen listings available for sandwiches and salads.

2001 – Introduced new sauces and seasoned breads – including topped wheat bread

1998 – One of the first QSRs to list full nutrition for all menu items on detailed brochure and on subway.com.

1997 – “7 under 6” menu introduced (now just referred to as the “Under 6” menu) and started promoting those healthier options on napkins, cups, clings, tray liners and menu boards.

1983 – One of the first QSRs to start baking bread in restaurants.

1965 – First sandwich shop opened in Bridgeport, CT, providing customers with made-to-order, handcrafted sandwiches at a great value while providing exceptional, personalized service.

 

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Taste Life: Featuring Nancy

It’s Barely Summer and Nancy is Creating Her Best Summer Ever! Are You?  

As I read through your “How I spent my summer vacation” article, I was giving myself a pat on the back (that doesn’t happen very often!). Here’s why…

My son is almost 7-years-old. I picked him up after work yesterday and as we were driving home along Highway X in Lake Wissota.  I said, “Oh look! People are heading to the beach already!”  And then, “Oh wow! The root beer stand is open too!” 

My son instantly responded, “Can we go?!?”  Oh, it sounded like a great idea, especially since we never even MADE it to the beach last summer, for whatever reason!

BUT, I had a whole list of things that I was planning to get done at home after work.  I started to list some things that I needed to get done, and then I paused for a moment and said, “Sure!  Let’s go!  Give me 10-15 minutes to get a few things done and let’s head to the beach!” 

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Well, the water was too cold to swim, but we sure had a good time!  Usually this beach is so packed in the summertime (which is one of my excuses as to why we didn’t make it there at all last summer!), but we had our own wide-open space, and all the rocks and twigs that a little boy could ask for were washed up again the shoreline, so we made the coolest sand/rock castle ever!”  

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 As the sun was setting, I gave him the option of staying another 15 minutes and eating our PB&J sandwiches we brought along when we got home, or we could leave now and hit the Rootbeer stand!  Off we went!  So, not only did we hit the beach, we also had our traditional order of corndog, cheesecurds, and ice-cold mug of rootbeer and it’s only May 28th! Yummy! 

I’m not sure which one of us had the most fun! 

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5 Tips to Experiencing Mindfulness

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John Kabat Zinn says “Mindfulness is the only intentional, systematic activity that is not about trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else. It is a matter of realizing where you already are.”

1. Set the intention that you are going to pay attention to what is happening at this present moment in all parts of your body. 

2. You can become mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. Ask yourself, What’s happening this very moment?” 

3. Think of yourself as the observer or witness to your life, and observe the present moment. What do I see, hear, smell, and feel?

4. When your mind wanders, just notice and say to yourself, “Now. Now. Now. Gently return your focus to the present moment. It is so natural for the mind to wander and we want to be patient and kind to ourselves when this happens.

5. As you breathe become aware of being alive. If you feel your abdomen rise on your in breath and can feel the heat through your nostrils on our out breath, you are alive. Nothing to do next. Just notice. You have arrived. This is it. You are doing it. No destination.

Check out the mindfulness You Tube Video by my friend Breon Michel, who is a mindfulness based stress reduction teacher who teachers the program developed by Jon Kabat Zinn in 1979.  If she can get the Army to be mindful she can help you too.

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