A very average day, nothing spectacular posted. All of a sudden, a spike in stats so obvious . . . but my WordPress doesn’t say where it is coming from, Stat Counter doesn’t say where it is coming from or what it is about. I am stumped!
Update: They are all coming from Germany. Spammers? Hackers? Did I write something about Germany? (That’s just me puzzling out loud . . )
Yesterday we had a crew at our house helping us get the gardens cleared out and some replacements put in. Most of our plants had survived the first great freeze, but the second freeze did them in – or so we thought.
Even the bougainvillea, which people assured me would not thrive in Pensacola, shows signs of coming back. The Plumbago, originally a native of South Africa, is showing some tiny signs of resilience. The grasses survived; we even took part of the Pampas grass and started a new area elsewhere. The mints, the lavender, the thyme, oregano, cilantro, the parsleys, the rosemarys – they thrived. The sages are coming back with a vengence. The drift roses are blooming early. It is truly a fabulous Spring, full of hope and a little replanting.
One of our very favorites, the Mona Lavender (which is not a lavender at all, but a gorgeous shrubby plant) totally bit the dust. My cherished begonia looks melted. I have accepted that it’s not coming back.
Pensacola this week is a sea of azaleas. Who knew azaleas came in so many vibrant colors? While many yards are that intense fuchsia, there are also yards full of white, pink, deep coral, light coral, deep burgundy azaleas. I smile every time I see them and think of our Saudi friend living here, who called them Ah-za-LEE-as. We call them that now, too, just between AdventureMan and me. :-)
I can only guess that something in the great Pensacola freeze ignited in the azaleas an urge toward survival that resulted in the most amazing display of luxurious, abundant blossoms I have ever seen.
Yesterday I had my annual eye exam. This is the South. I could hear them all talking in the back, talking about personal things, and OTHER PEOPLE! I used to run a library, and one of the very very first things I would tell my library workers was NO PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS when we had the library open. Keep your private life private! I’m not all about the library being quiet, but I am about it being not-annoying. Hearing gossip, hearing details of your last medical procedure, hearing about Maizie, bless her heart, who just lost another husband – these things are not my business, nor the library customer and are not appropriate for a discussion where the public may be listening in, even when they don’t want to be.
OK, OK, I know these are dated professional standards, but I can’t help it. Please. Do not burden me with overhearing your latest disaster unless we are friends and sitting down together over a cup of coffee.
At 30 minutes past my appointment time, I went back to see if my paperwork had been misplaced only to be told they were just a little behind and I would be taken soon. Fifteen minutes later I was in the office.
Now, when they dilate your eyes, you can still drive yourself home. It was a little bright, but I managed. Things are a little blurry.
Fast forward to last night, driving home, WOW. Every streetlight, every headlight, even the beautiful thin crescent moon had a spiky halo. It was like I had that sparkle lens you can put on your camera, only this was on my eyes.
This morning when I got up, I thought it would be all over, but my eyes are still dilated, and still sensitive. They must have given me a wallop of a dose.
But for the drive home, it was all Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds . . . it was so incredibly beautiful, it felt sort of surreal.
I love this article from AOL Everyday Health News because they make some great suggestions – like if you really love salted nuts, mix them half and half with unsalted nuts to cut the amount of sodium you take in. We do this with breakfast cereal; we mix Bare Naked Nuts and Fruits with Quaker Old Fashioned Oats; it still has enough sweetness, and we add a little cinnamon and sunflower seeds to pump it up.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Most of us are familiar with the typical no-no foods like sugared soda or anything deep-fried, but have you ever wondered what the experts steer clear of? Everyday Health’s nutrition mavens dish on the foods they won’t eat, and share tips for making healthier swaps.
1. Hot dogs, bacon, and sausages. Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RDN, CDN, Everyday Health columnist and author of Read it Before You Eat It, said she would never eat these processed meats, and for good reason: A diet high in processed meats like bacon and sausage can increase your risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease, according to recent research.
Processed meats, like pepperoni, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and deli meats, are best left for special or rare occasions like a trip to the ballpark or a family event. If beef or pork hot dogs and sausages are staples in your diet, Taub-Dix suggests chicken dogs or sausages may be healthier bets. But beware the health halo of a food like chicken sausage, she said. Just because food items have some healthy qualities — like baked chips or 100-calorie snack packs — doesn’t mean they’re really good for you.
As with any processed food, watch out for sodium content. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are African American, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
Love bacon but hate the health repercussions? Use seasonings and spices like paprika and chipotle to add that smoky flavor to your cooking, suggested Taub-Dix.
2. Sugary coffee creations. “Those fancy blended drinks at coffee shops can have upwards of 400 calories and 15 teaspoons of sugar…yikes!” said Johannah Sakimura, MS, the writer behind the Everyday Health column, Nutrition Sleuth.
Unlike naturally-occurring sugars like those found in fruits (fructose), added sugars — syrups or sugars added to food items during preparation — can be harmful to your health. In fact, the added sugar Americans consume on a daily basis can more than double the risk of death from heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons or 100 calories a day of added sugar for women, and no more than nine teaspoons or 150 calories a day for men.
If you can’t live without your favorite sweet coffee drink, Sakimura recommends indulging less often. “If you want to enjoy one occasionally as a dessert, that’s totally fine…but they definitely shouldn’t be a daily or even weekly order,” she said.
3. Stick margarines. Both Sakimura and Taub-Dix said they avoid trans-fat foods, which can raise your heart disease risk by boosting levels of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein — LDL) and lowering levels of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein — HDL).
Sakimura avoids stick margarines because most are still made with partially hydrogenated oils, meaning they’re loaded with trans fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than one percent of your daily total calories. So, if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s just 20 calories. And since small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in some animal products, like meat and dairy, you’re probably meeting the 20-calorie threshold without reaching for factory-produced trans fats like those found in some margarines.
“When I occasionally make a baked good that requires solid fat, such as certain cookie or cake recipes, I always use butter. Butter does contain a large amount of saturated fat, but trans fats are far worse for your health,” she said.
4. Processed pastries. Everyday Health’s nutrition expert Maureen Namkoong, MS, RD, said she never eats processed pastries like Pop-Tarts, Twinkies, Devil Dogs, HoHos, or Hostess Cupcakes.
“The shelf life makes me nervous, too many preservatives, too many chemicals, too little taste,” said Namkoong. She prefers “real” desserts instead of these sugary snacks.
While the jury is out on the long-term effects and risks of preservatives in shelf-stable foods, a good rule of thumb is to eat fewer packaged, processed foods and more whole, fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and oils, and lean meats and fish.
Pay attention to frequency and quantity when you indulge in an unhealthy food.
5. Canned frosting. This is another trans fat offender that Sakimura avoids. When she wants to enjoy a nicely-iced dessert, she makes the icing from scratch.
“Hopefully, the proposed FDA ban on artificial trans fat will be finalized soon and we won’t have to worry about trans fat-laden products any longer,” Sakimura added.
Always read the product label for trans fat info. Why? Because right now, the FDA allows companies to round trans fat down to zero grams if the product contains less than 0.5 grams per serving.
“You have to turn it over and take a look at the label for hydrogenated fat or partially hydrogenated fat – that means trans fat,” Taub-Dix noted. There are bound to be similar products that aren’t loaded with trans fats, so opt for those instead, she suggested.
6. Sugar-packed cereals. Namkoong said she never eats sugary cereals because they’re not filling enough and have too little fiber. “The way I see it, the calories and sugar budget are better spent on a yummy dessert that I’ll enjoy more,” Namkoong said.
Sugary cereals your go-to guilty snack? Lower your sugar intake with this tip: “If you really like sugary cereals, and you know that they aren’t good for you, then mix them in a bowl with a cereal that is very low in sugar,” Taub-Dix recommended, so at least you’re getting less sugar per serving.
How to Change Your Taste for ‘Bad’ Foods
A registered dietitian or nutritionist can create a diet geared to your specific needs, but if that’s not an option then tailor your taste on your own by diluting your favorite foods, said Taub-Dix.
How do you dilute your foods? Basically, as noted above with sugary cereals, mix half of the bad stuff with half of the good stuff.
“If you have high blood pressure, and you know salted nuts aren’t great for you, take a handful of salted nuts and mix in unsalted nuts, too,” recommended Taub-Dix.
By diluting unhealthy snacks, you’re tailoring your tastes and gradually getting used to food that’s healthier. Another tip from our experts: Pay attention to frequency and quantity when you indulge in an unhealthy food.
“It’s not just about the food. It’s about how often you’re having it and how much of it you’re having,” said Taub-Dix.
My high school stomping grounds; this video makes my heart flutter seeing all those wonderful sights with wonderful memories:
Another way of saying “I’m slow, but I’m slow . . . “
As I was sitting in a meeting, I watched one of our delegates take a photo and then she zoomed in by doing that finger thing that works on my iPad.
“She must be using an Android or a Samsung” I thought to myself, as I have often wished my iPhone had a zoom feature.
And it dawned on me . . .
after owning my phone for three years . . .
and wishing I could zoom . . .
that the delegate’s phone looked a lot like my iPhone.
So I tried it. And it worked.
So the good news is that I can zoom photos on my iPhone. The bad news is that it took me so long to figure that out!
I watched a woman eat a cockroach yesterday. (When did all restaurants start having TV’s in them??) It was at the worst time, I was eating lunch, and the only thought that allowed me to continue was thinking about this verse, where Jesus declares all foods clean.
Christians who are looking for where Jesus the Christ declared all things clean (halal, kosher) look to Mark 7. Today, in Forward Day by Day, the author of the meditation combines todays lectionary readings with Matthew 12:34: For from the fulness of the heart the mouth speaks.
Mark 7:15. There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.
Words are powerful. Our speech, for better or worse, can either build up the kingdom of God or attack it. We might want to dismiss the power of words, but all we have to do is look to history.
Throughout history, often before the murder of a people, propaganda started. People would listen to the hateful speech of their leader, and then they would act (or not act). “They are just words,” people would say, but those words wormed their way into a nation’s mind, allowing callousness and cruelty to grow.
At the same time, the words of great men and women inspired nations to work toward equality. Their words moved individuals to change or to act. Even in our personal lives, we can all think of those healing words of a dear friend. We can also remember the cruel taunts of bully. Words are important.
Words come from within us, and once they are released into the world, they live. Within each of us is the potential for the infliction of great harm or the gift of grace. We must choose our words carefully because our hearts, our souls, and even our lives depend upon our words.