Our mothers were right. As hard as it may be to admit it, mom did know what was best for us: eating our fruits and vegetables. You know, those things that grown on trees and in gardens? Don’t wrinkle your nose! They really are good for us. But, with our fast-food society, many have forgotten what they look like and may not be including them in their diet. And, when schools announced that ketchup was a veggie, things got really confusing. Although scientists and nutritionists may differ on some things, they are in total agreement that 70% of our diet should come from fruits and vegetables. Are you eating enough? Unfortunately, most people are not. In fact, Time magazine reported that 48% of a child’s vegetable category comes from French fries. Yikes! And we wonder why our kids are getting fat.
Fruits and vegetables contain very important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that our body needs to function properly. In fact, in some cases, we cannot get this nutrition anywhere else…certainly not from French fries! God designed us to eat healthy, not junk food! Think about it: fruits and vegetables are natural foods, not processed. They are 100% good. We need to eat these healthy foods if we expect to live a healthy life.
Pick up any woman’s or health magazine, and it will be full of articles on how certain fruits and vegetables prevent cancer and other diseases. The problem with many of these claims is that they isolate the vitamin or mineral when in reality, they were designed to work together. In other words, fruits and vegetables work best when combined together. This means that we all need to eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables every day to ensure better health. Want to reduce your chances of cancer or other diseases? Eat those fruits and veggies!
Ditch the sugary cereal in the morning and eat a bowl of fruit instead. On the go? Blend the fruits together with some ice, which makes a great smoothie drink. The natural sugars in the fruit will get you going and stay with you, unlike the processed sugar in cereal. Fruit also contains fiber and nutrients unlike cereal, which lacks nutrition. Instead of grabbing a candy bar for a snack, snag a piece of fruit. Add a colorful salad and veggies to every meal. Besides getting proper nutrients you need, you will be consuming less calories, which can mean weight loss. What a plus!
As you add more fruits and veggies in your diet, be prepared to miss fewer days of work due to illness. Your immune system will get a boost and will be able to combat bugs that attack your system. Your cell reproduction system will also improve. The benefits are too many to mention here, but I hope you have a better understanding of just how important it is for you to increase your fruit and veggie consumption. I think you already know that your future health depends upon it.
We all just need to make proper nutrition a priority. Venture out and explore new fruits and veggies that you don’t normally eat. Make a game of it with your family: name that fruit! I guess the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” still applies.
Stress. It is such a small word, but it is responsible for more illness and unhappiness. Whether we are starting a new job, buying our first home, having a baby, going through a divorce, dealing with the death of a loved one, or simply going about life in 2020, we are experiencing stress. We live with it every day. I love the commercial a while back where a very stressed young man at the grocery store checkout is being asked “paper or plastic?” He has this blank stare on his face as his mind whirls with options: “If I get the paper, how many trees had to die?” But, if I get the plastic, will it overflow landfills?” He can’t decide. In the meantime, the clerk is still asking, “Paper, or plastic?” The line of 15 people behind him is impatient and frustrated, but he just can’t decide. He’s overloaded and stressed out! You find yourself laughing at the commercial because it is too close to home. We are all stressed out, and it is usually the smallest of details that pushes us over the edge. So, what exactly is stress?
According to Dr. Hans Seyle, founder of Stress Management Research, “stress is the wear and tear on your body caused by life’s events.” In other words, stress is the body’s physical and chemical reactions to circumstances that frighten, excite, confuse, anger, endanger, and irritate us. Think about it: ulcers, headaches, muscle tension, and the common cold…can all result from stress. Stress is affecting each and every one of us.
Stress-related illness continues to rise. The National Mental Health Association
Reports that 75 to 95% of ALL visits to physicians are stress related. What does all this mean? Poor health equals poor quality of life for you and for me, and it isn’t how God intended for us to live.
If we are under duress at work, it comes home and can ruin marriages. If we are unhealthy physically or mentally, it follows us to the office and can result in us losing our jobs. What is stress costing you: Money? Work? Family? Friends? Illness? Peace? Sleep? Joy? Love? Life?
I am a Behavioral-based Wellness Motivator teaching and training people to reach their full potential, all the while working with the entire person. The professional term is “wellness,” which includes balancing our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of life. So often, we are good at addressing one or two segments of our life, but unfortunately, the others suffer. Without balance, stress can take its toll on us and our health, not only reducing the quality of our life, but many times, decreasing the quantity of life given
Although stress is a fact of life and while here on earth, we shall never experience a stress-free environment, how we deal with stress is up to us! We can cancel our chaos and put balance back in our lives. Here is a sampling of the ways that you can manage your stress better, creating a healthier, happier you:
- Take a nap – Naps aren’t just for kids and retired people! Enjoy the rest.
- Learn to say NO – Don’t over commit your schedule.
- Set boundaries – Know your limits and ask others to respect them.
- Think positively – As you think, you are.
- Breathe – In and out…slowly.
- Exercise – Get moving and create energy!
- Eat right – Garbage in, garbage out. We ARE what we eat.
- Get involved – Get outside of yourself and help others.
Life is a fragile gift. Let us not waste another minute! Try some of these tips and begin to get a grip on your stress before it takes a toll on you. You deserve so much more than a stressed out, chaotic life. Get YOUR life back, and let’s enjoy the journey and live a more balanced, healthier life!
Another year is upon us, and many people are still trying to live up to last year’s resolution, let alone begin setting new ones! Feeling frustrated and defeated, they find themselves stuck in a cycle of setting goals, failing to meet them and setting the same goals again. Whether it be professional, personal, spiritual, physical or emotional goals, setting them is easy for everyone. No sweat. The challenge most often comes in achieving the goal. If you find yourself in this dilemma, do I have some great news for you!
If you’re ready to stop fishing for success (in whatever capacity) and start catching it, here are four simple rules to follow when setting goals:
- First of all, your goals must be specific. You’ll never hit the target if you don’t even know what it is, what it looks like, where it is, etc.
- Secondly, your goals must be measurable. You’ll never know if and when you hit the target if you don’t set up a way to measure. Include a date and quantifiable way to determine if the goal has been achieved.
- Third, your goals must be challenging BUT they must also be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure by putting the bar way too high. This is where many people get stuck and disappointed. If your goal is a big one, then “chunk it down” to bite-size, manageable pieces (or little goals).
- Lastly, your goals must be meaningful. Why? Because you won’t reach a place you don’t want to go to begin with! If the goal is being placed upon you, then associate a personal benefit to the goal such as: a raise, promotion, status, accomplishment, learning experience, team building, etc.
Now here’s how to get your goals. Apply these five practical steps, and you are on your way to reaching your goals!
- Identify your goal, why you want to achieve it and determine when you want it by.
- Determine the RTP required to make it happen. RTP stands for: Resources, Time and People. All projects, tasks and goals need RTP. By clearly defining what they are, you’ll have a better idea of how your goal will be met. I encourage you to draw three columns R – T – P and write under each what or who will be needed for each goal.
- Take action! So many times, we can write and rewrite our goals simply to watch them collect dust in our day planner or desk drawer. Do something TODAY to move you towards your goal. Each small step will bring your closer to your victory.
- Check your course and often. Take note of your actions and see if they are bringing you closer or further away from your desired outcome. In some cases, an outside party might be needed as an “accountability partner.” Either way, stay on course day by day.
- Change your course if necessary. Be flexible! Sometimes additional steps will be necessary or steps can be eliminated.
As with anything, we need our faith to keep us going. But with a little practice, we can begin to set more realistic goals, meet them and have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Start the New Year off right! Don’t delay…
Looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer, get a copy of my first and best-selling book, A Healthier, Happier You: 101 Steps for Lessening Stress. It is chock full of practical ideas to manage stress better and create more balance. It’s an easy, inspirational read that won’t add more stress to one’s life!