Staying Fit While Entertaining Summer Visitors

It's been a busy June with visitors from Norway, 8th grade graduation, family vacation and college touring. Wow, how to fill up a month! The challenge was to find a balance with staying fit, exercising and including a health menu to keep from gaining weight during the hectic month. It's so easy to fall into bad habits and grab the unhealthy food choices when we are on the go a lot. I was determined to keep my healthy lifestyle even while I traveled and entertained guests.

During the week my guests were with me we ate healthy meals every day, (I bought the required groceries before they arrived). I decided on the weeks meals before hand so I wouldn't be tempted to stop for fast food on a day we were particularly busy. I chose recipes that were either easy and quick to prepare, after a long day of playing tourist, or a crock pot meal that would be filling the house with mouth-watering aromas as we returned from a day out.

I have a wonderful cookbook, I have used over the years, called "Cookbook of the Year", by Don Collins. This cookbook plans your week of meals in advance (for the whole year) and even provides the grocery list for each week. I modify the meals and the shopping if I know I will have other plans for some of the days that week. He uses healthy alternatives like, chicken broth for sauteing and plain yogurt to replace sour cream.

As for the exercise, I did my early morning routine of spin class at 6:00 AM for a few of the days, that way I was home before my guests got going for the day, and on the other days, I planned sightseeing with lots of walking or a vigorous hike in the back country. (see hiking photo) I thought it was important to show my guests all aspects of our beautiful area. We all stayed healthy by eating healthy meals combined with daily exercise.

If you are expecting company this summer... it's a great idea to refresh yourself on tourist activities and kid friendly fun. As my Norwegian relatives brought along their daughters age 6 and 8 years, we needed to provide rests and full child related activities too. I incorporated a visit to the Ty Warner Sea Center and a boat ride harbor tour on Little Toot (where the girls each received authentic shipmate caps). They found out a lot about our coastal area and how important it is to be conscious about our environment.

I hope you find this information helpful if you have visitors coming for the summer months. Have a great summer... look for some healthy, quick and refreshing meals for the summer.

Eating the "Right" Kind of Protein Can Help You Lose Weight

In my endless search for ways to be healthy, stay young, and maintain my youthful vitality, I came across an article on how eating high quality protein will actually curb your appetite, improve cardiovascular health and more. It's reminiscent of my Low Carb diet days, but now researchers have determined that there is validity to this way of eating. What research says is that to net the health-promoting benefits of protein, experts recommend lean, high quality choices: fish, skinless poultry, lean meat, egg whites, low fat dairy, and legumes. These newer findings simply suggest the impact of protein on health is more far reaching than health experts first realized, and that perhaps protein is a key player in keeping the heart healthy, the blood sugar level, and appetite and weight all under control. If weight loss is your goal, plan on incorporating a little more of the high quality protein into your meals. Click here to read more.

Multiple Benifits from Good Posture

Who could have guessed that there could be so many benefits from having good posture. I never wanted to look like so many older women who have the slumped forward look, but it is more than just an outward appearance to have total health and a youthful presence. Start by straightening up to stave off neck and back pain, and to boost overall health. Here are some of the benefits from having good posture:
  • Better Digestion. Good posture tones your core muscles, which support your digestive organs. "if your core musculature is slack, your body stabilizes abdominal organs by packing fat around them, which heats the organs and reduces their function." says biomechanist Katy Santiago, director of the Restorative Exercise Institute in Ventura, CA
  • Fewer Headaches. In a recent study, Italian researchers found that office workers who were instructed to correct the position of their heads and necks every two hours reported having 40% fewer headaches each month.
  • Enhanced Detox. "Posture dictates how well blood and lymphatic fluid flow," Santiago says. If you have fewer kinks, your body releases toxins efficiently.
  • Stronger Bones. When you are properly aligned, your bones support your mass and weight bearing keeps them strong. When you have poor posture, your muscles and connective tissue end up doing some of the supportive work.
A helpful tip for aging baby boomers to try that will help get your back and neck properly aligned is the Rhomboid crunch. This exercise will strengthen the rhomboids (the muscles that connect the shoulder blades to the spine), which corrects the tendency to round the upper spine forward. It opens the chest and promotes deeper breathing.

Rhomboid Crunch - 1. Stand up straight with your feet directly under your hips. Hold a broomstick under your buttocks with your arms straight, hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward, and thumbs facing out. To avoid puffing our your ribs, pull your rib cage toward your spine.

2. Slowly lift the bar as high as you can without moving your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Don't lift your shoulders up toward your ears, concentrate on opening up your chest and bringing your shoulder blades together behind you. Hold for ten seconds, then release.