Sunday, April 14, 2013

Inner Peace and A Bit of Fun

Many of us try to achieve that elusive state called Inner Peace.  We do through prayer, meditation, yoga, or even taking a mental trip to our happy place.  But before you repeat your 'oms' for the day, consider this...and enjoy!

Inner Peace
  • If you can start the day without caffeine,
  • If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
  • If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
  • If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
  • If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
  • If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
  • If you can conquer tension without medical help,
  •  If you can relax without alcohol,
  • If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
Then You Are Probably... The Family Dog!

 (And you thought I was going to get all spiritual ...)

  • Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
  • If you can't eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away!
 ( Thanks to Tom Z. for this philosophical gem!)


Waiting for the Blooms

The Northeast is "greening up" in Joan H's words.  And it's about time! If you're into apps, there's one for gardeners that comes highly recommended by Karissa Bell (Wired, April, 2013). Called the "Landscaper's Companion," this is "By far the most inclusive plant-reference app we've seen."  At $4.99, from iOS, Android.

While you're watching the new stalks for those daffodils and tulips, and planning your summer annuals, you can enjoy what's blooming in the warmer places.
Tom & Claudia's Orchids in South Florida

Thanks to Tom & Claudia
Many of us are fortunate that our travels take us to more temperate climes for the winter and spring.

In South Florida, the orchids are blooming!

Dick's Orange Jubilee and Yellow Lantana in New River, AZ

While in the Southwest, the pampered flowers as well as the wildflowers are gorgeous.

Wild Mexican Poppies at Lake Pleasant, AZ

Cactus blooking in Jo's neigborhood
(And look who's enjoying the Lake Pleasant wildflowers
with Jo and her camera.)

Wildflowers Carpeting the Mountains, Lake Pleasant, AZ

(Our thanks to Claudia and Tom for the FL orchids; to Jo for the sourthwestern wildflowers and neighborhood cactus, and to Dick for the Orange Jubilees and the wildflowers at Lake Pleasant, AZ.)

What Dances Do You Remember?

As we look back at those childhood years, many of us remember our first dance-standing on our father's shoes at someone's wedding.  We who grew up in rural areas went to those Saturday night square dances at the local firehall with our parents.  And some of us remember the polka...

The on Bing Images


Every Sunday morning in
Erie, Pennsylvania we listen to
A Sunday program on the
Mercyhurst College radio station.
It features old-fashioned
Polkas, the kind my parents
Would dance, whirl with aunts,
Uncles, neighbors, at family weddings.
Even those under age ten would
Whirl together, arms flying
Upward and toes tapping
Without falling yet with a firm
Hand connect to a favorite cousin
The one who liked to spin faster
When the band played the
Pennsylvania Polka.

We would join the adults
Attempt to imitate their style.

Years later I swirl around
Our living room, dining room,
Still able to capture
Each polka beat,
Find it fun to bring back
Familiar polka rhythms
From age ten or twelve
Unconcerned about what
My footwork looked like,

The music was the magic.

(From the Memoirs of Barbara Reese 2012-Thanks for saying so eloquently what others of us remember).

Winding Down for a Good Night's Sleep

We usually have way too many things running through our overloaded minds to really enjoy a good night's sleep.  But eating sleep-inducing foods before bed might help.
  • The Weather Channel tip is to eat 2 kiwis an hour before bed to release those sleep-promoting endorphins.
  • And The Cleveland Clinic recommends making sure certain foods are in our diets.  But as Penny cautioned when she sent this to us,"Don't expect potato chips to be on the good-for-sleep list!
Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Team gives us the scoop.  "Let’s face it — we live in a non-stop society. In our rush, we too often put sleep on the back burner. As a busy mom myself, I can understand why people forgo sleep to get things done.

But it’s the wrong approach. Sleep has a huge effect on how you feel throughout the day, and nutrition plays a role in how well you sleep. Food relates directly to serotonin, a key hormone that — along with Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid — helps promote healthy sleep. Try to consume foods that calm the body, increase serotonin levels and get you ready for restful sleep.

Here are a few foods to get you started on the path to slumber.
1. Complex carbohydrates
Embrace whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, crackers and brown rice. Avoid simple carbohydrates, including breads, pasta and sweets such as cookies, cakes, pastries and other sugary foods. These tend to reduce serotonin levels and do not promote sleep.
2. Lean proteins
Lean proteins include low-fat cheese, chicken, turkey and fish. These foods are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which tends to increase serotonin levels. On the flipside, avoid high-fat cheeses, chicken wings or deep-fried fish. These take longer to digest and can keep you awake.
3. Heart-healthy fats
Unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels. Examples include peanut butter (read the label to make sure peanuts are the only ingredient) and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. Avoid foods with saturated and trans fats, such as french fries, potato chips or other high-fat snack foods. These bring your serotonin levels down.
4. Beverages
Certain drinks can promote or prevent sleep. A good, soothing beverage to drink before bedtime would be warm milk (your mother was right) or herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint. As for caffeinated drinks, I recommend that my clients who are having difficulty sleeping consume that last cup by 2 p.m. Caffeine can affect people differently, and even the smallest amount of stimulant can keep you awake.
5. Fresh herbs
Fresh herbs can have a calming effect on the body. For example, sage and basil contain chemicals that reduce tension and promote sleep. Try making your own homemade pasta sauce with sage and basil. It’s easy to do, and homemade sauces tend to be lower in sugar than store-bought versions. However, avoid herbs such as red pepper or black pepper at night, as they have a stimulatory effect.

Sleep-inducing snacks
•Try a banana with low-fat yogurt
•Eat low-fat cottage cheese with a few 100-percent whole grain pita chips
•Smear peanut butter on 100-percent whole grain crackers
•Enjoy an apple with mozzarella string cheese.

Try all these foods to reduce your tossing and turning when you hit the pillow. Sweet dreams!"

By Wellness Team

10/11/12 6:00 a.m.
Contributor: Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD

(Thanks to Penny for forwarding this useful information for those of us who really need a good night's sleep.)