Saturday, February 29, 2020

Try This!



Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken

This recipe provides 4 servings


Ingredients:


1)    Cooking spray
2)    1 cup Italian panko breadcrumbs
3)    2 eggs
4)    4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5)    ½ teaspoon sea salt
6)    ½ teaspoon pepper
7)    1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Instructions:


1)    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray in a rimmed baking sheet.

2)    Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add panko; cook, stirring often, until golden brown, approx. 3 minutes. Transfer panko to a small dish. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl, just until foamy.

3)    Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in whisked eggs, shaking off excess. Dip in panko, pressing to adhere. Coat chicken on each side with cooking spray; arrange chicken on wire rack.

4)    Bake at 425 degrees F. for 12 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, and bake until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160. F., approximately another 10 minutes.





Enjoy!


Remember...



“When you focus on the good, the good gets better,”

Abraham Hicks




Saturday Salad Recipe



Pear Walnut Quinoa Salad

This recipe provides 4 servings.

Ingredients:

1)    1 cup tricolor quinoa (rinsed)
2)    2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3)    2 teaspoons mustard
4)    1 tablespoon minced shallot
5)    2 tablespoons olive oil
6)    1 chopped medium size pear (bite sized chunks)
7)    ¼ cup chopped walnuts
8)    2 sliced celery stalks
9)    Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

1)    Cook 1 cup tricolor quinoa (rinsed) as the label instructs. Spread on a plate to allow quinoa to cool.

2)    Whisk together 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons mustard, and 1 tablespoon minced shallot in a large bowl.

3)    Whisk and combine in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chopped pear, ¼ cup chopped walnuts, 2 sliced celery stalks, and the cooked quinoa; toss to thoroughly combine ingredients.

4)    Season with salt and pepper to taste.






Enjoy!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

3 Meditation Benefits



1)    When you consistently meditate, this allows your brain to stop “speeding forward,” causing longer time frames between thoughts, relaxing your mind, creating clarity of the mind.

2)    When you consistently meditate, new neural pathways form, which reduces “brain noise,” resulting in an increased sense of happiness.

3)    Through consistent meditation practice you can train your mind to abandon negative thoughts and to create and enhance positive thoughts.




  

Remember, the key to getting benefits from meditation is based upon consistent practice

Point to Ponder...



Remember the positive experiences that happen to you throughout your day; it is these experiences that wire your brain for happiness, and open your mind to positive possibilities.





Tuesday, February 25, 2020

6 Health Benefits of Music


1)    Music improves learning. The fact is, many people learned their ABCs through a song. The inherent structure and emotional pull of music makes it an easy tool for teaching concepts, ideas, and information. Music is an effective tool, not only making information easy to learn but also easy to later recall.

2)    Music reduces muscle tension and improves body movement and coordination. Through the autonomic nervous system, the auditory nerve connects the inner ear to the frontal lobe of the brain, which, in turn, is connected to every muscle in the body. Therefore, muscular response, strength, flexibility, and tone are all impacted by sound, vibration, and music. For example, music is utilized during yoga sessions to help individuals relax. It is also used in many healthcare settings, such as postoperative recovery units and rehabilitation clinics to help individuals relax and retrain their muscles after accidents, surgery, or illnesses.

3)    Music helps improve attention skills. From an early age, music holds our attention. This allows for improved focus on attention and impulse control goals, both essential skills for effective functioning in the modern world.

4)    Music serves as a storehouse for our memories. Pictures, thoughts and vivid recollections can all be encoded in the mind when you listen to music. Music helps individuals with memory loss access these memories, and also become more aware of the present, their surroundings, and other people. Depending on the severity of the injury, even individuals who have some form of brain injury might regain partial or full access to memories by listening to music.

5)    Music can increase endorphin levels and reduce pain. When music evokes positive emotions, endorphins are released. Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers and they produce a feeling in the body similar to morphine. Endorphins can decrease pain and induce a feeling of euphoria. Music can stimulate the release of endorphins, which can then decrease the need for pain medication, thus providing a much needed distraction from pain, and anxiety relief.

6)    Music motivates and inspires us to exercise and be more active. With the addition of music, movements become a pleasure rather than a boring routine.





Music is beneficial to our health emotionally, developmentally, cognitively, and physically; it is an incredibly powerful tool as well as a gift that produces a profound impact on the brain, the body and the spirit.


Quote of the Day!




"Self-Determination: Goal directed behavior that you control"





Monday, February 24, 2020

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Brain


Sleep deprivation is a commonplace occurrence in modern culture and is increasingly being recognized as a significant public health issue. Yet a lot of people do not realize how important sleep is to their health.

Without enough sleep, the brain’s frontal lobes (which are responsible for the ability to pay attention, and make good judgments) do not function properly. When you are overtired, there is less blood flow to the frontal lobes and other parts of your brain. Brainwave activity throughout the brain is slowed, overworked neurons do not receive or coordinate information effectively, memory is impaired, and attention and focus are decreased. The result is a compromised ability to respond  appropriately to everyday life events as well as potentially dangerous situations.

Sleep deprivation distresses the brain in numerous ways that can impair judgment, slow reaction times, and increase “zoning out” during repetitive tasks.


The fact is, sleep is necessary for the nervous system to work properly and to help regenerate the body and the brain. Sleep deprivation leads to a range of attention and emotional deficits, including impaired memory, irritability, and decreased ability to concentrate on attention demanding task.





Why is Sleep Necessary?



In humans, sleep plays a key role in vital restorative functions such as muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormones, which are released almost entirely during sleep.


When you are awake, neurons in your brain produce adenosine (a metabolic byproduct of cellular activity, this molecule not only controls the flow of information through neural circuits in the nervous system but also acts as a homeostatic regulator in the brain).


An excess of adenosine is associated with an individual’s perception of being tired and to the drive to sleep. As long as you are awake, adenosine accumulates in your brain. However, during sleep, the body has the ability to clear the adenosine from your system and, as a result, you feel alert and rested upon awakening.





Try This!


Root Vegetable Gratin

This recipe provides 10 servings

Ingredients:

1)    2 large russet potatoes, peeled
2)    1 large golden beet, peeled
3)    1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
4)    2 large parsnips or 3 medium
5)    2 ½ teaspoons sea salt
6)    Freshly ground pepper to taste
7)    1 ½ cups heavy cream
8)    1 ½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese (approx. 6 ounces)

Instructions:

1)    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 13 by 9 –inch baking dish with olive oil. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, cut the potatoes, beet, fennel bulb, and parsnips into thin slices. Toss together the vegetable slices, sea salt, and ¾ cup heavy cream in a large bowl.

2)    Spread half the mixture evenly in the coated baking dish. Top with 1 cup of the Parmesan. Top evenly with the remaining vegetable mixture. Pour the remaining ¾ cup heavy cream over the vegetables, and top with the remaining ½ cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour.

3)    Uncover and bake until the veggies are fork tender and the cheese is golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool for 15-20 minutes before serving with freshly ground pepper over the top.



Enjoy!



Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mindfulness Meditation Insight



When you consistently practice mindfulness meditation you develop increased gray matter in your brain, this results in a thicker cortex, in 3 significant regions of the brain: prefrontal areas that control attention, the insula that is associated with consciousness, and the hippocampus that is responsible for memory and spatial navigation.






Remember, clarity and peace of mind will open the door to self-awareness, which will lead you to the insights you need to accomplish your goals and realize your dreams! 




Physical Activity & The Brain



Physical activity and movement are critical elements of any program designed for obtaining or maintaining health and happiness. The human body is an amazing, multifaceted phenomenon with approximately 60 to 90 trillion cells. Each one of these cells benefits when you engage in physical activity.

Physical activity is a significant lifestyle factor linked to brain structure and function, particularly later in life.

Physical activity and movement can actually produce a tranquilizing effect on the body that can last approximately 4 hours. People who struggle with the physical symptoms of anxiety (such as gastrointestinal problems, palpitations, pacing, sweating, etc.) are especially likely to benefit from physical activity.

Those who engage in physical activity tend to experience less depression than those who do not. While exercise alone cannot eliminate depression or help someone in a severe stage of depression, it has been very helpful for those with milder cases or for those with feelings of sadness, and self-criticism.

Cardiovascular fitness is one of the most significant indicators for brain health.

A healthy lifestyle fuels a healthy body and mind. The concept of a healthy brain is not new but it has recently received increasing focus because of the significance of a healthy brain to a healthy physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual life. By adopting a brain-healthy lifestyle you can reduce your risk of brain deficits and diseases and substantially improve your quality of life.




Keep on Tracking…

Remember this phrase because it is essential to reaching your goals as effectively and efficiently as possible.

A great way to track your daily exercise and sleep goals is through the use of one of the many fitness smart watches, for example, FitBit Versa, Samsung Gear 3, Apple Watch Series 4, etc…there are many to choose from. I bought one of these watches about a month ago, it has been an excellent self-monitoring tool, as well as a motivator to keep moving and keep on tracking!

Tracking your daily goal accomplishments by utilizing a fitness smart watch is a type of self-observation system; any type of self-monitoring increases awareness. This will allow you to effectively evaluate your lifestyle behavior change challenges and successes.

In my book, chapter 3 on Goal Setting: Keeping You on Track with a Vision of Success I add a little more depth to the topics of self-observations systems and self-regulation strategies.








Remember...gaining awareness is the first fundamental step in goal setting, when you are able to do this, you are then able to make the necessary adjustments in your goal pursuits!



Saturday, February 22, 2020

6 Stress Management Strategies for a Healthy Brain



1)    Get some fresh air: You can almost immediately lower your stress response by getting outdoors and breathing in fresh, clean air. If you can take a walk in sunshine for a few minutes, your vitamin D levels may also receive a boost. Both fresh air and sunshine can increase the body's level of serotonin (the hormone that makes you feel happy). Focusing on the sights, sounds, and smells around you can also help you take your focus off your stressors.

2)    Engage in enjoyable activities: Whether it's playing/listening to music, painting a picture, walking your dog, do something that absorbs and relaxes you.

3)    Try relaxation techniques: When you are stressed, your mind might wander, you may feel distracted or unfocused, and you will probably have difficulty relaxing. Meditation, guided imagery, yoga, and tai chi can assist in slowing your breathing and focus your mind in a positive direction.

4)    Exercise regularly: Whether it's walking outside with a friend, taking an exercise class at the gym, or taking dancing lessons, becoming and staying active can help you relax, increase oxygen levels to your body and brain, and help reduce your body's response to stress.

5)    Develop an attitude of gratitude: By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you are less likely to experience a stress response. Positive emotions translate into a lower heart rate, lower oxygen consumption, lower blood pressure, and feelings of relaxation and peace.

6)    Laugh often: The pleasant feelings associated with joyful laughter decrease stress hormones, resulting in increased blood flow to the brain and improved immune function.








Friday, February 21, 2020

Further Veggie Clarification


It is easy to get Turnips and Rutabagas confused, thus I will provide some further clarification:


Turnips are smaller than Rutabagas; they are white and/or purple on the outside and inside are sweeter than Turnips.






Both Turnips and Rutabagas are a great addition to a healthy diet!




6 Examples and Benefits of Root Vegetables




1.     Sweet Potatoes/Yams are probably most people’s top choose for a tasty root vegetable that has so many uses. Sweet potato benefits include a very high supple of vitamin A (they’re actually one of the best sources on Earth), potassium, vitamin B5 and vitamin C, in addition to fiber and slow-absorbing starch.

2.     Russet or Yukon (White) Potatoes are a very high source of potassium, which is important for building strong bones and promoting heart health.

3      Carrots are one of the most popular veggies worldwide and can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. In addition to high levels of vitamin A, carrots also provide a good dose of vitamins C, D, E and K, plus magnesium, potassium and calcium.

4      Parsnips As a member of the same plant family as carrots, parsley and celery, parsnips have a lot of the same benefits of celery, carrots and parsley. Parsnips a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin C. Approximately ½ cup of cooked parsnips provides three grams of dietary fiber, about 12 percent of the fiber you need daily.

5      Turnips are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, so they’re related to cancer-fighting veggies like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale and Brussels sprouts. Like other cruciferous foods, turnips and turnip greens contain a type of phytonutrients called indoles that are known to reduce your risk for cancer, especially of the colon, prostate, lungs, and stomach.

6      Rutabagas are basically a cross between cabbage and turnips, so they provide many of the same benefits. They’re high in fiber and a great source of vitamin C, with about 47 percent of your recommend daily intake. Additionally, they’re a high source of zinc which plays a role in immune health, brain function, and mood regulation.









Cooking Root Vegetables



Roast root vegetables at 425 degrees F., peel the vegetables first, and then cut them into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Toss them with some quality olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, baking approximately 20 to 45 minutes depending on the kind and size.



Enjoy the taste and health benefits of roots veggies!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Remember This...




There is hidden power in everyday positive experiences that can change your brain and change your life.




Everyone wants to be happy and healthy. The key is: focusing and acting on becoming happier and healthier by creating positive experiences, this process will result in your experiencing increased energy, increased creativity, improved immune function, improved relationships, and increased productivity.




Remember the hidden power of positive experiences as you pursue your goals in the year 2020!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Tasty Sunday Salad Recipe



Butter Lettuce Salad


This recipe provides 2 servings


Ingredients:

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 head butter lettuce, separated into leaves
2 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and broken into bit sized pieces
2 hard-boiled eggs, halved and lightly salted and peppered
¼ cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1 ½ ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

1)    Whisk to combine the vinegar, oil, chives, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

2)    Toss the lettuce with the dressing in a large bowl.

3)    Divide the bacon, eggs, nuts, and cheese between the two, layering them in that order.




Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

3 Steps to Creating Positive Experiences and Emotions



1)    Have a positive experience (e.g., enjoy a cup coffee or tea with a friend, watch a sunset, think about events, people, and things for which you are grateful).

2)    Absorb the positive experience (hold on to the experience in your mind and visualize it). 


3)    Connect the positive and negative thoughts and experiences in such a fashion that positive experiences replace negative experiences (e.g., if a negative thought enters the mind, let go of it and focus on positive thoughts instead).



The fact is, the brain is changed by experiences of the body, the mind, and the spirit. All mental activity (e.g., sights and sounds, thoughts and feelings, conscious and unconscious processes) is based on underlying neural activity.



Remember, whatever you repeatedly think, feel, do, and sense, changes the neural structure of your brain. The experience of happiness creates positive changes in the brain’s neural network.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Try this!



Breakfast Quinoa

This recipe provides 2 servings

Ingredients:

1)    ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
2)    1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3)    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4)    Pinch of sea salt
5)    1/3 cup dried cranberries
6)    ¼ cup vanilla rice milk
7)    2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Instructions:

1)    Combine the quinoa with 1 cup water, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt in a small saucepan, next, stir until thoroughly combined. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, covered for 10 minutes.

2)    Stir in the cranberries and the rice milk. Cover and cook, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, approximately 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the walnuts. Serve warm.



Enjoy!

Monday, February 3, 2020

“Attitude of Gratitude”



6 Benefits Related to Practicing Gratitude:



1) Greater Enthusiasm
2) Improved Alertness & Energy
3)  Improves Odds of Goal Attainment
4) Increased Determination
5) A Renewed Sense of Optimism
6) Better Quality of Sleep






Possessing an “attitude of gratitude,” improves our chances of accomplishing our goals and realizing our dreams; it helps us live in the moment, thus getting the most out of each and every day!