Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Try This!


Slow & Tasty Chili

This recipe provides 4 servings


1)    1 lb. lean ground beef

2)    1 (1-oz.) package chili seasoning

3)    1 (15 oz.) can red kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained

4)    1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles

5)    1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce

6)    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese



1)    Brown the lean ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for approximately 8 minutes, breaking up the meat while it is cooking.

2)    Drain the fat; stir in chili seasoning. Combine the beef mixture, beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce in a slow cooker; stir to blend.

3)    Cover, cook on low for 4-5 hours. Top with shredded cheese.





Tuesday, September 29, 2020

What is Neuroplasticity?


·      Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself.

·      MRI studies, and EEG studies confirm the ability of mindfulness practice to change brain structure as well as brain functioning.

·      Studies show improvements in mood, self-esteem, self-regulation, sleep, well-being, concentration, health, addictions, memory and so much more. Therefore, mindfulness practice is an excellent way to cause positive neuro-plastic changes in the brain.

The Paths in the Grass Analogy:

·       Close your eyes and visualize a lawn of green grass.

·       Now imagine that someone walked across the grass diagonally from one corner of the lawn to the opposite corner.

·       Notice how the grass changes, perhaps the grass is a bit matted down where they walked.

·       Now imagine lots of people walking across the grass following the same path. After a while, notice that some of the grass is dying where so many footsteps have happened.

·       This is the process of neuroplasticity in the brain. The fact is, neurons that fire together wire together, and dendrites increase in size and effectiveness when something is repeated over and over. So, like the path worn in the grass, the neuronal pathway gets stronger and stronger with repetition. Mindfulness practice is an effective means to create more healthy “pathways” in the brain.

·       Now visualize the lawn with the path across it. Notice what happens to it over time when no one walks on it anymore. The grass slowly begins to grow where the path was until at some point there is no longer a path at all. Mindfulness practice can help rewire the brain so it no longer automatically responds with anxiety, or angry, or fear, or feeling stressed. Mindfulness helps decrease the negative pathways in the brain.



Friday, September 25, 2020

"Changing the Channel"


“Changing the channel” from distracting, negative thoughts to a “happy, relaxed channel”


1.     Tune into the content of your current thoughts.

2.     Identify the thoughts as calm, happy, sad, worried, angry, etc. This is the channel you are currently watching.

3.     If current thoughts are negative, then imagine using the remote control to deliberately “change the channel” to your happy/peaceful/relaxed, fun channel and imagine you are watching what you already decided would be on that channel, something that makes you smile and moves you in a positive direction.

4.     Use this process any time you have negative thoughts or unpleasant feelings.

3 Ways to determine if you are Mindfully Breathing


1.     Place one hand on your abdomen above your belly button and one hand on your upper chest. Just breathe and notice which hand moves first, if the bottom hand moves, great, that’s a belly breathe. If the top hand moves more, that’s a chest breathe, which is the same as anxious breathing. Intentionally move your stomach in and out just below your rib cage and above your belly button to get the feel of a belly breathe. Notice when you breathe normally which hand moves more. Remember: bottom hand moves more: a belly breathe: great! Top hand moves more: a chest breathe: same as anxious breathing.

2.     Intentionally take a chest breath and blow on your hand. Notice the temperature as it flows across your fingers. Now, deliberately take a belly breath and blow on your hand. Again, notice the temperature of the air as it flows across your fingers. You will notice that the air feels warmer when it comes from a belly breath. Remember: Chest breath: cold air, Belly Breath: warmer air.

3.     Lie down on your back. Place an object on your belly such as a book or a pillow. Now make the object go up and down as you breathe.


Flowing Stream of Water Meditation


·       Get comfortable in a chair while closing your eyes and clearing your mind. Picture a clear stream of water slowly flowing by. As you look more closely at the water, you notice leaves, twigs, fish, and tiny objects of all different shapes, sizes, and colors flowing continuously by. 

·       Now visualize yourself standing beside the stream, watching everything coming toward you. Imagine that you are watching for your thoughts, wishes, or feelings. Watch them come downstream, as they come closer to you, just watch them come and go; begin with 1 minute and work up to 5 minutes.

·       When you are ready, open your eyes and bring your attention back to your immediate surroundings.

Cloudy Versus Clear Mind Exercise

1.     Pour water in a clear drinking glass or a glass bowl.

2.     Place some colorful crystals, rocks, shells or small objects around the outside of the glass or bowl, then look through to the other side at the objects around the outside of the glass or bowl.

3.     Then sprinkle some baking soda into the water and watch the water get cloudy and the objects around the glass or bowl disappear; this is what happens in your mind when you are distracted, worried, angry, or stressed.

4.     Keep watching the water in the glass or bowl to see what happens as the baking soda settles to the bottom; this is what mindful breathing does for the mind.

5.      Mindful breathing clears and calms your mind, settles your thoughts and feelings, and helps you to feel more relaxed and better able to focus on the present moment.

6.     Wiggle your body to get your mind revved up again while stirring the water or adding more baking soda.

7.     Notice how cloudy the water is again, like the mind, and watch it settle as you sit quietly mindfully breathing and watching.

8.     Continue breathing slowly as you watch the water clear. By breathing slowly and steadily your thoughts and feelings settle and your mind become clear.



Remember, a clear, focused mind allows us to see life’s many possibilities to realizing our dreams and our destiny.





Mindfulness of Thoughts


While practicing any mindfulness exercise, thoughts will merge. With approximately 60,000 thoughts a day, it is normal for thoughts to pop up while you are meditating. The foundation to successful mindfulness practice is noticing your thoughts, acknowledging them, and dismissing them without engaging them; this tool provides a very effective method for dismissing negative thoughts.

The 5 Step process for noticing thoughts and dismissing them:

1.     Observe the thought

2.     Accept the thought

3.     Let go of the thought, say to yourself “Not now.”

4.     Don’t get involved with the thought, simply observe it.

5.     Don’t judge the thought or the fact that you had the thought; accept it and dismiss it.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mindfulness Defined


·       Paying attention to something, in a particular way, intentionally, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Profound Impact Isolation has on Health


·       Isolation itself, is as significant to mortality rate as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and lack of exercise.

·       The fact is, isolated men are 2 to 3 times more likely to die compared to men with close social ties; for isolated women, the risk is one and a half times greater than for more socially connected women.

·       The difference between men and women pertaining to the impact of isolation might be because women tend to have more relationships that are comforting and connecting than the small number of friendships formed by men.

·       Importantly noted, solitude is not the same as isolation; many people who live by themselves or see few friends are happy and healthy. Rather, it is the subjective sense of being cut off from people, not connecting with others that is the profound health risk.

Quality & Quantity of Relationships Influence on Stress


·       The quality of relationships as well as the total number seems to be a foundational piece in buffering stress. Negative relationships take their toll to varying degrees. Arguing with someone for example, weakens the immune system.

·        One study of college roommates found that the more they disliked each other, the more prone they were to colds and flu, and the more frequently they needed to go to the doctors.

·        John Cacioppo, the Ohio State University psychologist who did the roommate study, stated, “It’s the most important relationship in your life, the people you see day in and day out that seem to be crucial for your health. And the more significant the relationship is in your life, the more it matters to your health.”

·       People’s satisfaction with their lives, their self-esteem, and their ability to effectively manage stressors are strongly impacted by the quality of their relationships.

·       Those whose lives are devoid of quality relationships are prone to suffer bouts of depression; this unhappiness, in turn, stresses others or drives them away.

6 Emotional Intelligence Skills


 You need these six skills to improve the quality of your life & relationships:


1.     You need to be able to identify your feelings, and…

2.     Express those feelings

3.     You need to assess the intensity of those feelings and…

4.     Manage those feelings in a positive manner

5.     You need to control impulses and…

6.     You need to possess the ability to reduce stress

Emotional Intelligence


·       Interestingly, IQ contributes to approximately 20 % to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80% to other forces.

·       The vast majority of one’s ultimate niche in society is determined by non-IQ factors, ranging from luck to social class.

·       The fact is, the relationship between IQ test scores and life achievements is dwarfed by the totality of other characteristics that a person brings to life.

·       Other characteristics, known as emotional intelligence consist of abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations and challenges; to control impulses and delay gratification; to regulate one’s mood and keep stress from hindering your ability to think and focus effectively; to empathize and to visualize positive actions.

·       Emotional intelligence can be as powerful, and at times more powerful, than IQ. And while there are those who argue that IQ cannot be changed much by education or experience, essential emotional abilities can indeed be learned and improved upon, especially by children, if there is a real emphasis and effort to teach them.   

·       Emotional life is a domain similar to math or reading, it can be handled with greater or less ability, and requires its unique set of skills. And how proficient a person is at utilizing those skills is key to understanding why one person thrives in life while another, of equal intellect, does not.

·       Academic intelligence offers virtually no preparation for the turmoil, or opportunity, life’s changes bring. Even though a high IQ is no guarantee of prosperity, respect, or happiness in life, schools primarily focus on academic abilities, ignoring emotional intelligence, a set of traits, some refer to as character, which matters immeasurably for personal successes.

·       An example of someone exhibiting a high academic IQ and low emotional intelligence: A female college student who had attained 4 perfect 800 scores on the SAT, spent most of her time hanging out, staying up late, and missing classes by sleeping until noon; it took her almost 7 years to finally get her degree, despite her formidable intellectual abilities. 



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Envisioned Possible Selves

·       You can create specific self-images of future successes and failures. These possible selves are developed from your personal experiences, and sociocultural influences that shape your life pursuits. Possible selves that are well-articulated serve multiple purposes.


·       Possible selves provide a theoretical framework for interpreting your experiences; they influence the way you think about your potential and life options.


·       Possible selves guide your direction of action and motivate your pursuit of specific, personalized goals.


·       Self-Images greatly help create envisioned possible selves well when they include the relevant plans and personalized strategies for realizing your desired possible futures.


·       Ill-defined possible selves remain but idle fantasies. Non-specific envisioned future selves capture a theatrical portrayal of a character who never quite manages to get their act together. Reflecting on their unrealized ambitions leads them to the undeniable insight: “All my life I’ve wanted to be somebody. But I see now I should have been more specific in my life pursuits.”


·       You possess a variety of possible selves that reflect your hopes and dreams. Positive envisioned selves motivate and guide you to realize desired futures. However, unwanted and feared selves can block action or prompt avoidance of what you may be afraid of becoming. If combined with positive images, however, they can serve as additional motivators to do what is needed to avoid envisioned unwanted futures or to prepare to cope with them. Due to this additive motivational effect, the balance of positive and negative possible selves might be more influential in shaping your desired self than either the positive or negative visualized selves alone.


·       Positive anticipatory thinking is the primary means by which your self-images get translated into behavioral abilities and positive life outcomes.


·       People who are successful at realizing an envisioned desired self, guide and motivate their efforts through the utilization of self-regulation techniques.  



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

One to Remember...

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Potato Chip Topping

This recipe provides 6 servings. 


1)    ¼ cup salted butter, plus more for garnish

2)    1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3)    1 (8 ounce) package sliced cremini mushrooms

4)    1 teaspoon sea salt

5)    ¼ cup all-purpose flour

6)    2 cups whole milk

7)    1 cup chicken broth

8)    8 ounces uncooked medium pasta shells

9)    12 ounce tuna in water, drained

10)  2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

11) Pepper to taste

12) 1 cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese

13) 11/2 cups potato chips



1)    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter.

2)    Melt ¼ cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, approximately 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, and the mushrooms, and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  

3)    Sprinkle with flour, and cook, stirring constantly, approximately 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly; stir in the broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, approximately 2 minutes.

4)    Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, and return to the saucepan. Add the mushroom mixture, tuna, and parsley; stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with the pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon of sea salt.

5)    Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the cheese and crumbled potato chips. Bake until the top is golden brown and the edges are bubbly, approximately 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving, sprinkled with more parsley if desired. 





Saturday, September 12, 2020

Try this...


Creamy Asparagus Potato Salad




1)    1 pound asparagus (trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces)

2)    1 pound quartered baby potatoes

3)    ½ cup crème fraiche

4)    ¼ cup chopped chervil

5)    ¼ cup chopped chives

6)    2 tablespoons olive oil

7)    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

8)    2 tablespoons chopped dill

9)    Sea salt to taste

10) Freshly ground pepper to taste




1)    Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water until crisp tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to ice water to cool; drain.


2)    Add quartered baby potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes, then drain.



3)    Whisk ½ cup crème fraiche, ¼ cup each chopped chervil, and chives, and 2 tablespoons each olive oil, white wine vinegar and chopped dill in a large bowl. Add the asparagus and potatoes; season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and toss. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving.






Thursday, September 10, 2020

Good to Know Info...




Glutathione is another antioxidant that fights free-radicals with anti-inflammatory properties.


Glutathione is available as a supplement and also can be found naturally in plant foods including asparagus, apples, avocados, garlic, grapefruit, spinach, tomatoes, and milk thistle.   

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

3 Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet


Day 1:

Breakfast: Poached eggs served on fat-free refried beans topped with salsa, and sliced avocado on the side.

Lunch: Blueberry, banana smoothie made with coconut water and frozen banana

Snack: Cup of diced cantaloupe 

Dinner: Chicken curry made with sweet potato, broccoli, and cauliflower


Day 2:

Breakfast: Spinach and mushroom frittata

Lunch: Fruit salad made from your favorite seasonal fruits

Snack: A serving of almonds

Dinner: Bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and diced tomatoes with chicken chunks, season with cayenne pepper for a little kick. Serve with quinoa.


Day 3:

Breakfast: Oatmeal, add fruit like sliced banana or fresh dark-colored berries and a handful of walnuts.

Lunch: Roasted sweet potato cut into strips like fries and served with avocado dip for a tasty paring.

Snack: Cup of cherries

Dinner: Chicken breast seasoned with fresh herbs, zesty lemon, steamed broccoli, and a serving of steamed brown rice.