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Who cares how anyone says it… let’s just keep eating this wonderful vegetable (or, you know, technically a fruit… but who’s categorizing?). When cooked, tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is good for prostate health. Plus, they’re just … delicious, especially at this time of year.
We’re in tomato season. Take advantage of it while you can! Fresh, organic, in-season tomatoes are delicious. Get them from your backyard or from the farmer’s market or from a roadside stand. Try different varieties, especially the heirloom varieties. Just wash and eat!
fresh and raw
sprinkled with herb salt
drizzled with olive oil
splashed with balsamic vinegar
tossed with fresh herbs
ALT * Avocado, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich BLT * Bean-spread, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich CLT * Cucumber, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich DLT * okay, we’re stuck here, because daikon doesn’t sound like sandwich material to us (but it could be great, and we just don’t know it yet)
can you get all the way to …
… ZLT * Zucchini, Lettuce, and Tomato
Roasted Baby Tomatoes
Use these warm on pasta, cold on salad.
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 pint yellow pear tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash the tomatoes, and dry them on a dish towel. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss the tomatoes with the oil and seasoning (use your hands; it’s easier). Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have split their skins and are starting to turn black.
Sign up for a local fundraiser – you know, a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon or dance-a-thon.
Raise money for a worthy cause while getting in shape yourself. Many of these events are family friendly. Some are team events, so you can invite friends, neighbors, and co-workers to join your team, or to form a team for some friendly competition.
Be sure to warm up to the event by training for several weeks ahead of time.
To increase circulation in the lungs, heart, and small intestine, as well as work on your abs and glutes, spend a few minutes doing the Bridge Pose. Do this pose three times, breathing through your nose.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor directly under your knees.
Place your arms at your sides, with your palms flat on the floor.
As you inhale, press your palms and feet into the floor. Contract your abs to lift your hips. Rest your weight on your arms – not your neck. Tighten your glutes to hold the pose, and hold for 5-10 deep breaths.
On the last exhalation, lower your hips to the floor. Take three deep belly breaths.
When was the last time you looked down at your plate and found you’d finished everything?
Awareness of what goes into our mouths can help curb how much really gets in.
Get real and acknowledge all the tastes you take while cooking, the food you finish from the kids’ plates while clearing the table, the last bites of what you served that don’t deserve their own container in the fridge.
Get real with the trips to the vending machine, the treats on the receptionist’s desk, and the over-sized business lunch portions.
Get real with the food you pick up on the run – the drive-through, the granola bars in your purse or briefcase, and everything you put in your coffee.
The easiest way to get real is to write it down. Keep a food journal, and commit to recording every single thing you put in your mouth. Do it for a week and see the difference it makes in what you eat. Do it for a month and see the difference it makes on the scale. You don’t need to D.I.E.T. at all!
It’s summer, and if your feet are like ours, they’re taking a beating. We go barefoot in the sand, on lawns and sidewalks, and even around the house. We wear flip-flops and sandals that expose our callouses. Pedicures are great, but seriously, we don’t have the time to do that every day – or every other day.
A nice relaxing soak in warm water for just 10-15 minutes helps our feet feel and look better. And we can soak them while surfing the web, catching up on emails, watching our latest Netflix film, or reading a book.
There are plenty of foot soak and foot bath product on the market. We like to keep it simple, with warm water and one or two of these add-ins.
epsom salts * to relieve sore and aching muscles
baking soda * to soften skin
dead sea salts * to revive swollen feet
peppermint oil * to invigorate tired toes
tea tree oil * to fight fungal infections
lavender oil * to calm inflammed skin, and to ease fatigue
citrus essential oils + crushed mint leaves * to refresh hot feet
This song always reminds us of summer nights, wishing we could play and sing like this in a club like Birdland. Since that isn’t going to happen (at least according to the people who have heard us sing).
You know what else people do in jazz clubs?
There’s a strong rhythm, and a funky melody. Let loose and enjoy it – dare you to make it all 6 minutes.
Take 5 minutes today and go through one of your kitchen cupboards. Throw out all the food saboteurs you find there. That means all of it – the chips, crackers, cookies, candies, box dinner mixes, pancake syrup – anything loaded with sugars, unhealthy fats, and chemicals. We all buy those foods with good intentions. You know, that righteous feeling of “I can stare temptation in the face and be victorious!”
Instead of forcing ourselves to face that temptation (day after day), maybe we should just, you know, remove it, and get that righteous feeling from having one* good sabotage-free cupboard.
So many times you think you are hungry – but if you thought about it a moment, stepped back from it and processed those feelings, you’d find something altogether different.
If you’re watching television, and a food commercial comes on, you can actually become hungry just looking at the juicy, ripe fruit, or the crisp vegetables. If you’re at a restaurant, having just finished a perfectly delicious and satisfying meal, and your server brings the dessert tray over – you may feel hungry all over again.
Madison Avenue loves that what we see makes us hungry. They make millions from it.
What is it we’re seeking when we get hungry with our eyes?
Surround yourself with beauty, and your eyes will become satisfied, not seeking fulfillment in food.
Set a beautiful table – even if it’s just for you, even if it’s just at your desk.
Use table linens, flowers, candles, and beautiful dishes. Use the “good” stuff (you’re worth it).
Use cloth napkins for your brown bag lunches – try different ones each day.
Serve food attractively – garnish your plates, consider the colors of the food you’re serving.
Keep a vase of flowers at your workspace, whether that’s your desk or the kitchen windowsill. Or both.
Pay attention to the visual feast that is your life. Look and enjoy.
If you participate regularly in a faith community, you will benefit physically, not just spiritually or emotionally. Studies* have shown that active participation – that means regular attendance and volunteering – enhance well-being and possibly reduce mortality.
People who attend church are less likely to engage in harmful behaviors and more likely to adopt healthful behaviors. The forced schedule of decompression, self-reflection, and meditation that is part of worship services helps mitigate stress. The faith community also provides a social network, where people can make new friends. All of these lead to a longer, healthier life.
If you don’t have a faith community to call your own, look around – check out groups that align (mostly) with your views on spirituality. If you’re not comfortable with the tradition you were raised with, that’s okay – it’s better to find one that fits.
* Journal of Health and Social Behavior (2004), and the NIH Adventist Health Study (1974-1988).
What’s your plan for today?
What do you need to catch up on?
What task keeps rolling over on your “to-do” list?
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the end of every week, and suffering (please, no martyr games!) through the weekend to get done whatever you think you’re “supposed” to do – maybe it’s time to rethink your system.
First, make a list of what’s overwhelming you. Include all the simple things from those first three questions at the top of this post.
Second, ask yourself if there is anything on that list that can just wait. Do you have to shampoo your carpeting and wash all the window treatments in the same weekend? Do you have to clean out every closet in one day? No. No, you do not. Solution number one: Pace yourself.
Next, identify what items can be delegated, and to whom. Really. Who can do laundry? Anyone over the age of 10. Who can do the grocery shopping? Your partner, especially if there’s a list. Who can shampoo the carpets? Umm – the carpet cleaners? Solution number two: Ask for help; then accept it.
Finally, create some time just for family and friends. No tasks – just fun. Fun and games, fun and food, fun and sun.