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The school calendar, which rules so much of our lives, is suspended. Even if no one in your house is in school, you probably feel the effects of no school in all kinds of other areas.
People come out of hibernation – neighborhoods come alive with socialization and activity. Walking paths and beaches are busy.
All those evening-only activities crowd into the daytime… and more hours of daylight means there’s more daytime for those activities.
Sit down with your family and plan your summer. Figure out what you want your summer to be about – is it all rest & relaxation? Or do you have goals for a garden? For learning something new? For connecting with friends and neighbors? Plan the vacations, and the ball games and performances, and the weddings and graduations, and the holidays. And then plan your daily exercise. Plan your play time. Plan your parties.
Become aware of the things you do in your day that waste time. Recreation and relaxation don’t count – those can be emotionally and physically therapeutic, so build those into your day. But we all engage in activities that serve no purpose (many of them include our phones, computers, televisions, and couches).
Identify those time killers and replace them with more productive activities. If you’re confused about whether Angry Birds or Facebook is relaxing or wasteful for you, set a timer for 10 minutes when you start, so you don’t get sucked in. When the timer goes off, do something productive. (And next time, choose a book you’ve wanted to read, or take a bath, or take time out to meditate or pray when you need to relax.)
It’s been raining for what seems like ever, hasn’t it? It’s making us feel lazy on this particular day. Here’s a song for being lazy – not that we advocate it as a regular habit. Enjoy the humor, then get going and do something – anything – to get your day started.
Oh, and since we’ve mentioned rain – you can text REDCROSS to 90999 and $10 will be added to your phone bill and donated to the Red Cross for disaster relief efforts throughout the USA. If you want to target your giving go here to donate. (We’re glad to report that member Dana and her family in Joplin are all fine.) Consider making a monthly donation to your local Red Cross chapter, too. Or donate blood. Or become a disaster volunteer.
FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. (Hey, we know those guys! They’ve written some of our favorite books – The China Study by Dr. Campbell and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Esselstyn.)
The filmmakers travel with Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn on their separate but similar paths, from their childhood farms where they both produced “nature’s perfect food”; to China and Cleveland, where they explored ideas that challenged the established thinking and shook their own core beliefs.
The idea of food as medicine is put to the test. Throughout the film, cameras follow “reality patients” who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes. Doctors teach these patients how to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments—while the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed.
Check here for theaters showing Forks Over Knives in the USA. Check here for theaters showing Forks Over Knives in Canada.
Once in awhile it’s good to take a minute (or 5) to think about why we do what we do – so why do you exercise? (And if you don’t, why do you wish you did?)
Do you like the challenge of doing something physical?
Do you want to be stronger?
Do you want to lose weight?
Do you want to reshape your body – become leaner and more muscular?
Do you do it because you know it’s good for you?
Do you like the socialization – exercising with friends?
Do you like the alone time – away from other responsibilities in your life?
Do you do it because your doctor said to do it for your health?
Do you do it because you love yourself enough to do it?
And if you don’t exercise – do you love yourself enough to start?
Since bones tend to deteriorate with age, it makes sense to take in more calcium as we get older, to help lower the risk of fractures in our hips and limbs. But how much additional calcium is enough? And is there such as thing as too much?
Yes, says Eva Warensjo, a researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden, who reports this week in the British Medical Journal that excessive calcium may actually cause, rather than prevent fractures….
The data suggest that current U.S. recommendations for calcium intake — at least 1,200 mg daily for women over age 50 to prevent fractures — may be too high. The guidelines represent the best available data linking calcium to bone health and reduced fracture risk, particularly in postmenopausal women, who are less able to build enough bone to keep up with skeletal deterioration. But scientists have been debating how valid this advice may be, since baseline levels of calcium at menopause tend to vary widely depending on women’s ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status and lifestyle.
The article clarifies that women have different needs for calcium based on their diet and exercise habits, as well as their personal physiology, but that the recommended amount of calcium in the US is probably too high for most women, and it may be lowered to 700-800 mg daily.
Consult with your health care professional before changing your supplements. And… (because we are who we are) (1) EAT MORE LEAFY GREENS, (2) DO WEIGHT-BEARING EXERCISE (like walking), and (3) QUIT SMOKING. Those things are in your control and can help improve your bone health.
We like simple breakfast foods most of the time – smoothies, bowls of fresh fruit, scrambled tofu or scrambled eggs, oatmeal – things like that. But on holiday weekends? We like something a little more complicated and a lot more fun. These flapjacks (pancakes) fit the bill.
The pancakes are fluffy and light, they’re fun to make with your kids, and they taste better than what you’ll find at the local diner. Serve with pure maple syrup, or top with macerated berries (Smush fresh berries with a little bit of sucanat – it’s easiest if you use a fork – and let them sit while you prepare the flapjacks. They’ll make their own sauce as they sit there.).
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ CORN MEAL FLAP JACKS Green * Serves 4
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 Tablespoons Sucanat®
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1-1/4 cups plain soy yogurt
2 large eggs (or equivalent En-Er-G egg replacer)
4 Tablespoons soy margarine, melted
warm maple syrup
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, Sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.. Stir together soy milk, soy yogurt and eggs with a fork in another bowl and stir into flour mixture with melted soy margarine just until incorporated.
Heat a lightly greased large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat until hot. Pour 1/4-cup measures of batter into skillet in batches, forming 3-1/2 inch cakes, and cook about 3 minutes, or until undersides are golden. Turn and cook 1 minute more, or until golden.
Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 250F oven while cooking remaining cakes.
Serve flapjacks with warm maple syrup or macerated fresh berries.