Category Archives: Diva Musings

Diva Musing: Breakfast at the Watering Hole…..

Standard

After I meditate and leave for the day, I usually eat a light breakfast before work… as I often don’t get to stop, even for a comfort break, all day.  Recently I’ve started going to the Taco Bell near here.  I sit and send my morning motivational texts to friends and family, while listening to joyful music from the 50-60’s… which won’t mean much to you younger lot.  However,  I smile and enjoy some of the best coffee ever and ease slowly into my day; thanking the Universe for making such a great way for me to start my mornings. 

How about you my Divakind? Are you good to yourself from dawn to dusk?  Do you take the time needed to “smell the roses”, hug the pups or kids, enjoy the simple settings around you no matter what? 

I encourage you to try it!  Your day just goes better and you get more out of it.  Find a good local near you and try it. If you are a stay at home Diva then get the morning…”must do’s” done… sit quietly in your meditation space and enjoy your cup of coffee there.  Drink in the silence of your own safe space.  Feel the flow of your calmly beating heart and enjoy what the Universe offers each new day.. We love you….   Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Musing: I found a good calorie counter….

Standard

I was looking for an online calorie counter and found this great website below. I looked up the calories and fat in an apple fritter and almost stroked from seeing it!!!! I have got to do better. If you are on a …” I’ve Got To Do Better”….kick use this as a good tool to look up a few things that may lead to the dead butt like I’ve got now…..Namaste, The Queen Cronista….

Yup, dead butt syndrome is a thing. Also known as gluteal amnesia, it happens when your gluteus medius — one of your three butt muscles — stops working properly.

 

Most of us spent a good part of our day sitting down.  It’s. Just. Not. Good. For. You.
In addition to increased risks in health problems from sitting too much, you can also get “dead butt” syndrome.
Yup.  It’s a thing.
Think you’re safe because you exercise?  You might not be.  Runners, for example, are susceptible to dead but syndrome.
This Week’s Challenge
Get up off of that chair and get your rear in gear! And?  Do at least one of the exercises in the “
Dead Butt Syndrome:  How to Wake Up Your Butt and Get it Moving Again.”
You got this!
Are you on Facebook?  Come join me!  Check out these daily Facebook motivators.
Eat better, move more and believe in yourself,
Suzanne-
ACE-certified Health Coach & Fitness Nutrition Specialist
FitWatch – Eat Better. Move More. Believe in Yourself.
https://www.fitwatch.com

Our mailing address is:  FitWatch Inc.1900 Seguin;  Brossard, Quebec J4X 1K8;   Canada    https://www.fitwatch.com

 

Diva Musing: Summer Solstice….

Standard
I, myself, honor the miracle of creation and the changing of the seasons that is a part of this glorious Universe we live in. It is a spectacular event, if you think about it.  Today marks the summer solstice and I thought we’d wax ethereally down that road together…Namaste, The Queen Cronista….
sum·mer sol·stice
ˈsəmər ˈsälstəs,ˈsōlstəs/
noun:  the solstice that marks the onset of summer, at the time of the longest day, about June 21 in the northern hemisphere and December 22 in the southern hemisphere

The Spiritual Meaning of the Summer Solstice; By Grove Harris

The summer solstice is upon us: Things to know about the longest day of the year

Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the shortest night, and a tipping point: from here on out the days get shorter and the nights get longer. The solstice, sometimes called midsummer because by now farmers have long done their planting, is technically the first day of summer. It both ushers in the warmest season, and reminds that the season is short, slipping away day by day. For those who revere nature, summer solstice may be celebrated by a bonfire, and staying up to greet the dawn. Celebration may be a small private event, or a large communal event such as the Pagan Spirit Gathering held on beautiful rural land in Missouri, with ritual, prayers, altars and sacred space.

Celebration may be among a broader spectrum of people, such as the 35,000 who gathered at Stonehenge last year. BBC’s coverage of that event included an interview “with those who appreciate the solstice the most: ‘We believe it is very important for people to move with the cycles of nature, and actually feel them. If you get up early in the morning and you watch that special sunrise, you’ve been a part of it. The rest of the year is shaped by that. And we think it’s a really healthy thing to do, and a very spiritual thing to do.’” And clearly the large crowd shared at least some of this sentiment and journeyed to one of the world’s most renowned sacred spots to observe the sunrise. For those for whom this is a religious practice, there are variations on the rituals or traditions. Some will burn a Yule wreath in a bonfire; some will dance, drum, sing, and pray. The variations are endless — some rituals may be prescribed and ceremonial, while others will be more spontaneous: all are witnessing the turning of the wheel of the year. People attune themselves to the rhythms of the natural world and invite the seasons of waxing and waning, of birth, growth, death and renewal to reverberate more consciously in their lives.

Rituals for the day of longest light date back to ancient times, and Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites. Dating back to between 3000-1500 BCE, its main axis is aligned to the solstice sunrise. Many cultures and ethnicities have celebrated, from ancient Roman celebrations of Vesta to feast days in many cultures. In contemporary Goddess spirituality, the American writer Starhawk offers this litany for ritual:

…This is the time of the rose, blossom and thorn, fragrance and blood. Now on this longest day, light triumphs, and yet begins the decline into the dark. The Sun King grown embraces the Queen of Summer in the love that is death because it is so complete that all dissolves into the single song of ecstasy that moves the worlds. So the Lord of Light dies to Himself, and sets sail across the dark seas of time, searching for the isle of light that is rebirth. We turn the Wheel and share his fate, for we have planted the seeds of our own changes and to grow we must accept even the passing of the sun. (The Spiral Dance, HarperCollins, 1999, p. 205)…

While Pagans hold religious ritual on the solstice, there are many public celebrations that also acknowledge the turning of the wheel of the year. Summer is widely seen as a good reason to celebrate! In Detroit, the River Days festival culminates with fireworks on the solstice, meeting fire with fire. Such celebrations build community and focus on the pleasures of the warm season, but without a religious intention.

Honoring the solstice can remind us just how precious each day and season is, because the truth of its passing away is also acknowledged. Gifts need to be appreciated, not taken for granted. Some will use their religious ritual to raise energy for healing, for re-aligning and redressing environmental wrongs, or for strengthening the sense of being part of nature, not set apart and individual, but interconnected in a larger whole, including the past, present and future. Such is the power of participating in the turning of the wheel of the year.

Diva Musing: Bacon!!!!!!!

Standard

The joy of every Southern Cook is bacon in a recipe.  This is the cleaner way I like to do mine….Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Oven Bacon is Best Thank you Allrecipe.com

Why Cook Bacon in the Oven?

So much win, we have to count the ways:

  1. Cook a whole pound of bacon at one time in just minutes
  2. Baked bacon cooks flat and doesn’t curl up
  3. No need to turn the bacon
  4. No grease burns on your skin
  5. No grease stains on your clothes
  6. No grease splatters all over your stove
  7. Free up space on your stovetop for other foods
  8. Super-easy cleanup
  9. Baking makes it possible to make candied bacon
  10. Bacon is it’s own best reason to cook bacon

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Adapted from The Easiest Way to Cook Bacon
Ingredients
1 pound thick-cut bacon

Equipment
Large rimmed baking sheet
Aluminum foil
Baking rack (Optional: Cooking the bacon on a rack makes the bacon crisper, and lets the grease drip off the bacon as it cooks.)

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 400° F. You won’t be broiling the bacon, so put your oven rack in the middle of your oven to distribute the heat evenly.
1. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil extends up the sides of the pan so it captures all the bacon grease and clean-up is easier.
2. Arrange bacon strips directly on the foil. It’s okay if the bacon overlaps slightly, because it will shrink slightly as it bakes. OR place the bacon on a rack. Place the baking pan in the oven.
3. Cook bacon for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how chewy or crispy you like your bacon.
4. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined platter. The extra grease will be absorbed by the paper towels, and the bacon will crisp up a bit as it cools. You can then transfer it to a clean plate to serve.

Notes From Home Cooks

  • No baking rack? No problem. Line the baking sheet, then crumple up some more foil and lay the bacon on that to hold it up out of the grease.
  • Your baking time may differ. No two ovens bake at exactly the same temperature. You’ll probably need to do this a few times to find the right time/temperature that works for you.
  • Prevent oven splatters. This from Cindy Capps Lepp: Lay a layer of foil over the bacon; this will keep grease from spitting all over the oven. Remove the foil for the last few minutes of cooking for “final crisping.”
  • Clean up is a snap. Just let the bacon grease cool in the pan (save it if you want), then roll up the aluminum foil and toss it.

Diva Musing…. Healing Herbs for The Garden…

Standard

I’m on a health kick as we continue to plant our gardens.  I’m a firm believer in alternative healing physical and medicine.  Whether it is holistic, Ayurveda; Native American, Shamanic or Oriental.  They all lend wonderful healing to the world.  God’s pharmacy as I like to call it.  Study, discern, listen to your body….Heal!!  

Namaste, The Queen Cronista

P.S. this one did not convert as hoped but the website is there for your review….

http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/plants-for-healing.html?t=HHL

11 Powerful Native American Medicinal Cures
The Cherokee is a Native American tribe that is indigenous to the Southeastern United States. They believe that the Creator has given them a gift of understanding and preserving medicinal herbs. The Cherokee trust the healing and preventative properties of nature’s pharmacy. Because many plants become scarce throughout history, the Cherokee promote proper gathering techniques.

  • The Cherokee is a Native American tribe that is indigenous to the Southeastern United States. They believe that the Creator has given them a gift of understanding and preserving medicinal herbs. The Cherokee trust the healing and preventative properties of nature’s pharmacy. Because many plants become scarce throughout history, the Cherokee promote proper gathering techniques.

The old ones have taught them that if you are gathering, you should only pick every third plant you find. This ensures that enough specimens remain and will continue to propagate. Here are some of the medicinal plants that were commonly used and foraged for by the Cherokee tribe. 

11 Medicinal Plants For Healing

1. Blackberry

To the Cherokee, the blackberry is the longest known remedy to an upset stomach. However, this herb can be used for just about anything. Using a strong tea from the root of blackberry helps to reduce swelling of tissue and joints. A decoction of the roots, sweetened with honey or maple syrup, makes an excellent cough syrup. Even chewing on the leaves of blackberry can soothe bleeding gums. (source)

Some other health benefits of blackberry fruit include

These tasty berries are also incredibly nutritious. Vitamins provided by blackberries include vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. Blackberries also have an incredible mineral wealth of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and essential amino acids.

2. Hummingbird Blossom (Buck Brush)

The Cherokee has used hummingbird blossom for the treatment of cysts, fibroid tumors, inflammation, and mouth/throat problems. Present day research has concluded that this herb is also ideal for treating high blood pressure and lymphatic blockages. (source)

The Cherokee mainly use hummingbird blossom as a diuretic to stimulate kidney function; however, it was also used to treat conditions such as:

  • Inflamed tonsils

  • Enlarged lymph nodes

  • Enlarged spleens

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Menstrual bleeding. 

To get all of the benefits from hummingbird blossom, the Cherokee would steep the leave and flowers in boiling water for about five minutes then drink the tea while it is still warm.

3. Cattail

The Cherokee consider this herb to not exactly be a healing medicine, but rather a preventative medicine. It is an easily digestible food that can help with recovery from illnesses. Almost every part of this herb, except for the mature leaves and seed heads, can be used for medicinal purposes. The root of cattail is high in starch, and the male plants are high in pollen content.

Cattail root can be prepared much like potatoes, boiled and mashed. The resulting paste is a great remedy for burns and sores. The pollen from cattail is a great source of protein and can be used as a supplement in baking. The fuzz from flowers called the seed down can also be used to prevent skin irritation in babies, such as diaper rash. The flowers of cattail can even be eaten to help with diarrhea.

4. Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbriar)

The roots of this herb are high in starch while the leaves and stems are rich in various vitamins and minerals. Due to the rubbery texture of Greenbriar, its roots can be used like potatoes. The starch in the root of Greenbriar has a harsh, strange taste but is rich in calories.

The Cherokee use Greenbriar as a blood purifier and mild diuretic that treats urinary infections. Many Cherokee healers make an ointment from the leaves and bark and apply it to minor sores and burns. The leaves from this herb can even be used in your tea to treat arthritis! The berries of Greenbrier can be eaten raw or made into jams. They make great vegan jello shots too.

5. Mint

Cherokee is a Native American tribe that is indigenous to the Southeastern United States. They believe that the Creator has given them a gift of understanding and preserving medicinal herbs. The Cherokee trust the healing and preventative properties of nature’s pharmacy. Because many plants become scarce throughout history, the Cherokee promote proper gathering techniques.1.

6. Mullein

This herb has the power to soothe asthma and chest congestion. According to the Cherokee, inhaling the smoke from burning mullein roots and leaves works miracles to calm your lungs and open up pathways. (2Mullein is exceptionally helpful to soothe the mucous membranes.

You can make a warm decoction and soak your feet in it to reduce swelling and joint pain. Due to mullein’s anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes painful and irritated tissue. (3) Mullein flowers can be used to make tea which has mild sedative effects.

7. Qua lo ga (Sumac)

Every single part of this herb can be utilized for medicinal purposes! Sumac bark can be made into a mild decoction that can be taken to soothe diarrhea. The decoction of the bark can also be gargled to help with a sore throat. Ripe berries can make a pleasant beverage that is rich in Vitamin C. (4)

The tea from the leaves of sumac can reduce fevers. You can even crush the leaves into an ointment to help relieve a poison ivy rash. A study published in Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research reported that sumac if added to the daily diet, can help lower cholesterol levels (source).

8. Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)

The Cherokee recommend a mild tea, made from the root of wild ginger, to stimulate better digestion. This herb can also help with intestinal gas, upset stomach, and colic. A strong tea from the root of wild ginger can be used to remove secretion from the lungs. 

The Meskwaki, another Native American tribe, use crushed, steeped stems of wild ginger as a relief from earaches. (5) You can use rootstocks from this herb as a substitute for regular ginger and flowers as the flavoring for your favorite recipe!

10. Squirrel Tail (Yarrow)

This herb is known best for its blood clotting properties. Fresh, crushed leaves can be applied to open wounds to stop excess bleeding. Yarrow’s juice, mixed with spring water, can stop internal bleeding from stomach and intestinal illnesses. You can also use the leaves to make tea which will stimulate abdominal functions and assist in proper digestion. (source)

11. Kawi Iyusdi (Yellow Dock)

The Cherokee often use this herb in their kitchen. It is very similar to spinach but contains a lot more vitamins and minerals due to its long roots that gather nutrients from deep underground. The leaves of yellow dock are a great source of iron and can also be used as a laxative. (11)

You can even prepare a juice decoction out of yellow dock stems from treating minor sores, diaper rash, and itching. The Cherokee healers use a decoction, made from the crushed roots of yellow dock, as a warm wash for its antiseptic properties. (12)

You should always remember that all of the above-mentioned medicinal plants are very potent and might be dangerous if used in the wrong way. The Cherokee healers have many centuries of practice and experience. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that these herbs are all very valuable! They are the nature’s pharmacy, so please be kind and caring when scavenging any of these.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Sources:

  1. White wolf pack. 12 of Nature’s Most Powerful Medicinal Plants From Traditional Cherokees
    http://www.whitewolfpack.com/2015/09/12-of-natures-most-powerful-medicinal.html   Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  2. Organic facts. Health benefits of blackberry https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/blackberries.html Accessed: January 16, 2017

  3. Legends of America. Herbs and healing properties page 2 http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-herbs2.html Accessed: January 16, 2017

  4. Plants for a future. Ceanothus cuneatus http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ceanothus+cuneatus Accessed: January 16, 2017

  5. Bio Brandeis. Medicinal plants of the northeast http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/medicinal_plants/pages/Common_Cattail.html Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  6. Foraging Texas. Greenbrier http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/greenbriar.html Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  7. Montana Native plans and early peoples. Buckbrush https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=X9W1VlJmLNEC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=buckbrush+lymph&ots=JfK2zJZoJo&sig=jIcLJndFcrVE_AWR4MbnhMyVc4w#v=onepage&q&f=false Published: 1976. Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  8. Medical News today. Mint: Health benefits, uses and risks http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275944.php Published: February 16, 2016. Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  9. Heal with food. Sumac- A spice with health benefits http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/sumac-spice-good-for-you.php Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  10. Mother earth living. Herb to know: wild ginger http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/an-herb-to-know-wild-ginger.aspx Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  11. Wild foods and medicine. Wild rose flower http://wildfoodsandmedicines.com/wild-rose-flower/ Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  12. The Herbal Academy. https://theherbalacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Native-American-Herbal-Medicine-In-a-Piegan-Lodge-Edward-S.-Curtis-Public-domain-via-Wikimedia-Commons.jpg Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  13. Ascension lifestyle. http://ascensionlifestyle.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/native-smudging-1.jpg Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  14. Shutterstock. http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/314083/303773660/stock-photo-cattails-and-reeds-303773660.jpg Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  15. Vetanat. Morphometric Study on the Digestive System of the Wild Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis).
    http://www.vetanat.com/v15-pdf/5.pdf  Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

  16. NCBI. Rubus fruticosus (blackberry) use as an herbal medicine
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127818/ Published: 2014. Accessed: January 16, 2017. 

Diva Musing: Summer Health…

Standard

I searched the web and found a creative article on ways to use vegetables for a healthier lifestyle.  Enjoy the summer bounty!  Namaste, The Queen Cronista….

17 Creative Ways to Eat More Vegetables

SOURCE: CURE JOY https://authoritynutrition.com/17-ways-to-eat-more-veggies/?utm_source=notification&utm_medium=standard

Including vegetables in your diet is extremely important. Veggies are incredibly rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which boost your health and help fight off disease.

Additionally, they are beneficial for weight control due to their low calorie content.

Health authorities around the world recommend that adults consume several servings of vegetables each day, but this can be difficult for some people.

Some find it inconvenient to eat vegetables, while others are simply unsure how to prepare them in an appetizing way.

This article will cover 17 unique ways you can incorporate vegetables into your diet, so that you never get sick of eating them.

1. Make Veggie-Based Soups

Soups are an excellent way to consume multiple servings of vegetables at once.

You can make veggies the “base” by pureeing them and adding spices, such as in this tomato soup recipe.

Furthermore, it’s simple to cook veggies into broth- or cream-based soups.

Adding even a small amount of extra veggies, such as broccoli, to soups is a great way to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

For example, this recipe for broccoli veggie soup contains 1/2 cup (78 grams) of broccoli per serving, which provides a significant amount of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate (1).

Here are a few other veggie-based soup recipes for you to try:

2. Try Zucchini Lasagna

Another creative way to eat more veggies is by making zucchini lasagna.

Traditional lasagna is a pasta-based dish made by layering lasagna noodles with sauce, cheese and meat. It’s tasty, but it’s also typically very high in carbs.

A great way to prepare this delicious dish so that it has a lower carb content and more nutrients is to replace the lasagna noodles with strips of zucchini.

Zucchini is a rich source of B vitamins and vitamin C, in addition to trace minerals and fiber (2).

This recipe for zucchini lasagna is fairly simple to make by combining zucchini with ground beef, cheese and a variety of other veggies.

3. Experiment With Veggie Noodles

Veggie noodles are easy to make, and a great way to get more veggies in your diet. They’re also an excellent low-carb substitute for high-carb foods, such as pasta.

They are made by inserting vegetables into a spiralizer, which processes them into noodle-like shapes.

You can use a spiralizer for almost any type of vegetable. They are commonly used for zucchini, carrots and sweet potatoes.

Once the “noodles” are made, they can be consumed just like pasta and combined with sauces, other vegetables or meat.

Here are some veggie noodle recipes for you to try:

4. Add Veggies to Sauces

Adding extra vegetables to your sauces is a sneaky, unique way to increase your veggie intake.

While you are cooking sauce, such as marinara sauce, simply add some veggies of your choice to the mix, such as chopped onions, carrots, spinach or bell peppers.

You can also puree certain veggies with seasonings and make them into a sauce on their own.

Here are some examples of sauce recipes that incorporate extra veggies:

5. Make a Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower is extremely versatile, and there are many unique ways to include it in your diet.

One strategy is to replace regular, flour-based pizza crust with a cauliflower crust, such as this one, which is made by combining cauliflower with eggsalmond flour and some seasonings.

You can then add your own toppings, such as fresh veggies, tomato sauce and cheese.

Substituting cauliflower crust for flour-based crusts is an excellent way to enjoy the delicious taste of pizza, while reducing your intake of carbs and calories.

A cup (100 grams) of cauliflower contains only 5 grams of carbs and 25 calories, in addition to lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which flour-based crusts lack (3).

6. Blend With Smoothies

Smoothies make for a refreshing breakfast or snack.

Typically, they are made by combining fruit with ice, milk or water in a blender. However, you can also add veggies to smoothies without compromising the flavor.

Fresh, leafy greens are common smoothie additions, such as in this recipe, which combines kale with mango, peaches, ginger and some other flavorings.

Adding spinach and kale to smoothies is an easy way to get more nutrients.

Just 1 cup (30 grams) of spinach contains 181% of your daily needs for vitamin K and 56% for vitamin A. The same serving of kale provides 206% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 134% for vitamin C and 684% for vitamin K (45).

In addition, frozen zucchini, pumpkin, beets and sweet potatoes work well with smoothies, which you can try with the following recipes:

7. Add Veggies to Casseroles

Including extra veggies in casseroles is a unique way to increase your veggie intake.

Casseroles are a dish that combines pieces of meat with chopped vegetables, cheese, potatoes and a grain, such as rice or pasta. As you might expect, traditional casseroles are typically very high in refined carbs and calories.

Luckily, you can reduce calories and carbs in your casseroles by replacing the grains with veggies, such as broccoli, mushrooms, celery or carrots.

This casserole recipe incorporates eggs, coconut milk and spices with broccoli, onions and mushrooms.

These veggies contain a combination of several important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants (678).

8. Cook a Veggie Omelet

Omelets are a great dish to include in your diet if you want to eat more veggies.

They are made by frying beaten eggs with a small amount of butter or oil in a pan, and then folding them around a filling that often includes cheese, meat, vegetables or a combination of the three.

Any type of veggie tastes great in omelets. Spinach, onions and tomatoes are common additions.

You can also add chopped bell peppers to omelets, such as in this recipe, which is a great way to enhance your intake of vitamin C and vitamin A (910).

9. Prepare Savory Oatmeal

Savory oatmeal is a great dish that will incorporate more veggies into your diet.

Oatmeal is typically consumed as a sweet breakfast food, often combined with fresh fruit, raisins or cinnamon.

However, you can also enjoy it as a savory meal by adding eggs, spices and lots of veggies.

This recipe for savory oatmeal includes onions, mushrooms, collard greens and tomatoes, all of which provide a healthy combination of nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium (681112).

Here are a couple other savory oatmeal recipes for you to try:

10. Try a Lettuce Wrap or Veggie Bun

Using lettuce as a wrap or certain veggies as buns in place of tortillas and bread is an easy way to eat more veggies.

Lettuce wraps can be a part of several types of dishes, and are often used to make low-carb sandwiches and bunless burgers.

Additionally, many types of veggies, such as portobello mushroom caps, sliced sweet potatoes and sliced eggplant make excellent buns.

Lettuce wraps and veggie buns are an easy way to reduce your calorie intake, as one lettuce leaf contains only one calorie. Refined bread is much higher in calories (1314).

Furthermore, replacing flour-based products with veggies is a great way to reduce your carb intake, while consuming lots of nutrients.

The following recipes are a great place to start with lettuce wraps and veggie buns:

11. Grill Veggie Kebabs

Veggie kebabs are a great dish to try if you want to increase your veggie intake.

To make them, place chopped vegetables of your choice on a skewer and cook on a grill or barbecue.

Bell peppers, onions and tomatoes work well for kebabs. You can also use mushrooms and zucchini, such as in this recipe.

12. Enjoy a Veggie Burger

Veggie burgers are a delicious and unique way to increase your veggie intake.

A burger is a sandwich consisting of a ground meat patty, typically made of beef, that is then placed inside of a bun with various toppings.

Burger patties can also be made by combining vegetables with eggs, nuts or nut flours and seasonings. Sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of vitamin A and antioxidants, are also commonly used to make veggie burgers (15).

The following recipes combine sweet potatoes with almond flour, egg and a variety of spices and chopped veggies, such as mushrooms and cauliflower:

You can take these recipes a step further by wrapping your veggie burger in a lettuce wrap, instead of a bun.

13. Add Veggies to Tuna Salad

Adding veggies to tuna salad is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.

In general, tuna salad is made by blending tuna with mayonnaise, but any type of chopped vegetable can be added to increase the flavor and nutrient content.

Onions, carrots, cucumber and spinach are common additions, such as in this recipe.

14. Make Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are an excellent dish to include in your diet if you want to increase your veggie intake.

They are made by stuffing halved bell peppers with cooked meat, beans, rice and seasonings, and then baking them in the oven.

Bell peppers are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A and C (9).

You can increase the nutrition content of stuffed bell peppers by including lots of extra veggies. Onions, spinach or cauliflower work well, such as in this recipe.

15. Add Veggies to Guacamole

It is fairly easy to add veggies to guacamole, and makes for a unique way to increase your veggie intake.

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip made by mashing ripe avocados and sea salt together with lemon or lime juice, garlic and additional seasonings.

A variety of vegetables taste great when incorporated into guacamole. Bell peppers, tomatoes and onions are good options.

This recipe for veggie guacamole includes onion, carrots, zucchini and yellow squash, which provide a combination of fiber, vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C and manganese (2816).

You can also make guacamole with roasted vegetables, such as in this recipe.

16. Blend Veggies With Meatloaf

Another way to increase your veggie intake is by blending them with meatloaf.

Meatloaf is a dish made with a combination of ground meat and other ingredients, such as eggs, breadcrumbs and tomato sauce. It is then molded into the shape of a loaf, which is where it gets its name.

You can add just about any type of chopped vegetable to meatloaf, including onions, bell peppers, carrots and zucchini, such as in this recipe.

Additionally, you can make “meatloaf” that is completely veggie-based, like this one, which includes chickpeas, carrots, onions and celery.

17. Make Cauliflower Rice

A unique way to increase your veggie intake is by eating cauliflower rice.

It is made by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor into small granules. You can then use it raw or cooked as a substitute for regular rice.

Cauliflower rice is significantly lower in carbs than regular rice, with only 5 grams of carbs per cup, compared to 45 grams in a cup (158 grams) of rice (317).

Additionally, cauliflower is significantly higher in nutrients than rice. It is particularly high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium (3).

This recipe for cauliflower rice contains step-by-step directions on how to make it, in addition to some ideas for extra ingredients you can add to enhance its flavor.

The Bottom Line

There are many unique ways you can include more vegetables in your diet.

Make “rice” and “buns” with vegetables, or incorporate them into common dishes, such as casseroles and soups.

By making veggies a regular part of your eating habits, you’ll significantly increase your intake of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants.

Eating enough vegetables is also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and may be beneficial for weight control (1819).

At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong eating more veggies.

 

Diva Musing: FAMILY FUN….

Standard
I was reading this article today and it was like my beautiful daughter-in-law Jenni had written it herself. These are all activities we enjoy each time I visit her and my son and 2 grandsons.  She even created an outdoor drive-in on the back wall of the house for me so we could all expedience the fun of the old fashion drive in movie at home under the stars.  Popcorn included!  The zoo, planetarium, and museum included.   The sense her sons have of home and family will cause them to be great men, fathers and husbands.  Plus grandma enjoys too….
Namaste, The Queen Cronista

10 Activities That Will Strengthen Your Family Bond

A strong family bond creates happiness and security for each family member. When kids are bored, they may exhibit behavioral problems which cause parents to discipline them. This takes away from the happiness and feelings of security kids should have. If you do fun things with your kids that have elements of education hidden in them, everyone is happy.

Parents feel like they’re doing a good job raising kids that will become good people. Kids feel nurtured and cared about as their parents take time to be with them. Parents are the leaders of the family unit and it’s their responsibility to ensure bonding. It may not be easy with hectic lives but it’s essential to ensure a good foundation for healthy minded children. There are many fun family bonding activities that can bring a family together. See these ten activities that will strengthen your family bond.

10. Build a Family Tree Together

Building a family tree will give each member of the family a sense of identity as you learn where you came from. Building a family tree can be a daunting task for just one person so doing it together makes it easier. Start off by finding a template that allows you to easily add family members as you find them. Give each family member a task they’re responsible for. If you have older kids, get them to do some research online.

9. Eating Meals Together

For a family that is involved with individual activities, sitting down for dinner is important. Taking the time to enjoy food together while you touch base should be a nightly activity if possible.

You have the opportunity to talk about the details of your day. It allows you to find out on a daily basis what’s happening in school and social activities with your kids. Cooking together or cleaning up after dinner is good practice also. Getting your children to contribute to some of the domestic duties of the house will teach them about work ethic.

8. Play Board Games Together

Playing board games is fun and they’re designed to make you think. It doesn’t take that much time and you don’t have to leave the house. Building these memories for your children are invaluable to their state of mind and your own.

There are many board games designed to interest all members of your family regardless of age. Make it a weekly family engagement to have a games night. Teaming up with your kids is a great way to bond, especially if you happen to win. You’ll also have the opportunity to be a good sport in the event that you lose.

7. Volunteer Together As a Family

Volunteering is a great idea for a family on so many levels. Doing something deeply meaningful together brings you closer. You are teaching your kids how to have a humanitarian mindset at an early age.

Many experts suggest that volunteering boosts self-esteem and is good therapy for depression. Getting your kids volunteering at an early age gives them a good sense of self. This is essential when they become teenagers. Some options are serving meals at a shelter, helping a family in need over the holidays or doing a charity walk as a family unit.

6. Be Crafty Together

Kids love being creative as it gives them the opportunity to express themselves. Their finished craft project will be one of a kind which is how children discover their individuality. Many adults say they’re not creative but everyone is creative as art is whatever you want it to be.

Being creative is just as important as academic enhancement for children. Better still is when you involve yourself with the crafting projects as a means of bonding. It’s a lot of fun and you have the opportunity to learn something from your kids such as learning that coloring outside the lines isn’t so important.

5. Go Camping

Camping with the family is a valuable bonding experience as you get away from every day distractions. Whether you rough it in a tent or stay in a motor home, getting into nature with your family has many benefits. You can take the opportunity to educate your kids about the environment around them. You can teach them how to fish, go on hikes and explore the wilderness that surrounds you.

Being in close confines together is interesting in its own way and a brand new way of cohabiting together. You may have obstacle to overcome as camping isn’t always easy or convenient. Kids will find the small things interesting too like how you heat up water or make dinner without the standard kitchen.

4. Get Outdoors

If you don’t have time to go camping, take a day trip outdoors. Go for a hike and include a picnic lunch. In the summer, spend a day at the lake. Another great way to bond with your family is to go geo-caching. This involves getting a GPS system and finding the spot where a secret treasure has been hidden. Usually, the spot will include a stamp your kids can use to mark in their geo-caching passport. Kids especially love this activity as they love treasure hunting. Teaching your kids to love the outdoors at an early age will benefit them later in life as they make their own choice on activities.

3. Bedtime Bonding

When your kids are small, reading them a book before they go to sleep is a great way to bond. It gives you the opportunity to spend some relaxed time with your kids. They also have the opportunity to wind down and will tend to go to sleep more quickly. Families that go to church will often say prayers with each other before going to bed. If you’re not religious, it’s still a good habit to share what you’re grateful for. To acknowledge those who aren’t doing well in life and wish them the bet for them gives you and your family an appreciation for what you have. This gives your children a sense of gratitude for the life they have instead of taking it for granted.

2. Plant and Nurture a Tree or Garden

Many schools have an adopt-a-tree program where they’re given a sapling from their local forestry association. Planting a tree in your yard with your children is a great way to document the years that go by. It’s fun to get down in the dirt and out in nature with children as you teach them the lessons of how they play an important part in the environment.

Creating a family garden is another great way to bond with each other. Kids love to play in the dirt anyway so teach them how to assist in gardening. Smaller kids would be happy to pull weeds or plant seeds. Older kids can assist with fertilizing and daily watering.

1. Science Experiments

If you look online, you’ll find many easy science experiments you can do with your kids at home. You’ll probably only need everyday household items for any given project. It’s a fun way to spend time with your kids as they learn. The actions are fun but you also get your kids thinking about the scientific reaction of the project. Expanding your child’s mind in a fun way is an efficient way to ensure their mental development

http://healthprep.com/family-pregnancy/10-activities-that-will-strengthen-your-family-bond/10/

Diva Drifting: Daydreaming….

Standard

I’ve been finding myself drifting this summer.  Many stories say Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, daydreaming on a train!  My favorite quote in the world is Einstein “Imagination is better than Knowledge.”  I’ve re-posted the article below as a more technical review of it all. But Bottom line I believe daydreaming is good for the soul and spirit of creativity.  I’d love your thoughts on it.                              Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Everyone, or nearly everyone, reports daydreaming on a regular basis, with studies indicating that as many as 96% of adults engage in having at least one bout of daily fantasies. Psychologists have long been interested in the vagaries of our mental meanderings. William James, credited with being the founder of American psychology, famously studied streams of consciousness to provide “data” for his functionalist theory of the mind. In 1890, he wrote that “When absorbed in intellectual attention we become so inattentive to outer things as to be ‘absent-minded,’ ‘abstracted,’ or ‘distraits.’All revery or concentrated meditation is apt to throw us into this state that transient lapses in the control of attention may lead to a shift in attention from the external world to internal mentation.”

While James pursued his studies of consciousness, across the Atlantic, University of Leipzig psychologist Wilhelm Wundt used introspection to understand how the mind works. They may have had similar methods, but they had very different theories. James was interested in finding out how the mind adapts to experiences; Wundt wanted to learn about the mind’s structures. Today, neuroscientists combine the best of both of these worlds, looking at brain scans while their study participants complete various mental tasks.  Serendipitously, it was while studying the brain’s activation during tasks involving memory and attention that neuroscientists first discovered the neural basis for daydreaming. While in between tasks, the researchers noticed that a set of brain structures in their participants started to become more active. These same structures turned off as soon as the participants began to engage in the cognitive tasks that were the original focus of the research.

Eventually, scientists were able to pinpoint this set of specific brain structures which we now know as the brain’s “default network.”  This network links parts of the frontal cortex, the limbic system, and several other cortical areas involved in sensory experiences.  While active, the default network turns itself on and generates its own stimulation.  The technical term for such a product of the default network is “stimulus independent thought,” a thought about something other than events that originate from the outside environment.  In common speech, stimulus independent thoughts make up fantasies and daydream, the stuff of mind wandering.  

Apart from entertaining us when we’re bored, what does the default network do for us?  Some researchers propose that it’s actually a type of watchdog or sentinel, ready to spring into action when we need to attend to an outside stimulus.  However, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the default network is there to help us explore our inner experiences (Buckner et al., 2008).  Specifically, we engage our default network when we’re thinking about our past experiences, imagining an event that might take place in the future, trying to understand what other people are thinking, and assisting us in making moral decisions.  

It seems, then, that our default network makes daydreaming possible.  The effect of daydreaming on our psyche may depend, furthermore, on the nature of our daydreams. In a series of questionnaire studies, York University psychologist Raymond Mar and associates (2012) asked men and women ranging from 18 to 85 to report on the frequency and vividness of their daydreams as well as their life satisfaction, levels of loneliness, and social support. For men, the more frequent their daydreams, the lower their life satisfaction. For women, vividness but not frequency was related to lower life satisfaction. For both genders, people who daydreamed about their close family and friends reported higher levels of life satisfaction. Those who daydreamed about romantic partners that they didn’t currently have (past or potential), strangers, or fictional characters were lonelier, had less lower social support, and tended to have lower life satisfaction.

Although this was a correlational study, the Mar findings suggest ways to use daydreaming to your advantage. Your daydreams will be more likely to bring you happiness if they’re about the actual people you know rather than the imaginary people you would like to know.  The Mar findings also suggest that there are times when it’s better not to daydream.  Anytime you’ve drifted off to la-la land while someone is giving a boring talk, speech, or seminar, you may suddenly come to the realization that you have no idea what this person just said. You’ll be in trouble if you need to take a test or answer a question directed toward the inattentive you.  In a social situation, such as a date or family meal, the consequences can prove embarrassing if not relationship-killing.

Other evidence suggests that the content of your daydreams can interfere with your memory, even when you’ve paid attention to the information you’re trying to learn. University of North Carolina Greensboro psychologist Peter Delaney and colleagues (2010) instructed college student participants to daydream about a situation either very much like or very much unlike what they were doing at the moment. Those who were told to imagine themselves in very different circumstances had poorer memories than those who were instructed to daydream about someplace close.  If you’re going to engage in mental time travel, and there’s something you need to remember, better keep that travel pretty close to home. 

You might expect that with its tendency to reach inward, your default network’s activity could make you more creative.  This is only partly true.  University of British Columbia researchers Melissa Ellamil and her colleagues (2012) found that it’s the temporal lobe in the cortex that generates creative ideas. The default network decides whether to like those ideas or not.  Reinforcing Delaney’s findings regarding memory and daydreaming, Japanese researchers Hiraku Takeuchi and collaborators (2010) showed that the people more likely to generate creative ideas in a laboratory task were less able to deactivate their default networks.  Creativity may, then, come at a cost if your goal is to learn and remember new information.

These studies on daydreaming suggest 4 practical ways you can put your brain’s default network to best use for you:

1. Tune out your default network when you need to focus. Your best chance to learn something new comes when you deactivate the network. If you feel your inner thoughts are crowding out the new information, take that extra step to turn down their volume.

2. If your daydreams are bothering you, change them. We know from the Mar study that people who daydream about unobtainable relationships feel unhappier and less satisfied. As difficult as it may be, try to fantasize about the relationships you now have or those that you might reasonably be able to start in the near future.

3. Use your daydreams to help, not hurt, your memory. From the Delaney study, we learned that students who daydreamed about faraway places or situations had poorer memories than those whose daydreams stayed closer to their current realities. If you use your daydreams to elaborate on your experiences now, you’ll have a better chance of remembering those experiences in the future.

4. Don’t stifle your creativity, but don’t let it interfere with what you need to know. Creative people seem to be more likely to engage in flights of fancy, as the Takeuchi study showed. Before you let your imagination run rampant, make sure you’re paying enough attention to what is going on around you to get that information to stick in your long-term memory.

Your daydreams can mold your memory, your attention, and even your happiness within your relationships.  Daydreams may be the stuff of your brain’s default network, but they can also prove to be the source of your personal fulfillment.

Why and How You Daydream

What is the stuff of daydreams? Your brain’s default network may have the answer.
 

Diva Musing: Peaceful Warrior…

Standard

Several year ago I got hooked on Dan Millman’s books on “The Peaceful Warrior”… Subsequently I completed 2 summers of training in Shamanic Studies and Journeying on the Arizona desert with my Juicy Crone cohort.  We had a blast.  So between the Shamanism and Peaceful Warrior guidance I updated my thoughts on this topic today.  I hope you enjoy….Namaste, The Queen Cronista….

THE WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR

  • The way of the warrior is a philosophy of willpower.

  • The way of the warrior is a philosophy of self-reliance

  • The way of the warrior is to build an indomitable spirit.

  • The way of the warrior is to build an iron will

  • The way of the warrior is to believe you cannot fail in doing anything.

  • A warrior practices consistency and practices constantly.

  • A warrior has a sense of humor and laughs a lot.

  • A warrior lives by acting; not by thinking about acting.

  • To a warrior there are not wins or no losses, he abandons all desire.

  • A warrior does not worry about the past. He uses that only to improve today.

  • A warrior lets go of all obsessions and addictions.

  • A warrior knows that only he is responsible for his acts, decisions and emotions. He Controls.

  • A warrior is never idle and never in a hurry.

  • A warrior power is in his decision; never doubting, never falters or doubts

  • A warrior knows death rides on his left shoulder. If impatient he turns left and may ask advice of death. But a true warrior knows that Spirit is the only true guide he has.

  • A warrior’s motto is see it to the end, with planned action and without doubt or remorse.

  • To be a warrior you need to know a great deal and see the world in a different way.

  • A warrior must always be in balance with his surroundings.

  • A warrior leaves nothing to chance. He does not whine or complain.

  • A warrior stores power. A hunter of power watches all; and everything tells him a secret.

  • A warrior does not kill time. There is no time to waste; killing time weakens you.

  • A warrior pushes himself beyond his limits…at all times.

  • A warrior does not complain or regret anything.

  • A warrior’s life is endless challenges; nether good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.

  • A warrior conquers fear only by facing it.

  • The way of the Peaceful Warrior is a path through Nature of relating to tides.

  • The way of the Peaceful Warrior is knowing rhythms, tides and the pulse of the Earth.

  • The way of the Peaceful Warrior is experiencing a oneness with all things.

  • A Warrior must learn an endless capacity to improvise.

  • A Warrior accomplishes tasks quickly and with precision; there is no room to be haphazard.

  • A Warrior knows resources, he knows when, where and who and what to use.

  • A Warrior knows all limitations and respects them, he may even use that knowledge to advantage.

  • A Warrior is always alert. He never inattentive

  • A Warrior is always prepared for anything.

  • A Warrior seeks balance in all things continually.

  • A Warrior trusts the Universe and utilizes the source energies.

  • A Warrior knows how to flow with the stream and to utilize that flow.

  • A Warrior knows that in emptiness there is peace and revelation; he meditates often.

  • A Warrior knows that form follows thought and is careful to choose his thoughts wisely.

  • A Warrior maintains focus only in the present moment; he knows that is all there is, always.

  • A Warrior respects the power and abundance of nature and all it’s seasons and rhythms.