Good Night, Sleep Tight

Sleeping, From Behind the Pen, napping

All too often, I get excited about a project I’m working on and when it’s time to call it a night, I keep going because I am on a roll. While that may not be a problem if it occurs once in a while, I find that I allow myself to indulge in stretching my awake time far too often than I should. I am an early riser, and while that is a good thing I tend to also be a late retirer. Besides my occasional fatigue, I really did not give a whole lot of credence to the health and wellness implications due to my insufficient and erratic sleep patterns. 

Somehow, many of us have come to the conclusion that in our daily 24-hour span, we must somehow be compelled to use all 24 hours with activity. Where does that leave time for sleep and relaxation? Oh, you don’t think you have the luxury for that kind of time? Well, think again. If you don’t make the time, not find the time, but intentionally carve out a portion of the time you have to rest and relax, then you may be forced to do so.

What exactly do I mean? Well, since this is Better Sleep Month, I wanted to examine my sleep habits and how my lack of rest affects every facet of my being. Our bodies aren’t robotic, and rest and sleep are part of the natural course of life. It behooves you to relax, meditate and bask in overall daily gratitude. Learn how to breathe and not just suck in breaths. If we fail to sufficiently rest our bodies, then we may suffer the consequences of a complete shutdown where you can’t move no matter how hard you try.

Medical studies show that getting a good night’s sleep is quite beneficial to better health. Research has found a link between insufficient or the lack of sleep and how these elements are connected to serious health issues such as heart disease, obesity, weight gain, extreme fatigue, outright crankiness, and diabetes. Why put others at risk for your carelessness caused by the lack of adequate rest?

Sleep is vital for memory, learning and retaining information. Sleep can also be a natural supplement to medication and increasing metabolism. You will be amazed by what a little sleep will do. So, good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…Happy #BetterSleepMonth!

Fun in the Sun Awareness

Skin Cancer, Melanoma, Skin Cancer Awareness Month

The hot weather is in full swing and with that also comes great caution when we are in the great outdoors. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. According to the office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP),

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.

Let’s be mindful about raising awareness regarding skin cancer and how you can take action to prevent or detect it. Skin cancer can affect anyone regardless of skin tone or ethnicity.

Although the sun can be a natural source of vitamin D it is imperative that we be Sun-Smart! For more information about the precautions you can take in the fight against skin cancer, check out these helpful tips from Healthfinder.gov (ODPHP) or the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The Spirit of D

Depression, Fear, Anxiety, Oppression, Health

Lost hope? Pick a subject. Any subject. Nowadays, you will find literally any topic, on any level laced with deadly amounts of fear, anxiety and lost hope. What has happened? Life should not be terrorized by these fatal emotions. Yet, are we allowing them to?

Recently I’ve seen growing cases of people suffering from serious bouts of depression, from every gender, ethnicity and across the board economically. What is going on? There really isn’t one single common denominator involved in cases I’ve witnessed or read about. Now mind you, as a disclaimer, I am not a healthcare professional, just an observer and participant in life. But I can truly understand how people can be stricken with severe cases of depression resulting from extreme fears, whether it’s about finances, relationships, saving the environment, losing their healthcare, the skyrocketing costs of education, protection from predators and so much more. Pick a subject, any subject.

If you remember the 1982 movie Poltergeist, it centered around a family living in their new home who were gradually terrorized by a host of evil spirits. As the terror reached climatic proportions, they finally discovered that their residential development was built on top of a cemetery. The father angrily confronted the wealthy developer and shouted, “You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!” He grabbed his family and quickly left the premises of the horror.

Depression, Medication, PillsDeception, distractions, delusions, discouragement, and death are some of the bodies buried under the headstone of depression. How did we obtain ownership of the spirit of D? How do we get rid of it? There is no magical cure because many of these emotional and spiritual enemies grew over time. Yet, we don’t have to allow them to control our lives.

We hate to admit that we personally created some monsters of the worst kind that are instigating this spirit of depression which is disabling our way of life. Curling up in corners, not getting out of bed for weeks, not brushing your hair or teeth, looking disheveled and forlorn, or wandering around like a reclusive vagabond are symptoms of merely existing and not truly living your BEST life!

How long will we allow our lives to be stolen by the spirit of depression and controlled by the bandages of medication or addictions to controlled substances and poor choices? There are many things, death, job losses, health challenges, broken relationships, betrayal…pick a subject, any subject and therein we find disastrous storms that some people are unable to survive in the aftermath. In many cases, they’ve given up. But we cannot afford to give up. Whether we realize it or not, we have generations behind us who will inevitably go through challenges that will test the core of their being. We can’t give up, because if we do, so will they!

Like many of you, I’ve faced some challenges that tried to wipe the life out of me. People are walking or lying around like recluses and zombies. There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution but we have to cut off our spiritual energy supply to feed power into the “Spirit of D.” Some people may need to seek professional counseling to deplete the debilitating power of hopelessness. Sometimes the solution is right within our grasp, but we can be too distracted to see it. For me, when I get into a funk, I don’t stay there very long, because it catapults into a more serious condition. It may take applying a little lipstick, an outrageous nail color, sporting some stilettos or wearing a very bright-colored top to brighten my silly face and snaps me out of my sad trance.

While I don’t know what your test is that could inevitably fuel an awesome testimony, just remember whatever positive and encouraging method of escape you can use to rid yourself of the bodies under the headstone, just do it because it can turn out to be spiritual gold! Don’t allow the “Spirit of D” to become a ghost of toxicity and the grim reaper of death. It’s not about you, but it is about what this spirit can do to you if you don’t put a stop to it.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken on Food Porn Friday

I remember growing up how excited I was to visit my grandfather and get my hands on a bushel of those ginormous pecans that fell from his pecan trees. Those long brown shells held some of the biggest, sweetest and meatiest pecans I ever tasted. Nowadays, I have not found any pecans that fit the size or caliber of my memories of those Ninja pecans my grandfather grew.

So today, on Food Porn Friday, as we celebrate National Pecan Day, which by the way has been celebrated on April 14 since 1996, I decided to feature this healthy recipe, Pecan-Crusted Chicken from EatingWell Magazine. This recipe coats tender chicken breasts with buttery pecans flavored with spicy chipotle and zesty orange.

This recipe only takes 30 minutes to prepare and is ready in 30 minutes. In the picture, it is served with spinach salad. Depending on your tastes, you can modify a number of certain ingredients to your choosing. What a wickedly delicious way to eat a healthy meal with only 270 calories per serving.

#HappyNationalPecanDay on #FoodPornFriday!

For You Potato Lovers on Food Porn Friday

How do I love potatoes? Let me count the ways. Well, you have Idaho Russet, Sweet, Jewel Yam, King Edward, Japanese Sweet, Doré, Laura, Rose Finn Apple, Hannah Sweet, Solanum, Red Thumb, LaRette, Désirée, Austrian Crescent, Red Gold, Purple Majesty, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Parel…shall I go on?

February is National Potato Lovers Month, so why not put a new spin on this common staple that you will find in practically every pantry. Today I am featuring this artistic recipe for a delicious potato kugel cup from Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller. If you have a favorite potato recipe or a favorite type of potato you enjoy cooking with, please feel free to share it with our audience.

Happy National Potato Lovers Month on #FoodPornFriday!

Something REDiculously Delicious on National Wear Red Day

Today is National Wear Red Day where women around the country lift their voices, by raising awareness in the fight against heart disease and strokes. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. So as you stand in solidarity with survivors everywhere, just remember that we have the power to change these statistics because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

Since this is also Food Porn Friday, we wanted to delight you with this Red Berry Fruit Compote (German rote grütze) recipe, courtesy of BBC Good Food. Although this is a summertime staple, this light fruity dessert is a mixed berry compote with custard and is an ideal topping for granola or stirred through ice cream. Yummo! The color of this dessert is a complementary treat to serve and enjoy on National Wear Red Day!

Observing National Oatmeal Month on Food Porn Friday

According to the Whole Grains Council, oats is January’s grain of the month. Throughout the month of January, we celebrated National Oatmeal Month. Oats have been a crucial part of our diet and this grain is used in a myriad of recipes from cookies, bread, muffins to cobblers.

No longer a boring hot cereal that is only served up for breakfast, oatmeal is also used in cosmetics, external medical treatments, soaps and some alcoholic beverages. Studies have shown that oatmeal is a heart-healthy food which contains soluble fiber that helps to lower cholesterol and may reduce blood pressure.

Check out this delicious and healthy Cuban-Style Black Beans & Plantains over Oatmeal recipe that can be served up for lunch or dinner from the great folks at QuakerOats!

Happy National Oatmeal Month on Food Porn Friday!