Sunday, May 27, 2012

Everything is tickety-boo

Here's this week's list of things that have made me feel like everything is tickety-boo:

  • Spending time with Adam, Lexi, and little grandson Max.  We've had such a fun time this week.  Max's little smiles and giggles make everyone feel tickety-boo!
  • Sitting by the pond and watching the swallows fly
  • Singing in a new and very friendly group
  • Hearing that a client is in remission from her cancer
  • Remembering childrens' songs to sing to Max
  • Making fresh carrot juice
  • Receiving a lovely outfit for Max from our friends
  • Seeing a pileated woodpecker fly right in front of me
  • Watching Harold (our parrot) react to Max.
  • Having shoe envy for Max's array of shoes that look like cars, dogs, etc!
  • Swimming with Max in his bumble bee wetsuit!

As you can tell, it's been a great week here with lots of wonderful experiences with the family. Hope your week has been full of tickety-boo moments too.
Saturday, May 26, 2012

Eat a rainbow a day

Do you eat a rainbow a day?

Eating a diet that includes lots of different colors is linked to lowered risks of obesity and chronic disease.  The natural colors of foods are aesthetically pleasing to the eye and incorporating different colors into your food plan offers more than just macronutrients and antioxidants.  The colors are connected to specific functions inside the body too.

  • Red foods like tomatoes and watermelon contain the antioxidant lycopene, shown to play a role in reducing the development of certain cancers and may by important for warding off heart problems.  
  • Orange foods like carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor. When we eat orange beta carotene, it converts into Vitamin A in the body.  Eating orange fruits and vegetables can help our immune system and eyes to function better.
  • Yellow and green foods are packed with phytonutrients like lutein for eye health, chlorophyll to protect cells from damage, and folic acid, an essential nutrient for growth and development.  
  • Blue and purple foods are excellent sources of brain-protective antioxidants.  Eating blue berries and purple grapes can keep the mind sharp and focused.

Take a look at the chart above and see which color you don't normally eat on a daily basis and consider buying some of that color this week when you go grocery shopping.(The above chart includes brown in the rainbow! Not a usual rainbow color, I know - but useful for us to consider adding whole grains and legumes to each day.)

It's great if you can "eat a rainbow" each day - with at least one fruit or vegetable from each color of the rainbow.  See how well you normally do and try to improve it.  It would be fun to try and see how many colors you can combine even in one meal - can you get 5 colors or more in your next meal?

May your week be color full!
Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everything is tickety-boo

There are lots of things I could put on my list for this week's blog post - the things that made me feel that life is tickety-boo - but one stands out to me.  And that is flowers.

Every day this week, I've been amazed by the beauty of the flowers around me. Those near our front door at just stunning ( I'll show photos of them later in the week).  It's incredible how nature makes all colors go well together!

But the sight that just took my breath away was the one shown in the photos here, of the Kunde vineyard in Glen Ellen, that has planted red and orange poppies between their vines this year. This is the first year they've done it and people were saying that highway patrol may ask them to mow it down soon, as so much traffic is stopping to take in the beauty!

We had heard about these poppies so took the time to go out and see them. A trip to visit the flowers. It was so worthwhile - and joyous.

I definitely felt tickety-boo every time I paused and just took in all the wonderful flowers around me this week.

I hope you found time - or will this week - to appreciate the colors and beauty of nature. It's such a great time of year for flowers.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Health benefits of cilantro

We have so much cilantro growing and the plants are beginning to bolt so I cut a lot of it today and made a big bowl of pesto from it.

The good thing about cooking with cilantro is that the stems have the same taste as the leaves, so when you have a lot, you don't have to worry about pulling off all the leaves from the stems - just use the whole lot.

I made up my own pesto recipe, using walnuts, cilantro, olive oil, a little lemon juice and some water.

Gosh it tastes so vibrant. The way I eat it most is as a dip or spread for crackers.  When you make a large quantity as I have, you can freeze it in little muffin molds then pull one or two out as you need.

There are many so health benefits of cilantro, that it'll make you want to make some pesto too. Here they are:

  • powerful anti-inflammatory effects that may help symptoms of arthritis
  • protective against bacterial infection from salmonella in food products
  • increases HDL cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol
  • relief of stomach gas and a digestive aid
  • wards off urinary infections
  • helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation and reduces cramping
  • good source of fiber for the digestive tract
  • gives relief from diarrhea
  • helps promote healthy liver function
  • reduces minor swelling
  • good antioxidant properties
  • disinfects and helps detoxify the body - especially good as a chelating agent to remove heavy metals, such as mercury
  • helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar
  • acts as a natural antiseptic and anti fungal agent for skin disorders like fungal infections and eczema
  • boosts the immune system
  • acts as an expectorant
  • helps ease conjunctivitis, as well as eye-aging, macular degeneration and other stressors on the eyes
  • good source of minerals potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium
  • rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, beat carotene

Phew - after reading all that, I should be planting some more so the next batch is ready in a few weeks!

What's your favorite recipe for cilantro (or coriander as we call it in England)?
Monday, May 14, 2012

Reducing nausea associated with chemotherapy

I had a call from a friend this weekend who was looking for some ideas that may help his friend who is suffering from severe nausea associated with chemotherapy.

Sadly, nausea is an all too common side effect of chemotherapy. There are medications available that may help and you should be sure to talk to your doctor about how to prevent nausea and/or vomiting and treat it.   Here are some general tips on how and what to eat that you might also want to consider:

  1. One of best things that can help with nausea is ginger. I wrote a blog post a while ago about the health benefits of ginger and included a few recipes that you can try - especially the ginger glycerite recipe.  But eating ginger anyway you can may help reduce nausea, from ginger cookies, to ginger tea to tinctures to..... Try different things and see which works best.  You can also get ginger capsules to take twice a day.
  2. Other herbs that might help are catnip, peppermint, chamomile and red raspberry.  You can try these as teas - and why not combine a few.  I often add a few different flavored tea bags to a big jug of cool water and get the combined benefit all at once.  Try ginger, peppermint and chamomile - I bet they'd go nicely together.  Use iced, cool, room temperature or warm water - not hot.
  3. Try drinking 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp honey.
  4. Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds help nausea.  Just plain, raw seeds.
  5. Eat mainly starches like rice, crackers, dry toast, oatmeal, etc.  The food should be low fat and bland.  Cooking should not create lots of smells as this can make the nausea worse.  Don't get too concerned about balanced nutrition at this time, the goal is to get rid of the nausea and eat something.
  6. Eat cold or room temperature foods. Hot foods create more odors which is often a big cause of nausea.
  7. Eat and drink slowly.
  8. It often helps to put some dry toast or crackers at your bedside at night and eat a little of this before you get out of bed in the morning.
  9. Eat small amounts, frequently.
  10. Drink plenty of fluids during the day, but not during meals.
  11. Try drinking through a straw.
  12. Fruit popsicles are often easily eaten and enjoyed.
  13. Don't try cooking or eating one of your favorite foods. The body may come to associate it with nausea and you'll no longer enjoy it.
  14. If you need to rest after eating, make sure you keep your head higher than you feet.

It's a matter of trying different things and seeing what helps most for you.  And don't forget to tell your doctor that you have been experiencing these side effects as he may have other options and ideas.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Everything is tickety-boo

It's that time of the week again: time for my list of things that I am grateful for that make everything seem tickety-boo:

Photo by glness

  • seeing a colorful hot air balloon fly overhead.  It's funny that such a sight is so calming - yet when you are in the balloon - it's not really calm at all - it's exciting and exhilarating!
  • mothers - and not JUST because it's Mother's Day in the US today!
  • our first outdoor swim of the year
  • John, my hubby, who's birthday it was on Thursday
  • hiking by the ocean
  • having the support, encouragement and enthusiasm of a friend who is helping me find venues for my classes
  • getting excited about family visiting soon - little Baby Max!
Max in his first car!
  • receiving such delightful emails from a new jewelry customer
  • buying and planting new veggies for the raised beds
What things have made you feel tickety-boo this week?
Friday, May 11, 2012

Salad Days

To me, and possibly also my family, when I hear the expression "Salad Days" it takes me back to when I was a teenager and our involvement in a production of the musical of that name.  I always wanted to sing one of the songs in that musical "Summer and Sunshine and falling in love".  It wasn't because I was falling in love or anything like that - I just loved that song.  But that was sung by the lead, so I never did get to sing it.

The title of the musical refers to the expression "salad days" meaning a "youthful time, accompanied by the inexperiences, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence or indiscretion that one associates with a young person", or the "heyday when someone is at their peak".

Well, maybe my youth passed a little while ago, but at the moment it seems that every day is a salad day here at home.  This is because all our lettuces are growing sooooo well in our new raised beds, that we have salads - or at least green leafy veg, at every lunch and dinner, and often breakfast too, if we put them in a smoothie!

We have one crispy green lettuce, one red lettuce, cilantro, parsley, a European lettuce - that looks like grass (not our favorite) and some arugula.  It is all so vibrant and tasty when picked 5 minutes before you eat it.  Yum, yum. It makes me feel like I'm in my salad days!

I think maybe when I go out to pick my salad for dinner tonight, I'll have to sing "summer and sunshine" to the plants!!  What do you think?

Are you enjoying your salad days and getting lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet?  Green vegetables are low in calories and get the majority of their calories as protein.  When more of your protein needs are met from green vegetables, you get the benefit of ingesting a huge amount of critical, life-extending micronutrients.  Scientific research has shown a strong positive association between the consumption of green vegetables and a reduction of ALL the leading causes of death in humans. So make this summer your "salad days" and feel like you are in your heyday.
Monday, May 7, 2012

Nature's Medicine

If you read my "everything is tickety-boo" post on Sunday, you will have noticed that one of the items on my list was "spending time in nature".

It sounds pretty insignificant, but there has actually been quite a bit of research going on regarding the health benefits of spending time in nature.

In Japan, "Shinrin-yoku" (defined as wood air bathing or forest bathing) has been receiving increased attention in recent years for its ability to provide relaxation and reduce stress.  Trees, sunshine, grass, and wildlife all too frequently take a backseat in city or urban life, but spending even small amounts of time in a natural setting can help ease mental fatigue, lower levels of pain from cancer, improve immune function, and lower average blood sugar in patients in type 2 diabetes.

Think back to the last time you were surrounded by nature - maybe a hike when you noticed the vibrant fresh green of a new leaf, or an insect, or the color of the bark of a tree, or saw a rabbit hop past.  These moments of discovery and fascination are spontaneous and effortless kinds of attention, not like the attention we have to use at work or during most of our day.  As we follow our curiosity from the leaf to a flower to a butterfly, we relax in an exploration of nature which gives our attention driven brain a break.

Photo by Nicholas_T
Sounds in nature are also important, for example the calming sound of water that acts to balance the body's hormones, as too as smells.  Airborne chemicals emitted by plants - phytoncides - are seen to enhance NK (natural killer) cell activity ( part of the immune system).

Photo by VinothChandar

Here are just a couple of research studies that have shown the health benefits of taking time in nature, but there are many more:

1. Weinstein BJ (Jun 2010) Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive, Study Shows. Retrieved September 26th, 2010, from University of Rochester:

2. Li Q (2010) A day trip to a forest park increases human natural killer activity and the expression of anti-cancer proteins in male subjects. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents;24(2):157-65.

3. Li Q (2008) Visiting a forest, but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol;21(1):117-127.

Photo by VinothChandar
So consider giving yourself a break, and find some time this week to be in nature. Let that effortless attention and fascination take over.  And if you aren't up for that - try bringing some nature indoors to you - open the windows, look at the trees, listen to the sound of a waterfall on your computer, put a nature screensaver on your computer screen, watch a nature DVD....
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Everything is tickety-boo

It's  time again for my weekly post ( except I missed last weeks!) where I share with you the things that have happened this week that make me feel that "everything is tickety-boo". 

"Tickety-boo" is not just a feeling, it is a state of mind.  It doesn't mean that everything has be wonderful, just that you look for the good in your life and focus on that.   It's all about valuing the good things around you;  a way of looking beyond difficult things and appreciating the often simple, little things that make a difference.

As I write my "everything is tickety-boo" post each week, I hope you'll get the idea and take time to think about what has happened to you this past week and what made you feel tickety-boo. Here's my list:

  • taking time in nature.
  • attending a wonderful conference
  • the warmth of the sun
  • watching the turtles in the pond
  • helping someone be inspired to make big life changes
  • eating vibrant foods
  • experiencing the healing qualities of food
  • eating loads of lettuce, arugula and cilantro freshly picked from our garden
  • getting good customer service
  • waking up and going out to harvest my breakfast
  • hearing the bees buzzing

Hope yours has been a great week too.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Tickety-boo health coaching website launched

I launched my new tickety-boo health coaching website this week! Yeah!

I hope you'll take a moment to go and check it out.  It tells you what's involved with cancer coaching and health coaching; the benefits of cancer coaching; what types of programs I offer; ideas on how to keep laughing when times get tough;

inspiration for family and friends; how I got into cancer coaching; lots of resources; and my blog also posts there, plus other stuff that I hope you'll find interesting.

I'm excited and working at the moment to find a good location to run some group classes in Sonoma.

I'd love your feedback...feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts on my new site.  Thanks for taking the time to take a look.

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