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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let's do some smart easy things in 2010!

I'm here to increase the quality of your life, folks! And I'm doing it by suggesting a few easy things you can do to improve your health and well-being:

1. Add some fiber. Fiber has three big benefits: it lowers your cholesterol, it decreases your risk of colon cancer and polyps, and it causes feelings of satiety. If you tend to snack during the day or you overeat, drink a little fiber after your meal and you will stay full for longer. And it doesn't really taste bad at all.

2. Buy Aquaphor. It's a little expensive for something that looks just like vaseline, but it's better than vaseline because it actually has water emulsified into the oily base. You can use it to protect your skin from chapping, to heal dry or cracked skin, and it is unbeatable on chapped lips.

3. Eat seasonally. Be flexible with your menus to allow yourself to eat in-season produce. Your fruits and veggies will be fresh and more likely to be local. The difference in taste is huge. You will also save money since prices are lower during harvest.

4. Skinny-down your coffee. Many, many, many years ago I put sugar and cream in my coffee (like 18 years ago. Which is sad, since it means I started drinking coffee when I was 9. Actually we drank "coffee milk" in our bottles at our house and I think I started with real cups of joe at age 7). However, I developed a strong distaste for sweet beverages somewhere along the way, and I dropped the sugar. Then in college my dairy choices were limited to whatever the cafeteria had -and I started to use milk. Now I generally use 1 or 2% milk and no sweetener. My sister actually went black, and she loves her strong black coffee! The idea is, since we treat coffee like a daily must-have, we should probably make it a little more healthy.

5. Go whole-wheat. Three things you can switch out for whole wheat:
a. Pasta. Buying wheat pasta is not a huge change. The taste is a little different, but it's a good taste.
b. Flour. Start substituting half or even all of your flour with whole wheat. It gives baked goods a heartier feel and a nutty taste.
c. Bread. White bread is just plain gross - no substance to it, mostly air. Next time grab a whole wheat loaf!

6. Watch sales at your drug store to pick up these essentials for cold and flu season:
Zinc lozenges: suck on them as soon as you feel a cold coming on (but eat first: they can upset your stomach).
Emergen-C: the little fizzy packets make keeping a cold at bay fun!
Saline spray: a little squirt is a drug-free way to open up the sinuses and keep nasal tissue from drying out.
Gold Bond ultimate skin therapy lotion: It's super rich and creamy and is the best for the tip of your nose! Use it to prevent the red nose cold syndrome.
Delsym cough syrup: If you have to have a cough suppressant (hopefully you won't!), this one's the best. It's just one active ingredient and it lasts overnight.

7. Buy instant hand-warmers for a chilly work place. If your job is always too darn cold, these little warmers ($1 for two) can be a lifesaver! They work by a chemical reaction and stay warm for about 12 hours. You can stick them in your shoes, your pockets, or - ahem - your bra (this is an old pharmacy trick; pharmacies are notoriously bitterly cold and you'll see techs using warmers in July to fight the 65 F thermostat!).

8. Invest in a ceramic travel mug. I saved my pennies for one - not only does it not leave a metal taste in my tea and coffee, I can stick it in the microwave if my beverage cools down - or I can pack some tea bags and make tea while I'm working. I bought some green tea bags and stick them in my purse.

9. Eat beans. They are inexpensive, delicious, and full of protein and fiber. And they're fast food, if you make them in the crock pot while you're working!
I have beans for dinner at least twice a week. I cook a whole pound and save some - I can use leftovers in soup, to make chili, in pasta fagiole, for burritos, in hummus, even in an omelet.

10. Make water your beverage of choice. It just makes sense: stay hydrated for free and avoid unnecessary calories!

Now I'm going to go grab my ceramic travel mug and head to work!


  1. Ain't you Ms. Perky & Helpful today. ;-)

    Love Aquaphor it is also great for chaffing aka chubb rub from running.

  2. I don't get chubb rub, and I don't know why. It sure ain't lack of chubb. I must have a weird gait!
    Oh and 8 hours of working with the insane public took the perk out of me ;-)