Corona-no-no Virus for Me

Are you scared yet?

According to hysterical media reports, the coronavirus has been one of the biggest health threats in history, even though it has only been in the news for a few weeks.  The international markets are collapsing under the threat, governments around the globe are taking drastic measures to contain it, and the public is getting bounced around by conflicting stories coming from the professional medical community and the politicians in charge who seem more concerned with the election than public safety.

I call it as I see it.

 

So, are we at risk of catching this new coronavirus?  

Sure, just like the annual flu or a common cold, coronavirus 19 (the number lets you know the year it was discovered) is quite contagious.

Is it inevitable that this new virus will spread?

Sure, viruses spread, that’s just a fact of life.

Will we all be infected and die as a result?

Nope, not by a long shot.

We don’t know if that person in line at the store two weeks ago was coughing because of a cold, a virus or because of their smoking habit. Did someone sneeze on the elevator panel shortly before we pushed the button for our floor? Did we open a door that someone contaminated had touched?

These are daily possibilities we have always faced, and while most of the time it is a non-issue for us, the recent news makes us more aware of the possibility of viral threats and how to avoid them.

Since there is a fairly long gestation period for this particular virus (now known as COVID-19), taking weeks to show itself in its victims, the only people who are completely worry-free from  having the coronavirus (or the flu or any other virus really) already are those who have been in solitary confinement for the last month, completely isolated from all other humans and infected animals–the likely origin of this virus.

Still, the odds of anyone being infected today are quite small, and there are easy steps we can all take to protect ourselves, so let’s focus on what we do know and limit the fears from what we don’t.

While information about this new coronavirus is still coming in, we already know that it can be transmitted the same way other viruses are, by close human contact and airborne particles from coughing and sneezing.

Touching a contaminated surface and then touching our face, nose, eyes can transmit the virus, especially since we do such actions over 90 times a day on average.

Therefore:

  • Washing our hands regularly with hot, soapy water throughout the day will be a huge deterrent. Wash them for 20 seconds, sing the birthday song twice.
  • Limit your activities outside of your home.  Avoid public assemblies, public restrooms, airplanes, public transport, etc.  While some of these are unavoidable, limit them when you can.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes to protect others around you in case you are infected, even if it is just a common cold.  If you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow to cover your sneeze, not your hand.
  • Clean all of your “high-touch” surfaces in the home, including door knobs, keyboards, counter-tops, bathroom faucets, etc. with a rubbing alcohol. That’s the active ingredient in hand sanitizer by the way–hard to find these days (plus it has issues of it’s own and disrupts the microbiome with a carcinogenic ingredient, triclosan. Research says that regular soap and water is just as a effective, FYI)
  • If you have a fever, cough, or breathing problem, call your doctor immediately.
  • If you are feeling sick, for heaven’s sake, stay home!

 

The Best Defense is a Strong Immune System

Taking steps to protect yourself and to limit the spread of any virus is simple. And the best defense of course is to have a strong immune system.

The most at-risk victims of most viruses are those with compromised immune systems and with prior issues and chronic conditions.

BUT there is plenty you can do to give your immune system a boost:

  • Get Plenty of Sleep – We are a sleep deprived nation with too many distractions, screens, and pressures of work and life in general bombarding us daily.  6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep goes a long way to keeping your body strong and healthy.
  • Don’t smoke – COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. Now is a good time to quit!
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.  An apple a day and all that… also, blueberries, dark chocolate, turmeric, broccoli, ginger, sweet potatoes, garlic, green tea (our Wise Women’s Tea is fabulous), eggs, bell peppers, spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and oily fish. Eat the best quality stuff you can–organic, pastured, grass fed, wild fish, etc.
  • If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation if at all. Take milk thistle (for your liver) if you drink.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise mobilizes the T cells, a type of white blood cell which guards the body against infection.
  • Get out in the sun!  10-15 minutes of walking in the sun will boost your Vitamin D levels and reduce the risk of respiratory problems.
  • Wash your hands regularly (see above) and cook your meats thoroughly to avoid pathogens.
  • Take vitamin supplements if your diet is lacking.  Vitamins A, B’s, C, D and E really boost your immune system and are readily available in many of the foods listed above.  Learn your ABC’s! (and D-E)
  • Herbs – AHCC, echinacea, elderberry, andrographis and astragalus can help reduce the duration and severity of illness and provide nutrients for a strong immune system.
  • Stay hydrated – an ounce of water for every 2 pounds you weigh is a good measure to help your body eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. (Example, if you weigh 170 pounds, you should drink 85 ounces of water.)
  • Reduce Stress – Easier said than done for a lot of people, but try yoga, meditation, or just positive thoughts throughout the day.  Taking an afternoon break for a cup of hot Wise Women’s Tea is a great antioxidant and immune booster.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if your hands are not clean.  Washing your hands regularly goes a long way in reducing the spread of all viruses.

When all is said and done, this new coronavirus will no doubt spread and infect a lot of people, but that doesn’t need to include you if you take proactive steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.

 

Oh, and here’s a recipe for homemade hand sanitizer:

Combine in a bowl:
⅔-cup rubbing alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol)
⅓-cup aloe vera gel

Stir well with a wire whisk. Decant into a clean soap or pump bottle. You can buy little pump bottles on Amazon.

New Year’s Revolution

New Year’s Revolution

Dear Friends,

Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions with the hopes that THIS year will be different. We are zealots on a mission to become thinner, more organized and more financially successful, among other things.

But stop and think for a moment. Who makes these New Year’s resolutions, anyway? Yes indeed, it’s perfectionism is who writes our unachievable, over the top, New Year’s resolutions.

Here’s the kicker: when you’re FLYing, it’s a BabyStep Revolution, daily. All or nothing attitudes paint us into a corner. There is either great success (and believe me, it’s the RARE person who is able to pull that off) or there is more commonly, dismal defeat, guilt and a self-beating that follows.

FlyLady always says to jump in where you are—how can you not agree with that? That’s actually a LOCATION if you really think about it. How can you jump in, in any other way? “Where you are” is your only choice!

Why does it have to be January first or even a Monday before we are willing to start fresh? Fresh starts are something we’re capable of every day. And we don’t need a New Year to do it, either!

So where does food fit into all of this? Well, isn’t it obvious? What do you think the number one New Year’s resolution is? That’s right—lose weight. How many have you said, “And this year, I mean it!” Only to end up at the end of the year actually GAINING?

Why do you think that is? Those weight loss gimmicks you see on TV make their living off our perfectionism: that all or nothing attitude. The “Lose 50 pounds in just 6 weeks” scenarios have our names on them and we line up willingly with credit cards in hand to make 3 easy payments of just $19.95 each. Like lemmings, we’re willing to jump off of any weight loss cliff to get to our goal. Even if it means messing up the family budget to do it! The BabyStep approach isn’t enough for us. Even though we have seen what BabySteps can do to a house full of clutter, we don’t see the corresponding principle for our body clutter.

This has GOT to stop. Stop this insane behavior before you get sucked into another infomercial and plunk down another hunk of cash for a bunch of stuff that promises you the impossible. Let me rephrase that—what they promise you IS possible for some people; however, you need to radically change your entire life to accommodate their programs. Read the fine print, too. On the bottom of the screen when they are giving their testimonials on their dramatic weight losses, it ALWAYS says, “Results not typical.”

Let me tell you something: when it comes to weight loss: what is typical are the people they would never bring on screen in a million years. The ones who didn’t make it and didn’t get “Results not typical” in fine print under their before and after shots. These are the women whose “failure” financed the hype of this infomercial!

If you have never succeeded in losing your body clutter, you are not alone. I am going to bet that the reason is that all or nothing attitude. Losing it one BabyStep at a time, isn’t even on your radar screen.

Here’s the deal: we need a revolution, not another stupid resolution. Let’s start where we are: do you have some body clutter to lose? So do I! How can we do it? BabySteps: A little less food on the plate, a little more movement (exercise in whatever form) and a little more water to drink. That simple. Let’s begin by THINKING about what we are consuming instead of rationalizing it. Remember it ALL counts—whether you eat in the car, standing up over the sink or with the refrigerator door open.

Remember, that Awareness and Knowledge make for Wisdom. 2020, here we come!!!

Love,
Leanne

Easing into a cleaner lifestyle

Easing into a cleaner lifestyle

During the holidays, it’s perfectly fine to savor one of your favorite desserts or to have an extra glass of egg nog or two, but you shouldn’t use the whole season as an excuse to overindulge.

Tens of thousands of Americans will resolve to lose weight and to get healthier in 2020.

I have weight loss on the brain today because I’m seeing everyone’s New Year Resolutions. I thought the timing was just right to talk a little bit about how to take baby steps to ease yourself into a healthier eating regime.

You may be hesitant to adopt a healthier lifestyle for fear that you’ll have to change too much all at once, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

Here are five tips that you can use to help ease into a cleaner diet:

 

Cut back on take out.

By shopping for fresh ingredients and making your own meals, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor! Fast food is chock full of unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar and calories. There are also preservatives and other chemicals that our bodies could do without.

 

Learn to read labels.

Very little good comes out of boxes where food is concerned, but if you know how to read labels, you can start making better choices. If you have to spend more than a few seconds to decipher a food’s label, then your body won’t know what to do with those unpronounceable additives either! Skip anything with flavor enhancers, flavorings or fake colors.

 

Stop drinking calories.

Sugary coffee drinks, sodas, juices . . . they’re not good for us. They serve no nutritional purpose and they are nothing but empty calories. Reach for water to quench your thirst and you’ll be doing yourself a big favor.

 

Eat more vegetables.

Bulk up on veggies. Eat them with every meal and don’t be stingy. I’m not talking about iceberg lettuce, either! Reach for dark leafy greens (organic, please!) like spinach and kale. Snack on carrot sticks and broccoli. Eat a rainbow each day and you’ll be amazed with the results.

 

Stop buying crappy food.

You know which foods are not serving your health, so stop buying them. You don’t need those cookies and cakes. Those tubs of ice cream and bags of chips look good at the time, but if you bring them home, you’ll only eat them— so leave them on the store shelves!

 

The Secret of Soup

The Secret of Soup

One of my favorite winter foods is soup; especially healthy homemade soup . Nothing quite compares to a big bowl of steaming soup to warm you up, feed you when your not feeling well, or simply act as a comfort food.

Soup is good food, like the commercial says. The only problem with canned soups is they aren’t as healthy as when you make them yourself.

Soups are typically filled with vegetables, meats, and herbs. It’s a nutritional powerhouse . One of the best parts of eating soup is that you also enjoy the broth that everything was cooked in which means you’re not losing any vitamins or minerals that may have leached out during cooking time.

It is easy to plan for making soup. When I have a few leftovers from a yummy meal I’ll store them in a freezer safe zipper-topped plastic bag in the freezer. The next time I’m making a soup I can plop those leftovers in the pot. Sometimes I’ll toss them in the blender or food processor and puree them before I add them for a different texture.

Here’s a rich and creamy soup for you to enjoy this week.

Print Recipe
Butternut Bisque
Course Soups & Stews
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Soups & Stews
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare squash by cutting in half and baking for 90 minutes OR by microwaving for 10 to 15 minutes or until softened.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; sauté onion, garlic and apple until onion is translucent.
  3. Add flour, curry powder and nutmeg and continue to cook until apple is tender.
  4. Place squash in a food processor or blender along with skillet ingredients; add 1 cup of broth and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour contents into a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  6. Add remaining broth, tomato paste, evaporated milk and sage.
  7. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

NUTRITION per serving: 224 Calories; 2g Fat; 13g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 4mg Cholesterol; 416mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain (Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat. Points: 4

 

If you’d like to see even more delectable soup recipes check out our Casseroles, Soups & Stews collection of ebooks. . Stock up and treat your family to some warm winter dinners today.

Natural Ways to Fight Colds and Flu

Natural Ways to Fight Colds and Flu

Winter is here!

There may be snow on the ground, there is colder weather, lots of soups and stews, and then of course the stuffed up noses. It all sounds great until you’re blowing your nose every two seconds and your throat could pass for sandpaper. And if all that wasn’t enough, your lungs have to fight the losing battle of a cough so aggressive you feel as though the wind is constantly being knocked out of you.

Sometimes these are just symptoms of a small cold, but other times they could be the flu (and you’ll be able to tell since the flu symptoms are nearly 10 times harsher than a simple cold). But let’s look at some home remedies for these health violators before resorting to chugging a bottle of Dayquil.

Cold_Flu

We all know that vitamin C is a good thing to keep in your system when fighting a cold. You can make sure of that by taking your daily vitamins and maybe increasing the dosage of vitamin C for the duration of the cold or flu. A great herb to help combat your cold is Echinacea. Echinacea is a notable immune system booster and will also help take up arms against the germs with your white blood cells to help insure a victory.

There are also some very standard steps to taking care of yourself that I think we often neglect and opt to buy medicine instead. According to WebMD you must: blow your nose, rest, gargle, and shower. You have to blow your nose regularly because half the time we’ll only blow our noses when we can no longer breathe out of them, but try to do it a couple times an hour to keep that mucus out of your system. Stay rested because your body won’t have enough energy to keep to your regular routine while fighting off a sickness. I once got over a cold by simply spending an entire day in bed, drinking tons of water and sleeping a lot instead of pushing myself.  Believe me it works.

Next time you feel a cold coming, get the upper-hand and try all the above. And I’ll leave you with one last little tip. If you have a sore throat that is distractingly painful and you lose your voice, I would recommend an herbal throat coat. Traditional Medicinals tea makes a great Throat Coat. Steep it and throw in some honey, you’ll feel noticeably better right away. It’s my quick fix if I need immediate relief. I wish you all a natural victory in this upcoming cold war!

Countdown to Christmas Dinner: Get Your Checklist

Countdown to Christmas Dinner: Get Your Checklist

It’s only a few days until Christmas! Are you ready for your next big feast?

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that we could save ourselves a lot of work the day of by doing more prep leading up to the event.

Frankly, I think we should all spend more time putting our feet up on Christmas Day and less time slaving in the kitchen.

To start, if you haven’t already, you should call around to confirm who’s coming. You want to make sure you have that basic detail nailed down.

You should have all of your groceries (except the fresh stuff) in the house, and your special holiday linens should be freshly laundered and pressed.

Get all of your serving dishes and utensils washed and ready. You don’t want to discover on Christmas morning that you need a new soup tureen or that your use-once-a-year Christmas plates have a one-inch layer of dust on them!

This past weekend, I triple checked my grocery list and made sure I wasn’t missing anything. I also completely deep cleaned and scoured my fridge, so it’s ready for my fresh groceries and all those delicious leftovers.

Christmas-Dinner-1024x640

So, what’s left to be done before Christmas?

Three days before the dinner, you should take out your serving dishes and label them with an index card or a piece of paper stating which meal item will go inside. In the bowl for potatoes, for instance, write a card that reads “mashed potatoes.”

Stack and place these dishes on the dining room table or a surface that won’t be used until your dinner. You can drape them with something to prevent them from getting dusty.

Two days before the meal, get all your fresh groceries and prep your dessert. I also like to do my cranberry sauce at this point. One less thing to worry about!

The day before your dinner, prep the veggies. Get them washed and ready, peeled and sliced for the pan, then place them in the fridge. That way, on the day of, you simply need to grab and go!

Now, finally, set the Christmas table, take a deep breath and enjoy having that much less to worry about on the day of!

I also have a schedule here that will make things go nice and smoothly for you on the day of!

Most important tip of the day: CLEAN UP AS YOU GO. Clean as you go. Clean as you go. Clean as you go. This step is going to save you a big headache later that night when you should be sipping a nice glass of wine or taking a bubble bath.

 

Morning of the feast

Start preparing dinner. Yes now! Get your veggies ready if you didn’t already take this step earlier this week. If you have a meat that takes a long time to roast, get it in the oven. Put your butter, salt and pepper on the dinner table, and make sure you have enough place settings.

 

Two and a half hours before meal time

Take care of those little things that need to be done for dinner. Make your whipped cream, set up the coffeemaker, get your gravy set up, start your salad prep, etcetera.

 

One hour before go time

Check the meat. Remember, it should sit for 15 to 30 minutes after you get it out of the oven! Get all your veggies and side dishes cooked. If you have a slow cooker (or multiple slow cookers), use them to keep your sides warm! Make your gravy, heat your rolls and carve your meat, placing it on the serving dish.

When it’s time to eat, put everything on the table, join hands with those you love and give thanks.

Merry Christmas!

 

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