Welcome to my blog – a site committed to finding the healthier, more vibrant and beautiful you! My goal is to explore all aspects of health; helping you discover your inner as well as your outer beauty. I'd like to invite you to join me and begin your own personal journey to health and wellness. Let’s learn together through sharing our own unique experiences; turning them into growth opportunities. You know, you truly can be all you ever dreamed of and more! It is right here waiting for you to attain, and so much easier when we join together as women and friends seeking the same ultimate goal. I welcome your comments and look forward to getting to know you. May God bless your journey... ~Susan~

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If I Had to Choose, I’d be Sleeping Beauty!

Princess Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty, not only got several great nights of sleep, she reaped the benefits, too. What a beautiful girl she was from all that rest! When I grow up, I would so love to be Sleeping Beauty J. Ok, back to the real world. You know - the world where you would sell your kids on eBay for a good night’s sleep!

Before we delve into the many health benefits of peaceful sleep, let’s talk about the harm of sleep deprivation.

v  Increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and many other health problems
v  Memory and concentration problems
v  Moodiness and irritability
v  Lack of motivation
v  Increased risk of having an accident
v  Difficulty making decisions
v  Weight gain (that’s a BIG one!)
v  Reduced immunity to colds and infections

My personal analysis is that growing up and being a Big Girl is stressful. And stress tends to wreck the whole Sleeping Beauty scenario. If you want to trash all possibility of a Vibrant and Beautiful You, just go without sleep for a while.

Unfortunately, life today is fast-paced and chock full of stress. I’ve heard it said, though, that stress is mostly self-inflicted. In that case, there’s actually something we can do to induce a good night’s sleep - DE-STRESS!

Merriam-Webster’s definition of De-Stress is: “to release bodily or mental tension: Unwind”

Here are a few ideas to help you unwind and I’d certainly welcome your tips, too.

v  Practice 10-20 minutes of deep breathing
v  Go for a relaxing, slow-paced walk
v  Drink a nice hot cup of  herbal, caffeine-free tea – a sleepy time variety
v  Punch a pillow (for those really stressful days)
v  Pay your kids to give you a foot or back rub or sweet talk your hubby
v  Watch a good comedy or call a ‘funny’ friend who makes you laugh
v  Snuggle up in your favorite blankey and read a good book
v  Spend some quiet time reading your Bible and praying
v  Play some of your favorite relaxing music
v  Eat fish – the Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce stress
v  Turn off the computer and television a couple hours before bedtime
v  Take a hot bubble bath by candlelight (wine is optional)

But isn’t it interesting, that the very BEST de-stressor of all is a good night’s sleep.  According to a recent report on Fox News, there are some amazing benefits of getting your rest:

v  It improves your memory
v  Possibly lengthens your life and improves the quality of your life
v  Curbs inflammation that is now known to be linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging
v  Results in more creativity
v  Improves physical and mental performance
v  Aids in controlling your metabolism
v  Lowers stress
v  Decreases depression and anxiety
v  Prevents accidents


Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together
~Thomas Dekker

May God bless you with peaceful sleep...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Life Can Hand Me Lemons Anytime!

Forever Friday
My love for LEMONS probably began because, quite simply, they’re my favorite color, which is YELLOW!

Did you know that the Crayola crayon color ‘Lemon’ was added in 1949? I would also like to say that one of my favorite pies is homemade LEMON. And one of my favorite cakes is LEMON pudding bundt cake served with warm LEMON sauce made with real butter and topped with whipped cream. And one of my favorite candies is LEMON hard candy drops. But, sad to say, none of the above is healthy – except maybe the LEMON Crayolas L

True Confession: I had a sugar addiction that was totally out of control. Thus the birth of my journey to wellness, that has taken me to a healthier place and time… J

The Benefits of Lemon: Until recently, I was unaware of the many health benefits that are power packed into this gorgeous, little yellow fruit! When I was forced to eliminate soda, caffeine and sugar from my diet, plus most other foods (and I do mean forced), I began to check out the alternatives for beverages. As I noted in my last blog, I wasn't too thrilled about drinking water all the time! I ran across a product called True Lemon that came in one-serving packets. They worked great to carry in my purse to use in restaurants, when I was hankering for a substitute for my beloved soda. I also loved to nurse a cup of hot lemon water every morning and afternoon while sitting at my desk.  It was a sweet, tangy and tasty drink and, I must admit that at the time, I had no idea how healthy it was for me. What I did know was that I wanted some sort of 'sweet' fix to replace my beloved sugar. I began purchasing the large bottles of lemon juice and using it in my hot and cold drinks and adding it to my salad dressing. It was becoming my dearest and best friend ♥.
Some of the great health benefits of drinking lemon water are:
v  Lemon juice boosts your immune system
v  Acts as an anti-aging remedy
v  Aids in digestion when mixed with hot water (heartburn, bloating, nausea)
v  Cleanses your system while detoxifying and flushing out bacteria
v  Helps with constipation
v  Enhances the appearance of your skin, giving you a healthy glow
v  Aids in weight loss (really BIG plus!)
v  Helps control high blood pressure, because of the potassium content
v  Reduces mental stress and depression
v  Helps breathing problems and aids the respiratory system
v  Acts as an anti-bacterial property (good for sour throats)
v  AND it will help your finances by saving you $'s spent on expensive beverages!

Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C (one lemon=40% of your daily requirement) and also contain vitamin B and riboflavin. Lemons also contain minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.

Helpful Lemon Hints:

v  Choose a lemon with firm, thin, smooth skin that is heavy for its size. This will ensure the sweetest lemon with the most mineral content.
v  Lemon drinks are especially healthy when consumed in the morning.
v  If you weigh under 150 lbs., use the juice of ½ lemon twice a day.
v  If you weigh over 150 lbs., use the juice of a whole lemon twice a day.
v  Add a smidgeon of organic honey for a unique twist to your hot lemon drink
v  Use with olive oil and Stevia on your salad. It enhances the flavor of the veggies instead of drowning the flavor out with a heavy salad dressing! Much better for you, too, and very yummy!
v  Drink lukewarm lemon water with honey, when you need to quickly lose some water weight

...and you thought life handing you lemons was a bad thing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Water is Life

“I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.”
    ~Henry David Thoreau
Last week we began our journey to Finding a Healthier More Vibrant and Beautiful You by incorporating the habit of deep breathing into our daily routines. We learned that filling our lungs with life-giving oxygen and exhaling toxins from our body has many healthful benefits.
The next essential, second only to oxygen, is WATER. Amazingly, there are many people that drink everything but a glass of water.  I can relate to that because for many years I drank very little water. In fact, I was absolutely sure that I disliked it. My usual day consisted of sugar-laden juice for breakfast; hot tea while at work (a diuretic); and Diet Coke after lunch with a Tylenol (Yikes! what a toxic cocktail!). Looking back, I’m sure the headaches I had every day were due to dehydration. The only water I did drink was with meals, and that was only if there wasn’t any soda in the house. I honestly don’t remember when I started to realize that I needed to change my drinking habits. It was interesting that the more water I drank, the more my body thirsted for it. I gradually weaned myself off of soda and caffeinated drinks altogether. Recently, I created a water chart with rows of blue smiley faces and I check them off as I drink my water requirement each day J.

Today advertisers tempt us with fruit juices, sport drinks, energy drinks, fitness waters, carbonated beverages, coffee, tea, lattes and flavored waters to name just a few of the diversions.  Sadly, most of them contain:

                Artificial sweeteners (chemically processed)
                Phosphates in colas (bind with calcium and weaken bones)
                Additives (if you can’t pronounce their names, you probably
                      shouldn’t be ingesting them)
                PLUS Calories galore!

If you’re substituting these drinks for water, you have just annihilated any health benefits of a glass of water! Check out these amazing benefits attributed to pure and refreshing water: 
  • Helps your body detoxify
  • Fuels metabolism for energy
  • Improves your skin’s appearance
  • Aids in weight loss
Can denying my body water make me fat?  If your body is starved for water, it will begin to misinterpret thirst signals as hunger. A good way to see if you’re really hungry is to drink a glass of water and wait to see if your hunger pangs subside. If they do, after ten to fifteen minutes, then you were just thirsty. Just imagine how many calories you could save by drinking a glass of water instead of reaching for an unnecessary snack!

What if my city's water is treated with chlorine? It is vital that you drink purified water, if your local water is treated with chlorine. According to the U. S. Council of Environmental Quality, “The cancer to people who drink chlorinated water is 93% higher than those who don’t.” Invest in a good water filtration system that guarantees removal of the chlorine and other harmful ingredients such as lead and mercury. Another option is purchasing bottled water that is purified.

How much should I drink each day? Calculate your water needs by using this simple formula: Divide your weight in half and use this number for the ounces you should drink. Example: Your weight is 140 lbs. divided by two equals 70. You will need to drink 70 ounces of water a day. Be sure to increase your water intake if you’re exercising; the weather is hot and humid; you are ill; pregnant (10 cups per day); and breast-feeding (13 cups per day).

I challenge you to track your water consumption to see if you're consuming enough of this life-giving liquid each day.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Little Things That Make Me Smile...

Forever Friday…
Since Friday indicates the end of the work week for many of us, I have decided it should be a fun day on my blog.  My hope is that it will be interactive with everyone taking part and getting to know each other a little better in the process.

As women we spend an incredible amount of time and energy focusing on our outward appearance. We fuss over our hair, makeup, clothes, manicures, pedicures, diet and much, much more. All of these things play a part in our ‘total package’. However, there is something that comes from within that adds the final touch to the vibrant and beautiful you – your very own unique and beautiful smile J.
We often get so sidetracked with life that we overlook the little things that make us smile. I was recently reminded of this by my friend Judy’s blog. It made me more aware of the tiny bursts of joy God was sprinkling throughout my days.
Here are some things that make me smile, if only to myself, and bring me such joy. Some are pretty; some are sweet; some just plain silly! and some just because it’s ‘so me’.
Now it's your turn! I’d love to have you share your little smiles with me!

v  Frosty snowflakes on my window, while I’m cozy warm with my morning cup of coffee
v  My dear, sweet husband leaving me the last bite of a favorite goodie. Yum...
v  Cracking a ‘double-yoker’ egg in the skillet (once I got two in a row! Was that fun or what!)
v  Butterflies floating this way and that on a lazy, summer breeze
v  The warm glow of my Scentsy burner on a cloudy, dismal day (thank you special daughter)
v  Anything yellow, and especially buttercup yellow, makes me crazy happy
v  My undies matching my outfit – made even more joyful if they’re yellow, lol
v  God sprinkling volunteer flowers in new and interesting places in my yard each spring
v  Crunchy things like Rice Chex, colorful fall leaves and my grandson’s ‘crackle toys’

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finding Balance in Our Insanely Busy World…Take a Deep Breath!

Honoring yourself enough to schedule time with
yourself is the first step in mastering stress!
Have you noticed how everyone is so busy these days? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all this ‘busyness’? I was thinking the other day about times past; sitting on the porch swing drinking in the fresh air and the sweet smell of summer. Do you find yourself wishing that you could return to those days? I know I do! It was so relaxing - like time stood still.
In this high tech. insanely busy world we live in today, it has become a daily struggle to find time to relax; time to regroup. In today’s blog, I want to explore the idea of carving out just five minutes twice a day. Five minutes to recharge. Five minutes to de-stress. Five minutes to, not only keep your sanity, but revitalize your body, mind and soul.
I was introduced to the benefits and techniques of deep breathing about a year ago by a doctor while I was in Scottsdale, AZ. I was amazed how a few minutes of deep breathing at bedtime relaxed my body and brought on a wonderful, deep sleep. I also started slowing down the speed on the treadmill, after doing my warm up, and practiced five minutes of deep breathing. The increase in stamina for the rest of my workout astonished me! I had now become totally convinced of the power of deep breathing. Here are some of the incredible benefits:
1)      Detoxifies and releases toxins
Did you know that your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing? If you are not breathing effectively, other systems in your body have to work overtime to eliminate these toxins. This stress on your system could eventually lead to illness.
2)      Releases tension
3)      Oxygenates the brain and reduces excessive anxiety levels
4)      Relieves pain
5)      Massages your organs
The movement of the diaphragm during deep breathing exercises massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. This improves your organs’ circulation.
6)      Tones abdominal muscles
7)      Increases muscle mass
8)      Strengthens the immune system
9)      Improves posture
10)     Improves the quality of your blood
11)     Improves digestion
The digestive organs, such as the stomach, receive more oxygen and hence operate more efficiently.
12)     Improves the nervous system
The brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygenation and are more nourished.
13)     Strengthens the lungs
14)     Makes the heart stronger
15)     Assists in weight control
If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands.
16)     Boosts energy levels and improves stamina
17)     Improves cellular regeneration
18)     Elevates moods

How to Breath Properly:
Breathe deeply into your abdomen, not just your chest. Breathing exercises should be deep, slow, rhythmic, and through the nose, not through your mouth. The most important part of deep breathing is to regulate your breaths, three to four seconds in, and three to four seconds out. Just imagine inflating a balloon. Inhale and fill your lungs completely and exhale until you empty all the air from your lungs (think deflated balloon).

1)      While counting to 5, inhale through your nose, expanding your belly, filling your chest with oxygen. As you inhale, push your shoulders back.

2)      Hold and count to 3. Feel all your cells loaded with calming, healing, and balancing energy?

3)      While counting to 5, exhale fully from a slightly parted mouth, allowing your shoulders to fall forward. Feel your cells releasing waste and cleansing your body from damaging toxins.

Funny how something so simple could do so much towards revitalizing your entire bodily system. All it takes is a few minutes each day, scheduled by you and just for you!
Deep breathing is your first baby step towards a healthier more vibrant and beautiful you!  Are you ready to feel absolutely amazing and incredibly energized? Well, what are you waiting for? Inhale and count... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…

Tip: For those busy bees, who think there’s not a minute to spare for anything additional, let alone breathing!

                    Practice deep breathing when you:
                    Commute to work
Taxi kids to/from school and activities
                    Go for a walk
                    Prepare meals
                    Wait in line (good de-stressor)

Friday, May 13, 2011

A More Beautiful You

Welcome to my new blog – a site committed to finding the healthier, more vibrant and beautiful you!  My goal is to explore all aspects of health, helping you discover your inner as well as your outer beauty.
My own wellness journey has evolved as a result of many years of trial and error through various health and life issues. Let’s call them ‘speed bumps’ that got my attention JI always wondered why some women seemed to ‘glow’ and, even though they were older, they looked so vital and alive. They had energy levels that far exceeded mine and seemed to have youth on their side. What was it that they knew, that I could not seem to figure out?
Through time and experience, vital components of this health and wellness ‘puzzle’ began to gradually fall into place. I started to explore some of the many facets of total health and wellness. I spent numerous hours researching and putting into practice such things as spiritual health, mental well-being, the art of de-stressing, exercising, weight training and toning, chemical-free living, and deep breathing. Recently, I became involvd with a major health and wellness organization, and they inspired me to reach out to others who were struggling with major wellness obstacles. 
I'd like to invite you to follow me on this blog and begin your own personal journey to health and wellness. Let’s learn together through sharing our own unique experiences, turning them into growth opportunities.
You know, you truly can be all you ever dreamed of and more! It is right here waiting for you to attain, and so much easier when we join together as women and friends seeking the same ultimate goal.