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~

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Tip the Toxin-Free Scale in Your Favor

I’d be the first to admit that change gets more and more difficult as I age. Frankly, I pretty much have my life in the order I want it and cringe when my organized little system gets disrupted. But then I never banked on dealing with my sweet daughter, who seems to have inherited a bit of her father's and my stubbornness. The last couple of years she has alerted, nagged, scolded and chastised me; but most importantly, she’s educated me on the very serious issue of toxins.

Did you realize that products are absorbed through your skin right into your blood stream??? just as if you had eaten them!!!

There is no doubt about it; we live in an extremely toxic world. My daughter, God bless that girl, has not backed up an inch on her mission to purify my world. This includes, but is not limited to our:

ü Home
ü Food
ü Clothing
ü Lawn & Garden

It was especially hard to argue my case, when I knew deep down that she was right and my health depended on it!

Over the last few years I have become allergic to various chemicals and suffer from multiple food sensitivities. It only made sense that, if my delicate digestive system was having painful reactions to the food I was ingesting, it was probably not enjoying the chemicals that I was exposing myself to either. Trust me that was a very scary thought! It was time to take detoxifying to a whole new level!

As much as I didn’t want to learn anything as new and progressive as living ‘toxin-free’, the time had definitely come to do so.

I had already become fairly well-versed on detoxifying and also about chemicals that are in and on our foods, so I had a bit of a head start. I attempt to buy organic, whenever possible, and have totally eliminated processed foods from my diet. I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours researching health-related issues and knew I could skip onto the next step in the going ‘toxin-free’ process.

Because my daughter was hammering pretty hard on clorox and clorox-related products, that was the first household item to be ushered out of our home. Due to her sound advice, I discovered that vinegar was a great substitute and started buying it by the gallon. Gradually, I have eliminated most toxic cleaners from our home altogether.

Major Alert to Me:  IF I’M AFRAID TO EAT IT, I sure shouldn’t be slathering it all over my body, adorning my face with it or squeezing it on my toothbrush!

I’m presently working on personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, soaps, toothpaste, etc. I still have a ways to go before I get everything switched over, but I try to replace some things every month. Finding cosmetics that I like will take more time, but new products are coming out every day. The internet is a marvelous tool to research the products you now use to see if they contain toxic chemicals. Here is a great site that I use: Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. They also provide excellent  information on toxin-free personal care products.

Learning to live toxin-free is a gradual process that you probably won’t tackle overnight.

Going toxin-free will, however, be well worth the effort in the end. As you learn ways to detoxify, you can teach them to those you love, just like my precious daughter did to me. You will also feel the gratification of knowing that you are doing your part to contribute to a better world and a safer future for your children and grandchildren. 

May God bless your journey,


p.s. Come to think of it, maybe we should have all paid a little more attention to our grandparents’ healthy lifestyles! We could have skipped this agonizing ‘toxin-free’ process!!!  This video says it all...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

3 Steps to Successfully Control Your Stress

I can promise you this ~ It’s going to be a part of your life, with no way to escape it, until the day you take your final breath...
It's something called STRESS and it can drive you, torture you, sicken you and quite literally kill you. I blogged a while back about ways to de-stress, but today I’m going to go right to the heart of stress and perform emergency life-saving surgery!

Alright ladies! Grab yourself a pen and paper and let’s go on a journey that will lead you to a Healthier, More Vibrant & Beautiful You. We'll begin with the diagnosis.
Daily stressors fall into three specific categories:
2)     ALLOWED
3)     CREATED

Now it's time to scrub for surgery ~ Carefully list out your daily stressors using the following categories:
1)  Uncontrolled – There is absolutely nothing I can do to change the stressful situation or its outcome.

2)  Potentially controlled – I didn't cause this stress or the mess, but there are some steps I can take in managing it.

3)  Self-created – The truth is that my behavior is causing this stress. There are definite changes I can make to reduce or eliminate these stressors from my life.

Start at the very beginning of your day when the alarm goes off and mentally walk through your entire day...

Take note that how your day begins can set the tone for the whole day. Think about meal times, after you arrive home from work, evenings and weekends because all can involve stressors. Also take a look at vacations, family events, holidays and friendships.
Example:  You overslept and the kids aren’t even up to prepare for school. You discover that there’s nothing for breakfast because you forgot to go to the store. Now you’re running late for work and the traffic is horrendous! You arrive at your job and your boss gets right in your face wanting a project done by noon!

Stress has now arrived for the day and planted itself firmly in your life... so what do you do with it?
How do you cope? We humans can be quite creative with our coping mechanisms, but a common one is finding comfort in food. I’ll bet my bottom dollar, too, that the snack you’re going to devour probably has little or no nutritional value and packs a powerful punch when it comes to calories. I guarantee that you’re not going to pause and say, “Gee, I’m going to find myself a really healthy and delicious snack.” No way! You’re going to go for the carrot cake slathered with cream cheese icing, extra-creamy double-fudge ice cream, half a pizza or a big FAT nutritional donut! Yikes! Now you not only have a stress problem, but a weight problem along with a whole variety of disastrous health issues in the making.

You need to decide whether you’re dealing with stress that you can or cannot control.

Your list is now complete. Go back and look at each entry and decide if it is within your control or not. Analyze the solution to the items on your list that you can reasonably control. Maybe you need to get up earlier, organize your shopping, set new boundaries or change your schedule. Maybe it’s an even bigger problem like a job of non-stop stress that you need to walk away from. It's time to face what triggers your stressors and begin the process to peace.

Just remember that the stress you’re living under today will not only dictate your present happiness, but the future of your health and the length of your life.

Obviously, there are events in life that cause stress that you cannot control. I’m sure you have a couple on your list and if you don’t, you will in time. May I suggest that you give this list to God and let Him bear the burden? I will confess that I have a very controlling nature, and this has been extremely difficult for me. Some life lessons have been hard, but I have found that this step of faith frees me up to enjoy my day and allows for a joy in living that had been painfully absent from my life.

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. I Peter 5:7

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Best Things in Life Are Nearest

Forever Friday
We live in a materialistic world spending our time in search of something, anything that will satisfy our aching need for happiness, value and worth...

I remember when we were first married; spending hours dreaming as I leafed through the JC Penney or Sears catalogs. I was confident that if my house was furnished and decorated ‘just so’ that I would definitely be happier. Shopping became one of my favorite past times. As time went on, the value of the ‘wants’ escalated from small items to furniture; furniture to cars; and cars to houses ~ sound familiar? It was a never ending process.

I discovered that the trouble with basing your happiness on materialistic desires is the ‘new’ quickly wears off and you find yourself off on another search for your happiness fix. It leaves you with an emptiness that yearns for more and more.

There is a real art to being content ~ living in the present and not comparing what's going on here and now to what was, or will be…

I can’t say I was ever discontent as a child. We didn’t have a lot, but what we didn’t have in material things we had in nature and each other. I grew up on a ranch, the fourth child in a family of six. We played for hours outside letting our imaginations run rampant. It was a wonderful place for a kid to grow up. My desire for material things didn’t really peak until later on in life. Instead of being satisfied and living in the present (which is actually all we really have), I was more concerned with what tomorrow would bring. Sadly, I missed so much in the here and now and you can never go back as time waits for no one.

I need reminded of the blessings God has bestowed on my life each and every day…

Being that I’m human, I will always have wants and desires for earthly treasures. But if this journey has taught me anything, I have learned that living in the moment can bring tremendous joy and satisfaction! Do I achieve that every day? Not even close! I’m writing this as much to myself as to anyone else. What I do know is this: you don’t need ‘things’ to have ‘worth’. You are deemed to have worth quite simply because you’re a child of God’s ~ He delights in you!

The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Things such as:
v  enjoying the precious moments with your kids and grandkids
v closing your eyes and inhaling the aroma of a fragrant rose
v listening to the birds as they wake you on a beautiful spring morning
v savoring the taste and texture of your favorite food ~ can I say cheesecake!
v warming your hands with a mug of hot coffee on a cold winter’s day while the scent of cinnamon rolls wafts through the room
v viewing the beauty and grace of a doe with her fawn by her side
v lying on the grass and gazing at the stars one warm summer’s night
v listening to the laughter of children playing
v smelling the amazing scent of the pines in a mountain forest
v drinking in the magnificence of God’s spectacular creation ~ the options are endless!

Not to say that it’s inherently wrong to own nice things; it just shouldn’t be our primary focus in life…

I’ve learned on this journey called life that what’s really important is to know in your heart who you really are; that you have worth and value ~ an eternal value that can come only from God.

Take some time and enjoy your journey,


Monday, August 8, 2011

8 Life-Changing Questions to Ask Yourself Today!

As my grandchildren’s birthdays come and go, I am steadily reminded that I am not young anymore. My oldest grandson turned twenty in June and the reality of that thought totally blew me away. Life is so short and I want to enjoy every last minute of it in a vibrant and healthy body free of disease and chronic pain. I want to enjoy my time with my husband, children and grandchildren having fun and being active.
Where are you today on your life’s journey?
Let’s take a minute and talk about your health as related to time. First I want to ask you some very basic questions. As you answer them, please be honest with yourself.

1)   Do you struggle with being overweight or obese?

2)   Do you eat more fast food than “real” food?

3)   Do you seldom participate in vigorous exercise?

4)    Is your diet mostly processed foods with little nutrition?

5)   Do you drink less than the daily requirement of water?

6)    Do you practice deep breathing less than twice a day?

7)   Do you have difficulty finding time to relax and de-stress?

8)   Do you seldom get adequate and peaceful sleep?

Take a moment and really think about this...
If you are a young woman in her 20’s or 30’s, and you have answered most or all of these questions with a “Yes”, just where do you think you’ll be twenty, thirty or forty years from now?  The reality is that neglecting your health today will determine your future. While you are young and have your life ahead of you, take steps to redirect your journey. Don’t delay making healthy life changes – the time to start is now!

Health is not the 'absence of disease'!
Sadly, in our country, we view the ‘absence of disease’ as being healthy. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  If you are not taking care of the body God gave you, you are like a time-bomb ticking away waiting to explode into serious and life-changing health issues.

You are quite literally sentencing yourself to a future of pain and suffering, while slowly killing yourself with your bad habits.
If you are a woman in her 40’s or beyond and your health journey took a wrong turn years ago, it’s going to take drastic measures to recalculate your path. You simply cannot afford to put it off another day. Eating an unhealthy diet; packing around extra pounds; and being inactive takes a huge toll on your body with every breath you take.  This out-of-control lifestyle causes inflammation and places you firmly on a fast track to health problems like heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, type II diabetes, auto-immune disorders, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Please consider where you are today and envision your future. If what you see scares you, it’s time to take positive action before it’s too late! Choose a healthy, active lifestyle so you can enjoy every moment of your journey to Finding a More Healthy, Vibrant & Beautiful You~!

May God bless your journey,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Scoop on Water Alternatives

My husband and I just returned from Scottsdale, Arizona, where we attended the annual TriVita Galaxy of Stars. It was an awesome time of fellowship with friends, fabulous food and exciting events at the beautiful JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort.
While we were there, the weather was extremely HOT with temps around 104+, so we spent a lot of time inside the resort and also enjoying the beautiful outdoor pools. With the National Soccer finals being held there, too, it made me think about the importance of staying hydrated.
With the multitude of drink choices these days, what is the best choice for hydration? Can good pure water be adequately replaced with another enticing beverage?

The Pros and cons of water "alternatives"
by TriVita Chief Science Officer, Brazos Minshew

Let's look at some of the positive and negative aspects of so-called alternatives to water:

Ø  100% fruit juice ~ contains some vitamins, minerals and a lot of sugar. In fact, a 16-ounce glass of fruit juice contains about 50 grams of sugar and 220 calories. Fructose, or fruit sugar, reduces the rate at which we absorb fluid and can actually make you thirstier, leading to over-consumption of calories from juice.

Ø  Sport drinks ~ often contain fructose or sucrose syrups, flavorings and colorings. The electrolytes, sodium and potassium are helpful for endurance-type exercise or activity, but not necessary for everyday exercise. A 16-ounce sport drink has roughly 30 grams of sugar and over 100 calories.

Ø  Energy drinks ~ contain vitamins, amino acids, a lot of sugar and caffeine. Although advertised as providing more energy, what they really provide is more calories and caffeine. Added caffeine can be temporarily energizing, but often leads to a rapid dip in energy and can be potentially habit forming. An eight ounce energy drink has about 115 calories and 80 milligrams of caffeine.

Ø  Fitness waters ~ these waters are laced with an assortment of nutrients, herbs, flavorings and/or sweeteners. These enhancements are usually too insufficient to have any meaningful impact on your health; plus these waters can be costly. As for calories, they can contain anywhere from 10 to 100 or more calories in a 16 ounce drink.

Ø  Carbonated beverages ~ such as regular or diet sodas can be high in sugar or artificial sweeteners and caffeine. Colas are also high in phosphates, which bind with calcium and weaken bones. Regular soda can contain up to 200 or more calories for 16 ounces.

Ø  Coffee, tea and lattes ~ are also very popular. But along with the caffeine, they often contain added sugars and fats which can add up to as many as 450 calories for a 16 ounce drink. Since most caffeinated products provide very few nutrients, it is typically advised to keep intake low.

Ø  Flavored waters ~ are waters with a touch of natural flavoring. By itself, this is fine. Unfortunately, however, many flavored waters contain sugar (some even have more than a can of soda pop) or caffeine and other additives, all of which should be avoided.

Up your fluid intake with water-rich fruits and vegetables!
In contrast to the water alternatives above, we can get water that is good for us from food. Many fruits and vegetables, for example, are high in water content as well as antioxidants (which is a nice plus). Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables every day; 5 servings per day for children, 7 for women and 9 for men. Some fruits and vegetables you can easily include in your diet are:
                           Broccoli                              Watermelon
                           Spinach                               Apples
                           Cucumber                          Cantaloupe
                           Bell peppers                       Bananas
                           Cabbage                              Blueberries
                           Asparagus                          Grapefruit
                           Cauliflower                         Grapes
                           Carrots                                Tomatoes
                           Oranges                              Bing Cherries

Add some delicious seasonal fruits & veggies…
Ladies, while you're enjoying hot summer days, be sure to drink plenty of refreshing pure water and also remember to add some delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables to your diet. This will aid in circulation and help regulate your body's cooling system; warding off fatigue and increasing energy. You'll look and feel great on your journey to Finding a Healthier More Vibrant & Beautiful You!