One Healthy Thing – Week 4

January 19, 2015

One Healthy Thing Week 4: Be Nice and Eat Your Lentils!

As January moves along, we are getting healthier every day. As we choose to add one healthy thing each and every day, we’re glowing, smiling for no reason, have energy to burn and are loving life.

When we feel great, we can change the world. Sound dramatic? Think about it. When you feel…less than your best, do you want to take on challenges and make the world a better place? No. You want to curl up on the couch, pull the blanket over your head and pray for a better tomorrow.

But when you feel fabulous, you bound out of bed, ready to face all of life’s little challenges with an open heart, an open mind and the stamina it takes to achieve your goals.

This week, while taking care of you and continuing to push your own envelope with going meatless for a day (at least…), trying lentils to keep your heart healthy, enjoying root veggies to keep your body strong and warm and taking deep, relaxing breaths as you unplug, chill and have some fun, consider this.

Random acts of kindness, as clichéd at that little saying is, can change the world as we know it…even if it’s just your little world, your little community. Every time you smile at a stranger; help someone with a task; open the door for a total stranger; hold the elevator for a harried colleague…you change their day. You change your day.

Giving, being of service is being fully human. I was raised by a total hippie mother who deeply believed that we humans were put on earth to serve each other and if we weren’t do that in some way, we were selling the world…and ourselves short. I completely embrace her thinking on that one.

Look, I know we are all busy. I know we are all a wee bit overwhelmed by life. But it takes only a minute to do a kindness and the benefits are fully reaped. Whether it’s a smile at a stranger; letting someone in front of you in traffic or at the checkout line, helping each other out makes us all feel just a little bit better about the world.

And who doesn’t want that?

Week 4 Tips:

January 19: Do Something Nice
Along with embracing joy, practicing random acts of kindness will change our lives. Helping someone cross the street; carrying groceries to someone’s car or into their house; lending a hand in the smallest way can alter our perception of modern life and give us hope for the future…and it costs…nothing.

January 20: Eat Lentils
Humble, delicious lentils cook quickly and easily and benefit our health in a number of ways. They help lower cholesterol, provide minerals essential to heart health, improve digestion, stabilize blood sugar, provide great protein, increase stamina and aid in weight loss. All this from a little bean!  Try my classic Italian recipe of Hearty Lentil Soup, it’s sure to warm your day and keep your heart healthy!

January 2: Try Meatless
I know what you’re thinking. Here where she goes all tofu and sprouts on us. But the facts are clear. To create and maintain great health, we have to eat less meat…period. According to the Mayo Clinic ‘A National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 people found that those who ate the most red meat daily were 30% more likely to die of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who ate the least amount of red meat. Sausage, luncheon meats and other processed meats also increased the risk.’ So if you want to live longer, eat less meat. No one will miss the meat with these hearty Spicy Black Bean Burgers

January 22: Breathe, Baby!
Breathe in; breathe out. Seems simple, but most of us don’t breathe deeply enough, leaving our bodies deprived of essential oxygen…so we feel tired and foggy. Deep breaths into the belly help you feel strong, alert and awake…and relaxed.

January 23: Have a Carrot
Or other root vegetable if we want healthy intestines. Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, simple, humble carrots can change our digestive health. This side dish of Burdock Kinpira is like rocket fuel in a cup! 

January 24: Unplug!
Put away the phone, tablet, laptop, computer or other device that sucks up our time and vitality if over-used. While technology has re-invented the way we do business and communicate, it’s nice to shut out the blue lighted screens and look into a pair of blue (or brown or green or grey) eyes instead.

January 25: Bake Cookies
Thick and chewy or thin and crispy; who doesn’t love cookies? We think of cookies as sweet, casual and homey, treats to enjoy at a party or a simple weeknight dinner. They are easy to make and rustic. They are small enough that you can enjoy a few without guilt.  Baking soothes the senses. A whiff of the perfume of chocolate chip cookies, apple pie or cinnamon buns brings a smile to our faces every time, filling us with nostalgic memories. Touch, hearing, sight, and taste are stimulated as we knead dough, stir batter, measure ingredients…and sample our work along the way. Melt-in-your mouth delicious, these Buttery Pecan Shortbread Cookies (with no butter!) will win raves.