How Do You Deal With Stress?

Face it. Modern life is stressful. Everything moves so quickly and with instant communication constantly demanding our attention, it can be difficult to catch a break. If you try to leave your phone behind while you take a walk, or go to the gym, somebody panics because you’re out of touch.

Everywhere you go there is a TV, or music of some sort playing, and announcements at the grocery store, all demanding your attention. After a while, it feels like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders.

Many of us have families at home in the evening, and while it’s nice to have your family around you, it can add to your stress loads after a full day at work. Children need attention, and we understand this. What they can’t yet understand is our need for a few minutes of calm.

So in this day and age, how do you de-stress?

Find a time when it would be best for you to take a little time for yourself. Maybe it’s after work, before you get home to all the stresses there. Or maybe it’s after dinner, when everyone is watching TV or playing games. Whenever it is, let everyone know that this time is private time for you. Your phone will be off, not to worry.

Now, figure out what you’re going to do.

I like to take a walk out in nature, but sometimes that isn’t possible due to the weather. Seriously who wants to go walk in a downpour? And we’ve had quite a bit of that here lately. As an alternative, I might put on some music and just move to the sound.

But there is one thing that helps me find that inner peace we all seek. And I know you’ve heard it before.

Yes, meditation.

You’ll say you don’t have time. You can’t relax long enough. Your mind won’t turn off so you can get there.

As one of my martial arts instructors used to say, you didn’t sign on a black belt your first day in class. Give yourself some time.

Here is one easy way to get started. It is the short meditation we did before every martial arts class to help us shift our minds off of the troubles of the day and focus on class. Our instructor called it the Circle of Life meditation.

Sit comfortably. Anyplace is fine. If you want to sit cross-legged on the floor, do it. If you prefer a nice comfortable chair, have a seat.

Take your thumb and middle finger on each hand and form a circle. Place the backs of your hands on your knees.

Now close your eyes. Picture your thumbs and fingers making a perfect circle.

Breath in through your nose. Imagine the air travelling up over the top of your head, down your spine, and then back up the front of your body and up into your lungs.

Hold that breath for a moment, and then slowly let it out through your mouth.

Now pause and repeat the sequence for a total of three times.

The fourth breath is a cleansing breath. Breathe in deeply and blow the air back out quickly before you begin the sequence again.

Concentrating on your breath, imagining it moving around your body, and holding your fingers in a perfect circle, gives you a focus. Sure you may have random thoughts pop up, but acknowledge them, let them go, and return your concentration to your breathing.

You don’t have to keep to a timetable–thirty minutes or else. But if you have a limited amount of time, set an alarm for however long you want to meditate. Don’t try to start off for with a lengthy period of time. A few minutes to get the feel of it is fine.

Maybe you would prefer a guided meditation, something you can listen to and follow along.

One of my favorites is The Daisy Pond, one of Burt Goldman’s guided meditations. In it, he guides you into a relaxed state, and then takes you on an imaginary trip to the daisy pond.

The Daisy Pond is available for anyone to use on YouTube. You can find several of Mr. Goldman’s meditations there. Just do a search and find one you like.

Make that time for yourself. Teach your family to make quiet time for themselves as well. The world is a stressful place. We all need to learn a healthy, safe way to de-stress at the end of our day. Help them make it a habit which will help them throughout their lives.

Thank you for taking time to join me today.

And as always–

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!

A Summer Walk

Sometimes we just need a break. Maybe a nice walk to get in touch with the nature. I know you can’t actually slip into my world just now, but…

...come walk with me. A virtual walk if you will.

Out the front door, we close the heavy iron gate behind us. The trees arching over the sidewalk invite us forward as we begin our stroll. Turning toward the little country road, we walk in the shade of the trees, cooling us from summer’s sun.

The scent of the earth after a rain surrounds us, as a cool breeze rustles the leaves. The crunching of our footsteps along the dirt and gravel lane provide a percussive note to the birdsong from the woods alongside.

Though it’s mid-day, the shade from the trees cools us as we walk along. Reaching a branch in the path, we turn downhill toward a little stream. The shade is deeper here, and the breeze coming up off the stream is wonderfully refreshing.

Before long, we hear the splashing of the stream as it tumbles over the rocky ledge. Turning off the path, we go down to the water’s edge, feeling the refreshing mist rising from the stream.

The interplay of light and shadow here under the trees, beside the stream, along with the woodland sounds, is soothing, relaxing. It feels as if all your troubles could float away, like fallen leaves on the water.


Stop for a moment.


Close your eyes and breathe deeply of the woodland scent. The smell of moist earth warmed by the sun, mingling with the wildflowers growing along the stream teases your senses. On the breeze, you catch a hint of newly mown hay from further down the path.


Take another deep breath. Hold it in for a few seconds before you slowly exhale, releasing your cares into the vastness of the universe. Listen as the sounds of nature speak to you soul.

I could spend all afternoon here by the water, but I need to go home. So we turn away from the water, taking a last look at the ferns growing there in the shade, and wishing we had time to climb out and sit on the log bridging the stream.


I fell lighter of spirit, somehow, as if a weight has been lifted. Back up the path to the turn, and then up the road toward the drive, we look out across a meadow filled with tiny yellow flowers.

Back to the sidewalk, we slip under the living arch, stroke the cat who is waiting there for us, and open the heavy gate back into the house.

I feel refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day now. I know, it’s time to say goodbye. But thanks for coming with me. I had a wonderful time.


How about you?

Give Me Some Sugar…

Or not, as the case may be.

I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional, so do not take this as medical advice of any kind. As always, check things out for yourself or ask someone who is a professional before making any drastic changes in your diet.

How much sugar do you eat in a day? Sugar on your cereal, in your coffee, and in the yogourt you’re eating. You know, the kind with the fruit in the bottom. Maybe you have a quick snack during the afternoon as a pick-me-up, like an energy bar or candy bar. Of course, there’s the cappuccino on the way home and some sort of dessert or snack before bedtime.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t do any of those things. I’m fine.”

But are you?

How much sugar is there in the other foods you eat?

I’m not talking about natural sugars in the raw food itself, like the fructose in an apple or banana. I’m talking about processed sugars added to your food, sometimes in places you would never suspect.

If you’ve done any label checking at all, you will know bread of most kinds has sugar in it, not to mention quickly converted refined flour. And of course there is brown sugar, honey, dextrose, sucrose, and all those other -oses.

Why did I begin thinking about this?

A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My doctor put me on what I thought was a radical diet until my blood sugar normalized. For the first year and a half, I went completely vegetarian, eating mostly fresh, raw foods. During the colder weather, though, I wanted something warm, some sort of comfort food. Vegetable soups of various styles came to mind. Surely those would be fine. Right?

Think again.

What I found out, and what you may not realize, is that several types of canned vegetables contain added sugars. Like kidney beans. I’ve found only one or two brands of kidney beans which don’t have sugar in them.

How about peas and carrots? They’re good in soup.

On their own, most of them are fine, if you can handle the starches in them. But canned together, a lot of them contain added sugar. I can’t imagine why, since both of them are sweet to begin with.

What good would soup be without tomatoes?

Reaching for the canned tomatoes, I accidentally grabbed stewed instead. But they should be fine. They’re tomatoes!

Nope. Added sugar! Again, why? None of the other types of tomatoes, from whole and diced to crushed, have sugar added. But most, if not all, the stewed tomatoes I’ve checked have sugar in them.

What good is soup without some sort of broth or stock? Now hesitant about trying anything without checking it first, I looked at the label.

You’re kidding me! Most of the chicken broth or stock has some sort of sugar in it, and I think I’ve only found one of the brands of beef stock which is sugar free.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never put sugar in the pot with either chicken or beef. Not in the oven, crock pot, stew pot, or anything else. Once in a while, I would add a little something sweet for a glaze, but not to make broth.

Like to barbecue? My husband is the grillmeister extraordinaire around our place. Try finding hot dogs or sausage without sugar in them. BBQ sauce is right out.

Just when I thought I was doing well, I checked my seasoning blends.

NO!!!!

Almost all of the seasoning salt type things have sugar in them, and a lot of the other seasoning blends as well. Garlic pepper and various types of rubs are things to check for hidden sugar.

Same thing with salad dressings, mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce, oriental sauces of all kinds… Even some of the hot sauces, picante, and salsa have added sugar.

So, if you make a sandwich, with bread, mayonnaise, ketchup, with a meat seasoned with seasoning salt, how much hidden sugar are you eating?

I haven’t done the math, but I was appalled by all sugar we unknowingly eat in a day.

Don’t believe me?

Check it out yourself! Next time you go to the grocery store, start reading labels. Watch not only for sugar, but for honey, molasses, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, lactose–if it ends in -ose, it’s probably a sugar of some sort.

Now if you’re diabetic, you need to watch out for starches as well, as they are easily converted into sugar in your body. In my case, I need to watch for corn starch, any kind of added flour, potato starch, tapioca, maltodextrin, or anything else normally used as a thickener. Any sort of sauce which is thick and clingy–the dreaded BBQ sauce for example–will have one of these in it.

If you’re trying to quit sugar, good luck to you. It can be done, but check, check, check your labels. Or go fresh whole foods only. Frozen food tends to be better. It will take a while to get the hang of it, and to get used to the taste of real food again.

But you’ll get there!

Until next time, stay healthy. Stay happy!

Welcome to June

(for Podcast: https://anchor.fm/mellie-miller8/episodes/Welcome-to-June-e1229kb)

Can you believe it’s the first week in June already?

And it’s Wednesday!

That means it’s Misfits Market Day. Yes, every Wednesday my order from Misfits gets here, normally in the afternoon.

What is Misfits Market?

It’s an online market selling organic produce for discount prices.

I like it because I don’t have to go out and push through the crowds at the stores, and because all of it is organic at prices I can afford.

Love good produce?

Love good prices?

Check out Misfits Market!Follow the link below for a discount on your first order!

https://www.misfitsmarket.com/?promo=COOKWME-FM5GAPNSBAC

Long Time, No Write…

I know, I know. I’ve been away for a while. But I’m back now! How have you been?

A while back, I had a page on another site which sort of shared some of the information I would write about here. And it was too much to keep up with. Besides that, I am a writer of romance novels, and the writing for that has been eating into my other activities.

So what’ s going on in my world?

Misfits Market, for one!

I discovered this online and decided to give it a try. Due to my diabetic condition, I have a restricted diet and eat a lot of fresh green vegetables. And I prefer to eat organic foods when possible and affordable. Since my first shipment, I’ve been buying my produce from them.

How does it work?

Once you sign up, you can order online from their featured products that week. There is a minimum purchase price and once you reach that, you’re all set for the week. Since I buy a lot of fresh foods, I have no trouble meeting the minimum.

What do I order?

I usually get tomatoes of some sort, curly kale, salad greens, cauliflower and broccoli. blueberries, and strawberries. And then whatever else suits my my fancy, be it potatoes, eggplant for Baba Ganoush, apples, or avocados

How much do you get?

One order is usually enough for one serving for two people. But you can order more than one! Since my husband loves broccoli and kale, I can order enough for us to have two meals with no problem.

So check out Misfits Market!

For a discount, use this code when you order! COOKWME-FM5GAPNSBAC

What else?

As you may know, a friend of mine introduced me to the L’Bri company several years ago. And I love their products! They have taken the alcohol out and replaced it with aloe vera! And it does wonders for my skin. They have a full line of face and body products, hair products, and cleaning products for your home. All of them with more natural ingredients than the run of the mill types you buy over the counter at your local store.

My favorites?

Aloe Vera Gel, the minty rejuvenating foot cream, body butter, and their muscle rub.

Do you need fragrance free? They have it!

Love to experiment with different scents?

You can do that, too! I particularly love the Mandarin Fig.

So check out L’Bri for their Pure and Natural products! There is a monthly special each month, and right now they are having a 2 day sale. So if you hurry over, you can take advantage of this sale for some of my faves!

It’s Christmas in July

Yes! You heard correctly! Christmas in July!

Where?

Come over to Facebook with me and join the fun this weekend. The L’Bri company is having their Customer Appreciation Sale this weekend only, in an online sale.

What do they have?

All types of skincare products, from lotions and creams to facial cleansing and makeup. They also have a hair-care line and household cleaning products.

Why do I like them?

They use more natural ingredients in their products, making them safer to use. And they’ve replaced the alcohol in their lotions with aloe vera, making them much more soothing and less drying.

My favorites are the Aloe Vera Barbadensis Jelly, the fragrance free lotion and body butter. They also have a wonderfully luscious body wash.

What better time to check them out than at the sale?

Come join us for Christmas in July. Bring a friend!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/587386511960234/

July Already?

I’m having trouble believing that July is just two days away. Anyone else having the same problem?

So far this year, our deck and container gardens are doing well. I have tiny little cucumbers starting to come on and the tomatoes are about to blossom. Oregano is about to take over the deck, so I think it’s time to snip it back and put it in the dehydrator for wintertime use.

And the rosemary is thriving, in spite of the wet weather we’ve been having. Even the thyme, which I’ve had major trouble with before, is doing well, and the cutting I took from it has rooted and started to grow.

I have finally recovered to the point of being able to add a little bit of meat or cheese to my diet a few times a week and have discovered a new way to fix green beans.

Saute up a little onion and and garlic until transparent. Add the green beans and steam until tender. I add a little pepper or lemon, but season with your favorites and toss. Serve up and top with a sprinkle of feta cheese crumbles and you have a delightful side dish, or if you’re like me and love green beans, a nice main dish. Serve with sliced tomatoes and fresh cucumbers and you’re set.

Anyway, I’m hoping the beans do well. They’re up and growing nicely in their space out back. I’ve been encouraging them each time I go past. I know. I’m weird.

Wishing you a wonderful new month of healthy living!

Spring is Here!

Or it’s trying to be. And I discovered I haven’t really been telling you much about my diet and progress lately.

So let’s take a peek, shall we?

At my last appointment, my A1C was at 5.2 and my weight was just below 160. I still have about 10 pounds to go, but my doctor isn’t particularly worried, as long as it’s holding or going down.

And about a month ago, my stomach decided that a little bite of cheese or chicken wouldn’t be a bad thing, so I am finally able to add a little bit of animal protein back into my diet.

Not a lot mind you. We’re talking about half an ounce one day, and then maybe waiting two or three days–or a week–before I can eat any more. But it does prove my doctor right. Eventually I will be able to add things back into my diet. I won’t be able to go back to the diet I had before, but I can branch out a little for a treat now and then.

So what have I learned during the past year and a bit?

Potatoes only work for me if they’re boiled. I boil them in a lot of water until they’re about halfway done, drain and cover with water a second time, cook and drain. After that, I can eat about 1/4 cup of potato, or about 1/4 of a medium sized potato.

Beans and grains are about the same thing. Depending on the grain or bean involved, soak overnight and drain. Cover with a good amount of water and cook to about halfway done, drain, refill, and finish cooking. Drain and serve.

How much do I eat? That all depends. Some grains I can eat up to 1/4 cup with a big bunch of salad or salad and “stir-fry.” Others only about 2 Tablespoons.

What do I have the best luck with?

Millet, buckwheat (whole and raw), and hulled barley work well for me.

Not pearl barley.

Hulled barley. If it doesn’t have the fiber, it doesn’t agree with my system.

Rice–even whole-grain brown or red rice–doesn’t work for me. Wheat is pretty much off limits.

Oats, if I cook them carefully and eat only a tiny amount can work, but we’re talking by the tablespoonful.

For beans, I go back to The Zone, by Barry Sears, when it comes to figuring out carbs.

Take the total number of carbohydrates and subtract the amount of fiber in the beans to get the net carbs available.

If the net carbs are equal to or less than the amount of protein, I do better with them than others.

So, if I have some beans where the total carbs are 23 grams with a fiber content of 15 grams. The net carbs are 8.

In these particular beans, the protein is also 8, so I have pretty good luck with these, and can eat between 2 T and 1/4 cup, depending on what else I’m eating.

Some other beans I have have total carbs of 22 grams, fiber of 8 grams and protein of 7 grams.

Net carbs are 14 grams. Not so good. I have to be really careful with these.

Also remember, everyone is different. The foods that work for me may not work for you. Or some of the ones which don’t agree with me, you may be fine with. It can be a bit of a guessing game at first, but you’ll soon figure out the rules for you.

Where do I buy the different nuts, beans and seeds I eat? There’s a online place called Nuts.com. I am not affiliated with them in any way and make no money off this. I just discovered them when I was trying to find someplace to buy beans and nuts in bulk.

On their site, you can view the nutrition facts for the different items they sell, so you don’t even have to buy them first to figure it out.

I love their pink beans. They work well for me. They also have a variety of grains, seeds, and nuts. Since part of this diet includes eating nuts and seeds--chia and flax seeds are at the top of the list–it works out well. I also love raw sunflower seeds.

I’ve found a product that I love for BBQ time. I bought mine at an Ingles grocery store for a little cheaper than you can buy them online. It is a grilling bowl from Mr. Bar-B-Q. It holds a really good amount of vegetables that can go right on your grill, sort of like shish kebab without the sticks. It is non-stick, so clean up is easy, and I don’t feel left out of all the fun.

Again, I am not sponsored by this company and get nothing in return for mentioning it in my blog. I just love the thing and wanted to share.

So what’s for dinner tonight?

I haven’t made up my mind yet. But it will be tasty, nutritious, and it will keep my blood glucose where it should be.

Would I recommend this diet to someone else who’s having trouble with diabetes?

Yes. If you’ll stick with it, I feel it will work for you. If you’re not going to stick with it, nothing is going to work. It takes a little time, patience, and practice, but it has worked wonders for me.

Have a great one!

Hello February!

OK, so technically it isn’t February yet. But close enough!

2019 proved to be quite a year, with many ups and downs. But I think things are beginning to steady a little bit, so perhaps I’ll be able to come to you more often.

The diabetes diet is working! My A1c was down to 5.0 at my last visit, without medication! So if you’re battling the condition, please ask your doctor about it, or find a doctor who is familiar with the process and work with them to help you get off the meds.

Yes, it takes work and dedication, but I feel it is well worth it not to be tied to the medications.

Along with diet, I work out–usual by walking–for half an hour each day, and it works wonders along with the diet, for keeping my weight under control and my blood glucose down.

Eating out can be an issue, but if you’re careful and choose wisely you can go out and have a bit of a break from your kitchen. There is a little Chinese place here in town which has a large platter of steamed veggies for a really good price.

There is also a Mexican place that has a Veggie Fahita platter, with broccoli, spinach, peppers and mushrooms, slong with a small salad. Or you can get a taco salad, hold the meat and cheese! Just don’t eat the tortilla!

If you’re like me, your skin takes a beating during the winter months. But you like to use products which are more natural than not. So if you’re looking for alternatives to skin care that work, please check out the L’Bri company. They have taken the alcohol out of their lotions and body butters and replaced it with aloe vera.

I love the stuff!

They also have a full line of cosmetics which are on sale during February. So if you’re looking to brighten or change your look, give it a try!

Here is a what they have this month.

And this is one of the places I walk!

Stay warm and dry! We’ll talk again real soon!

A Preview of Winter

How is the weather in your part of the world? Winter decided to give us a preview of what to expect in a few weeks. We went from temperatures in the 80’s F to temperatures in the 60’s almost overnight. Our night time temperatures went from the high 60’s to the 40’s, with one evening down to 38 F.

Today it has warmed up a little after two full days of rain. I think they’re predicting temperatures in the lower 70’s.

What all this adds up to is sniffles and colds all around the area. With all the autumn grasses and flowers trying to bloom, the ragweed and all the other allergy aggravating pollen, adding this seesaw weather only increases the possibility of sinus issues.

And then there are the dry skin issues…

I have found a line of products I love during this time of year. They’re great year around, but they’re particularly wonderful with these changing weather conditions.

So if you’re looking for something to try, go over and look at this product line. They even have some scent-free products, which is great for my husband. When his allergies start acting up, scent is a big problem for him.

Hope you’re enjoying your autumn weather.

Don’t forget, it is still Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Get the girls checked out!