How to Get the Most out of Your Tea

Iced TeaTo get the most benefits from your cup of tea, researchers at Charité University in Germany say you’d better skip the dairy.

A group of flavonoids in tea called catechins can help arteries contract and expand with each heartbeat.  You heart loves this and will reward you with healthier blood pressure. But milk protein renders them ineffective, says lead researcher Mario Lorenz, PhD.  A heart-healthier alternative: a touch of lemon or honey.  Of course, if you serve it cold enough, it’ll only need a little something special added.  I’m from the south, so tea just isn’t tea unless it’s Sweet Tea – so I have to sweeten mine a little.

The husband - aka Michael – brought home a box of Tazo tea a few nights ago.  It was an Assorted mix of Black and Green Teas and Herbal Infusions.  The Passion tea is out of this world.  I made up a pitcher…and sweetened it, of course…then added ice.  It’s amazing, that’s all.  Just amazing.  The Wild Sweet Orange is great served hot with a little honey.

The Wonders of Green Tea

Japanese researchers found that people who drank at least 5 cups of green tea daily had a whopping 62 percent lower risk of dying from clot-caused strokes.  A 62 percent lower risk gives us all 62 reasons to develop a relationship with Green Tea. 

A few tips from a big Green Tea fan:

  • Lipton green tea in pyramid bags contains tea leaves, not powder.  The flavor is much, much better and the antioxidant punch is 80 mg per bag.
  • Snapple Green Teas are delicious.  And they’re convenient to have on hand – you can just grab a bottle from the refrigerator when you’re parched.  They have the highest levels of one type of catechins (an antioxidant compound) of any bottled teas on the market.  Thier antioxidant count is 55 mg per 17.5-ounce bottle.  My only gripe is that they don’t come in plastic bottles – I’d love to take them along for tennis or walks, but as accident prome as I am I dare not pack around glass.
  • What I WILL try is the Crystal Light Green Tea On The Go packets.  They fit in your pocket or handbag, and you can add one to a bottle of water when the thought of water’s a little boring.  Their antioxidant punch is 40 mg per packet.
  • If you’re trying to make the transition from soft drinks to tea - first, find a bottled variety you love.  Before you know it, you won’t miss the soft drinks.  Also, certain restaurants have better tea than others – for example, Arby’s is so good it’s like a special treat just to go through the drive thru for a drink alone.  Sweet tea, of course.  Y’all.

 

10 Ways to Sneak up on Calories

Cursed demons! They’re everywhere I look – from my breakfast bagle to my midnight snack (Peanut M&Ms…it’s an addiction, that’s all.), calories just won’t leave me the heck alone.  But now they’ve gone too far.  Turns out the trips I make to Starbucks aren’t as innocent as I  thought convinced myself they were.  But a Green Tea Frap sounds so innocent….come on, it’s green tea!

Will I cut back on my multiple trips to Starbucks each week?  Will I start ordering unfrapped Tea or black coffee instead?  (Since I smirked while typing that, my guess is NO.)

Self denial?  Not much into it.  So, I spend a great deal of time trying to work off the calories I just can’t say no, or even wait, to.  If you’re in the same boat I’m in – the one with the Starbucks and Texas Roadhouse below deck - you might want to keep the following information handy.

Here are 10 ways to get a little extra Burn each day.  Calorie Burn, that is.   Each of these activities will burn 150 calories. 

  1. Wash and wax your car for 45 -60 minutes.  You might want to line up several!
  2. Walk moderately for 1-3/4 miles in 35 minutes or briskly for 2 miles in 30 minutes.
  3. Do the twist for 13 minutes.  This one may sound easy peasy, but give it a go.  I thought I was dying after 6. Reallllly swing those arms and hips!
  4. Skip rope for 18 minutes.
  5. Mow the lawn with a power push mower for 30 minutes.
  6. Toss in Fergie’s new CD and Dance for 30 minutes.  Of course, it doesn’t have to be Fergie Ferg – she’s just a fave of mine.  (Great stuff!)
  7. Garden for 30 – 45 minutes.
  8. Play Frisbee for 22 minutes.
  9.  Bicycle leisurely for 5 miles in 30 minutes or fast for 4 miles in 15 minutes.
  10. Bowl for 23 minutes or play badminton for 22.

My personal favorite calorie fighter is tennis.  As great as walking is, tennis has it beat hands down…or rather hands up…when it comes to calorie burn.  30 minutes spent walking will burn, at most 150 calories – but 30 minutes playing tennis can burn as much as 272 calories.  For the biggest burn – take only a few balls with you (so you have to run for the ones missed rather than reaching down for the next in the heap).

An hour of singles tennis burns an amazing 545.50 calories.  It’s also a full body workout – especially when you go about it the way my daughters and I do…arms and legs fly everywhere.

Then they fly to Starbucks.

 

Mandisa’s Beautiful Post about Sanjaya

One of my daughters e-mailed me the link to a post Mandisa made on her MySpace.  She wrote it at the end of Sanjaya’s American Idol run.  It was so moving and sweet that it left tears in my eyes – not tears of sadness, but tears of amazement. 

MySpace is, primarily, a place where people promote themselves.  It’s covered with young girls and boys (and not so young girls and boys) who post pictures of themselves in various stages of dress and undress. Here I am laughing (I’m just funny that way…), Here I am making a mad face (You’d better not mess with me…), Here I am sitting on the john (Oh my gawd, is that sexy or whut…).  A recent AI contestant took it a step further and, in addition to the john picture, included a patriotic set of pics of her on a war memorial. 

Another recent contestant, after making her exit, hastily added nude pictures to her MySpace page.  It’s like it hit  her: Wait a minute! I don’t have any talent! Plan B!

Then like a candle burning in the middle of the night, you have someone like beautiful Mandisa. Click the link (http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=56974104&blogID=255117148&MyToken=fc13a23c-2f3f-4cce-bbc9-f403c80c8480) for a post you’ll want to read.

Even if you’ve never watched American Idol before and have no idea who either of these young people are – you’ll get something out of her words.  I promise.

At the end of the message, Mandisa encourages everyone to pray for Sanjaya. I propose that, in addition, we all pray for more Mandisas.  

 

Why I’m a Fan of Pamela Anderson

There haven’t been a lot of reasons to smile lately.  Most of us would settle for a reason to smirk, wouldn’t we?

Life does go on, though – it was true after September 11, it was true after Katrina, and it’s true now.  The heart breaks, the mind shatters, but time keeps marching along. Somehow, everyone has to pick up the pieces of their emotions and get back to work.  All the while, of course, remembering those who’ve lost what none of us should ever have to lose.  Keep those prayers and thoughts flowing.

 

Pamela Anderson Picture

 

One thing that did bring a smile to my face was the manner in which Pamela Anderson recently gave us all a lesson in “coolness.”  Before I get to that, maybe I should tell you why it was especially entertaining for me.  I’m a straight female who happens to be a huge fan of Pamela’s.  From what I’ve seen and heard, there aren’t many of us around.  After all, as much as she has going (and going and going) for her, every self-respecting female should hate her with a cruel unChristian hatred. 

Eh, I just can’t.  She’s too entertaining!  As an actress, I think she’s very underrated.  I also think she’s a whole heckuva lot smarter than most people think she is.  She has a smile that lights up an entire seacoast and she loves her sons with all of her heart.  I even like her voice – I’m a voice-person and hers is especially lovely.

Anyway, recently some pics of her on the beach turned up online.  Just about every celebrity blog imaginable was posting the pics and with very unkind remarks.  When I saw them I thought one thing:   Her face looks like it’s supposed to look!  I’d rather see an actress who’s closing in on 40 with wrinkles than a “Desperate” looking clown.  The forever-shocked face is the thing nightmares are made of!  I think she looks darned good for a 39 year old without make-up.  She looks a lot better than a lot of the younger Hollywood crowd.

The thing that actually brought a smile to my face was what she posted on her official site about the pictures:

I’ve just been sent some pics from Hawaii – I have to laugh – well at least the world knows I don’t get botox – ha!…I’m much hotter in my mind – (I swear I look better) – then again I hardly check a mirror before I go outside – may start doing that more. I may have to start working out too though – genes and gymnastics have gotten me this far. I just refuse to let these paparazzi ruin my time or my lifestyle in general with my children – I’m not going to spend time putting makeup on or staying covered up on the beach – it’s definitely surreal though – I think I look alright but everywhere you turn you have a camera in your face – up you butt – it’s crazy – too many tabloids – must be running out of stuff to print…I’m a semi-retired single mom – hello?

I think she illustrates a pretty good lesson, here, in not taking yourself too seriously.  She didn’t get mad at the photographers or lash out at the bloggers (even though most were pretty cruel) – she didn’t post photoshopped pics and say, “THIS IS HOW I REALLY LOOK!  NOW DON’T YOU FEEL STUPID!”

All of us have times in our lives when we don’t come out on top..times when our worst, rather than our best is on the grandest of stages for others to see.  We can either get mad and blame others (and in turn make an even bigger ass out of ourselves), or we can try to slap on a better face really quick in an effort to convince people “it” never happened.  Or we can simply take complete ownership of the moment a la Pamela.

She kind of just shared in the laugh and showed that she’s a cool customer.

Here are some of the photos, click each to see the larger version.  I think she looks great for any age and any person – but to be thisclose to 40, semi-retired, and a mom of two?  Are you freakin’ kidding me? 

The photos are HQ, which means they’re incredibly huge and life-like…..hello, hello???  I think I just lost all the males and most of the females. 

Pamela Anderson Picture  Pamela Anderson Picture  Pamela Anderson Picture  Pamela Anderson Picture  Pamela Anderson Picture

 

An ATTEMPT at Writing

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

 

Virginia Tech

 

 Like many the world over, I’m having to type and see through tear-filled eyes.  If I miss a key and mistype, I’m sure you’ll forgive me - after all, your eyes probably aren’t clearer than mine.

I’d been working on a few online projects all day and, literally, just went to CNN.com.  I can’t tell you how much I wish the main headline had been about Sanjaya and his hair or Imus and his mouth.  Unfortunately the headline was far crueler.  32 are dead and 29 injured after a gunman at the University of Virginia Tech chained a classroom door and opened fire on the class.  I can only imagine the horror that these students endured.  Or the hell that was on the other end when unsuspecting parents answered a call from Virginia. 

I’m speechless.  What can you say when you know that so many hearts are absolutely broken and lives shattered.   My daughters are, each, within 20 feet of me right at this second – yet there are mothers who will never see their little girls or little boys ever again.  (And, trust me, they’re always our little girls and boys.)

Please remember all of the moms, dads, grandparents, sweethearts, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, in your prayers.  They’re all looking for answers to questions that don’t HAVE any answers and for comfort for wounds that will not be comforted.   Pray for all of them daily, because they’re going to need it. At times like this, God is the only one who can help.

With love and a broken heart,

Emily, Brittany, and Stephany’s mother

 

The Three Week Groove

Three Weeks to a new habit

Wanna get your Groove on?!  Oh, make no mistake about it – you very much want to; you just may be a little unclear of which groove it is and a little more unclear of how to get it on. 

The Grooves

Do any (or all!) of the following interest you?

  • Getting up earlier
  • Reading more
  • Exercising everyday
  • Writing more
  • Playing an instrument
  • Praying more
  • Getting more organized
  • Keeping your house cleaner
  • Keeping your car cleaner
  • Kicking the habit of procrastinating
  • Kicking some other habit out of your life
  • Working on your temper

If you’re anything like me, there are several that interest you. But for now, just pick one.

When I chose my first one, I asked myself, “Which one could most help me in my pursuit of the others?”  After thinking about it, I decided that getting up earlier would help me the most.

It’s easier to tackle one goal at a time, even though human nature wants to grab as many as it can carry.  That’s one of human nature’s problems, though.  It often thinks it can carry more than it’s designed for. It’s much better to take care of one, then use the momentum from that success as strength for the next one(s).

Do any of these (or others you may know of) interest you enough to train for?

 

Just about anything in life has to be trained for.  There’s on the job training, training camps, boot camp, trade schools, religious training, etc. Most are months or years long.  But the training for Getting Your Groove on is just 3 weeks.

When I decided that I wanted to start getting up earlier, I knew I’d have to “re-train” my body and mind.  My mind, in its hyper little state, was all for it - but the body thought it was being punished for some crime it was certain it hadn’t commited.  For three straight weeks, my mind drug my body out from under the warm covers and forced it into an erect position as it pulled out every trick it knew:  “I need my rest,” “The body knows how much rest it needs,” “It’s too cold,” and its absolute favorite, “Just 10 more minutes!”

Three weeks later, I now automatically wake up an hour earlier than I did.  I was able to re-train myself and create a habit.  It may not seem like much, and on the grand scheme of things, it is a teeny little blip.  But, it’s also a clear example of how a great new habit…a life-changing Groove… is just 3 weeks away!

Just be warned of three things:

  1. Your body fights new routines.  The older you are, the more of a fight it’ll put up.
  2. You have to make it a priority each of the 21 days – no days off.
  3. A good habit can be broken in less time than it was made.  Be on guard against backsliding – dig in and refuse to budge!

Tomorrow is Monday.  I can’t think of a better time to start a life changing habit, can you? By the time Mother’s Day (May 10) rolls around, you could wear that habit like a nun.  Speaking of “wearing”, last night an incident with my favorite pair of Levi’s served me up the subject of my next 3 week focus!  If the body thought the early morning wake-up calls seemed like punishment, it ain’t seen nothing yet! 

Hear that?  Your groove’s calling. It’s wanting you to get it on!

 

Real Men Eat Zinc

Captain Jack SparrowGuys, if you want to stand strong and tall – and do so for the rest of your life – you’d better start monitoring your zinc.

Scientists have known for a long time that a lack of zinc in a woman’s diet contributes to osteoporosis.  But now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, Medical School (Kids graduated from there in the time it took to type out its name) have concluded that men need their zinc just as much as women.

During a four year span, researchers examined zinc intake among 396 men ranging in age from 45 to 92.  They found that men who consume inadequate zinc are more likey to suffer from osteoporosis of the hip and spine.

The usual recommended intake of zinc is 25 mg daily from all sources.

Of course, the surest way to make sure you get the required amount is to take a great daily vitamin, like Centrum.  However ther are plenty of food sources to choose from, as well.

These include:

  • Oysters
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Breakfast Cereal (check the box)
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Yogurt
  • Baked Beans
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Raisin Bran
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Milk
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans
  • Peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Flounder

Of course, one of the best things you can do to improve your posture is to become more aware of how you’re sitting or standing throughout the day.  Make an effort not to slouch or “hump over.”  Your mom….of course….was always right.  Stand up straight!

Who is Don Imus?

JackassDon Imus?  He’s just the Jackass of the moment.  That’s all.

There’s always someone, you know.  Some schmuck whose great big mouth gives away their ridiculously small IQ.

As a mother of three daughters, I must say that I feel a particularly strong, unChristian hatred for this jackass.  But, I also have to say that, as a society, we’re kind of setting the stage up for jackasses to perform on.  We’ve condoned too much for too long. 

I’m not trying to blow sunshine up anybody’s butt, but maybe we should all start being a little more considerate of everyone‘s feelings – every race, every sex, every denomination, every political party, everyone.  Hurtful, insulting words aren’t funny.  At what point, I wonder, did society start thinking they were?

If you aren’t sure what Imus said, I’ll just say this – he was incredibly rude and insensitive in an on air exchange about the female Rutgers basketball players.  My fingers absolutely refuse to type out his words inside of anything carrying my name on it, so you can click HERE if you want to see exactly what he said.

Anyway, he has been suspended for two weeks. He’s completely tanked his reputation and given a black eye to his own name.  He’s brought shame and embarrassment to his poor family – who, like the lovely girls at Rutgers, were completely innocent and undeserving of the stage they’ve been thrown onto.

The Scarlet Knights had just had the type of season that athletes dream of their whole lives.  They had just played the most imortant game of their own young lives. Even though I was, with popcorn in hand, cheering them on to win, the amazing Tennessee Vols were just too much that night.

So, these girls are trying to move past THAT disappointment when out of nowhere, an old jackass kicks them in the teeth.  Make no mistake about it, they didn’t deserve this and they’ll feel it a lot longer than two weeks.  These girls are so young – and if you have the good fortune to have young females in your life, you know just how strongly they feel things. That’s why my heart is especially breaking for them – they didn’t ask for this attention or embarrassment.

I honestly have no clear cut opinion on what should happen to the man next.  I’m glad he was suspended and part of me hopes that this is his undoing.  But part of me hopes that he has honestly learned a lesson and feels like the jackass that he is.  That side of me hopes he gets a chance to redeem himself, wins the lottery and pays for each of these girls’ college education. That part also loves little soft bunnies and steps over daffodils. I suspect she still believes in Santa Claus, too.  (See? She capitalized his name as though he’s real.)

The other side of me?  I just can’t quit thinking about how these girls’ faces must have looked when told about his words.  I can’t stop thinking about how he has robbed them of a little of their innocence.  Without realizing it, young people look up to older people to lead the way and set a good example.  Often they look at the older generation to sort of look out for them. 

That side of me wants the fool to fry.

 

Quote by India Arie

 

India Arie

“Are you a pauper or a superstar? So you act, so you feel, so you are!” 

-India Arie

This quote was actually on the back of my Starbuck’s cup of Mocha Latte .  I thought it was incredibly motivational and inspirational. Anything that makes you pause and think gets high marks in my book.

I liked the quote, too.

+++ HAPPY EASTER! +++