The Next Book You Have to Read: Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos, Ph.D.

Why We Have GOT to Get Moving!

I’m asked the following question a lot, “What’s your favorite book?”  My answer?  “Besides the Bible, cookbooks, and every Agatha Christie mystery I ever met… my favorite book is the one I just read.”

Sounds trite, but it’s the truth – the pure, plain, simple truth.

I love books a great, great deal.  They’re mentally stimulating – whether they’re a great mystery by Christie, an inspirational book by Max Lucado, a “Complete Idiot’s Guide..” (love those!), or a self help book everyone… or no one.. is talking about. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals

One great way to find out what my favorite book is at the time is to find out which one I just passed along to two of my three daughters (Emily or Stephany) – they’re carrying on the book loving tradition.

Emily recently returned a book (Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death – and Exercise Alone Won’t) I’d passed along for her to read. She loved it as much as I did and it has served as the fodder of quite a few conversations we’ve had.  That’s the beauty of books – they can lead to wonderful, constructive, and positive conversations.  Often times, as is this case, these conversations aren’t just healthy, they can be healing. What’s more they can even lead to longer lives.

Sitting Kills, Moving Heals is the perfect example. Not only is this the next book I hope YOU read, I hope it’s the next book you recommend to everyone you care about.

From the Back Cover:

Your Chair is slowly killing you.  But exercise alone isn’t the answer.  Easy, everyday, all-day movement will keep you healthy for life.

Medical studies show that too much sitting will shorten your life, even if you exercise.  No matter how much exercise we get, most of us spend hours each day immobile in our chairs, and we’re fatter, sicker, and more tired than ever before. Why isn’t exercise enough? What’s missing?


Dr. Joan Vernikos, former Director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, applies her groundbreaking NASA research on Gravity Deprivation Syndrome to everyday health here on Earth.

Your body needs to move in gravity to stay healthy.  In the near zero gravity of space, astronauts’ muscles and bones atrophy, as if they were rapidly aging.  Sitting all day at a desk, in long commutes, or in front of the TV is just like zero G – if you don’t move in gravity, you’ll suffer the same rapid aging as astronauts.

Astronauts are quickly restored to full health by returning to active life on Earth – and so can you.  Vernikos shows that the key to lifelong health is more than just traditional gym exercise, but a natural lifestyle of constant, natural movement that resists the force of gravity.

Vernikos’ easy-to-follow, commonsense plan shows how simple, everyday, fun activities like walking, gardening, dancing, golf, and more will keep you healthy, strong, and independent your whole life long.

Sitting Kills, Moving Heals is a fascinating read from page one.   Learning about the effects of gravity and “Gravity Deprivation Syndrome” literally made me stand up and pace as I read a great portion of the book!  I love the encouragement to move – for adults and children, alike.  As the author points out, children mimic what they see adults do. If children see active adults, they’ll tend to be more active, themselves. However, if they see inactive adults who rely too heavily on television, computers, and other forms of technology – they’ll probably mimic the inactivity as well.

Exercise is not a substitute for activities that come naturally throughout the day, 365 days a year, for the rest of your life. – Page 52

Among Other Things, the Book Includes:

  • Easy ways to “sneak” more activity into your day.
  • The benefits of stretching.
  • The 8 Fundamentals of G-Effective Activity.
  • How to create healthy habits that’ll keep your body from aging prematurely.
  • Stretches and Exercises to prevent muscle atrophy (remember, we’re dealing with a NASA expert here!).
  • The Health and Fitness Pyramid explained in detail.
  • How to completely relax.
  • Strength Training benefits.
  • The author’s expertise on gravity and exercise machines.
  • Gravity therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Helping the brain heal itself.
  • How to be a kid again and why you should!
  • Benefit of inversion (gets blood to the head).
  • Benefits of certain sports and activities.

Basically, you’ll gain a whole new way of looking at your health and life.  This is honestly a book unlike any other and I’m 100 percent certain it” effect your life and health positively.

See Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death – and Exercise Alone Won’t for more information. This one’s a life changer.

13 Ways the Internet Can Improve Your Health!

How Social Media, the Internet, and Online Health Communities Can Be Good for You

Pinterest for Your Health

November is National Health Blog Post Month and I have been honored with an invitation to participate. Each day in November, I’ll post a health-related article or piece of information on Self Help Daily. I’m as excited as I am honored and the reason for the excitement ties in with the subject of today’s post: Top 10 Ways the Internet Can Improve Your Health: Things I Love About social media, the internet, and online health communities.

Why I Write So Much About Improving Your Health and Health-Related Topics

Before I get to the top 13 list, I thought I’d give a quick explanation of why I write so much about health topics such as preventing diabetes, heart health, green smoothies, and so on. There are several reasons, actually, and they each have to do with people I love.

  • A great number of people in my family (including the family I gained when I married my husband) have had diseases that most of us hope and pray we never experience. These diseases include diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, uterine cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Hypertension.  Not only did I watch these diseases steal a lot of the quality of loved one’s lives, I saw these diseases take a great number of them far too soon.
  • Even if I didn’t write and/or run a web publishing business, I’d still research health-related topics for the sake of my husband and daughters. I’d read everything I could get my hands on that’d give me an edge in fighting off diseases that haunt our family.  The information I find helps me decide what meals to cook, what activities to encourage and discourage, etc. Knowing what diseases your family is most prone to (and in our case, we seem to be open to just about anything!) gives you an edge – you know what to try your darnedest to fend off.
  • I not only want to protect my family, I want to help you protect your family.  Yes, I am a bona fide people person. If, when it’s all said and done, I can help prevent just one person  from losing a loved family member as early as we’ve lost some of ours – it has been more than worth it.
  • Not only would I like to help pass along information that could save lives, I want to find and pass along information that could help improve lives.

So. That’s why I write about Health-Related Topics.  I’m trying to save the world here, okay?

13 Ways the Internet Can Improve Your Health

The internet gets a bad rap. Thanks to a lot of disgusting websites and a lot of ridiculous people on certain social media sites, the internet often comes across as a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.  However, there are a lot of ways the internet can improve your health, help you prevent diseases … and potentially save… your life.  This very fact is the reason I chose the number 13 for this list.  Like the internet, the number 13 gets a bad rap. It’s considered to be an unlucky number, so I wanted to take it and create something positive with it – the same way we can all take the internet and do something positive with it.

  1. Medical Websites. You can go to and research symptoms and diseases any time of day or night.  You’ll find things you can do to make yourself feel better and heal faster and find out when or if you need to see a doctor. There are also countless tips for preventing diseases, improving your health, feeling better, increasing your energy, and living healthy on this site as well as others such as Everyday Health and Mayo Clinic. When it comes to health advice and illnesses, I always advise people to stick with the sites mentioned here. Be very cautious where you take advice from for serious conditions.  If you’re searching for ways to make a mouth ulcer feel better, by all means try whatever relief you can – but when it comes to more serious matters, never get your information from someone on a forum, for example, who goes by the handle IronMan5 or Gr8Grl. Know what I mean?!
  2. Real  A website so vital, so cool, and so helpful that it gets its own place in the top 10. Real is more than a website, it’s a tool. When you (honestly!) fill out the questionnaire, you aren’t just given your “Real Age” (as opposed to the year determined by your birth date ).  However, it doesn’t just leave it at that. You’re given TONS of great tips and advice to help you improve your real age and your health and, thereby, increase your chances for a longer life.
  3. Apps. There are apps that count calories for your, apps that tell you how many calories you’re burning, and even an app that reminds you to take your prescriptions! When you search for specific apps, you’ll be amazed by what you find.  If you have time, search for reviews of the apps you find. Do a little research and find the best ones out there.
  4. Fitness. is one of the best places online for fitness articles and exercises.
  5. YouTube Workouts! If you search YouTube for keywords such as Yoga, Zumba, Pilates, Cardio, Aerobics, exercise video, Kettle Bell Workout, etc.. you’ll find some really cool workout videos to increase your strength, stamina, and fitness level. If you aren’t careful, you may even burn some calories!
  6. Healthy Recipes. You can find the most amazing healthy recipes online. If you’re on Pinterest, a lot of people even have boards devoted entirely to healthy eating.  If you need heart-healthy recipes, gluten free recipes,  or vegan recipes, they’re literally at your fingertips.  No one with an internet has the excuse of not having healthy recipes.
  7. Relax and Unwind. At the end of a hectic day, there’s something kind of relaxing about cruising Pinterest or catching up on Twitter.  If you love cats like me, you’ll find that funny cat pictures and/or cat videos are  fun ways to grab a smile or two at the end of the day.  Here’s a little personal tip of mine when it comes to relaxation. After a long day writing and working online, when I get up from the computer, I want to leave all of that craziness behind and unwind.  I’ll often go to You Tube and search for “Japanese Music” or “Classical Piano Music” and let it fill the house as I make supper, do laundry, or simply crash on the couch. I’m not sure anything in the world is as relaxing as piano music or Japanese music.
  8.  Speaking of Twitter… The world has never known a better place for staying on top of important, life-effecting news. If you “follow” your local weather stations, CNN, the Weather Channel, Fox News and other authoritative agencies, you’ll always know (almost immediately) what’s headed your way.  Twitter is also the first place I usually learn about food recalls too.
  9. Relationships. Social Media Sites don’t just help you relax – and they don’t just keep you informed.  They’re also  a great place for making new friends. Any time you build relationships (online or off), it’s good for you.  Mental fitness experts tell us that the more relationships we have in our life, the better.
  10. Official Health Groups and Agencies. What better place to get information about heart health than the American Heart Association, up to the minute information about diabetes from the American Diabetes Association, or information about preventing cancer from the American Cancer Society? Follow these groups on social media, check them regularly, and (when available) take part in their forums.
  11. Newsletters.  Just about every official health agency has a newsletter you can sign up for. They’ll deliver the latest research, tips, and medical advice right to your inbox!
  12. Overcome Addictions and Find Support.  Whatever your own personal monster under the porch is, you can find wonderful support groups online. People who know what you’re going through and can help you overcome, persevere, and take your life back.
  13. Health Communities.  I saved this one for last because, quite frankly, I think it’s huge.  While doing research for my Self Help Daily, my food blog, and well as my mental fitness blog, I visit a lot of  medial websites. Sometimes I read through their forums or I’ll read the personal stories of individuals who have either survived or are surviving a health issue. The advice these individuals have for one another is almost as vital as the support they provide for one another. Some of the strongest bonds in the world take place in these communities.  Personal tips, stories, and simple words like, “I did this, you can too!” and “You’re going to make it!” can mean the absolute world to someone who needs it.  Menopause, cancer, heart disease, asthma, addictions, diabetes – you name it, there’s a community for it and communities are all about strength.


6 Reasons to Consider Veganism

I Guarantee These Points will Make You Ponder

Koya Webb

Below is a guest post by the ridiculously beautiful Koya Webb. I remember the first time I saw a picture of Koya Webb. The article was discussing healthy diets and promoting healthy lifestyles.  When I saw Koya’s picture, I thought, “Just give me what she’s having.”

I hope you’ll just put aside your preconceived opinions about veganism and read the article with an open mind. It’s only when we have ALL the facts that we can make the healthiest decisions in life.  – Joi

Unveiling the Vegan Lifestyle: 6 Points to Ponder

by Koya Webb

Dietary veganism—the practice of abstaining from eating animal products—is a lifestyle rife with mystery, myths and misconceptions, and is often erroneously regarded as a dietary regime for extremists.  In fact, amid copious health and wellness benefits, the vegan diet is far more mainstream today. This is exemplified by the number of vegan restaurants, and vegan dishes at traditional restaurants, increasing exponentially as well as the high profile personalities that have adopted a vegan diet.

Perhaps the vegan diet officially “arrived” when Oprah Winfrey went on a vegan diet for 21 days in 2008, and in 2011 asked her 378 production staff to do the same for one week, as well reported*. Reports also note that Former U.S. president Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after cardiac surgery, while his daughter Chelsea was already a vegan. In November 2010 Bloomberg Businessweek stated that a growing number of American CEOs were becoming vegan, such as Steve Wynn, Mortimer Zuckerman, and Russell Simmons. A list of other notable vegans can be found on Wikipedia.

[Read more...]

Green Smoothies: My Personal Experience

And Why You Should Start Drinking Green Smoothies TODAY

Nutri Bullet
Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System

I recently wrote an article on Self Help Daily about Green Smoothies. I reviewed the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies and gave you a few links. I hope you checked them out and hope, with all my heart, that The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies is either in the mail or, better yet, lying right in front of you.

I’d been planning to write this follow-up article a few months down the road.  Several members of my family and  I recently began drinking green smoothies daily and I thought that an article, say 6 months down the road, would be an effective way of letting you know how it’s going, and what you can expect.

Problem is, I’m so excited by what I’ve already seen (and felt) that I couldn’t put a lid on it.  I’d much rather tell you NOW so you can buy everything you need to start enjoying the benefits of green smoothies right away.

So what do you need to make green smoothies?

If your budget wouldn’t feel the pinch too badly, I personally think you should invest in the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System.  Why? Several reasons. For one thing, the system absolutely, positively mixes up and pulverizes greens, seeds, and vegetables better than a blender.  I happen to have a very nice blender – when it comes to buying me things for the kitchen, my husband has never pinched pennies.  Sometimes when shopping for a small appliance, I’ll pick one out that I think’s perfectly good, only to have him find one twice as much and hear him say, “But this one’s better.”  It’s what happened when we picked out our current blender – so… know this… it’s a great blender.

However, when I made my first green smoothie, I noticed that it was a lot chunkier than I needed for it to be. My blender’s great for fruit smoothies, shakes, and things like that – but when it comes to green smoothies, it’s just not as good as the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System.   Can you make green smoothies in a traditional blender? Yes. Will they be better with the Nutri Bullet? My experience doesn’t just say yes, it screams it!

Another benefit of buying the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System is the literature that comes with it. Invaluable.  You get a “Pocket Nutritionist” booklet as well as a User Guide & Recipe Book. The Pocket Nutritionist lists a ton of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and tells you why you should add them to your green smoothies. For example, almonds can help reduce the risk of heart disease up to 30%.  They’re also high in heart-healthy magnesium and blood pressure-regulating potassium.  This same little booklet details the selection process for these healthy foods and… something I’ve really found beneficial… how to store the foods.

I’ll tell on myself, here. When I first read through the booklet, I just looked at the health benefits. I thought, “Gimme a break, I know how to store food and I certainly know how to pick them out.”  Not so fast, blogger girl, not so fast. Turns out there were quite a few things I didn’t  know.

Go figure!

Long Story Short: Yes a blender will do the job, but a Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System will perfect the job.

What foods go into a green smoothie?

It’s very important to switch up the greens you use. I try to keep at least three types of greens on hand all the time.  You add about 2 handfuls of greens to each smoothie. The following are perfect to use in green smoothies:

  • spinach (my personal favorite)
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • romaine lettuce (a great one to start with – it’s very mild)
  • spring greens
  • Swiss chard (work up to this one!)
  • parsley

The following fruits and vegetables are all excellent in green smoothies, but you simply can’t beat a good old-fashioned banana. Bananas put the smooth green smoothies. They’re also excellent at concealing the flavors of the harsher greens (yes, Swiss Chard, I’m looking at you.).  Experiment with the fruits and vegetables you use in your smoothies. That’s part of the fun! The best green smoothie recipes will be the ones you come up with yourself because they’ll be the ones that include your favorite flavors.

  • apples
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • broccoli
  • cantaloupe
  • carrots
  • celery (like bananas, they can dominate the flavor – so go easy, unless you’re WILD about celery)
  • cranberries
  • cucumbers
  • figs
  • grapes
  • honeydew melons
  • kiwifruit
  • mangoes
  • nectarines
  • oranges
  • papayas
  • peaches
  • pears
  • pineapples
  • plums
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • watermelon

Most people, in addition to the greens and fruits/veggies, add an extra nutritional “boost” called… are you ready for it… “boosts.”  You can add about 1/4 cup of these flavor and health enhancers. Some of our favorites are:

  • almonds
  • cashews
  • chia seeds (I’m addicted to these nutritious little guys – sometimes I just pop 1/4 tsp in my mouth for kicks.)
  • flax seeds
  • Goji berries (dried)
  • hemp seed
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds (awesome in green smoothies)
  • walnuts

How do you make a green smoothie?

It just takes a few minutes to throw together a green smoothie.  I put a few handfuls of greens into my Nutri Bullet, followed by the fruit I’m in the mood for that day (usually a banana and pineapples, apple, grapes or berries). Then I add my “boosts” (some wicked cool combination of chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds…).  If the greens are anything besides spinach or romaine lettuce, I’ll add about a teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for extra creaminess and goodness.  Then I add some purified water, juice, or green tea and blend it all together.  It isn’t necessary, but I finish my smoothies off by adding a little ice to the smoothie  and blending it again – I prefer my green smoothies not just cold, but shivering.

After I make mine, I prepare my husbands and put it in the refrigerator for him.  He likes to enjoy his coffee, check his e-mail and sports news THEN have his green smoothie. Your’s truly goes for the Green right off the bat.

When I first heard about green smoothies, I thought, “I don’t really need these green guys because I eat lots of salads and snack on fruit.”  I figured there HAD to be something special about putting everything together in a smoothie, so I did  a little research.  Turns out, by processing the food in the blender or Nutri Bullet, more nutrients and health benefits are extracted than would be if we just ate the foods raw.

I’ll let Kim Caldwell, author of  How Green Smoothies Saved My Life: A Guide for Using Green Smoothies, Uplifted Thinking, and Live Food to Enhance Your Life explain it. The following is from page 22 of her wonderful book (which I’ll review on Self Help Daily tomorrow!):

Why can’t I just eat my green leafy vegetables in a salad?  This is a commonly asked question. Some people explain that they eat several salads a day and therefore do not need to drink Green Smoothies.

There is a big difference in the consistency of a salad and a green smoothie. Green smoothies are blended into a liquid which breaks down the plant and releases the chlorophyll much more efficiently than normal chewing. Blending makes the liquid super easy for our bodies to digest and assimilate the nutrients.

Also, when we eat salads, we top them off with dressings and sometimes even croutons or bacon bits, whereas in green smoothies, they’ll be topped off with fruit and healthy boosts. Green smoothies for the win!

In the author’s quote above, you noticed the word “chlorophyll.”  I thought you might like a little explanation of why this is important for our health as well as weight management.  Chlorophyll – something green smoothies excel at like none other – is, quite simply, a blood and body cleanser.  It gives your body what you need in order to operate at the highest level!  When you drink green smoothies regularly, you’ll find that you visit the bathroom more regularly.  When this happens, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the cleansing power of chlorophyll.

Green smoothies give your body what it needs for optimum health and fitness and eliminates the rest – toxins that’d like to stick around and lead to a dramatic sickness are sent packing.

My own experience with green smoothies.

Several members of my family are enjoying green smoothies and have fallen in love with the way they make them feel.  I’ll briefly give you the highlights of their experiences and then I’ll share my own.

Emily – My beautiful oldest daughter works in the school system, in the school nurse’s office. She has to get up each morning around 6:00.  NOT something she enjoys!  A few weeks into the school year, she told me that she loved her job but HATED getting up so early. She said by the time she got off work, she just wanted to go to bed.  She also said that she’d put on about 5 unwanted pounds.  My husband and I gave her our Green Smoothies sermon and she went immediately to the store to load up.  A few weeks later? The 5 pounds she gained have gone, and took a few extra pounds with them!

The biggest difference is the fact that she doesn’t get up at 6:00 am anymore… she gets up at 5:30!  She tells me that she has more energy than ever before and doesn’t even experience that mid-day lull that most people trudge through.

She has also noticed something else I have noticed – the cravings for junk food and fast food have disappeared.  Instead of wanting a burger and fries, she finds herself craving a smoothie, grilled shrimp, steamed broccoli, or a salad.

I can’t put my finger on it, but drinking at least one green smoothie a day all but eliminates the cravings for unhealthy food. It’s as though your body suddenly becomes a certified nutritionist and automatically knows what’s good for it. It begins craving healthy foods. Believe me, I was as shocked as anyone.

My Husband has lost over 10 pounds since we began having green smoothies each morning.  He has more energy than before, just like Em. He recently had a back injury that almost always requires surgery, but his body was able to begin healing itself. It continues to do so and I’m certain the doctors are as amazed as we are delighted.

He has also noticed an improvement with his sinuses and seasonal allergies. Generally, around this time he’d be in agony, but so far not so much as one sneeze.

My youngest son-in-law, Rusty.  Now this one’s a shocker. I’ve always called Rusty “Hamburglar” because he eats a wild amount of hamburgers. As for vegetables, green beans and potatoes are it. Fruit? Forget about it… unless you count Strawberry Kool-Aid.  I made Rusty a green smoothie one night, kind of as a dare.  Not only did he take a drink – he drank it all!  This… from a guy who HATES green vegetables with all his heart and soul.  He has had one each day since (I think it’s been like 5 days) and he has lost 4 pounds.   Here’s something even more shocking – he hasn’t made any other changes at all and the green smoothie he drinks isn’t even as a meal. It’s in addition to his normal meals.

That’s the magic of green smoothies!

Rusty has also found that he doesn’t need Red Bulls or other energy drinks for energy. He gets his energy naturally now.

My own experiences with green smoothies are just as wonderful.  I happen to have a couple of health issues – very mild compared to what some people live with – but they’re things that can make it almost impossible to lose weight or keep it off.  I have asthma, seasonal allergies, low blood sugar, and a thyroid problem. My thyroid had to be destroyed years ago and I’ve been on Synthroid since.  I don’t say all of these to brag (even though that’s pretty boast-worthy material right there), I simply want anyone with similar issues to know they have a kindred spirit.

Below are a few of the lovelies I”ve noticed with Green Smoothies:

  • Normally, this time of year would have my asthma in a tail-spin – it’s much, much better this year. I’m actually going to begin having 2 green smoothies each day instead of 1. I figure if my health is already this much better with 1, I can’t wait to see how it is with 2!
  • Like the others, I’ve noticed that I  have more energy.  In fact, I”ll let you in on a little secret – sometimes my “get up and go” gets up and I have to catch up. I simply find that I want to move more than ever before.  My daily 30 minute walk is now more like a 45 minute walk and some days it’s 2 30 minute walks.
  • Emily and I both have low blood sugar which rears its ugly head when we’re even the slightest bit hungry. We’ll get kind of nauseous, light-headed, and have to dive for the nearest cracker or granola bar we can find.  This is why I was kind of skeptical about either one of us replacing our breakfast with a green smoothie.  I just knew I”d be dying of hunger an hour later.  HOWEVER… green smoothies keep me full longer than my normal breakfasts did. Emily has noticed the same exact thing.  Green Smoothies are extremely filling and satisfying. I’ve noticed that they eliminate the need for a mid-morning snack and they even allow you to eat a lighter lunch than normal.
  • Anyone who has thyroid disease knows that it’s almost impossible to lose weight. Your metabolism is so screwed up when you have thyroid disease – and Heaven help you if you happen to be in or near menopause (the killer of metabolisms everywhere).  I’m thrilled to report that I am losing weight. Yay! I FEEL better than I have felt in a very long time and the funny thing is I never realized I didn’t feel fantastic.  I thought I was fine and dandy… then I began drinking green smoothies and I was reminded of how great it feels to feel great.
  • Again, I can’t explain the “whys” but my hair is thicker and in better condition. The extra nutrients and vitamins are simply showing up in the most unexpected places. And I couldn’t be happier.

I realize this article has become almost a book – my word count right this minute is well over 2,000! I apologize for the length, but there’s just so much to say.  Don’t worry, though, I’m almost through and you can go make yourself a green smoothie to celebrate.  I’m certainly going to!

I’ve created a new category on Self Help Daily called Green Smoothies (found under the Health category).  I’ll post updates about our experiences, recipes, tips, book reviews, and so forth. I’ll be reviewing Kim Caldwell’s  How Green Smoothies Saved My Life: A Guide for Using Green Smoothies, Uplifted Thinking, and Live Food to Enhance Your Life tomorrow.  It’s a great book and I’m in love with her writing style.  In fact, I have another one of her books to review later this week!

A few last tips:

  • For optimum health, I (and I noticed Kim does as well) recommend you drink more tea.  I drink green tea and black tea all day long and simply swear by them. They work beautifully along with green smoothies – riding your body of what it doesn’t need while loading you up with life-giving antioxidants.
  • Frozen fruit is great in smoothies.
  • Pineapples make any green smoothie even better.
  • Experiment with using juice in your smoothies. When cold and flu season get here, a little extra orange juice can keep you healthier.
  • Speaking of cold and flu season, why not start your green smoothie regime today – it’s just in time to give your body the extra strength it needs to fight off colds, bugs, and other miseries.
  • Think green smoothies are too expensive?  Here’s what I’ve found – there is almost always some fruit, vegetable, and variety of greens on sale at all times.  Check several stores and grab what each one has on sale. I ducked into a store in town that I never go in – a Save-A-Lot. They had cheaper frozen fruit than a few other stores and they’re produce section was pretty reasonable as well.  Wal-Mart is another store with very inexpensive produce, seeds, and nuts.
  • If you try one green smoothie and don’t care for it, try another! I fell in love with green smoothies right off the bat (as did Emily and my husband), but some people have to try a few combinations before they find the one they like.  With another beautiful daughter, Brittany, I hit pay dirt when I added pineapples and an apple to spinach along with a little pineapple juice.  In her words, “That’s really, really good!“  Another day, another convert.  Her boyfriend has also jumped on the bandwagon.  He had some of one I made for Rusty a few nights ago and said, “I love it.”  I’m the green smoothie piper.  Might as well, I gotta do something with all this energy.

Thank you for sticking with me through these thousands of words – you are a champ. I hope you’re able to pick up on my excitement and I hope (with all my heart) that you’ll give green smoothies a chance.  They could be the catalyst to take you to better health, weight loss, increased energy, better skin, and (man I love this part) thicker hair!

If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please leave them in the comments or e-mail me! – Joi


It’s Simple: Green Smoothies + A Healthier Diet = A Healthier YOU

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Smoothies Review

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green SmoothiesI fancy myself the inquisitive type. The type of person who, upon hearing a particular name mentioned or an interesting new subject broached, has to research the dickens out of it until she can carry on an intelligent conversation about said person, place, thing, or idea.  When teaching our three beautiful daughters in our home school, I always told them to latch onto anything that interested them and “study” it from all sides and angels until they could, literally, write an essay on the subject.

I wish I had a dollar for every essay they ever wrote over those years!

As a component of staying as mentally active as possible and as someone who writes (and reads) a great deal about brain fitness, I encourage everyone – in addition to my girls – to read and study as many subjects as you possibly can.  Don’t just latch onto one and don’t limit yourself to one source – dissect a subject like an earthworm on a board. Look at it from every possible angle, while keeping an open mind and always, always, always think for yourself.

Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to write an essay.

I’ve been reading a lot the past few months about a couple of different subjects. Like my brain, these subjects are all over the place:

  • Green Smoothies
  • Preservatives in Food
  • Squirrels
  • Joan of Arc
  • Yoga

Did you know that, although we’ve always seen paintings of her as a fearless fighter, riding into battle armed and dangerous – the heroine of the Hundred Years’ War (between France and England), Joan of Arc, never actually fought in a single battle? She certainly never killed an opponent.  (For 6 other cool facts about Joan of Arc, check out

Green Smoothies and Raw Food

My fascination with Green Smoothies came about a while back when I was sent The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies to review. I was mesmerized immediately.  The book is easy to read, simple to understand, and the first step you should take if you’re considering green smoothies.

From the Back Cover:

Blended from fresh, natural, whole foods and juices, green smoothies help burn fat, promote immune and digestive system health, and rid your body of toxins.

The next best thing to a personal smoothie chef, this superb guide gives you 150 taste-tempting recipes to amp up your nutrition, satisfy your cravings, and cleanse your body.

In it, you get:

  • Advice on combining ingredients and flavors into delicious green smoothies even kids will love.
  • Easy ideas for creating energizing green smoothies packed with protein to fuel the athlete in you.
  • Recipes for powerful superfood smoothies that increase your vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient intake.
  • Tips for blending nutritionally dense, low-calorie weight loss smoothies that leave you feeling satisfied.
  • Healing green smoothie and tonic recipes that boost your immunity and purify your body from the inside out.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies is the perfect (ideal, ideal, ideal) introduction to Green Smoothies. The author, Bo Rinaldi, is a chef and co-owner of Blossoming Lotus Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. He’s also the co-owner of and He has written several great books for The Complete Idiot’s series.

What you eat empowers you. - Bo Rinaldi, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies

In addition to the 150 Green Smoothies recipes, this great guide includes the following informative chapters:

  • Why Green Smoothies?
  • The Bountiful Benefits of Green Smoothies (fiber, nutrients, vitamins, anti-oxidants…).
  • Making the Perfect Green Smoothie.
Recipes in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies include Everyday Smoothies, Powerful Superfood Smoothies, Smoothies for Weight Loss, Healing Smoothies, Green Smoothie Tonics, Smoothies for Athletes, Kid-Friendly Smoothies, Exotic Green Smoothies!

I’ll be writing more about nutrition, preventing diabetes. raw foods, and yoga in future posts but I wanted to share a few links with you.  I’ve loved smoothies for a long time now. Strawberry, Banana, Peach… Never met a smoothie I didn’t love.  I also am a huge fan of vegetables, so when the subject of Green Smoothies came up, how could I NOT be fascinated? Green Smoothies were, apparently “invented” by the late Dr. Ann Wigmore in 1988.

[Read more...]

The Scary Diabetes Epidemic

Things We Can Do to Prevent Diabetes

SaladEating healthy is a huge step in diabetes prevention.

According to the World Health Organization, there are about 346 million people worldwide with diabetes. If you think that’s alarming (and it is), make sure you’re sitting down before you read this next line: The International Diabetes Federation predicts that at least one in 10 adults could have diabetes by 2030, an estimated 552 million people.

If you’ve ever seen diabetes up close and personal, you know that it’s one brutal disease. I know you’re as anxious as I am to keep this monster out of your closet. The good news is that there ARE things we can do to lessen our odds of getting diabetes. With the estimates we just talked about, I’d say the time to start doing all we can do  is NOW and the time to stop doing all that we can is NEVER.

The American Diabetes Association Recommends the following steps to prevent diabetes:

  • Get active and stay active. Add more activity to your daily routine. If you have a sedentary job, make it a point to frequently stand and take walks. Stretch, lift weights, or just walk in place. Another great way to make sure you’re getting enough activity is to wear a pedometer. Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day. Being active doesn’t necessarily mean jogging or trips to the gym. It simply means getting that body moving – OFTEN!
  • Eat healthy foods.  Lay off the sugar and fried foods. Eat more (as in a lot more!) fruits and vegetables. If choosing healthy meals is a problem for you, you might want to register for MyFoodAdvisor. This freeonline resource provides you with new recipes, cooking tips, and a meal plan each month.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight isn’t within a healthy range, move Heaven and earth to get it there.

One of the best weapons against diabetes is common sense.  We all know the foods that we should avoid and we know the foods we should eat more frequently. It’s time to stop messing around and get serious about this.

Before it’s too late.

More Dietary Guidelines for Eating Healthy:

  • Eat more meals at home.
  • Make fast food drive thrus a thing of the past.
  • Eat more salads – but lay off of the fattening dressings.
  • Make fruit your “go to” snack.
  • See Dr. Oz’s Anti-Diabetes Drink
  • Choose whole grains. Whole grains contain more fiber which not only help you feel fuller faster – they also keep blood sugar levels more stable. According to Bob Greene, “When you eat foods made with refined grain, like white bread or corn flake cereal, the glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. On the other hand, whole grains take longer for the body to break down, so you get a much slower and less severe blood sugar spike. Start replacing your regular white bread and crackers with whole-grain versions, and trade in white rice for brown rice. Pasta is an exception; because of the way it’s made, even regular pasta promotes a relatively slow rise in blood sugar compared to other foods made with refined grains. Whole-wheat pasta is even easier on blood sugar. If you’re not a fan, try Barilla Whole Grain, which at 51 percent whole grain gives you some of the benefits but not the gritty taste, or Barilla PLUS, which has added fiber and protein. The meal plans in the book feature a number of tasty ways to incorporate more whole grains into your diet.

See The American Diabetes Association for more information about preventing diabetes.


How to Strengthen Your Mind

Protect Memories and Prevent Alzheimer's

Improve your mind and Strengthen your brain!

Yesterday I published a mega post on my Mental Fitness Blog (Out of Bounds).  The article is all about staying mentally fit, improving your brain’s health, and preventing Alzheimer’s Disease.  You can take a look at it here:  100 Ways to Stay on Top of Your Game, Mentally.

Quotes About Learning

Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.  – Henry L. Doherty

Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

You learn something every day if you pay attention.  – Ray LeBlond

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. – Chinese Proverb

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. – Henry Ford

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will. – Vernon Howard

I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.  – Abraham Lincoln

More Quotes about Learning

A Must Have App if You’re Counting Calories

I Love this App!

Fast Food App

My daughter Emily and I were having lunch not long ago at Applebee’s in Owensboro.  We’re both becoming more and more health conscious and try not to consume more than our day’s share or allotted calories.  To that end, not long ago, I downloaded the Fast Food Calorie Counter App and use it religiously. This app has the foods listed for 106 different restaurants (including every fast food chain you can think of). It’s fast and easy to use and can help you make smarter decisions.

USUALLY (you know how those usuallys go), I consult my app before I even leave the house – so I have a game plan before I even touch the menu. However, this time we didn’t even decide where we were eating until we were practically in the parking lot!  As we sat at the table, we’d both just about made up our minds when I decided to “double check” our choices – choices that seemed innocent enough.  Can you say, “Nearly a day’s entire allottment of calories in one meal?!?!

We wanted no part of that, so we entirely switched gears and made MUCH smarter and healthier choices.  Emily, right then and there, asked me what app I’d just used and downloaded it to her iPhone on the spot.

Most people simply have no idea the number of calories they’re consuming.  We tend to take in a whole lot more calories than we realize, especially when eating out.  If you don’t have a device for using apps, do the next best thing – either buy a book that lists calories in restaurant foods or get into the habit of visiting a restaurant’s website before you even leave the house.  You’ll be absolutely amazed by the number of calories in the food you’ve been eating!  They add up ridiculously and are contributing to the growing problem we face with obesity and diabetes.

Below are a few shockers:

Applebee’s Reuben Sandwich – 1,150 calories

Applebee’s California Turkey Club – 920 calories

Applebee’s side of onion rings – 530 calories

Applebee’s side of French Fries – 400 calories

Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Rollup – 1,140 calories

Applebee’s Chicken Fajita Rollup – 560 calories

Applebee’s Chicken Parmesan – 1400 calories

Applebee’s Crispy Orange Chicken – 1510 calories

Applebee’s Fiesta Lime Chicken – 1140 calories

Applebee’s Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine – 1530 calories

If you add the side of fries to the sandwich or rollup, you’ll see how an innocent looking lunch becomes a nightmare!

Some better choices at Applebee’s:

Applebee’s Weight Watchers Cajun Lime Tilapia – 350 calories

Applebee’s Spicy Pineapple Glazed Shrimp and Spinach – 310 calories

Applebee’s Black Bean Soup – 190 calories

Steak & Grilled Shrimp Combo – 530 calories

Applebee’s Chicken Caesar Salad – 300 calories

Applebee’s has an OUTSTANDING “Under 550 Calories’ Menu that I use just about every time. Each item on this menu is exceptional – and as filling as any of the other meals boasting much higher calories.  It isn’t applicable at Applebee’s, but if you’re eating at a restaurant that keeps a steady stream of bread coming to your table, be sure to calculate each roll or bread stick into your meal.  As a country, we’re simply eating way too many calories.

Something I’m trying to get better at is avoiding appetizers – we’re talking hundreds (often upon hundreds) of extra, unnecessary calories.  Most appetizers aren’t good for you in any way whatsoever. It’d be much wiser to simply order a side salad if you’re starving and anticipate a wait.  I have no idea why, but appetizers are SUCH a weakness for me – even more so than desserts.

Here’s the link to the wonderful calorie counter app for fast food.  I wouldn’t dream of leaving home without it!

Looking to Get Fit and Fabulous?

Denise Austin Has an App for That!

Denise Austin App

“Never miss an opportunity to move — your muscles don’t know if you’re in a gym or in the kitchen! Turn idle time into toning time by doing squats while you stir batter, leg lifts while you chop veggies, and push-ups on the countertop while you wait for your water to boil. Talk about multitasking!” – Denise Austin

I should go ahead and admit it. After all, my husband, daughters, and cats already know it. You might as well, too. I’m an app freak.  A delirious app happy freak.  A few days ago, I was scrolling through my apps on my ipod touch and my husband asked, “How many apps do you have?!”  Without looking up, I told him, “You don’t want to know.”

Besides, I was too busy app dancing to count.

One of my favorite health and fitness apps is Denise Austin’s Health and Fitness App.   It was actually one of the first apps I grabbed.  I have her books and dvds, I figured I might as well have her app as well. (If it were only that easy to get her abs…)  This is one of the apps that I use on a daily basis.  I recently began taking up yoga again (an injured foot had me sidelined for a while) and I’m loving every minute of it. Fortunately I wasn’t on the DL long enough to lose my flexibility or ability to hold the poses.  I use Denise Austin’s app for my yoga and exercise routines.  Her smiling face leads the way.

And her abs, mustn’t forget those.

The Denise Austin App has the following:

  • Workouts
  • Yoga Poses
  • Information about nutrition, exercise, and eating healthy
  • Advice for raising healthy, fit kids
  • Tips for staying motivated
  • Ways to keep dining out from sealing your fate
  • Tips for de-stressing
  • Recipes!

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, this is a fitness app you’ll really love. And, get this, it’s free!

If you don’t have one of these devices, you can still benefit from Denise Austin’s expertise, motivation,  and  inspiration.  Just visit her website, Denise

Bernhard Langer Serves a Self Help Lesson

With a Side of Trophy

But when I play, I still practice hard and focus on my game. – Bernhard Langer, Winner

I was enjoying a round of golf a few days ago, courtesy of the Golf Channel.  Had I been actually golfing, enjoyment would have been at a minimum, pain and suffering at a maximum (for all involved, just ask those I’ve maimed and bludgeoned on miniature golf courses).  One of my favorite golfers, Bernhard Langer, was doing something he’s very familiar with… winning.

No pain and suffering with Mr. Langer – just pure, beautiful golf.

His flawless swing isn’t the only reason I’ve always been such a fan of this brilliant German golfer.  He’s a class act.  He’s a winner.  He doesn’t seem to have a malicious, proud, or arrogant bone in his body.  He has worked hard to get where he is and is a perfect example that, with all due respect, good guys very often DO finish first.

Quite often.

My husband, Michael,  is another guy who fits the descriptions above – except for the flawless swing part – I wipe the miniature golf course up with him (it’s my story).  Michael often looks at certain athletes, politicians, or athletes and says whether or not he thinks they’d be a good “dinner companion” or fun to play a round of golf with.  If you ask me, Mr. Langer would be such a person.

As I was reaping the feel-good benefits of watching a favorite athlete win (as a Denver Broncos fan, I’d lost touch with these jollies), the announcers said something that made me shift from sport spectator Joi to Self Help Blog Joi. They were talking about how much time Bernhard Langer puts into practicing his game.  One of the announcers said that Bernhard doesn’t just try to improve each year or week, he tries to improve with each swing.

That really struck me as a fundamental truth in self improvement and self growth.  You could make a case for it being THE fundamental truth.

If, like Bernhard Langer, we want to win on a consistent basis – in whatever field or area we “compete” in – we have to work on improving each move we make, each word we say, each thought we entertain, and each activity we take part in.  We can’t just look at the big picture at the end of the journey, we have to look carefully at each step along the way.

Here’s an example, and, sadly, like many of my examples, it involves your’s truly learning her lesson the hard way.  Sigh.

As you may know, our oldest daughter, beautiful Emily (more like gorgeous, but I want to keep her grounded) , was married last October.  She gave me plenty of notice about the upcoming nuptials.  In fact, she gave me nearly 12 months notice.

Like all mothers of the bride, I decided that I simply HAD to be a particular size before the wedding.   While my present size could serve me well enough for day to day life, it was NOWHERE good enough for my baby’s big day!   During the many months leading up to the wedding, we had a ball – the funnest part was watching the bride-to-be begin to come unglued.  The girl is the calmest, most in control, level-headed person in the world.  The only one in her vicinity is her dad.  But as the big day approached, she became as scatter-brained and punchy as her other parent.  Sometimes she’d just laugh out loud, seemingly at a joke only she heard.  I thought, Finally! There’s my DNA!

Through it all, I kept looking at the big day – it was my “vision board,” I suppose.  I pictured the cake, the aisle runner, the bride in her breathtakingly beautiful dress (how must it feel to have a waist that Shaquille O’Neal could put his hand around?), the centerpieces, and me in the dress size of my dreams.  Ah, it’d be Nirvana.  Nirvana covered in Calla Lilies.

With the decorations and other planning, we looked, not just at the end result, but at each step.  THESE calla lilies will look elegant with THAT lace…. THIS ribbon will compliment THAT arrangement, etc. I’m not sure how my husband or son-in-law kept their sanity. Little existed for the females in our family during those months that weren’t covered in white lace and satin.

Meticulous.  We were meticulous.  Except for the one area where I dropped the ball.  Fortunately, it was a ball that only affected me, so I dropped it on my own foot.

The entire time, I just looked at the final picture – the mother of the bride in the dress size of her dreams.  How great it’d feel to be THAT size.  My only concern was that I’d be so proud I’d pluck the label out to show off the number.  Suffice to say, it was a temptation I never had to face down.

I didn’t reach the number and, looking back, I clearly see why.  I didn’t look at each step along the way. I also didn’t look at each Latte, each doughnut, each fried catfish fillet, or each time I thought walking leisurely was funner than jogging.  You tell me, how can you talk about cake toppings when you’re huffing, panting, and trying to remember how to inhale?!?

When the announcers pointed out that Bernhard Langer worked to improve his game with each swing, it brought it all home.  If, each day I had worked on physical fitness with each decision, I’d have probably worn the same size my daughter wore.  I should, of course, make a point of saying this: The day was sheer perfection and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  My dress was one of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever seen and I’m not sure it was even available in the elusive size!  So, all’s well that end’s beautifully, but I did learn a lesson.

It’s a lesson for all of us, isn’t it?  Whatever our goal is (whether it’s domination of our field, an elusive number, a Ford Edge, or a bulldog puppy), we have to work for it with each decision we make and each thought we entertain.

It’s the difference between carrying away the trophy and carrying away regrets.

Bernhard Langer Quotes:

So when I was told to work, ten, twelve hours a day as an assistant pro, I didn’t complain. It was normal.

I like reading my bible, I like bible studies where I get together with others and talk about the word of God and how it relates to us and how we can change to become more like him.

I crack jokes and play games and that’s really more my nature than being cold.

We are all human beings with our own little knick-knacks and ways of doing things.

There are far more important things in life than making a putt or missing a putt or winning a championship or losing a championship.

We all know, the ones who play golf, know what a wonderful game it is and what a great past-time it is.

You can’t cover people with perceptions because we are all different.

You know, why the game of golf is popular? Very easy, it’s a great game.

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