A Few New Quick & Easy (and even delicious!) Tips for Preventing Diabetes

An Ounce of Prevention...

Unsweetened Tea

An easy diabetes prevention tip: Switch from soft drinks to unsweet tea. Add frozen fruit slices for extra flavor!

I write frequently on Self Help Daily about preventing diseases. I guess the words “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” are tattooed on my psyche. One of the reasons for this just may be the fact that I’ve seen many of these diseases up close and personal. One such disease is diabetes. My mom fought diabetes for a great number of years. People can, and do, live full, beautiful lives with diabetes – but, make no mistake about it – it’s a game changer.

With a diabetic, the disease they live with has to be in the forefront of their mind at all times. Whereas a lot of diseases (like my thyroid disease, for example) can be pushed out of the individual’s mind 98% of the time, a diabetic must never push their disease aside. Doing so could cause them serious harm.

The serious nature of certain diseases (such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes) prompts me to write about their prevention as often as possible.  We’d be nuts not to take experts’ advice when it comes to doing ALL WE CAN to prevent any of these diseases.

I recently read several new diabetes prevention tips and wanted to pass them along. The prevalence of diabetes has increased by more than 175% since 1980, so it’s obviously time we all pay more attention to preventative measures. These tips are so easy to implement into our lives, I’m sure you’ll join me in doing so right away. As in now!

  1. Fish Oil Supplements Could Prevent Diabetes.  I’m starting to think fish oil supplements should simply be taken automatically. They’re known to be beneficial in preventing both heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and now they’ve added diabetes prevention to their resume. (See Fish Oil Supplements Could Prevent Diabetes for more information.)
  2. Eat more Walnuts.  I’m wild about nuts anyway, so giving me the go-ahead for eating more makes me do a happy dance.  A Harvard study found that women who ate two or more ounces of walnuts per week, on average, had a 24% lower risk for type 2 diabetes…those who ate just one ounce of walnuts per week had a 13% lower risk. This one’s almost too easy, isn’t it? Noshing on delicious walnuts each day is more than a little doable, it’s deliciously doable.  (Source)
  3. Say NO to soft drinks. Just one sugary drink a day increases your odds of getting diabetes. Switch to unsweetened tea with lemon or good old-fashioned water and put the odds in your favor rather than stacking them up against you. I had a really, really hard time with this one, I won’t lie. But I found that tea was my secret weapon.  Like any true southerner, I have a weakness for sweet tea – but that’s almost as bad as soft drinks!  If you add lemon slices, a little honey, some mint, or (my personal favorite) frozen peach slices and frozen raspberries to your tea, you’ll forget about sugary drinks right away.  As a bonus, you can eat the fruit when the drink’s gone. Trust me, this is the way to go.
  4. Take a brisk walk after a meal.  Doing so apparently stabilizes levels of glucose in the the bloodstream.  The study suggest walking for about 15 minutes after each meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Source)
  5. Eat Hot Chocolate at Bedtime. Saving the best for last: As a card-carrying chocoholic, I did a fist pump in the air when I read that having a cup of hot chocolate before bedtime can prevent diabetes.  I am so all over this one that it isn’t even fair.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks Without Prescription Drugs

Review for Janet Bond Brill's Latest Book "Blood Pressure Down"

Blood Pressure Down: The 10 Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks without Prescription Drugs When I was offered an opportunity to review Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs on Self Help Daily, I jumped at the chance. I was already familiar with the author, Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., L.D.N., and had even previously written a review of another of her books: Prevent a Second Heart Attack (click the link for the review).  Truth be told, after reading Prevent a Second Heart Attack, I was already looking forward to the author’s next book!

Like most people, I’m completely and utterly drawn to the idea of handling as many health problems (and potential health issues) as “naturally” as possible. Obviously this isn’t always possible – after all, many medications are life savers.  I like the thought of a patient proactively working with their doctor – doing their part to bring about healing and better health.

From the Back Cover

For the 75 million Americans with hypertension, a safe, effective lifestyle plan—incorporating the DASH diet principles and much more—for lowering blood pressure naturally.

If you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone: nearly a third of adult Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension, and another quarter are well on their way. Yet a whopping 56 percent of diagnosed patients do not have it under control. The good news? Hypertension is easily treatable (and preventable), and you can take action today to bring your blood pressure down in just four weeks—without the potential dangers and side effects of prescription medications.

     In Blood Pressure Down, Janet Bond Brill distills what she’s learned over decades of helping her patients lower their blood pressure into a ten-step lifestyle plan that’s manageable for anyone. You’ll:

   • harness the power of blood pressure power foods like bananas, spinach, and yogurt
   • start a simple regimen of exercise and stress reduction
   • stay on track with checklists, meal plans, and more than fifty simple recipes

Easy, effective, safe—and delicious—Blood Pressure Down is the encouraging resource that empowers you, or your loved ones, to lower your blood pressure and live a longer, heart-healthy life.

75 million Americans, alone, have high blood pressure – the number just blows my mind.  One of my daughters recently commented (kind of matter-of-fact) that just about everyone she works with has high blood pressure. The disease is almost as rampant as it is dangerous. Needless to say, if you have high blood pressure, please make sure that you’re under a doctor’s care.  Read Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs, taking notes throughout the book, then take the book and your notes to your doctor.  Tell him/her that you want to treat your blood pressure as naturally as possible!

Below are just a few of the things I love most about this wonderful book and just a few of the reasons I’d love to see everyone add this book to their library as soon as possible.

  1. I’m not the least bit “medically inclined.” My knowledge of medicines and diseases couldn’t even fill a notebook.  Let’s not let this get out, but I”m not entirely certain I could fill 2 notebook pages! Yet, Janet Bond Brill makes everything beautifully clear.  When I read her books, I always find myself wishing she’d taught my biology classes. She puts everything “within reach” of her readers, which is wonderful of her considering this is life and death information.
  2. This book presents a DOABLE action plan. You’re given 10 clear steps that you can begin implementing the very day you open the book.  In reverence to the authors and publishers I work with, I never want to “give away” too much information. For one thing, it’s simply not fair to them!  For another thing, however, it’s not fair to my readers because I’d never want you to miss out on a wonderfully important book because you think you’ve “gotten” all the information you need.  This is why I don’t want to lay out the ten steps for you here, however, I will tell you one because it makes me smile (as in ear to ear): Eat Dark Chocolate.   Each “Step” has an entire chapter devoted to it.  Eat Dark Chocolate has 16 pages, itself, detailing how dark chocolate has strong beautiful roots as an ancient medicine.  You learn how and why dark chocolate is so healthy and then you’re given the magic words: Eat 2 Tablespoons of Natural, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder or One or Two Squares of Dark Chocolate Every Day.  Yes, Ma’am!
  3. Exercise – as in what qualifies and what doesn’t – is covered in great, clear detail.
  4. You learn the effects sleep and relaxation have on blood pressure.
  5. Recipes! There are quite a few delicious and healthy recipes included.  Sometimes it’s hard to know which foods are healthiest – after reading Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs, you won’t have any more excuses. You’ll know for certain which foods you should throw on the table and which foods you should throw in the trash.
  6. You’re also given tips for slashing salt at home as well as in restaurants.  Salt is very problematic for hypertension, but getting rid of it’s a lot easier than you’d think.  You’ll also see where salt is showing up in foods you never would have expected.
  7. Label Lingo – you’ll learn what to look for on labels at the store. There is a list on pages 88-89 that I’ve written on an index card. I’ve become quite a label reader, so arming myself with healthy information makes good sense.  As the author says, you’ll learn where the salt’s “hiding!”
  8. You’ll learn the importance of magnesium as you’re given 10 easy tips for adding magnesium to your day.
  9. The author takes a very confusing subject (supplements) and lays it all out in plain language.  At the end of the chapter, you know exactly which supplements you should be taking.
  10. Last, but certainly not least (in fact, it’s my favorite thing about the book!): Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs is for ANYONE, whether you have high blood pressure now, have a family history of high blood pressure, love someone who has high blood pressure, or simply want to eat healthy as a preventive step.  I, personally, do not have high blood pressure.  I have, however, read this book cover to cover, memorizing the information as I went along. I feel like I am armed with information that’ll help prevent me from ever being one of the 75 million Americans with hypertension. Equally important, I have information to share with my family to keep them from developing problems with their blood pressure.

This author is all about preventing diseases, not just treating them, and I hope you will follow her advice as well.  I “whole-heartedly” recommend this fantastic, potentially life-saving book.

About the Author: Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., L.D.N. is a nationally recognized expert in cardiovascular disease prevention and the author of Cholesterol Down and Prevent a Second Heart Attack. She has been a nutritionist in private practice for many years. Visit her website at www.drjanet.com.


How to Naturally Treat Acid Reflux Disease and Symptoms

Foods and Herbs That'll Help You Feel Better FAST!

Red Apples - Treat Acid Reflux Disease Naturally

Anyone who has ever experienced acid reflux knows what misery means.  The pain, the burning, the FOUL taste left in your mouth… there just isn’t anything remotely good about it. While there are medications available, most of us would like to be on as few medicines as possible.  Having said that, of course, if your condition is especially bad, you’d be nuts NOT to see a doctor for a prescription.  You don’t look nuts to me, so I know you’ll see a doctor if you need to.

Fortunately, there are actually quite a few things we can do to treat acid reflux symptoms on our own.  By just making a few changes to our diet and, if needed, adding a few simple things to our diet, we can spend more time sleeping soundly and less time sitting up in the middle of the bed cursing every bite we took the previous day.  Been there, hated that.

Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux:

The following is a dream team for those experiencing digestive problems.  Experts suggest trying different ones to see which work for you. Just be sure to stick with them long enough to see if they’re doing you any good or not.

  1. Aloe Vera Juice.  This juice (with a taste that requires a little getting used to) is a MUST HAVE for anyone with digestion-related issues.  While drinking a little Aloe Vera Juice can quickly alleviate nausea, indigestion, and heart burn, it’s also a great idea to drink some each day – before you actually have pain or feel queasy.  You should take up to 4 oz daily, preferably before eating.  We’ve kept Aloe Vera Juice in the refrigerator for as long as I can remember. It aids digestion and is a God-send for upset stomachs.
  2. Herbal Licorice.  I have never, personally, tried Herbal Licorice but it sounds pretty amazing.  A story on Treating Acid Reflux Symptoms (Fox News) reported that Herbal Licorice is believed to be effective in treating stomach and intestinal ulcers, reducing stomach acid levels, coating the stomach wall with a protective gel and relieving constipation.  Look in the Vitamins/Minerals/Herbs section of your favorite store.  Licorice Herbal Tea is available on Amazon (I’m throwing some into my cart asap!).
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar. I have to admit, this one caught me a little off guard!  While I love Apple Cider Vinegar in barbecue sauces, German Potato Salad, and a lot of other recipes, I’ve never considered taking a spoonful or two of it. Apparently, I don’t know what I’ve been missing.  Apple Cider Vinegar has a calming effect on your stomach and naturally alleviates stomach acid. In fact, a lot of people who haven’t gotten relief for their Acid Reflux Disease with other methods have had great success with Apple Cider Vinegar – something that was probably in their pantry the whole time.  Simply add 2 teaspoons to a glass of water and drink three times per day.  The water will make it more palatable – as will the knowledge that you’re chasing stomach acid away.

See Treating Acid Reflux Symptoms (Fox News) for a few more suggestions.

Foods That Help Acid Reflux Symptoms:

The following foods are known to help naturally treat acid reflux disease and help keep acid from forming in the first place. (Source)

  • Red apples
  • Ginger root
  • Basil leaves
  • Herbal teas
  • Grapefruit
  • Yellow mustard
  • Fennel seed
  • Pickles

A Few Other Simple Tips for Treating Acid Reflux Disease:

  1. Eat slowly. Take your time to chew each bite thoroughly and even put your fork or spoon down between bites.
  2. Don’t eat while flustered, angry, or even agitated! Chill out… THEN eat in peace.
  3. Keep a food journal.  If you take a few weeks (or even months to be especially thorough) and write down everything you eat and drink each day – then note whether you’ve experienced pain and discomfort or not – you may see a pattern develop. Your problem could possibly be solved simply by cutting out certain foods, or even restaurants.  Common “problem” foods include fatty foods (because they’re more difficult to digest), fried foods, citrus fruits, garlic, chocolate, caffeine, and tomatoes. Keep in mind, however, that foods that bother one person may not bother you one bit. That’s why a personal food journal is the best way to go – then you’ll know the only “problem” foods that really matter – those that are a problem for YOU!
  4. Eat small meals frequently as opposed to a couple of large meals each day.  This advice is given for so many different issues that I’m starting to think it’s simply healthier to eat lightly throughout the day. Whether it’s weight loss, hiatal hernias, stomach ulcers, or acid reflux disease, this advice is golden.  When it comes to acid reflux disease, the correlation is simple: Large meals force the stomach to create more acid. Is it any wonder all-you-can-eat buffets often spell misery?
  5. Be smart about when you eat.  Don’t eat right before exercising or right before going to bed (or even lying down on the couch for a cat nap).  You should wait at least 3 hours after eating before going to bed.


Finally, if you battle acid reflux (either several times a week or several times a year), I highly recommend the best book I’ve found on the subject: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet. Click the link to find this great book on Amazon or click the following link to read my The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet Review.

One Small Step Can Open a Whole New World

Don't Let Life Slip Away from You!

No Line Bifocals

I know, better than anyone, that my advice isn’t worth pure gold. Even on my best day, I’d never suggest that anything I have to say is worth a $20 bill. Someone once suggested that I charge people to read certain articles on Self Help Daily. I was relieved that he suggested it in e-mail, so he didn’t have to see me throw my head back and laugh as I said, “Oh, that’s a good one!”

I don’t have an over-inflated sense of myself or anything about me… well, I take that back. I’m beyond cocky about my cooking. I’m pretty sure that if anyone ever told me something I cooked or baked was less than a 10 on a scale of 1-10, I’d grab them by their neck collar and throw them out of my kitchen, all the while asking them how they managed to live to this point with absolutely no taste buds.

I’d offer to set up a fund and solicit money to buy them a new tongue – one with taste buds that actually function. I’m just charitable like that.

In all seriousness (an area I seldom visit), the advice I’m about to lay on you is golden. It’s the best advice you will get all year.

I’m not being cocky.

I’m not being grandiose.

I’m simply being honest.

If you have anything in the world that stands between you and enjoying the world to its absolute fullest, I plead with you to take the one small step to navigate around it.

I have been needing new glasses for years. YEARS. But, like most people, I kept seeing other things that I’d rather spend time and money on. Looking back, I know just how ridiculous I was. I’d even go as far to say that I was foolish.

Since I’d last gotten a pair of glasses, my vision has changed a great deal. I could tell when driving or riding in a car, for example, that I couldn’t read signs I was pretty sure I once read. When reading a book or the back of a cereal box, for that matter, I always had to take my glasses off or peek over the top in what I always termed my “annoyed librarian look.” The kind of look a librarian throws to kids who aren’t talking with their “indoors voice.”

The vision change happened so gradually I wasn’t fully aware of just how much I was missing. I knew that I had been slacking off on my writing and reading, but I guess (somehow) I never attributed it to the simple fact that trying to SEE the words I wanted to type and read had become such a challenge.

I knew I needed stronger glasses and I knew I needed bifocal lenses. But I kept putting it off – for years. And years. It wasn’t vanity because thanks to AMAZING technology, today’s bifocals look exactly like all other glasses. “No Line Bifocals” look the same as all other glasses. It boggles the mind, but NO ONE knows you’re wearing bifocals except you. You know it when you can actually read without taking off your glasses, you know when the text on your phone is clearer than ever, and you know when you don’t whip out your annoyed librarian look while reading small print.

More than anything, I think I was afraid of being able to adjust to bifocal lenses. I envisioned myself getting seasick just walking through the room. I pictured myself floundering in a distorted world that suddenly seemed like a house of mirrors.

I got my beautiful new No Line Bifocal glasses this weekend and am relieved to say I’m neither seasick or floundering. What I am is amazed.  Absolutely amazed.  A whole new world has, literally, been opened up for me and I realize, now, that I didn’t even realize, then, just how much I was missing.

As soon as we left Lenscrafters, I found myself reading billboards and restaurant names from FAR away.  Because my vision had deteriorated slowly, the world had, in a sense, slowly slipped away from me.  But the story has such a happy ending, I can’t even feel sad for the time lost – I’m too excited for the time saved!

If you need glasses, bifocal lenses, hearing aids, or anything else that will help open a whole new world for you, again, I’m pleading with you to simply take the small step needed to walk through the door.  The world may be slowly slipping away from you and, because it’s been so gradual, you may not even completely realize it.

My mother experienced gradual hearing loss beginning at a very young age. Although everyone needed to repeat things to her several times, she always seemed to think that people were mumbling.  Everyone, thinking of what all she was missing, kept telling her to get her hearing checked because she needed hearing aids.  No one did it in an ugly manner, of course – only jerks do that.  Personally, I never even minded repeating myself.  If someone actually cares enough about what I say to ask me to repeat it… I’m flattered!

However, my mom (who was such a character, I can’t even tell you – she was the very definition of a PILL!) did what just about everyone with hearing loss did. If she’d already asked someone to repeat themselves several times – she didn’t want to keep on asking, “What?” or “Excuse me?”  She’d simply kind of guess at what they’d said and either laugh or or answer with something she hoped would fit the situation.

Sometimes she’d be so off base I’d have to laugh.  She’d answer my dad at times with completely off the wall responses and I can still see the befuddled expression on his face.  One time he told her that the heat needed to be turned up “a couple of notches” and she said, “I’m going to the store later.”  He said, “Okay. Let’s go with that.”

To which she replied, “Of course you can go with me.”

He then looked at me and whispered, “Help.”

While we sometimes laugh at moments that surround vision and hearing – at ourselves as well as others – let’s be honest. It’s not all that funny, is it?  While we may tell ourselves, “I’m as blind as a bat!” or while someone may tell us, “You can’t hear a lick!” – I don’t think anything that stands between someone and life is anything to laugh at.

My mom, to her credit, did make an appointment for a hearing test. She got a couple of hearing aids and, honestly, tears kind of come to my eyes when I remember the look on her face when she heard birds singing for the first time in what must have been 20 or more years.  We were in front of her house and she said, “Listen!  The birds are singing!”

I thought, Momma, they’ve been singing all along.

So often, she’d ask us, “Have you always been able to hear that?”

She started calling her hearing aids her “ears” and would often say something like, “We can go in a minute… just let me put my ears on.”

The world had slowly slipped away from her and she didn’t even know it.   You, while reading these words, may be in the same boat as my mom (hearing loss) or with me (vision problems).  The world could be slipping slowly away from you, and that really breaks my heart.

If the only thing standing between you and hearing aids, glasses, reading glasses, or bifocal lenses is vanity – let me give you a wake up call.  No one cares. They really don’t.  I think a lot of people are afraid of looking “old” or of being perceived as “old” when it comes to glasses and hearing aids.

Duh!  There are grade school kids who require glasses and hearing aids.  Besides, I’ll give you another little wake up call.  If you’re in your fifties, you aren’t keeping that a secret from anyone, no matter what you may think.  The world will know you’re there and, guess what… again, they don’t care! Fifties and sixties, today are like the yesterday’s forties.

Never be ashamed of your age… be proud.

Besides, let’s be honest, who will be perceived as older, the one who has to do the “annoyed librarian” move or the one who simply sees what they want to see.  Who’ll be perceived as older, the one who says, “What?” or the one who gives a perfect answer every time, right on cue?

Today’s glasses and hearing aids are made so stylish, anyway.  With people living longer, companies are making sure that these products are as fashionable and discreet as ever. Trust me, you’ll be blown away.

You’ll want to kick yourself for not taking that first step sooner. When you’re seeing or hearing everything you’ve been missing, you will feel like a whole new world has opened up right before you.  Think of the scene in the movie Avatar when Pandora opens up for the first time.  It’s like that… only better.

You’ll find that you have more time to actually LIVE and enjoy life. You may not realize just how much effort it takes to try to do things others take for granted. I spent so much time taking glasses off, putting glasses on, walking closer to see what I needed to see, etc. I never realized how much effort I was having to put into life!  The same is true for those who have hearing loss. They have to ask others to repeat what they said (and subject themselves to some people who get annoyed when they have to repeat themselves), they have to try to read lips (my mom mastered this trick), they have to, nervously, throw out an answer and hope for the best.

That’s a lot of effort. It’s also a great big fat (and needless) barrier between yourself and life.

Please don’t live on the sidelines any longer. Make this the week you call for an appointment. There is LITERALLY a whole new world waiting for you to step into it. You just have to make that first step.  As I’m typing these words, I see my computer screen more clearly than ever. The words are sharp and clear.  Every now and then, I glance out of the window my my desk and window and see the birds and trees that I love so much. They had been slowly fading away from me and I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am to have them back.

When things fade away gradually, you never realize it fully until you have them back again.  I stopped reading the signs on the way home because it occurred to me, my husband has seen them all along. He doesn’t need me to read them to him!  So, I silently read them to myself and felt so much joy that I had trouble containing it.

The world is a joyful, beautiful thing. Please don’t let it slip away. I feel so strongly about this that it hit me this morning – if my words and our story (mine and my mom’s) can make just one person take that first step, every minute I’ve ever put into Self Help Daily will have been more than worth it.

 ”Listen!  The birds are singing!“  (Momma, they’ve been singing all along.)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Acid Reflux Diet

If Acid Reflux is a Problem for You, This Book Will Become Your New Best Friend

A few members of my family have had nightmarish experiences with acid reflux. After watching what they go through, I marked this condition as one I pray I never experience.

I do, however, have a great source of information, help, tips, and recipes for my loved ones as well as you. It’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet and it can help sufferers enjoy eating and life again!

This is another one of the excellent “The Complete Idiot’s Guides” that I was sent to review.  I love these books so much, I have an entire book shelf that’s orange. I pass them around for others to enjoy, then they come home to roost on the shelf. I pluck them off regularly to find information or recipes.

Seriously, you should begin your own collection of these outstanding books.

If you or someone you know has acid reflux, by all means you’ll want to start your collection with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet!

From the Back Cover:

If you live with acid reflux, you know how painful it can be – the burning, nausea, bloating, and sleepless nights.  But there’s good news! You can reduce and even eliminate your symptoms with a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes and enjoy eating again!

Packed with tips for treating and relieving your acid reflux- plus over 140 delicious recipes that won’t aggravate your symptoms – this helpful guide gives you everything you need to know to be free of acid reflux for good.  In it, you get:

  • A look at how your digestive system works, what causes acid reflux, and common symptoms you might experience.
  • Advice on keeping a food journal to help identify and eliminate your “trigger” foods.
  • Nutritional notes on the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats you need and how they can help – or hurt – in your battle against acid reflux.
  • Tips for preparing digestion-friendly foods quickly and easily at home, plus suggestions for avoiding reflux when dining out.
  • Over 140 mouthwatering recipes for acid reflux-free living, from breakfast to dessert.

Some of the chapters include:

  • What Causes Acid Reflux (a great education on the workings of the digestive system, who’s at risk for acid reflux, diagnosing acid reflux, when to seek help…)
  • Treating and Relieving Acid Reflux (includes herbal and plant-derived remedies, tips for sleep and managing stress, medications that help and medications that hurt…)
  • Weight Management with Acid Reflux (watching calories, the connection between acid reflux and weight, creating balance, healthy eating on a budget…)
  • Ensuring Your Success on the Acid Reflux Diet (protein and the Acid Reflux Diet, How much fat do you need?, good fat vs bad fat, carbohydrates, menu planning, exercise…)
  • Cooking and Dining Out Strategies (tasty flavor combinations, smart substitutions, “at the restaurant,” different cuisines, fast food, special occasions…)
  • Recipes for Reflux-Free Living (Breakfasts, breads, snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, salads, entrees, poultry, vegetarian main courses, pastas, grains, vegetables, desserts…)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet will set you up for success because the book, itself is set up for success.  Everything is spelled out beautifully and simplistically. Each chapter sums up what the reader has learned with a recap the author calls “The Least You Need to Know.”

Each time I read a Complete Idiot’s Guide, I think, “Why didn’t all those school books I read over the years use THESE authors and THIS approach?!”

If you or anyone you know experiences the evils of acid reflux, I strongly recommend this great book. I’ve used many of the recipes, myself, and I don’t even have acid reflux!  Click through one of the links for more information.

Check out the ridiculously impressive collection of The Complete Idiot’s Guides on Amazon. They cover just about everything you could possibly think of!

Listen to Your Body, It’s Trying to Tell You Something

Irony, Danny DeVito, and Gargling Glass

Normally, I have a real fascination with irony.  Normally, there are few things that amuse me more than a deliciously ironic situation or occurrence.  I say normally because irony recently smacked me on the backside. Plato Quote About Health

Without my consent.

As you may know, last month I decided to take part in a National Health Blogger’s Challenge.  Each day the blogger was to take the day’s “prompt” and write about something pertaining to health.  I was off to a smashing success and was having  a lot of fun with the process.  I was doing a lot of research about health-related topics, learning a lot of fascinating things, and generally having a great time with the entire process.

Then… what would irony dictate in such a situation? Exactly. I got sick.   Smack to the backside.

I won’t bore you with long details.  Long story, short – I had my thyroid removed in 1990 and, since that day, have had to take a daily supplement (a supplement to give my body what my non-existent thyroid cannot).  My daily medicine recently turned on me – giving me more than my body required.  This threw just about everything in my body off kilter and ultimately led to low iron and a host of other less-than-fun side effects.

For a few months, I haven’t felt totally like myself.  But you know how we wives and mothers are – the same things that would alarm us about our children and husbands.. we tend to overlook in ourselves.

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

When I realized that I had “enjoyed” recurring mouth ulcers for two months straight, I broke down and went to the doctor.  I would often have two HUGE mouth sores at once.  These weren’t your normal mouth ulcers, either.  I’ve had those before and, while they’re bad enough, these beasts were far worse. Once, I even got one on my tongue that looked like a small crater.  That dude hurt so bad, this non-drinker would have gotten snookered if it would have made me forget the pain for even 10 minutes.  Each time, in the middle of the night, as I sat on the bathroom counter putting Orajel on these sores, I’d think, “If I had access to hard liquor I’d drink until I thought I could fly.

They were that bad.

Of course, since I have never drunk anything stronger than espresso, I’d probably think I could fly as soon as I opened the bottle.

Every meal hurt to eat, coffee hurt to drink, and life kind of sucked for a while.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night in hideous pain because my mouth would have dried out while sleeping and the sores would feel like salt had been poured into them.

Salt was actually one of the countless “home remedies” I tried – a particularly painful one.

In addition to the personal hell the mouth sores caused, I also had zero energy and – to use a highly technical phrase my daughters and I use when we don’t feel right -  simply felt “poopy” all day and all night.  I’d fall asleep at night right in the middle of favorite prime time television shows.  During the day, when I normally go back and forth between working in my home office and doing my regular housekeeping chores, I found myself not giving a dang about any of it. I normally go ALL OUT with Christmas decorations, but it was all I could do just to put the tree up this year.  And, believe me, that was a day long production.  Put a few limbs on… sit and play solitaire on my iPad… put a few decorations on…. lie down and recover.

I wasn’t ME and I wasn’t at all fond of the person impersonating me.  After all, I’m seldom ever still and this imposter seldom ever moved!

And all of this went down right in the middle of writing about health topics like how important it is to see a doctor regularly, how vital it is to take care of yourself, etc.

Smack. Right on the butt.

Ultimately, it was the mouth sores that led me and my hard head to the doctor.  Nothing like constant pain to break your will, is there?

The doctor was SO impressed with the size of the mouth sore I had at that time. I told him I was kind of lucky at that moment because I only had one. While he was admiring the size, I told him that it was the second largest one I’d experienced – that I’d had another one the size of Danny DeVito. He laughed and said he wished he’d seen that one.

I thought, “Me too.”  Then I probably wouldn’t have had the 3 that followed.

As my body and health begin to get back to normal, I’m realizing how puny I actually felt. How could I not have seen that something was wrong?!

That’s a question most of us ask in these situations, isn’t it?  We swear up and down that things “crept up on us” when the truth is, we knew it all along.  We just looked the other way.

Ladies, I honestly believe we are the worst about this.  It occurred to me when I was sitting in the doctor’s office – if one of my daughters or my husband had been experiencing painful mouth sores like I had, I would have dragged them kicking and screaming to the nearest doctor.  I’d have thought, “Something is wrong, here. This isn’t remotely normal.”

Yet, here I was the one going through it and I had a million reasons why I didn’t need to see the doctor.  Duh.

This would be a good time, in all fairness to my family, to point out that they had no idea I was going through all of this. If they had, they would have become impossible nags!  All they really knew was I’d had a few mouth sores.  They never saw how big they were and I did a great job of hiding the fatigue and weakness from them. Everyone always has a lot going on in their lives and I didn’t want anyone worrying about me.  Besides, I fully expected to start feeling like my old self any time.  After all….

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

Listen to Your Body

In addition to my Self Help Daily, a food blog, and a cat blog, I have 9 other websites/blogs which happen to include a a Dream Interpretation Website.   Your’s truly is a dreamologist. Nothing crazy  like “You had a dream about snakes.. so you will be visited by bad luck…”  That’s nonsense.  What I do is “read” dreams – by “listening” to the dream symbols, the dreamer’s emotions during the dream, and other seemingly hidden details.  I can tell what’s behind the dream, as in what’s hidden in the subconscious mind.

Quote about listening to your body And yet I couldn’t read what my own body was trying to tell me!  Or maybe I simply wouldn’t.

Either way, my mistake could have led to real trouble.  That’s why I’m writing all of this for you – on the off-hand chance there are other hard heads out there besides me.

If you find yourself EVER thinking, “I’m just not myself lately..” realize there is a reason for it.  Never allow this situation to continue for any amount of time.  After all, there are a lot of conditions that if (caught and treated early) won’t amount to anything, but if you ignore them, they can lead to something downright hideous.

In fact, because I let myself get so run down, I became an open invitation to a nasty bug that was going around.  I never, never get sick, but here I was – mouth sores, runny nose, bad cough, and the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. It felt like I’d been gargling glass.

If I had gone to the doctor as soon as I realized I wasn’t myself, I’d have spared myself a lot of grief and pain.  It’s my hope that you’ll learn from my mistake and will always go to the doctor at the first sign of trouble.

Even if you find yourself feeling more tired than normal, don’t keep writing it off as something else.  What’s the worst thing that can happen? The doctor’s going to tell you your healthy?! If that were to happen – and I hope you’d swing by Starbucks to celebrate your good health – you still got information you can use.  If you get a clean bill of health, then you know that your lifestyle has to be held accountable. You aren’t getting enough rest, you need more nutrients, protein, and vitamins from food, or you’re running yourself ragged.

The trip to the doctor would have pointed you in the right direction.

Unfortunately, most of us try to weed out all of the things in our lifestyle, THEN go to the doctor.  The problem is, by then, we’ll just be more run down and if there IS a medical problem, it will have only gotten worse during that time.

Never take your health for granted. When it has been compromised, even slightly, you realize what a blessing good health is. Life is too delicious to spend one minute of it feeling less than your best.

Listen to your body. If it begins behaving in a way that’s alien to you, don’t make excuses, make an appointment.


When’s the Last Time You Saw a Doctor?

If You Can't Answer Right Away, This One's for You!

"Doctor and the Doll", March 9,1929My oldest daughter recently went to the doctor for headaches she’d been having. She’s prone to migraines, but they don’t normally visit her on a regular basis. However, lately it seemed that her head hurt more than it didn’t hurt.  She also had been having a problem with mouth sores and “tingly” hands.

Naturally, being an over protective mother, my mind was racing all over the place – thinking of what could possibly be wrong.

The doctor’s diagnosis surprised (and relieved) us.  She is anemic and simply needs to take an iron supplement.  Even people who eat a very healthy diet – with a wide range of fruits and vegetables – can become anemic. This was the case for my daughter, who eats a very well-rounded and healthy diet.

WebMd lists the following symptoms for anemia:

  • Easy fatigue and loss of energy
  • Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
  • Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Leg cramps
  • Insomnia

After a few short weeks of taking the iron supplements, the headaches, tingly hands, and mouth sores are completely gone.

Her experience made me wonder how many people in the world are anemic. I wonder how many are experiencing similar symptoms but are attributing the symptoms to stress, exhaustion, sinuses, etc.  We’re all pretty famous for diagnosing ourselves, aren’t we?!  My own daughter was convinced (for weeks) that the symptoms were a side effect of starting a new, stressful job.

This post isn’t just intended for people with the above symptoms or those who may be anemic.  I did want to bring more attention to this condition and encourage anyone who thinks they may be anemic to get checked out soon (after all, why suffer if you don’t have to?!!) – but I also want to encourage everyone reading these words to be mindful of your body, its symptoms, and the things it tries to tell you.

Our bodies are amazing. Very often, they’ll let us know when something’s wrong, almost immediately.

The problem is we often write it off with…

  • I’m just tired.
  • It’s just stress.
  • It’s a cold.
  • I’m working too hard.
  • I haven’t been eating right.
  • Etc.

If you ever feel that something is ‘off,” don’t hesitate to see a doctor.

Yearly Checkups

Everyone should have yearly checkups as well.  Sometimes, things are going on in our bodies that we’re unaware of.   A few years back, an annual doctor’s visit told me that I had ostepenia.  Thanks to the diagnosis, I was able to start eating more calcium and vitamin D rich foods.  Being forewarned allows you to arm yourself against approaching enemies.  Osteoporosis doesn’t stand a chance now because I know the enemy lurking in the woods!

I understand the cost of seeing a doctor… trust me, I completely understand. But the price of NOT seeing a doctor regularly is far, far higher in so many ways.

Life’s too precious to take chances with your health. Period.

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.

Surprising Health Benefits of Artichokes

It's Time for This Vegetable to Make Some Noise!

Artichoke Hearts

I’ve had an obsession with artichokes for years.   I can’t imagine anyone working them into their meals or recipes any more than I do. I guess someone who grows artichokes might… but that’s a might-y big might.  I work artichokes into and on to:

  • omelets
  • bean salad
  • pasta salad
  • tossed salad
  • lasagna
  • pizza
  • various vegetable casseroles
  • soups

I even tried them in a green smoothie once but I really don’t want to talk about it.

I love their flavor, the way they look, the way they smell, their name… I did tell you I was obsessed, right?

Oddly enough, even though I’ve been their biggest fan for half my life, I only recently researched the health benefits of artichokes.  I guess, truth be told, I wasn’t as concerned about how good they were FOR me as I was how good they were TO me.

It turns out that artichokes are high in antioxidants.  As a matter of fact, A study done by the USDA found that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable. I’m pretty sure if you quizzed 100 people on the vegetable with the highest antioxidants, zero would say artichokes.

For a great article on the other health benefits of Artichokes, click the link. While on Health Diaries (one of my favorite websites, by the way), read about other foods and their health benefits.

You May Not Find Them in a Medical Book…

But Don't Even Try Telling Me These Don't Improve Your Life!

Janie in a box

Health Prompt for the Day: Write about your favorite thing that is not health-related but likely improves your life.

It’s no surprise that when it comes to writing about something that improves life, I choose animals as one of my subjects. If you know me, you know that animals light my world up.  The little black beauty in the pictures in this post is “Janie,” my oldest daughter and oldest son-in-law’s baby. She’s a character in every sense of the word!  Janie was a shelter kitten who needed them as much as they needed her. Instant laughter. Instant love. Instant family.

Some of the “prompts” for this health blogger’s challenge have been tough. Really tough.  We were given an tiny pool of “alternate” questions to choose from, if needed, and I’ve already dipped into the pool a few times. Problem is, their topics are also tough!

I’ll let you in on a little secret, though.  I love it! The extra little challenge it’s adding to my daily work routine is palpable.  I can feel my brain cells buzzing and trying to band together to come up with posts that are appropriate for my self help blog, my voice, and most importantly,  my readers.   I can see lot of the “prompts” deliciously fitting other voices, blogs, and readers – they simply don’t jive with any of us here.  Other prompts do, and those are the ones I use on most days. However, a few times, I’ve chosen a prompt that’s “dangerously close” and kind of worked with it, like clay, until it does fit me, Self Help Daily, and the most important part of the equation – you.

I’m excited about this particular prompt, because it’s a challenge in a different sort of way.  I have far more answers than I need!

Instead of choosing one of my answers and writing, at length, about it – I’m going to mention each one and write a few sentences about how they improve my life.  Naturally, my life isn’t the one you should be concerned about when you read through these.  I offer my experiences in the hope that they (or similar activities) can benefit your life as they have and do mine.

Self Help Cheat Sheets for Life!
Naturally, when most health or self help bloggers write about anything involving themselves, it’s only done as an example to the reader.  If we write about our lessons in life (the ones where we mucked something up or the ones where we actually got it right), our habits (good, bad, indifferent), or other activities – it isn’t done to throw the spotlight on us, it’s done to tell others what we’ve found that works.  It’s as though life’s some incredible game – with the largest game board imaginable! Those who write about it are simply trying to show other “players” where they may run into trouble and – if they do – “tricks” that’ll help them back out.

Below are some of the things in my life which aren’t “health-related” but definitely improve my life:

1. Doing something I love. I work from home as a web publisher (a cool word which means that I am a web designer, web host, graphic artist, writer, affiliate marketer, blogger, and virtual assistant for a several business blogs.)  I never have to leave the house unless it’s a trip to the grocery store, Starbucks, or Subway. If I want to knock off early and watch a couple of Andy Griffith reruns with my inside cat, Alexa or go outside and watch birds with my outside cats Hannah and Fatima – I do. I’m able to “be” what I always wanted to “be” when I was growing up:  A wife, mother, and writer.  I never have to clock in – or out, for that matter. When it’s time to create a graphic, it’s like arts & crafts for me. When I need to write an article on one of my websites or blogs, it’s an opportunity for expression and creativity.  When I need to research a topic or topics for an article or post, I’m transported back to the library in high school. Except this time I don’t pass notes back and forth with my friends – I actually research, read, and learn!

No doubt you’ve picked up on the passion I have for what I do. That’s what I’m driving at.

What I do is not for every body.  I’ve seen some people completely lose it while trying to whip words into shape, figure their way around html, or creating graphics.  I once built a website for a man and the experience nearly cost both of us our marbles. He honestly obsessed over the shade of a particular color. I can’t tell you how many links went back and forth over this color.  When we moved past the shade of color, he obsessed over something else.  The man was a nightmare. At one point he finally said, “I think I should stay completely out of my businesses website operation. I’m not built for it.” I had to agree. He’d been such a handful that, although  extra money is always nice, I blew him off.  In his final e-mails  to me, he was basically saying, “I’ll just pay you and you do what you want with the site each month,”  I told him that he was 100 percent right about leaving the website details to others and that his time was much more valuable elsewhere.  Then I told him I was certain he could find someone to help him – and that’d I’d even help him find someone if he needed it.

It was a polite Southern gal’s way of saying, “Don’t go away mad, just go away.”

I have the luxury of telling people to “bugger off” without being called into anyone’s office. None of my cats have offices, so I’m safe.

What I do isn’t for everyone, but it is most definitely for me.  I absolutely love it – even on the most hectic days.

If you think about the number of hours you spend working each week, it won’t take long to realize how important it is to do something you absolutely love.  It’s good for you psyche, your emotional health, and your physical health.

I also love the fact that what I do for the better part of my weekdays stimulates my brain and encourages creativity.  I am unbelievably thankful that I don’t spend most of my days doing something that would permit my brain to just kind of rot.  Gross way of putting it, but you know what I mean.

Brain Atrophy
If your job doesn’t stimulate your brain or encourage creativity, be sure to include extra activities in your life that do. Take up sports and/or hobbies that require creativity and logic. Always learn new things, and never stop trying to grow, mentally. Read often, watch educational television programs, and always be mindful of… well.. your mind.

Janie and Mouse

Janie with a toy mouse I bought for her. Janie’s silky hair might be the softest thing I’ve ever felt.

2. Happy Marriage and Family Relationships. I have a very happy marriage and my relationships with my three beautiful daughters and two sons-in-law are excellent. I also find that I’m on excellent terms with my furry daughters (cats) as well.  My family is filled with a cast of characters so loony you’d think they came from a sitcom’s casting agency.  We all just blend together beautifully – with no judging, back-stabbing, or ill will. There’s tons of laughter and very, very, very little drama.

When given the choice between comedy and drama, we choose comedy every time.

When I hear about couples who bicker and fight all the time, I always think, “How miserably unhealthy!” Mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Strained relationships – when one person practically walks on eggshells for fear of triggering the other’s anger, ridicule, and/or mouth – are harder on the heart that most imagine. The constant stress, the high levels of anxiety, and the complete inability to simply relax and be yourself – it all sounds like hell to me.

When people find themselves in this type of situation, they need to realize that something has to change – something has to give.  If it’s a relationship that can’t be broken (say, you’re kin to one another!), then you MUST find a way to make it work.

As beautiful as the word PEACE is, the PEACEFUL life is even more beautiful.  And it’s so healthy!

3. P.E.T.S! Having pets is one of the healthiest choices you can make.  They fill your life with so much joy, love, and happiness.  Not long ago, my e-mails with a friend I made through Self Help Daily were centered around one thing: She wanted, desperately, to know how to deal with empty nest syndrome.  Her sadness and loneliness came through each line. I told her, early on, that she needed a pet or two!  She knew she was dealing with a bonafide animal lover and said she expected me to say that!

About 2 weeks after her initial e-mail, she and her husband went to their local animal shelter and brought home three  kittens who lost their mom.  They went with the intention of adopting one baby and walked out with three because they couldn’t stand leaving two behind.  I asked her, “Do you even know how much I love you right now?!?!”

I had seen her last sad e-mail. She’d, from then on, talk about…

  • how wonderful it is to see the three of them slide across the linoleum floor when she came home from work
  • how she and her husband loved to buy them special treats and toys at the store
  • how her husband (a “dog person”) instantly became a “cat person”
  • how it’s fun to see toys lying around the house again
  • how her cats are like having a houseful of toddlers

Last I heard, she was looking forward to seeing how they react to her Christmas tree this year!

When I read her e-mail about bringing their babies home, I had tears in my eyes.  Not only did they save three precious animals and give them a “forever home” and “forever family,” the cats pretty much saved their new parents as well.  They made a home come alive again.

That’s a specialty pets have.

These are just a few of the things in my life that I know benefit me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  How about you? What things in your life aren’t necessarily health-related, but you KNOW they affect your health positively?  Is it your job, pets, family, hobbies, or something entirely different?

Is there anyone who feels that “where they live” benefits their health?


Emily walked into her dining room one day to find Janie falling asleep in a serving bowl. Because she is her mother’s daughter, Emily’s first thought was… I have to get a picture of this! Who falls asleep in a serving bowl?  Janie does, that’s who.

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