What a year it has been! Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, the wildfires in California and manmade atrocities have kept us glued to television, computers and cell phone screens recently. We watched the horrific events unfold in real time and saw our fellow Americans suffering in ways that were unimaginable. This was our nation under attack by wind, water, fire and fury. No matter where we live, we all were touched by it.
Near and far, people jumped into action immediately. Those close by, went to the disaster areas with little regard for their own safety to assist in rescues. Others from further away began collecting items and money to send to those in need. And yet others, who were paralyzed by what they saw at first, are now getting involved in relief efforts as the need continues and the first responders grow weary. This is American’s selfless spirit, true today as it has always been. Americans reach out when help is needed.We are a generous people.
One well recognized way to address need is through charities. They are typically started by people with a passion for the cause and a desire to help others…to put an end to some form of suffering. Typically the charity is started on a shoestring.There is no government or agency funding to start up a charity. There is no budget in the beginning to pay people for their work. There is no financial assistance from anyone but the founders and their family and friends. This is how a charity is born and this is how a charity survives. The charity grows and becomes sustainable only as it makes more and more friends who are willing to give of themselves and end that suffering for another. Everyday people do this by investing their own time and money in order to be that change and work towards a brighter vision for humanity.
In response to the disasters in the news, we came together as a nation to aid those citizens who lost so much. As individuals we joined together and became a force to overcome the obstacles to meet the needs of our own people. Each of us did what we could do.
The holiday season is upon us and it is the time of year that most of us typically give to charities. This year we are all called to do more. We are called to give in spite of the fact that we may have given so much already to the people who were impacted by the hurricanes and fires.
Many of your favorite charities may be worried, and rightfully so, that the donations you have recently given for these national events may hamper your willingness or ability to give to your local charities. You may be thinking, “Charity X won’t even miss the $20 gift I give them annually.”
But for smaller charities, nothing could be further from the truth. Those $20 donations are exactly what are needed to keep the doors open. Organizations count on your gifts as their base of support for continuing their mission. Charities make their ends meet mainly because of individual gifts and not funding from a large corporation, collaboration or government entity. Every penny does count when it is added to another and another as it all adds up. Your gift does make a difference!
From the lessons that we have learned from all of these catastrophic events, may this holiday season be a time of healing for us all. May we cast aside our difference of opinions and focus on what unites us. May we count our blessings as we hold our families close. May we reach out to get to know our neighbors again and form our own support circle. May we continue to support those charities in our community so that they will be available to help those we know and love. And for those suffering in the national disasters, may we continue to help them as they rebuild their own lives. May we always remember that it is in giving that we receive. And may we never forget – Americans shine when standing together!
Cindy’s mom watched her daughter gain significant weight in a short period of time during high school. This concerned her as it would any parent. Her mom urged her to attend Camp Jump Start, a summer residential healthy lifestyle/weight loss camp. Cindy refused until she saw her weight continue to rise and her health continue to deteriorate as she began to develop signs of diabetes.
Cindy is not alone. According to a study published last year by JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 50% of adults living in the U.S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes and many do not even know it. The journal Pediatric Obesity predicts by 2025, if no preventative measures have been able to combat childhood obesity, there will be 91 million obese children in the world; which will also increase all obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes, to catastrophic levels. No mother wants this for her child!
Diabetes occurs when your body cannot produce and use its own insulin well enough to control the sugar in your blood. When you have high blood sugar then your smallest blood vessels are damaged and this leads to:
- Heart disease
- Vision loss
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Infections and amputations
Cindy came to camp at age 17, weighing over 200 pounds. In her 8 weeks in the program, she lost 30 pounds, and gained the education and life skills she needed to continue her healthy lifestyle at home. Her signs of diabetes disappeared. Over the following year at college, she lost another 50 pounds.
Cindy returned to camp as a camp counselor, eager to inspire other kids and teens to eat right, get vigorous exercise, and feel good about themselves. She has maintained her weight loss for almost half her adult life now and has a healthy attitude about her lifestyle.She reversed her diabetes and it has never returned!
It started with a mom’s concerns, a teenager’s resistance and ended happily with a commitment to learn and make lifestyle changes that have improved her life and give her control of her future.
These kinds of lifestyle changes can help you prevent diabetes:
- Lose 5 to 7 percent of your body weight if you are overweight
- Portion control what you eat to the actual serving size
- Read food labels for serving sizes – Be careful as they DO try to trick you!
- Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables, limit foods high in sugar and fat
- Include at least 30 minutes of “Push Yourself Activity” every day
- It helps you lose weight
- Lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol
- Helps you use insulin by getting the blood sugar to the muscle instead of harming the blood vessel
Did you know in just health care costs…
- A child on the verge of being a diabetic can have additional medical bills of $6,000 per year?
- A child diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can have additional medical bills of $20,000 per year?
Another way to understand what is going on in your body:
Think of it like your car. You notice the gas gauge is close to empty so you pull into the gas station. You notice that the diesel fuel is six cents a gallon cheaper than the gasoline. Not knowing any better and wanting to get the most for your money, you pull up to the diesel pump and you fill up with diesel. You turn on the ignition and the car coughs and sputters. You put the car in gear and it shutters and jerks along then stops. You get out of the car and you see black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. Your car has to be towed to the garage and you tell the mechanic, “My car broke down right as I left the gas station.” The mechanic asks, “What are you using for fuel?” and you say, “Diesel.” He says, “I have an idea, try gasoline.” So he drains the diesel which is kerosene out of the gas tank. They clean off the spark plugs and fill the tank up with premium gasoline. Now you turn on the engine and it runs great. “Oh, that mechanic is so smart. He fixed my car.” The car was not broken. The engine was clogged up then malfunctioned because the diesel fuel was not the right fuel source.The car’s fuel system was not designed to run on the cheaper fuel and it caused the car to breakdown.
Thus goes the human body. The standard American diet (SAD) is the wrong fuel for our bodies. We will not see a change in our health until we eat the right fuel then our body will run efficiently. To change the diabetes epidemic we must change the way we eat BEFORE we get the disease. Historically we treat the symptoms of diabetes, isn’t it time we take care of the cause?
Halloween is almost here and if you are like most households, candy sits in a big bowl, ready for trick or treaters. Each time you pass the bowl, you pick up one item thinking just that one little piece cannot hurt, right? Think again!
Eating just a few “extra” calories a day or skipping a workout adds up to energy imbalance. This imbalance will sneak up on you quickly, as the scale continues to go up and you are getting heavier and heavier.
Each summer our campers get to plan their own snacks on occasion and the trail mix snack is a highlight. The campers order their individual, special order mix days in advance. They measure each option and tally up their order sheet, so their snack is under 150 calories. They may pick from pretzels, nuts, cheerios, raisins, M & M’s and marshmallows to name a few options. We all have different preferences and we all like choices.
At camp they do not get the choice to opt out of activity though. We work off those “extra” calories. To get this point across we walk the track for 30 minutes on trail mix nights. Calories in versus calories out is not an exact scientific equation but they get the message.
It is true if you have already eaten enough calories to sustain yourself during the day, your body will store those “extra” calories as fat. Those “extra” treats do not have to be candy either. It can be just one cookie, a small soda or a bag of chips. Although a snack may be small, it is the repetition of having it every day over and over that gets one into trouble. Those “extras” can add up very quickly as the scale creeps upwards.
Do the math. We know there are 3500 calories in a pound, if you have an “extra” 150 calories each day and there are 7 days in a week then in one week you have 1,050 extra calories. In one year (365 days x 150 calories per day) you will have over 54,700 extra calories! This means you will have gained over 15 pounds in one year’s time eating just a little something extra. Now that is significant!
How can you avoid being tricked by treats? Try something new this Halloween.
- Put your spare change (coins) in a bowl and give out money.
- Give out small toys like whistles or candy-scented markers.
- If you must have candy, then buy a kind that you do not like!
- Buy treats on Halloween itself so it is not in your house for long.
- Get the candy out of the house–put it in a laundry basket and leave it outside your front door.
It can also be scary going to Halloween parties knowing treats will be there, so plan ahead.
- Eat before you go to the party and take your own treat to share. See Pinterest for Halloween themed fruit trays, vegetable trays or low-calorie punch.
- Take small decorated plates and tall thin glasses as a hostess gift and use these so you do not over-indulge.
- Position yourself away from the food and keep yourself busy socializing with friends. Share a few spooky stories and enjoy the Halloween costumes. Focus on laughing with friends instead food.
Remember: Halloween is over at midnight so get rid of any leftovers! Take the treats to the fire station, police station or send to a soldier overseas. Some dental offices will even “buy back” candy.
Keep your home a safe space so you are never tricked by treats again!
2cloves garlic, minced
½ small white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach
1 – 24oz jar spaghetti sauce (no salt added)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 medium zucchini
15oz Fat Free ricotta cheese
¼ cup Fat Free grated parmesan cheese
2 cups Low Fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T fresh basil
Heat a 10-inch skillet, add 2 Tablespoons of water. Saute garlic and onion in water about 5 minutes or until soft. Add more water as needed (do not add too much water or you will be boiling your vegetables not sautéing) Add bell pepper; cook 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in pasta sauce, pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.
Cut zucchini into 1/8 inch slices using a knife or mandolin. Put zucchini in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Don’t squeeze so hard to mash zucchini, you want it to stay intact.
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Place zucchini on grill over high heat. Cover grill; cook until lightly charred on both sides. Again, use a paper towel to blot excess moisture.
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 13×9-inch (3 quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, mix ricotta, parmesan and egg.
Spread some of the red sauce in bottom of baking dish; layer with enough zucchini to cover. Next, spread with half of the ricotta mixture; top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up, making sure to top off with sauce and mozzarella. Cover with foil.
Bake about 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh basil
Nutrition: Calories: 272 Fat: 9.33g Sodium: 411mg
Black Bean Chicken
½ cup Corn, roasted (fresh off the cob or frozen and thawed)
4 Chicken breasts
1 cup Dry Black beans
½ cup Red onion
2 Limes, juiced
2 Lemons, juiced
1 T Garlic, minced
1 t Cumin
1 t Coriander
1 Jalapeno pepper (finely chopped, seeds removed)
Hot Pepper Sauce, to taste
2 T Cilantro, chopped
- Soak black beans all night. Drain. Place beans and enough water to cover in a pot and cook until tender, adding water as needed.
- Roast your corn. Place kernels on a nonstick cookie pan and Bake at 425 degrees F until browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add all ingredients except chicken and cilantro in a food processor and blend until semi smooth. Leave a little chunk if desired. Set aside.
- In a deep nonstick sauté pan, sear the chicken breasts on one side over medium-high heat until brown.
- Flip chicken over and add blended food. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes at low heat. Chicken’s internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.
- Add the cilantro. Cook for 1 minute more. Serve hot with a slice of lime on the side.
Calories – 308
Fat – 3.83g