Thursday, January 17, 2008

10 Old Resolutions - 10 New Resolutions

I read this article in Body & Soul and thought it was quite good and a more practical way to begin to "accomplish" some of those pesky resolutions.
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Old Resolution: Eat More Vegetables
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New resolution: Eat more dark, leafy greens.
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If the standard nutrition advice to "eat a rainbow" eludes you, set your sights on greens for now. Packed with nutrients and high in fiber, chard, spinach, and the like are true wonders of the vegetable world. All leafy greens are rich in vitamin K, essential for bone health, and folic acid, that may mitigate depression and cardiovascular disease. What's more, greens are inexpensive and cook up quickly and easily.
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Old Resolution: Eat Less Fat
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New resolution: Enjoy omega-3-rich food twice a week.
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Aiming for low-fat everything isn't merely unrealistic, it's nutritionally unsound. Among the best of the "good fats," omega-3 fatty acids help your brain function optimally and are vital to hormonal processes. Omega-3s also influence mood and metabolism, helping to prevent weight gain and heart disease. Aim for a combination of plant and fatty, cold-water fish sources, like this salmon. By substituting omega-3s for the unhealthy saturated and trans fats (found in meats, hard cheeses, and processed foods), you'll further improve your health.
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Old Resolution: Get in Shape
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New resolution: Walk for half an hour a day.
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Rather than aspire to washboard abs and chiseled biceps, hard-earned from spending hours on end at the gym, put one foot in front of the other -- every day. Unlike other forms of exercise, walking is appropriate for just about everyone, including those who are getting back into fitness. It's "portable," making it perfect for people who can't get to the gym, and the only required gear is a decent pair of shoes. Even a half hour a day can improve sleep and energy, support weight loss, and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer.
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Old Resolution: Stop Stressing
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New resolution: Breathe deeply for five minutes a day.
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Since our body's stress response is a physiological chain reaction, simply willing yourself to relax often doesn't work. But a daily practice of slow, measured breathing can break the cycle, countering the negative effects that stress has on our physical and emotional health. To do it, stand or sit in a comfortable, quiet spot, close your eyes, and simply notice your breath, without attempting to modify it. Then try a beginner's practice: Breathing through the nose, take five deep breaths, as low into the belly as you can, exhaling fully after each breath. Make each inhale and exhale last for five counts. Eventually, work up to 10, 20, or 30 breaths.
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Old Resolution: Cut Back on Carbs
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New resolution: Eat more quinoa.
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What is quinoa? Check out this link at the Whole Foods Website for more info and a quick and easy recipe.
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These days you're probably trying to go easy on refined grains like white rice and white flour. But rather than obsess over refined carbs, focus on "good" carbs -- those that break down slowly and deliver healthy levels of fiber and nutrients. If you're looking for something beyond brown rice, consider quinoa. With a balanced set of amino acids, it's a high-quality protein -- not to mention gluten-free and easy to digest. And unlike many other whole grains, it cooks in about 20 minutes.
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Old Resolution: Reduce Salt Intake
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New resolution: Use more spices.
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Excessive salt intake has been linked to high blood pressure and stomach cancer. But if you eat with a salt shaker at the ready, abstaining may feel like deprivation. For a painless transition, up your intake of herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, basil, and turmeric, which carry antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. "Herbs and spices not only make your food taste delicious, they add healing qualities to it.
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Old Resolution: Stop Procrastinating
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New resolution: Create deadlines.
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A plague for many creative, otherwise productive people, procrastination often resolves itself when you're down to the wire. So moving the "wire" closer will prove more effective than vague aspirations of "stop procrastinating." There's no need to feel embarrassed about it; many of us simply work best under pressure. People who procrastinate often require a 'pressure prompt' -- an external deadline. For many people, deadlines need to feel real and immutable. So find or create pressure prompts that can't be negotiated.
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Old Resolution: Stop Unhealthy Snacking
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New resolution: Eat a better breakfast and lunch.
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Mid morning and late-afternoon energy drops send many of us running for some combination of sugar, salt, chocolate, and caffeine. The solution? Pump up the nutrition quotient of your breakfast and lunch, and you'll reduce the urge to reach into the cookie jar later on. For breakfast, try eggs and whole-grain toast or slow-cooking oatmeal with nuts and fruit. Just a salad for lunch is not enough. Legumes are particularly filling and break down slowly, so there's no energy dip a few hours later. Try lentil soup with a side of whole-grain bread or brown rice; add hummus to a salad to give it protein and fiber, which will fuel you for a long time.
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Old Resolution: Get More Sleep
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New resolution: Go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
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The ambitious goal of more sleep can evaporate in the face of a packed schedule. Better to break it down: Shifting your bedtime to 30 minutes earlier will put you on track for more shut-eye, which, if you're like most Americans, you desperately need. Create a segue to sleep, as it's nearly impossible to race around all day and night, then suddenly slow down. Try a hot bath; add 2 cups of detoxifying Epsom salts and 10 drops of relaxing lavender oil to hot water. Alcohol and stimulants such as chocolate, sugar, caffeine, and nicotine don't make good bridges to sleep; similarly, watching television and checking email can be stimulating rather than calming, so make sure you "unplug" soon after dinner.
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Old Resolution: Keep in Touch with Old Friends
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New resolution: Choose one person to connect with.
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Although old friends in far-flung cities (or your own) may tug at your heartstrings and your conscience, it's simply impossible to keep up with everyone. Still, making the effort to keep our social networks strong -- starting with one friend at a time and expanding from there -- will pay off, say experts. Whether you're making a new friend, creating an out-of-office bond with a colleague, or reconnecting with an old pal, take friendships to a deeper level by talking -- and asking -- about passions, fears, and joys. Research shows that appropriate levels of personal disclosure can help people bond. Don't let guilt about how much time has passed stop you from reconnecting; you may be surprised by the rewards.

6 comments:

Suzanne said...

All very good resolutions. I especially like the one about creating deadlines. I'm a horrible procrastinator. Blink and the day is gone and nothing has gotten done. I'm going to create a large chalkboard for my studio and use that as a deadline board. Thanks for these resolutions!

Sabina said...

Hey Suzanne, if your interested go to - The Cottage Nest -

http://thecottagenest.blogspot.com/2008/01/finding-focus.html

There are some wonderful inspirational chalkboard ideas!!

Sasha@aol.com said...

You are not going to believe this...I just bought quinoa at Whole Foods. No joke! I can't wait to try it!
We eat couscous all the time and I needed to try something new.
Sasha

Sabina said...

That's too funny. I discovered Quinoa some time ago and we love it!

Did you check out the Quinoa Primavera recipe(Whole Foods) link? I haven't tried that meal idea but it looks good.

Love you,
Sabina ~

love.boxes said...

I just heard on the news that using more spices can help people stay thin.. because their food tastes better ... the don't eat so much. I going to try that one too. :)

Sabina said...

I've also heard that nutritionally dense food helps you to eat less while getting more. More fresh foods please!

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