Foods to Improve Your Memory

blueberries

Being the home educating mother of 10 children, I can not afford to forget anything! Our children range from 3 – 27 years old. With 3 children married and 4 grandchildren (2 of whom are older than our youngest!), I really must maximize my memory. After all, just remembering all the birthdays can be a challenge!

Now you can see why I am drawn to the headlines of articles such as, “5 Foods to Improve Your Memory” or “Eat These and Remember More”. What strikes me most about these types of articles is not necessarily the foods listed, but rather, the focus on a few foods to the exclusion of the rest of the diet and lifestyle. An overall healthy diet filled with nutrient dense, traditionally prepared foods is the best protection against memory loss, as well as, many other health problems. And, do not forget lifestyle.

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Hoeing = Exercise & Vitamin D!

As you may already know, I have always made a place in my schedule for exercise. Exercise releases “happy hormones”, or endorphins, which give an overall sense of well-being – who doesn’t want that!

This year more than ever, my exercise has been in the form of walking and working in the vineyard. But, after being off my feet because of broken toes, my exercise is hoeing. Hoeing the garden that is.

As you can see, watered by two tenths of an inch of rain last week, the weeds took off.

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Walk, Walk, Walk

I got new walking/running shoes for Christmas!

I decided years ago that I could not afford “Not” be fit. Back in 2009, I detailed some of the exercise regimens that I have enjoyed through the years. From walking, running, bicycling to exercise videos, I have enjoyed variety. For the time being though, I am really enjoying walking.

Here is west Texas, it tends to be very windy. For those not-so windy days, our 18 year old mowed a walking path around the vineyard which is about a mile long. When it is too windy outside, I like the Leslie Sansone walking DVD’s. ”Walk, Walk, Walk” is one of Leslie Sansone’s favorite phrases in her “Walk at Home” DVD’s. As it turns out, maybe more of us should adopt that very phrase!

My brother-in-law, who is a doctor in Maine, told me about a recent study done at the University of Pittsburgh. There the scientists found the more that older people walked , the better their cognitive abilities and the larger their brain became. Thus, walking helped prevent Alzheimer’s. While trying to find the research on Google, I found the article “Keep Walking to Stay Mentally Sharp” by Dr. Gary Small, Director of UCLA’s Longevity Center which included the following:

Aerobic conditioning may be improving our mental acuity in several ways. Exercise gets the heart pumping more blood to the brain, which appears to reverse cellular deterioration associated with aging. It also stimulates the growth of new synapses — the connection sites between neurons — and makes brain cells more responsive to external stimuli.

 

My take away from the above quote, is that any exercise, whatever it may be as long as it gets your heart pumping and therefore aerobic, is healthy and may not only improve the quality of life right now, but also help prevent Alzheimer’s.

So, I am off to increase my cognitive abilities and enlarge my brain!

Walk, Walk, Walk!

Playtime!

While our days are mainly filled with vineyard work for now, we do take time to play. The following shows a glimpse of the lightheartedness of our boys. They have a healthy (I hope!) competitive spirit amongst them. I must admit though, sometimes they are a bit too daring for my mother’s heart.[Continue Reading]

What About Your Resolutions?

Resolutions – have you forgotten?

Here we are in 2010, January is gone and February is here! How are you doing with your new year’s Resolutions or re-commitments?  As you may remember, I shared my resolutions in Looking Forward. To be quite honest, I am having varying degrees of success with these.

Things I have no control over:

  • The couple who saw our house in Alabama three times and were scheduled to make an offer, canceled. We have heard nothing else from them. Disappointing, Yes! Encouraging, Yes! Why? We had interest, which, with the market so depressed over the last two years – is a big encouragement.
  • Although it has been extremely cold here, the grapes seem to have hibernated well and hopefully,will flourish, producing a bountiful harvest.

Resolutions or things I do control:

  • Exercise: Once we returned from Alabama in January, I have been able to increase my exercise and am doing a minimum of 1 hour per day (most anyway). This is a combination of the Chalean Extreme for resistence  and flexibility training as well as  biking for cardio. When the girls and I finish the Chalean for the second time, I would like to try the P90X. I have felt the need to kick my exercise up a notch for health reasons (arthritis and hot flashes!).
  • Nutrition: I have begun to make a healthy smoothie using our homemade kefir,  flax seeds (which I grind myself), protein powder, spinach, cinnamon – yes, it is green and although it does not sound like it, it really tastes very good. I was able to order online the flax seeds, as well as, Omega 3 supplements very inexpensively. Both will hopefully combat the inflammation from arthritis.
  • Meal Planning: Well..uhm…I must confess…I now plan the night before, but, have yet to take the time to get the meals down on paper. Here is a meal and menu planner I had posted earlier. It is an excel template and I will use it!!! It does save so much time if you know ahead what is planned. We are still eating from our freezers (all 3 of them) which has greatly decreased our food bill.
  • Banjo: I have consistently been practicing :) My husband and children are so encouraging – it makes me want to play better so I can join in the fun and play with them. They especially enjoy playing gospel and bluegrass together.

What about you? How are doing with any resolutions or recommitments you made? Leave a comment and let’s hear it: confessions, bragging, needing encouragement…


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Staying Fit – The Never Ending Battle!

Fitness and exercise icons

Staying fit is definitely a never ending battle, a lifelong challenge. Several people have asked me recently, what I do to stay fit.  As you can read here, I have and still do enjoy several different forms of exercise. I still love bicycling on my trainer and do it frequently. The  primary program I use now is the Chalean Extreme.  I purchased the Chalean Extreme last January with Christmas money that my mother gave me. I admit, this was not a frugal purchase. But, taking into consideration, the cost of a gym membership, the gas and time to get to a gym, it has been a worthwhile investment.
The Chalean Extreme is a 3 month program which is divided into circuits. Each Circuit is a month long training program involving three days working with weights and two days of cardio.

The first phase is the Burn Circuit. This phase is geared toward revving your metabolism. The goal with each exercise is to do 12 repetitions. When you are fatigued to the point of not being able to do a single rep more, this is called “failure”. This is the point you desire to achieve. This shows you have lifted heavy enough. Toward the last few exercises, you “get extreme baby!”.  That means, that though you have reached failure, you eak out 3 more ultra-slow reps with the goal being to build muscle. It is muscle that allows an increased metabolism enabling  you  to eat more without weight gain.


 The second phase is the Push Circuit. It is geared toward building muscle so as to burn fat. Three days a week you lift heavier than the previous month and two day a week are again cardio. Your goal in this circuit is 8 reps per exercise pushing your limits beyond what you think yourself capable of doing.

 The third phase is the Lean Circuit. It is in this phase that the girls and I noticed the most visible results. You are still lifting with heavy weights but your “extreme sets” are with each exercise rather than as in previous circuits, only the last few.


The girls and I went through all 3 circuits in Jan., Feb. and March of this year. Each of us dropped a size in our jeans! Then, the vineyard work picked up with a lot of hoeing and we felt as if we were getting enough exercise with just that! We started back doing the Chalean Extreme in October and again are enjoying the hard work of a good exercise program. We are in week 3 of the Push circuit and looking forward to moving into the Lean circuit week after next.

I decided  to purchase directly from Beachbody for the complete program including bands that are very effective (my daughter uses). Along with the 6 DVDs including 15 workouts, I also received a body fat tester, a thigh toner band, the Fat Burning Food Guide, the Muscle Burns Fat Guidebook, a motivational CD and a Healthy Eats Kitchen Makeover DVD. I have been very pleased with the customer service I have received. They have a lifetime warranty (for an additional charge) which for me, with little ones is helpful in replacing scratched DVDs. I would recommend, if you purchase from Beachbody, remove the DVDs from the folder they come in and place in them in a DVD holder. I did not do this and it has been the source of several scratched DVDs for me!

Whether you are looking for a Christmas present or a new workout for the New Year, I can recommend the Chalean Extreme from personal experience. The 10-Minute Trainer and the P90-X, I can recommend on the word of people I trust. If you are not completely satisfied. Beachbody offers a 30 day money back guarantee.

was not compensated for this review and the opinions are my own. I purchased the Chalean Extreme for personal use. 

Photo Credit: © Depositphotos.com/soleilc
 
 

Fit …”To Be or Not To Be”

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Fit: It is definitely easier NOT to Be! But, the rewards of Being, are worth it.

I have been an avid fitness enthusiast for years – since before I began high school. Why? Well, I became tired of being one of the “heavy” ones. I looked in the mirror one day and decided only I could make the needed changes. And, so I began.

First of all, I cut down on the amount of food I was consuming. Secondly, I began exercising – I was introduced to being fit!

The rebounder was the equipment at hand, so, that is where I started. In the beginning, I “ran” on the rebounder 30-45 minutes daily after school. I also experimented with a TV exercise show in the morning before school. It was just aired too early! Needless to say, I did not stick with the TV show very long.

Throughout high school and nursing school, the rebounder was my faithful companion. It lived in my dorm room and heard about all my woes. After a half-hour, or more, in the afternoon on it, my ability to cope with the stress of school was greatly increased. It was even around after the birth of several children. Ready as ever, to help with the needed weightloss. Then, one day, a spring sprung…it was time to venture out and move on.

Once we moved to Switzerland, walking, surrounded by  the beautiful mountains became my primary form of exercise. The fresh air, the sound of the cow bells, the quaintness of the villages – Oh, how invigorating! Being “Fit” took a new turn. It was there that I first began biking. This quickly became my favored past-time. The freedom felt on a bicycle with the wind passing through your hair – almost nothing compares!

After we returned to Alabama, I was fearful of the carelessness of the drivers and stopped biking. A friend introduced me to exercise videos (yes, this was before DVD’s). Another turn in my quest to be “Fit”. These became my daily workouts. In one hour, I did stretching, aerobics, weight training, and a cool down. Even my girls loved doing it with me.

Also, we ventured into running. Yet another turn in my quest to be “Fit”. I was able to work up to running 5K and even 10K races. My family encouraged me and trained with me. The glorious peak of my running career came when I took First Place in my age category! Nevermind, I was the only one in my age group – I was first! I have the trophy to prove it!

I finally dealt with my fear of being a hit-and-run victim and began bicycling again. I was able to routinely bike 12 miles several times a week. Again, training as a family, we rode twice over 100 miles in a day while on vacation.

You might wonder why I place such a priority on exercise. It is simple: exercise releases “happy” hormones (also know as endorphins). They give a sense of well being. Regular exercise helps reduce stress, relieve anxiety, helps you control and maintain an appropriate weight and produces more satisfying sleep patterns.

The bottom line: Exercise makes me feel better and gives me more energy.

Try it NOW! Start TODAY! Find some form of exercise that you enjoy. Get Moving! Get “Fit”!

Photo Credit: © Depositphotos.com/soleilc