Dec 22, 2011

Tis the Season to Think About Dieting

January is close at hand, and inspired by making a "fresh start" and New Years Resolutions, many will decide to lose weight.


Last year I decided to challenge myself, as I always do, with losing a certain amount of weight, and not gaining any more weight. I did a page that not only included my progress (or lack thereof), but also provided weight loss tools for others who might want to lose weight. You can take a look at that page by clicking here and see if any of the weight loss resources may be helpful to you.

Was I successful in losing? A little...I lost a few pounds, but I didn't gain any either because I was conscious of the foods that went into my mouth.


Weight loss programs are helpful if you want to take off weight quickly, but keeping the weight off is the greater challenge, so when you are looking for a good weight loss program, make sure that it includes a maintenance program for keeping the weight off when you have lost weight.

Updated 3/30/16


Other related posts:


From Food Pyramid to Food Plate


Restaurant Nutrition Guides


The Cabbage Soup Diet (+ recipe)


5 Ways to Reduce Fat in Meat Dishes


Weight Gain = Increased Cancer Risk?

Dec 21, 2011

Is Gluten Free Christmas Baking Possible?

We are in or near what some call "gluten free baking week" and Christmas is in a matter of days.

Is it possible to have a gluten-free Christmas? I think so. There are so many gluten free recipe books available as well as prepared  gluten free flours, snacks and more, that it is much easier to go gluten free than it used to be.

So in this week of gluten free baking, know that you have many options available to you. In our home, we enjoy traditional Scotch shortbread, which is basically flour, sugar and butter....here are the ingredients for a gluten-free variation to the recipe, plus a link to the recipe at celiac.com.

Ingredients for Gluten Free Honey Lavender Shortbread...click the recipe name for the full recipe:
1½ cups almond meal flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
½ teaspoon salt

Updated 3/30/16

Yes, it is easy to find gluten free recipes to make your Christmas and holiday season gluten free.

Dec 12, 2011

The Joy of Knowing I'm Lactose Intolerant and Symptoms

Lactose Intolerance isn't a joy, finding out what has been troubling you for, in my case, probably the past few years, is indeed a joy! Something has always troubled my digestive system on and off for years...it wasn't severe, just an annoyance, but in the past year the condition escalated to the point that I was always nauseous, feeling pain in my abdomen, and suffered a host of other symptoms that had me quite concerned. 

When I would look in the mirror in the morning, the face looking back didn't look well. I went to one doctor and had normal blood work, my blood pressure was up, I was diagnosed with an intestinal infection, and anxiety (we have come through some stressful months...more on the stress aspect later) and had 3 medications prescribed, all of which did nothing but aggravate what I was experiencing...more nausea, more pain, more tiredness. I stopped taking them and just hoped it would all go away...it didn't. 

I finally made an appointment with my gastroenterologist who is downstairs from my general MD, so also set up an appointment for my annual physical, which is one "free" thing you get with our insurance. The gastroenterologist patiently explained to me that I was not having anxiety attacks during the night like I thought I was...he explained the connection between some nerves in the colon, brain, etc., that lead to symptoms similar to a heart attack and anxiety in terms that I could understand.  This was happening because something was aggravating my digestive system...he thought perhaps just a virus...but to me it seemed like more.  Still, it was a relief to know what what happening physiologically, but I still needed to know the cause. 

We had prayed that God would give wisdom to the doctors when I went in that day, and He answered and did. When I went to my general MD, I had my usual physical...all good...even the blood pressure. She asked me what I eat each night before bed. I told her I loved yogurt mixed with frozen blueberries and ate them almost nightly. She said to cut out dairy for one month, and see how I do....that if you are going to develop lactose intolerance, you often do when you are in your 40's and 50's.  I told her that I thought yogurt was okay even if you were lactose intolerant. She said not necessarily so, especially in the quantity I was eating it. 

She was so very right! It only took a matter of days for me to see improvement. I replaced the yogurt and cheeses with lactose free yogurt and cheese, and did not eat anything with dairy when I wasn't sure whether it contained lactose or not. I cannot get over the improvement over the past month...and am so very thankful. My body is healing, and having the physical stress relieved is making the mental stress less stressful...still needs dealing with, but oh so much better things are.  So yes, it is a joy to finally know that I am lactose intolerant and what to do about it.

Updated 3/30/16

You might also want to visit a page I did on Finding Milk Free Candy for the Lactose Intolerant.

Nov 20, 2011

Pecans Getting some Attention This Month

Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of the year when nuts are enjoyed more than usual, and Pecans are among my favorite.  They have a smooth shell, and care should be taken when you remove the outer shell to remove every bit of the part of the nut that divides the edible parts. It is very bitter.

Pecans are quite delicious and do have several health benefits that you might enjoy reading about at our companion sight, "Pecans and Health", which is also the source for the image to the left. 

Updated 3/30/16 ~ Image Credit - Pixabay

Somewhere I read that November is National Georgia Pecan Month...wherever your pecans come from, I do hope you enjoy them!

Nov 12, 2011

Thanksgiving Memory and Recipe Collection

I can't believe that Happy Nutritionist's Nuggets is going to be 6 years old in 2 months. So much has happened in those years. It brings back memories to search for a topic like Thanksgiving on the blog and read what has happened in the past years.

Thanksgiving will very unique this year. I have one brother who lives in a group home, and another brother who thought it might be nice if we hosted Thanksgiving Dinner for the residents at the group home, a wonderful idea. If all goes as planned, that is what we'll be doing this year. I am cooking the Turkey and making a vegetable dish, and other members of the family will do their part to add to the meal. We are praying for good weather, health, and a good time of sharing. 

[3/2016 Update - My dear brother passed away last summer from a brain tumor...last Thanksgiving 2015 and Christmas were our first without him, very hard, he loved the holidays, especially Christmas.]

Here is a collection from here and there of things I've written related to Thanksgiving that you might enjoy.

1. It is a tradition to watch the Thanksgiving Parade in New York City each year on Television, but if you like venturing into the city to watch, you might enjoy the helpful information at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City

2. I may have shared this link with you before, but it's timely, so here it is again with a recipe for healthy home-made cranberry sauce...Healthy Natural Honey Cranberry Sauce.

3. What do you do with your Thanksgiving Leftovers?

4. Or how about a little Pumpkin Spiced Tea?

Updated 3/30/16 ~ Image Credit: Pixabay

Nov 6, 2011

Does Staring at a Computer Affect Vision?

Do you ever wonder whether staring at a computer screen, or television, or the now-smaller screens of a tablet, kindle or phone affect your eyesight? I have been concerned about this lately because the amount of writing I'm doing online is increasing a lot.

When it comes to staring at a computer screen for hours, here are some suggestions for you:

1) Look up regularly and look off to the distance to rest your eyes, and so that they have to refocus. There are doctors who say to look away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes...the 20-20 rule. I work in front of a window, so look outside and enjoy nature regularly.

2) Have  the computer screen 18 or more inches from your eyes.

3) Don't sit in the dark staring at a bright screen for extended periods, the lighting that surrounds you should be similar to what you are looking at on the screen. When reading, I change the setting in my Kindle or Overdrive app to dark with white lettering. I often do this when I read before sleeping, and it makes me tired enough to doze of within about 15 minutes.

It's not a bad idea to get up from your computer every hour anyway, for health reasons...your circulation in particular. Too many of us are sitting far to long at our computers, with no movement of the body at all except our fingers...this is bad for us in so many ways. Set an alarm to go off every hour and get up and do a short task, stretch, or take a short walk.

Updated 3/30/16 ~ Image Credit - Pixabay

Getting away from the computer at regular intervals will benefit both your eyes and your body.

Oct 12, 2011

Women and Heart Disease

Tomorrow I am going for an Echo-cardiogram...a painless test to take a basic look at my heart, because of some symptoms I've been having. They could simply be stress (we've had loads of that lately) or an intestinal/digestive thing, but my doctor seems to have the insight to realize that a woman's heart attack symptoms are not the same as a mans...and yes, I've had some of them.

My BP has been high, my blood test was normal, my EKG was good except for my irregular beats that I've always had when under stress. So what are the symptoms a woman might experience? Even before a heart attack, if you are experiencing shortness of breath or more than usual fatigue, these could be a sign that something is brewing. During a heart attack you may experience any one or more of the following:
  • Pain/pressure in the upper chest
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Pain in the back, neck, jaw
  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen that may be confused with stomach problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweats
  • Confusion
  • (Do a search online for "women's heart attack symptoms" for more)
The first symptom, pressure and pain in the chest, is the one that women are less likely to experience...but they sometimes do.

Some information that I've read says that if you think you are having symptoms like this and go to the emergency room, tell them that you think you are having a heart attack, especially if chest pain is not present, because if you just tell your symptoms and they do not include the chest pain, you are less likely to checked for heart disease or heart attack.

In fact, when you make your 911 call, which you should do if symptoms persist for no more than 5 minutes or so, tell them you think it's a heart attack so they'll get a paramedic to you and get you right into the hospital. It's better to be safe than sorry...embarrassed by it not really being heart disease than having a heart attack down the road with much more serious consequences.  I'll let you know what happens...I'm pretty sure I'll be okay, but you just never know.

Aug 25, 2011

My Freezer Died and a Hurricane is Coming

What losing a freezer that I've had for 25+ years and Hurricane Irene have to do with the other, I'm not sure, except for the fact that if we lose power, I won't have to worry about what to do with all the extra food in my extra freezer since that was done late last week and early this week. It's funny how you get attached to things...that old freezer has been with us for most of our marriage, we hated to see her go, but as a result, I'm not tempted to buy more food than I need just because there's extra space to store it. But it served us well while we had it.

As for Hurricane Irene...those of you in the path...are you prepared? Do you have your plans made for this or any other natural disaster? Here's some things you should be thinking about when it comes to food and water:

  • Have a plan for what you'll do with food in your refrigerator or freezer if your power goes down.
  • Have enough drinking water on hand...we will be filling a very large Gatorade water cooler that we have, plus have quite a bit of bottled water on hand, and juice, etc.
  • Do you have the ability to cook if there is now power?  We live in a situation where our oven and stove top use propane, a large tank that we take to be filled ourselves, so are okay there, but you may not...barbecuing may be possible, but these are things you should have a plan for.
  • You may want to put together a meal plan in advance.
  • Non-perishable foods are a good idea for times like this, though personally, since I'll still be able to use my stove or barbecue grill, I'd be wanting to cook the things that are going to thaw out in my freezer if the power goes down.
  • What will you do with the foods in your refrigerator that will go bad quickly if not cold, like milk, salad greens, cheese and such?  If the power is only down for a day or so, nestling it between some of the foods in your freezer until it, too, thaws might save it for a while until you can find a way to use it.
Be sure to visit the emergency management website for your State for further information on what to do to be prepared for Hurricane Irene, and may we all come through this fine...better yet, may things not be as bad as predicted. 

Updated 3/29/16

In hindsight, this storm was bad, and Hurricane Sandy the following year, even worse. So unusual for our area to have storms this intense!

Jun 21, 2011

I always had good Blood Pressure..what happened?

My last physical revealed that, for the first time in my life, I had borderline high blood pressure. What happened? Where did I go wrong? I've always prided myself in having good blood pressure. 130 to 140 over 70 were standard readings for me. In fact at my physical a few years ago, my doctor said that for my age my blood pressure was really good. Okay, so the "at your age" part didn't thrill me, but knowing that my blood pressure was good did.

That all changed during my last physical. There are many factors. My weight was a little bit more, but my BP has been good at this weight. There has been a great increase in stress...big time...over the past several years, maybe that is catching up with me? My diet is pretty good, but maybe there are things I need to address in the diet. Here are a list of things that I'm doing, and if you happen to be reading, and know of other things that I could do, please feel free to comment.
  • I don't use regular salt, but sea salt...in moderation...yes, even though it's supposed to be better because it has extra trace minerals that counter the affect of sodium's affect of blood pressure, they aren't quite enough that you can use sea salt freely.
  • I'm taking off extra weight
  • I'm trying to walk more...used to do that so regularly, and have been "bad" about that recently
  • Stress...well that usually shoots me over the top, to the point that I get broken blood vessels in my eye. I can't do much about sudden stressful circumstances, like when my dear husband has a health emergency, family emergencies, any emergency...but I can do something about thoughts about all the worries "in between" emergencies.  I've downloaded an audio bible and put it in my MP3 player to listen to, as well as inspirational music.  Filling that void when I'm alone with prayer and uplifting things should help.
  • I'm evaluating my supplements.  I've read some information on Magnesium, and want to research more about blood pressure lowering herbs.  In fact, if you'd like a fact sheet about one that I'm going to try, please let me know.
  • MOST IMPORTANT, take my blood pressure occasionally at different times...morning, early afternoon, evening...keep a record and share it with my doctor, as well as watch for improvements by keeping a Blood Pressure Diary.
  • Consider the DASH Diet, it seemed to help me manage mine when I was on it. 
Updated 3/29/16

Jun 5, 2011

From Food Pyramid to Choose My Plate

I was pleased to see the new food pyramid...I mean circle...actually it's a plate. I have always felt the food pyramid was too complicated for many.  Looking at a simple plate, with portion amounts shown on the plate in colors is appealing to the eye, and easy to understand...even for children.

When I used to meet with people for consultations, for years, I would do something very similar.  When explaining how much of each food group they should eat, I would say to look at your plate, this much should be meat, this much grains, etc., and would draw a diagram to explain. Now this simple concept is being used by the USDA. Since I'm not sure whether the image is copyrighted, may I invite you to visit the USDA ChooseMyPlate page for more information.

Updated 3/29/16

If you are interested in portion control dishes, which are used by many for weight loss or weight management, please visit this page for Portion Control Meal Measuring Dishes.

May 20, 2011

Genetically Engineered or Modified (GMO) Foods

Genetically altered foods are something I've heard a lot about, but not taken as seriously as I should. For me, there is nothing like taking time to look into something in order to write about it to open my eyes to things I haven't seen before. And that's just what happened to me this week.

I am still learning how best to put into scientific words what all of this is about, but generally, it is altering the characteristics of an organism by injecting it's DNA with genes or other properties(?) from another organism. This tampering with the natural structure of, for example, corn or soy beans, common foods that are altered in this way, is naturally of concern to those of us who want to eat foods as close to the way God created them as we can in our tainted environment.

Updated 3/29/16

I went into greater detail on this at another page, with compelling videos and more links to sites that are passionate about the subject at Non-GMO or GMO Free Food List and Information Sources. I invite you to take time to read it for your health's sake, and am open to input if I have incorrectly stated anything.

Apr 29, 2011

Have you ever heard of Vulvar Cancer?

Today I was reading a web page at one of my favorite sites...a daughter shares her mother's experience with Vulvar Cancer, and she did lose her Mom, as she was dealing with other health issues and took a while to get to the doctor to have symptoms she was having checked. SO important to act quickly when you aren't sure whether something doesn't look or feel right.

I had never heard of this type of cancer before, and appreciated the detail with which this woman explained the disease that is unique to women. Because it seems that so few know about it, I want to share a link to her page, where it shares early signs of the disease that you might take for granted, and we know how important early detection is with cancer. 

Updated 3/29/16

Here is her page, My Mother's Fight with Vulvar Cancer. I hope it helps someone, gaining much more knowledge has helped me.


Apr 17, 2011

Considering Changing Over to Organic Olive Oil


Extra Virgin Olive oil, now often called "EVOO", is the only oil I use as a cooking oil. We have an oil and vinegar salad set with olive oil in the oil bottle, and balsamic vinegar in the vinegar bottle to sprinkle on our salads. Except for occasionally seasoning a dish with Sesame Oil, olive oil is really the only oil that we have in the house. This is because I am convinced that the olive oil is beneficial to the health, a reason why many more are using olive oil than ever before.

I must admit that I haven't gone out of my way to find organic olive oil, but maybe it is something to be considered.  How oils are processed and how they are bottled can have an affect on their quality. I do make sure that the oils I purchase are cold-pressed, as heat processing can destroy some of the valuable nutrients.  I store ours in a cool dark cabinet and purchase in darkened glass bottles as light can affect the taste and quality of the oil.  I have tried to keep olive oil in the refrigerator, but it tends to harden. Some suggest using and unopened bottle of olive oil within a year, and an opened one within 6 months.

Olive oil is high in fat content, but the healthy kind of fat that is beneficial to the heart. It contains monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). This type of fat is better than saturated fat and trans fats. Still, because of it's high fat content, it is best to use it as an alternative to other fats in recipes than in addition too.  For example, rather than slathering butter on bread, some now enjoy dipping in seasoned olive oil.

Updated 3/29/16 ~ Image Credit: Pixabay

To me, it's easy to see why so many have turned to olive oil as their oil of choice, and now I have to take some time to explore the increased benefits of organic olive oil.

Apr 9, 2011

Mouth-Watering Meals Using Campbells Recipes

Many years ago, I had a Campbells soup recipe cookbook that I loved. It got miss-placed, and I was so excited when one was available at a garage sale I went to. It had so many easy and delicious recipes using various soups by Campbells. I was working out of the home at the time, and loved the crock pot recipes that were so easy to make and tasted so good when the soup suggested in the recipe was added.

That was before the internet and home computers...and now computers that you carry around with you in your cell phones. Now I can find these mouth-watering Campbells recipes online so easily. I just visited the link I shared, and must have the slow cooker chicken with dumplings recipe I saw using a Campbells soup in it before the the cool weather leaves us here in the Northeast. I tend to think winter and crock pots go together, though that's not necessarily so, as using them does not heat up the kitchen as much in the summer. They are great times savers and it's so nice to come home to a home-cooked meal ready to eat after a long day of work.

There were many casserole recipes, another way to cook that is quick...a number of the casseroles I make can be cooked in the microwave. Then there are the budget Campbells recipes, who doesn't live on a budget these days? I know I do. Even the soups alone are a great meal on a budget, popular flavors in the USA being Campbells Tomato, which I love with a grilled cheese sandwich; Cream of Mushroom which is in my personal opinion one of the most common soups used in casseroles and similar dishes, and Chicken Noodle Soup.

It was great to be given the opportunity to write about Campbells Recipes, both because it brought back many memories and provided me a source to find some old favorite recipes online.  I found over 20 Casserole recipes, about 20 budget recipes from Campbells, 20 main course recipes (I am feeling very hungry about now looking through these recipes!), and some new pork chop recipes to try.  My husband will be happy about that, he loves pork chops, but I've been cooking them the same way for a long time. 

Updated 3/28/16

I'm excited!  Can't wait to try some of these easy meals.

Mar 23, 2011

Japan's Radiation vs Food Irradiation

A run on Iodine Tablets has occurred since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan due to concern about radiation exposure from damaged nuclear power plants. Japan's coastline, and many other coastlines, including the California coastline, is situated in the "ring of fire" area of the Pacific Ocean, with greater potential for earthquakes than many other places due to tectonic plate movement under the ocean and faults on land.

The damage to the nuclear power plants and release of radiation that has resulted has lead to fear all the way to the coast of California. Sellers of Iodine Tablets have done well, no doubt, as a result, as many fear exposure to the negative affects of radiation. In some cases, especially in Japan, the concern is valid, here in the US in California where many have been buying the tablets, I'm not so sure.

Time will tell whether concern is valid...we are a media-driven society that tends to panic at the latest reports, sometimes the panic is justified, sometimes not.

For those living in Japan, which includes one of our nieces, there is valid concern about radiation appearing not only on and in individuals, but in the food they eat, and the milk and water they drink. What does one do in a situation like this? Will there be any foods safe to export from Japan? Debates abound on some news stations about what is considered to be a safe level of radiation. I must admit that I have more questions than answers myself. I'm from the generation that carried signs when nuclear power plants were being built shouting "no nukes, no nukes", though I can't say I ever fought the matter...more out of ignorance at that time in my life than anything.

Some confuse radiation such as the kind caused by nuclear power plant damage with that of irradiation of food. Irradiation does not increase levels of radiation in food, but it change the chemical structure of the food, breaking down chemical bonds, and in doing so, makes the food not what it was intended to be.

Updated 2/18/16

You will find many links to documents and information about safe radiation levels and the health affects of radiation at this Environmental Protection Agency link.

Feb 15, 2011

Valentines Day and Heart Attacks

Did you have a nice Valentine's Day yesterday? My husband and I celebrated our 32nd together...31 of them as a married couple. People say that's an accomplishment, I say it's a commitment that we made to one another to enjoy the good times together, and work through the challenging ones, and we've had our share of those. We take our vows before God seriously, if we didn't, I can honestly say I'm not sure where we'd be. I can tell you that if you don't work through the challenges, in many cases you may be missing out on the miracle of a stronger relationship on the other side of the challenge. A healthy marriage relationship is better for us in some ways than food.

Most of you know that my husband has had a heart attack, and ongoing heart issues, we did have another scare last month that put us in the emergency room for a night, but he is doing well. This is National Heart month, not surprising that they would call it that since it is also the month of Valentine's Day when everyone is looking at heart cards and decorations. How are you doing with looking after your heart? Here are some posts from the past related to the heart:

Sea Salt is Better for Your Heart
My Husband's Heart Attack Part 1
My Husband's Heart Attack Part 2
My Husband's Heart Attack part 3
ORAC - Free Radicals and the Heart
Heart Attacks and Women part 1
Heart Attacks and Women part 2
Anger and Heart Health
The Connection Between the Heart and the Tomato

Take care of your heart, and the one you love, "for better or worse, richer or poorer, 'till death do us part".


Updated 10/12/13

Jan 22, 2011

Find Spring Fed Water Sources Near You

Over 30 years ago, my husband and I lived in Haledon, NJ, not far from a source of spring water. All residents of the Town had access with a key given only to residents by the Town to this source of water. It was just around the corner from us, so we went regularly and filled bottles full of delicious drinking water. It was so very much better than the chlorinated tap water we had at the time.  I'm not sure whether they still offer this service to residents of Haledon, but it was a wonderful thing while we were living there.

There is a site that tells you, by state, where to find sources of spring water near you called findaspring.com - you can look at the "Springs by Region" tab along the top and find the spring water source closest to you...in and in some regions outside of the United States.

You can also add a spring to the site if you know of one near you that is not listed on the map. 

Updated 3/288/16

Sources of good spring drinking water are hard to come by, so treasure it if you find one!

Jan 19, 2011

Learning About Foods By Trying them Free

I just finished typing a post about saving on groceries, and then came upon a site that gives you the opportunity to try things for free. This can be helpful if you are interested in learning about a food or kitchen item, but don't want to spend the money until you know more. I noticed there were offers, at least at the time I am typing this, for free Magic Grip Jar Openers; free Fiber Plus Cereal; free samples from Gerber and also free Enfamil samples for new mothers; free Men's Health Guides; free french fries and the list goes on and on.

Can I suggest something? When you visit sites like this, don't just go through the list and get anything that you see for free...get things that interest you, or you will overwhelm the party that is giving away free things. You are not likely to try something that doesn't interest you once you receive it anyway. I remember once I was offering free stuff and there was simply no way I could provide for all the people that contacted me, but I am not a large company either. 

Updated 3/28/16

I love the idea of free trials when it comes to helping people decide whether a product is something they would like to use in the future.

6 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

From gas to groceries, everything is getting more expensive, challenging our dollars to stretch further and further. We have to find ways to spend less on groceries while still getting the things that we need to feed ourselves and our families. Here are 6 ways to save money at the grocery store. Some are obvious, but maybe during better times, you have gotten out of the habit of practicing them, so it's time reconsider these simple ways to save.


  1. Clip coupons - Whether you clip coupons from newpapers, save the ones often printed out with your receipt when you shop, or search them out online and print them, coupons are one of the best ways to save. Couponing has become quite popular and the subject of television programs.
  2. Use a Loyalty Card - Most stores have cards that give their regular customers discounts on select items each week.  Our ShopRite offers what they call a "Price Plus" card.  That, added to coupons that you clip, or are sometimes generated at checkout, can give you significant savings.
  3. Use Digital Coupons - I am updating this post and including this method of saving as it has become popular in recent years. Our supermarket has a weekly list of digital coupons online that I check off after logging in. They are identified at checkout by my loyalty card which I and the amount is automatically deducted
  4. Buy more staples than prepared foods. It is easier to buy a box of macaroni and cheese, but is it more economical? Sometimes if may be, but you may be trading good nutrition by purchasing prepared foods with all the additional chemicals added.  More often than not, a large box of macaroni and a block of cheese will make more servings for your family than one box of prepared macaroni and cheese.  And you have the option to buy a better pasta...I like to use multi-grain pasta in my Macaroni and Cheese. The next time you go shopping and pick up a box or bag of an already prepared item, ask yourself if you can make that at home for less. If you can, then put that item back in favor of less expensive staples.
  5. Buy in bulk and buy extra when items are on sale. Consider the food items that you use most often. Cereals, meats, vegetables, condiments, juices, and paper products can be bought in bulk usually at a lower price at food warehouses like Costco, BJ’s, and Wal-Mart. Of course, storage will be a factor here, but do the best that you can.  We have an extra freezer, and I only buy meats at our "regular" supermarket when on sale and get an extra package each time so that we are always eating meat that was purchased on sale, and have a variety in the freezer at all times.  I do this with frozen vegetables as well.
  6. Don’t shop when you are hungry.  Shopping on an empty stomach means that you will pick up more things than you need. You are more likely to pick up that bag of chocolate chip cookies or that box of donuts when the growling gets underway.
  7. Use a shopping list - I keep a list going as things run out during the week and limit my shopping to what I need plus specials as mentioned above.  Check your cabinets and the fridge to see what you need and write them down, and stick with your list as much as possible. With the shop-at-home services that many stores offer that allow you to shop online, you can have a list of commonly used items readily available to you when you log in to your account at your supermarket.
  8. Shop at the same stores. This is easy for us as we are in a relatively rural area and there's only or two large stores in the area. Going to the same store each time makes you more familiar with the prices so you can estimate your bill as you write your grocery list.
Rising prices don’t have to mean a lean dinner table. There are ways to make your food dollar go further and if you take the time to implement the ideas listed above as well as others of your own, you’ll see savings each and every time you shop.

Updated 3/28/16

Jan 11, 2011

What is the Colonoscopy Procedure Like?

Someone commented on my earlier post mentioning that I had a colonoscopy asking me to describe the preparation and procedure...I can do that, but want you to remember that this is my experience...your doctor may guide you through a different, but similar approach.

Preparation:

The entire day before the colonoscopy, I had no solid foods. And I waited 3 weeks from my doctor appointment until the day of the colonoscopy, so had time to get much more nervous than I should have...I'll know better next time.

During the day before, I was able to eat/drink lemon Italian ice, yellow Gatorade (62 oz during the day), broth, anything liquid that was not dark or red. 

I was supposed to take 4 Dulcolax plus 230 grams of MiraLax , the latter is a powder mixed into another 62 oz bottle of Gatorade. I will not tell you the exact timing on how this is taken, your doctor will, or you can search for it online, I am not comfortable taking responsibility. But I will say that I have IBS and a VERY sensitive colon, so tried just 1 Dulcolax in the morning to see how my body would respond...well it responded very powerfully, so I didn't take any more of that.

When it came time for the Miralax solution, I mixed about 1/4 less of the Miralax than the doctor suggested into the bottle of Gatorade and drank in the intervals suggested in the late afternoon/early evening. It lead to a real good clean-out. I was able to get some sleep in eventually...but up often...it's good to stay near a bathroom. For me there was no cramping or pain.

My appointment was at about 7:30 in the morning. This was my second Colonoscopy, the first was 4 years ago, and I used an oral Fleets product and found that it was even more draining than the procedure that I did this time...still, I was quite weak and tired when I went for my appointment, this is to be expected. 

The biggest suggestion I can make is to get as much fluid as you can up until midnight the night before...you have to stop drinking at midnight...and drink the full 2 bottles of Gatorade as well as water during that time...one of them is your prep, the other just for fluids that contain electrolytes you need. 

The preparation dehydrates you by pulling fluids into the colon from the body, so you need enough fluid in your system to compensate.

Procedure:

The procedure is nothing, especially if you are sleeping during it.  You need a driver to bring you and take you home.  You go in, register, change into your gown and lie down, get your intravenous, I was given oxygen right before being put to sleep...and you wake up feeling great, at least with the drug they gave me. You don't feel a thing, and are awake and walking within a very short time.  

I was offered my choice of juices to drink after waking.  I was lead by a nurse or aid to the place where I changed into the gown, my cloths and pocketbook locked in a locker, and then left to change.  Then was led to wait for my son, and on my way home in an hour or less from the time I woke up. My son drove me and it was about 2 hours between the time he dropped me off for the procedure and the time he took me home. When you get home, you rest and sleep off the rest of the anesthesia, which is very mild, but you shouldn't drive until the next day.

An odd after affect, I felt like I had a cold for a couple of days after...lots of sneezing and aggravated sinuses, probably due to whatever was blowing into my nasal passages when given oxygen. It was annoying, but passed.

I had one pea sized polyp removed the first 2 times I had a colonoscopy. One was the kind that can turn into cancer if left alone. The 3rd colonoscopy at the end of 2015 (see below)...no polyps, so I get a 5 year break.

That's all there is to it....anticipating it, and the preparation are "harder" than the procedure itself. And it's worth it, especially if they find something that shouldn't be there and remove it, reducing your risk of developing colon cancer.  If they find nothing, generally you can wait 5 years for your next look-see, your doctor will let you know.

March 2016 Update:

I had another colonoscopy done at the end of 2015...waiting 4 years rather than 3. This time the doctor prescribed a liquid preparation for me to use...NEVER AGAIN! Being the sensitive person I am, I was able to keep down the first dose, and it seemed to be plenty to clear me out. The second dose did not stay down, my body rejected it immediately, and I was sick right up until the time they took me in to do the colonoscopy...which went fine. NO POLYPS this time. 

So next time, I will be going back to the procedure I described earlier, with the over the counter Miralax etc., I'll insist on it no matter what the doctor says...unless they have come up with a milder solution by then.  

Jan 5, 2011

A Happy Healthy Colon

I may have posted on this blog a few months back that I had a colonoscopy, a test that can prevent cancer if done regularly. During the test, my second one in 4 years, they removed another polyp of the type that can, if left alone, turn into cancer. So I feel that the effort and time involved is not wasted.

Then I returned home, and found that my digestive system was a good bit out of balance, likely because the bacteria in the colon was out of balance, so started taking a Probiotic supplement which helped tremendously.

I don't often use articles written by others, preferring to write my own material, but the following was helpful, so for today, I'd like to share this with you:

Boost Colon Health With Nutrition and Digestive Enzymes 

by Darrell Miller

A healthy colon is the basis for a healthy body, with most of not realizing exactly how important a healthy colon is for obtaining and maintaining optimal wellness. When searching for a healthy body, colon health should be a primary concern, as it is the source for a lot of diseases and health problems. A healthy body depends on the maintenance of a healthy digestive system and elimination. Since food is the primary source of fuel for the body, if the wrong foods are eaten, the body will not function as it should.

The nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids that are found in the foods we eat are what give us the energy and resources that keep us alive. Sadly, the foods we eat are also loaded with toxins and unnecessary substances that prevent our body from removing waste properly. A healthy colon means a healthy body, so learning natural methods to achieve colon health is extremely important. Nutritious eating habits, cleansing diets, fiber sources, herbal remedies, and nutritional substances can all contribute to the body’s well being.

The food we eat ultimately determines how efficiently our entire body system works, with digestion being the body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders that cause disease. The digestive system is also responsible for supplying cells with the nutrients and compounds that they need. There are many factors that contribute to digestive disorder including overeating cooked food and not enough raw foods, constipation, wrong combination of food, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar and sweets, white flour products, stress, any imbalance in the body, lack of hydrochloric acid and enzymes, Candida overgrowth, colon and liver congestion, allergies, hiatal hernia, gallbladder problems, ulcers, and heart problems.

Americans usually cause the most harm to themselves because of the types and amounts of food that they eat. In order to break down food, the body uses hydrochloric acid that is found in the stomach. This acid is actually strong enough to dissolve metal and is used in the stomach to neutralize the inappropriate substances, toxins, and bacteria that enter the body through the food that we eat daily. On occasion, the stomach and the acid inside breaks down and digestive malfunctions result.

There are many nutrients that are recommended to assist in proper digestion. Digestive enzymes are critical for digestion of any food, with acidophilus being important for proper bowel function. Hydrochloric acid is crucial for the assimilation of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and calcium. B complex vitamins promote a healthy digestive tract and assist enzymes in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Sodium, which is stored in the stomach wall and joints, neutralizes the acidity in the body and is needed when there is a deficiency of hydrochloric acid.

With out hydrochloric acid in the stomach, calcium, an essential mineral can not break down and is not properly absorbed in the stomach. Fiber, essential for proper digestion and elimination of food, reduces the absorption of fat, inhibits bad estrogens from absorbing into the bloodstream, and helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Additionally herbal aids such as capsicum, garlic, gentian, ginger, golden seal, licorice, papaya, and psyllium powder are great for assisting with digestion. Taking a good digestive enzyme is the first step to promoting a healthy digestive system and properly function colon. As we age, digestive functions will decline which causes disorders such as fatigue due to mal absorption. Those over 50 should take a digestive aid on their heaviest meal to ensure that proper digestion is happening and good health will continued free form disease.

Author Resource: More information on colon health is available at VitaNet ®, LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/

Used with permission. Formerly on Selling with Articles.