Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Time Is Now!

Don't wait for the perfect time, the convenient time, the less stressful time - to lose weight. The “right” time may come may come, but won't stay. The right time is always now - right now, every day, always. You think, …

… "But the holidays are coming up!”  
… “I have a wedding to go to.” 
… “I can't be expected to diet during my vacation! I wanna enjoy myself!” 
… “I'm going through very rough times right now and I can't focus on such a change.”
… “It's so much work, such a big change, and it takes time that I don't have right now.”
… “Exercising and eating special foods cost money I don't have.” 
… “I can't afford a gym membership or a special diet plan right now- that's the only way I can do it.” 

Here’s one of my favorites … 
… “Healthier food options are so expensive, and I'm on a budget.” 
Hmmm… Yet you manage to "find" the money for snacks on the run, those "I earned it" treats when you had a bad day, and those "but it's a special occasion" indulgences. Eliminate half of these "excuse moments" and you will have increased your budget enough for fresh fruits and veggies. 


Stop BS'ing yourself and making excuses… and no half steppin! You say, "Well, I drink a lot of water instead of sweet drinks. I walk more places than I used to. I had a salad today for lunch. I didn't order dessert at the restaurant last night. I drink only diet sodas. I buy a lot of sugar-free and low-fat-labeled foods."  Ok, great! So, you have the desire to do something good for yourself, but no guidelines or consistency. To make changes that work, you should have proper guidelines in a set plan, and you must, MUST be consistent with it! Half steppin is a waste of time! 

When you're inconsistent you tend to gain more weight instead of losing. You trick yourself into believing that you are good because you did a few healthy things, but then you undo the positive on the days you don't make better choices. Depending on what your habits are, it can cancel out any good you've done. Just like calories burned must outnumber calories consumed to lose weight, positive choices must outnumber negative over a consistent period to have any noticeable lasting results. It's doable! You have to want it badly enough. 

You must realize that you have only one life to live, and you want to live a long life. So, no matter your age, you want to enjoy the most and suffer the least in the time you have. Healthier choices lead to longer, happier lives. So, now what are you waiting for? An invitation? Ok, here you are: 
Property of Wanda Crawford



Sorry. I know you were waiting for it to be embossed on fine stationery and delivered with white-glove service on a silver platter, but I’m on a budget. 

Now that you have your fancy personal invitation there are no more excuses! You have to make healthy changes, and the time is NOW!





Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wanda's Easy to Make Homemade Coconut Milk

Here is my recipe for fresh, delicious homemade organic coconut milk. I prefer this to canned or carton coconut milk.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups* all-natural organic coconut flakes (not that plastic-like processed junk)
  • 3 and 1/2 cups* distilled water
* You can adjust the amounts in a 1:2 ratio (1 part coconut flakes to 2 parts water) for the yield you prefer. The above amounts will yield approximately 3 cups of milk.

Directions:
  • Add the coconut flakes to the distilled water in a high-powered blender (e.g. a Vitamix).
  • Blend for approx. 2 minutes to extract the healthy oils as well. 
  • Pour into a nut milk bag in a deep bowl. 
  • Carefully lift up the bag and, with very clean hands, squeeze out the solids. 
  • Pour into a large mason jar (or a suitable container with a lid), cover with wrap, and seal tight.
  • The milk will be warm, so refrigerate promptly.
  • Shake well before using. 
This coconut milk may be stored in the refrigerator for 4-6 days.
However, my personal suggestion is to use it within 24-48 hours for optimum freshness.

Enjoy! 






Social Media Is Not One’s Reality

Social media is NOT one's reality. It is a collection of thoughts, ideas, feelings, and opinions that one CHOOSES to share. It does not, or should not, define a person. Social media can be informative or entertaining, and is very convenient, but it can never replace connecting with real people in the real world. 

You may think you know someone because they are your friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker, or schoolmate, and you follow them on social media, but that's not who they are. Human beings are more than just a collection of pictures, thoughts, ideas, and opinions... more than videos and audio clips. We are flesh and blood, with a body, mind, and spirit. We are multidimensional with an energy and essence that can never be replaced by technology.
 
Don't get me wrong... technology is an amazing help to keep those connected who would not be otherwise, and it does serve many good purposes (e.g. serving as a vehicle for my message). Just remember to keep it real and try not to judge a person by their online identity. Recognize that social media is not one's reality.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Live an Authentic Life and Share Your Blessings

Who am I to be writing a health blog? What training do I have? What is my expertise?

I would not exactly call myself an expert on anything. I don’t have any degrees or fancy accreditations. I don’t own or run a business. I’m not a great writer or published author. I am just a student of life, with a few diplomas and certificates, and a strong desire to keep learning… and to share what I learn with others. I’m an honest, everyday child of God, writing this blog of my own free will. No expertise here.


But, well …maybe I’m an expert… in being me! I believe in living what I call an “authentic” life – living life being genuine, honest and true, not only to others but most importantly to yourself. I am far from perfect. We all are far from perfect. However, I do my best, recognize and own up to my mistakes, learn from them, and keep moving forward. I put on a layer of phoniness or try to emulate others. It never pays. God made me as I am for a reason. I, just like you, have a unique role in this tapestry of life and must weave my own textured pattern in my own brilliantly colored thread. Besides, who is better suited to be me than me? And I strive to be the very best me I can be. Therefore, I am an “expert me”!

This means you can be an expert too. Be an “expert you”. Do it with authenticity. In this sense, I'm saying be honest and trustworthy about who you are. People will never have to wonder where they stand with you. This way personal and business relationships are built on honesty, and trust follows. This brings about easier networking, stronger business connections, and definitely more fulfilling, long-lasting personal relationships. As you build relationships, personal or business, be open-minded and willing to learn. 

As you learn positive things, keep the blessings flowing by passing them on. I believe in the philosophy of “each one, teach one” and “pay it forward”. Never let the blessing of positive insight end with you. Your blessings grow as you share them. I have seen very hard times in my life, but God has always brought me through.  I pass on the blessings by sharing the positive insight that I learned from my journey from darkness to light. The more goodness that I share, the more God brings back to me. I love sharing helpful, positive information through my blog and forms of media like Google + because I am able to reach people near and far. It feels great knowing that words I share might help someone on the other side of the world. 

In Hamlet, William Shakespeare wrote, “This above all: to thine own self be true…” 

I say “live an authentic life and share your blessings”. Be true to yourself and share the best of you. May it lead to a good and balanced life.

I sure hope these words can inspire you as you read them.

Be well, Be Blessed!

~~Wanda Crawford, 10/21/16

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An Alternative (Cleaner, Healthier) Lifestyle


When the phrase "alternative lifestyle" is mentioned nowadays, most people are inclined to think it's referring to one's sexual orientation. Well, that’s not what I'm here to discuss. When I say “alternative lifestyle”, I’m talking about our health. I’m talking about finding alternatives to the way the average American eats, cooks, and lives. I'm talking about what’s happening in your home, the cleanliness of it, the air you breathe, the water you drink and bathe in, what you buy, how you cook, and what you eat. You need to adapt to a better way of living, a cleaner life. You must explore alternative options to the ways you are so used to, but know are not healthy. The alternative is a commitment to cleaner, healthier options. You must be willing to change your lifestyle.

Famous lines and excuses...
“Healthy stuff is so expensive!”
“But so many people in the world have been eating ‘this’ or doing ‘that’ for years.”
“It’s just so popular. Everyone loves to eat this.”
“Microwaves are so much quicker.”
“This is the way I grew up. My family has been eating this for years.”
And the dumbest line ever…"It hasn’t killed me yet."

REALLY? Is this the lifestyle you want?
Ummm… Hello!! Have you checked cancer and disease rates lately? They’re on the rise and have been on the rise for a long time. The more man-made, chemical garbage that companies keep putting in our food (cost-efficient substitutes), the more disease rates go up. Then years later you see ads and articles stating that recent studies show that certain substances and chemicals may be linked to cancer or a particular disease. Now you start listening and getting concerned. But, by that time the damage has been done. You have been using these products for so long that they’ve caused damage to your bodies. Next, you need medication to treat the problems. You take more chemicals into your bodies that the doctors and pharmaceutical companies say are “safe”. That’s until a few years later you hear the news reports and TV ads about recalls of drugs due to side effects. Lawyers offer compensation, but compensation doesn’t cure you.

Do you see what stupid pattern we human beings have set for ourselves?

Let’s stop the nonsense! Break the pattern before it even gets started!

Fresh produce is always a good option!
Now to start, I’m not talking about buying things that are expensive and spending a billion dollars at an all organic supermarket. I’m not saying you need to do a “Dr. Oz” kitchen sweep and throw away all of your food to start over (although some of you really do need to). Start by eliminating some product that you know without a doubt have no nutritional value. Then replace them with healthier options. There are healthy options right in your local supermarket. Your produce section can be your best friend. You just need to know how to shop it. There are affordable cleaner choices to be made. You just have to educate yourself. A better, longer life is easily obtainable. By reading this article, reading some posts on my G+ page, and checking out some of the links on my site, you’ve chosen an alternate path. You are making cleaner, healthier choices already! Make it a lifestyle commitment.


So let’s clean up our act. Let’s clean up our lives. Research. Read. Learn. Commit. Act. Alternate. Change. Live cleaner. Live healthier. Live longer. There’s a cleaner, healthier alternative lifestyle right at your fingertips. You just have to reach for it.

FORGET THE FANCY DIET PLANS AND PILLS --- DO IT FOR LIFE!!!

You Don't Have to Be a Fitness Fanatic to Exercise!


Before - 2007
Before - August 2008
never used to exercise. I spent most of my life skinny or underweight because of a high metabolism. Then, it happened... I woke up one day and everything I ate slowly applied itself directly to different parts of my body. My poor eating habits and lack of exercise had finally caught up with me. The ton of medications my doctors had put me on didn't help either. For the first time in my life, I was officially overweight. It wasn't a tragedy, but I didn't like how I felt. I also came to the realization that I was in the midst of what I like to call a "medication snowball effect". The less I paid attention to what I was eating, the heavier I got, which led to a new health issue every few months. That led to a new medication to take, which led to side effects, a slower metabolism, and more weight gain. The weight gain led to more health issues... and so on, and so on... you see where I'm going with this?

There had to be a healthier way of living! I had to get my life back on the right track. So, I did some research and learned fitness and nutrition basics. I learned how to count calories (which really wasn't too hard to do) and I learned how to make healthier food choices. There were no drastic measures, just everyday common sense choices.

Then came the exercising! I really wanted to do this, but I didn't know how. I started with what I could handle -- 10 minutes a day, every day. At first, 10 minutes seemed like forever, but slowly I felt a big difference. I added 5 minutes each week and was thrilled when I was able to work out for a full 30 minutes! Setting and increasing your goal is very important.

After - 2009
After - September 2015

After 10 months, I was able to work out for 30 minutes with ease, I was 50 lbs. lighter, and I've kept off all the weight since February 2010! I am healthier, stronger, and leaner than I have ever been in my life! I look back and can't believe I ever weighed 183 lbs. The workout routines that used to seem so impossible are so much easier now. Want to know another great result I got from exercising and eating healthier? I was able to get off of 8 out of the 9 medications I was on when I started in about 18 months. Now I don't need any of them! I use nutrition and natural supplements, and I'm doing just fine without all those drugs.

I would not call myself a fitness fanatic, but I can definitely say that I am an advocate for a healthier lifestyle. Simple changes, such as exercise and healthier eating habits can truly add years to your life. Don't look for quick-fixes! Sure, you'll lose weight, but you won't know how to keep the weight off. Special diet plans may help for short term goals, but learning how to exercise properly and how to make good, healthy food choices are skills you can use throughout your entire life. Even now, I've managed to maintain a healthy weight because I learned how to live healthily. At 48 years old, if I can do this, so can you! Educate yourself! Trust me when I tell you, "It works!"

Want to live a healthier life? Not sure where to start? Or do you just need support along the way? Do just what you are doing now... research, read, learn, and apply. Search online for fitness experts and get advice, or for everyday people like myself who can offer suggestions and inspiration. Once you have the info, get to work! It's what I did, and it is still working for me.  Now is the time to start making moves toward a healthier life! Do not wait for a special day or time to start. Make the magic happen right now - today! You can do it! Back away from the internet (for now) and get moving!

Emotional Eating and Nighttime Snacking



Its 1:30 am and I can't get to sleep. I"ll turn on my TV and maybe I can find a boring show to fall asleep to. Ooooh... that chocolate cake in that commercial looks SO good. I'm hungry and no one is up to see what I'm eating! Hmmm... 

That's how it starts for many people. The nighttime binging. It doesn't have to be a lot of food, but even a small amount of the wrong food can set a bad pace. Eating emotionally to comfort ourselves, fill a void, or because we are bored is never a good habit. There are times that we may feel we can't control the cravings. It may be due to stress.  High levels of stress cause the body to produce more cortisol, which increases food cravings. It could be hormonal changes brought on by PMS, pregnancy, or menopause. Fluctuation in hormone levels can cause women to crave sweets.
People who are dealing with depression, anxiety, or have health issues that cause chemical imbalances in their blood, may experience low levels of feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine. This may cause cravings for "comfort foods" which will raise these levels. However, most comfort foods tend to be junk food, processed food, or foods high in fats and sugar. These are unhealthy choices. 

We have moments when we feel we must have something to soothe ourselves because our day was just horrible. Or, we have moments when we feel that our days were so great that we need to reward ourselves for a job well done. We have all have had these moments at some point, but what we do about it is what counts. First, don't beat yourself up about it. Doing so will only perpetuate the cycle. Be strong and decide to take control. Cravings are usually your body's way of letting you know something just isn't right, either hormonally, emotionally, neurochemically, or perhaps spiritually. Pray. Ask God for strength to deal with the craving without overindulging. Take control and know that you can make a change. Listen to your body and heart to find out what it is that may be imbalanced. If you need to see your doctor to have blood work done to check for hormonal or neurochemical imbalances, do so. Then, try taking control of some of the stresses by doing something other than eating. Exercise, take a walk, call a friend, listen to music, or get up and dance. Just get busy doing something to take your mind off the craving. It will release some of the stress, thus reducing the craving.

One of the most obvious helpers for emotional eating is learning to eat healthier snacks. Fruit, nuts, and whole grain snacks are always good choices. Whole grain cereals are what I go to when I can't find anything else. They are good for cravings at any hour, dry or with your milk alternative of choice. Eating light complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber help you to feel full longer, which can also help control appetites. Drinking plenty of water will help control your appetite by keeping you full and hydrated. Another little trick I read somewhere is to brush your teeth with minty toothpaste or rinse with minty mouthwash. Something about the mint helps to curb your appetite. I tried it and it works for me!

If you find that you just can't resist that favorite food or not-so-healthy snack, use portion control! Do not eat straight out of the package (that never works for self-control). Find a small cup, container, or plate to put a small amount in and put the rest of the food away. As for the small 90 and 100 calorie packs of healthy snack foods, you’re supposed to eat only one! They are that size for a reason. Skipping a healthy meal so you can have five 100-calorie packs of cookies is unacceptable!

Which brings me to my last point... don't skip meals! Skipping meals causes your body to hold on to fat for energy. Eating three well-balanced meals and one or two healthy snacks is a very good way to help control extra cravings. High fiber foods with each meal and snack can help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full longer.

When I started writing this I was hungry, but I chose to have some mini whole wheat crackers and a big glass of lemon water. The lemon water is gone, but I never even finished the crackers. Guess I wasn't as hungry as I thought! I hope this information helped you. Watch those nighttime cravings!

Off to bed I go…


"I'm Not Overweight. I Don't Need To Work Out!"


"I'm not overweight. I don't need to work out!"

You might think to yourself, “Wow, I don’t have to work out. I’ve had a high metabolism all of my life. I’m slim. I have never been overweight. I’ve never had a problem with it. I’ve never had to work out before. What do I need to work out now for? I’m good.” Au contraire! Everyone needs exercise and we all need to work out. No matter what your metabolism or weight is. We need it simply because it boosts our immune system, builds muscle and improves its tone, and builds strength. It also truly reduces stress, and is great for complete, overall health, mental and physical. So, even someone like myself, who tends to have a high metabolism, or low to average body weight, needs to work out. It’s just good for total body health.

Some people may say, “But I’m active. I’m out every day, going to and from work. I work up a sweat doing heavy housework, keeping up with my kids, and I get a lot of walking in when I do my shopping.” All that is great, and it shouldn’t be discounted, but it’s not enough. Housework, running after the children, and shopping are all good forms of moderate exercise. But everyone’s body needs more than that to keep our hearts healthy, and to maintain good muscle tone and strength.

Our bodies need different forms of exercise, aerobic and anaerobic exercise, to stay fit.  Aerobic exercise is keeps your cardio-respiratory system fit, such as walking, dancing, jogging, biking, and swimming. Anaerobic exercise strengthens the muscles and joints, such as strength training, stretching, and short distance running (sprinting). A well balanced program of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, based on an individual’s fitness level, is important to maintain a healthy strong body.

You owe it to yourself to find or make the time to work out. Seriously, just 30 minutes at least 3 days a week can improve the length and quality of your life. You found the time for excuses, didn’t you? Cut it out! Live stronger and longer.

Regular exercise boosts immune systems and releases toxins (fights diseases), creates stronger bones (fights arthritis), improves muscle tone (less wrinkling and sagging), increases lung capacity and oxygenation of the blood (healthier organs and greater brain function), and reduces stress (healthier body, greater mental function, and calmer moods). Now, who wouldn’t want that?

Check out the following sites for more information:






Wednesday, September 28, 2016

GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND WORK OUT!!


No more excuses! No matter where you live, if you are reading this blog post, you can work out in your own home. All you need is a little space, a television or internet access (which you obviously have), 15 to 30 minutes, and a desire to get fit!

You don’t have to have money for a gym membership to workout. You can do it in the privacy of your own home. There is fitness programming out there for everybody, all ages, shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. You just have to know what to look for and where to find it. Don’t have a clue? Not to worry. That’s why I’m here to help you!

You can start with YouTube.com. Go to their search box and type in “fitness workout”.  Before you even finish typing it in you will probably get a drop-down box that continues the phrase with “…for women”, “…for men”, “…for kids”, “…for beginners”, etc. There are countless fitness and exercise videos available. Just find a few that you are comfortable with and stick to it.

Another option is to just do a “video” search in your preferred search engine. When I typed in “fitness and exercise routines” into the Google search engine under the video tab, I got back over 6 million results.

The following links are to some websites for that have fitness videos that may be quite helpful in your at-home workout routines.

  •  http://www.zliving.com/fitness/
  •  http://www.popsugar.com/Workouts
  •  http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/videos.asp
  •  http://www.livestrong.com/workouts/
  •  http://www.sitandbefit.org/watch/youtube/
  •  https://www.youtube.com/user/BodyElectricTV
  •  http://www.essentrics.com/mirandaeducationalvideo.html
  •  http://www.gaiamtv.com/my-yoga
The following are websites for cable networks which have fitness programs in their listings. You can use the listings to find out which on which local station and at what time you can view the programs.

http://www.zliving.com/usa/tv/  - Featuring many great exercise programs in their daily lineup

Sit and Be Fit, with Mary Ann Wilson

Body Electric, with Margaret Richard

Gilad’s Bodies in Motion, and Total Body Sculpt
And if you don’t get JLTV, watch live online at
http://jltv.tv/shows.php?id=13 .


Also, if you have On Demand programming as part of your Cable package, you may have access to some free exercise programs. There are usually a variety of exercise categories in various fitness levels, such as yoga, walking, stretching, aerobics, Pilates, strength training, etc.

Stop finding excuses! Don’t wait until the doctor tells you exercise or else.  If you found the time to search the web, find, and read this article, then you can find 15-30 minutes a day at least 3-5 days a week to save your own life. No special equipment is needed, and it’s free! Do it now and come back and tell me about it when you’re done!


Nothing to it but to do it! Go to it!

Welcome to The Clean Life Health Connection!


Looking for a place to come to for easy, comfortable healthy living references? Want to learn how you can live a longer, healthier life? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This blog will provide articles and recommended references for many, many areas of health issues, natural remedies, diet and fitness advice, food references, recipes, etc. I will be posting articles, reference links, and plenty of useful information, so please check back often for new content.

My mission is to provide a place where you can come to get quick and easy health information; Read, ask questions and discuss topics with others.  I want to cover topics for your complete health, covering as many areas of your life as possible: your mind, your body, and spirit. One's home environment is equally as important to your health, so there will be plenty of information in that area as well. I will write some of my own articles and possibly post some personal videos, giving my point of view and sharing some experiences. However, since I am not a licensed physician, nor claim to be an expert in any particular area, I am grateful for the vast amount of information that the internet provides. I will be connecting you to others across the web that I feel offer reputable, healthy information.

This blog is connected to my Google+ page which is loaded with various posts for all areas of your life.
Please check it out at https://www.google.com/+WandaCrawford.

With illness and disease taking over our planet, we can never have enough health information at our fingertips. But, I'm not about just being "aware". I want to focus on prevention and possible cures. I will strive to connect you to the proper information for clean health. We all deserve a long and healthy life!

So, I welcome you to the Clean Life Health Connection!
May God be with you and your family. Peace and Blessings!


~ Wanda Crawford