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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Change and Challenges

Have you ever set yourself a goal that really challenges you? The month of January starting Jan. 1st I challenged myself to go without sugar for the entire month. Sugar was something I'd been reading and researching a lot about and had been wanting to cut back on for awhile. So it was a month of change and challenge for me. I do love chocolate and my husband has a big sweet tooth as well so he was often eating his treats while I ate a piece of fruit or nibbled on a few dates.  Now by not eating sugar for this time, I mean I had no desserts, no chocolate not even a mint during the month. I did not eliminate what is called hidden sugars, sugars that are found in things like maple syrup which I only had a couple of tablespoons of but I don't eat a lot of prepackaged or processed food anyway so this wasn't too big of an issue for me. 

I really only experienced a handful of days where I had strong cravings for chocolate but I did not cave in and powered through. I found if I changed up my routines and did things a little differently I could avoid thinking about what I was missing. 

As I wrote about the addiction to sugar in my last post this is kind of a continuation to let you know I survived the month. I found doing this really lets you take a step back and think about what you are feeding your body on a daily bases, I really consider now my choices for what I want to put in my body. I am eating way more fruit, nuts and seeds now in place of the sweets. Now that I know that I can handle leaving many of the sugar things out of my diet I feel so much better.  My gym workouts are better, I have more energy throughout my day.  It was a great challenge and I encourage you to give it a try if you want to boost your health and create a healthier lifestyle for yourself. 

List of Healthy Snacks to Replace Sweet Ones

- cut up fruit like apples, pineapple (my favorite) cantaloupe or whatever you like
- 1/4 cup of peanuts or walnuts
- pumpkin seeds
- 4 or 5 naturally sweetened dates
- a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, add your own fruit like blueberries or strawberries
- 1/4 cup of cooked oatmeal 

I hope this inspires you and challenges you to make a change in your own life. It can be whatever works for you. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Addiction That's Stealing Your Health

So you probably thought I was going to say that your iphone was the culprit hey? Actually I'm talking about the silent killer, yup the one that no one wants to admit is wreaking havoc on your health. Sugar, yes, there it is. Sugar is the addiction that is stealing your health and shortening your life. I've recently been reading a lot about 'sugar' in all it's various forms and the damage that it does to our bodies when abused or consumed in excess. 

It's no secret that the western diet is clearly one that is driven by sweetened foods. Though most people know that loading up on sugary foods and snacks is not good for their bodies it can be a real struggle for people to break this addiction or even realize that they are addicted to it. Sugar actually stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain making us crave more and more of it.  Sugar is labeled with a lot of different names as to likely confuse the consumer when label reading. Here are some of the names that sugar can be hidden under:  

  1. Dextrose
  2. Fructose
  3. Glucose
  4. Sucrose
  5. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  6. Lactose
  7. Maltose
  8. Agave Nectar
  9. Fruit Juice Concentrate
  10. Evaporated Cane Syrup

 The list really does go on, there are loads more words that we perceive to be healthy but are really disguising sugar. Here are some reasons that I've discovered that might make you think twice about the added sugar that you're putting into your body. I"m not talking about natural sugars that come from fruits as our bodies do need this sugar to produce energy. I'm talking about sugars that come from all types of desserts, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, chocolate, etc., you get the idea. Also the sugars that are hidden in foods that we don't even realize are in there. Foods like ketchup, worcestershire sauce, yogurts, granola bars and so on.  

  1. Contains no essential nutrients
  2. Can overload your liver and cause fatty liver disease
  3. Increases toxicity in the body
  4. Messes with blood sugar levels
  5. Causes inflammation
  6. Can contribute to cancer
  7. Sugar is highly addictive
  8. Can lead to obesity
  9. Raises cholesterol 
  10. Contributes to heart disease                                                          
One of my goals this January is to get healthier and reduce my sugar intake. As of today I am on day 18 of no sugar. Meaning no sweets or chocolate, nothing other than natural fruits. So far I had a headache for a day in the first week but other than that I feel great and have no cravings for it.  I think being active and working out regularly definitely helps with this too!  Did you set any health goals for yourself this year, if so I'd love to hear what they are. Feel free to leave your comments.                                                                  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Push Yourself a Little Harder

A new year, means a time for new beginnings. A time to set some new goals and challenges and perhaps push yourself a little harder. I don't mean over do it but maybe it's time for you to try something different, challenge yourself with something you've always considered too hard to do. There are many ways to stretch yourself and make small changes to grow. 

I like this quote "Small changes eventually add up to huge results" Think about that, baby steps really do make a difference if you're consistent with them. 

If you manage an online business like myself you know that you always have to be learning and staying on top of the game. Otherwise literally, you will lose. It's about learning new marketing methods, seeing what changes have taken place as nothing stays the same online for very long. Yes, it can be challenging to learn how to navigate new tools and information but it is all part of running an internet business. 

E-commerce has reached crazy heights with new businesses and services exploding onto the web every minute of every day. This is why it is so important to work hard and explore new options to grow your business continually.  Learning new skills and ways to enhance your website can be pretty fun too! 

I encourage you to join forums that relate to your business, accept and offer useful advice, read helpful blogs and find new ways to present your business. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Adventures in the Snow

White powder trails, trees painted with blankets of snow, frozen lakes covered in sheets of white, are you feelin' it? Today was my first experience snowshoeing, well other than when I was in elementary school and we did some snowshoeing with the old wooden snowshoes that you could barely walk in. Today my husband and I drove up to Seymour Mountain about an hour drive from our home. As we got closer to the mountain we came upon tall forests of trees with heavy snow laden branches, the sides of the roads had snow banks piled high from the plows that cleared the roads earlier.  It was a beautiful scenic drive.  

Arriving at the mountain we found the Snow Shoe Rental Hut and got our gear. We happened to be the first people heading out on the snowshoe trails this morning. So yes, we got to make the first tracks in the fresh powdery snow. So cool! We looped are way around following the well marked trails and stopped half way to pour ourselves some hot chocolate that we had brought along.

I made a snow angel and we had some fun tossing snow at each other. The snow was too soft to make snowballs. It was about -4 out but we were dressed in layers and plenty warm. We covered about 4km. All in all it was a perfect morning snow adventure. A great experience! If  you haven't tried snowshoeing before, you should give it a whirl, it's as easy as walking, just using a little wider stance.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Don't Miss the Window

It's a busy time of year for designers, marketer's and shop keepers. This is the time when many people are making a list and beginning their Christmas shopping. You won't want to miss out on this window of opportunity for your own business.  I hope you've got your marketing plans and strategy for the busy shopping season underway. If not it's definitely time to get started. The days go by so quickly, really it is a short but usually very busy season for shop keepers. I’m sure you know that the stores in the malls all have their Christmas stock out and are creating ways to bring in the shoppers. They are setting up holiday displays to attract as many customers as possible. Many of the big box stores started in October with putting their Christmas and holiday products out. 

As an online small business owner I realize the importance of getting on board early and be prepared with my websites for those early shoppers. People are starting their shopping earlier and earlier every year. I know several people who do a little shopping all year long.  Research shows that more and more people are doing their shopping online and this is a trend that will only increase as time goes on. So basically, the key is to have a plan and make it happen. Take a look at your inventory and assess what you want to add to your inventory. Ways that you can spruce up your sites, like adding a festive banner for the holiday season. Look at the trends and items that will attract customers to your store front. We all know there is lots of competition for online store owners that's why it's so important to make our products and shops look the best that they can. It takes great marketing effort and consistency everyday to draw the customers in. 

Promotion is big, market, market, market. It's the only way to get those customers eyes on your shop. Use all available social media platforms that you are active in. I suggest doing this subtly, nobody wants to be bombarded with a ton of your items, so add something of value when you can. When using Twitter, remember to include appropriate hash tags, like #sales, #deals, #blackfriday and so forth. This will help when people who are searching for products and deals. Pinterest is another great marketing site, you'll want to highlight your holiday boards that feature your products. Create unique boards like Christmas Ideas,  Outdoor Christmas Decor, Tree Trimming Gifts, you get the idea. Pinterest lets you add prices too. Well that's it, hope you are on your way to a fabulous sales season. Don’t procrastinate too long or you might miss your window of opportunity. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reaching For Healthy Snacks

Everyone knows that it's better to get your vitamins and minerals from natural foods when possible. Although I do agree that supplements are beneficial and go hand in hand with a healthy diet and exercise.  

I wanted to share my new favorite healthy snack food with you. If you enjoy things like peanuts, crunchy snacks like those bags of chips that we all crave at times you will most likely love this snack as much as I do. 

Ready it's ... Chic Peas, yup, Oven Roasted Chic Peas to be exact. Also known as garbanzo beans! Personally I don't like chic peas any other way but this way! 

This recipe is so simple you almost don't need it and it can be changed by the spices that you add or don't add to them. 

Open a can of Chic Peas and drain them. I recently heard that the juice of these can be used as a thickener but don't quote me on that one. I just drained them. Place in a dish and pat dry to remove moisture with a paper towel. In a bowl add some olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, about a half a tsp. of cayenne pepper and garlic salt or powder as desired. Mix this up and stir into chic peas making sure to coat them all. Pour them onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. You can flip them over half way through the cooking time if desired.  Once baked take them out and cool for a few moments before indulging.  So good and healthy. These are now my favorite snack to munch on while watching a movie. 

Chic peas are high in protein and fiber content. They also contain iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K.  Medical News Today, says, they have many health benefits and may help ward off inflammation as well as prevent disease in the body.  

This post is a little different from my usual topics but it's good to interject with new and interesting topics occasionally. Do you have a favorite healthy snack, do share!