Two unique recipes for Fall

Thank you to a ViREO Life reader who prompted this video.  When I posted the Lemon-Rosemary Chicken recipe one response was "What can you do healthy with ground beef?"

In answer to that question, lean beef - especially from grass-fed cattle - eaten a couple of times each week is considered healthy.  (Of course if you have high cholesterol check with your physician about the frequency appropriate for you.)

The Mint Meatball recipe in the video works best with lean ground beef.  The Powerful Plate Chili recipe can be enjoyed with beef, or if made the same week as the meatballs, you can use ground turkey breast to keep the saturated fat intake for the week acceptable.  

Try these recipes and let me know what you think!

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Move from Perfection to Progress

Don't let perfectionism hold you back from your life and your dreams any longer.

In this video Tammie Sutherland encourages you to put one foot in front of the other and live "perfect enough."

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The meaning and importance of mindful eating

Why is intentional/mindful eating important?  For that matter, what does it even mean to "eat mindfully?"

In this video, Tammie Sutherland and I talk about this important topic as we prepare for the 2017 Women's Renewal Retreat.

Watch the video to learn about Mindful Eating.  Then, ladies, come experience it in-depth at the Renewal Retreat.  Gentlemen, make sure the women in your life get a chance to watch this video to learn about Mindful Eating. (You can register here.)

 

 

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10 Tips for Fitness Travel

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When you travel for business or fun you want to keep your exercise going.  Yes, so you don't lose the fitness you've gained in your everyday workouts, but also to stay alert for the meetings and happenings around you.

1.  Find out about the hotel's fitness center.  In a recent trip to Indianapolis, the Sheraton's fitness center was amazing.  The picture below is half of their fitness room.  If the exercise room is not so nice then ...

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2.  Bring your stretching mat and resistance bands.  Here's a nice option for a foldable mat for your suitcase.

3.  Before the trip use online searches for walking routes around your hotel or...

4.  Ask the hotel staff and locals for walking routes they recommend.  That's how I found out about places around the canal in Indianapolis.

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5.  Check the city's calendar of events.  Oops, I didn't do this before visiting Indy.  There were a couple of races and an Out of the Darkness Awareness walk I could have joined in, if I'd known.

6.  Walk a restaurant tour downtown.  Seriously.  Walk 10-15 minutes to find a restaurant for an appetizer.  Enjoy.  Then walk 10-15 minutes to find another restaurant for an entree.  Savor.  Then walk 10-15 minutes to a cafe for dessert and coffee.  Circle back to your hotel.  A very tasty three-four miles.

7.  Learn what unusual sport can be done in the city.  In Indy?  If I go back, I'll plan to paddleboard on the canal.

8.  Of course zoos and museums are great for physical activity, though power-walking through a museum might cause some disturbance.

9.  For a more intense leg workout, climb monuments.  In Indy I walked the Soldiers and Sailors Monument twice (two different days, of course).  It is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

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10.  Just stretch.  If your trip is short, perhaps two to three days, simply enjoy some stretch breaks to keep up your energy and come home rested and ready to push a little in your home routine.

Happy travels!

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How to eat for energy when traveling

One of the dilemmas of travel is how to eat.  Rely on fast-food?  It is quick, but leaves you sluggish and not able to learn from a conference or play on vacation.  Rely on sit-down restaurants?  Better food selection, but who wants to go from sitting in a cold meeting room to sitting in a chilly restaurant for every meal?  (Not me.)

When I go on vacation I usually rent a place with a kitchen.  Simply having a full-size refrigerator and stovetop makes healthy cooking easy.  It is vacation ... no complicated recipes for me.

However, when I go to business conferences, eating healthy is more challenging.  What can I do with a refrigerator and coffee maker?  A lot, actually.  

I made this video at a recent conference Doug and I went to in Indianapolis.  It is funny I did not think about making a video until 2 days into the conference.  (Oops, no mic or tripod.  The camera was balanced on a stack of books.)  So, while the sound has a little echo, you get to see exactly what we bring to eat - including a bag of organic chips.  (No apologies to the diet purists, thank you.)

Let me know what you do to eat healthy when traveling.

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How to maximize your walk time

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Some time ago a ViREO Life community member asked me about how I use my walking time. She also shared her ideas, which I'll include below, too.

  • Focused Problem-Solving: Take a question/issue in my mind plus an index card (old school) or smartphone (new school) and allow the question to roll over gently in my head.  No pressure to solve it, just let it be there.  Usually by the end of the walk I'll have a few ideas written on the card or recorded into the smartphone.
  • Mindful/Awareness Break - External: To occupy my mind with something completely opposite solving issues, I'll try to notice as much in nature as I can.  I always had trouble with this until Doug taught me how.  I would usually be pre-occupied with thinking through things, that I would not see squirrels or birds (unless it was unusual, like a heron in the middle of a field).  As we walk he points out animals and plants and I am now noticing nature on my own.
  • Mindful/Awareness Break - Internal: This one came more naturally to me.  While walking I'll pay attention to releasing any tension in my shoulders or back or abdomen.  Sometimes I'll breathe deeply to a count of 4-6 to relax.
  • Work Meeting: A favorite way to get brainstorming done with co-workers is to walk and talk. This is now such a universal productivity trick it is not a trick anymore.  On this morning's walk I went into a city area and heard at least 3 sets of co-workers creatively discussing work while walking (actually one set jogged past me talking work).
  • Prayer and Confession Time: Most mornings I do not get all of the praying or scripture confessions I want to do during my "devotion" time...so I enjoy talking with God or quoting His Word while I walk.
  • Daydream: This is something I've done since childhood while walking.  As a kid I would walk and talk with my imaginary friends about my future.  (Give me some slack.  I grew up on a farm.  It was either talk to imaginary friends or cows.)  Now when I walk I still daydream out loud, but my imaginary friends don't have names now.

Thank you, Vanessa McPeak, for asking for this.  And thank you for allowing me to share what you do, as well.

"I love this time. It is a time for me. Some times I go alone, sometimes I get my hubby to join me. It doesn't matter as I love both scenarios. I commune with nature during this time. I silence myself and pray and listen for God's message to me. I take this time to thank God for my many blessings and to practice gratitude. I talk to the deer who are grazing in the yards. I make way for the numerous geese crossing the road in front of me. I feel the breeze, smell the smells, hear the sounds of nature. Some times I work thru issues, some times I place a call to my mom and we catch up. 

However I spend my walk I always end up happier than before I went. It is good for me in countless ways!" - Vanessa McPeak

Now it is your turn - How do you maximize the time and pleasure of your walks?

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Take Three: Healthy School Lunches and Snacks

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I don't mean take three lunches.  (Though, if you can take a mid-morning snack, a lunch, and a mid-afternoon snack that's great.  However, not all schools allow a place and time for snacks.)

Here's what I do mean: a reader asked for ideas for healthy lunch options for her son going back to school.  My response:  Powerful Plate, of course.  A whole-sprouted-grain bread sandwich with chicken or turkey (no nitrates or junk), lots of cut veggies with hummus or peanut butter, and fruit.  But a year of just that would get boring and the ice cream bin at school would become a very tempting substitute.

So, I reached out to some friends and got three great takes (hence the "Take Three") on Healthy School Lunches and Snacks.  One of the coolest things I noticed -- there is a lot of overlap PLUS a lot of individualization, depending on likes/dislikes and personal schedules. Just the way it is supposed to be. 

Enjoy (and personalize) their ideas --

"I do try to have fresh fruit in my kids' lunches, and buy lots of healthy protein bars for snacks- I'll mix a big salad and put it in separate containers for the week and add dressing the morning of and mix. I buy whole grain bread and make sandwiches and I do cheese and crackers a lot, string cheese, and peanut butter or ranch dressing and carrots. (My girl likes pb and my boy likes ranch) I also do yogurt a lot for snacks and lunches. And I actually feed my kids a full meal after school, because they both have sports until later in the evening. So after sports they will snack."  Thanks for sharing...Christine Carter at TheMomCafe.com

"From Pinterest I make batches of healthy breakfast cookies. There's all kinds of recipes. And then I send one or two with each of my kids to eat when they get hungry. Could be snack time for my young ones or after school on the bus for the older ones. They decide. It's homemade, healthy, and tasty. They loved it!" Thanks for sharing...Lois Pearson at SunnysideWoman.com

"I provide my kids with healthy snacks to have during school time, and they only bring water to drink. I make their lunches so I know they're eating healthy. They have lunchmeat that qualifies for the heart check program, whole wheat bread, baked chips, yogurt or fruit." Thanks for sharing...Brenda Melendez at brendalovessharing.com

The other thing I noticed...all of these ideas work for adults, too.  Prep ahead the salad, make the breakfast cookies, and toss in some yogurt and fruit.

Share what you do for healthy lunches.

What to plant in your fall garden

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It's spring

again, kind of

Thanks to one of the ViREO Life readers for asking what to plant in a fall garden.  The answer is "Like spring, almost."

The cool weather (spring/fall) crops will germinate faster in the fall, due to the warmer soil.  And some spring pests (cabbage worms, especially) I have found less of an issue in the fall.  The real difference for me is have available floating row covers for when killing frosts begin, to extend the harvest into November and December.

What I plant and why:

  • Beets - the green leaves to blanch and freeze; the beet root to store in the fridge through the winter
  • Lettuce - but much less, since we eat fewer salads in the fall
  • Greens - kale, swiss chard, spinach, as many as the beds will hold, to be able to freeze for the winter (or if a mild winter, cover and eat out of the garden in December).
  • Radishes - I can get two batches of radishes in because they grow quickly.  I won't eat as many radishes as we grow, but I blanch the radish greens with my other greens for freezing.  We get a lot of food grown in a small space because of the 30 days maturity time.  (This means if you live near me and like radishes, you may end up "gifted" with a few.)

Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts - I do not plant these in the fall, simply due to space.  In the spring I plant them in the same bed where sweet potatoes are started.  By fall the bed is covered to overflowing with sweet potato vines and there is no room.  If you have the space, plant them again as you would in the spring.

Plants I have tried unsuccessfully to "over-winter" are leeks and onions and garlic.  If you want to try planting them in the fall, do so.  If you are successful, let me know what you did so I can try again.

When to start your fall garden?  Late August and early September seem to work for us to sow seeds.  By the time seeds have germinated the weather is cooler.  If I was planting broccoli and cabbage plants, I would not plant them in August, due to the heat.  Other gardeners plant in August, in a shadier spot.

One last note about fall gardens:  if you are planning to plant cover crops (oats, vetch, winter rye, etc.) where your summer crops were, let me know and I'll blog separately about cover crops.  That has been a study-then-learn-by-oops experience for us that I'm happy to share.

Happy and healthy gardening!

A Challenge to the Bakers

Photo by Cala on Unsplash

Photo by Cala on Unsplash

I had read rumors in several books and websites that pastries in France were not as sweet as in America.  I had even read that the spices were subtle.  Neighbors who go to France regularly confirmed these rumors.  But, still, I wasn't sure.  

Then we went on vacation to a little town in Florida that has a La Macaron French Pastries cafe. I was hungry.  I ordered a pain au raisin.  It looked vaguely like the cinnamon-rolls we popped out of a can and baked on Sunday mornings growing up.  But that is where any similarity ended.

After I took a bite (yes, with the fork and knife served with the pastry on a china plate), I encouraged Doug to try a bite.  "So?  What do you think is different?"  His reply was exactly my first thought, too.  "It's not sweet."

And the subtle spice?  Yep.  No overpowering cinnamon or nutmeg.  However, the pastry wasn't bland either; I just could not detect exactly which spices were used.  The pastry was the opposite of bland - it was intriguing.  Since there was no taste of sugar I could try to taste everything else.

Even more strange was several minutes later I could still taste the pastry, but not in an "my mouth is drawn from too much sugar" way.  Just a delicate flavor when I paid attention to it.

My lessons:  

  1. Eating with a knife and fork really does enlarge the experience of eating.  
  2. Eating food with less sugar allows the flavors to be tasted.

The challenge: If you bake, try cutting the sugar in your recipes drastically, experiment with level of spices needed, and then get out your knife and fork to savor the difference.  (I'm going to try it with a family blueberry teacake recipe.  Here's to experiments in the kitchen.)

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5 Books and 5 Articles to Re-Charge Your Life

Stop giving "lip service" to the idea that "I take better care of others when I take care of myself."  Actually do something to recharge yourself.  I was talking with a friend just this week who felt guilty for investing time for herself in the most simple of things (a long shower).  But she knows renewing herself will help her be a better wife and mom, along with performing better with work.  

Look outside at a tree or flowers or at a potted plant nearby.  In nature what is not renewing and growing is dying.  We are the same way.

Take action.  It is time for renewal.

When I need rest, sitting down with a cup of tea to savor a book is high on my list.  When the book is about renewal, even better.

The following 5 books and 5 articles can start you on your path to refreshing your spirit, mind, and body.

Sabbath
Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller

A great read to understand the rest we are to get daily and weekly, as part of our rhythm of life.

Clinician's Guide to Self-Renewal by Robert Wicks and Elizabeth Maynard

An in-depth detailed guide on renewal.  Not just for clinician's, but for anyone in a "helping" role - whether moms or pastors.

What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Shad Helmstetter

I love how the title separates "Your" and "Self" - what you say to the Self you call "You" impacts your daily renewal.  A must read.  This one stays in our library.

The Woman's Comfort Book by Jennifer Louden

Not sure where to start with ideas for self-nurturing?  Tired of turning to food for comfort?  Start with this guide.

The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson

A month-by-month action plan to put balance back into your life.

The following links are some videos and articles to help you learn and practice renewal.  The last article, by Regent, is a must read for anyone who helps people as part of their work. 

https://www.ted.com/playlists/299/the_importance_of_self_care

http://getmombalanced.com/101-self-care-activities/

ttps://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shyness-is-nice/201403/seven-types-self-care-activities-coping-stress

https://wanderlust.com/journal/simple-ways-practice-self-care/

http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/lao/issue_6/oppel.htm

 

 

 

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5 Tips (and Products) to Create Your Spa Weekend

You feel like you need to get away from it all.  You want to spend a week at a spa, refreshing your body and mind.  But arranging life to do that?  Maybe later, you say. 

Don't wait until life hands you a week to take care of yourself.  Create a weekend - or at least a day - for an in-town spa retreat.

1.  ENVIRONMENT

A spa setting is typically clean and quiet, with a lot of nature.  So plan to get the house clean before the weekend, perhaps even hiring a residential cleaning company (or your teenagers, if they have a clean-streak).  This is a great time to purchase new bath towels, if needed.  Or break out the plush bath towels you saved for guests.

Quiet?  What a great excuse to have the younger kids visit the grandparents overnight.  The teens may stay with friends, or perhaps they want to join you in a spa-weekend.

Nature? Inside the house, add fresh flower arrangements in each room.  Outside the house, enjoy a nearby park for journaling or walking.  Another way to add nature is candles, especially beeswax candles.  The purest I have found is www.nashvillewaxco.com.  The way the wax is processed makes a difference in what you breathe.

If these ideas don't work...there's always a nice hotel or bed-and-breakfast option.

2.  MENTAL SPACE

One of the joys of a spa is letting your mental-to-do list take a break.  That is another reason to have the house cleaned ahead of time.  Plan on Thursday and Friday evenings to have the laundry, grocery shopping, and any other weekend chores already complete.  

If cooking is a relaxing pleasure, you can leave that for your weekend spa.  If cooking is a chore, then arrange catering.  (If you live in the Nashville area, check out Linda's Perfect Platters - she cooks from scratch whatever you'd like.  You can find her company on Facebook.)

Turn on your "out-of-office" messages and leave your calendar behind.  Don't check your social media.  Unplug.  Scary?  Maybe.  But I promise you will be grateful by Sunday night.

3.  PLEASURABLE, HEALTHY FOOD

Speaking of cooking, spa food is delicious and good-for-you.  Focus your menus around fresh vegetables with lean poultry and fish.  Add lots of cucumber-lemon water.  Perhaps visit a farmers market mid-week to pick up your in-season vegetables.  

If you do not want to cook during the weekend, pre-cook your meats and enjoy as leftovers on salads.

4.  LEARN A LITTLE

An occasional class is nice at a spa, so include a video or a book on a self-care topic.  If you are wanting to learn about exercise, read LePersonal Coach by Valerie Orsoni.  If eating and living healthy are your desire, then The Self Compassion Diet by Jean Fain or any book of the French Women Don't Get Fat series.  (Of course, this would be a great weekend to start Go Forward: 28 Days to Eat, Move, and Enjoy Life God's Way.)

Don't forget that your best expert on you is, well, you.  So journal each day; see what insights are revealed.

5.  ACTIVITIES TO BOOK

Here we get to the essence of a spa.  A spa should include novelty and familiarity.  

  • Hike or walk in a new park.  
  • Try a Pilates class at that boutique studio you've wanted to visit.  
  • Take your journal and stretch mat for a few hours at a park.  
  • Of course, a massage from your favorite massage therapist is "practically" mandatory for a spa weekend.

Enjoy next weekend at your personal in-town spa.

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Lemon and Rosemary Chicken - Yum!

The in-laws were in for a long weekend, which meant a lot of cooking.  I wanted to spend less time in the kitchen than usual...so this recipe was great because it roasts two chickens to use many different ways.

The rosemary scent also helps with memory.  I just read this from the Herb Society of Nashville:

"A recent study suggests that one very effective strategy for remembering to remember to do something is to inhale the scent of rosemary. A study involved a group of volunteers over 65 years of age who were divided into two groups. The groups were put into 2 separate rooms and then given tests of their memory. In one room, four (4) drops of rosemary essential oil were diffused, and in the other, no scent was added.

To quote the article, 'Scores on prospective memory tests among the participants in the rosemary-scented room were 15% higher than scores among those in the unscented room, according to a paper presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in April 2016. The study’s author attributes the memory boost in participants who had inhaled the aroma of rosemary to the presence in their blood of traces of eucalyptol, a compound found in the herb that increases brain levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter linked to memory. The compound appears to have an effect on the brain similar to that of drugs used to treat dementia. Further research may lead to new drugs to treat cognitive decline.'"

So, while the chicken is cooking, enjoy the smell of rosemary.  (Yes, the delicious smell of chicken roasting is stronger than the rosemary on it.  But you can keep a few sprigs on the table to smell, right?)

 

 

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How to eat healthy from your back yard

What to plant in the spring and fall to enjoy fresh healthy food for most of the year? Here is what we planted in the spring. And a quick tip: radish seeds fell late spring when we left them to flower (the mess you see in the video) and planted themselves for our surprise summer harvest, too!

You don't have to have a large garden for spring and summer healthy eating.  A single bed for greens and lettuce, with some peas growing up a trellis.  The brussel sprouts we found better for harvest over time, for the same space, than cabbage or broccoli.  Eat healthy from your back yard this year.

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How to come home from vacation feeling great

We've all been there.  You're set for a great vacation - it is planned, booked, and anticipated. Then the lines, the hot sun, and the funnel cakes (at best) leave you drained and dragging.  When you get home you need a, well, another vacation.

You can enjoy your vacation and come home refreshed with a few simple tips.

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How to fit in fitness...easy everyday ideas

Is your schedule sometimes (often) too busy to get in a "regular" workout?  Would you rather go play than go to a gym?  Watch this quick video for some ideas for everyday activities to use as your exercise.

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How to make, use, and freeze pesto

What to do will the wonderful basil you are growing or buying at your farmer's market?

Pesto:  A few cups basil, 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts (great for the omega fats), olive oil, garlic to taste (fresh or jar).  Puree in a food processor.

What to do with the pesto?  Freeze it in ice cube trays.  Once frozen, pop out and into a freezer bag to enjoy in soup, pasta, or rice during the winter.  For now, you can store in the refrigerator for a week, and cook it on baked chicken.  Enjoy it anyway you like.

Drizzle some extra oil on top, if you wish, to make freezing easier.

Preparing to store in the refrigerator for a week.

Preparing to store in the refrigerator for a week.

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10 Tomato Tips and Recipes

Whether you enjoy your summer tomatoes from your backyard, patio, or farmers market, you'll want to try these recipes. Not only are tomatoes fun to eat, the lycopene is a powerhouse nutrient for you.

If you like to grow your own tomatoes, the 5 tips discussed in the video will help you to get your best harvest.  

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Men: Mind Your P's to Keep Well

It's Men's Health Week and I want to thank all of the men in my life who have led by example in their pursuit of health.  Over years, here's what I've seen these healthy heroes do:

1.  Prioritize time for Physical Activity.  One man consistently rides his stationery bike each morning while he studies the Bible and prays.  He also plays golf.  Another man uses his breaks at work to exercise and then hikes on the weekends.  Find what works for you.

2.  Portion control.  I've seen these healthy men eat everything from salads to birthday cake.  The portions are always "reasonable."

3.  People.  One man, who is an introvert, makes an effort to invest time with family and close friends.  Why?  He knows that individuals with good social ties stay healthier than those who isolate themselves.

4.  Peace.  While social ties are important, peaceful time alone to reflect and rest is also vital to health.  These men find ways to manage their stress - time alone, exercise, talking through issues, and mindfulness techniques.

5.  Phyto-nutrients.  Specifically lycopene in tomatoes and other red fruits/vegetables, which has been shown to lower risk of prostate cancer.  I will admit, I have not talked with the healthy men throughout my life to learn if the reason they eat vegetables is for the lycopene.  However, I do know they eat a variety of vegetables.  So, I'll just choose to believe it was for the phyto-nutrients.

Mind these 5 P's a few times each week and you'll be a healthy hero.

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Fitting in Fitness on Vacation...Part One

When you are planning vacation, you think about the places you'll see or the beach you'll lounge beside.  You pack your favorite book and the tropical print you wear once a year.  You plan your route, how long it will take to get there, and what distractions to have for the kids if it is a long drive.  If you are flying you compare airline deals and you pack your essentials in your carry-on and your liquid items according to regulations.

But where does fitness fit in on your vacation?  Here are a few ideas.

First, decide if you want to Use, Maintain, or Increase your fitness.  

USE IT - If you want to Use it, try hiking, skiing, learning to kiteboard, kayak, or surf in the ocean. Keep your eyes open for opportunities.  A few years ago we were in CO and a rock-climbing gym was having a grand opening.  Doug likes to rock climb and I had never tried it.  So, off we went for a free afternoon of indoor climbing.  (I'm glad it was free, because I discovered I find facing a wall for hours boring, despite the physical challenge of climbing.)

MAINTAIN IT - If you want to Maintain your fitness, consider the length of your vacation.  If it is a long 4 day weekend, your fitness will maintain itself and your body will appreciate the rest.  Don't plan any workouts, just stay generally active (shopping, sight-seeing, and so on).  

If your vacation is 1-2 weeks, you can ease back on your workouts and maintain.  For example, if you usually walk 4 miles on 5-6 days each week, then cutting back to 3-4 days will maintain your fitness.  If you usually lift weights or do yoga for an hour 3 days each week, make sure you get in 1-2 days to maintain your strength and flexibility.

If you are going for more than 2 weeks, you will need to keep up some of your normal routine.  

INCREASE IT - Ahhh....here's where the adventure spas come in.  You can create your "stay-cation" spa, too.  I'll post a whole blog on creating a wellness stay-cation.  

Next up?  Questions to ask yourself when planning vacation.

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Hiking Food: What and How to Pack

Pre-hiking lunch at John Muir Woods, California

Pre-hiking lunch at John Muir Woods, California

Live on energy bars and a jar of peanut butter?  Not if I can help it.  They make a quick snack, but one that doesn't satisfy and keep energy up for the miles.  (Plus, if I'm hiking in a bear area, I don't want the sweet smell.) 

On a recent hiking vacation, I took time to record the process I use to pack for full day hikes.

Questions to ask:

  • What will be the temperature?  
  • Is the day one 8+ hour trail, or several shorter trails with driving between them?

Water - Plan for way more than I need.  I drink 4 cups of water before hiking.  I take 12 cups or more with me for a full day hike.  More if the weather is warm.  I mentioned in another post that Camelbak's make consuming your water much easier.

Water Foods - To increase my fluid intake even more, I pack fruits and veggies that do not spoil easily when out all day.  Apples, oranges, celery, cucumbers.  You can take whole fruit and put the remains in a sandwich bag, or you can pre-cut them.  Cucumbers sliced long-ways are great on a sandwich.

Protein - If an all day hike in one location, freezing the sandwich meat will help it to last until lunch.  Also, nuts and the above mentioned peanut butter and energy bars are good for snacks. However, I don't recommend relying on them for the whole day.  For an afternoon protein, I usually pack a turkey-jerky stick.  (Nicks Sticks is the brand I currently use.)

Sandwiches - Hearty bread that won't fall apart.  A slice of meat and cheese (frozen). Lettuce, cucumber, tomato (if you don't mind the mess).  If the hike is all day, the afternoon sandwich might be peanut butter, since even frozen meat would thaw and be risky after 7-8 hours.

How much to pack - I plan on a small meal or snack for every 2-3 hours.  I would rather come back with food still in my pack than to hike hungry for the last few hours of the day.  If the day includes driving between hikes, then keeping the afternoon food and water in a trunk cooler means my backpack is lighter and the food fresher.

How to pack - My backpack has two main pouches and two side pouches.  Heavy food, like apples and celery, go on the bottom of a main pouch.  Then first aid supplies, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. go on top of that.  At the very top are crush-ables, like sandwiches.  The side pouches work great for the energy bars and nuts, giving quick access if my blood sugar drops while hiking and I need food immediately.  When I've gotten "suddenly really really hungry" it's been difficult to try to find a bar buried underneath everything.

Of course, if you are packing for a short hike, less than 2 hours, water is your main concern.  On the other hand, if you have never done a full day hike on one trail, I encourage you to experiment.  Hike several short trails with breaks in between to test how much food you would need for a full day of hiking.

Whatever length of hiking you do, congrats on getting out there and enjoying the trails and keeping healthy.

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