Sneak More Nutrition into your Diet

Tried and True Tasty Ways to Eat Healthier

There’s a theory in psychology called the white bear theory, also known as the ironic process theory. It simply means that if I tell you not to think of a white bear you’ll be hard-pressed to think of anything but a white bear. It works with your diet as well. Tell yourself you can’t have a certain food and the only thing you’ll want is that food, or at least that’s how it’s worked for me when I’ve tried it. Now I take a different approach. Instead of eliminating “bad” things from my diet, I try to see how many great things I can pack into it. That, plus the fact that I love a challenge is the reason why I am constantly on the lookout for small ways to boost my daily nutrition. Here are a few of my recent favorites:
  • Power smoothie. A smoothie is the easiest way to get a lot of green. I blend  a small handful of fresh spinach, a handful of power greens, a banana, a handful of frozen strawberries and a cup of orange juice. Experiment with this one, because the truth is you can add pretty much any greens to juice and frozen strawberries and it will turn out well.
  • Spinach-chocolate milk anyone? This, by far is the best way to get my 5 year old to eat greens. Blend a cup of low-fat milk, 2 tablespoons of Ovaltine, and a  handful of spinach. Make sure to blend well, so you don’t see small bits of spinach. Don’t be too concerned with the green tinge this drink has, because  it tastes great. Make sure to serve in an opaque cup with a lid if your little one is picky.
  • Avocado toast. Skip the jam and spread half a mashed up avocado onto your toast instead. Next, sprinkle your toast with cumin and top it with a hard-boiled egg for an even more interesting breakfast.
  • Double-fiber bread. Some nutritionists say the definition of junk food is any low-fiber food, so I always aim to pack fiber into my diet; that’s why I’ve switched from whole wheat bread to double-fiber bread. Double-fiber bread tastes nearly the same as regular whole wheat bread, but packs in about 4-5 grams of fiber per slice. My suggestion for bread on your next shopping trip is Rudi’s, Nature’s Own, Trader Joe’s or Oroweat double-fiber breads.
  • Add trail mix to oatmeal cookies. Okay, so cookies aren’t exactly health food, but it doesn’t hurt to add some extra nutrition to this dessert. I cut the sugar by one-third in my oatmeal cookie recipe, and then throw in trail mix that has nuts, seeds, cranberries and raisins.

The Book Report: Best Novels for Women

Fiction Books Women Will Love

Last month, I posted about my favorite non-fiction books for women. This month I asked a bunch of my writer friends to send me their suggestions for fiction novel must-reads for every woman. Here are some of the novels that made the list. Read them all, and then buy your favorites as gifts for your women friends!

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a classic and powerful Southern love story. One friend told me that Janie (the protagonist) is still one of her literary heroes. Another friend told me that she first read the book in a college literature class, and she’ll never forget when she encountered the passage about the peach tree blooming.

Housekeeping, the inaugural novel by Marilynne Robinson is about family drama, loss, longing, loving and loneliness. Also read Robinson’s later novel Gilead, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

Written by Nobel Prize winner, Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye is a meditation on beauty and conformity. Also read Morrison’s Sula & Beloved. Quite simply, you can never go wrong with a Toni Morrison book.

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood is set in a fictional near-future where women aren’t allowed money, jobs or knowledge. This novel is a satire and warning. More importantly, it’s a must-read. For those of you who like Twitter, you can also find Atwood there where she tweets often and is every bit the writer-activist, even with only 140 characters.

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison is a heart-wrenching story of a poor family in South Carolina. Women I know who love this book say it’s nearly perfect.

For those of you who appreciate the unusual, read Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison. It’s a story of a middle-aged working mom who struggles to keep it together despite her grown kids’ problems and her own. This novel is constructed out of fragmented paragraphs, which reads dark, funny and crazy – kind of like real life.

Written by the same author as the The Color Purple, Alice Walker, The Temple of My Familiar is a love story, a fable and a feminist manifesto all rolled into one riveting read. What could be better?


Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Try These Now!

Do you ever dream of having your own business? Don’t just dream it… Do it! Being an entrepreneur takes discipline, hard work and the right mind-set. The truth is that anyone can be successful if they have the right tools and attitude. Here are a few practices of successful business owners:
They have passion
Being passionate about your business is vital to sticking to your goals. When you truly enjoy your field (whether it be beauty, food, fashion etc.) you will be more likely to spend the time to grow your business. Sure we would all like to get rich quick, but that is not the end goal of most entrepreneurs; they focus on steadily creating a company that will not only be successful, but will open up opportunities for other people as well. In turn, they also find happiness in the success of other people, so as their company grows they know anyone involved will also do well.
They build a winning team
Successful entrepreneurs know that they cannot do it all, so they surround themselves with people that specialize in different aspects of business. These entrepreneurs also know how to ask for help and advice from family, friends or experts in the field. As the saying goes…it takes a village!
They sell, sell, sell!
Successful entrepreneurs know that selling is the key to growing their business. By focusing on the customer and what the customer needs, an entrepreneur can keep the business healthy. While other parts of the business (operations, finance, even marketing) are all vital to an organization, without sales a business cannot and will not flourish.
They seek out new experiences
Another habit of successful entrepreneurs is that they seek out new experiences. Even if they cannot board a plane to an exotic adventure, they still find the time to learn new skills (like dancing, cooking or music). They volunteer to help at local charities or even find a new hiking trail in their area. Whatever it is, they understand that when they return to work, they will be recharged and refreshed with new inspiration to continue fueling the success of their business.

Create the Perfect Mother’s Day

Fab Ways for You and Mom to Spend Quality Time Together

Does it seem like every year you do the same thing on Mother’s Day? Maybe it’s brunch or breakfast and maybe a pretty card and then it’s over? This year, do something different and try a fun activity that the two of you (and your siblings) can do together to create a Mother’s Day she will not forget!
Turn your living room into a spa
Moms of all ages love to feel beautiful! Light an aromatherapy candle and place a vase of pretty flowers in your living room. On the dining table, display everything you will need for a spa-style facial: warm towels, a bowl of warm water, a gentle facial scrub, a variety of mud masks to suit everyone’s beauty needs, and a luxurious moisturizer.  When mom comes over, offer her lemon or cucumber-infused water or a cup of chamomile tea to relax her. Now that you have created the ambience, everyone can choose their treatment; just be sure to take pictures of you and mom with your facial masks on! 
Bond at a cooking class
There is a saying that families that eat together stay together- so why not learn new recipes and gourmet tricks together? Treat mom to a cooking class of her choice, whether it is refreshing the basics or dishes from another country like France or India!  No matter what flavor you choose, the day will be stimulating and fun… and best of all you get to enjoy your sumptuous creations together.
Travel through history at a museum
If you are looking for an excursion that is inexpensive but fascinating, visit a local museum together. For the mom who loves nature, take her to the natural history museum or if she is interested in space, visit the local science museum and the  planetarium show too! If your mom is a lover of the arts, then she’ll enjoy a stroll with you through a local art museum. You can even end the day with a “paint and pour” class, where a local artist provides the canvas, paint and steps to paint a picture all while you enjoy a glass of wine!

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