Archive for January, 2012

Thinking About Giving Up Soda?

It’s still January which means you can make a commitment to change one of your health habits, say that you started in January, and yet you have “enjoyed” your life for the entire 4 weeks of January.

Does anyone else out there think like this?

Whether or not you followed that dizzying logic, here’s my suggestion for a lifestyle change that might save your life, won’t cost you any money, and should actually put money in your pocket!

OK, you say—I’m on board.  What do I do?

Stop drinking soda.

Regular, diet, caffeinated, de-caffeinated, clear, cola…small size, Big Gulp…and anything else that can be construed to be soda.

Doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult to do.  So why haven’t you done it yet?

Perhaps it is a habit that is controlling you, rather than a choice that you are controlling!

Perhaps you have thought about giving up soda, but you don’t know if it will make that much difference.  Please keep reading.

In an article posted last week online, columnists David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding, gave 3 Surprising Reasons to Give Up Soda, including the reality that “many American soda brands are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, a heart-harming man-made compound derived mainly from genetically engineered corn.” Think about the implications of long-term ingesting of a large quantity of untested ingredient such as genetically-engineered corn.

Dr. Oz and Dr. Rozen add their own reasons as to why we should Just Say No to Soda.

And there are more articles! If you google the words ‘soda and reasons to stop drinking it’ you will come up with 4,510,000 hits.  It seems that this is a topic that people like to talk about!

Many people are drinking about 450 calories a day!  When I am talking with a client about a weight-management plan, I am suggesting that they decrease their daily caloric intake by about 500 calories.  Just dropping soda (and flavored water, and juice, etc.) could probably do the trick.  If you want additional help in the decreasing-the-calorie project, you could also substitute a great-tasting meal replacement drink mix made with unsweetened almond milk (only 35 calories/8 oz and 50% more calcium than dairy milk!).  Check out Mannatech’s GlycoSlim Meal Replacement Drink Mix on my website.

One last thought.  Instead of unhealthy sugars, you might consider ingesting some very healthy sugars that your body actually needs.  Check them out here.  More information can be found on my website.

Is giving up soda one of those dietary changes you are considering, would never consider, or have already made? You’re welcome to leave your comments below.


Help for a Senior Moment?

A friend posted this story on her FB this morning. It’s a classic!

Several days ago as I left a meeting at our church, I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down. I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing. Suddenly I realized, I must have left them in the car. Frantically I headed for the parking lot. My wife, Diane, has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them. Her theory is that the car will be stolen. As I burst through the doors of the church, I came to a terrifying conclusion. Her theory was right. The parking lot was empty. I immediately call the police. I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen.Then I made the most difficult call of all, “Honey,” I stammered. I always call her “honey” in times like these. “I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen.”

There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard Diane’s voice, “Ken,” she barked, “I dropped you off!”

Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, come and get me.”

Diane retorted, “I will, as soon as I convince this policeman I have not stolen your car!”

On a more serious side.  A Senior Moment of losing your keys may not be a big deal, but wouldn’t you want to know if there was something that could help? Can Glyconutrients improve Immune Support, Memory, Mood, Focus & Digestive Function? –

Choices for Dinner tonight?

This was posted by Annetta (who had re- posted Judy’s photo) and it ended up on my FB page.  (I still get amazed at FB connections!)

I find the information rather fascinating: seems like it is a no-brainer re: our choices for dinner!

Just curious. Does information like this affect you, i.e., do you re-consider choices you are making when any part of this visual pops up in your mind at a later time? Or do you look at this visual and it goes right through your brain without lodging at all?  Whatever your response, that’s OK…I’m just curious. I’d be fascinated to read your comments.

To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 3

If you have read my two previous blogs, you probably agree that planning doesn’t guarantee results.  Sometimes when you don’t plan, the results are amazing, i.e., the unexpected adventure in the elephant yard at the Phoenix Zoo.  Sometimes when you plan, the results are amazing, i.e., getting lost in the desert for 3 hours!  Sometimes when you plan, you have to be flexible and re-schedule, i.e., Daniel’s birthday dinner.

However, if you look at each of those situations (and please feel free to add your own), you would probably agree that overall planning is required.  These three incidents all took place in Phoenix, and we live in Columbus, OH.  We were involved in them because we planned to be in Phoenix Jan. 1-10. That involved schedule considerations, airline reservations, finances, and family communication.

Planning for the birthday dinner meant that Erin, our daughter-in-law, came up with the idea, made the reservation, and asked us prior to our trip if we would be willing to baby-sit for the boys on the same day we arrived.  Of course, we had no problem saying yes.

Planning for the hike started years ago when we realized that hiking was an activity that combined our desire to explore the country close up and personal, to be outdoors, to be physically active, to observe and identify birds in the wild, etc. But this particular hike required a number of considerations I mentioned in my blog: the purchase of an appropriate guidebook, family schedule, food prep, communication.  Each of those considerations took some time and forethought.

I think you get the idea.

Planning takes place on many different levels.

Setting goals (where so many people start) is, I believe,  the result of dreaming, of creating a vision. Planning is a natural outcome of setting goals. Writing down what you want to do, what you want to have, what you want to be, where you want to go, what you want to see, is an almost meaningless activity if you don’t take that list to the next level and put some Realization Procedures in place.

Sharing these recent incidents with you from our lives was helpful for me.  I realized again that the experiences I treasure the most are the result of dreaming and visualizing the future, and not the result of  a to do list.

I didn’t hear a lot of chatter about New Year’s Resolutions last year in December.  Perhaps more of us are realizing that any changes have to be made in a bigger context of: ‘Why do I want to do this? Why is this important to me? What difference will it make in my life, in me, if I make this change, or have this experience?’ Thinking, ‘I need to lose weight,’ just doesn’t work.

What does all of this have to do with wellness?


People who have purpose, who have direction, who have passion are catalysts. They make things happen. They  seem to be healthier, have better relationships, and probably have fewer chronic health challenges.

My first suggestion is to be or become a person of purpose.  Find something bigger than yourself that will fill you with passion, maybe even make you ‘scary’ to some people because you have an awesome reason for getting out of bed each morning-and it isn’t a paycheck!**

Once you’ve discovered your purpose, then dream and visualize how the process of fulfilling your purpose will shape your life in 2012- and beyond.

Next,  take some time to write down what actions you are going to take as you head in that direction. There are books, CD’s, apps, courses, and coaches who are very capable of helping you get started and keeping you on track.

A small conclusion to the matter at hand might be the lyrics of a song  popularized by Bing Crosby in the 1944 movie Going My Way.

(Chorus) Would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar?                                        And be better off than you are?

Or would you rather be a mule?

A mule is an animal with long funny ears. He kicks up at anything he hears.

His back is brawny and his brain is weak. He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak.

And by the way, if you hate to go to school, you may grow up to be a mule.


Or would you rather be a fish?

A fish is an animal that swims in a brook. He can’t write his name or read a book.

To fool the people is his only thought and though he’s slippery, he still gets caught.

If that’s all of life is what you wish, you may grow up to be a fish.


Or would you rather be a pig?

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face. His shoes are a terrible disgrace.

He’s got no manners when he eats his food.  He’s fat and lazy and extremely rude.

But if you don’t care a feather or a fig, you may grow up to be a pig.


And all the monkeys aren’t in the zoo- every day you see quite a few.

So you see, it’s all up to you.

You could be better than you are.

You could be swinging on a star.

Seems to say that dreaming is the ticket to a new you!   What do you think?

(**BTW, if you are stuck on this part of the process, get in touch with me via phone, text or email and I’ll be glad to help you get started.)

To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 2

I looked at my watch. I turned to my husband Ed and said, “It’s 4:30.  I think we are officially lost. What do you want to do?”

Ed’s response, “Whatever we do, we have to do quickly. There’s not much daylight left.”

We quickly took stock of our situation: we had followed the trail next to a wash, had crossed onto the rocks looking for the continuation of the trail, and ended up in the  corner  of a canyon, staring at two walls of sheer cliff about 300’ high.  There was no trail to continue forward; we figured we had 45 minutes to an hour left of daylight, and both of our cell phones were dead. Of course our cell phones had our GPS location, communication with the outside world, and a flashlight app.

How did we get here?


Well, loosely speaking…we did.

Ed and I had decided a few days previously that we would take a hike in the desert on Monday, our last full day in Phoenix.  We planned accordingly.  Ed had purchased a book of loop hikes in Arizona, hikes where you start and finish at the same point.  He picked hike #44, called Garden Valley.  The trail was in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, about 30 minutes from Gilbert where the kids live.  The description of the trail gave every indication that we would enjoy our time: the trail was 8.6 miles long, taking about 5 hours to complete, and was rated moderate- which is one notch up from easy.  We had snacks, PB and J sandwiches for lunch, water and my sports nutrition drink, binoculars for bird watching, and the hiking book. Most of these items were in the backpack that I carried.  Yes, I did feel a bit like a packmule, but because I carried the pack, I made sure we stopped for snacks and water as that lightened my load.   So that was a good thing.

These photos give you an idea of what we were hiking through.

Ed leading on the Dutchman's Trail

Weaver's Needle, an important landmark

A wash along the trail

Ed standing by a Saguaro Cactus gives perspective about size

Although I did periodically simply stop and look around to enjoy the beautiful setting of the trail, and Ed would stop to identify an unknown bird call- we kept moving at a good pace.  At one point, Ed commented, ‘This is taking us too long.  We should have been back by now.” A short time later, we found ourselves cornered in the canyon.

We prayed for signs, and as we backtracked, we did indeed see trail signs that we had not seen before.  I interpreted three stacked rocks as ‘This is the path, no turn here,’ remembering trailblazing signs from Girl Scouts. This week I discovered that there are other meanings for that particular trailblazing sign, so I am extremely thankful that the Lord gave us good direction in spite of my faulty memory!

We finally arrived at our car in the trailhead parking lot at 5:45 pm, and drove out of the park with the sun sinking quickly behind the mountains, very mindful of the Lord’s graciousness in giving us the signs that we needed when we needed them.

Bottom line: our PLAN was a simple 5-hour hike, and that’s what we prepared for. Reality was a 7-hour hike, including about three hours of being lost in the desert, and that’s what we were unprepared for!

PLANNING gave us a very unexpected result, which required a heightened dependence on the Lord Jesus. This hiking adventure  was a clear reminder that ‘A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).’

So did these two personal illustrations give any clarity to your own decision about planning for 2012?  To plan or not to plan?

Read Part 3 for my response.

To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 1

Hard to believe that half of January is gone. You may be one of those people who has been hearing conversation, reading articles, listening to your own conscience…about setting goals, making plans for 2012—but you still haven’t written anything down.

You may have  done the typical New Year’s Resolutions in the past- and not succeeded…OK, you put a new practice into place for one day, and then forgot about doing it the second day. Sounds familiar.

It is possible that because of your previous experience, you may be hesitant- perhaps resistant?- to even think about planning.

Let me share a couple of experiences I have had in the past week to further confuse the issue.

Ed (husband) and I flew to Phoenix early  on Jan. 1 to share in Daniel’s  (oldest son) 30th birthday celebration.  THE PLAN for the evening was that Erin was going to surprise Daniel with a dinner reservation at a Brazilian restaurant in Scottsdale and we would watch the boys.  Great plan—except that Daniel didn’t feel real great, and food, especially a nice dinner, was not top of mind!

So THE PLAN was postponed until Thursday night, when everyone felt great, and the details worked out just fine.

Hurray for flexibility!

Saturday, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful 70-something sunshine of Phoenix and walk around the Phoenix Zoo.  THE PLAN was to walk around the zoo, simply enjoying the day together.

We eventually got to the elephant yard, only to discover that the three elephants were safely behind closed doors. However, feeding would take place shortly so we decided to wait. A zoo keeper came out and asked for volunteers to join her in ‘hiding carrots’ which the elephants would then look for and eat.  This activity is done daily to keep the elephants’ minds active. (Is there a clue here about challenging activity being necessary to keep OUR minds active?)

Greyson (age 2 1/2) was definitely up for the adventure, so he and I picked up two carrots, headed out into the yard, and Erin followed us with her camera.

Picking up our carrots

Looking for a hiding place

Finding a hiding spot

Completing the task

We couldn’t have planned it any better!

What about you? Have you had a recent serendipity happening that was unforgettable? Share it below!

PS Notice this is part 1.  Come back to read about another Phoenix adventure in part 2.