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Friday Foodie: Chicken and Bok Choy Stir Fried

Are you looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet? One way is to combine vegetables with meat into a one-pot meal that is quick and healthy. A good choice is bok choy, a cruciferous, leafy green vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine.

shrimp and box-choy stir fried

Bok choy, also called pat choi, has many health benefits, including vitamins, particularly Vitamin C and K, and minerals that promote heart health, bone health, thyroid function and may even fight some types of cancer. One study found that eating bok choy was associated with a significantly lower risk of oral, esophageal, colorectal, breast, and kidney cancers.

However, researchers warn against eating too much bok choy in its raw form as it may prevent your body from absorbing iodine, which is important in thyroid function. Also, if you are on blood thinners you should not consume large amounts of bok choy as it contains Vitamin K which helps in blood clotting.

Bok choy is also rich in antioxidants, substances that protect your body from oxidative stress that can lead to inflammation and other chronic conditions.

Having said all that, let me introduce you to a quick and tasty dish, which is sure to satisfy your palate while providing you with lots of health benefits. The recipe below uses chicken, but since I don’t eat meat, I substituted with shrimp, which is also quick and easy to cook and low in calories. Serve it as is if you are watching your carb intake or over a plate of white rice.

Chicken (or shrimp) and bok-choy stir fried

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken or 1 pound large shrimp shelled and de-veined
  • 1 head of bok choy washed and cut into 1 inch strips
  • 2 large carrots peeled in strips or ½ cup matchstick carrots
  • 5-6 green onions diced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro if desired
  • 4 clove garlic crushed or grated finely
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons honey (omit if you are diabetic)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic grated or minced finely
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Cut up chicken into strips and wash under running water.
  • Season with salt, pepper, garlic, cilantro and green onions. Set aside. (If using shrimp, wash and season as for chicken).
  • Stir together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add in chicken (or shrimps) and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add in bok choy, and carrots. Stir continuously for 3 minutes and then add the sauce. Cook until the sauce has coated the chicken (or shrimps) and vegetables and heated through.
  • Serve over a plate of white rice if desired.

Prep time – 15 mins. Cook time 10 mins Total time 25 mins Calories 226 kcal Servings 4

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5 Steps To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When you hear the term “comfort zone” what comes to mind? Your favorite pair of bedroom slippers, your cozy chair where you love to curl up with a book on a rainy afternoon, the old robe you wear when you are home alone? Not necessarily. When we speak of our comfort zone, we are not referring to physical things but to a psychological and emotional state of familiar routines and habits where you feel safe, unthreatened, comfortable.

Even though you may feel comfortable in your comfort zone, the physical or emotional reality may be anything but. For a Biblical example, let’s look at the Israelites. They were in slavery in Egypt for four hundred years. Every year, the Egyptians made their work more difficult. The Israelites cried out to God, and He sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt. But guess what happened? They didn’t want to go. When Moses finally got them to leave, they rebelled against him and gave a lot of trouble.

As a secular example, think of a woman who stays in an abusive relationship. Friends, co-workers, relatives beg her to leave, but she stays. As the abuses grow, the woman thinks of leaving but still can’t bring herself to do it. Why? In both examples, the situation is familiar. If they ever leave, there is no telling what lies on the other side. So they stay. They make lame excuses to justify staying in their comfort zone.

You may not belong to either of these groups. Nobody is keeping you in slavery—not in the type mentioned above anyway—and you are not in an abusive relationship. Still, your job, the place where you live, the same old ways of doing things may be your comfort zone. And they may be limiting you.

You would love to get out of your comfort zone but either don’t know how, or are too scared to take a chance.

Here are 5 things you can do to help you step out of your comfort zone:

  1. Make the decision to step out. You may speak to someone, write it in your journal, get information.
  2. Start small. Let’s say you want to change your eating habits. Start by making small changes, like adding a vegetable to your dinner, substituting water for juice at one meal etc.
  3. Look back to the past. You did not get where you are by accident. You took certain steps to get there. Looking back at the past will remind you of your strengths. Now see how you can build on those strengths to move forward.
  4. Make SMART goals. The woman wanting to get out of the abusive relationship must be Specific about what she wants to do. She may have to save money in order to leave. Her goals must be Measurable. How much will she save? They must be Achievable. How will she do that? Will she take an extra job? They must be Relevant, e.g. paying money on a new apartment; they must be Time-bound. Leave by so-and-so month.
  5. Reward yourself for accomplishing the above steps. Celebrate with a friend and write it in your journal.

Your comfort zone can be very comforting, safe and stress-free; it can also be confining, limiting, and in some cases dangerous. If you are beginning to feel imprisoned in your comfort zone, it might be time to use the tips outlined above to step out. You may experience some anxiety at first, but that’s okay. Keep following the steps until you climb out of your comfort zone and into a new, free and exciting life.

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How You Can Help Someone Who Is Suicidal

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. The pandemic has brought about an increase in the number of suicide deaths and attempts here in the United States. According to the JED Foundation, :suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults, and for every youth suicide it is estimated that 100 to 200 others attempt suicide.”

For #SuicidePreventionAwarenessMonth, the foundation is focusing on the importance of resiliency in helping a person cope with a pandemic and all the challenges it has brought. However, even if you are resilient, you still need the support of those around you.

Resilience in difficult times

How to be resilient in the face of setbacks

If you are finding it difficult to cope with the stress and demands of everyday life, you should reach out to someone—a trusted friend, partner or counselor—before things become really overwhelming. Unfortunately, there is still a terrible stigma attached to mental health in our society for the simple reason that many don’t understand it and some are afraid of it.

If you know or suspect someone close to you is thinking of suicide, The JED foundation has kindly made the resources below available to help us help those in need of help during this #SuicidePreventionAwarenessMonth. I am happy to share them with you. Look out for more in future posts.

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Monday Motivation: 5 Ways To Improve Your Self-confidence

Another week is here, signaling that September is almost half over, and the year will soon be over. Can you believe it? I am sure you are thinking you have not achieved all of the things you planned to achieve by this time, and if you are like most people, this is probably playing havoc with your self-confidence. Well, it doesn’t have to. Below are five things you can do, starting today, to improve your self-confidence.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Remember you are unique. No one else has your fingerprints. You were made in the image and likeness of God, and He thinks you are special. What someone else has accomplished may be outside of your reach now, but if it’s meant for you, nothing can stop you when the time is right.
  2. Say something nice to yourself each morning. “I am beautiful.” “I am made in the image and likeness of God.” “I am blessed,” or whatever comes to your mind.
  3. Smile when you meet someone. Researchers say that smiling causes your brain to release endorphins, which help you feel better. Smile at the cashier at the grocery store, at the receptionist in the doctor’s office, at your child’s teacher. Even if you are wearing a mask and they can’t see your lips, your eyes will convey your mood and this will make you and the other person feel better.
  4. Don’t function in panic mode. If you find you are not losing the weight you had hoped to lose by this time, don’t panic! Stop and examine what you are doing. Maybe you need to make some adjustments. Consult your doctor, your coach or some other health professional, but don’t attempt drastic measures that may cause more harm than good. Join my lifestyle challenge.
  5. Write something positive in your journal. Make it a point to write in your journal each day. It may be something simple like taking a walk, drinking water, calling up a friend you hadn’t heard from in a while, anything that will make you feel good about yourself.

These tips are not difficult to follow, but you may be surprised at how many of them you don’t practice on a regular basis. So try to implement them gradually and they will soon become habitual. Keep safe!

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Sorghum Split Peas Soup Recipe

Are you looking for a healthy, plant-based soup that is satisfying and has many nutritional benefits? Split peas may be just what you need. Apart from being a great source of protein, they also contain soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels, making it a great food for diabetics. Their isoflavones can help lower the risk of various types of cancer. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mmm…split_pea_soup(8139761028).jpg

Sorghum is a whole grain that is 100% gluten free, therefore it’s safe for people with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Sorghum flour and whole-grain sorghum can be used as substitutes for wheat-based recipes.

The image shown is not an exact image of the recipe.

This recipe, taken from the Diabetes Food Hub, does contain ham and chicken stock, but if you are a vegetarian (like I am) or want a strictly plant-based soup you can leave them out and it will be just as delicious.

TIP: I substitute vegetable bouillon for the chicken stock.

Ingredients

  • olive oil1 1/2 tbsp
  • onion(s) (chopped)1
  • carrots(sliced)3/4 cup
  • celery(sliced)3/4 cup
  • garlic (minced) 1 1/2 tsp
  • no-salt-added chicken stock 6 cup
  • peas(green, split)1 1/4 cup
  • ham bone 1 small
  • ham slices(chopped) 2/3 cup
  • sorghum(pearled)2/3 cup
  • fresh thyme 4 sprig
  • bay leaves 2
  • Worcestershire sauce 1 1/2 tbsp

Directions

In a 4-quart stock pot or large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally 10 to 12 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chicken stock, split peas, ham bone, ham, sorghum, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 45-60 minutes or until split peas are soft and sorghum is tender.

If used, remove ham bone, thyme sprigs and bay leaves from soup. Remove ham from bone, chop ham and return to pot. Discard bone, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add Worcestershire sauce and season with pepper.

Garnish with chopped fresh thyme and cracked black pepper, if desired.

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Mid-week Round-up Of Health News

One question I’ve heard people ask is if they had COVID-19, should they still get the vaccine. This study published by Science Advances found that people who have been vaccinated after recovering from a severe COVID-19 infection have greater protection against coronavirus variants such as the Delta variant than those who had milder illnesses.

Blood samples from those vaccinated against the virus, as well as those with severe enough infection to require hospitalization, still showed adequate immune response to fight off the new strains.

On the other hand, blood samples from those patients who had mild cases of COVID-19 oftentimes do not have enough antibodies to fight off viral variants and therefore would require a vaccine to boost their immune response.

The U.S. exceeded 40 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with at least 649,134 virus-related deaths. If you are still wondering if you should take the vaccine, then this should answer your question.

Diabetes Relapse Following Bariatric Surgery

It is a known fact that weight loss can put diabetes into remission. This is the reason some patients undergo bariatric surgery, which helps them achieve the desired weight loss, thereby sending their diabetes into remission. However, one study shows that certain factors can cause a relapse to occur following bariatric surgery. These factors are: longer preoperative diabetes duration, higher preoperative hemoglobin (Hb)A1c, preoperative insulin treatment, female sex and less postoperative weight loss. The results of this study were presented at the 2021 annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

This would suggest that the sooner you get your diabetes under control through proper nutrition and exercise, the less likely you are to have bariatric surgery and face a possible relapse. Join my 21-day weight loss challenge and let me help you get started.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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Learning To Eat Mindfully

Yesterday, we began to add gentle movements in order to increase our physical activity. I hope you are writing in your journal and thinking about the kinds of exercise you already enjoy and those you would like to add.

Let’s see what’s going on in day 7 of the Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge. Today, you are going to learn about mindful eating, and how it can be helpful when you are on a journey to create a healthy lifestyle.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is simple a way to be more aware of your emotions and feelings, both physical and emotional, while you are eating. Mindfulness itself is about being present in the moment and really understanding what you are experiencing, so eating in this way is much the same.

Why is it Recommended?

The reason we recommend adding it to your healthy lifestyle is because it can send you a lot of signals about eating that help you understand what foods you do or don’t enjoy, which you are eating for emotional reasons or because you are truly hungry, and when you have reached satisfaction and fullness.

It is very easy to do. Just turn off all distractions during your meal so you can focus on the food and how your body feels while you are eating it. If you are eating on the run, you are not eating mindfully.

Tip – Start with just one meal a day where you eat without distractions and become more aware of the eating experience.

Journal Prompt – Do you often eat with distractions?

Have you enjoyed the challenge so far? If yes, how about signing up for the rest of the challenge in the form below? There’s so much more I would like you to experience. Here are some of the topics we will explore in the rest of the challenge:

  • Exercising outdoors
  • Is sugar bad for you (of special interest to diabetics)
  • Emotional eating
  • Drinking water
  • And so much more…

So don’t stop now. Remember, it takes 21 days to break a habit, according to the experts, so let’s break some habits and adopt some news. Sign up on the form below, and if you haven’t yet joined my Type 2 Diabetes Network, now is a good time to do so.

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Increase Your Physical Activity With Gentle Movement

I hope you had a restful weekend and are relaxing with your family on this Labor Day holiday, if you live in the US. If you are not celebrating a holiday today and are back out to work, I pray that you keep safe and have a productive day.

Today is day 6 of the Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge, when we start adding in some gentle movement. This is a way to increase your physical activity, but in small and gradual steps. Nobody can go from being sedentary to running a marathon in a day. And we don’t want you to burnout!

Gentle Movement VS Regular Exercise

In general, there isn’t actually a difference between gentle movement and any other fitness you have participated in. The main difference is that with gentle movement, it can be any form of moving your body. There are no rules, schedules, or programs. You don’t have to lift weights every day or do an hour of cardio 6 days a week.

The most important thing is moving your body in a way that feels good, gives you more energy, and is enjoyable.

Discovering YOUR Favorite Form of Movement

Not sure what gentle movement is best for you? Your history with exercise will help guide you in the right direction. Here are some tips for finding what is best for you:

Think about types of exercise that always made you feel more energetic after you were done. Walking? Dancing? Gardening?

What exercises do you absolutely hate and dread doing?

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

Was there a fitness routine that you never quit or stopped doing?

What is something you have been wanting to try?

Answering these questions are going to guide you in the right direction.

Tip – Don’t wear a fitness tracker during your workouts. That way, you just enjoy whatever form of movement you choose, without worrying about your heart rate or burning calories.

Journal Prompt – What forms of movement or exercise do you actually enjoy?

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How To Perfect Your Nighttime Routine For A Good Night’s Sleep

Moving on to the next part of your lifestyle changes – your nighttime routine! Let’s spend day 5 going over your nighttime routine and making some important tweaks to ensure a good night’s sleep and plenty of energy each and every day.

Courtesy morgue file

Why do You Need a Nighttime Routine?

The nighttime routine might seem silly or unnecessary but trust me – it works! While your morning routine helps set you up for the day and get you into a healthy mindset, the nighttime routine is about bringing you back down. It helps to relax you, de-stress, and help you get good sleep.

Without a good nighttime routine, you probably spend all night watching Netflix or going through your phone, which is going to put you into a tense, stressed state when you’re trying to sleep. This isn’t very restful, and you will likely oversleep the next morning, then not have a good routine in the morning.

See how that works?

What to Include in Your Nighttime Routine

When thinking about what to include in your nighttime routine, think about what will help relax you and help you get ready for bed. It can include exercise, but it should be soothing, like a stretching or light yoga routine.

Maybe you have a cup of chamomile tea while you write in your journal, or you turn the lights down low in your bedroom to pray or meditate. If you don’t have time for Bible reading during your morning routine, then why not include it as part of your nighttime routine? Just try to include activities that don’t make you more alert like watching TV, and instead help promote calm, relaxation and a good night’s sleep.

Tip – Set up your nightstand with your journal, book, essential oils, and anything else that is part of your nighttime routine. This helps you keep up with your routine each and every night.

Journal Prompt – Describe Your Perfect Nighttime Routine.

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Day 4: Fiber Can Help You Lose Weight

For day 4 of the Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge, we want you to learn about another important nutrient you need in your diet – fiber!

What is Fiber?

You have probably heard the term fiber as something you need to keep you regular, but might not actually know what it is. Fiber is a nutrient in food that your body cannot  break down. It is not digested, therefore it helps to clean out your digestive system, which is why it helps with your bowel movements. Fiber is only found in plant-based foods.

Most fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of fiber, as well as whole grains, lentils, beans, and chia seeds.

Benefits of Fiber

Soluble fiber found in such foods as black beans, turnips, broccoli, and avocados help keep your gut bacteria healthy and can even reduce your risk for illnesses like kidney stones, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis.

When it comes to weight loss, fiber, in addition to your protein and healthy fats. helps you stay full longer thereby reducing your appetite and helping with overall fat loss. When combined with healthy foods and moderate exercise, soluble fiber can help you lose belly fat.

Tip – Add a fruit or vegetable to every meal and snack, and you will most likely meet or exceed your daily fiber recommendation.

Journal Prompt – In your opinion, what does it mean to lose weight in a healthy way?