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Friday, December 27, 2013

Chai Tea is an Ancient Remedy and Great Reboot for Our Health

Chai Tea is an ancient remedy and great reboot for our health. Something we particularly need around very stressful times, like the holidays. It is an ancient beverage dating back to 2737 BC. Chai is the generic term for “tea” in Hindi. Its tradition can be found both in China and India.

Chai Tea is an Ancient Remedy and Great Reboot for Our Health (photo by LivligaHome)
It has always been promoted as having both medicinal as well as spiritual healing powers. It is not only the black tea that is found to be beneficial because of its antioxidants but it is also the many spices used to create the unique flavor of chai tea that give a boost to our health. Some common spices used are cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, ginger and anise. In combination these spices boost our metabolism, wake up our immune system and generally promote our body’s well being.

Today when we talk about the health benefits of chai tea as those that reduce cancer risk (cinnamon and cardamom).  It prevents colds (ginger) and fights diabetes. It is known to boost our energy and our immune system. It reduces the effects of PMS and bloating. The list goes on.

Perhaps one of the best ways chai tea helps us is to allow us a quiet moment to regroup and reboot in the midst of a busy day. There is nothing better for our mental health than taking a moment for ourselves to enjoy a cup of chai, breath and reflect on what we enjoy. Five minutes is all it has to take. Longer can only be better.

Many of the store bought and pre-made chai teas can be packed full of calories from fat and sugar. The way around that is to make your own. Making it at home also allows you to spice the tea in a way you like best. You can easily make it in batches to enjoy for several days. That way it is not very time consuming. Because of the spices, the flavor only gets richer.

Here is a recipe for Chai Tea that is flavorful and lower in calories:


  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 7 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 white peppercorns
  • 1 (½-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 tablespoon black tea leaves (such as Darjeeling or Assam)
  • ⅛ cup honey


  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
  2. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add milk and tea; simmer for 3 minutes (do not boil).
  3. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl or pitcher; discard solids. Add honey to tea mixture, stirring until blended.
  4. Pour into mugs and serve.

Yield 2 one-cup servings. Calories 143.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

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Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Happy Healthy Holidays!
Wishing you and yours the gifts of happiness, health, joy, abundance and exuberance to Live Vibrant now and in the New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Easy Crockpot Soup for a Cold, Busy Night--Potato Soup

Crockpot Potato Soup (photo by LivligaHome)

During the holidays I am really reminded of the meaning of the word "harried". I just don't seem to have enough time to do all the things I need and want to do. Cooking becomes a lower and lower prioirty. In order to cook a healthy meal at home it has to be easy and comforting. It needs to ease my stress. Crockpot recipes can often be the solution. One such recipe is Potato Soup.
Potato Soup with a Homemade muffin for a perfect supper (photo by LivligaHome)

Here is how I do it:

5 small to medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1 medium onion, diced
3 gloves garlic, diced
Cooking Spray, Olive Oil flavored
pinch of sea salt
dash of ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 or 4 pats
¼ cup unbleached flour
1 ½ cups reduced fat milk (1 %)
7 tablespoons reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1. Place first 4 prepared ingredients into the crockpot.
2. Sautee the onion and garlic in a cast-iron skillet sprayed with olive oil flavored cooking spray until softened and translucent. Once cooked place the onion mixture in the crockpot.
3. Add sea salt, pepper and butter to the mixture in the crockpot. Cook on low for 7 hours.
4. Place flour in a bowl, gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended.
5. Stir into soup. Cook uncovered 25 minutes on high or until thickened.
6. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the cheddar

Yield 7 servings. Calories:  194

Serve with a tossed green salad (45 calories) and muffin (137 calories) for a total calorie count of 376. The soup was a creamy color, not white because I sauteed the onions and garlic. To make it a more visually attractive dish the cheddar helps; I might also suggest some parsley on top. The salad on the side makes it a more attractive plate for sure. The taste was delicious. It will be a cozy, comfort food repeat, for sure.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Savory Bread Pudding for a Vegetarian Supper

Savory Bread Pudding for a Vegetarian Supper (photo by LivligaHome)
My husband reminded me the other day that he loves bread pudding. It inspired me to roam around in my old cookbooks and favorite recipe sites to get inspired. For me a bread pudding is a dessert. Something yummy and gooey, usually with a caramel sauce. This would not be good for our healthy living goals.

I was amazed and pleased to find there are many different kinds of bread puddings. There are both savory and sweet versions. They can be used as a main meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They exist with or without meat.

My goal as we headed towards the big holiday was to find a vegetarian variety I could make for dinner (I am only preparing vegetarian dinners up until the holiday to help control the holiday bloat and girth growth). I found a bread pudding that used butternut squash in it from one of my Cooking Light cookbooks. Happily, I also found it online. It is called Butternut Squash and Parmesan Bread Pudding. The recipe serves 6. Calories per serving are 304.

It was delicious and surprisingly hardy. I served it with sauteed Kale (60 cal). Total calorie count for the meal was 364. It is easy to make. Cooking time is 45 minutes. This makes for a great savory supper on a cold night. I could also see serving it up for a brunch as an alternative to the typical sausage and egg casserole. The whole family liked it. No one did the usual complaining about having "only vegetarian" for dinner. A definite repeat.
Butternut Squash Bread Pudding served with Kale (photo by
As an easy, one casserole supper you can't beat a bread pudding. Click here for more Savory Bread Pudding recipes.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Great Healthy Living Quote #73-- Do Something Today for Your Future Self

Livliga Healthy Living Quote
Great Healthy Living Quote #73 (LivligaHome)
Even in the midst of the holidays we can imagine and act for our healthier future.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Special Holiday Bread- Pear Poppy Seed

Special Holiday Bread- Pear Poppy Seed (photo by LivligaHome)

The smells of baking and spices fill the air at holiday time. In fact, it just doesn't seem like the holidays without them. Each year I add a new bread to my repertoire. I search for breads that use less sugar, oil and salt. I also try to make recipes that celebrate seasonal produce.

This year I decided to experiment with pears and poppy seeds. The original poppy seed bread I having been baking for years had a cup of vegetable oil per recipe. This new recipe has 2 tablespoons of butter, that is it, in lieu of the enormous amount of oil. There is less refined sugar and salt as well.

It turned out deliciously. I served it as a tea bread, fresh out of the oven, to some out of town friends who came to call. I am happy to say they were "wowed". Everyone commented on the bread. I served it with slices of sharp cheddar and a green tea chai. It made for the perfect Afternoon Tea for a happy gathering and great conversation.

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread


  • 1 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled and chopped (@ 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons egg substitute
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable Cooking Spray


  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in pear and make a well in the center of the mixture.
  3. Combine egg substitute and next 5 ingredients; stir well with a wire whisk.
  4. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients become moist.
  5. Pour batter into a 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 3 inch loafpan coated with cooking spray.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 slices. Calories: 151 per slice.

Here is another idea for bread making you might enjoy from a previous blog: Banana-Date Flaxseed Bread

Happy Healthy Holidays!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Healthy Gifts for the Holidays!

Healthy Gifts for the Holdays the Greatest of Gifts (photo by LivligaHome)

It is very interesting to me that so many people think it is contrary to gift giving to give healthy gifts for the holidays. Somehow there is this myth that by giving someone something for their good health we will be affronting or offending them. To me the greatest gift we can give someone is a gift supporting and promoting his or her good health. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Monday, December 9, 2013

Great Healthy Living Quote #72- Take Care of Your Body

Great Healthy Living Quote #72 (LivligaHome)

As the pressure of the holidays increases to a crescendo, remember to take care of you!

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Yummy & Healthy Holiday Muffin- Maple Squash Muffin

Yummy & Healthy Holiday Muffin- Maple Squash Muffin (by LivligaHome)

Muffins can be so easy to make. They can also be healthy, tasty and beautiful to behold. Better yet, they can be modest in their calorie count. Muffins go well with just about anything from eggs at breakfast to salads at lunch or stews at dinner. They also freeze well. This makes them an ideal holiday gift. 

When I think of the holidays I think of pumpkin or squash, nuts and the aroma of spices like cinnamon. Why not combine all those holiday ingredients in a delicious muffin? 

Maple Squash Muffin

1 cup unbleached flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
¼ cup pecans, chopped
2 egg whites, lightly beaten (or scant ⅓ cup egg beaters)
¾ cup butternut squash, cooked & mash (or canned pumpkin)
⅔ cup plain yogurt, nonfat
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Vegetable Cooking Spray

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
2. Combine egg whites and next 4 ingredients. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
3. Spoon batter evenly into muffin pans coated with cooking spray.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until tops are golden.
5. Remove from pans promptly.

Yield: 1 dozen. Calories per muffin: 153.

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Like the delicious look of this Maple Squash Muffin on a Livliga plate? It can be yours! Go to

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Great Book for Gift Giving–State of Slim

State of Slim

Great Book for Gift Giving–State of Slim

photo by LivligaHome

I am always looking for good books to read and recommend. Usually I think of novels that provide a great escape that take me to a place where people overcome great odds, do the impossible and arrive at a happy ending. This year I am offering up the same kind of book…but in non-fiction. It is called State of Slim by James O. Hill, PhD, and Holly R. Wyatt, MD. This published work meets all the requirements of a great book and it has the facts, research and statistics to back it up. Some might call it a “diet” book or a “self-help” book. It is really a book about adopting and succeeding in living a healthy lifestyle.

The message of the book is all about the possible. It is based on years of research done at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center , practical application and the results from actual participants in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).  From the very beginning it is an honest, straight-forward and concrete guide that provides advice gleaned from real people who have succeeded in losing weight, keeping it off and living a healthier lifestyle long-term.

Within the first pages of the book the authors explain “Most diets aim to stop bad habits. Ours focuses on instilling good ones.” What is the difference you might ask? It may seem subtle but it is based on creating a world you want and will enjoy living in where new habits reinforce your will power to make healthy choices automatic and mundane.

It is about establishing new habits, routines and rituals that build and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Included in the guide is an explanation of 6 key factors that make healthy living easy and manageable. They are “Be Active Every Day”, “Fuel Up on Real Food”, “Create Your Own Healthy Environment”, “Stay True to Your Purpose”, “Believe You Can Succeed” and, “Make Healthy Living Fun”. Examples of each are provided from true-life stories.

Just when you were losing hope and reaching for another cookie here is a book that will bring you real sustenance. Looking for a great book to give or receive? Put this one on your list!

For more recommended books check out the resource list on the Livliga Live Vibrant blog.

Looking for Solutions? Livliga and Kidliga help support a healthier lifestyle and they make great gifts too! 

 Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

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Friday, November 29, 2013

To My Faithful Readers- A Special Holiday Offer of Super Sized Savings

Livliga Special Holiday Offer of Super Sized Savings (LivligaHome)

We at Livliga have a lot to be thankful for in 2013. We have come a long way since February when we received our first shipment of Livliga. Now we have our children’s line—Kidliga — that arrived in September. Then at the beginning of November our book Sammie& Sax in the Land of Quinoa: The Search for a Balanced Meal won the Bronze Medal in the “Health Issues” book category at the 2013 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Amazing to think our book was chosen out of over 1200 entries!

As we head into the shopping days ahead for the holidays we want to offer our friends and family Super Sized Savings for Healthy Living. What better way to enjoy the holidays and gift giving than to give a gift that celebrates health and a healthier lifestyle for those you care about and love?

All you have to do is go to our website and then at checkout use Coupon Code: THANKYOU15 to receive 15% off your entire order. This Super Sized Savings for Healthy Living is good through December 14. To make it even easier we can gift-wrap any item for you and also mail it directly to the recipient.

We look forward to helping you with your holiday gifts. Let us know how we can help.


Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Sheila & Walt Dietrich

P.S. For those of you in Kansas City, we wanted to let you know we will be at the Kappa Kappa Gamma Holiday Gift and Gourmet Shop December 4, 5 & 6 where you can come pick out and purchase your Livliga gifts from us. A portion of each purchase will benefit CCVI (Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired) and MOCSA (Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault). Check out the link we have provided for all the details. We would love to see you in person!

P.P.S. Check out some of our recent national, local and online coverage:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

EASY RECIPE: Apple Butter For The Holidays

We all know I love to cook. Part of the fun of cooking is sharing. During the holidays this is particularly true. We all get out our family favorites, many that have been passed down through the generations. Unfortunately many of those recipes are packed full of fat and sugar and are not that healthy for you.

A couple of years ago it occurred to me that I could choose to make healthier holiday treats which would actually be a greater gift to those I love. You can still choose special recipes for just this time of year that everyone can look forward to but who said those special recipes needed to be unhealthy, artery clogging and diabetes promoting?

One such recipe that is super easy and fun to share as gifts is Apple Butter you can make in your slow cooker. Once it is cooked you can divide it up in jars for gift giving...or just keep it in the refrigerator to enjoy at home with your family. The extra benefit to you and those in your household is the luscious smell of the apple butter as it is cooking in the crockpot. It is a classic holiday spice aroma. You will find yourself humming Christmas songs!

Apple Butter can be used as a healthy substitute for butter or margarine on toast, muffins or pancakes. Our favorite use is topping our oatmeal in the morning instead of using brown sugar. It is really good! Each tablespoon is 33 calories.
Ingredients Assembled In The Crockpot (by LivligaHome)

Here is the Recipe for Slow Cooker Apple Butter:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup apple cider (or juice)
1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
1/8 teaspoon mace, ground
10 apples, peeled, cored and cut into large wedges

1. Combine all ingredients in your crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
2.  When done just mash with a fork or potato masher to get rid of any remaining big chunks of apple.
3. For gift giving, place the apple butter into sanitized jars while still warm and seal promptly. Make sure to make labels listing the content and date it was made.
Oatmeal Topped with Apple Butter

Happy Healthy Eating!

Like the delicious look of the oatmeal and apple butter in the Livliga bowl? It can be yours! Check out our Super Sized Holiday Savings on Livliga dishware! Go to our website - and enter Coupon Code: THANKYOU15 at checkout to recieve a 15% discount on your entire order! The code is good now through December 14, 2013.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Being Thankful for a Healthier Lifestyle

Being Thankful for a Healthier Lifestyle

I have been considered overweight most of my life. My mom put me on a diet in the 2nd grade! I have 3 children and a husband who have also faced their own weight issues. Our weight struggles challenged me to learn how to cook more healthfully.  One outgrowth of my journey to better health was starting a blog- Being thankful for a healthier lifestyle has been years in the making. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Interested in a Healthier Lifestyle? Livliga and Kidliga make great holiday gifts! Check out my blog and Facebook for special holiday savings starting November 29th!

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Daughter's Crockpot Recipe-Pork with Apricots, Dried Plums, and Sauerkraut

Pork with Apricots, Dried Plums, and Sauerkraut (LivligaHome)
It is that time of year again when our crockpot comes out of storage. There is nothing better than an easy supper that has been simmering in the slow cooker all day emanating delicious smells of spices and garlic, making everyone eager for dinner. This week my daughter prepared Pork with Apricots, Dried Plums, and Sauerkraut. We don't often eat sauerkraut but my husband has been reading about its benefits in the book Cooked by Michael Pollen, so I thought I would track down a recipe to support his new found fascination.

As part of my research in tracking down recipes, I also read about the benefits of sauerkraut. There are many. Since sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, it is a natural probioitc that provides us with good bacteria while also inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. This improves our immune system. It is a great source of vitamins C and K which both help our bones be strong. Additionally, vitamin C is an important antioxidant while vitamin K has a key role in blood clotting. Then there are the heart healthy benefits of sauerkraut because it is high in fiber. Last but not least, sauerkraut is packed full of iron which is important for our red blood cells and their role in providing oxygen to all our cells which gives us more energy to do the things we need and love to do. Sauerkraut definitely qualifies as a superfood!

How did the recipe turn out? My daughter found the recipe easy to follow and the ingredients super easy to assemble. After 7 hours it tasted delicious! The pork was moist and the sauerkraut and dried fruit made for a yummy sauce for the pork. Each serving has 261 calories. To make it a meal we added a spinach and strawberry salad for 136 calories a serving. The calories for the meal are 397. Everyone enjoyed the meal. It is a definite repeat.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Click here to download your FREE Livliga  Bariatric eBook with Recipes & Resources

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November is National Diabetes Month

Life with Diabetes Infographic (curtesy of American Recall Center)

November is National Diabetes Month. There is a reason why a month has been dedicated to raising our awareness about diabetes. It is a killer disease. According to the World Health Organization over 1.1 million people die from the disease each year. In reality many more die from diabetes but it is recorded as kidney failure or heart disease.  Deaths from diabetes are projected to rise more than 50% in the next 10 years and, not too surprisingly, to 80% in middle to upper income countries. Click here to read the entire article...

Download our FREE Managing Your  Diabetes Through Portion Control eBook!

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Binge Eating "Safe" Food--Frozen Greek Yogurt

frozen greek yogurt
I confess. I try not to but I still binge eat from time to time. Instead of just giving in and eating the thousands of extra, unwanted calories I used to, I have been on the prowl for less harmful foods I typically binge with.

If you love ice cream and tend to turn to a pint of ice cream after a traumatic day, I discovered, thanks to Dr. Oz, that a pint of Greek Yogurt is a great binge alternative.

It is important to understand the choices, however. Not only is there a difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt but there are also big differences between the choices of frozen yogurts.

Here is what I found:
Type                                            calories in 1/2 cup   calories in pint    fat         protein
Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream     160                              640                       8g           4g
Ben & Jerry's Frozen Greek     200                              800                       7g           6g
Stonyfield Frozen Greek         100                               400                       0g           6g

Eating a pint of Stonyfield frozen yogurt can satisfy a binge without the calories and self loathing that can often follow the binge.


Ice cream and frozen yogurt are both frozen treats made from dairy, but there is a significant difference that sets them apart. In order for a frozen treat to be legally labeled as ice cream, it must contain at least 10 percent milkfat. This requirement is usually met through the addition of cream, and premium ice cream can contain as much as 16 percent milkfat. Frozen yogurt is not made with cream and does not have a fat requirement. Instead it is made with cultured milk such as yogurt though probiotics do not survive the freezing temperatures.

Nutritional Value

Since the difference in the ingredients of ice cream and frozen yogurt is cream, the main nutritional difference is the fat content. One cup of regular vanilla ice cream contains 275 calories, 5 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fat and 9 grams of saturated fat. One cup of regular vanilla frozen yogurt contains 221 calories, 5 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat.


If you're watching your fat and calorie intake, you may opt for the frozen yogurt. However, the lower fat and calorie content may vary depending on your portion size and what you put into it. Frozen yogurt is commonly offered with many sugar and fat-laden additions such as syrups, marshmallows and candy pieces. These will not only increase the fat content but also the sugar and calories.

Tips for Healthy Choices

If you choose to eat frozen yogurt, remember to still moderate your portion size and choose the healthier toppings. Choose toppings such as fresh fruit, granola and nuts to get the antioxidants, protein and fiber. These toppings will also likely be lower in calories, fat and sugar than other toppings. If you prefer ice cream, try decreasing your fat intake elsewhere in your diet to make up for the higher fat content. Another alternative is to choose reduced-fat ice cream.

Found in the San Francisco Chronicle

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Where in the World are Sammie & Sax?... Headed for a home in Traverse City, Michigan, of course, with Their New Young Friends!

First Young Customers to Take Home Sammie & Sax in Traverse City, Michigan (photo by LivligaHome)
What a wonderful time we had in Traverse City, Michigan at the Traverse City Annual Children's Book Festival. It was our first book festival. It is nice to see that the world of books is still alive and well. There were many authors present sharing their various books...all with young readers in mind. We are a creative and passionate group when it comes to our books and the stories they tell to amuse, inspire and educate the next generation. Their smiles and interest keep us going.

Moonbeam Award Winners Who All Went to The Book Fair (photo by LivligaHome)
At the end of the day, and after the book fair, we went to the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards ceremony. It was a great way to end the day amongst new friends who tell powerful stories that are now being shared with the world.

To view all the 2013 award winning books here is a link to the Moonbeam Book Awards area at Amazon:

To go to Sammie and Sax directly on Amazon and read our reviews here is the link: Sammie & Sax in the Land of Quinoa on Amazon

To go to our website to check out Sammie & Sax, Kidliga and Livliga here is that link:

It is a great time of year to start scouting out fun and special gifts for the kids in your life!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Seasonal Signs of Depression

Thought this article was a good reminder of how the change of seasons can effect our moods, how it is important to take note and steps we can take to manage how we feel, avoiding destructive behaviors.  

The Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Do you gain weight and get blue, miserable, and tired once the days get shorter? These are all symptoms of a condition called seasonal affective disorder.

By Beth W. Orenstein
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

People who find they have mild to severe depression in fall and winter, when the days grow shorter, may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — sometimes called the winter blues. Women, especially those in their twenties, are most susceptible to seasonal affective disorder, but it can affect men and people of all ages, including children and teens. Very often, people with seasonal depression have at least one close relative with a psychiatric disorder, typically major depressive disorder or alcohol abuse.

SAD symptoms emerge during the darker winter months, then disappear as days grow longer and brighter come spring, says Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and an assistant professor at Harvard University Medical School.

It's estimated that a half-million people in the United States may have seasonal depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of SAD include:

Weight gain. Cravings for sweet and starchy foods lead to excess weight. Daytime fatigue. People with SAD are tired during the day and have less energy. They may also find themselves sleeping a lot, but getting no relief from their fatigue. “With SAD, you eat more and sleep more,” Dr. Duckworth says. “It’s hibernation-like.”

Increased irritability and anxiety. People with SAD worry more about everyday events and can be easily irritated. They can have trouble concentrating, too. Social withdrawal. Those with SAD prefer to be alone; they shun the company of friends and family and do not participate in activities they normally enjoy. Often their social behavior is hard to understand.

SAD is treatable, and there are various treatment methods.

SAD: Light Therapy

“Light therapy does seem to have some effectiveness,” Duckworth says. Light therapy boxes are available that mimic the outdoors. You can buy them without a prescription, but they cost about $400 and are not covered by insurance.

The best time to use light therapy is in the morning. “You sit in front of the box in the morning before going to work and give yourself some sunshine,” Duckworth says. Light therapy typically takes about 30 minutes a day. Note: Do not try to use tanning beds as a treatment for SAD. Tanning beds use ultraviolet rays, which can be harmful to your eyes and your skin.

SAD: Professional Help

“Find a relationship with a clinician who can coach you through this and figure out if it is indeed SAD or if you do worse at Christmastime because your father died on Christmas Eve, for example,” Duckworth says.

A medical professional also can prescribe antidepressants if necessary.

SAD: Other Treatment Methods

Taking a vacation to where it’s warm and sunny. “Go to Florida or to the Bahamas. Go some place south with a lot of sun,” Duckworth says. “If you can take a vacation to a sunny climate it likely will help.”

Maintaining relationships with friends and family. “Don’t stop going to church if you go to church,” Duckworth says. “If your family is a big source of stress, figure out a way to be with them that is not overwhelming to you. Maybe plan your longer visits for the summer when you seem to be doing better.”

Because SAD occurs during the winter months — when holiday festivities are in full force — self-medication is tempting.

“Alcohol use tends to go up in the winter as people attend more parties,” Duckworth says. However, he says, “If you’re using alcohol or drugs to change the depressed way you feel this time of year, it’s probably compounding your problems as opposed to helping them.”

Friday, November 8, 2013

Where in the World are Sammie & Sax?... Headed for Israel, of course, with New Friend, Leon!

Sammie & Sax are Headed for Israel with New Friend, Leon! (photo by LivligaHome)
It has been a great adventure for us all in Boston this year at the 141st APHA Conference. We have met many amazing and accomplished people doing important work around the globe to improve our enviroment of health. One such person we met, Leon, is headed back to Israel....with Sammie and Sax! He loved the concept of Kidliga and the book Sammie & Sax in the Land of Quinoa: The Search for a Balanced Meal. He is excited to give the dishware to his grandson and read the book to him. How cool to know Sammie & Sax will now be in another country around the globe! We know they are ready for the adventure! As they would say "Spoon Zoom Away!"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Childhood Obesity Causing Parents to Outlive Their Children

Childhood Obesity Causing Parents to Outlive Their Children @livligahome

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that we are now living in a generation where parents are going to out live their children due to childhood obesity. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010.  In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. We have to face it: we are killing our kids with food. Click here to read the entire article...

re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Monday, November 4, 2013

Great Healthy Living Quote # 68-- One Small Positive Thought

livliga healthy living quotes
Happy Monday!


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Friday, November 1, 2013

Food Challenges Are Not About Food

As we recover from the Halloween Bingeing I thought this insight from Mark David would help clear the sugar fog from our brains today. Read on:

Time to Cozy Up with our Weight and Food Concerns (photo by LivligaHome)

Food Challenges Are Not About Food - As odd as it may sound, a majority of our food challenges are not merely about food. Yes, it’s a great idea to eat healthy food. Yes, certain foods can be rather addictive. And yes, there are so many different kinds of junk foods out there that have the power to hook us, but, I believe that at its core, our challenges with food go deeper, are way more interesting, and more telling than we might ever imagine. In other words, overeating doesn’t mean we have a mere willpower issue with food and we need to learn to control our appetite. Binge eating does not mean that we’re complete and total losers who have absolutely no control because we’re fundamentally damaged. Excess weight does not mean that we’re undeniably lazy when it comes to food. And our inability to change our body to the hot and sexy creature that we want it to be isn’t because we simply need to get better at diet and exercise. Our challenges with food, body and weight are here for a beautiful reason. They have a purpose. They have a message. It’s time to listen to our eating concerns and cozy up with them like never before.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN-- Homemade Chili on a Crisp Fall Evening

Homemade Chili Great for a Halloween Supper (photo by LivligaHome)

There is nothing like homemade chili served up on a crisp Fall evening. When the kids were little we had the fun tradition of inviting our single friends and couples without kids over for a Fall Supper of chili, cornbread and salad.  It was usually the weekend before Halloween. The purpose was not only to enjoy each other’s company but to also carve pumpkins. There is nothing more fun than watching adults come up with unique ideas for their soon-to-be-carved pumpkin a long side young, eager children full of anticipation. We did this for many years until our kids went off to college. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fill Up First On Vegetables

It is that time of year when we all want to fill up on foods high in carbohydrates. The colder weather and darker days make us want to hunker-down and fill up on our favorite comfort foods like pastas, potatoes and cookies. Regrettably, this comfort food diet is worse on our waistline.

We can certainly have and enjoy our favorite carbs but the trick, it seems, is to fill up first with tasty seasonal vegetables.

Here’s why vegetables are key to feeling full longer: “There’s strong research that shows people eat the same weight of food every day,” says nutritionist Beth Kitchin, RD, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama in Birmingham in a recent interview with This factor is crucial to your weight management strategy. When you get hungry, eat vegetables — which are low in calories — in place of higher-calorie food items. These high-fiber foods will help you feel full longer and stay slender. Salads are a classic filler, but you can also add extra veggies to cooked dishes for volume.

One of my favorite recipes that satisfies my carb craving yet adds the vegetables to help us feel full and not over indulge is a Cooking Light Overnight Lasagna (308 calories/serving). Another recent find is a Mediterranean Diet roasted vegetable lasagna (330 calories/serving).

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Friday, October 18, 2013

There is no “Singing the Blues” with Blueberries

Blueberries keep us the healthiest (LivligaHome)

A recent Harvard University study highlighted why we will never need to “sing the blues” if we eat blueberries. Blueberries have come out the clear winner in decreasing our chances of developing everything from heart disease, various cancers and diabetes.

I have been singing the praises of berries for a long time. They are a great way to add color to your plate. They are also very easy to prepare since there is no peeling or chopping required. Berries have the added benefit of being lower in sugar than other fruits and therefore per cup have fewer calories. The best is they provide a great pop-in-your-mouth snack for those of us who have to satisfy our oral fixations. Popping one blueberry in your mouth at a time takes more time and can help get over the hump of afternoon cravings. How great it is to know berries are also super healthy for us.

Doctors and Dietitians have been promoting the goodness of berries, all kinds of berries, in recent years for the antioxidants they contain and their anti-inflammatory benefits. Now this Harvard study shows that not all berries are made a like. In fact, the research showed that strawberries, as well as apricots, plums, peaches and oranges had no beneficial effect in reducing the likelihood of developing diabetes. The study tracked more than 185,000 people over 12 years.

Blueberries, grapes, apples and grapefruit, however, were shown to ward off the disease. In fact, blueberries were found to have the greatest effect on decreasing the risk of becoming diabetic. Researchers found that by eating at least 5 servings a week decreased a person’s chances of ever getting the disease by a whopping 26 percent. Eating only one to five servings a month was also found to be beneficial for avoiding diabetes, but to a lesser degree.

So the message here is we should be singing the praises of blueberries and making sure they are on the top of our grocery list each week. We will never need to sing the blues if we have a pint of them handy in our refrigerator.  Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yummy, Kid-friendly Lowfat Muffin-- Morning Glory Muffins

Low Fat Morning Glory Muffins @livligahome
These muffins are packed full of goodness. They are moist and flavorful. Because of the spices they also smell scrumptious. This Morning Glory muffin (203/cal) is great for breakfast, brunch, snacks and even a healthy dessert. It has grated carrots, crushed pineapple and raisins in it. The spices are ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. I used 1/2 whole wheat flour along with the unbleached flour and oatmeal. The sugar is minimal and is 1/2 cup only of brown sugar (way better than using refined white sugar).

This is a fun recipe you can do with your kids that all will enjoy. A definite favorite on the list of healthy muffins for this family.

To make it a meal check out my previous blog on Greek-Style Frittata.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Falling in Love with Corey Louchiey and James Thornton

Corey Louchiey and James Thornton presenting at Teaming Up to Tackle Obesity @livligahome

I went to a remarkable convention recently and fell in love with Corey Louchiey and James Thornton . The Obesity Action Coalition put it on. It turns out there is a surge of organizations providing help out there for people looking for support and resources related to weight management. I have to admit I had no idea there were so many organizations supporting people battling obesity. The conference is titled “Your Weight Matters.” I attended their second conference. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on