How to Sneak in Easy Steps in Your Day

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sneaking Extra Steps in at the Grocery Store (photo by LivligaHome)
In order to keep the blood flowing, stay fit and lose weight we have to move. We have to burn more calories in the day than we take in when we eat if we want to contemplate losing weight. And, quite frankly, I love food too much to give all of it up. I'd rather move a little more.

The challenge is we lead really busy lives so it is hard to fit in an hour work out at the gym each day. It is possible to sneak in easy additional steps into our day. For me it has become a contest to see where and when I can sneak in extra steps. It is actually pretty fun. It is like I am on a clandestine mission to find steps!

I am a fitbit user so I am rewarded with seeing my steps rise as I find ways to sneak in a few more strides in my day. I really recommend you use some sort of tracker to help you count and watch your steps accumulate during the day. It is way more satisfying AND motivating to see what you have accomplished in how far you have moved, step by step, during the day. It can also help remind us if we haven't met our base goal for the day at a certain point. We need to get up and move.

Everybody has to go to the grocery store. At the grocery store I find I can fit in a lot more steps. Most recommendations for adding movement include walking around the periphery of the grocery store an extra lap. This is certainly something to add steps, especially if it is a cold or rainy day outside and you have a little extra time to do it.

My new trick to sneak in easy steps at the grocery store is to leave my cart in one place as I go pick out my items to buy. This is particularly true in the produce area. I set my cart in one place, usually at an end and then go get each item of produce I need, coming back each time I have a bag full of vegetables or fruit. You avoid the hassle of manuevering the cart around people and you don't have to keep moving it around to get it out of people's way. The best is by keeping it in one place you can sneak in those extra steps without seeming to add time. Leaving your cart at one end of an aisle also works. I actually find it easy. And the trips to the grocery store are now a little more fun. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!


The Miracle of Turning Veggies into Pasta

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Veggie Pasta Made Wit My New Spiral Slicer (photo by LivligaHome)

We just eat too many carbohydrates. I have been re-reading parts of the State of Slim book by Dr. Jim Hill and Holly Wyatt and it has reminded me that just about everything we eat, including fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates. The reality is that there are "good" carbs and "bad" carbs. Not all carbs are made a like. Bad carbs are those we eat from highly processed and highly refined foods. These are the ones we crave, can't get enough of and never feel satisfied from. These are the cookies, candies, donuts and cakes we often find ourselves eating everyday. It is our addiction. It also includes pasta.

I realized I needed to actively work on limiting the bad carbs in my diet. Instead of craving something that truly never satisfies me, and easily adds pounds to my body, I thought I would start looking around for alternatives. It is amazing how many there are that are attractive, tasty and filling...all the ingredients needed to ultimately feel satisfied at the end of a meal.

The first experiment was with pasta. A dear friend of mine introduced me to a way to make pasta from vegetables. He has diabetes and needed to find ways to eliminate the carbs in his diet which has led him to discover some wonderful ways to cook fresh, whole foods. Vegetable pasta is actually really cool to make. You need a spiral slicer. The one he recommended is a Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer which you can get on Amazon.
Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer Needed to Make The Vegetable Pasta (photo by LivligaHome)

Our first experiment was to spiral slice carrots and zucchini. The recipe I used was from the State of Slim book. It called for carrots, zucchini and asparagus. The carrots and zucchini both worked well in the spiral slicer. The asparagus had to be sliced with a vegetable peeler. It looked beautiful.

The vegetable pasta cooked in a flash( you blanch for 3 minutes max.) and stayed bright and colorful, as you can see in the photo above. Not only is it very colorful but it also tastes sweet. For those who don't like zucchini much, like my daughter, this is a great way to rediscover this vegetable.

To complete the pasta dish you mix the blanched veggie with ½ cup low fat store bought marinara sauce and then top with 4 ounces of cooked boneless & skinless chicken breast. Super easy and very delicious. It also seems like a lot to eat. A good meal when you know you are going to be really hungry, since it fills you up well. A definite repeat. We are also looking forward to experimenting with other vegetables, especially the root vegetables like rutabaga, parsnip and turnip. Any others we should try? We are willing guinea pigs!

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!


Great Healthy Living Quote #83-- We Can Change The Game

Monday, February 24, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #83
Happy #Monday!
#Livliga #lifestyle #living

Make it a great week.

Remember...Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

50 Terrific Reasons to Exercise

Friday, February 21, 2014
50 Terrific Reasons to Exercise
For those of you who read my blogs regularly, you know I go to the local YMCA (the "Y") to work out. I love it. They have cardio machines, nautilaus, a running track, a swimming pool and all kinds of classes which are included in your monthly fee. I personally think you can't beat it. The challenge is to stay motivated to take advantage of what is available.

After the New Year we all tend to make the commitment and get back into the routine of clean living, which includes making time for exercising. Research shows this lasts for about 3 weeks. At this point we find it hard to sustain the healthy routine. This is when we need to remind ourselves why it is important to get up and move. I found this list of 50 Reasons to Exercise on a bulletin board at the "Y". I really like the list. All 50 Reasons are relevant to each of us. Some may be more motivating than others depending on our stage and state of life. Which ones resonate the most with you?

It was a real pick me up for me to see this list. It made me smile to see such a long list. It made me want to see if I could think of any other reasons that I could add to the list. So far I haven't. It is a really complete list! Can you?

I plan on printing the list out and highlighting different reasons to post various places around my home. I think I will keep one in my purse as well. We all know having a purpose is key to adopting and sustaining a healthier lifestyle. It is also true that we need reminders and motivators. Hope this will help you too.

Enjoy! And remember to Live Vibrant!

Dreaming of Spring– Home Grown Goodness in My Living Room

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This time of year, especially this year with all the snowstorms across the country, we start dreaming of spring and growing plants and flowers in our gardens. Those gardens can be in the backyard, on a balcony or even in your living room. There are so many great reasons to grow food you can harvest. First off, it is fun and something visually beautiful to look at. Perhaps more importantly, if you grow something you can eat, it can taste better and be healthier for you. There are honestly many good reasons to want to grow something to eat.

The challenge with gardening is it does take some planning, some tending and when the food is ripe there is a window of when you need to harvest the food. The key is to not bite off more than you can chew. If you haven’t ever grown anything to harvest, start small. Containers can be a good way to grow a couple of vegetables. The most common “get started” plant to grow is tomato. There are all kinds of varieties, colors and sizes so you can pick what catches your fancy and works best where you live. Containers are also great for herbs. Most herbs are very easy to grow and like being crowded in containers. There is nothing better than fresh herbs in a recipe, adding flavor and health with out calories and salt. My favorite herbs are mint, basil, tarragon, thyme, dill and rosemary.

Something else to consider are fruit trees. We have had Calamondin orange trees, the same ones, for over 15 years. They live outside where they bloom and pollinate during the warmer months and then before the first freeze in the fall we move them inside to our living room. They have been incredibly low maintenance. We feed them organic, fruit tree specific, fertilizer a couple of times a year. We trim them back significantly after we harvest the fruit. And we make sure they get enough sun and water. Every once in a while they get bugs but if you catch it quickly enough there are easy ways to get them under control. Ladybugs, we have found, are particularly helpful.

What we love about the fruit trees is that the fruit matures during the winter months. Our harvest for our Calamondin oranges is in February. As it is a winter month and we are more in doors anyway, it is a fun time to harvest and can our bounty. It is an enjoyable activity over a weekend when we do other home bound activities as the fruit boils into marmalade. Once canned the marmalade can be used in so many ways beyond the usual jam and toast. It can add flavor to cooked vegetables, as a glaze for fish, as a topping for thumbprint cookies or on top of warmed brie for an appetizer. A spoonful in plain Greek yogurt is heavenly for a snack. Go to my blog for how to make homemade marmalade and for recipes that use marmalade. We also think our marmalade makes for a great gift that is unique and packed full of health.

So spring is in the air at our home as we imagine replanting our herb garden, deciding on this year’s variety of tomatoes and seeing our orange trees outdoors again in full bloom. It makes me feel healthier just thinking about it.

Re-posted from Sheila’s Blog on The Epoch Times.

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Great Healthy Living Quote # 82--Think About Why You Started

Monday, February 17, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #82

Sometimes it gets hard to stay on track - here is some great motivation courtesy of LiveWell Colorado

Happy #Monday!

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Healthy Valentine's Treats for Loved Ones

Friday, February 14, 2014
Healthy Valentine's Day Treat for Loved Ones (photo by LivligaHome)
It is hard sometimes to give up longtime habits, particularly when it comes to sweets. Then there are the holidays that push us over the top of resistance and we give in snatching every decadent morsel we can get our hands on. Valentine's Day, much like Halloween, is a day that has been set up for us to fail when it comes to eating healthy and not over consuming.

My ongoing goal in life is to beat the habit. This means creating new traditions and engaging others in having fun in a different way on these holidays that trigger us to eat....and eat....and eat. Valentine's Day is all about giving sweets and chocolate candies, right?

Well I decide to avoid the chocolate and bake healthy, tasty give away. I figured I am satisfying my need to celebrate, give to others and create something healthy for the people I care about. I also like cleaning out the kitchen, so I found a recipe from a Cooking Light Cookbook Low-Fat Ways to Cook for the Holidays that I adapted. I picked it because I wanted to use some really ripe bananas I had on hand. The recipe also calls for low-fat granola for which I substituted Kashi's Go Lean Crunch because it was in the pantry left over from when the kids were home for the Christmas holidays. It fit the bill.
Really Ripe Bananas add great flavor to bread and cookie recipes (photo by LivligaHome)

Go Lean Crunch my Subsititute for Low-Fat Granola (photo by LivligaHome)

Decadently Delectable Banana Treats


  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup stick light butter, softenend
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
  • ¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ cup unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cup low-fat granola (no raisins)
  • Cooking Spray


  1. Beat sugar and margarine at medium speed in a stand mixer (KitchenAid) until fluffy.
  2. Add banana, vanilla and egg. Beat well.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, and nutmeg. Add to banana mixture.
  4. Fold in granola.
  5. Drop dough by level tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Then remove cookies from baking sheet and let cool on wax paper or wire racks.

Makes 3 dozen. Calories per cookie 92.

Enjoy! May you have a Healthy and Heartfelt Valentine's Day!

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How to Enjoy a Healthy, Memorable and Romantic Valentine’s Supper

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Enjoy a Healthy, Memorable and Romantic Valentine’s Supper 
(photo by LivligaHome)
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. How can we enjoy a healthy, memorable and romantic Valentine’s supper? It is well understood that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Fixing a romantic dinner at home for your loved one is a perfect way to make a special evening and control the cost and content of your meal. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on

Great Healthy Living Quote #81-- Think About Why You Started

Monday, February 10, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #81
Happy #Monday!
#Livliga #lifestyle #living

Make it a great week.

Remember...Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Christmas Gift Makeover-- Smoked Salmon Salad

Friday, February 7, 2014
Smoked Salmon Salad (photo by LivligaHome)

We have a dear friend who has sent us smoked salmon as a Christmas gift for years. Each of those years our tradition has been to eat the smoked salmon on New Year's Day as we play games, have close friends over and generally hang out.

The smoked salmon appetizer comes with lots of condiments. There is chopped egg whites, sieved egg yolk, capers, diced red onion and sour cream. It all gets piled high on top of nice-sized squares of cocktail bread. We go through a lot of cocktail bread in order to eat up all the salmon, which, of course, is part of the ritual.

This year we had a different kind of New Year's Day so we didn't get around to eating the smoked salmon like we usually do. The day came and went with the package of smoked salmon sitting in the pantry.

It has been knawing at me ever since. The challenge is, on January 2, like so many others, we clean up our act and tone down our consumption. What to do with a gift of smoked salmon when you don't want to have appetizers and don't want to eat a ton of bread?

I decided to have a little fun and experiment. What about constructing a Smoked Salmon Salad? It seemed to me you could include all the condiments like before with the smoked salmon but instead of eating it on bread you could eat it on top of lettuce.

Truthfully it was a lot of fun to create. It was very tasty. And as you can see by the photo it was visually appealing. It will definitely be a repeat...maybe even when it is not New Year's Day.

Here is the recipe for the Smoked Salmon Salad:

3 ounces smoked salmon
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
1/2 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon light sour cream
3 cups mixed greens, including baby kale
2 tablespoons Sheila's light vinaigrette

1. Measure and flake the smoked salmon
2. Clean and measure the mixed greens. Place them in a bowl. Pour the light vinaigrette onto the salad and toss.
3. Place the tossed greens on to a dinner plate. Add the salmon, then chopped egg, red onion and capers. Top with the dollop of sour cream

Serves: 1. Calories: 277. Easily scaleable to as many as you have to serve.

To make it a meal we added a Whole Wheat Dried Apricot Muffin for 126 calories. Total calorie count for the meal-- 403.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!


Binge Eating "Safe" Food for Potato Chips

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

You can't just eat one, can you? Neither can I! That is why when we are in the mood to binge and there is a bag of chips begging to be opened in our pantry, it is better to choose a chip that is healthier for us but has that same crunchy, one-after-the-other, stuff-your-face sensation.

For sheer crispy, crunchy deliciousness, the potato chip is tough to beat. It’s no wonder, then, that Americans spend more than $7 billion a year on the salty snack. Not coincidentally, it’s also one of the top dietary contributors to weight gain, according to a recent Harvard study.

But rather than lecture ourselves on our naughty chip-chomping habit, it is important to know their are healthier alternatives to potato chips. One such choice is store-bought soy crisps which is a gluten-free alternative. Most varieties of crisps mix soy with puffed rice for a light, airy consistency. They have about a third fewer calories than potato chips and way less fat. There is also a lot more protein in them so they are ultimately more satisfying, One such choice is Newman's Own Organics Soy Crisps.

Chip nutrition facts:
Type                                    calories per serving       calories per bag    protein     salt           fat 
Kettle Chips                        150                                1,275                     2g            115mg      9g
Quaker Popped                   130                                780                        2g            400mg      5g
Newman's Own Soy           110                                660                        9g            650mg      2.5g

If you can't avoid the binge, then make sure the food you have on hand that is traditionally your "binge food" fits the bill both in form as well as substance. Soy chips are the better alternative for the classic potato chip. You can eat the whole bag without permanently expanding your waist line or triggering the self loathing that usually follows.

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Great Healthy Living Quote #80-- Create Healthy Habits

Monday, February 3, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #80
Happy #Monday!
#Livliga #lifestyle #living

Make it a great week.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

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