The Real Secret to a Long Life

Friday, May 30, 2014
The Real Secret to a Long Life
 This blog is all about the journey of living life to the fullest. I write about the foods, exercises and quality of life insights I have found and have used. We are all working so hard to stay healthy, lose weight and enjoy the process of living life. We want solutions and new ideas to help us keep going and improve our lives. A new study has come out that may provide us with the best solution to living a long and healthy life. It is actually very simple. We need to live a life of purpose.

Having a sense of purpose has been shown to add years to people's lives —and the benefit can be realized throughout adulthood. According to an article in The Week, that’s the conclusion of a long-term study that tracked the physical and mental health of more than 6,100 Americans aged 20 to 75. Previous research has shown purposefulness to be one of the strongest predictors of longevity, but this is the first time its impact on mortality has been isolated from other influences. 

Below is more information about the study as quoted from The Week:
At the beginning of the study, participants’ sense of purpose was assessed according to their response to statements such as “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.” They also answered questions about their emotional state and the quality of their relationships. Over the 14-year study period, 569 participants (roughly 9 percent of the group) died, and those subjects had all scored lower than their counterparts when it came to purposefulness. The findings held even after controlling for factors such as positive outlook, suggesting that purpose itself drives longevity. “Finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve,” Carleton University psychology professor Patrick Hill tells BBC​.com, “can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose".

The question now for all of us is--"Do we know what our purpose is?" and "Can we articulate it in the form of everyday action?" From what I have learned our purpose can be whatever is meaningful to us and does not need to be complicated or earth shattering. It does need to be something motivating and manageable. What passion can get you out of bed each morning?

For me my purpose is in living a healthier life and helping my family and others do the same. What is yours?


New Food Labeling—A Disaster in the Making?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The new food labeling requirement seems at first glance to be a good idea, but is it really a disaster in the making? (photo by LivligaHome)
The new food labeling requirement seems at first glance to be a good idea, but is it really a disaster in the making? It is always important to know what you are eating. From the time of kings when there were food tasters who ate the king’s food to make sure it was not poisoned, we have known how important it is to be aware of the content of our food. In this day and age we are more and more aware that the fat, sugar, salt and calories in foods are slowly killing us. So it stands to reason a label that clearly states what and how much is in a food can only be a good idea, right? Yes, but maybe not. Hear me out. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on


Great Healthy Living Quote #96-- Desire to Change

Monday, May 26, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #96-- Desire to Change 
Get in Touch with Your Burning Desire!


Rethinking The “Classic” Potato Salad

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Healthy Livliga Classic Potato Salad in Portion Control Bowl
Rethinking Classic Potato Salad (photo by LivligaHome)
As we look forward to summerand the Memorial Day holiday, many of us are planning our special meals. Central to the backyard barbecue or the tailgate picnic we anticipate is the classic potato salad.  The challenge I have always seen with the mayonnaise-based salad is two-fold: it can go rancid in the heat as it sits out baking in the sun; and it is higher in calories and carbs than other potato salads you can choose that are equally, if not more, delectable.

Two of our favorite potato salads have a vinegar-based dressing that keeps fresher and longer out on the picnic table, tastes delicious and each has less calories and carbs than the classic potato salad.  They are German Hot Potato Salad and Grilled Garlic and Portobello Potato Salad. The Grilled Garlic and Portobello Potato Salad is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe I found years ago. My recipe is:

5 cups sliced red potato (@2 ¼ lbs)
½ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbls lemon juice
2 Tbls capers
2 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbls balsamic vinegar
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried tarragon
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
8 garlic cloves, roasted and finely chopped
2 portobello mushroom caps, grilled and thinly sliced
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

1. Place sliced potato in a large saucepan, and cover with water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until potato is tender; drain. Let cool.
2. Place the garlic and mushrooms whole in a heated and sprayed cast-iron skillet. Roast/grill, turning regularly, until the garlic and mushrooms are golden brown. Remove from skillet and chop/slice. Let cool.
3. Combine green onions, parsley, lemon juice, capers, olive oil, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add potato, garlic and mushroom. Toss well.

Serves: 8. Serving size 1 cup. Calories: 119. Calories from fat 27%; Fat 3.6g; Satfat 0.5g; Monofat 2.5g; Polyfat 0.4g; Protein 2.8g; Carbohydrate 20g; Fiber 2.1g; Cholesterol 0.0mg; Iron 1.3mg; Sodium 177mg; Calcium 24mg.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Download Your Free Copy of Healthy Lifestyle and Weight Loss eBook

Healthy Eating Tip: Looking for a way to serve up attractively and in right-size portions? Check out Livliga's attractive Aveq Serving Bowl and pair it with our serving spoons with measurement, LivSpoons!

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on


Great Healthy Living Quote #95

Monday, May 19, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #95
Listen to the little voice.


Changing Habits-- Sharing a Steak

Friday, May 16, 2014
Thawing Steak on Livliga Portion Control Halsa Dinner Plate
One Steak for Two (photo by LivligaHome)
It is amazing to me how much my eating habits have changed. Actually, I should have started by saying-- It is amazing to me how much my eating habits have HAD to change. Regardless, the change is ongoing and for the better. Take, for instance, grilling and eating steak for dinner. So very different today.

When I was growing up I was served beef regularly for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Have you ever heard of a "minute steak"? They were popular when I was young and often served for breakfast. My mom thought serving a hunk of beef for breakfast was a great way to start the day. When I think back, I am sure it was at least an 8 ounce serving.

The average size of a steak is 8 to 12 ounces and you can certainly buy a T-bone steak which is much larger with a typical size of 20 ounces. When I was growing up the only cut of beef that was available in a smaller size was a Filet Mignon but was considered a luxury, not an everyday choice.

Now we eat less and less beef. A steak is considered a treat. We may have it once a week on the weekend. And since a steak comes in an 8 to 10 ounce serving, I now only buy 1 steak and split it between my husband and me. Such a difference. In reality, I savor the 4 ounces as much if not more than the 10 to 12 ounces I used to eat. There is nothing better than a perfectly grilled steak. Hmmmm....

If for convenience, because of the way they are packaged, or for a better buy, I pick up more than one steak we tend to grill an additonal steak for leftovers and then freeze the rest. There is nothing better than thin slices of steak made into a plentiful steak salad the next day. Check out my blog for other leftover salad ideas.

Steak Salad on Livliga Portion Control Vivente Dinner Plate
Steak Salad on a Livliga plate (photo by LivligaHome)

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Download Your Free Copy of Healthy Lifestyle and Weight Loss eBook

Yummy “Cream Cheese” Dip Made with Greek Yogurt

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

State of Slim Cream Cheese Dip
It is easy to make "cream cheese" out of Greek Yogurt for a yummy, crowd-pleasing dip (photo by LivligaHome)

There is nothing better than finding new ways to do things that are easier and better than what you have been doing. Recently, thanks to the State of Slim book, I have discovered how to make “cream cheese” out of Greek yogurt. This cream cheese is super easy to make and a great base for healthy dips and toppings. 

Besides having a fabulous texture and taste, Greek yogurt provides many health benefits. Like its regular yogurt cousins, Greek yogurt is known for having live and active cultures that contain good-for-you bacteria. Also, like all yogurts, Greek yogurt is made from milk products, which have been found to be beneficial for dieting.

Those who consume more healthy dairy products (low in fat, sugar, and salt) when dieting have been shown to lose more weight. And as is the case with all yogurts, they are packed with life enhancing vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and vitamin B12.

In addition to these attributes, Greek yogurt is higher in protein, containing about 15 –20 grams per serving. And, unlike regular yogurt, it is much lower in sugar, containing about half the amount. There is even less salt in Greek yogurts. This is definitely a heart-healthy, diabetes-managing and dieter-friendly food. Eat it as a snack during the day, and you will avoid big mood swings too.

Greek yogurt is an easy substitute for sour cream. And now, I have discovered it can be a great substitute for cream cheese. This means it can be incorporated into just about any recipe. It is great for dips, sauces and toppings, adding a lot of health benefits without calories.

Here is an easy way to make Greek yogurt “cream cheese”:


  • 2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Cheesecloth
  • Big rubber band
  • Bowl, preferably with a cover


  1. Cut the cheesecloth to cover the opening of the bowl. Make sure there is enough to go over the sides of the bowl.
  2. Place the cheesecloth over the bowl and secure it with a big rubber band.
  3. Plop the Greek yogurt on top of the cheesecloth. Spread it slightly so it covers the cheesecloth.
  4. Cover it with the top or place plastic wrap loosely over the top. Put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours until the moisture has seeped out and into the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Place the cream cheese mixture in an airtight container to use as needed. It is good for at least a couple of weeks.

How to make a delicious, Greek yogurt “cream cheese” dip:


  • 1 cup Greek yogurt cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
  • Raw vegetables for dipping: carrots, celery, jicama, endive, sweet peppers


  1. Place the cream cheese in a bowl. Add the measured horseradish and roasted red pepper. Stir until well-mixed.
  2. Clean and cut raw vegetables for dipping: carrots, celery, jicama, endive, and the like.
  3. Place the dip in an attractive serving bowl on a plate surrounded by your favorite raw vegetables. It’s great for snacks and parties.
  4. Serving size: good for one or many.

You can’t beat this yummy, healthy “cream cheese” dip made with Greek yogurt. Check out my blog for other dip ideas.

Enjoy and live vibrantly!

Download Your Free Copy of Healthy Lifestyle and Weight Loss eBook

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on


Great Healthy Living Quote #94--Realize How Blessed You Are

Monday, May 12, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #94
Start the day thinking about how blessed you are for what you have.


My Favorite Healthy Cookbooks

Friday, May 9, 2014
Pile of Healthy Cookbooks Livliga uses
My Favorite Healthy Cookbooks (photo by LivligaHome)

Cookbooks are my favorite read. There is no doubt about it. I have been cooking for a long time. I have also loved to cook. Even when my husband and I were teenagers our idea of fun was having a dinner party with friends and teachers. We even paired wines with the food! Then when we were a young married couple we had "guinea pig" dinners where we would try new recipes out that neither of us had ever prepared before. Good news is we never killed anyone or caused serious harm.

Then there were the years of preparing meals for my family while working full time and being a volunteer leader in my community. I looked for ways to prepare "complete" meals that didn't take too long, weren't too complicated and my kids would eat.

All my cooking was done because it looked good, was known to taste good, was recommended by someone or was a favorite of the kids. I wanted to offer a great meal that was "complete" but I never thought about it being a "balanced" meal or a meal with the healthiest of ingredients. The only thing I did pay attention to was calories but that was only when I was watching my weight.

As my learning and understanding of health and food has evolved, so has my library of cookbooks. Here is a list of my favorite go-to cookbooks:

My favorite regular everyday cookbooks:
Low-Fat Low-Calorie: quick and easy cookbook by Cooking Light

Mix & Match Low-calorie cookbook by Cooking Light

The Back in the Swing Cookbook by Barbara Unell and Judith Fertig

400 Calorie Fix by Liz Vaccariello with Mindy Hermann, RD

My favorite seasonal cookbooks:
Grilling by Cooking Light

Slow Cooker by Cooking Light

Low-Fat Ways to Cook for The Holidays 

My favorite "need-to-clean-up-my-act" cookbooks and resources:
State of Slim by James O. Hill, PhD, and Holly R. Wyatt, MD

The Fat Flush Cookbook by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Now Eat This! Diet by Rocco Dispirito

My favorite newest cookbook:
Fresh Food Fast 24/7 by Cooking Light

My all time favorite "if-you-only-had-one-cookbook-to-choose" cookbook:
The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook by Cooking Light

As you can see, I love cookbooks! I learn so much from each one. It also keeps me from getting bored with the "same ol' same ol'". You might have also noticed that Cooking Light is very present in all categories. I find their books so well done and the recipes are well concieved. They are always visually attractive, the right amount of calories and incredibly tasty-- what I require in any recipe and meal I prepare. And, of course, you can find so many terrific recipes on line through their site or

We are so fortunate to live in an era that has an abundance of resources for us to plan and cook healthy meals. The challenge is taking the time to be organized and to make the meals! The results, however, are totally worth it.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Discover Livliga's Healthy Cooking Bundle


Willpower as a Limited Resource; Habits Come to the Rescue

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Willpower wears out during the course of the day making it impossible to resist the cookies sitting out on the counter tempting us (photo by LivligaHome).
There is recent research that has identified willpower as a limited resource. By our own personal experience I think we know this to be true. Why is it, for instance, it is always at the end of the day when we are tired, having fought off food urges all day, that we finally give in to drinking that glass of wine we didn’t want to drink or eat that sweet we swore we weren’t going to touch? Our willpower fails us because it is exhausted after a hard day too. Click here to read the entire article...

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on


Great Healthy Living Quote #93-- Being Re-Directed to Something Better

Monday, May 5, 2014
Great Healthy Living Quote #93
Today is the day to realize something better.


Changing Habits Over Time

Friday, May 2, 2014
Changing Habits Over TIme--Working Out at the YMCA (photo by LivligaHome)
Every once and a while I like stopping and reflecting on all the healthy changes I have made in my life. It makes me feel proud that I have been able to make the changes I have. It also reminds me that I can change and keep morphing to ensure I am living a healthier lifestyle. The one thing we do know in our lives is that the one true constant is change, the key is making it a positive one that enhances our lives.

Some changes are small and pretty easy to embrace. I eat off of smaller plates (Livliga ones, of course!). I exercise at the gym 6 days a week for about an hour. I don't drink wine any more during the week when I am home (this one was a little harder to stick to initially!). I eat more vegetables at each meal. I eat way less protein, although I make sure I eat protein at each meal. And I plan my snacks for each day, as one of many examples of my personal changes for a healthier lifestyle. Many of these changes took time to make into a habit. I used to work out only 3 days a week at the gym and for only 45 minutes, for instance. Definitely a good start but it wasn't enough to help me maintain my weight. Already having a habit of going to the gym certainly helped me evolve my routine into more days and more time. My point? You have to start somewhere with a new healthy habit and you have to do it regularly as part of your daily routine. Change is not a one time thing. It is about a way of life.

Maintaining a change isn't always easy. Sometimes you just aren't in the mood or you are tired or you are bored with the "same-old-same-old".  That is when I have learned to change it up a bit. It is not about not doing something that is an important healthy part of our lives. It is about making it doable, fun and so automatic you don't have to talk yourself into it each time you do it. With my work outs I do different routines each day. I also change up what I listen to. Right now I get started running on the treadmill with Pharrell Williams "Happy". It is impossible for me not to smile, put more movement in my run and feel great while I am doing it. Check it out for yourself!

Another part of adopting permanent change is being honest with ourselves. I used to buy things in multiples, talking myself into the idea that we could "save some for later". Now I have faced the truth and no longer do this unless it is something I can freeze. A good example of this is grilling steaks. Our family loves to eat steak. It is a treat for us. We were brought up in the Midwest in cattle country. To tell you the whole truth, I used to be fed steak at every meal. Ever heard of a "minute steak" for breakfast? Fortunately, over the years, my intake of meat has lessened with each meal. We still love our steaks, though. But this habit has also morphed to the better. It wasn't too long ago that I would buy a steak for each person in the family, telling everyone they could eat what they wanted and we would save the rest for later, for another meal. The problem with that is that, as we know, if it is sitting  in front of you you are just as likely to go ahead and eat the whole thing rather than save anything for later. None of us needs to eat that amount of meat at any one meal. Steaks pretty much come in 8-10 ounce servings. Since my husband and I are currently "empty-nesters", I now buy just one steak and split it between the two of us. This way we have just what we need, feel perfectly satisfied and can savor our steak guilt-free. If there is a super deal at the grocery store on steaks in bulk I do buy them but I re-package them at home so I can pull them out of the freezer one steak at a time. It has been very helpful to us to do this. I have now done it enough times that it is easy to do and not a struggle.

So today I am celebrating my ability to change, to create new healthy habits and my ability to keep changing for the better as I am committed to living a healthier life.  Please join me in the celebration of all of us embracing positive change!

Changing Habits Over Time--it is a possible! (photo by LivligaHome)

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!