Friday, July 13, 2012

My Plan for a Healthy National Ice Cream Month

Ice cream with Mediterranean flair.
July is National Ice Cream Month. Yet, many are fearful that if they indulge in the frosty confection, it will have negative effects on their health. Sugar and fat-laden ice cream has well-known side effects, such as temporary sugar high, weight gain and bloating. However, I believe there is a healthy way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month. And it doesn’t include substituting the fat free or sugar free versions of the summertime treat.

Basically, my plan is to cross scientifically proven healthy habits with ice cream consumption. We all know exactly what it takes to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle: exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, keep a food journal and maintain a healthy diet. For our purposes, we're going to focus on the Mediterranean diet because everyone knows it’s one of the healthier diets and I am of Italian descent, so I’ve got decades of experience with it.

EXERCISE: Rather than drive to the ice cream shop, walk. Gather your friends and neighbors and head out on foot. Work up a sweat. Every step you take is pre-burning calories you get to consume once you get your hands on that precious scoop of frozen deliciousness. The great part of this part of the plan is exercise needs to be a regular part of your routine, so I suggest walking to the ice cream shop at least three times a week.

DRINK WATER: I always wondered why ice cream shops have water fountains or coolers, offering up free water. I assumed it was because ice cream makes you thirsty or water has a neutralizing effect on brain freeze. However, now that I’ve joined the ‘drink at least half a gallon of water a day’ bandwagon, I have come to the conclusion that an extra serving of water serves to reduce the likelihood of experiencing the side effects of ice cream.

WRITE IT DOWN: Health and weight loss articles continue to point to the correlation between recording everything you eat in a journal and improved health and weight loss. As a writer, of course I believe in the power of the pen. It just makes sense that writing down, “one scoop of double-fudge delight with rainbow sprinkles, light whipped cream and a cherry,” in a food journal will help counteract the detrimental health effects of eating a high-fat, high-calorie dessert.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET: Eating healthy is key to maintaining a healthy body weight and reducing medical problems. Ice cream doesn’t quite fit on the list healthy food choices. And unless it is made with goat milk, it isn’t exactly Mediterranean. However, in the spirit of National Ice Cream Month, I developed a topping, derived from the Mediterranean diet, that adds antioxidants, vitamins and iron. Basically, by using my special topping, you can sprinkle away any guilt you may be harboring over having to write down “ice cream sundae with the works” in your food journal. My topping is simple: a mixture of dried oregano, basil and parsley. I grow and dry my herbs, so I have plenty of  topping mixture to for July’s ice cream celebrations. For those of you who aren’t obsessed with hanging bunches of herbs held together with rubber bands all around your kitchen, pantry, hallway and dining room, I’m sure the store-bought version would provide similar benefits.

So there you have it; a foolproof plan for enjoying the pleasures of ice cream, while at the same time reducing the potential for health-wrecking side effects. Now get out there, walk to the ice cream shop and enjoy!
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Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer and content manager is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Random Friday Thoughts for July 6, 2012

[Editorial Note: Random Friday Thoughts is typically published on Micki Bare's Blog on the Arkansas News Bureau (ANB) website ArkansasNews.com. However, due to technical difficulties on the ANB site, it is being published on Navigating Hectivity, today.]

Image via the NC Zoo.
Today, the NC Zoo welcomed a new baby giraffe. Mother Jamili is reportedly doing well. She’s also taken well to motherhood, so much so that zoo officials have yet to identify the baby’s sex. Apparently, there’s no one to yell, “IT’S A BOY!” or “IT’S A GIRL!” in giraffe birthing rooms. Then again, it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, as long as it’s healthy. At least, that what I understand giraffe father, Jack, kept noting in the months leading up to the birth. I secretly suspect he’s been hoping for a boy.

Another big story in the news this week was the verification of the “God Particle,” also known as Higgs boson. What captured my attention was how something so small could have such a huge impact. Next time you question your ability to have a positive impact on the world around you, simply think about the fraction of an atom that has the power to create universes—the smallest of us has the power to make anything happen.

In my little universe, I just had the pleasure of getting re-acquainted with two nephews and a niece who live about 400 miles away. Talk about something small having great power. Each one of them—a young child and two toddlers—wrapped themselves around my heart and lifted my spirit to new heights. They are all super sweet and amazingly brilliant. I cannot wait to see them again. Two new priorities: more video chatting between visits and more visits!
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Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer and content manager is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
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Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Visit Micki’s website: http://www.inspiredscribe.com
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
Read Navigating Hectivity
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY READING:
5 Excellent Reasons to HOST the July 4th Cookout
Recipe for Disaster: The Day Without AC
Thank You Letter to My Son

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

5 Excellent Reasons to HOST the July 4th Cookout

On the Saturday morning before July 4, when we’d normally be on the road headed out of town, I awoke early and made my way to the superstores. I can’t remember the last time we actually stayed in town for the July 4th week. Typically, we spend the holiday with family and friends in the New York/New Jersey area.  This year, we decided to forgo the annual trip and host a cookout of our own.

Based on my relatively new stay-home-for-Independence-Day planning experiences, here are my top five reasons for throwing the party rather than traveling to it:

Stocked up on celebratory
decorations, yet still saved
money by hosting this year.
1. SAVE MONEY When gas prices are above $3 a gallon, it can be much more cost effective to clean the house, paint a room, buy tons of food and fix the badminton set than to travel. When you factor in the cost of eating on the road and incidentals, like a trip into NYC, souvenirs and trying to outdo relatives with generosity spending, I could feed my family for a year on what we’re saving.

2. HOME REPAIRS Sure, you would have gotten to painting this and replacing that eventually. But people making solid plans to visit you exponentially increases the potential for images of your personal space to be plastered all over Facebook, which in turn motivates a flurry of fixing up stuff before the big party. And while it may be stressful, once everyone heads home you're left with a freshly painted bathroom.

3. NEW TOWELS There’s nothing worse than inviting relatives to stay, and then realizing you barely have enough towels for your family, let alone Uncle Fred and Aunt Myra. After pulling together your entire inventory, finding that most is unfit for donation to Goodwill, let alone guest use, causes an impromptu visit to the bed and bath section of the superstore, where you stock up on new towels, pillowcases and other linens you haven’t thought about replacing since your bridal shower.

Crowded by 10 a.m., yet still
pleasant experience.
4. NO TRAFFIC Even the folks I nearly cut off trying to find a shady spot to park were forgiving when I made my way to Party City and Costco for our outdoor picnic provisions. Yes, the parking lot at Costco was full by 10 a.m., but everyone was much more pleasant than what we encountered during December. But then, Saturday’s crowd consisted of the ones giving the parties, not the ones stuck in Interstate traffic with the gas needle dipping while someone whined in desperation for another potty break.

5. BED There’s nothing like getting home after a long trip and sleeping in your own bed.  Unless, that is, you are home the whole time, sleeping in your own bed. Hosting the party can be exhausting, but when you can escape every evening to your bed, pillow and comforting surroundings, you realize you’ve got the good end of the deal.

Just in case guests want
to get "Lei-ed," we stocked up.
Then again, there is an argument for being the out-of-town guests. We certainly have created a ton of great family memories on our July 4th road trips.
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Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer and content manager is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Visit Micki’s website: http://www.inspiredscribe.com
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY READING:
Recipe for Disaster: The Day Without AC
Thank You Letter to My Son
You Have to Tell a Person When Her Boob is Labeled "L"