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How I enjoy holidays parties without food guilt.

by Isabel De Los Rios
Just too good not too re-post…
Today I want to share with you how I keep up my healthy eating regimen even during all the holiday parties and events.

Actually, the strategies you’ll find below are NOT just specific for the holidays, you can use these methods for any social gathering and party that you may be attending.

Just last Saturday, I hosted my own little party for the parents from my kid’s school. It was really great. A lot of us only see each other during drop off and pickup so it was nice to get to know the other parents outside of the school parking lot.

Many of these parents don’t know me at all…so they don’t know how passionate I am about nutrition and health or that we are completely gluten free and don’t eat any processed food. My goal for the party was to choose foods that would make everyone happy, without having to resort to unhealthy “party” foods.
isabel
Here is what I served:

Corn chips (organic, non GMO) and home-made guacamole
Rice crackers and goat cheese
Raw cheese platter
Veggies and Greek Yogurt Dip
Fruit salad

The party was a huge hit! By the amount of food that was left (almost none) and the wonderful compliments I received, I could safely assume that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food and did not go home feeling lousy.

Now, a party at my house would be super easy to work with, BUT what if the party you’ll be attending is not quite an Isabel bash? What do you do then?

Here are my top 3 strategies for surviving your next social event or party. These are methods I personally use all the time so I am always excited about any social event or gathering regardless of the food being served.

1. Offer to bring something to the party. I very rarely go to anyone’s home without bringing something homemade (and my friends and family really look forward to it). The host or hostess is always so grateful and at least I know, if nothing else, I can eat the item I brought. Many of the items that I served at my last party (shown above) are also some of the items that I bring to parties. I have also been known to make cocktail meatballs (made from grass fed beef), chicken skewers (made from pastured poultry) or smoked salmon on cucumber slices. You may want to give your hostess/host a few options and see which one appeals to him or her the most. (Tip: Guacamole and fresh veggies is almost always a huge hit everywhere I go!)

2. Eat before the party. Do not arrive starving! If you really don’t think the party will offer anything that is an acceptable option for you, eat beforehand so that you are not partying hungry. If someone asks why you’re not eating, you can use any of the following responses and none of them would be lying: “I had a really late lunch and I’m not quite hungry yet. Everything does look great and I’ll be sure to try something out,” OR “I’m definitely going to grab something here in a sec. Thanks for asking,” OR my personal favorite, “I get pretty sick if I eat any wheat or dairy so I try and stay away from it. I definitely would not want to get sick at this great party.” As far as I’m concerned, none of those are rude, nor are they lies (especially the last one!) I actually use a very similar response for my children, “My kids get very sick if they eat wheat or dairy so I try and keep them away from it.”…No more explanation needed. I find that the people that truly care for you will want you to be healthy and would never want you to get sick, especially at their party!

3. Focus on something else besides the food. This is where having 2 toddlers really comes in handy (so if you want to borrow mine, please let me know). Many times, I really can’t even focus on the food and what’s being served because I need to tend to my children (every parent reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about). But, you may not have kids, or you may be attending this particular party without them. Focus on catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a long time, engage in conversations you don’t have the opportunity to have otherwise, and maybe even get your “groove on” on the dance floor (c’mon, what’s a party without dancing?). Keep your focus on the true goal of the party and that’s to enjoy yourself with family and friends, not to focus on what food is being served or what you should or shouldn’t be eating.

And most importantly, I want you to NOT beat yourself up if the party just doesn’t go the way you wanted. Maybe you had one too many cocktails, maybe the brownies were just too good to say no to, or maybe you just ended up eating every single thing that came in your direction. Leave that party behind you and move on. Today is another day and another opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. One party will not make or break your weight loss goals or your health.

The most important thing you can do is see it as one night or just one party, and not as a reason to let all of your healthy efforts go to the way side. I know this time of year can pose some challenges, so arm yourself with the tools above and remember that this season is about happiness, joy and the togetherness of family and friends.

In health and happiness,

 

 

 

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5 Questions to Ask To Determine Pros and Cons of Long Term Care Insurance

elder-care-41c78c676765b6932191b5118eb63517edcbdbff-s6-c30By  -

Is long term care insurance a wise purchase? You’ll need to evaluate the pros and cons of long term care insurance to come up with your own answer. Here are five questions to ask to help you determine the pros and cons of long term care insurance.

    1. Do you lead a healthy lifestyle? Believe it or not, healthy may mean you are more likely to need care. The healthiest people are often the ones that end up needing long term care assistance later in life, whereas heart problems or cancer may take the unhealthy ones sooner. One of the pros of long term care insurance for a healthy person is it can allow you to stay in your home and maintain your independence longer. This is because most policies issued today cover the cost of in-home care, which can provide someone to help with many of the activities of daily living.
    1. What does your family‘s health history look like?What is longevity and health like for your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and siblings? Has anyone needed care later in life? Who was there to assist them? What if they had needed care? How would it have affected the family? A pro of long term care insurance is that it reduces the burden of care that may other wise fall on loved ones.
    1. Are you willing to spend your own assets down and then become a dependent of the state, or dependent on your family, should you need care?What if you break a hip later in life? What if your mind remains fully alert, but you need help cooking, cleaning and dressing, and you do not want to move in with a family member? Who would help and how would you pay for their help? Full time long term care assistance can run $6,000 – $10,000 a month or even more if medical care is needed. If you have sufficient assets to cover this cost, then you have no need for long term care insurance.
    1. Can you afford a premium that would provide you a reasonable amount of coverage?Long term care insurance has features that you can adjust. Like buying a car, you can get all the extras, and pay for them, or you can buy a base model that costs less but still provides decent transportation. The major con of long term care insurance is the same as any insurance: you may pay premiums for years and never use the coverage. You need to look at it the same way you look at any other type of insurance. After paying for homeowner’s insurance for years, are you upset that your home never burned down and that you never used your insurance?
  1. What do the long term care statistics say about how many people will need care, and how long they will need it for? According to long term care statistics “the lifetime probability of becoming disabled in at least two activities of daily living or of being cognitively impaired is 68% for people age 65 and older.” It is good to look at the statistics, but your personal odds are either zero or 100%. You either will need care or you won’t.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Long Term Care Insurance

  • The pros of long term care insurance are that it allows you to maintain your independence and reduces the financial and psychological stress that a long term care need causes a family.
  • The cons are the cost of the premiums.

Whether you buy insurance or not, you’ll want to have a plan in place so you and your family know what to do if you need care. That plan involves talking to family and friends about their ability to help, if and when help is needed.

 

 

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Would Your Holidays be Different If You Knew You Had a Terminal Illness?


Woman Living with Incurable Cancer Offers 3 Ways to Get
the Most Out of Every Day

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Jane Schwartzberg cringes when she hears someone say that a terrible accident or frightening medical diagnosis made them realize what’s important in life.

“In some ways, I do wish everyone could experience a taste of terminal, if that’s what it takes to make them appreciate the intangible gifts we receive not just during the holidays, but all year,” says Schwartzberg, co-author with Marcy Tolkoff Levy of “Naked Jane Bares All,” www.nakedjanebaresall.com, a new book that shares Jane’s story with candor and humor.

“But I wish they’d known all along, and I hate the thought of goodness coming at the expense of so much suffering.”

Schwartzberg says she was clear about what’s most important before she was diagnosed with stage four incurable breast cancer. As a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, she knew that all that really matters is how much love we give and receive.
The holidays are a wonderful opportunity for people to remember that and to focus on who they love. But, too often, they become a source of anxiety, stress, and tension. Financial concerns, having too much to do, and missing loved ones were among the top causes of holiday stress, according to a recent Mental Health America survey.

“Although I won’t attribute any revelations about what’s most important in life to my illness, I can say that there are a few things that I am trying to do better since getting sick,” Schwartzberg says.

“The holidays are a great time to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and to re-focus on the things that are most meaningful.”

For Schwartzberg, those include:

• Showing up. If you’re worried about yesterday or always planning for tomorrow, you’re missing the present moment and any wonderful experiences it may hold.

“Although my clock ticks louder than others, I know we are all here for a short time,” Schwartzberg says. “I am determined to find joy in every single day. It may come from the simplest of things: a view from my window, a great conversation or a hot cup of coffee. But I know I need to be always present and available, with an open mind and open heart, to experience any of it.”

• Riding her love train. We all have people in our lives who care about us, and it’s important to let them know how much we appreciate them. Schwartzberg’s “love train” is a metaphor for all of the people she chooses to share her life with.  “They are rooting me on and giving my family and me love and support,” she says. “I try to be as meticulous and thoughtful as I possibly can be with those on board, and that means making sure they know how much I love and value them.”

• Knowing my place in the world. There is a Jewish teaching that says everyone should carry with them two pieces of paper, each in a separate pocket. One paper should say, “I am but dust and ashes.”  The other, “The world was created for me.”

“I constantly remind myself that both statements are true,” Schwartzberg says. “I am capable of incredible things to improve the world, and I am just a tiny speck in the universe. Powerfulness and humility can, and do, exist for me side by side.”

As the holidays approach, keep in mind that the best gift you can give – or receive – is love.

“It’s not a table full of food or gadgets you can’t afford,” she says. “Approach this holiday season as if it could be your last, and you’ll probably find much more to revel in than to stress about.”

About Jane Schwartzberg

Jane Schwartzberg, 45, is the co-author of the newly released book, “Naked Jane Bares All,” the many-layered story – told with humor and candor — of how she learned to embrace life when she was down for the count. Jane is a financial services executive and founder and former CEO of a start-up technology company.

 

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Workplace Health And Demographics – Managing The Mix

officeNew times ahead: emerging workforce

During the years after the war, there was an increase in the number of babies born in the UK, hence the term ‘baby boom’. But populations rise and fall, and so do the demographics therein. Due to a fall in the number of births, the age of the country’s people as a whole is set to rise.

This increase in the number of older people brings with it a number of challenges in terms of public spending and already the default retirement age of 65 had been abolished. Those who can afford to can still retire whenever they like, of course, but it is envisaged that in the future people will work for a longer period of their life than they had previously.

And according to an ICM poll that was commissioned a couple of years ago, less than a third of the workforce has made ‘adequate’ provision for retirement, which suggests that the majority of people could be working beyond the age of 65.

Implications for business

The Equality Act of 2010 makes it clear that employees can’t be discriminated against because of the age they happen to be. Which in turn means that organisations will increasingly require to have policies in place to prevent it occurring in the areas of recruitment, pay, training and so on.

From a health perspective, it’s obviously the case that older employees will have different needs and requirements. According to the UK Government’s Health & Safety Executive there are differing patterns of absence between younger and older employees in general – older people having fewer instances of sick leave, but the absences being for a longer period of time.

One important factor for health is that – as we all know – healthy lifestyles mean better health overall in the long run. So encouraging a set of conditions that mean the young workforce of today have healthy habits will have a positive effect on the future of their health.

The holistic approach – managing the age mix

Regardless of what average age the workforce eventually becomes, there is likely to be increasing focus on health and wellbeing – since both of these now look unarguably to have positive effects on productivity.

Continually improving things like job design, mental health promotion, working practices and so on, should mean the health of the workforce will undoubtedly benefit. Group health insurance  is likely to become more often included as part of the employee benefits package, especially as when the population ages more strain is widely predicted to be put on the health service.

Technology in terms of medical procedures, treatments and diagnostics will likely also have an effect on the workforce – and in the last two decades sickness absence has decreased to a remarkable extent. If this trend continues, then the chances are that some of the health issues that can affect older employees will be lessened in effect.

Human longevity is on the increase. And as the island communities of Okinawa in Japan and Ikaria in Greece have shown us, people can live healthy and productive lives to an age that far surpasses even the life expectancy of previous generations.

Featured images:

About the author: health blogger J. Jones writes on workplace wellbeing for a number of blogs, add her to your circles on Google+.

 

 

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7 Steps To Reducing Employee Sick Leave

Image Source

There’s really no way of completely avoiding germs – they’re everywhere, year-round. Alas, this means your employees are just as likely to fall ill in balmy summer months as they are in the bleak midwinter. Fortunately, conscientious employers out there can do their bit to help by implementing strategies to boost employee health and fitness, thereby heading off any pesky illnesses at the pass. Here’s what you as an employer should do to cut down on employee sickness…

Light & Green

As unlikely as it may sound, introducing more greenery around the workplace can have a positive effect on employee mood, productivity, and health. Sourcing office plants can be cheaply and easily done and will certainly brighten up the workplace – plus, studies have demonstrated that proximity to nature increases alertness and well-being. Likewise, exposure to natural sunlight has equally positive effects, so an office layout that allows for lots of natural light is beneficial, too.  It’s really the little things that make a difference.

Healthy Snacks

Office vending machines tend to offer easy access to fizzy drinks and sugar-laden sweets, the consumption of which results in sugar bursts that eventually leave employees tired and possibly moody. Try to offer healthy alternatives like fresh fruit, peanuts, and suchlike – whether in your company cafeteria or simply in the kitchen or break rooms.

Provide Health Incentives

If your employees bike to work, offer them incentives in the form of subsidies or through the provision of secure bike parking and other useful facilities. You could even take this a step further and encourage energy-saving practices like carpooling, using public transport, or walking to work.

Encourage Exercise

If your company doesn’t already have gym facilities, why not strike up a deal with nearby gyms and negotiate discounts for employees who choose to work out there? People are more likely to head to a gym that’s close by their work or home, since it makes travelling easier. A quick workout in the morning leaves employees energised and ready to tackle the tasks ahead, and even if they go after work an overall increase in health reduces the likelihood of falling ill.

Stay Clean

Encourage employees to wash their hands, dispose of used tissues, and be as hygienic as possible in using bathroom and kitchen facilities. In a place where many people spend all day indoors together, breathing the same air, drinking out of the same mugs and touching the same door handles, germs can spread super fast. The cost of employee sick leave is a major expense for businesses, so forking out for better cleaning services can save you money overall.

Options For Sick Leave

Ensure that in the event your employees do fall ill, they’re aware of what they’re entitled to in terms of sick pay and leave. This isn’t possible in all industries, but to prevent employees from coming into work even when they’re sick and could infect co-workers, you could come up with a system that, for example, allows employees to work from home for reduced pay while they’re still contagious but able to remain at least somewhat productive. That way, any urgent work can still get done on time without the expense of other employees’ health.

Step In

If an employee is stressed, struggling to stay on top of things, and constantly working long hours, it may be necessary to take him or her aside and talk through things. This is especially true when it comes to new hires or recent in-house promotions, who may be finding it difficult to adjust. If possible, help them come up with solutions to manage their work more effectively, remind them of the relevant people they can ask for help, and if they’ve been unfairly loaded down with work, try and redistribute assignments so that the work isn’t getting done at the detriment of one person’s health. It’s not always possible to keep an eye on these things, but generally taking the time to check up on employees can mean that stressful situations are easily and efficiently sorted out. Oh, and did I mention stress increases your chances of falling ill?

Got any other tips for reducing ill-health in the workplace? Share them in the comments!

Featured images:

James Duval is the business and tech editor at GKBCInc.

 

 

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Five Tips To Overcome Top Executive Burnouts

Even though people use stress and burnout as synonyms, these words refer to different aspects: stress implies a physical state where your body is overly taxed, whereas a burnout defines a state of depression that is mostly caused by an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. Nonetheless, stress is known to be one of the leading causes of several conditions, including work burnout. Given the current frantic economic fluctuations and intense competition, it is safe to assume that almost all managers are under a lot of stress and therefore more likely to experience burnout. Because both will affect an executive manager’s capacity to run an organization effectively, it is important to take action immediately; following is a list of 5 tips on how to deal with work-related burnouts.

Work Life Balance Graphic1. Make realistic to-do lists
As the CEO, it’s very likely that you have an interminable to-do list that gets bigger and bigger each day. Without denying that those tasks have to get done, they don’t have to be done all at once, but rather gradually, particularly if you don’t have the physical time to finish them all. Since the mere sight of an endless list could add to the stress load, it is recommended to start making smaller and more manageable lists.

2. Take some time for yourself
If you are unable to remember the last time you took your family out to dinner or the last time you spent some quality time with your spouse, then you are experiencing burnout. While you are an indispensable man for your company, don’t forget that those countless sleepless nights and stress could have already taken their toll on the other important aspects of your life. The solution is to take some time off and meet with the people you love on a regular basis. However, make sure you are truly “away” from work by leaving your laptop and phone at the office.

3. Reevaluate the deadlines
Although you are under a lot of pressure to reach deadlines, it is never a good idea to overpromise on the delivery date. Not only will you and your team be under a lot of stress, but the final product could also be subpar to the company’s standards. An effective approach in this case is to allow for some leeway time, so the consequences are not so tragic if you don’t meet deadlines.

4. Make sure you have sufficient resources to get the job done
Closely related to successfully meeting deadlines, incorrectly estimating the resources you need to get the project done constitutes another source of burnout. Despite the fact that some projects are urgent, dedicate some time to evaluate exactly what you need and even get additional resources before you get started. On a side note, it’s a good idea to consult with your staff when establishing the required resources for a project.

5. Understand that sometimes you need to say “no”
While most managers can’t even imagine turning down a project, it is important to note that if you don’t have the time and resources for it then it is OK to refuse that task. In addition, you can also decline going to meetings that don’t really concern you or say “no” to your boss or colleague if they come in unannounced and interrupt you constantly when you are busy. As an executive, CEO or other professional remember you’re the boss!

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Lucy Smith is currently learning to manage stress in the workplace. She chooses running to help manage her stress and improve her health and wellbeing. Lucy can’t wait to run her 8th marathon this year!

 

 

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Growing old gracefully and western civilization, or, do you have parents?

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Both my parents were dead by the time I was 29 years old.  My father had Alzheimer’s, and by the time I graduated from college to come out and help my mother take care of him, it was essentially to put him in a rest home.  He died there one week later.
My mother, due to the stress of taking care of him, contracted lymphoma and died four years later.  Her sister was in a rest home with MS, and we had been visiting her there for years.  With my parents gone it was left up to me.  She had a daughter who lived back east, but she had stopped visiting 5 years earlier.  It was just too painful.  I must admit that the visits came to be less and less frequent.  She was in a new full blown rest home, and she was actually one of the lucky ones.  The place reeked of urine and feces, people were literally moaning and screaming and wandering the halls, mostly in their wheelchairs.  It was a difficult place to visit, and I used to have a few pops before I went up every time.  I think when she passed it had been nine months since I had seen her the last time.
This is how we take care of our old and disabled.
My grandfather was in the VA, and when grandma was alive we visited him almost every afternoon.  We did see hundreds of people in the halls, but most never had any visitors.  We use to walk around award from bed to bed and make sure everybody in there had a little bit of attention and some human contact.  I think I was six years old then, and I still remember how bad it was.
This was all over 30 years ago.  I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when we baby boomers all start dropping like flies.  The lucky ones of us will just die, the unlucky ones will have to live through it.
We go our entire lives assuming that we deserved Health Care, and then somehow it will be provided for us.  Regardless of Obama Care and all of the best intentions, without a major revolution there simply is not going to be any way to pay for our Health Care.
It will literally take a village.  Without it we will be lucky to be given enough morphine to ease the pain as we are left in a corner in her wheelchair to quietly wait for death.
Aside from local governments, I have only encountered one group that is trying to do something about it:  The National Compassion Holiday Petition group http://nationalcompassionholiday.com/ led by Michael  Villalpando is that group.
If you have parents, know of anyone disabled, or plan to ever come incapacitated yourself, you might want to pay it forward and at least sign this guy’s petition. It’s free,  unless you feel called to contribute, and only takes a second.  Your old age Karma might just depend on it.
 

 

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