Sunday, February 19, 2017

Financial Stress Busters


High credit card debt is like mountain climbing when you're afraid of heights.  If you're seeking serenity, it's hard to find when your debt is overwhelming you.  Here are three financial stress busters to help you from falling over a cliff:

  1. Write everything down.  Track every penny of your spending for 30 days.  You're searching for leaks in your financial bucket.  Daily tracking will help you increase your awareness about where your money goes.  Plug the leaks and your financial bucket will increase.
  2. Use cash envelopes for your purchases.  I really like this one.  No money in the envelopes means no more spending until you replenish your funds.
  3. Make a plan.  Add target dates to your dream purchases and make sure you don't ever borrow money in advance.  If you come up short on your savings, defer the dream until you have all the funds you need to pay cash.
The only mountain climbing I do now is on nature hikes.  My wife and I are using one credit card provided the funds are already in the bank so we can immediately make a payment for the full amount when the bill arrives.  Our promise to each other is to stop using the card the day we have to pay interest.  We are now rewarded with an annual rewards check and there is no annual fee attached.  The funds will be placed in an envelope marked "entertainment."  Life doesn't get any better.  Have a great day.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Can You Do It Better?


Today is a new day.  Is it going to be any better than yesterday?  I have a simple idea to help you.  Take a few minutes to mull over the major highlights including your interactions with others.  Don't beat yourself up – the day is over.  You can't change the outcome.  Give yourself a pep talk after thinking of ways you could have done something better and try again today.  You get bonus points for going back to the people in your life that you need to apologize to for your own mistakes.  Yes, you can do it better and the people around you are aware of that.  If you're not sure, just ask them.  Have a great day.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Recipes

Pregnancy has its privileges.  Onlookers are offering support.  Recently I asked readers to please share their favorite recipes that are consistent with my caveman food lifestyle for publication in my next book on Labor Day.  I'm sharing three today on this blog for you to try.  Let me know what you think.

Margie's Mango Salsa – the Perfect Caveman Appetizer

2 Mangos
1/4 Red Onion
1 to 2 Serrano Peppers
1 to 2 Lemons - squeeze as much as you want
1 Cucumber
2 Tomatoes
1 Avocado (optional)
Cilantro

Dice all ingredients.  Margie suggests dicing them as small as possible.  Squeeze in lemon juice and season with salt (I prefer no-salt seasoning).

This is good with grilled fish or chicken.  Also good with tortilla chips.

Teresa's Coconut Flour Banana Bread

1 pinch salt (I use no-salt seasoning as a substitute)
4 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 bananas, mashed (make sure they are on the dark side for best flavor)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup pecans (or walnuts)

Whisk the dry ingredients first, then stir wet ingredients until smooth.
Stir in your choice of nuts
Put in a greased loaf pan
Bake at 350º for 50-75 minutes.  Cover with foil after 50 minutes.
Cool on a rack completely before eating for optimum texture and flavor.

Michael's Caveman Signature Smoothie

With the exception of the avocado and the orange, I like to keep my fruits frozen and I find the recipe works best in a high speed blender.  My personal preference is a Vitamix.  I tried the Nutribullet but find the Chia seeds don't break down properly and the texture is isn't as fine as I prefer.  I've been experimenting with this recipe for over a year and notice a difference if just one ingredient is missing.  The multi-step process is necessary in order to keep the blender from freezing up.  This makes 4-5 servings.

1 cup of spinach
1 stalk of celery
1/2 avocado
3 cups of cold water
1 orange
1 banana (frozen works best to keep smoothie cold)
1 tablespoon of organic blue agave
1 tablespoon of Chia Seed
1 tablespoon of Flaxseed
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup mixed berries (I like blackberries and raspberries)

Start with spinach, celery, avocado and water.  Mix at high speed.  While blending, add orange, banana, agave, Chia seed and Flax seed.  Turn off and add frozen fruits.  Mix at high speed until well blended.

You can find these and other recipes in my next book, scheduled for release on May 1, 2017.  If you're interested in picking up a copy, bookmark this page and come back on delivery date.  All proceeds will be donated to Children's Miracle Network.  Have a great day.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Writer Finds New Meaning For Labor Day


When I began telling friends and family members I was pregnant with another book, some took it literally and wanted to know more about the baby.  There's no baby.  It's a book and it's going to be birthed on... drum roll, wait for it – Labor Day (Mexico celebrates Labor Day on May 1).    My life is stranger than fiction.  Someone is writing the script and it's not me.  Whoever it is, they have a great sense of humor.  I'm not laughing.  That doesn't happen when you're in your third trimester of writing and your graphic artist isn't around to help with the sonogram of the front cover because her family is sick.   That's okay.  No need to panic.  There are seventy-four days to go until this baby is delivered at Children's hospital.

The questions are looming about what this baby is all about.  The size and weight are still unknown but I can share my hopes for the wee one.  It's all about being healthy.   My desire for the next generation that follows us is that cancer is cured, diabetes is curbed and all other food-related diseases are eliminated.  Change like this is not easy.  All I can say is I hope the delivery is smooth on May 1.  Please come back and visit my new baby.  Have a great day.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

3 Danger Signs of Poor Food Choices


Food danger signs are like road hazard signs warning of trouble ahead.  I was driving too fast to notice the red flags or make a pit stop for a physical.  The quickest way to spot danger is to look at your waist.  That bulge in the middle is where most of the wrong foods are stored because the body doesn't know what to do.  Fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds never show up around your waist because they are easily converted into energy.

Your lipid panel readings serve as road signs.  Are they telling you danger is ahead or that you're going in the right direction?  Request this test when you schedule your next physical.  Poor food choices influence your good and bad cholesterol.  If your readings are in the danger zone,  don't fret.  You have time to make corrections.

The road sign that got my attention was my blood pressure reading.  In my opinion, many people ignore this road sign because they falsely believe their prescription pills will solve the problem and keep them out of trouble.  These pills should not be considered permission slips to keep eating foods that may eventually play a role in diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, or strokes.  Please pay attention to all the danger signs and use caution when your body flashes a red or yellow light on your dashboard.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Irony


That's my dad pictured above handing my wife and me a copy of his first book.  It was one of those "areas of concern" I fought with him about during his short-lived time on this planet.  I wanted absolutely nothing to do with Bisbee dolls equipped with purple tongues or anything else that came from the right side of his creative brain.  In my opinion, writing was a distraction, not something people "do."  Isn't it ironic?  I'm at a point in my life where everything else is a distraction and I just can't stop writing.  Yes, it's true, I did vomit in the parking lot the first time someone asked me to write a letter to my wife in a 3-day retreat designed to help us in our relationship after my dad passed away.  Once I got over the puking, the recessive writing gene I inherited from dad and generations of deceased writers before him reared itself from deep within my soul and took over my mind.  I'm haunted by fictional characters who invade me in the middle of the night.  There's no cure for my condition except to keep writing lest these individuals force themselves upon me in the daylight hours commanding me to set them free upon the blank canvasses in front of me.

Irony has stages.  The first is denial.  Second is anger, followed by doubt and uncertainty about what lies ahead.  Then there is acceptance.  I'm at the period of my life now where I'm embracing my calling, just as dad did.  Irony is my best friend now.  I'm sure my dad knew him well.  Like it or not, our adult children may someday meet Irony.  They can decide if it's a blessing or a curse.  This is something every individual needs to discover at their own pace.  I don't have time to debate.  I must write.  Have a great day.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Glimpses


I didn't think I'd be watching the Super Bowl this year but I caught a glimpse of something really special while visiting family members during the game.  Coincidentally, I also caught a glimpse of Tom Brady's secret diet playbook.  He claims he's in better shape at age 39 than when he was 25.  I don't think a pro quarterback his age has ever achieved what he's done in his career.  I hope I can manage the 4th quarter of my life the same way he managed his 4th quarter comeback on Super Bowl Sunday.  What a thriller.  Brady's opponents may be plotting to steal his food playback.  If they do, they'll be seeing green – spinach, celery, avocado and more.  That's Tom's daughter in the photo above drinking her dad's top secret weapon for staying on top of the competition for seventeen years.

It's rare when famous people allow you to catch a glimpse of their private lives.  I'm thankful Tom Brady shared his secrets for healthy living, including going to bed by 9 pm so he can get eight hours of sleep.  The Caveman Food Experiment is surprisingly similar to the Brady Diet, although I'm a big fan of tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms – not in Tom's playbook.  You can catch of a glimpse of the 45-day Caveman Food Experiment that changed my life on May 1.  Unlike famous athletes who prefer who live under the radar, my life is an open book and I'm happy to share what I'm learning to maximize my health and wellness.  Please bookmark this blog and come back on Labor Day (Mexico celebrates Labor Day on May 1) for my next release.  It's created to change lives, one chapter at a time.  Have a great day.