Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bust Stress...Every Day!

Feeling stressed lately? It's that time of year. Cold weather, taxes, the fun of the holidays behind us...Even though February is a short month, it can seem like the longest month of the year. So, today I have a short-but-sweet stress-busting suggestion for you.
Are you ready? It's simple: Practice self-nurturing every day, whether you're stressed or not. This tip works on two levels. Practice builds confidence, and makes it far more likely that you'll think about using a stress-buster when you most need it. And breaking out stress-busters when you're not stressed lifts your mood for hours afterward.
Are you ready to become a skilled stress-buster? First, make a list of your three favorite ways to nurture yourself and bust stress. Choose things that require between five to thirty minutes. (I put Crescent solitaire, reading, and controlled breathing on my list.)
Got your list ready? Great! Now insert your list into the following SMART goal:
I will _________________________________________________________________,
and __________________________________________________________________
once a day, for seven days. At the end of the seven days, I will re-evaluate my goal. 
As you're working toward your SMART goal, keep track of how nurturing yourself every day with your stress-busters makes you feel. At the end of seven days, use that information to decide if you'd like to continue with self-nurturing every day. Don't forget to come back and tell us how it goes, and what you observe! :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recipe: Greek Ranch Dip or Dressing

A student in "Luscious" recently asked if I had a ranch dressing recipe. I'm preparing a birthday party for my daughter this week, and since we're planning a veggie platter and a selection of dips at the party, now seemed a perfect time to try my hand at ranch dip. It's delish on veggies, or as a spread for sandwiches. If you're a fan of ranch dressing, it's easy to thin out this dip recipe, so you can enjoy it on your favorite salad.

I chose Greek yogurt as a base because of its high protein-low carbohydrate content. Greek yogurt is also wonderfully thick and creamy, even though it's low in fat. If you're not a fan of Greek yogurt, you can experiment with sour cream or plain yogurt instead.

I'll probably continue to tinker with the recipe, as I'd like to better approximate the tang of buttermilk without resorting to buttermilk powder. That said, this recipe is very similar to the light ranch dressing we usually purchase. Let me know what you think of it! :)

Greek Ranch Dip or Dressing


2 cups Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 dash ground cayenne
Milk (I used unsweetened soy milk), optional


To make dip, place all ingredients in medium bowl. Mix with a hand mixer, immersion blender, or combine in blender until smooth.

To make dressing, add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to thin out dip until it reaches desired consistency.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Valentine's Day Gifts from the Heart

Valentine's Day is ten days away, so there's still time to find (or ask for) that perfect Valentine's Day gift -- one that won't mess with your beloved's weight management goals, and says "I love you" in a special way.

Not sure what to get in lieu of candy, and tired of the same old bouquet of flowers? No problem! Take a look through this list, organized by aspects of successful weight management...then treat your lover to a gift that's from the heart!
  • Self-nurturing: Consider aromatherapy (incense, candles, essential oils), relaxing music, color therapy, a new book (or a gift card to their favorite bookstore), or a certificate for a spa or salon visit.
  • Sleep: Surprise your beloved with a cozy blanket or new sheets in your honey's favorite color or pattern. Or, try a gel mattress topper, an ergonomic pillow, blackout curtains, or an alarm clock that wakes with light instead of music or an alarm.
  • Hydration: Look for potted fresh mint, which comes in a variety of flavors (my favorites are grapefruit, chocolate, and lemon) to add to plain water to perk it up.  
  • Physical Activity: I advise purchasing these only if you know your beloved wants them. Otherwise, it can look like you're hint-hinting that your partner needs to get more exercise...and no one wants to send that message on Valentine's Day! These are often more expensive, though, so if you know they're on your honey's wish list, you can score points for purchasing new shoes, new workout outfit, new yoga mat, or a new MP3 player and cool new headphones.
  • Tracking/Monitoring: Again, only purchase these if you know these are on your honey's wish list...but if they are, a pedometer, Fitbit, or similar technology can make your beloved's weight management efforts easier and more effective.
Got questions about these gift ideas? Post below and let me know! Do you have a terrific Valentine's Day gift idea? Share it with us! :)