Do you ever wake up in the morning and immediately regret an over-indulgent decision from the day before?

  • Lament ordering that extra glass of pinot noir?
  • Feeling bad about spending too much on a deep tissue massage?
  • Kick yourself for sneaking in an additional hour of sleep?

Luckily, Health.com is telling us to not be so hard on ourselves! We deserve our vices when they are healthy for us as they can be great ways to enhance your days. So this Tuesday, I present to you:


Quotes from the Health.com article are in italics. My comments follow, as usual. Let’s get to treatin’ ourselves, shall we?

1.  Getting your zzz’s: Pillow time gives you energy, bolsters your immune system, boosts your memory, and even helps you get (or stay) slim.

c/o t1.gstatic.com

I’ve previously shared I am not a good sleeper. I wake up several times a night and, if I’m lucky, average a broken seven hours of sleep a night.  So whenever my body (and more often, my mind) allow me to get an extra hour of shut eye, I welcome the chance with open arms.

2. Playing hooky: Studies confirm that time off relieves stress, lowering your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease.

This past Friday, I took a (pre-approved!) personal day. We had a major painting project planned. To help decrease the stress of getting it all done in one day, we spaced the tasks over a long weekend. Friday morning I woke up a bit later than usual – already a better way to start the day! I leisurely enjoyed my breakfast before hunkering down for the task at hand. Trying to cram everything into the weekend would have overwhelmed me. Instead, having that extra day to work made the process so much more enjoyable.

3.  Sexual healing: Subjects in one study who did it once or twice a week had higher levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, which shields you from colds and other infections.

And they said an apple a day kept the doctor away… more like a roll in the hay keeps the MD away!

4. A daily chocolate fix: Dark chocolate and cocoa may help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, and provide other cardiovascular benefits, multiple studies have shown.

I’m all about the consumption of dark chocolate. It only gets better when there are added health benefits.  My new dark chocolate discovery: Adora Calcium Dark Chocolate disks.

c/o adoracalcium.com

At just 30 calories a disk, each piece has 500 mg calcium and is gluten-free.  There’s no better way to end a meal in my opinion.

5. Girls’ nights out: “Friendships are very good for you — as long as you hang out with people with whom you have a well-balanced relationship and limit your time spent with people who are toxic for you”

I love my girlfriends and want/need to spend more time with them. I’m lucky enough to be seeing a bunch of them in the upcoming weeks. This week I’m hosting a blogger get together – can’t wait to see all my favorite CLE blends!

It only gets better when the girls get together for a bit of fitness: in a few weeks, a bunch of the gals will be participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Cleveland.

c/o komenneohio.com

The race on Saturday, September 11 will be my next official 5K race. I’m signed up for the 9:15 “competitive race” – chip timer and all!  The race route is different this year than in years past, which I’m very excited about. Hopefully I can talk a few of the girls in to running with me!

6. Full-fat dressing: “When you have a meal that includes a little fat, you tend to feel more satisfied, so you eat less”

After years of dieting, I’m still in the habit of picking foods with labels like “low fat” or “low calorie”. Since I’ve been enjoying intuitive eating since turning to maintenance mode, I’ve been enjoying items such as nut butters again. When part of a balance diet, there is a bit of room for everything!

7.  Your morning java: Research suggests that coffee… fights heart disease and some cancers, and it may even help you push through harder, longer workouts.

Bring on the home-brewed Starbucks!  I love grinding my own beans of their Organic Yukon Blend. So much tastier and cheaper than the $1.85 for a Grande every morning!

c/o starbucks.com

I do admit: on Saturday mornings when I neglect to enjoy my two large mugs of coffee, my cardio kickboxing class seems to be endless!

8.  Getting a rubdown: Women in a 2008 study noted less pain, depression, anxiety, and anger when they were massaged twice a week by their partners — and (bonus!) their partners reported better mental health, too.

Has anyone seen my husband?  All these training miles for my half marathon have got my legs pretty tight… why do I have a feeling number 8 leads to number 3?!

9. Basking in the sun: Bright days really do lift our moods — sunshine is the ultimate natural antidepressant, triggering our bodies to nip production of the sleep-stimulating hormone melatonin so we’re alert, energized, and ready to face the day.

Since I spend my 9 to 5 cooped up in the air condition, I love any chance I get to spend outside. I even sneak in a quick jaunt out to my car during my lunch break, just to get a breath of fresh air. My favorite 8:00PM indulgence is a brisk pup walk. A thirty minute excursion around the cul-de-sacs of my neighborhood with Poise in Parma’s favorite golden retriever always makes my week night.

10. Wine with dinner: The buzz on wine is about its heart-healthy properties, though researchers aren’t entirely sure how it works its magic. Its antioxidants may keep blood vessels flexible, or alcohol could boost HDL (good) cholesterol.

Hey, I’m all about additional antioxidants, but remember the key is moderation. Ordering a bottle for the table is one thing. Finishing the entire thing by yourself is quite the other. Don’t be a sloppy wino. Take a cue from this handsome man and stay classy, Cleveland:

What’s your vice? Is there a healthy justification for its existence in your life?

In the past week, a major egg recall rocked our grocery stores’ diary sections. While the average American probably isn’t fretting about this recall, I am nearly in a panic. Let me explain why.

There’s no question that I am a creature of habit. I enjoy my weekday routine: wake up at 7:30AM, shower and dress, go down stairs to make breakfast, then back up to finish getting ready, back down to pack my lunch and out the door no later than 8:40AM.

I could probably shave a good twenty minutes off of this by eliminating the breakfast portion of that agenda.  However, I don’t want to. That third of an hour cooking my meal and enjoying each bite is the right way to start my day. The calm before the storm, if you will.

As for the meal itself, I prefer a savory breakfast six out of seven mornings of the week. Before I began my gluten-free endeavour, my weekday rotation looked like this:

  • Savory Oats: made with one sunny side egg and ½ oz. of cream cheese
  • Two eggs – over easy – on a Thomas English muffin or ½ of an Everything Thomas bagel, with pepper jack cheese
  • Stovetop Seasonal Fruit Oatmeal (banana, strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches

The weekends would bring special treats like:

  • Scrambled eggs/omelets
  • French toast
  • Pancakes with seasonal fruit (Hans prefers banana)
  • Palatschinke: Background from Wikipedia: Palatschinken is a Central European pancake, comparable to the French crêpe. They are made by creating a runny dough from eggs, wheat flour, milk and salt and frying it in a pan with butter or oil. They are usually served with an apricot or strawberry jam and sprinkled with sugar. (Yes, #fitblog participants, I said CREPE. And you thought I only thought about them on Tuesday nights.)

Note: only ONE of those options are made without eggs.

Now step back three weeks: I embraced a gluten-free diet and my breakfast options went to:

  • Gluten-free oatmeal creations: usually Savory Oats, fruity if I have berries in the fridge
  • Scrambled eggs with a bit of cheese, salt and pepper

Now I love my Savory Oats, but I’m afraid that I am going to fall out of love if I keep eating them everyday. And I just can’t let that happen. Between that and this egg recall, it’s time to take action.

POISE IN PARMA READERS: I’m stuck in a breakfast rut and I need your help.

I am asking for you all to be my culinary muse and to help solve my first meal dilemma. What are your go-to breakfast options? What do you throw together in ten minutes or less on a weekday to keep you fueled during the day?

Here are your guidelines:

  • In case this egg debacle continues, suggestions without eggs are helpful.
  • Gluten-free options get major bonus points. Remember – this is just a trial period for me and Hans could benefit from your suggestions of any kind.
  • I do love my oatmeal, so any unique oat recipes are definitely welcome.
  • Smoothies and I haven’t had the best track record to date, but I’m willing to give them a second shot for the right recipes.
  • I am also a big fan of plain Greek yogurt, but not so much the flavored varieties.
  • I’m not afraid of bacon or sausage. In fact, I encourage their participation after a long hiatus!

INSPIRE ME READERS! I’m begging you! I’m open to all your ideas. Share your favorites with the world!

Many of you have discovered this great health blog resource, but I wanted to share it with all my blog readers. Friends, please meet Healthy Living Blogs:

c/o healthylivingblogs.com

Words from the creators themselves:

Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support.

One of my favorite things about HLB is the blog listing by location. There are blogs registered from AustraliaCanadaChinaFranceJapan, The United KingdomNew ZealandScotland and The United States. People are seeking a healthy balance all over the world!

Since I love to share my love for the O-H-I-O, I encourage you to check out the blogs from my fellow Buckeye bloggers:

If you’re interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to healthylivingblogs@gmail.com and check the site out for yourself!

  • Email subject line: MEMBERS
  • Your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)
  • Blog Name
  • Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.)
  • Your twitter handle, if applicable
  • Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy’s sake, that is completely understandable. We’ll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too)
  • Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.)

What are your favorite healthy living blogs and websites?

I’m not a mother, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a baby: he’s just more of the fuzz variety. You know this guy, so I don’t think an introduction is really needed.

Today – August 19th, 2010 – is Grady’s fourth birthday. While you have seen many photos and read many tales about this pup, there are a few facts you might not know about him:

Grady was my wedding present from Hans. It was the week of our wedding and I was in major panic mode about our organist cancelling on us four days before the big day. Instead of freaking out, Hans decided we should go look at a litter of Golden Retriever puppies. If that’s not a stress reliever, I don’t know what is!

my cell phone pic from the night we picked him out

His name was almost Sloopy. This should come as no surprise that we are diehard Ohio State fans. At our wedding reception, we walked into “Hang on Sloopy” for goodness sake. We decided to name him after the Cleveland Indians’ center-fielder instead.

Grady at two months old

He gets really bossy if you have cantaloupe or popcorn around. I try not to feed him an abundance of “people food”… but how do you say no to that pup face?!

the fuzz around four months old

He knows his tricks by word, number and hand signal. Point down, he sits. Put your hand up high, he’ll give you a high five. Say the word four, he lays down. He’s one smart pup!

about a year old

He knows he’s not allowed to eat chocolate and grapes. Probably because I freak out and shout “NO GRADY NO!” every time I drop one. Since they are considered “toxic” to dogs, I made sure he learned these were not good treats for him early on.

with my bro on Memorial Day

He’s easily freaked out. Did you see this article from WebMD how dogs automatically and voluntarily imitate the behavior of their owners? No wonder the dog has anxiety issues! Like mother, like pup!

He’s a lover and not a fighter. Case in point:

with Aunt Kathy on Memorial Day 2010

…and he’s excited to be having all his fellow blends (that’s blog friends) over for a birthday celebration in the upcoming week! CLE Bloggers: you and your pup want to join the party – let me know!

Do you celebrate your pets’ birthdays? Is there a dog bone “birthday cake”, or a special can of wet dog food for them on their special day? Am I the only crazy-dog lady out there?!