New year is good time to find ways to renew ourselves

As we transition out of the holidays, refresh yourself by ensuring that your surroundings are pleasing to you. Your home should be your haven, a place that brings you into balance and not into a whirlwind.

There are a variety of ways to renew ourselves:

Different perspective

By learning to look at the cup as half full rather than half empty, you will reap great rewards and boost your quality of life. By viewing life events in negative ways, we only bring on more stress.

Check out Darci Lang, a motivational speaker and author of Focus On The 90%. She is like a breath of fresh air as she shows people how to reset their reactions to life experiences.

If the opportunity to listen to her arises, please take the time. Her book is great to have around as a reminder when your optimism is at a low. For more information, visit www.darcilang.com.

Clean air

I use essential oils to avoid synthetic perfumes, but not everyone wants the expense or has the time to buy and use different oils.

I have discovered an amazing product that I use throughout the house. Designed to be used in the washroom, Poo Pourri is a natural air freshener, scented by nature to mask nature. I use this spray everywhere and anytime as an air enhancement so the whole house smells good.

I give it away as baby gifts and house-warming gifts and to anyone who needs a treat on a special occasion. It always gets a laugh.

My favourite scents from this company are Original Citrus and Wild Fig. They are available at London Drugs, Indigo, Coles and many other stores. For more information, visit www.PooPourri.com.

Decluttering

It is that time of year when we pack up all of our holiday decor. This year I want to simplify and keep only things that are special and have meaning. The Rubbermaid tubs that hold all of our seasonal decorations are stuffed full.

Many people are switching from using very specific Christmas decorations to a less defined winter decor so that they can enjoy the items longer.

As well, it is a great time to buy new items because the stores have winter sales. That’s my goal for next year.

For now, there are old lights that are twisted and knotted, and there are even ornaments that are broken. Why do I repack and store the items year after year? I have decided to start the new year decluttering.

Clutter robs us of so many things, such as peace, harmony, focus and motivation. When we clear it and only have the things that we love, need and use, I think that we will be astounded at how good we feel.

You should edit everything that surrounds you in your home, which is your renewal place.

If you are sitting on the couch and the bright orange vase that sticks out like a sore thumb bugs you each time you look at it, get rid of it — even if your grandmother gave it to you. She would want you to take good care of yourself.

You do not need to throw things away. Instead, repurpose them.

For example, display photographs or personal effects of special people or places that inspire good memories. I have an old perfume decanter that was my grandmother’s and sometimes during a busy day I will just stop and smell the old container of O De London and I am instantly uplifted and ready to face the rest of the day.

Each of you will have little items that appeal to your own senses through good memories.

Restful atmosphere

Lighting can make or break a peaceful ambiance. To accompany lamps, try out a battery operated candle with a timer. You can set them to come on at the same time each evening so that all you have to do is sit back and enjoy. You can also use remote candles that are very real looking.

Our home flickers with Reality Candles each night, which are a safe option that you can run with rechargeable batteries and no real fire. They are available at home decor shops or online.

I always promote shopping locally for your home, but if this not an option, enjoy some safe and relaxing online shopping at reputable Canadian sites such as amazon.ca, thebay.com, canadiantire.ca or beyondtherack.com. Most of the large Canadian retailers offer great shopping sites and reasonable shipping. Do you need help looking for the deals? Try using bargainmoose.ca, smartcanucks.ca, and shopbot.ca.

Greener cleaning

We must clean our spaces to maintain our health, but sometimes cleaning products can be very detrimental to our well-being.

Norwex has come out with an environmental cleaning cloth that you use with nothing but water to kill household germs. The microfibre clothes leave surfaces shining and with no chemicals or residues left behind. There are specialty clothes for different jobs, and so far results have been astounding.

If you want spray products to clean your home, try Method brand antibacterial spray to keep germs at bay.

Many companies are offering more human friendly products that work well. For more information on where to buy Norwex cloths, visit www.norwex.biz.

Time-out

Take a time-out from your day by fitting in a snooze between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Any later than this and the nap can disrupt your nighttime sleep pattern.

A short nap for 10 to 20 minutes is best. Up to 30 minutes can leave you feeling more tired than before because you start to fall into a deeper sleep.  Set your alarm to keep it to an acceptable time. 

Try to nap in a reclined position so your body does not think it has retired to bed for the night.

If you can’t find the appropriate time or place to nap, just close your eyes and zone out for as much time as you can.

Source: www.droz.com.

Supplements

I recommend supplementing with probiotics and vitamin D. Start with 1,000 IU with Health Canada’s safe upper limit being 4,000 IU.

Studies have shown that when our diet, routine and environment are disrupted, we need to get back into balance for preventive health. There have been benefits noted for taking full spectrum digestive enzymes if we are have trouble feeling “back to normal”.

As winter progresses, take omega 3 (fish oil) to keep your skin, brain, joints and heart functioning properly.

For more information, check with a health care provider and shop at your local health food store or pharmacy.

Healthy menu filled with nutrition

After all of the holiday indulgence, our bodies will naturally be craving fibrous lighter menus. Fill your plates with antioxidant rich food such as fruits and vegetables, good fats such as avocados and protein with each meal and snack.

Sizzling chicken and cranberry salad

  • 1 c. ranch dressing 250 mL
  • 8 c. salad greens 2 L
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 1/4
  • 1/4 c. nuts or seeds 60 mL
  • 1 c. cranberries, fresh or dried 250 mL
  • 4 large chicken breasts, thawed 4
  • salt and pepper

Heat 1/4 c. (60 mL) of the dressing in a skillet. Add chicken, season and cook until done. Remove from heat and slice into pieces. In a large salad bowl, toss the greens, onions, chicken, nuts-seeds and cranberries. Top with remaining dressing and enjoy.

Note: You can substitute fresh blueberries for cranberries if desired.

Variation: Use a poppy seed dressing instead of Ranch for a different flavour.

Seared pineapple

This is such a unique offering to follow a meal. It’s so simple with such intense taste.

Start with one pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into rings.

Heat a greased skillet or grill to medium heat. Place pineapple directly onto heat, sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon and/or brown sugar if desired and sear for two minutes on each side. Cut into pieces and serve with toothpicks or small serving forks.

Rise and shine lemon flush

Do not let the name of this recipe scare you. This breakfast concoction is very unusual but very tasty.

The ingredients help you kick start your day by helping to detoxify what needs to be cleaned inside, in the same way that you run a mop around the house.

The parsley and raw ginger are necessary to make the drink effective as a cleaner.

It is becoming more common to grow functional-edible food year around right in your kitchen. Start with something simple such as a fresh parsley plant or any of your favourite herbs. Fresh cut ingredients cannot be beat when it comes to taste, and greens make for a great decor piece. Sprinkle over any of your favourite menus.

  • 1 c. your choice of greens/spinach/lettuce/kale 250 mL
  • 1 lemon, squeeze and use the juice 1
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 5 mL
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chopped and peeled fresh ginger root 15 mL
  • 1 banana 1
  • 1/2 avocado 1/2
  • 2 tbsp. protein powder 30 mL*

Put all the ingredients in a blender with a handful of ice and 1 c. (250 mL) water. Mix until smooth and enjoy. Serves one.

I prefer getting protein in a collagen powder supplement, which supports our body’s structure and also the health of our skin. It dissolves quickly in hot and cold liquid and has no taste. Top rated brands are Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen and Vital Proteins (Collagen). They are a great dietary boost for those who do not get enough protein in their diets and are available in health food stores and online.

Dark chocolate banana muffins

This recipe is quick and easy to stir together. It’s great for breakfast or served as a dessert with fruit such as the skillet pineapple or fresh berries. Enjoy dark chocolate chips to boost antioxidant levels.

  • 2 c. well mashed bananas (approx. 4) 500 mL
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar 175 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 egg 1
  • 1/4 c. oil 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. flour 375 mL
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. nuts such as pecans, finely chopped 60 mL

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, vanilla, egg and oil. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until the batter is quite smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.

Between meals

Craving an ice cold cola? Do not switch to a cola with artificial sweeteners and think that it is the better choice. Satisfy your fizz craving by trying a chilled club soda or mineral water with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice, or try the cola variety of Zevia. A stevia sweetened pop is still your best option.

Have some extra gift money? Spoil yourself with a Soda Stream beverage system, which is a hit in our house. It allows us to be very creative with our beverage choices.

I enjoy the fruit juice additions as much as the flavoured syrup. The possibilities are endless. As well, the recycle bin isn’t as full because we use fewer beverage cans.

Snack on nuts such as walnuts, pecans, almonds and pistachios, which will help you to maintain your fibre, protein and zinc levels throughout the cold and flu seasons. Other sources are beans, legumes, nuts, almonds and poultry.

Enjoy a hot drink. My daughter introduced me to a London Fog latte. They are available at every gourmet coffee shop, but it is so easy to make at home if you have the right ingredients.

  • 3/4 c. Earl Grey tea 180 mL
  • 1 c. steamed milk of any kind 250 mL
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla syrup (Torani) 2-5 mL
  • 1 tbsp. sugar or stevia as sweetener (adjust to your personal taste) 15 mL

Brew Earl Grey tea by steeping for three minutes or according to tea instructions. Remove the tea bag and stir in remaining ingredients until combined. Serve warm and top with a dash of cinnamon if desired.

If you do not have a milk steamer or frother, you can just heat the milk in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it is simmering, but do not let the milk boil for best results.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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