The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 2, 2013

Peggy's Rules for a happier and healthier you

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— How healthy and happy are you? Think about it.

When New Year’s comes each year, we wish our friends a happy and healthy new year. We also wish it for ourselves. About one week into the new year we sometimes have dropped many of our resolutions and commitments, and are back to normal or what has always been. Why?

We can start over at anytime. It does not have to be Jan. 1. We can turn over a new leaf anytime we want to. We can write on a clean page, or paint on a new canvas.

Here are a few of Peggy’s Rules for a Happier and Healthier You:

1. Give yourself a breast exam in the shower today.

2. Eat a red grapefruit regularly for breakfast to lower your cholesterol by as much as 15 percent.

3. Drive safely. Decrease road rage.

4. Floss your teeth regularly. Flossing four to six times a week can add about 3 years to life.

5. Eat cherries. They may fight inflammation associated with heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

6. Listen to music. It may provide drug-free help for stress and aches and pains.

7. Stock yogurt in your refrigerator. Live cultures sooth upset stomach and are better for you.

8. Switch from green to red peppers. Red has three times as much vitamin C and beta carotene.

9. Leave a few bites on your plate. Reducing caloric intake by 20 percent has anti-aging benefits.

10. Pray, meditate, go to church.

11. Insoluble fibers in the skins of fruit and vegetables aid digestion and elimination.

12. Instead of pasta or potatoes, eat a chicken breast. Subbing protein leads to slimmer middles.

13. Drink water. Formula: if your weight is 160 pounds, divide in half and drink 80 ounces.

14. Eat a handful of almonds for an afternoon snack. They help everything — and they’re good.

15. Enjoy coffee in moderation. It is full of antioxidants.

16. Make time for two 15 minute walks daily. They are better for you than one long walk.

17. Sign up for an exercise or yoga class — then go to them.

18. Weigh yourself each morning or at regular intervals. Stay in control.

19. Boost your spirits by eating fish and bananas. They may alleviate moderate depression.

20. Hug someone.

21. When you retire, try slow, deep breathing. It restores balance to your nervous system.

22. Drink tea. It is relaxing and full of antioxidants.

23. Plan a getaway. “Daycations” restore your soul. Getting there is half the fun.

24. Turn your bedside clock away from you. Concentrate on sleep, not when you have to get up.

25. Improve your social life. Join a club. Invite people over. Be friendly.

26. If your computer or work causes neck pain or tension, change your work surface and eye level.

27. To help skin damage, use sunscreen, clean properly and use face cream with retinol.

28. Volunteer. Get your mind off yourself and on others. Make a difference.

29. Get a new hobby, project or activity.

30. Eat a piece of dark chocolate. It contains chemicals that fight tooth decay and has antioxidants.

31. Get a new attitude of being positive. You’ll be as happy as you decide you want to be.

We are never going to change ourselves or a situation until we really want to. We have to change our thinking to be able to change our habits or surroundings.

My formula for doing something (like losing weight or re-doing a room is:

(1) Dream: Think about what I want to feel and look like, or how I want that room to turn out. (2) Desire: Do I want to lose weight enough to work for it and change my eating and exercise habits ? Or have the house torn up to redecorate? (3) Dedicate: If I want it, I will have to do what it takes to get it done. (4) Determine: Plan a starting and completion time. I don’t like to string out any project until I am sick of it. (5) Do: Get busy. (As the little poem goes: “Once a job is once begun/Never leave it till it’s done./Be a labor great or small/Do it well or not at all.” Stay with it. And finally (6) Decide to keep the weight off or maintain the room or project. Celebrate. Treat yourself.

I speak from experience because I joined TOPS (Take off Pounds Sensibly) this past year. I have not reached my goal yet, so have not become a KOPS (Keep off Pounds Sensibly), but I am working toward that goal. The journey has been worth the effort. The journey continues. Keeping it off is also a challenge and a joy. The friends I have made at our weekly meetings are so genuine and helpful and encouraging. We share, but don’t compare ourselves to others. We come early so we can visit and mingle before it starts on time. I look forward to every meeting with pleasure. TOPS will be part of my New Year resolutions and commitments again this year. What a lovely way to start and end a year.

TOPS follows a diet plan prescribed by our doctors and not an organization. Therefore, it is individually planned and executed. We share recipes that are healthy and simple and enjoyable. Like this crock pot recipe to make while at work or taking down Christmas decorations.

Working Girl’s Favorite

1 pound extra-lean ground beef (or turkey)

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 can (10 ounce) condensed cream of mushroom soup

2 tablespoons instant minced onion

2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil

Combine all ingredients in slightly oiled crock pot. Cover and cook on low setting 6-10 hours. Serve spooned over hot biscuits, rice, mashed potatoes, or even toasted waffles. Note: I make this recipe in one-half of my new double crock pot and the rice in the other, and dinner is ready!

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.