Good night, Sleep tight, Don’t let the bedbugs bite (your muffins)

*I now know why I’m exhausted all morning!  This list of food is what I eat for breakfast . . . (except for the potatoes & turkey which I save for lunch so I can be exhausted all afternoon).*

Here’s a repost from Dr. OZ  et al. at Real Age

“The secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours sleep?”

“About 90 minutes before you want to nod off, head for the kitchen and make yourself a sleepy-time snack*. Keep it light (around 200 calories), so you don’t overload your digestive system. And include one or two foods from the list below. All help to relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones — serotonin and melatonin — flowing. Yawning yet?”

1. Bananas — They’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.

2. Chamomile tea — Chamomile is a staple of bedtime tea blends because of its mild sedating effect, which makes it the perfect natural antidote for restless minds and bodies.

3. Warm milk — It’s not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan, an amino acid that has a sedative-like effect, and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus, there’s the psychological throwback to infancy, when a warm bottle meant “relax, everything’s fine.”

4. Honey — Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.

5. Potatoes — A small baked spud won’t overwhelm your gastrointestinal tract as it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effect, mash the potato with warm milk.

6. Oatmeal — Oats are a rich source of sleep-inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy — and if you’ve got the munchies, it’s filling, too.

7. Almonds — A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can send you snoozing because they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.

8. Flaxseeds — When life goes awry, and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.

9. Whole-wheat bread — A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it’s converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs “time to sleep.”

10. Turkey — It’s the best-known source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that’s actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach’s basically empty rather than overstuffed and when there are some carbs around rather than tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread midevening and you’ve got one of the best sleep-inducers in your kitchen.

What if none of these foods helps? Check out your sleep habits with this quick RealAge assessment to find out what’s keeping you up at night.”

OR . . . sleep in a crib.

OR eat the entire batch of Lullaby Muffins and you’ll wake up in the morning fat and happy.

Lullaby Muffins
Between the bananas, the whole wheat, and the light touch of sweetness, these muffins are practically an edible lullaby.

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large, very ripe bananas
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk or soymilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour (make sure it’s whole-wheat pastry flour or you’ll produce golf balls, not muffins), salt, and baking powder. In a blender, puree the bananas; add the applesauce, honey, and milk. Blend well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups and pour in batter. Bake 30 minutes or until tops are lightly brown and slightly springy. Makes 12 low-fat muffins.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving: 119 calories; 1g fat; 2.5g protein; 27g carbohydrate; 10g sugar; 133mg sodium; 3g fiber; 35mg magnesium

  Real Age

Live and Let Liver – Dr Oz Knows

My mind is a sponge
It craves the dopamine high
mops up sugar, yum
My mouth is a sponge
soaks up the tasty junk food
Each morsel and crumb
Liver is a sponge
mops up all carbohydrates
I am a bit dumb

Signs of addiction:  Constant cravings; Eating bowls of ice cream so that the amount of  fudge sauce evenly lasts before the ice cream is gone; Quickly devouring the entire bag of candy in the car so no one will see;  Making sure there’s no chocolate on your breath; Feeling guilty; Waking up every morning with determination that this day you will NOT eat sugar and carbohydrates.

I’ve known for years that I get the same neurochemical “high” from sugar and unrefined carbohydrates that a drug addict gets from drugs.  Research has confirmed what I’ve long suspected.  What I didn’t know is that my liver is suffering.   Click here to hear what Dr. Oz has to say:

P.S.  Does anyone think that picture reminds them of chocolate sauce on top of strawberry ice cream, a banana and pink whipped cream?

Are you satisfied with job, family, love, leisure, standard of living, sex, and self?

Having heart problems and the fact that more women & men die from heart disease than cancer, articles about heart health get my attention.  This posting from made me stop and think.

Here it is with some editing for length:

 “New British research has found that the more satisfied you are with your life, the lower your danger of coronary heart disease.”

Happy Life, Happy Heart
“While it’s long been known that negative emotions such as depression and anxiety put you at risk for heart disease, there’s been surprisingly little research on whether positive emotions prevent coronary trouble. To find out, scientists asked nearly 8,000 people to rate their satisfaction in seven key areas of life: jobs, family, love, leisure, standard of living, sex, and self. Those who scored higher than average satisfaction in all categories had up to 13 percent less risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and angina. That’s major.”

“People who were happier in four areas — jobs, families, sex lives, and selves — also had healthier hearts. But feeling contented in just the other three areas — leisure activities, love relationships, and standard of living — didn’t have a significant impact.”

C’mon, Get Happy
“While it’s not yet clear exactly how feeling good about your life helps your heart, it’s well established that happiness is vital to your health. Studies have repeatedly found that happy people produce fewer stress-related hormones, have stronger immune systems, and live longer. Now it’s clear that one reason is their hearts.

  • Talk nice to yourself. Is your inner voice quick to snap out things like, “How could you forget that, you idiot?” Trade put-downs for encouraging words; they set you up for success.
  • Connect. Talk — really talk — to people you care about; you’ll both benefit by connecting. Get physical, too; hugs stimulate oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” spreading a feel-good boost. Lovemaking does, too, in steady relationships (those couples report the highest happiness levels).
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Don’t sit around. Physical activity is a significant happiness booster. Get moving for 30 minutes a day
  • Meditate. It eases stress, improves sleep, strengthens immunity, and measurably increases happiness (in one study, by 20 points on a scale of 100).
  • Help others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, hospital, or shelter. Giving back adds more meaning which is essential to happiness in your life.
  • Go outside. Spending time with nature makes you feel alert, enthusiastic, energetic, and, simply happy.”
Am I satisfied with my life?  I’ve never thought about in those 7 categories. There’s a tendency for me, to believe that “the grass is greener on the other side”, there’s a tendency to want more, want better, longer, stronger.  
The actual survey wasn’t posted so I just thought about those 7 areas.  Satisfaction is hard to define but I think I am only satisfied in 3 areas.  Gulp!

Dr Oz Agrees with Me!

There’s Something Funny Going On (and It’s Making You Healthy)

From July 18, 2009 12:11 PM by RealAge |

“Laugh, and you may keep your arteries healthy. Why? Cracking up relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow — the exact opposite of what happens when you’re tense. When people with normal blood pressure watch a funny movie, their blood flow increases by about 20%. But when they watch an intense, violent film, they get stressed out, their blood vessels constrict, and their blood flow decreases by about 35%. (So much for last year’s grim Oscar winner!)”

“Another reason to laugh all you can: Bum moods increase cortisol levels, the bad-boy stress hormone that increases fat accumulation in your belly and makes your kidneys retain salt and water, which boosts your blood pressure. So whether you’re renting a comedy or TiVo-ing an old episode of The Lucy Show, pay zero attention to anyone who says, “Get serious.”

“If you’ve seen all the humor flicks you can handle for the moment, a funny friend is at least as good — and may even help keep you slim: A good chortle increases the number of calories you burn, according to one study. The researchers estimated that if you spend 10 to 15 minutes a day laughing, you can burn up to 40 extra calories. Not a ton. But, hey, every little waist-shrinking bit adds up.”

First Friday open workshop

“All of which explains one of our favorite health factors: Frequent laughter can make your RealAge (that’s your biological — not your calendar — age) up to 8 years younger.”