Do You Want to Conquer the Holidays? Give Back

Tips to help you do just that.

Give Back 

Helping others is a way for us to practice our gratitude. From small acts of kindness to major missions, reaching out to others makes us feel good.

Each evening, think of one thing that you plan to do for another that day. If you are able to perform the deed anonymously, all the better. Little things like placing a single flower from your garden in a vase on a co-worker’s desk before she arrives or putting a small note in your son’s lunch box will have a big impact on both the recipient and the giver.


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Do You Want to Conquer the Holidays – Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole 

3 lbs sweet potatoes
1 cup pecan pieces
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons butter
¼ cup egg substitute
1/2 cup Splenda, stevia or erythritol

Poke sweet potatoes with a fork and bake at 400 F for 45-60 minutes until soft.

Place ¾ cup of pecans in blender until ground into meal. Add ¼ cup Splenda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of butter and blend until well mixed. Stir the remaining pecans in by hand.

Allow the sweet potatoes to cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove the skins and discard. Place sweet potatoes, 3 tablespoons of butter, remaining seasonings, egg and ¼ cup sweetener in blender and mix until smooth.

Place sweet potato in casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and sprinkle pecan topping over the top. Bake at 375 F. until the topping is browned. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 214 calories, 4 grams protein, 12 grams fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 278 mg sodium.

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Do You Want to Conquer the Holidays? Take the Focus off of Food

Tips to help you do just that. 

Food has become the focal point of many holiday traditions, but it doesn’t need to stay that way. Expand your focus beyond food and you’ll be a positive influence on those around you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Indulgences are part of the season–treat all of your senses, not just your taste buds. Flood your life with music that uplifts and soothes. Create a peaceful retreat spot in your home complete with soft lighting, instrumental music and pleasant fragrances. Take a bubble bath. Snuggle up with a soft throw. Indulge in a massage, manicure, pedicure or new hairstyle.
  • Gatherings of friends, families and co-workers should have more going for them than the food that is served. Plan activities that help people interact and enjoy each other’s company. Take a walk together, go bowling, have a team laser tag tournament, decorate, make a craft or play games.
  • Start or participate in a Secret Santa program. You’ll have fun searching for small gifts to delight another and in the thrill of delivering the gifts without getting caught. This works well in many workplaces or neighborhoods.
  • Be inspired through reading. If you’re short on time, a collection of one-page stories, devotionals, or quotes may be the answer. Listening to an audio book while driving or exercising is an alternative.
  • Make an extra effort to reach out to family and friends, especially those you don’t regularly connect with.
  • While you are out shopping, pick up small things for yourself that you wouldn’t normally buy.
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Do You Want to Conquer the Holidays? Russian Tea

Tips to help you do just that. 

Sugar Free Russian Tea

4 1/2 teaspoons sugar-free orange drink mix
3 1/2 teaspoons sugar-free lemon drink mix
1/3 cup Splenda, stevia or erythritol
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. To prepare one serving, add 1/4 teaspoon of mix to 3/4 cup hot water and stir well. Makes 48 servings.

Nutrition information <1 calorie, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 4 mg sodium.

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Foot and Leg Cramps: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

The sharp pain from a leg or foot cramp can stop you in your tracks or keep you from getting needed sleep. They are no fun. Cramps are typically harmless but can be a sign of an underlying medical condition–if they become regular, notify your doctor.

Read on to find the most common causes of leg and foot cramps and what you can do to prevent and treat them.

Download Healthful Tips: How to Relieve Foot and Leg Cramps

Potential Causes of Foot and Leg Cramps Prevention and Treatment
Exercising without warming up the muscles first. Warm up prior to exercise. Stretch and cool down afterwards.
A deficiency of magnesium, calcium, sodium or potassium in the diet that keeps the muscle from relaxing properly. Eat a varied and healthful diet. Track your intake to insure you’re getting the daily recommended levels of calcium (1,500 mg after wls), potassium (4,700 mg), and magnesium (310-420 mg) Zero calorie electrolyte drinks provide sodium and potassium.
Too much exercise can cause a buildup of lactic acid and overexcite nerves, triggering muscles to cramp. Ease into more intense exercise.
Dehydration. Sip on calorie-free beverages between meals. Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can lead to dehydration.
Reduced blood flow from atherosclerosis, tight shoes, or even from cold feet sticking out from blankets constricting blood vessels. Be mindful of wearing shoes that have room for toes to wiggle, consider wearing socks to bed, and eat a heart healthy diet to keep blood vessels working properly.
Nerves get confused and misfire. This is common with neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, or spine problems that compress the nerves of the lower back. It can also happen with common foot problems such as flat arches. Work with your doctor to minimize the impact of medical conditions on foot and leg cramps.
Certain drugs, like diuretics, increase the likelihood of foot and leg cramps. Talk with your doctor about side effects of the medications you take.
Fatigue can trigger leg and foot cramps—tired muscles and nerves don’t function at their peak. Get adequate high quality sleep nightly.
Low thyroid or hypothyroidism overtime can damage nerves leading to leg cramps. Ask your primary care doctor to monitor your thyroid function. About 12 percent of people develop a thyroid condition.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, can cause pinched nerves in the spine leading to leg cramps. Keep weight and blood sugar in check and exercise regularly to reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage. Typically, this leads to a feeling of numbness or tingling, but can also produce leg cramps when the nerves in the legs are not functioning properly. Weight loss surgery improves or resolves diabetes and reduces the risk of further diabetic nerve damage
Muscle mass is typically lost with age, requiring the remaining muscle to work harder and get stressed more easily. Keep up a regular exercise routine throughout life stages.
A new theory about the cause of leg and foot cramps is that they are a result of motor neurons firing uncontrollably. Strong flavors like vinegar, ginger, hot peppers, mustard and quinine all stimulate receptors that can override the inappropriate nerve firing. Take a shot of 2-3 oz of pickle juice, tonic water, or apple cider vinegar when you experience cramps.






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