Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Bonus Post! All About Hangovers…read this BEFORE you celebrate!


Many of you are expecting to have a hangover on New Year’s Day and think it is no big deal.  Well, a hangover is a big deal when you hear it in medical terms:

A hangover is the body’s reaction to being poisoned with too much alcohol. Heavy drinking rocks the central nervous system. It tinkers with brain chemicals — leading to headache, dizziness, and nausea — and sends you running to the bathroom so often you become dehydrated. The morning-after price of this imbalance can include a pounding headache, fatigue, cotton mouth, queasy stomach — and a weakened immune system.

Now that you know what a hangover entails- learn what works and what doesn’t.  Thanks to WebMD for this information.

1- Ladies, sorry, but we really do suffer more. Why? Given the same drinks, women are more likely to be slammed with the effects of alcohol than men. Scientists say there’s good reason for this. Men have a higher percentage of water in their bodies, which helps dilute the alcohol they consume. When women drink the same amount, more alcohol builds up in the bloodstream.

2- Many people drink red wine for the health benefits but it can be too much of a good thing. Red wine contains tannins, compounds that are known to trigger headaches in some people. Malt liquors, like whiskey, also tend to produce more severe hangovers. If you’re worried about how you’ll feel in the morning, the gentlest choices are beer and clear liquors, such as vodka and gin.

3- We’ve all heard that you should drink liquor first, then switch to beer but it really makes no difference.   It’s not whether you have a shot of whiskey before or after your beer that’s important. It’s the amount of alcohol you consume (not the order of your drinks) that matters most. A standard drink — be it a 12-ounce glass of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce “shot” of distilled spirits — all contain roughly the same amount of alcohol.

4- For those of you who are watching your weight, don’t fall for the “eat pasta before bed” myth. This one is wrong on two counts. First, eating at bedtime (after you’re already drunk) is no help. Food has to be in your stomach before Happy Hour to have any impact. Second, while any food can slow the body’s absorption of alcohol, fat does it best. So go for steak or pizza before your first martini, and you might escape a hangover. One bedtime tip that does help — drink water to fight dehydration.

5- Everyone pops a couple of aspirin before bed after having a few too many, right?   Over-the-counter painkillers peak in about four hours, so the effect of a bedtime dose will be gone by morning. A better plan is to take the pills when you first wake up. Avoid taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) after a night of drinking. Alcohol disrupts how the liver processes acetaminophen, possibly leading to liver inflammation and permanent damage.

6- Does hair of the dog work?   More alcohol in the morning does nothing but postpone a hangover. The worst symptoms hit when blood-alcohol levels drop to zero. If you have a screwdriver at breakfast, this moment will just come later in the day. And if you find you can’t function without a wake-up cocktail, you should discuss the possibility of addiction with your doctor.

7- Don’t start the coffee pot.  Coffee leads to more dehydration and could make your hangover worse. After a night of drunkenness, it’s best to avoid anything with caffeine. Instead, sip water and sports drinks to counter dehydration and replace lost electrolytes. This is especially important if you experienced any vomiting.

Alcohol poisoning is no joke- it is a potentially deadly medical emergency. According to the CDC, approximately 79,000 people in the U.S. die each year from alcohol poisoning.   Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion, stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow, irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature, bluish skin

It’s easy to blow off these symptoms as the price of partying hard, but if you see someone vomit multiple times or pass out after drinking heavily, there’s a risk of severe dehydration or brain damage. A visit to the nearest emergency room is urgently needed.

A big glass of water and a brisk walk is a great hangover cure so drag yourself out of the house!


There are lots of people who want you around for many more New Year’s celebrations so have fun but take care!



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Cheers! Salud! Skoal!

No matter what language- everyone will be toasting tonight.  If you plan to toast with alcohol, check out the link below, it is the most comprehensive list of calories in alcohol that I have found.

For the Cheeseheads!

If you are seriously watching your weight, avoid alcohol completely but if you can handle a few, use that website to look for a drink that is  lower calories than your usual.  (No, this doesn’t mean you can drink more!)

And…don’t drink and Drive.

Happy New Year!   ¡feliz año nuevo  Joyeux Nouvel An

See you tomorrow for a Happy New Rear workout!

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Happy Bicarbonate of Soda Day!

Did you know the little yellow box in your frig has its own day?  Why?  Because baking soda is AWESOME!  Here are just a few things that can be done with baking soda:

>Keep a box of baking soda near the stove in case of grease or electrical fires.  Sprinkle liberally to put out the fire.

>Keep a container in the garage to put out engine fires without causing any additional damage

>Clean fruits and vegetables with baking soda. Sprinkle in the water, soak, and rinse.

>Clean your refrigerator and freezer with dry soda on a damp cloth. Scrub and rinse.  No chemicals needed

>Clean formica countertops with baking soda on a damp cloth. Much gentler than other cleansers.

>Wash  your musty thermos or other containers with hot water and baking soda to remove the smell

>Stinky workout clothes?  Add 1/2 cup of baking soda with your detergent. Stinky shoes?  Sprinkle some baking soda in them!

>Sprinkle soda on a greasy garage floor, let stand, and rinse.  This also works well to degrease the BBQ grill

>Reduce odor buildup in your dishwasher by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom

>Oops!  You burned dinner…to remove the burnt on food, pour a thick layer of soda to cover and sprinkle with just enough water to moisten.  let sit over night and scrub it clean the next day.

>Clean the bathroom with dry soda on a damp sponge.  Showers, tubs, sinks, faucets, etc.  Cheaper and no harsh chemical fumes

>While you’re at it, soak your shower curtain in baking soda and water.

>Keep your drains flowing by putting 4 tablespoons of soda in each week.  Flush the drain with hot water.

>Used as a mouthwash, baking soda and warm water will relieve canker sore pain.

>Bug bites and bee stings- make a poultice of baking soda and water.

>Out of deodorant?  Yep- dust your pits with baking soda!

>Have you ever melted the bread wrapper to the toaster? Dampen a cloth and use baking soda to make a mild abrasive to scrub the plastic off the toaster.

Finally- it can be used to quell hangover queasiness.  Add 1 tablespoon to a cup of water and enjoy.  Cheaper than Alka- Seltzer! (check the label, alka seltzer contains….bicarbonate of soda!

WHEW!  See- Baking Soda is awesome. There are many, many more uses, instead of the little yellow box this stuff should be sold in 10 lb bags.

Take some time to appreciated Bicarbonate of Soda today!


Healthy Breakfast Option/Hangover Cure (?)

Chilaquiles: A perfect breakfast dish that is made healthier with a few small changes.

This picture was taken moments before I devoured everything and licked the plate clean!

I had Chilaquiles (chee-lah-KEE-lays) for breakfast yesterday and enjoyed every bite!  I  was concerned that the main ingredient might be fried pork rinds so I was happy to find out that it is tortilla chips.  I was also happy to see that it is very easy to make and with a few changes is a very healthy and filling breakfast- I would even have this for lunch or dinner.  Rumor has it this will also cure a hangover but I have not tested that.

Another bonus: we are headed into some major snack holidays (New Year’s Eve, Rose Bowl, and Super Bowl) and Chilaquiles are a great way to use up those tortilla chips that are left in the bottom of the bag.

Here is the basic recipe but feel free to play with it  and make it your own.



  • 2 cups tortilla chips (try Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Chips or Archer Farms Blue Corn Chips with flaxseed)
  • 2 cups green chile sauce (you can make your own or buy the stuff in a jar, I prefer red sauce)
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese (queso quesadilla or mozzarella)- Opt for a low or non-fat cheese.
  • Sour cream (low-fat or non-fat.  Even better?  Plain Greek yogurt
  • oil for pan (I prefer olive oil)

Options to make this more nutritious with very few calories

  • Diced onions
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced green peppers
  • Chopped red cabbage

Other options:

I like a fried egg on top, others mix this with scrambled eggs.   You could also whip in a few egg whites to save some calories.  Feel free to add some leftover chicken breast or pork.


Lightly coat a medium frying pan with oil.  Heat over medium-high heat, stir in veggies.  Add  tortilla chips.  Quickly pour sauce over chips and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer chips in sauce (but do not stir them) until the chips have absorbed enough liquid to become soft. Sprinkle cheese  on top and let cheese melt.  Serve immediately.Serves 2*If you do not have chips you can fry stale or dried-out corn tortillas.  Just cut into strips, fry until crispy, drain and add a little salt.  Add back them back into the pan and add your green chile sauce.

It is tough to figure the nutritional value as there are so many variations but I am guessing about 350 calories in a serving with the egg.  If you are seriously counting calories/sodium, read the packages for more info.

This dish is high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein if made with eggs or meat.  Careful- it can also be high in fat because of the oil and type of chips used.  Reduce the sodium by using a no-salt added chip.  It is a hearty meal that will keep you going until lunchtime and beyond.   You will not get the mid-morning cravings that are common with many other breakfast foods.

They taste even better when eaten near the ocean! This meal held us the whole day.

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Have fun and be healthy- It Can be Done!


Most of you are probably getting ready for an eating binge that will continue into the New Year. Don’t fret, you can still have fun while eating healthy and not going overboard.  Well, not too much overboard!  Most people gain 2-5 pounds over the holidays which doesn’t seem like a lot except that most people don’t lose that weight, it just keeps adding up year after year.  Here are a few tips to enjoy the holidays without overindulging.

Yum- low calorie, nutritious and mighty tasty!

1- Don’t go to a party or family dinner with an empty stomach.  Not eating will lead to make bad choices as soon as you walk in the door.  Have some yogurt, string cheese, or a handful of almonds before you head out.

2- Make your time at the party more about spending time with friends and family and less about food.  Do your socializing away from the table.

3- If you are bringing a dish to share, make it a healthy option.  People love a fruit platter with a low-calorie dip or look for a healthier version of your favorite recipe.

4- Set limits on alcohol.  Enjoy a few alcoholic beverages but think about having a glass of water in between drinks.  Alcohol can increase your appetite and decrease your willpower, and that holiday cocktail is probably loaded with empty calories. Stick to lighter beverages like a glass of wine or a mixed drink with club soda and only one shot of alcohol.

5- Load up on fruits and veggies, avoid anything filled with cream cheese, sauces,and rich desserts.

6- Don’t deprive yourself but be choosy.  Don’t grab the first thing you see, survey the table and pick one or two things that are worth the calorie binge.

7- Hang out with the talkers, not the eaters!  Put 1 or 2 things on your plate and move away from the food area.  At least walking back and forth will burn a few calories- and standing burns more than sitting!

Eating too much is one holiday tradition you can do without. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up your favorite holiday foods — you just have to choose them wisely.

And...don't forget to find time for exercise!

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Happy Festivus!

Hurray!  A holiday for the rest of us!  For those of you who aren’t Seinfeld fans (really?  What’s wrong with you?), here’s an explanation from Wikipedia.  But really, if you aren’t a Seinfeld fan this means nothing…

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as a way to celebrate the holiday season without participating in its pressures and commercialism.[1] It was created by writer Dan O’Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Billy, a screenwriter for the TV show Seinfeld,[1][2] as part of a comical storyline on the show. The holiday’s celebration, as shown on Seinfeld, includes an unadorned aluminum “Festivus pole”, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength“, and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”. Celebrants of the holiday sometimes refer to it as “a Festivus for the rest of us”, a saying taken from the O’Keefe family traditions and popularized in the Seinfeld episode to describe Festivus’ non-commercial aspect.

In keeping with the theme of the blog, I did some searching to see what was served at the Festivus meal.  On the show it was meatloaf, in real life the  O’Keefe’s had turkey or ham followed by a  Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&M’s.  I can’t do much to make a Pepperidge Farm Cake healthier (they all score a D+ for nutrition) but meatloaf is another story.

In the kingdom of comfort food, meatloaf is royalty and I love it!  Rich  in carbs and fat, it fills you up and makes you feel good — that is, until your  waistband becomes too tight. To get the comfort without the calories, try this  version. The fat is cut in half by using 93 percent lean ground turkey  instead of ground beef chuck, and I opted for fat-free milk, which still keeps the  loaf  tender and not dry. Even more soothing: You don’t have to give up the beloved  ketchup glaze. Yummy!

Made Over Festivus Meatloaf
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 stalk(s) celery, finely  chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, crushed with  press
  • 2 pound(s) lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup(s)   (from 1 1/2 slices bread)  fresh  whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup(s) fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire  sauce
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup(s) ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black  pepper
  • 1 tablespoon(s) Dijon  mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, in oil,  cook celery and onion on medium 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender,  stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to  large bowl; cool slightly.
  2. To bowl with vegetables, add turkey, bread crumbs, milk,  Worcestershire sauce, egg whites, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4  teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper; mix with hands until well combined but  not overmixed. In cup, mix Dijon and remaining 1/4 cup ketchup.
  3. In 13″ by 9″ metal baking pan, shape meat mixture into 9″ by 5″ loaf.  Spread ketchup mixture over top of loaf.
  4. Bake meatloaf 55 to 60 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in  center reaches 160 degrees F. (Temperature will rise to 165 degrees F upon  standing.)
  5. Let meatloaf stand 10 minutes before removing from pan to set juices  for easier slicing. Transfer meatloaf to platter and cut into slices to  serve.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Calories 230
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 80mg
Sodium 500mg
Total Carbohydrate 11g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Protein 25g


I would suggest that Feats of Strength be performed before the meal but don’t skip it.  A 175 pound man wrestling for 15 minutes will burn 150 calories.  The competition doesn’t end until the host is pinned. Failure to pin the host results in Festivus continuing until the requirements are met.

Next up- The Airing of the Grievances!

Happy Festivus to One and All.

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Here’s a 21st Century Ailment!

Are you experiencing hand, wrist, and shoulder pain? It might be from texting.


Texting Tendonitis, also known as Blackberry Thumb, is a new ailment that is afflicting the smart phone user, especially prolific texters.  This is a type of tendonitis from cell phone use that can affect arms and shoulders as well as fingers and hands.  Here are some exercises to help prevent smartphone-induced pain.  For each, work both hands and do three sets of 10 repetitions twice weekly.

Strengthen the Opposing Muscles– the muscles on the back of the hand need to be exercised to off-set the use of the front muscles.  Close your fingers and thumb as if to grab an envelope.  Wrap a rubber band around all your fingers at the knuckle.  Open your hand to stretch the rubber band.  Do this 10 times, then rest.  Do 3 sets of 10 then switch to the other hand.

Wrist Extension with a Dumbbell– if you don’t have a dumbbell you can use a soup can or another item that you can grasp.  You should use a 3-4 lb weight for the best results.  Holding the weight, place your forearm on a surface so only your hand hangs over the edge.  Relax your wrist so it bends down.  Raise the weight, keeping your forearm on the surface, hold for 8 seconds and relax down.   If this is uncomfortable, start with a 1-2 lb weight and gradually add to it.  Do this 10 reps, rest then 2 more sets of 10.  Remember to do both wrists.

From this position,, flex hand up keeping your arm on the desk. This is also a great golf exercise.

Some other tips to avoid Texting Tendonitis:

Don’t always type with the same two fingers.  This is easier if you rest the phone on your desk instead of holding it in your hands and will also take stress off your shoulders.  It  isn’t always practical but do it when you have the chance.

>Don’t text more that a few minutes without taking a break

>Keep your messages brief.  If you have a lot to say, do it on a full keyboard.

>Choose a phone that has a virtual keyboard on the screen as it requires less force that keyboard buttons.

Thanks to Bottom Line Personal for these great tips!


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