Living Lite

Don't Want to Cook? No Problem!

February 4, 2018

No one wants to cook anymore. Who can blame them? We're all so busy. When you get home from work, you're exhausted, right? Simply too tired to cook a meal, or not willing to use up valuable relaxation time for cooking. No longer do we have the luxury of stay-at-home moms or dads who slave over a properly balanced home cooked meal every day. Personally, I spent so many years developing and testing recipes for my books, I'm sick of cooking myself. So I devote a lot of my "recipe" development time these days looking for recipes that don't need a recipe... you know, meals whipped up in minutes without any rules.

The biggest challenge for most people is after-work dinners. But I've found many good solutions for creating easy, tasty and quick meals. Some take literally five minutes.

One of my favorites is an open-faced taco. I buy small, thin whole corn tortillas and make either a soft or a fried version. But the ingredients are the same. Tomatoes are notoriously bad this time of year, but I find the smaller tomatoes on a vine excellent. I tend to keep them on the counter for days - even weeks - and their flavor concentrates.

Katherine's Quick and Easy Soft or Fried Tacos with Cheese, Chopped Tomatoes, Onions and Jalapeno Peppers
other toppings include avocado, fish, shrimp, chicken chunks, you name it!

1 serving:

Medium sized plate
2 Taco shells
2 Bonbel light cheese rounds
Canned Jalapeno pepper slices, to taste
Chopped FreshTomatoes, to taste
Chopped Fresh Sweet Onions, to taste
Chopped Fresh Celery (optional)
Chopped Fresh Avocado (optional)
Flaky Fish Filet (optional)
Chopped Fresh Cilantro (optional)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

Place the 2 tacos on the plate, top with the cheese and jalapeno pepper slices. Microwave for about a minute, until the cheese has melted. Pile on the remaining veggies, toppings, cilantro, salt and pepper. Roll up and eat!

For the fried version, I add a little canola or olive oil to a non-stick pan. When hot, I put the tacos in and brown on one side. Flip over and top with the cheese, veggies, and other toppings. Once the cheese melts, they're ready to eat.

I buy the thinnest corn tortillas I can find. At only 50 calories each, and with mainly veggies, you have a spicy, filling low-calorie meal - perfectly balanced - that everyone loves.

Thin, Whole Corn Tortillas (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Thin, Whole Corn Tortillas

Other toppings can be chopped chicken, fish, shrimp... anything! I've discovered spicy frozen fish filets I think work perfectly.

Frozen Fish Filets (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Frozen Fish Filets


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Seize the New Year! It's Urgent!

January 15, 2018

What are your hopes, dreams and desires for 2018? The new year is a valuable opportunity to improve the quality of your life and happiness. Here's how to make the best of it...

SEIZE THE MOMENT!
 
A Plan For 2018
The new year is an important time to consider last year and to move with purpose into the future. Start by reviewing 2017’s important people, events, places, and ideas. What made you happiest last year? What were your achievements? What were the bumps in the road? What would you like to do more of – or less of – in 2018?

Now, move mindfully into 2018 filled with ideas, possibilities and plans! Analyze people who will continue to be important, ideas to explore, places to spend time, important events and things to carry over from last year to this year.

CREATING A "SENSE OF URGENCY"

An important aspect of making major changes in the world or in your own life is to feel a sense of urgency about your goal. A sense of urgency, according to The Dalai Lama in "The Art of Happiness" and our "western style" research, can be achieved two ways:

1) Remind yourself of your positive vision for success. For example, visualize yourself at your goal weight, healthy, feeling energetic and confident (see "Dream" in my book, Diet Simple). Is there a special event coming soon? A wedding? Reunion? Summer at the beach? You get the idea. But also...

2) Ponder the negative consequences of not making a particular change (a little fear can be a good thing – but just a little). For instance, in the morning as you’re considering two options: getting out of bed to exercise or sleeping just a little longer. Ask yourself: "Do I want to feel good today? Or do I want to feel crummy today?" Another example, as you're driving home from work and deciding to grab some carry-out or to go home to eat the healthy meal you've already planned. Ask yourself: “Do I want to achieve my weight loss goal (insert positive vision here) or will I accept being the same weight and having the same health problems for another year?” “Do I want to stop taking these darn medications or will I be taking them forever – and even increasing the dosage? What will my doctor say?” “What kind of example am I setting for my children, my spouse? Is this a behavior I can be proud of?” etc. You get the idea…

ACHIEVING INCREASED HAPPINESS

If you want to be happy, outline the consequences of your actions and act on your long term goals when making a decision to do something or not. Ask yourself "Which decision will improve my life?" Also, ask yourself, "Which decision may feel good right now but is counterproductive and will prevent me from achieving my goal?" helps you grow and become a happier person. It increases your general happiness level because you are making decisions which contribute to your long-term well-being.

THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF GIVING IN

Usually, when you do something that feels good momentarily, such as giving in and staying in bed for 30 more minutes of sleep in the morning instead of exercising, or grabbing a coffee cake at the coffee shop when you originally planned on just buying coffee, your happiness level may increase ("oooh, this feels yummy!") – but it's only a temporary blip of happiness. It goes back to the same level it did before - once the temporary experience wears off – and nothing changes for the better in your life. You may even become more depressed as you give-in to these unfulfilling momentary desires and continue into a downward spiral.

MAKING THE HARDER, BUT MORE SATISFYING CHOICE

If, instead, you say to yourself, "I'm getting out of bed NOW! I'll feel terrible if I don't, and I'll never achieve my goals," or “Will stopping to get carry-out change my life for the better? I’d be better off going home and eating something healthy as I want to lose weight, lower my cholesterol, wear that special outfit, etc,” or “I really don’t need that coffee cake, and I’ll feel terrible after eating it, and will it make me happier at the end of the day?" "Will this increase my happiness for the short term? Or for the long term?" Another more extreme example might be a drug addict relapsing. It feels great momentarily, but the feeling doesn’t last.

When you make a more thoughtful decision, which contributes to a better life – physical or psychological – you are more likely to achieve your life’s hopes, dreams and goals. You can actually increase your happiness level, feel happier more often and grow as a person.

WHY IT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY

There are so many things distracting you. It is not always easy in our society to make healthy decisions. It's easier - and the norm, in fact - to be overweight and unhealthy. But, I'm convinced it is possible to be healthy in an unhealthy world with planning, practice, determination, and support (I'm here any time you need me!) - Besides, what's the alternative?

It takes effort to train your mind to work this way, but this is how we become better people and we advance as a society.


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The Negative Impact of the New Tax Bill on Non-Profits & Charities

December 24, 2017

To get the most out of your philanthropic dollar, donate TODAY to your favorite charity. The new tax bill will have a major impact on charitable and non-profit organizations around the world. It takes effect January 1, 2018 and "would fundamentally weaken the ability of charitable organizations to raise money, provide services, and benefit our communities. Charitable giving could drop as much as $20 billion a year," acccording to UNICEF's website (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), an organization which "works for the survival, protection, and development of children worldwide." The UNICEF website added, "If you're no longer going to be itemizing deductions then you might maximize your charitable contributions before year's end," quoting H & R Block, a tax preparation and filing service. 

A charitable organization I'm most intimately involved with is The Salvation ArmyI spend several hours per week there counseling recovering drug and alcohol users on how to live healthy lifestyles once they're ready to face the world. Many of them have never known love in their lives. Some are raised by alcoholic, drug-addicted or absent parents or families; they are often physically, sexually and emotionally abused, homeless and desperate. They have nowhere else to go except The Salvation Army where they are welcomed with open arms and hearts.

A particular story shocked me, but it is just one out of many. One of my clients, at the age of five, was thrown down the stairs by her mother. After she tumbled to the bottom of the stairs her mother jumped on her head, cracking her skull. She was then taken away from her mother and sent to live with alcoholic relatives who abused her. This is according to her private medical chart; the young woman did not speak of it.

Another man in his forties was unjustly incarcerated for 22 years. He was finally exonerated based on new evidence, but the best of his life was over. Amazingly, as many of my clients there, he had a positive attitude when speaking with me, and said he felt "blessed" (his words), but has been struggling with heroin addiction. Again, he didn't share his tale of woe; it was something I had to read about in his personal history, which as a medical professional, is part of my duties: to understand a person's life, history, health, etc. so I can help them to the best of my ability.

Many of my clients there have experienced injustices of all kinds. For instance, being incarcerated for nine or more years simply for "intent to distribute" drugs. Yes, that's a crime. But I believe the punishment is excessive. Then these poor sould get lost in the system - if they hadn't already, torn from their families, uneducated, and damaged with nowhere to go except back to their negative environments.

Americans have always been generous people with big hearts. Give now to The Salvation Army, one of the highest rated charities in the world. But it is just one of millions, like UNICEF that make a difference in peoples' lives. You could contact me (Katherine@PersonalizedNutrition), if you like, about medical supplies needed!

 


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