A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta issued some findings that are, not only unremarkable, but quite frankly no-brainers. The study, involving 17,000 people, found that those in their 50s are stronger and live longer when they:

Picture
1. Do not smoke.
2. Drink alcohol moderately.
3. Eat healthy foods.
4. Exercise regularly.


Picture

Well thank you Captain Obvious! But what about people in their 50s, at the pinnacle of their careers, living in an extremely competitive, stress-filled business world with never enough staff? Yes, what about us? Well...let's take a look at each point.

Picture
1. DO NOT SMOKE

No big strategy there...just don't start. If you are already hooked, age 50 is a good time to have a conversation with your doctor about the best options among the "Quit Smoking" programs that are on the market today. If you are well into your 50s and still smoking, it is indeed past time to get serious about quitting. Cutting out cigarettes will significantly lower your risk of cancer.


Picture
2. DRINK ALCOHOL MODERATELY

Define moderately. Doctors advise men to drink no more than 2 alcoholic beverages per day, and women should limit their alcohol intake to just 1 drink a day. There is evidence that 1 glass of red wine each week may actually have some health benefits. Physicians and scientists at the Mayo Clinic have conducted research which suggests that the antioxidants in red wine may help reduce HDL or bad cholesterol in blood vessels. Of course, many doctors are hesitant to recommend that patients drink alcohol; therefore it is best if you discuss your personal alcohol intake with your physician, who will take into consideration your entire health profile. Cheers!


Picture
3. EAT HEALTHY FOODS

Making time to eat the right foods during a hectic day at work can be a challenge for busy people who shoulder a great deal of responsibility in their professions. Your favorite chopped veggies, fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt are excellent snacks for a busy work day. If there is no refrigerator in your office, you can still snack healthy on granola, dried fruit, rice cakes, wheat crackers and unbuttered popcorn. Of course, it is important to limit the intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates, and make sure to drink 64-72 ounces of water throughout the day.

If you must eat fast food sometimes, order a wheat bun and avoid cheese, heavy condiments and other extra toppings. Try instead lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and other veggies that add flavor without adding fat. Many fast food restaurants are offering a menu with healthier options. You can most likely get fruit instead of fries and water with lemon or lime instead of soda pop. Drinking water will also save you money.


Picture
Choose grilled options instead of fried, and chicken over beef as it is usually leaner. When possible, go with a salad with minimal dressing, and choose grilled instead of fried protein. Leave off the croutons and cheese, but add fruit and raw veggies.
If you take a little time the night before work to fix a salad at home, you can have a healthy, scrumptious lunch with all of your favorite ingredients the next day.

4. EXERCISE REGULARLY

This takes determination and discipline. You might be surprised at what a difference just 30-60 minutes a day of brisk walking can make in your heart rate, blood pressure and overall stamina. Unfortunately, the American lifestyle of working long hours in front of a computer screen lends itself to a life of little physical activity, along with unhealthy diets of fast food and sugary snacks.


Picture

If you just force yourself to get up 30-60 minutes earlier each morning, you can run 2-3 miles or walk 1-2 miles. Follow that with a quick, refreshing shower and a healthy breakfast of wheat toast, poached egg, fresh fruit or yogurt, and you will be ready to tackle those corporate giants.

When the weather is nasty, a home treadmill can work almost as well, or a daily visit to a neighborhood gym before or after work.

Picture

If you are just utterly swamped, try taking two 15 minute breaks each day, and go up and down the stairs at your office. It is amazing what a difference 30 minutes a day of stair climbing can make in your energy level and ability to focus and concentrate. It is always a good idea to look away from your computer screen for a couple of minutes every hour, and also stand up, stretch a little, and roll your shoulders and neck. This keeps the body from becoming too tense and helps keep the mind alert.


Picture
Yoga is one of the best exercises for people in their 50s. Along with the deep breathing exercises, which promote relaxation and release tension, yoga poses increase flexibility in joints, strengthen muscles, build endurance and release endorphins, which make us feel happy and calm.

Statistics show that people who target all 4 of these points, and are successful in sticking to them, experience rates of cancer and heart disease 2/3 lower than others. They are also 60% less likely to suffer health issues that lead to an early death.

Turning 50 does not mean it is time to start looking at cemetery plots. People who hit that half century mark can get a new lease on life by giving up the cigarettes, cutting down on alcohol, eating healthier and getting more exercise. It may just take some creative thinking and rearranging of schedules to make it happen, but at 50 your mind and body deserve to be cared for and cherished.


 
 
Next time you need to buy salt, consider Himalayan Pink Salt instead of regular table salt or sea salt. There are some excellent health benefits to switching to Himalayan Pink, particularly for older adults.
Himalayan Pink Salt is mined in the second largest salt mine in the world located in Punjab, Pakistan, about 300km from the Himalayan Mountain Range. Himalayan Pink is an unrefined, unprocessed raw salt than contains 84 minerals. It is hand-mined from the Pakistani salt caves where it was formed millions of years ago from ocean salt that settled in pockets in the earth. Because of its location, the salt is not contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides like common table salt and it is the most pristine salt found on the planet. These are all excellent reasons to switch to Himalayan Pink Salt which can be found in most grocery stores or ordered online.
 
 
Contrary to popular belief, life still goes on when your baby leaves for college. You do not have to suffer from empty nest syndrome if you don't want to. Being depressed is not required. Face it and embrace it. Do those things you have been wanting to do but have not had time to do. Accept this next chapter of your life. Think about it as the calm before the storm when grandchildren take over your house and you once again have toys strewn about like you had a quarter century ago.

My husband and I are taking a trip to Disney World in a few weeks where we are going to do all of the romantic things for two at a leisurely pace rather than at breakneck speed as we have done for the past two decades. When we get back home we are going to start taking yoga classes twice a week, and who knows...maybe a ballroom dancing class. We've heard they are great fun!

Don't get me wrong. It's not easy to leave your youngest child miles away in a dorm room, but it is inevitable and I choose to not let it get me down. With that said I have documented my baby's move for therapeutic as well as nostalgic purposes.
 
Picture
Elizabeth enjoying one
last snuggle with the
Fincher zoo.


Picture
                                                           We just got used to fact that she
                                                           can operate a motor vehicle and
                                                           now she is driving off to college.

Picture
Standing in front of her dorm, Elizabeth is a third generation Georgia Bulldog! Joining her granddaddy, Class of 1959; her mom, Class of 1982 and her sister, Class of 2011. Let's hear it for the Class of 2017. The tradition goes on!
Picture
                                                                                       Signing in to
                                                                                 Mary Lyndon Hall.
                                                                                 Yes it's Co-ed...
                                                                                 That's how they
                                                                                 roll these days.
                                                                                

Picture
Unpacking...It's not your grandmother's
(or your mother's) dorm room.
Today's dorm has WiFi for computers.
No land line - they all have SmartPhones.
Research for term papers right in the room
reclining in bed with an iPad.
Refrigerator is full of snacks...nuke 'em in the
microwave right in the room. AND cable TV!
No more typewriters (what's that?) or
midnights in the library researching or
record players (seriously, what is that?)

Picture
                                                                      Setting up the desk.
                                                                      Those do still exist.
                                                                      This is the "Mom,
                                                                      are you still taking
                                                                      pictures?" look.

Picture
The room is shaping up! It will be home away from home very soon.
Picture
                                                    



                                                                                    The inevitable
                                                                                    pizza break.  

Picture




And the inevitable
Walmart run.

Picture
And we're done! Parking pass - check Ice cream social - check Next up - football tickets!
Well, for those of you who read my therapeutic blog to the end, thank you for the indulgence. When you are facing an empty nest, remember, you can always re-feather it with different activities. Try something new! Go a little crazy!
 
 
One of the most delicious teas that I enjoy because of its naturally sweet flavor and lack of caffeine is Rooibos. And now I find, through my friend Lydia Joy Shatney, that it is extremely healthy as well. Check out Lydia's website, Divine Health from the Inside Out http://divinehealthfromtheinsideout.com/2013/07/the-health-benefits-of-rooibos-tea/ to discover the health benefits of Rooibos tea and other foods and drinks.

FROM DIVINE HEALTH FROM THE INSIDE OUT:

With summer time comes the need to quench one’s thirst far more than any other time of year. I find myself consuming far more herbal iced tea during the summer time, and I prefer to make sure those herbal teas are benefiting my body as well. One of my favorite simple teas is Rooibos tea. Brewed on it’s own and unsweetened it has a unique flavor that is very satisfying. Since it has no caffeine, it’s a great tea to sip on all day long. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and quite possibly contains 50% more antioxidants than found in green tea. I highly recommend trying this tea as an overall health tonic.

Benefits of Rooibos Tea
  • high level of antioxidants, including quercitin
  • contains small amounts of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, chloride, and potassium.
  • no caffeine, low levels of tanin
  • helpful with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems
  • could be helpful to those with liver disease
  • safe to drink when pregnant/nursing, drink as much as you like
  • is soothing for asthma and eczema sufferers (acts as a bronchodilator)
  • an immune system booster
  • Is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-mutagenic and anti-spasmodic
Mountain Rose Herbs (where I buy my tea) describes Rooibos Tea like this:

An exquisite certified organic and fair trade certified red tea from the highest mountain peaks of South Africa. Rooibos is an ultra fine, delicate tea and once brewed it produces a hearty red color with a warm scent. Rooibos holds a superior, natural sweetness that is unsurpassed and drinks down like Kukicha twig tea.smooth and succulent with an aromatic after taste. This tea is very high in anti-oxidants, trace minerals, and nutrients, and at this price everyone should incorporate Rooibos tea into the daily diet. Our Red Rooibos tea is Fair Trade certified and does not contain caffeine.

How about you? Do you enjoy Rooibos tea? Stay tuned for a recipe for my Rooibos Chai Blend.

Sources:

Rooibos -Wikipedia

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/tao-of-tea

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/health-benefits-of-red-rooibos-tea.html

ABOUT LYDIA:

Lydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health From The Inside Out in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Sign up for the Divine Health From The Inside Out newsletter! Pick up a copy of Lydia’s eBook; ‘Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals’. Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Contact Lydia today to get started as well as to learn more about what she has to offer you!


 
 
Picture
YES! You can find romance at Walt Disney World after the children are grown. You may be surprised to find out what there is to do at this magical vacation destination for empty nesters and D.I.N.K.s (Double Income, No Kids). Just about every resort has a spa where you can book a couple's massage. Both the Wishes fireworks show at Magic Kingdom and the Illuminations laser show at EPCOT have cruise boats where couples can bring a bottle of champagne and enjoy the shows from the Seven Seas Lagoon. EPCOT features a VIP dessert event that includes romantic reserved seating for Illuminations. One of the less expensive romantic excursions is the carriage ride that begins at the Port Orleans Resort. There are wine tastings, intimate dinner experiences and even bicycles built for two. There is no shortage of romance at Disney World.

Picture
Disney World sports one of the best aquariums in the country. Found at EPCOT in The Living Seas Pavilion, the aquarium features everything from a "Finding Nemo" ride to opportunities to swim with Dolphins and feed Manatees.
Picture
Living with the Land is a wonderful pavilion also located at EPCOT. Visitors can take a boat ride through the pavilion to see unique methods of growing herbs and vegetables using less space and fighting pests without chemicals. Visitors who are even more interested in learning how Disney conducts research into environmentally friendly farming methods, can take the behind the scenes tour of The Land which is truly fascinating.

Picture
Is there anything more romantic than the story of Cinderella? The castle, which is the centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom tells the age-old story of Cinderella, her glass slipper and the handsome prince in a series of breathtakingly beautiful mosaics. Small children usually run through the castle in a mad race for the Carousel or Peter Pan's Flight, but couples, young and old will enjoy strolling through the castle and taking in all the details of these gorgeous mosaics.
Adults without kids also discover that they have plenty of time to stroll through the many shops on Main Street. From exquisite jewelry and watches to intricately designed snow globes to talented glassblowers to scrumptious gourmet coffees, Main Street has it all and couples seeking a romantic excursion without children can take their time in the Magic Kingdom's shops without having to dash off to the next ride. 


Picture
Elephants, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, lions and cheetahs abound on the awesome Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Picture
Disney Studios features the Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror for thrill seekers; Lights Motor Action, Indian Jones Show, the Backlot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon for those who want to know how movie stunts are performed; and the ever popular Great Movie Ride. Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner of gourmet cuisine at the Hollywood Brown Derby, authentic Italian meals at Mama Melrose's or comfort food at the simulated Drive In known as the Sci Fi Theater. A super fun day can be topped off with the spectacular Fantasmic laser show featuring Mickey Mouse himself.

Picture
Our baby girls back in the day!
Picture
Emily today enjoying High Tea at Disney's Grand Floridian.
Picture
Elizabeth shopping for hats at the Polynesian.
Picture
My husband, John, and I always enjoy the 30 minute break provided by Space Ship Earth. Couples can take a leisurely ride through the history of our planet in an air conditioned car surrounded by fabulous animatronics and realistic 3D animations. 

Picture
At the end of Space Ship Earth riders have the opportunity to create their own future using the computerized activity at the end of the ride. Couples who have raised their children vacationing at Disney World do not have to feel that the fun is over once the kids are grown. There is a new kind of fun and it has only just begun!

 
 
Anyone who came of age in the 90s was probably a fan of the groundbreaking sitcom, Seinfeld. And if you are a Seinfeld fan, then you are very familiar with the notorious "Soup Nazi" and his famed Mulligatawny Soup.

Well Mulligatawny was not made up for the Seinfeld characters. It is a real soup and actually far easier to make than the Soup Nazi led us to believe. Give it a try.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chopped onion; 2 stalks chopped celery; 1 carrot diced;
1/4 cup butter; 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour;
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder; 4 cups chicken broth;
1/2 apple cored and chopped; 1/4 cup white rice;
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into cubes;
pinch salt; ground pepper; dried thyme; 1/2 cup heavy cream heated

DIRECTIONS

Saute onions, celery, carrot and butter in large soup pot til soft
Add flour, curry and cook 5 minutes. Add chicken stock.
Mix well, bring to boil and simmer 1/2 hour.
Add apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, thyme and
Simmer 20 minutes until rice is done.
Add cream when serving.

A Little Mulligatawny History

Mulligatawny Soup is the Anglicized version of Tamil which is a southern Indian soup dish. The word Tamil actually means "pepper water." The original Tamil was made with peppers and it became popular among Brits in late 18th century India who were working as employees of the East India Company. They brought Tamil home to England and Australia, made it less spicy without the peppers and changed the name to Mulligatawny.



 
 
Do you want to make your Easter meal a little more interesting?  

Try using your same recipe that you always use, but divide the egg filling into different bowls and add different food coloring to each bowl. You can even play around with the colors combining different ones to get unique shades of color.

This is a great way to get children to try deviled eggs. The food coloring has no impact on the taste -- only on the appearance.

Give it a try and HAPPY EASTER from Fincher Family Sweets!
 
 
You don't have to go out to an authentic Italian restaurant to get a scrumptious bowl of hearty minestrone. Even though the weather has warmed up during the day, it is not too hot to make this delicious Italian dish. And you can make the tasty soup right at home --- perfect for a cool March evening and great to last for an entire weekend.

INGREDIENTS

3 T extra-virgin olive oil                        1 c diced yellow onion
1/2 c diced red onion                             3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c ea. of celery, fennel, red potatoes & zucchini
1/2 bunch Swiss chard, stems off     1/2 bunch collards, stems off
1/2 bunch fresh spinach, stems off   
salt & pepper to taste                             4 vegetable stock
1 c Marinara                                               12 c parmesan
1 c small pasta, cooked & drained
1 c canned cannellini beans, rinsed & drained

DIRECTIONS

heat oil in large pot
add all onions & cook til caramelized
add garlic & cook 1 min.
add carrots & celery & cook til tender
add fennel, potatoes & zucchini & cook til tender
add greens & allow to wilt
add salt & pepper & stir
bring to boil; then add marinara & parmesan
bring to second boil; then reduce heat & simmer
cook 15 mins.; then add pasta & beans
cook 5 more mins.
garnish with grated parmesan, drizzle of oil oil & pinch of black pepper
Serve piping hot

Remember, veggies cook best when they are all chopped to approximately the same size. Greens are excellent additions to a healthy soup as they provide not just flavor, but iron fiber and other vital


 
 
The Month of March is often the last blast of icy weather and snowfall before Spring emerges to rejuvenate the earth. There is no better time to try a new healthy and tasty soup recipe to delight the palate and warm the tummy. This Colorful Chicken and Squash Soup recipe makes a perfect meal on a chilly March evening. Try it!

Ingredients:

1 boiler/fryer chicken (4 lbs) cut up                                    13 cups water
5 lbs butternut squash (10 c) peeled & cubed                  3 t salt
1 bunch kale, trimmed & chopped                                         2 large onions chopped
6 medium carrots chopped

Directions:

Place chicken & water in stockpot. Bring Boil. Reduce heat. Cover & simmer for about an hour until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken from broth. Strain broth & skim fat. Return broth to stockpot.
Add squash, kale, carrots and onions. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover & simmer for 30 mins until veggies are tender.
Debone chicken & cut into bite sized pieces.
Add chicken & salt to veggies & simmer for 20 mins.
Makes approx. 14 servings.

This remarkably delicious soup is also health with only 241 calories per 1 1/2 cup serving. Each serving also contains 9 g. fat, 7 g. fiber, 19 g. protein and 24 carbs.

Colorful Chicken and Squash Soup is an excellent meal to cook and share with family and friends or to enjoy over several days, especially on a cold evening in March.


 
 
Flowers, chocolates, fancy restaurants...tired of celebrating Valentine's Day the same way every year? Although flowers, candy and a night out on the town are not typically a cause for complaint, wouldn't it be nice to do something different for a change?

Why not try searching the far corners of your brain, scraping away the layers of duty and responsibility that constantly cloud your mind, and remember when you knew how to be creative in your thought processes. Whether your Valentine's Day budget is super-sized, dollar store or somewhere in between, there is always room for a little creativity. Still having trouble thinking outside the proverbial box of chocolates? Well, then, here are some ideas worth considering:

Picture
For the couple that is a little bit crazy and has a little money to burn, take a ride in a hot air balloon. Average costs range from $150 to $300 per person, which may seem a bit pricey, but what a breathtaking experience and a memorable way to mark this Valentine's Day. After all, we did just survive the Mayan Apocalypse.

Although it may not be as exhilarating as a hot air balloon excursion, my husband and I never get tired of couples massages. Priced at around $75 to $150 per person, depending on the length of the massage and the fanciness of the spa, there is little more relaxing and refreshing  than a deep tissue massage, complete with natural oils, aromatherapy candles and calming new age music.

Perhaps this year marks a milestone Valentine's Day like your 10th or 20th together. This may be the year to purchase a keepsake. His and Her luxury monogrammed bathrobes usually average $80 to $140 each, including the monogram. Add a bottle of champagne and a crackling fire in the fireplace, and the stage is set for an extra romantic Valentine's celebration.

If you want to keep the cost under $100 each, consider a gourmet cooking class for two. It's loads of fun, and you may be surprised at what you find by just googling "cooking classes" in your area. From full meals, to melt in your mouth breads, to scrumptious sweets, a cooking class for two is a wonderful way to spend special time with your Valentine.


Picture
Winery Tours and wine tastings are fun and romantic too.  They can cost as little as $15 a person or as much as $60 a person depending on how much wine you and your sweetie want to taste.

For art lovers, a visit to a favorite museum or a new art gallery will usually run $25 to $50 depending on the rarity of the exhibit or the popularity of the artist.



Even though it may be short and sweet, there are few things that beat horse drawn carriage rides in the romance department. Twinkling stars, glowing moonlight, crisp air and the clackety-clack of the horse's hooves will only set you back $20 to $40 plus a tip for the driver.

For couples on a tighter budget, an afternoon strolling around the local zoo may run around $12 to $24 each. If it's too cold for the zoo, an evening of ice skating hand-in-hand might fit the bill. You may expect to pay $10 to $18 each for admission plus $8 to $12 each for the skate rental.

Depending on your budget, you might want to take a trip back in time and recreate your first date. Of course, if you are celebrating your 50th Valentine's Day together and your first date was cliff diving in Acapulco, you may want to rethink the "recreate your first date" idea and opt for a picnic at home in front of the fire complete with roasted marshmallows.

The point is, anyone can come up with a unique and magical way to spend Valentine's Day on any budget with just a little imagination.