Tales From A Hungry Life

November 24, 2016

10 Reasons to Be Grateful This Thanksgiving

by Maria Schulz

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Did you know that being grateful is actually good for you? There’s scientific proof that being grateful can have a dramatic impact on your life—keeping blood pressure low, making your immune system work better, and helping you get more sleep.

That’s good news, because Thanksgiving Day can come with its own stresses. Maybe you’re having a big crowd over and you have a million things to do. Or, maybe you’ll be a guest and some of the folks you’ll be seeing annoy the living daylights out of you. Plus, with all of the food being served, this holiday can wreak havoc on your health.

Everybody loves roast turkey

Everybody loves roast turkey

So…instead of focusing on the things that will drive us crazy today or make us fat, how about finding things to be grateful for? Here are some suggestions.

Family can be fun

Family can be fun

  1. Family

Sure, not everyone is blessed with the perfect family. But come to think of it, is ANYONE? Find me the perfect family and I’ll show you a pack of Yetis with the same last name. Sorry, folks—this mythical family doesn’t exist. We humans are imperfect and tend to get on each other’s nerves. Still, there are ways around this. Is your wacky, forgetful mom bringing her world famous mashed potatoes to the table? Be grateful. Is your annoying, messy, but somehow-still-lovable son home from college? Be grateful. Is Uncle Harry smoking his disgusting cigar outside—and keeping his shoes on his smelly feet inside? Be grateful. You get the idea.

Get out there

Get out there

  1. Friends

Some of us rely on the kindness of friends to make our holidays special. Maybe your family is a pack of psychos or they just live too far away to spend the day together. If you want to spend it alone, that’s great. However, if you are miserable because you feel you’ve been rejected by humankind on this day of thanks, accept an invitation to dinner with your stand-in family—your friends—or go help others at church, a soup kitchen, a nursing home, etc. Don’t just sit there like a Debbie Downer crying over your sad, tiny bird. Get out there and mix with people. You’ll be glad you did, even if those people are watching an awful lot of football.

Don't be that friend

Don’t be that friend

3. You woke up today! Hey, if that’s not a reason to be grateful, I don’t know what is. Be grateful that you’re up and about. Go participate in a local Turkey Trot. Go to church. Smile. Today is a gift. Treat it that way.

Run, run, run

Run, run, run

4. You’ve got all of your marbles. Metaphorically speaking, that is. And if you literally can’t find your pack of marbles, I’ve got good news for you: you can go online and score a big Black Friday deal on some new ones.

I've got a lot to be thankful for

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for

5. Your kids gave you one of those “I’m Grateful For” Turkeys with wonderful things written on all of the feathers. Somehow, you managed to score ahead of the dog, the iguana, and a pack of Legos. Be grateful.

6. When all the cooking and eating is done, you can watch football. Or the dog show. Or you can watch the parade while you cook. The point is, you can do whatever you please. If you have to work today, make plans to celebrate tomorrow or Saturday or whenever you can be surrounded by those you love or at least like enough to challenge to a wishbone-breaking feat of strength.

Or you can make your own "I'm grateful for" list

Go ahead, make your own “I’m grateful for” list

  1. There’s pie! Apple, pumpkin, blueberry, lemon meringue. Why wouldn’t you be grateful?
Best Ever.

Best Ever.

  1. NETFLIX! If watching sentimental movies or football is not your thing, go for Breaking Bad or Orange is the New Black. Turkey-binging and Netflix-binging. Perfect together!
Red, white, and imperfect blue

Red, white, and imperfect blue

  1. We are Americans. We live in a country that is not perfect, but it’s our country. The Bill of Rights lets us practice our beliefs, pursue happiness, and complain thanks to Freedom of Speech. We aren’t perfect and we’re able to say so. That’s a pretty amazing unalienable right and I’m grateful for it.
Plus you can read whatever you want

Plus you can read whatever you want

  1. Laughter is free. Yes, your family and friends may do things that annoy the stuffing out of you. Grandma may eat food off your plate. Your best friend Gerry may bore you with endless football commentary. Your beloved dog may have just barfed blueberry pie all over your rug. So what? Chances are your Thanksgiving Day disasters will live on in infamy. Today won’t last forever, and those people and pets who are driving you crazy won’t be here forever either. Be glad you’re where you are right now and laugh as much as possible.
the muppet movie

They look happy

Here’s a bonus reason to be grateful today: even if you’re watching your weight, dessert on Thanksgiving is MANDATORY!

Where have all the cookies gone?

Where have all the cookies gone?

Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon clove

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pure pumpkin

1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove together. Set aside.
  3. Use mixer (on medium) to beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla.
  4. Turn mixer to low and add pumpkin. Slowly beat in flour mixture until dough forms. DO NOT OVERMIX!
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Use a medium cookie scoop (or a teaspoon) and drop scoops onto baking sheet, two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges start to brown.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool.

Enjoy!

So many reasons to be grateful

So many reasons to be grateful

So, what makes you grateful? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving treat? What was your worst turkey day disaster? Please leave a comment. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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May 27, 2015

The Joys of Exercising

Filed under: exercise,famiy,Food,fun,Humor,laughter,recipes — talesfromahungrylife @ 7:01 am
Tags: , , , ,

Recently, I read an article about a research project that followed two groups of mice: a young group and an old group. Both were tracked 24/7 to see what their activity levels were, when they were busiest, the state of their awake/sleep times, and what impact it had on their health. The young mice were busy throughout the day and slept soundly at night. The old mice were less busy throughout the day and slept less at night.

etsy.com mouse on wheel

Available at etsy.com

However, after the researchers put wheels into their cages, both sets of mice became more active. They exercised more, ate less, and both became much healthier. Life was looking up for everyone—until those rotten scientists removed their wheels. So what happened? The mice started laying on their couches, watching The Big Bang Theory marathons, and eating tons of White Castle.

Binge-worthy

Binge-worthy

No, wait…that was me. Anyway, if you want to read the article, click here.

There are times when getting up and exercising on my own personal wheel is something of a chore. I work at a desk job, so my daily movement can be limited. I got a fitness band to help gently remind me when to get up and move so that I don’t resemble Jabba the Hutt by the time I’m ready for retirement.

I like White Castle

I like White Castle

Throughout the day, my bracelet lights up and repeatedly flashes the message: GO MARIA! GO! If I don’t go, the bracelet continues to flash. I imagine it must be awful if you’re prone to seizures.

So what do I do? I go. I walk and walk, and then walk some more. Still, that damn bracelet keeps yelling at me. As I’m walking aimlessly around my tiny office, I occasionally can be heard saying, “WHAT THE XX!!# DO YOU WANT, BRACELET?” You can imagine how popular I am.

Today WE RUN!

Today WE RUN!

My bracelet reminds me of my 9th grade Physical Education teacher. Let’s call her Ms. Hell-Raiser. Ms. H-R had all the subtle, engaging charm of a Death Star storm trooper. She appeared to be carved out of marble but lacking the usual warmth of marble (yes, I realize that marble is cold), with calf muscles that may have been bigger than actual calves. Each beautiful morning would begin with orders like these:

“You lazy bums. I SAID MOVE!”

“WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU LOSERS?”

and my personal favorite:

“If you idiots had to run for your lives from a hungry lion, you’d all be breakfast.”

He's probably about to eat breakfast

He’s probably about to eat breakfast

My classmates seemed able to respond to these kinds of motivational/cruel speeches by—remarkably—running faster. I, on the other hand, was okay with the idea of being eaten by a large predator. At least I would have gotten out of gym class.

So, of course, Hell-Raiser hated me.

When everyone else was done running around the track, I’d still be running at a pace that my teacher deemed glacial. This might be true, but for someone who would have rather been sitting in English class discussing how much she loved Leora in Arrowsmith or why To Kill a Mockingbird was the quintessential American classic, it was stitch-in-the-side, all-out, blazing fast, warp speed.

Also a great movie to sit and watch

Also a great movie to sit and watch

Hell-Raiser was incensed because she thought I ran slowly on purpose. Not so! While I often did enjoy seeing her purple face and infuriated grimace as I made my way around the mind-numbing circle known as the track, I could not actually go any faster. I am slow and plodding, just like every other member of my family, and probably a long line of ancestors before me. We are the people who perfected not being spotted by predators because we would either stand still (and not be detected) or hide behind a tree while everyone else darted away and the lion chased them down.

I like my bicycle

I like my bicycle

If there had been bicycles in gym class, I could’ve wowed Hell-Raiser with my superior racing skills and beaten her in any competition. Of course, I also would’ve ridden away, never to be seen again.

My high school gym experiences made me believe for a time that there are 2 kinds of people in the world:

  1. Those who love exercising, eating right, and weighing 20 lbs.
  2. Me

The trauma inflicted on my psyche has led me to do some serious soul searching. Yes, I know exercise is important, and I try to do it every single day. I use lots of motivational tools and tricks to keep me going. So, here is my list of things I tell myself to keep getting onto my “wheel” every single time.

8 Great Things About Exercise

  1. It doesn’t last forever
  2. It has been known to cause heart attacks—so there’s always a way out
  3. Sometimes, the really gung-ho athletes around you trip and fall, providing random and welcome sources of comedic relief
  4. When done properly, there’s only a small chance I might fall and break a limb
  5. The more calories you burn, the more White Castle you can eat later
  6. The Gym is obviously a place to suffer, which knocks off time in Hell…and those awkward reunions with your 9th grade Phys. Ed. teacher
  7. Exercising allows you to be morally superior to people who lay around watching The Big Bang Theory marathons and eating White Castle (you know, the same people you actually envy)
  8. It helps you become a master of pointless repetition, bringing some of us right back to our Catholic school years when we learned the Hustle

Recipes:

Top 28 Best Healthy Snacks

Yum

Yum

What is it about exercise that makes me so hungry? If the idea is to torch calories, why do I come home wanting to eat more? The list of recipes above offer 28 easy to make or easy to find treats that even I thought looked enjoyable.

So, Hungry Lifers…what’s your favorite form of exercise? Were you traumatized or inspired by your gym teachers? Which TV show/food do you binge on? Please leave a comment, and then get back on your wheels NOW. Thanks.