Take the 7-Day Water Challenge to Feel Better!

“Drink more water!” You’ve heard it many times and it’s for good reason. Drinking more water is the best and cheapest way to improve health, lose weight, and just feel better. Benefits of drinking more water include:

  • Flushing toxins from vital organs
  • Helping to carry nutrients to your cells
  • Helping your digestive system run more efficiently
  • Improving skin elasticity and appearance
  • Improving energy and reducing hunger
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Lubricating and cushioning joints
  • Helping your brain create hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Protecting your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • Combating dehydration, which is linked to poor digestion, fatigue, brain fog, headaches, depression, and other unwanted symptoms

How Much is Enough?

You can use your body weight as a guide. Your daily water intake (in ounces) should be approximately half your weight (in pounds). For example, a 150-pound adult should have approximately 75 ounces of water each day.

Join the Challenge to Feel Better!

Simply download the 1-Week Water Challenge Chart below and place on your refrigerator, your wall, or keep in your planner. On top write in your daily goal in ounces, calculated per the body weight guide above. Then each time you drink water fill in the number of ounces on the glasses and then add up the total amount per day. 

Most importantly, each day add a comment about how you are feeling and then see how much better you feel by Day 7! 

Don’t forget to come back to this site and post a comment to let us know when you start the challenge, how your progress is going, and how this has made a difference in how you are feeling at the end of the week! 

I’d love to hear and post your story! 


Researchers find eating time affects how the body stores fat and regulates appetite hormones. 

Most of us have heard that eating after 8pm will lead to weight gain.  But some refuse to believe it, while others insist it is true.  Well, a recent study by Harvard Medical School proved that WHEN we eat does in fact significantly impact how our bodies burn calories, how hungry we are, and how our bodies store fat. 

This study confirmed previous research linking late day eating with an increased risk of obesity, increased body fat, and impaired weight loss.  But, by carefully controlling other variables and taking regular blood samples of participants, this study also went a level deeper to understand WHY the time of day makes such a difference. What this study showed was that eating later in the day had profound effects on hunger and the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, which influence our drive to eat. Specifically, levels of the hormone leptin, which signals satiety, were decreased. 

Study results also showed that when participants ate later calories were burned at a slower rate and there was an increase in the amount of fat the body stored. 

To learn more on the research go to: 


Want to Lower Stress? Add Indoor Plants to Your Home!

You’re on your own after your divorce…working, paying bills, and taking care of the kids and the house.  Of course you have stress!  So, why not instead make your house help you out a little bit?  By adding indoor plants to your home, stress and anxiety levels can actually be reduced!

Multiply studies prove that indoor plants not only look great, they also offer psychological and physical health benefits, such as:

  1. Improving your mood
  2. Reducing fatigue
  3. Lowering stress and anxiety
  4. Improving performance and focus on everyday home (and office) tasks
  5. Boosting healing and pain tolerance
  6. Minimizing the occurrence of headaches by improving air quality
  7. Easing dry skin and respiratory ailments by adding moisture to the air

Many houseplants absorb toxic substances such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, found in man-made materials that are known to “off-gas” pollutants into the air in your home (as well as in your office or in your school).  In addition, a study done at Virginia Tech led researchers to conclude that houseplants can reduce indoor dust by up to 20%. In effect, houseplants are efficient air cleaners.

NASA has done extensive studies of the role of houseplants in cleansing the air, hoping to capitalize on these benefits for future space stations. Their studies have shown that certain houseplants are exceptionally good at cleansing the air. (You can find a list on SwansonsNursury.com.) NASA recommends having 15-18 houseplants for an 1,800 square-foot house. While not all of us have room for quite that many plants, even just a few can be effective. Dr. Virginia Lohr, a professor of horticulture at Washington State University, suggests that filling as little as 2% of the room with plants will make an impact.

Indoor plants improve air quality in other ways as well. Plants release water vapor into the air, which increases humidity, and this can help improve respiratory and skin health by offsetting the drying effects of heating systems. This can be an incredible benefit to those with respiratory issues, headaches, and allergies.

Plants also increase oxygen levels in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen during photosynthesis. According to a Seattle Times article, you can maximize your benefits by placing plants “in your ‘breathing zone,’ within 6-8 square feet of where you normally sit or lie.”

A positive effect of this increased oxygenation can be to improve our mood, energy, and mental focus. In fact, studies have found that when people were allowed to have indoor plants in their office space, their work performance improved! No wonder so many new tech offices are including indoor spaces reminiscent of forests and tropical oases. Not only are they beautiful, they also help people feel better and work better.

Humans have a strong connection to nature and bringing nature into your immediate surroundings makes you calmer, more content, and as we’ve seen, more focused. Outdoor activities like forest bathing and nature walks are shown to improve levels of stress and anxiety, and living with indoor plants can do the same. There are studies going on now that are testing to see whether having plants nearby in a hospital room can actually help patients better manage their pain.

Just having plants around you will obviously offer psychological benefits but the act of caring for your plants can also help decrease stress and anxiety. So next time you’re watering your plants, slow down, take a few deep breaths, and really focus on what you’re doing. Admire your plants’ leaves and flowers; touch them; maybe even talk to them! It will help both you and your plants thrive.

Reference: Aimee Damman, SwansonNursury.com

Over 50 & Experiencing UTI’s?

**Daily steps that prevent them!

Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) occur when bacteria, from the skin or rectum, enters the urethra. Infections can happen in any part of the urinary tract, but bladder infections are most common.

As women age, the urethra and bladder tissues thin out and become drier, making them more susceptible to infection.   

Common UTI symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Cloudy or dark urine
  • Urine with a strong odor
  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor, who likely will prescribe antibiotics. 

But….. there are some daily habits that will help reduce your risk of a painful UTI:

1)  Stay hydrated. 

Drinking plenty of liquids can decrease your risk of UTI’s by making you urinate more often, helping to remove bacteria from the urinary tract. 

2)  Increase vitamin C.

Ingesting more vitamin C may decrease your UTI risk by making your urine more acidic, thus killing infection causing bacteria. 

3)  Drink unsweetened cranberry juice. 

Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for UTIs.  Cranberries work by helping to prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.

4)  Take probiotics.

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that can promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.  They are available in supplement form or can be found in fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and probiotic yogurt.  Some studies have shown that probiotics may reduce the risk of UTIs. These studies have involved the use of oral and vaginally administered probiotics, as well as different probiotic strains.

In addition, antibiotics, the main line of defense against UTIs, can disturb the levels of good and bad gut bacteria. Probiotics may be beneficial in restoring gut bacteria after antibiotic treatment.

5)  Practice good hygiene.

Do not hold your urine for a long time.  This leads to a buildup of bacteria.  Also, urinating after intercourse is recommended to prevent the spread of bacteria.  And we all know…. wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from spreading to the urinary tract. 

6)  Natural supplements.

There are some natural supplements that may reduce the risk of UTIs.  Here are three supplements in capsule form:

  • D-mannose – a type of sugar found in cranberries. 
  • Cranberry extract – like cranberry juice, this works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract. 
  • Garlic extract – research shows garlic and garlic extract have antimicrobial properties and may block the growth of bacteria, preventing UTIs. 

Source:  K.Watson/A.Sontos-Longhurst, Healthline, Dec. 13, 2022

20 Superfoods Vital to Women over 40

So…what exactly are “Superfoods?”  They are foods rich in antioxidants and the vitamins and minerals that are considered to be beneficial to living a longer healthier life and to have anti-aging properties. As women age it becomes more important to get the right nutrition and below are 20 Superfoods vital to a nutritious diet. 

1) Apples:  The soluble fiber in apples may help lower cholesterol and maintain healthy blood sugar levels by slowing the uptake of glucose. They’re also a source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, and antioxidants like vitamin C. Apples may lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and asthma, while aiding lung function and weight loss.

2) Asparagus: The protein, iron, and vitamin A in asparagus are important for our immune system and eye health. The high fiber content helps to reduce cholesterol, control body weight, and encourage heart health. Asparagus also contains prebiotics, which promote healthy gut bacteria. 

3) Avocados:  High in magnesium and fiber, avocados help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and can help reduce the risk for heart disease. 

4) Blueberries:  High in soluble fiber, blueberries can help lower cholesterol and slow glucose uptake, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. They also contain vitamins C and K, antioxidants, and manganese, and appear to lower blood pressure. Blueberries may also promote brain health, aid memory, and fight against age-related cognitive decline.

5) Broccoli: Antioxidants and vitamins, such as A, C, B9 (folate), and K can help your eyes, red blood cells, immune system, bones, and tissues, and are all found in broccoli. This vegetable may also aid in the fight against certain cancers, including liver, breast, and colon cancers.

6) Butternut Squash: Beta-carotene in butternut squash is important for eye health, and vitamin C benefits the heart. There is also a high fiber content, helping to lower cholesterol and maintain good blood sugar levels. Butternut squash also has potassium to help control blood pressure.

7) Eggs: The yolk contains nutrients that lower the risk of cataracts and eye degeneration.

8) Fava Beans:  Low-fat, no-cholesterol fava beans have fiber and B vitamins, including folate, thiamin, and riboflavin. They’re also rich in nutrients like manganese, iron, and potassium.

9) Garlic:  Helps prevent heart disease and strokes by slowing the hardening of the arteries. This herb may also help fight inflammation and cartilage damage associated with arthritis.

10) Greek Yogurt:  A serving of low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt may have twice the protein and half the sugar of its non-Greek counterpart. It also has more digestive-friendly probiotics than American-style yogurt.

11) Green Kale:  Contains important omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting to stop bleeding, but be cautious with kale if you take a blood thinner. High in fiber and a rich source of calcium for bone health, it also provides lutein, which is important for eye health. Kale may help slow cognitive decline, protect your arteries and lower cholesterol.

12) Milk: The protein and calcium in milk help counteract bone and muscle loss.

13) Oatmeal:  Oatmeal is low-fat, high in protein, and loaded with iron and other minerals.  It also helps scrub the arteries and may protect against colon cancer.

14) Olive Oil:  The monounsaturated fat in olive oil helps lower cholesterol levels, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease. It may also help prevent diabetes by regulating insulin levels and improving blood sugar control. Olive oil also contains vitamin K, which aids blood clotting, and vitamin E, an antioxidant important in the creation of red blood cells.
It appears to reduce arthritis inflammation as well.

15) Pomegranates:  The nutrient punicalagin in pomegranates might help fight against the breakdown of collagen, helping to preserve joint health. A half cup of pomegranate seeds contains 15% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may fend off skin damage and premature aging.

16) Quinoa:  The South American grain, quinoa, is a complete protein, filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as B2, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus. It is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods to eat.

17) Salmon:  High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can reduce the risk of heart attack and irregular heartbeats. Salmon can also help lower blood pressure and build brain cell membranes.

18) Strawberries:  The flavonoids — healthy chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vivid color — contain antioxidants that could keep your heart young.

19) Tomatoes:  Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their rich red color, may ward off UV-induced damage like wrinkles. In fact, studies show that our bodies absorb lycopene more easily from tomato paste than from fresh tomatoes.

20) Turmeric:  A main spice in curry, turmeric contains curcumin. Early research shows that curcumin may bind with the plaque that can build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients to prevent the disease from developing. 

(Data per HarrogateLifecare.org)


Visualization is critical to staying the course on your journey to accomplishing your goals.  It’s a powerful skill that you can learn.  At first, it may sound like a far-out, space-age idea, but once you get started, you’ll likely get hooked – just like I did! 

So…why practice visualization?  Why is it so important? 

By learning and practicing positive visualization, you can change your beliefs about yourself.  It can give you confidence and make you believe you’re fully capable of doing what it takes to be successful and achieve that long-time goal of yours – that dream you’ve kept inside of you for so many years! 

Research shows Visualization is a powerful tool in achieving the results we want.

How do you visualize?

  • Go to a quiet place without distractions.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Put 3 – 4 images in your mind of your life when you’ve reached your goal. 
  • Focus on the 1st image and layer in the positive emotions you would be feeling in that image.
  • Then repeat with each of the other images.
  • It can take only a few minutes a day. 

For example, your goal may be to have an online business selling gift baskets.  You love being creative and have been making and giving personalized gift baskets as holiday and birthday gifts for years and you’ve always desired to turn it into a real business. 

To visualize this, go to a quiet place.  Close your eyes and picture yourself being successful at this.  What do you see?  Are you reviewing customer orders and placing items into pretty decorated baskets?  Is an assistant wrapping the baskets, boxing them, and then taking them to UPS for shipping?  Are you seeing yourself reading the excellent customer reviews and seeing the deposits in your bank account? 

Focus on the images one by one.  For each image feel the positive emotions.  Let the confidence and joy run throughout your body.  Feel yourself standing up tall and being so glad to have taken action and started this business.  Feel how proud you are that you are so capable of managing the details and you have made this a successful business! 

Based on research described in her teaching videos, Mel Robbins states that visualization is actually reprograming your brain’s beliefs.  She explains that your mind doesn’t distinguish between images and emotions that are real events or imagined ones.  When you visualize, you are encoding a real memory into your brain.  The more you visualize, the stronger the memory becomes.  This actually increases your confidence in your ability and your fear dissipates as you gain certainty about handling the steps it takes to accomplish your goal.  You also begin talking and acting like someone who has already reached your goal – which in the above example, would be having built a successful online gift basket business!  

The Power of Focus!

What you focus on, your body feels.  For example, if you’re thinking about when someone in the past did something to hurt you, you will physically feel the hurt inside, even though the event is not currently taking place.  Likewise, if you’re focusing on a possible future event that worries you, your body feels the anxiety and stress, even though the event has not yet happened, and may never happen.  And…stress is something we definitely don’t want to bring upon ourselves, as it has been linked to increasing the risk of certain health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, memory loss, weight gain, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, depression, and more. 

But, you can stop this inner pain and stress by changing what your mind is focusing on.  By changing your focus, you can change your physical bio-chemistry.

Your focus also plays a major role in the results you’ve achieved in life.  Your current environment is largely a result of what you’ve focused on in the past.  Change your focus, change your life.  To achieve your goal, you want to consistently focus on that goal.  By focusing, you stop your mind and emotions to be reacting to negative stimuli in your environment, demands of others, or thoughts of past unpleasant or hurtful events.

What you consistently focus on, you will achieve.  When you find yourself making progress towards your goal, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and joy, and you’ll also develop a sense of certainty about your ability to achieve the results! 

Consistent focus is a learned skill that can be mastered with practice.   When you notice a negative thought entering your mind, you can switch your focus by taking a deep breath and counting backwards from five…5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  This counting backwards interrupts your thought pattern, states author and motivational speaker, Mel Robbins.  In her book, The Five Second Rule, Mel further explains that when you get to “1” it is a signal to your mind for something to occur.  After you get to “1” replace the previous thought with an image of your future self.  Focusing on that successful, happy vision of yourself changes your bio-chemical state from negative to joy, pleasure, and fulfillment – which is where we want to spend our time and live our lives!          

The Power of Asking the Right Question!!

You’re smart, hardworking, and a great mom!  You’re resilient and proud of how you’ve pushed yourself through hard times, including your divorce.  And…now, you find yourself thinking, “What’s next?  What will the second half of my life bring?”    


Do not ask, “What will life bring?”  It’s the WRONG question. 

The RIGHT question is:  “What do I want my life to look like?” 

When you ask a better question, you get a better answer. 

Think about it…

When you ask, “What will life bring?” you’ll find that your mind is not focused.  It’s flashing many different images, some happy and some not very happy. 

On the other hand, when you ask yourself, “What do I want my life to be?” you immediately get a more centered feeling in your gut.  Your mind is more focused and there is just one or two dominant images that you see.  Also, in these images you are happy, successful, confident, and content.

It’s similar with your “to do” list. 

Let’s say it’s Saturday morning.  You have the day in front of you and you’re about to write your “to do” list.  So…are you asking yourself, “What do I have to do today?” But, then don’t feel very motivated as you write (and picture yourself doing):

  • food shopping  
  • laundry
  • clean
  • walk dog

Well, no one would be motivated with that list!  The BETTER question to ask is, “What do I want to do today?”  With this question, you start seeing yourself doing fun, pleasurable things and may write down items, such as:

  • have lunch with my daughter
  • go hiking by the lake
  • take a drive to the farmstand and get fresh donuts

When you asked a better question, you got a better answer!  A better result! 

You’re now excited and looking forward to your day!  The day YOU designed!  And…the truth is: You absolutely can design the rest of your life!  It all starts with your focus. 

Sleep on it!

Making an important decision?

Sleep on it!

When you’re at the end of your day and find yourself finally getting around to thinking about that decision you’ve been putting off, the advice of ‘sleep on it’ is not just an old wives’ tale.  Scientific research confirms that a person should not make an important decision at the end of the day, but instead wait until morning, following a good night’s sleep.

Two reasons this is good advice: 

Firstly, at the end of the day we experience “decision fatigue.”  According to the American Medical Association, this is a state of mental overload that can impede a person’s ability to continue making decisions.  The average person makes over 35,000 decisions by the end of a day, says Dr. MacLean, a psychiatrist, which takes energy and can result in brain fog.  In addition, the wear and tear on our brains leads us to make more reckless decisions, such as impulse eating and shopping. 

Secondly, the most accurate decisions are made early in the day, according to a study published in the journal, Cognition.  Not only is this because decision fatigue has not yet occurred, but can also be attributed to adequate sleep, which is linked to better productivity, concentration, and cognition – the mental ability to acquire and perceive knowledge or concepts.

So, the next time you find yourself at the end of the day with your head spinning and you asking yourself, “What do I do?”  The answer is to get a good night’s sleep, knowing your decision-making ability will be improved in the morning and your decision more accurate. 

Live your best life by following your own true BEAT.