Friday, December 18, 2009

TOPS Ten Tips for a Healthy, Happy Holiday

Thanks to the Take Off Pounds Sensibly Organization(TOPS)for submitting this wonderful holiday tip sheet. Check it out then check them out!

The holiday season doesn’t have to create havoc on your weight-loss goals, says TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization.. Follow these ten strategies to navigate the eating season for a great time without a great gain.

1. Don’t go hungry. Arriving at a party on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster that can lead you to overeat and make poor choices. Have a light snack of a low-fat, high-fiber food a half-hour before you go, such as yogurt, an apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter, a piece of string cheese, or vegetables with low-calorie dip. This will help curb your appetite and make it easier to control your intake.

2. Treat yourself. There’s no need to ban your favorites; decide what you want to try and then set a limit. Cakes, cookies, and pies are available year-round, so indulge in small portions of only the best seasonal, holiday foods. Just a taste of something special can be enough to quell a craving without going overboard.

3. Take control. Offer to bring a low-calorie dish or platter to holiday gatherings. By preparing something that you know fits into your meal plan, you’ll have at least one healthy item on hand and other guests will likely appreciate it. Your hostess may also be grateful for the lessened stress of preparing multiple dishes.

4. Slow your pace. Eat slowly until you are satisfied, not stuffed. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to signal that you’re feeling full, so enjoy each bite and give yourself time to know when you’ve had enough. You’ll likely consume less than usual.

5. Mind your beverages. Drink plenty of water to help feel full and hydrated. Adding a twist of lemon or lime to sparkling water is a lively alternative to alcohol and coffee drinks, which can actually make you feel sluggish. Alcohol can also impair your judgment and make it difficult to stick to healthy eating resolutions. If you do choose to imbibe, select light beers and wines, and limit your intake to one or two drinks per occasion. Drink high-calorie seasonal favorites, like egg nog, punch, and full-fat hot chocolate, in moderation – or steer clear of them altogether.

6. Pair up with a friend. Make a pact that you will support and help keep each other on track. Don’t hesitate to lean on each other if you need encouragement to resist tempting treats or power through a workout. Remember, you’re not the only one refraining from holiday overindulgence.

7. Keep moving. It’s easy to let workouts fall by the wayside. If you aren’t able to set aside time each day for exercise, commit to at least 30 minutes three days per week. Many people continue their regular walking or jogging schedules year-round, but also consider walking in malls or the building where you work. Indoor pools, weight-workout rooms, tracks, and basketballs courts are commonly available in community facilities and schools. Municipal ice skating rinks, both indoors and out, offer a change of pace from the usual routine, while cross-country skiing and hiking let you build up your strength while enjoying nature’s beauty. Maintaining a workout routine also can help you manage holiday stress by releasing “feel-good” endorphins and provide a “time out” from worry and harried thoughts.

8. Rest up. Make adequate sleep – seven to eight hours – a priority, especially during this busy season. Getting enough rest can help repair your body, keep you mentally sharp, and enable you to be more productive.

9. Make friends and family a priority. Although food and drinks can be a big part of the holiday season, they don’t have to be the focus. Set aside time to spend with good friends and family, making memories that make the holidays worthwhile.

10. Keep your perspective. Be realistic and maintain a long-term view of your weight-loss goals. Overeating one day won’t make or break your plans; just aim to eat healthy and in moderation the next day. Dieting can be especially difficult during the holidays. Focus on maintaining your present weight and look toward the new year as a fresh start.

Remember, there will be many more holidays to enjoy. Employ these tips and come January, you will feel as good about yourself as you did before Thanksgiving – one more reason to celebrate.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss education and support organization, was established more than 61 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., TOPS promotes successful weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

NBC News Chicago with Ginger Zee-Green Holiday Entertaining

NBC News Chicago with Ginger Zee-Green Holiday Entertaining
View the News Clip Here

Today I had the pleasure of appearing on the NBC News in Chicago to discuss Green Holiday Entertaining! You can even see green all year long with your eco-friendly Airwear eyeglass lenses, manufactured with 100% recycled water and 100% recycled packaging!

Green Holiday Entertaining can be organized in three categories, set up, enjoying the gathering and clean up.

When you incorporate products that are manufactured by companies who are mindful of the environment, you can effortlessly live green all year long. Here are some products that I recommend:

Set Up:

Take a look around the house to make sure everything is in its place before guests arrive...even the bathrooms. Make sure you have plenty of Marcal Small Steps 100% Recycled bath tissue on hand, made from only recycled paper NOT trees. Did you know that if every household in our country used just one roll of Marcal Small Steps bath tissue, together we'd save over 1 million trees?!

Next, consider using LED holiday lights, offering almost a 90% energy savings. This decorating idea is good for your pocketbook and the planet

Use Preserve Products mixing bowls and cutting boards to prepare your meal; this product is made from 100% recycled #5 plastic and can be used over and over again for years---keeping piles of plastic out of landfills.

Finally, add some finishing touches to your holiday preparations with live plants arranged in holiday planters; when the holidays are over, you can replant the flowers or plant into another planter.

Enjoying the Gathering:

When you serve your holiday meal, remember to put out Marcal Small Steps 100% recycled paper, fine dinner napkins. The texture of these napkins has a nice formal look and feel to them.

Holiday meals always taste better when you include as much locally produced food as possible. You support your community farmers and producers (keeping the money in your own community) and the food is much more fresh and flavorful. If you are in Chicago, try visiting the Green City Market for local goodies.

Remember to use VerTerra elegant plates, bowls and platters when you are in need of a sophisticated and sustainable option. These gorgeous products are made from fallen palm leaves, which makes them perfect for compost piles (when you're done using them :) and gives them more appeal knowing that NO trees were harmed in the making of these plates.

For more relaxed festive gatherings, stock up on Preserve Products' plates and cups. All of the products are made with #5 recycled plastic and can be used over and over again--instead of throwing them away after the party (dishwasher safe, too).

All good things must come to an end, that's why these three ideas for Green Holiday Entertaining--Clean Up are a must:

Marcal Small Steps has one other product that I really like, and use almost every day at home: their super absorbent paper towels. Knowing that trees are important for our planet's survival, I refuse to use products (when I have control over it) that waste paper when there's an eco-friendly option! The folks who manufacture Marcal Small Steps have been saving trees for over 60 years by using only recycled paper for their product line--bravo!

No one likes a smell home, especially a toxic and smelly home. The two founders of Method Cleaning products are "squeaky green" in my book! They've come up with a line that's eco-conscious AND very hip and stylish! A cleaner way to clean!

The final product that I suggest for Green Holiday Entertaining is biodegradable trash bags for all of your holiday party "trash". It makes perfect sense to wrap it all together in a plastic bag that won't take 1000 years to break down in nature!~

Stay Tuned to this blog, as I will be posting a video link to view my NBC-5 Chicago news segment about Green Holiday Entertaining soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


YAY!! WE have winner in our Essilor's Airwear/TwitterMoms blogging contest about "Seeing Green to Live Green". We had so many amazing entries, it was challenging selecting a winner.

Since Essilor's Airwear eyeglass lenses are made with 100% recycled water and uses 100% recycled packaging, it's easy to see why so many moms are "seeing" green; and this contest proved it. We all really do care about our choices and how they impact the planet. I love that by just purchasing earth-friendly eyeglass lenses we can be green moms!

You can read our winning blog by Rhiana, below:

REDUCE the poo: Got a baby? Did you know that ordinary disposable diapers take over 1000 years to disappear from our Earth? Cloth diapering is a wonderful thing, but not practical for everyone. Welcome biodegradable diapers to the neighborhood! (Enter gDiapers and Nature Babycare.) Of course, if you’re really brave [and have a lot of free time] you could try EC.

REUSE clothing: Fashionista? Go green without a lot of green. Create a clothing swap with your similar-sized, similar-taste friends and neighbors. Raid each others’ closets. Want something new? Go shopping together (carpool). Chip in on a few great outfits. Share. Circulate and reuse baby/kid clothes too! (I just made baby pants out of Hubby’s old t-shirt!)

RECYCLE everything: This family of 4 humans (one of which is a baby) and 2 dogs usually has about 1-2 bags of garbage per week. How? We recycle as much as possible … that toilet paper roll, tissue paper from that birthday gift, the box the noodles came in, the plastic thingy from new socks … You name it, we recycle it! (Remember last week when I told you not to forget to recycle those plastic bags?) Most counties have recycle pick-up that doesn’t require that you separate glass, aluminum, and plastic from one another. Our recycle collection does ask that we flatten boxes and paper. Go ahead … sign up. Don’t have pick-up in your area? Look for a recycle center near you now!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Greening Your Holidays

The holidays are a time of joy and thanksgiving and this year, you can also make it a time of renewal for the planet. Without going to too much trouble, you can implement several green aspects into your holiday preparations and celebrations.

Technology to Save Energy: You are going to be on the computer anyway, so consider sending holiday greetings to family and friends via e-mail. For lots of holiday fun, check out Elf Yourself to turn yourself and family members into elves for the holidays—virtually.

Reuse It: If you prefer to send handwritten notes, make your own cards with paper you already have. Or look for holiday cards printed on recycled paper. Eliminate envelope waste by sending postcards or folding and sealing notes so you can address them on the outside. Every bit of paper you save, really adds up and it saves you money on postage!

Recycled Party:
When hosting holiday parties, use reusable glass or plastic ware, and recycled paper napkins. Marcal Small Steps products are made from 100% recycled paper rather than from trees, making your party oh-so-eco-chic and festive. At Biodegradable Store, you can find various biodegradable paper plates and cutlery to keep your party green through and through.

Bag It: Lately everyone seems to be remembering their reusable grocery bags at the grocery store, but we also need to carry our own canvas bag or backpack, or reuse shopping bags when shopping for gifts and holiday decorations. One smart choice is Chico Bag’s new rePETe bag made from seven plastic bottles that would ordinarily end up in landfills; instead, they’re put to good use in this reusable tote that can carry up to 25 pounds of gifts, food and other goodies.

Any mother will tell you that she’d prefer receiving gifts of your time or services. Consider a free breakfast in bed or perhaps a lunch date. Save valuable resources and share some quality time with a loved one. Consider gift certificates—for restaurants, movies, babysitting, etc.—or give consumable items such as baked goods.

Give What Is Needed: Resist the urge to spend money on fad gifts that may not even be used; instead, give gifts that are on someone’s list and are possibly made locally or in the US. This approach results in happy gift recipients and a happy planet (less waste).

Re-gifting Is Not a Crime: Pass along hand-me-downs and heirlooms as special gifts for family members. These are also called “story gifts” because they carry stories with them, and often invoke treasured memories. Share a story and some history with a loved one!

It’s a Wrap:
According to the Medical University of South Carolina, waste output increases 25 percent during the holiday season. When wrapping gifts, consider re-using packaging from previous years or maybe even use the funny pages from the newspaper or use recycled wrapping paper. Get creative and use unique containers to hold gifts, such as cloth sacks or boxes from other products. Save countless trees and give your creativity muscle a boost!

Everyone loves the smell of fresh cut holiday trees, however, Consider alternatives to a cut tree, such as a live tree, decorated houseplant or artificial tree. To maintain that reminiscent evergreen odor, consider tree-scented air fresheners or candles. Check out EarthKind for some eco-friendly options. Also, remember to recycle your Christmas tree when you can no longer use it. Many neighborhoods have tree recycling programs.

Decorate with Nature:
Use natural items from around the house to decorate your tree, such as popcorn, berries and outdoor greens. Mother Nature will be so proud!
Buy Energy-Saving “LED” Holiday Lights: Now you can decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights, and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season. LED lights are available at many major retailers, including Target, CostCo and Ace Hardware.

Buy Organic or Locally-Grown Produce:
And cook at least some vegetarian meals—make the most out of food resources and fuel. Support local family farmers who grow sustainable meat and produce. Not only does it taste better, you’ll be doing your part for the planet too. Consider preparing food that does not have to be refrigerated to lower the amount of power wasted by continually opening and closing the fridge. Give away untouched leftovers and unwanted gifts. Others less fortunate than you could be very appreciative of these re-given gifts.

Fair-Trade Chocolate: Fill your stockings with Fair-Trade Chocolate and you can eat your way to a better planet. Consider Divine Chocolate, whose mission is to improve the livelihood of smallholder cocoa producers in West Africa by establishing their own dynamic chocolate brand.

Cool House: Take a pledge this New Years’ to reduce your home energy use by buying energy-efficient light bulbs. Installing only six compact fluorescent light bulbs will save the average American family $60 per year. If there’s a fire in your fireplace this Christmas, turn down that thermostat—lowering the temperature even five degrees can take 10 percent off your energy bill.