Peaches and Cream (No sugar, No fuss)

So, for the last couple months, to curb our nighttime sweet tooth, my husband has been making this very healthy snack that is just 3 ingredients, super easy + very yummy! 

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You need: 

Make sure you refrigerate the coconut cream overnight. Then you put the coconut cream in the mixer (We use our trusty ole Kitchenaid "Eleanor") for about 3 minutes on medium speed.  Then add your sweetener (skip the sugar for an extra healthy treat) and continue on medium speed for one additional minute. It turns into a pseudo whipped cream which is delicious served over some sliced fruit.  So good!

This is a "dessert" I wouldn't have ever thought of, but really enjoy.  That said, Michael and I had gone to breakfast one Saturday morning and much to my excitement they served some grapes (and cream) with my pancakes.  I sat there eating my grapes and whipped cream and when I had just two grapes left, my sweet husband said, "Are you dipping those grapes in your butter?" My eyes grew very large and I said...."I'm pretty sure this is whipped cream". He sticks his finger in the remnants left in the bowl and tastes it..."Vicky, that is butter...you just dipped your grapes in butter."  So yeah, I definitely ate a bowl of butter! But i really thought it was whipped cream.  Oops!

I can't wait for my first bowl of peaches and cream this summer! 

Take a Deep Breath: 4 Reasons Why You Should Practice Deep Breathing

Feeling angry, stressed, full of anxiety? Deep breathing can help. Breathing is one of the most important functions of the body and oxygen is the most important -by a long shot, for staying alive.  

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I never even thought about breathing intentionally until I started participating in yoga and learned there to connect with my breath and to take the time to breath properly.  I was (am still am) amazed at how much better I felt after just taking a few minutes to breath.  When I breath deeply I feel much more clarity, and overall better emotionally.   

Still not sold? 

Here are 4 HUGE benefits of deep breathing: 

1. Breathing detoxifies and releases toxins. Your body is design to release about 70% of toxins through breathing so if you are not breathing effectively your body is having to work overtime in other areas to eliminate toxins which can lead to illness. Also oxygenating the blood helps red blood cells that help your body metabolize vitamins and nutrients

2. Deep breathing reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and brings clarity.  Oxygenation in the blood vessels allows your muscles to relax and your mind to lessen anxiety. 

3. Deep breathing reduces pain. When you practice deep breathing, your body releases endorphins which make you feel good and are natural painkillers created by our own bodies. 

4. Helps with weight control.  Oxygen helps the body to burn fat more efficiently, if you are underweight it helps to nourish the starving tissues and glands. 

"So, how do I breathe properly to get all of these benefits?" 

I am so glad you asked! 

Deep breathing

Step 1: Exhale until there is no more air left in your lungs.

Step 2: Inhale slowly through the nose as you count to 4.

Step 3: Hold and count to 5.

Step 4: Exhale fully from slighty parted mouth as you count to 5. 

Repeat for 10 breaths twice a day to start.  Build up to two 10 minute sessions twice a day for optimal results. 

Go on...Take a deep breath and soak in all that precious oxygen! 

8 Tips to Beat the Winter Blues

Let me be honest with you.  I pretty much hate winter.  It only takes a couple weeks of cold, dark days where my usual glittery, happy self fades into a grumpy, easily irritated woman that Spring, Summer and Fall Vicky can hardly recognize. 

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Seasonal Affective Disorder is real. As I have gotten older my disdain for winter has only grown. It seems that no matter how cheerful I am leading up to winter, it hits me. I am not helpless though and I have found a few things that help me to cope and (mostly) beat the winter blues. 

1. Move - No, I don't mean packing up your house.  I mean, get moving.  Do some physical activity, walk, dance...do something.  Working out can be a huge mood lifter! 

2. Load up on Vitamin D.  When I start feeling my winter grump come on, I start taking a Vitamin D supplement and within a week or two I seem to start feeling more normal. Also, soak up every minute of sunshine you can!  It just takes 10 minutes of sunlight to get a full dose of Vitamin D...so bundle up and get out in the sun every chance you get. 

3. Treat yourself. I find that on days that I am really struggling, it lifts my mood to treat myself to a Caramel Macchiato, something glittery, a pedicure or even some flowers. Doing nice things for yourself is a great way to beat the blues! 

4. Eat healthy. When I am battling the winter blues, it really helps if pay attention to what I am eating.  A yummy, healthy salad is both good for the body and gives me a boost mentally knowing I am doing something to take care of myself. 

5. Spend time with friends. Make time to have fun and relax with friends.  You may find yourself having so much fun you forget it's cold and dark outside!  I know for me it's an instant mood lifter. 

6. Get out of town. Plan a little getaway.  My personal preference is to visit someplace warm, sunny and tropical during the winter months but a change of scenery wherever you find it is good for the soul! 

7. Use Scents. There are 2 scents that instantly lift my spirits when I am feeling blue. Bergamont and Peppermint.  I rub a couple drops of these essential oils on my wrists and feel myself perk up almost instantly. 

8. Remember this is only a season. This too shall pass and Spring, Summer, and Fall are coming again.  Better, sunnier days are ahead!! 

So there are some of my go-to's to beat the winter blues.  Do you struggle in the winter too? What are some things you do to cope?