Friday, December 13, 2013

Start Baking Bread

I was born and raised in the south, but have never baked my own loaf of bread.

However, after finding this cool website about how easy it is to bake a simple loaf of bread, I've decided that I WILL DO THIS before the end of the year.

I remember when I lived in Conway, SC, in the early 1990s, my Sunday School teacher, Nell Vereen, brought me the most delicious loaf of homemade bread I ever tasted. She did that a couple of times. She probably didn't believe me when I told her she made my day! But I was serious, I enjoyed every tiny bread crumb of it.

I truly wanted to try it, but at the time, I was lassoing a husband and four children, so I didn't have much time to try something new.

Now that I find myself analyzing every single ingredient of everything I purchase, I think it would actually save time to make some of these items myself.

And what better time to start baking bread than during the holidays, right?

Let us Bake Bread and Break Bread Together!

Now that I actually understand what is happening with all that kneading, rising and stuff, it seems like a very logical process.

After the simple loaf, I'll move on to more daring ventures, such as adding butter and sugar! Yeah, I dream big, lol.

No worries though. The following recipe is in Lesson Two (where has this website been all my life?).

2 cups all-purpose enriched unbleached flour
1 cup bread flour (or all-purpose flour, if you do not have bread flour)
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar
1 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup lukewarm water

Your First Loaf - A Primer for the New Baker

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Another Look at Stress

It's been a stressful year for many people, that was preceded by another stressful year, and many are already stressing about what next year will bring.
Tired of Stress

Some of us even worry about the negative effects of stress, which creates more stress.

Meet Kelly McGonigal, PhD, health psychologist, author, lecturer at Stanford, and the lady who just enabled me to take another look at stress - for which I am eternally grateful.

If you deal with stress, and who doesn't, you owe it to yourself to watch this video.

If you handle stress just fine, then watch it anyway so you can share this concept with those who need it.

It's a painless way to do something for others, and give them a new perspective on stress.

You can also learn a bit about oxytocin, a powerful hormone / neurotransmitter.

Here's a teaser of what this brief Ted Talk will cover:

"...better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort."

Take another look at stress and make it your friend!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Cause Versus Association

You've just entered a room where a person has been murdered. There is a person standing over the body, holding the smoking gun.

This is a puzzle of cause versus association.

There's no doubt that the person died of a gunshot wound (cause), but was the fatal bullet fired from that particular gun?

If that was the gun that fired the deadly shot, was the person holding the gun the person that actually fired the shot?

All of these questions have to be answered before any valid conclusions can be made.

Someone pulled the trigger on a gun that fired a shot that killed someone.

Just because there is a gun associated with the current scene, it does not make the associated gun the fatal weapon.

The same holds true for the person holding the gun. Just because a person is holding a gun while standing in a room where someone was shot and killed, does not mean that person did the killing, even if they are holding the murder weapon.

The gun and the person holding the gun are associated with the murder, but we do not yet know if they actually caused the murder.

A few years ago, I read an article that said people with high cholesterol levels developed cancer at a much lower rate than those with average cholesterol levels.

I was thrilled because I have high cholesterol.

A few years later, I read another health related article regarding the research, and the high cholesterol subjects involved in the study were also taking statin drugs to lower their cholesterol. It turned out that the statin drugs being taken to reduce cholesterol were also helping to ward off cancer.

So, high cholesterol is still not a good thing.

Today, I read an article about colon cancer and I wrote this article mainly to give kudos to the writer of that article, who included all the details and explained that the association found does not necessarily mean that they have found a cause.

The study found an association, not a cause-and-effect link, between gut bacterial diversity and colon cancer.

Kudos to Cari Nierenberg for explaining the meaning or lack thereof, of this recent finding regarding colon cancer and gut bacteria.

When reading medically related articles, make sure you understand the conditions of the research, and the true cause versus association relevance.

Read the full article at

Be Well!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Surviving High Cholesterol

I've dealt with the perils of high cholesterol since I was 30. My LDL (bad) levels tend to go up about a hundred points with every decade of my age. Well, until now, I hope. I actually haven't had it checked since shortly after it reached 400. No insurance and no money for doctors, you know.

Anyway, back to the cholesterol...

Along with that 400 LDL, I had 20 HDL = and that's the scary part.

Also, I now have those tell-tale signs of cholesterol, a little lump that appears overnight on your eyelid and never goes away unless you conquer the cholesterol problem. Mine appeared in April of 2009 (yes, I remember when!). Fortunately, I wear glasses now, so its blatantly pushy place on my face is minimized.

Surviving high cholesterol can be difficult for some, especially those for whom the statin drugs do not work. Hello, that would be me.

However, the homocysteine levels in the blood seem to play an even larger part in determining who is most at risk for strokes.

In other words, high cholesterol doesn't have to kill you.

Here are some tips and facts for those friends who are surviving high cholesterol. I found this excellent read over at

The 2013 cholesterol guidelines from the AHA recommend statin therapy — a medication that lowers cholesterol levels in the blood — for 4 groups of people:

  • Patients who have heart disease
  • Patients who have LDL cholesterol levels at 190 mg/dL or higher
  • Patients who are between 40 and 75 years old and have type 2 diabetes
  • And people between ages 40 and 75 who have a high risk of heart disease

Please follow the link to learn more about the dangers of High Cholesterol at Of all the articles I've read, this one is to the point, concise and easy to read along with tips and facts. 

To learn one of the ways we are surviving high cholesterol, take a look at and think "fiber" and Omega3, which you can pick up right now at Amazon - where 2 day shipping is free for Prime members (see link at end of article).

Check out Now Foods Certified Organic Flax Seeds which has a 5 star rating!

Til next time I am forever...

Surviving High Cholesterol

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