Category Archives: Living A Healthy Lifestyle-Published Articles

I write articles for PINK Magazine. This section contains reprints of Healthy Living articles. My articles share tips for living a healthy lifestyle and diet information. I include healthy recipes and weight loss information.

Re/Re/organize

Skating Uphill April Edition 2021      

By Judith Lawrenson

“This is on of the three times a year that I just hate!”
             “The Uphill Skater”


All right, so I really don’t mean that I actually hate any time of the year, especially Spring. but this my situation-three times a year I am moved, to get stuff done. New Years Day, my birthday, and Spring somehow get to me. I see everything I own as needing to be rearranged, thrown out, repaired, donated to charity and on and on. I think this might be hormonal, but I also know that that kind of thinking is very out of date nowadays. I feel the urge coming on though, so I thought I would share some insights with you. 
Briefly, here it is. Clean out the pantry and start on a brand new healthy eating plan. Note I did not say diet and I have a very good reason for that. I hospital dietitian told me recently that any plan that you go on that has a beginning and an end will never work. I have enough experience to know that this is true.  Next, go through your closet. and finally, clean your house. I did say this was brief, right? Oh, but of course, this is not really the point of this month’s column. In addition to this regular stuff that drives me crazy, I have added, this Spring, something new that I really must share. I have taken up gardening! 
Maybe you already have a big vegetable garden or flowers by the ton, or even watermelon, but I do not and I never have. I grew up on a farm and we had alfalfa and cotton. People do not eat those things or have them in their house in case you have not noticed. I was inspired to all of this by a TV show which is a bit odd since I am not a real TV watcher.  This show is about a British couple who buy a chateau in France that has 100 rooms, a 25 acre lot, and is nearly 200 years old. A big part of this show is about the garden they create. Just by sprinkling some wild flower seeds, the woman is able to grow what they call a cutting garden. She has lovely flowers for months and puts them in her chateau and everything looks fabulous. Okay, so maybe I can’t do that, but I can certainly go down to the nursery and buy some flower seedlings and make a start of it. I am really looking forward to trying this. I seldom try anything completely different so by going out of the box a bit I am taking a bit of a risk, but I think it is going to be fun. 
I am also going to plant some tomatoes. I already have my plants in the garage and will put them in shortly. I did a bit of this last year. Just for fun and to fill an empty spot, I planted a little grape tomato plant. I actually had tomatoes and I actually ate them. Again, this may be all boring old news for some of you green thumb types out there, but i was quite a thrill for me.  This year I am going to plant not only some more tomatoes, but some herbs too. I use a lot of basil and rosemary so I will plant that. I also really like flat leaf parsley so I am going for that too. I can hardly wait to see things grow, and I really hope not to have grocery store flowers and hard tomatoes this summer.  Boy Oh Boy!

Part of the fun of this is that it is something completely different, of course. I am always advising readers to do that. Break out, give something different a try, I have done this with my BLOG www.skatinguphill.com and it has been wonderful. I am leaning as I go and I think things like that keep your brain from drying up. Do look at Spring a bit differently this year. New growth, new life, and let’s add to that, a new project. Why Not???  Love Judith

Called By Nature

Skating Uphill-March 2021 Pink Magazine

Judith Lawrenson
               “I am called by Nature in so many different ways. Are You?” 

  As the weather becomes Springlike, our life rhythms change and reflect the many shifts that this brings. I like to look at this time, especially now, as a challenge. Newness, even though it is recurring, is new nonetheless. It is time to get ready for that newness and see what it means to us at that deeply personal level where we all function.  I see my challenge firstly in the original purpose of this column. Food! What started as “diet” advice has morphed many times and even become a successful BLOG. I like to check back to basics regularly and update new, again the use of that word, developments in research and discoveries.

One of the most interesting developments to me has been the fact that now it seems that water is not the best hydrator and in fact almost anything that is non-caffeine and not alcohol liquid can serve that purpose. The best now has been found to be milk. This was of great interest to me. It is not only milk, but juices, power drinks and so on. Also the “drink when you are thirsty” idea has been debunked too. Waiting until you actually thirst can lead to dizziness, nausea and kidney issues. so drink up and do it regularly.  Foods have also been looked at in different ways. The lowly breakfast cereal is now a vitamin fortified good heakthy breakfast. Read the labels. Some cereals have 100% or your iron requirements and many other vitamins and minerals. Yes, they are fortified, but hey, so is a vitamin pill. I would rather eat it.  Add milk and fruit and have a nice easy breakfast. Oh, and don’t forget the big one-overnight oats. See the BLOG, www.skatinguphill.com for quick, easy, portable, recipes that are easy to customize.

Another new one? Sure-It used to be that we could wrap anything a tortilla and that is still good, of course, but how about wrapping anything in a piece of Naan Bread just for a new twist? Yummy!  Exercise has also changed somewhat. I am at a gym that is associated with a re-hab unit of a hospital and I have, for the first time in my life, hired a personal trainer. Boy, have I learned a lot. It is not just about machines and the tread mill. Walking has changed too. the words brisk, striding, and quick step have been but out there and you now need to move your arms too. Fitbits have been greatly improved and come down in price and I find mine a really useful tool. I check it and record my steps every day. It is a fun challenge.

New to me is the concept of lifting weights. I had no idea, but fat to muscle ratio is now a huge factor in overall health and body strength. Your weight is made up of both fat and muscle, obviously, but muscle burns more calories much faster than fat.  The way to build muscle it to lift weights. I started with five ponds-don’t laugh-and I I am up to double now. I honestly feel better and have more stamina too! My final challenge, and I pass it on to you, is to get off your butt and go outside. For me it has been quite a hard indoor winter and I have had enough of it. I want to go outside. Yes, nature is calling me. I plan to walk on the beach with a mask and coat if necessary. My dog is wondering when we are going to go for an actual outing, not just up the block.

Trees and flowers and sunshine are there for all of us to enjoy. Outdoor beauty belongs to all of us. How lucky are we??? Get out into it. If you don’t want to walk, run or even shlep along, sit on your front porch and read a book. Breathe the air. Look at the sky. Pull a weed….you get the idea, I am sure.  BTW-did I mention fresh foods and perhaps Farmer’s Markets? Yes, this is all a part of spring too. Also,  I will never forget one year I heard David Lauderdale speak at our church and he happened to mention that people should watch road signs and the paper for daffodil picking. I did and guess what-there are daffodil farms around Hilton Head and Bluffton that open and let you actually wander around in the fields and pick daffodils to your heart’s content. Not free, of course, but pretty close to it. Give that a try. What a unique experience. have a great Spring, Love, Judith      

Heart Song

“If you cannot hear your heart song, maybe you need to pay more attention to your surroundings.”  The Uphill Skater Pink Magazine,
February 2021

 Okay, this column, as I recently recalled for about the fourth time, was originally about food and nutrition. It was about good healthy foods, about a good healthy weight, and about being in an appropriate exercise plan. I hope some day to return to that very important format, but right now, today, it seems that all of this also revolves around mental health as well. It somehow seems not so important if you have your hot fudge sundae with fat free yogurt or ice cream. Physical health and total well being is still important, I am not saying that it isn’t, but more and more it is part of a total package.

 Recently I   watched again with my grandson a movie called “Happy Feet.” I don’t know if you remember it or not but it was about a little penguin who has no heart song. We know, of course, that all penguins have a heart song, right? Anyway, this little guy opened his beak to sing like the other penguins,  and sounded like a dying toad. But, boy could he dance! So the story goes on and he is ostracized because he can’t sing, but finally in the end he is accepted and embraced because he stuck with it and was true to himself. Corny plot, right? Okay, but I think not really. Times being what they are, I believe that each one of us needs to listen carefully,  to hear our own, yes, our very own, music.

Every day is a good day to stop and think about who we are, what we think, what we hold dear and what is worth standing up for. Values, yes, I will even say Christian values even though it is not politically correct, are our currency of value. How we spend out that currency reflects what it is that we truly hold in our hearts. I value kindness. Good things we do for others enrich us. that makes it sound a bit selfish, but that is not really the case. Doing kind things makes kindness grow just like watering a plant. Leaves branch out and roots go down. Kindness rubs off on people too. Good will does the same thing.

I had a call from a friend the other day asking if she could drop off some donations for a thrift shop where I volunteer. She came by the next day with nearly an apartment full of stuff. She, aged 77, had recently remarried a guy who was 83. Boy did they have a bunch of stuff when they put it all together. She said to me, not how good it felt to get rid of things, but how good it made them both feel that these duplicate items would be used by people who needed them. 

 Which bring me to the next value-sharing. No, I do not necessarily mean getting rid of excess items, I mean sharing of yourself. Call someone who you have not chatted with for a while. Have a whole big conversation and do not mention politics once. Talk about a good book you read, talk about a favorite recipe, talk about a beautiful sunset, talk about God, talk about literally anything good. Share your “good.” Call your pastor or local social service agency and see if there is a family who needs groceries. Share some magazines you have already read with a neighbor. We are all pretty shut in so any sharing of your time and conversations would be welcome I would think. Aren’t we all a bit lonely? Some more than others, so here is an opportunity not to be sad, but to be a person who shares-in many, many, ways! Last but certainly not least, my personal heart song is hope. As a Sunday School teacher, I tell my children what a mess Israel was in when Christ arrived on the scene. They were occupied by a foreign power, Rome, they were in the midst of battles within the Jewish faith, famine and over-taxation were everywhere. Times were just awful. So times may seem bad now, but when we look back at history, I think we should see with hope in our  hears that things will get better if we help to make it so. Did you know that only 62% of people eligible to vote actually voted in our presidential election? That means that those in power were put there by possibly as low as 33% of us!

If you share my belief that HOPE for the future should be with us all, then do something about it.  We have talked about kindness, good will, sharing and hope. All of these things are there for each one of us. I happen to be a very committed Christian so I add faith to my list, but having the same kind of beliefs should not be important. What should be important is having the same values. We have come quite a ways away from just talking about food and in these times I think that is all right. I hope you do too. Love, Judith 

January PINK Article

“Is 2021 going to be the year of substitutions? No, No, No, A Thousand Times NO!” The Uphill Skater

My first job when I went back to work after I stayed at home with my children was as a substitute teacher. I absolutely hated it. It was the worst thing I had ever done. There are some things that you just can’t substitute and teachers are one of them. Either I fell in love with the class and had to leave right away or or I did not click with the class and the teacher was out weeks longer than expected. I couldn’t win. I feel the same way about many things that we call substitutes. It is not the real thing and that is a fact. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it just doesn’t.

In these days of Covid restrictions we are substituting going out to the movies with staying home watching Netflix. I guess we have to do this, but let’s take a shower first and get dressed. We should not be sitting in our jammies with popcorn butter dripping all over the blanket we are wrapped in and our house a mess. Take out and delivery are also big, and I get it that is necessary but again, are we eating out of the carton or pizza box in a sweat suit with bare feet and unwashed hair? And speaking of our living space, Covid experts say that dust and germs and bacteria go hand in hand. Clean your house and put up some decor. Have a life!

Pay It Forward. I have already started paying it forward in a big way, but believe me it is not easy. I have paid for the groceries of the lady behind me in line, bought coffee for the next person in the McDonalds drive through, and given a parking space that was clearly mine to a pushy guy in an SUV. Not easy, but boy, it actually evoked quite a feel good rush. I plan to continue to do this. Obviously I can’t buy everybody’s groceries on a long term basis, but I can always say a kind word, give a compliment, do a favor, call someone, and so on. I know you understand this, so get started yourself. Honestly, I can’t tell you what a moral booster this is.

Next, Let’s trade in grumpy for kind just like you would trade in that old car or a better new one. Use some emotional substitutions. How can that work? Well, how about this: smile when you really don’t feel like it. Try to interact with others in a positive way by stopping the negative talk that is so prevalent these days. Don’t watch things on TV that make you mad unless you are prepared to do something about it. (My husband saw something on the news the other day that made him furious and he started to tell me about in a furious way. No, No, No! I am not having it. I told him to write a letter and I’ll be darned if he didn’t do it. We both felt better for days!)

Being downhearted is a bummer. Some days we can’t help it, but we can head it off at the pass if we have a plan. Then, on those days, we can have a quick “go to” happy place. Have a book of happy quotes, keep a favorite old movie handy, know where to go for a lovely walk, give your dog a bath, play some music and just for fun, dance to it. I can’t believe I am saying this, but eat something. Often, nothing else will do. Don’t substitute a piece of celery for a brownie either. It doesn’t work like that and we all know it.

Finally, even in these times, do not substitute mediocre for great. Keep your chins up, all of them! Be your best self. Inside all of us is a truly kind and lovely person which is our true core self. If that is not your case, fake it and feel your spirit soften. We all need to be good to each other every chance we get. You can’t substitute that. Love, Judith

A Fridge With BIG Color

The BIG new thing now is to open your fridge door and see COLOR! We have all known about leafy greens and fresh fruits, but let’s go even a step further. Pictures of blueberries, colorful labels, a red, green, orange, purple veggie drawer, fruits that are fresh and bright-red apples and strawberries, blue blueberries, Halo oranges, bananas, and so on. You get the idea. Think of a bouquet of flowers in your fridge-Yum, Yum!

Coffee, Anyone?

Ok, I JUST read the latest research on coffee in the medical section of Readers Digest. The science on coffee has been all over the place, and now the latest thinking is that there are many health benefits to coffee. Recommended intake-No more than 3 cups. If you are a big coffee drinker, think about it and check out some of the research and maybe consider a cup of decaf instead of that fourth cup.

$$Free advice is worth what you pay for it$$

I know that free advice is worth what you pay for it, but I am going to give you some anyway. We all do, right? So, here goes.

We are in different and difficult times. Don’t let it beat you. Get up, take a shower, and get dressed. Yes, just do it. This is not hard. I will also add that you can/should/might want to have a cup of coffee or tea and eat some breakfast. Read the paper or some on line news. Good or bad, the news is there and it is good to be informed.

I could go on and on about taking each day as it is given to us, but for now just do it-get up, take a shower, get dressed and get on with it!!

Healthy Seniors

Yes! We are living longer. OOPS-what about quality of life??? Just living longer is NO FUN. The trick is to also be living better. Here are a couple of tips to help Seniors enjoy those “Golden Years.”

Live each moment. Being “Mindful” is a new buzz word but all it actually means is to be where you are and to make the best of it. Protect these times. Slow down and enjoy the walk. Send an email to a grandchild and read and respond to your answer. Look out the window at the day God has given you. Count your blessings starting with the smallest one.

Keep Moving! Walk, jog, stretch, do a video and on and on. I walk my dog every day and he now makes me do it. There sitting at the door with that look on his face, I just can’t say no-and I shouldn’t either. I know that DVD’s are sort of a thing of the past, but I just bought a wonderful stretch DVD with Ann Smith called “Stretching For Seniors” that is a 10 minute exercise in relaxing postures. What a lovely way to wake up in the morning. Do anything. BTW, I go to a gym three days a week!

Have check-ups. I know it is a pain in the behind to go to the Dr. but do it anyway. Even if you do not feel sick, have regular check-ups including blood work. Monitor any on-going conditions, check in with not only your Dr. but your spouse, loved ones, and anybody you interact with regularly. they may notice changes or symptoms you have missed about yourself. Watch weight gain too.

Finally, be sure to sleep. We all know about the eight hours but I recently also read that the strategy of making up sleep is very wrong. If you have a few late nights, don’t go to bed early to try to catch up on sleep. Better idea-take a short nap during the day. Sleep is related to so many health issues that I won’t even go in to it here. Suffice it to say, seven to eight hours is the optimum-Believe it.

So enough preaching. Read this and just think about it for five minutes! The words “Golden Years” should mean YOU!

Seen On A Tee-Shirt

Lately, I have seen soooo many Tee-Shirts with hilarious sayings that I have decided to share. What brought this on? Well, you may ask. This morning my husband and I started to look through one of those catalogues that come in the mail and they had a Tee-Shirt section that had us both in stitches. OK, so we were pretty hard up for a laugh-and who isn’t these days- but honestly, I will share a couple of them and then ask YOU to also share those you think are funny and we will see where we go with this. Thanks in advance for sharing.

Judith