February 28, 2011

Book to Read: The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno

There are more and more books becoming available that deal with aspects of simplifying one's life, and here's one that is worth your time to read:  The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul by Dave Bruno - less than ten bucks as a paperback or via Kindle, or borrow it for free, like I did, from your local library. 

Here's how the publisher describes it:

In 2008, average American family man Dave Bruno decided to unhook himself from the intravenous drip of consumerism that fueled his life by winnowing all his personal possessions down to just 100 things. Little did he realize that he would be igniting a grassroots movement—soon after Dave embarked on his journey, media around the world took notice and others started to follow his lead.

A cause for pause, The 100 Thing Challenge is a response to the culture of materialism in America, one that has filled our lives with the constant and unsatisfactory desire for "more." Dave Bruno offers compelling anecdotes and practical advice to help readers live more meaningfully, simply by casting off the unnecessary "stuff" that clutters their lives. The 100 Thing Challenge is a golden opportunity to experience the positive changes that occur as you defiantly hop off the treadmill of consumerism.

Here's Why I Recommend This Book: 

If you want to simplify, there are lots of books out there with tips and tricks to get there - but following one man's personal experience really brings the message home.  Dave Bruno takes you through his process of changing his lifestyle and in doing so, challenges you to do the same.

As someone who's been living a simple life for several years now, more power to him.  And to you.

February 21, 2011

Protecting Your EMail from Hackers - Free Sometimes Comes With a Price

More and more, I'm communicating online.  You are, too.  Even those holding on with clinched fists to old school ways -- snail mail, faxes, land line phones -- are recognizing the ease of some web tools.  Especially when they are FREE ....

At the top of this list, email.  Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail ... all are free.  In this day and age, you probably need to have a least one email account, right?  Then comes the next question, how to be safe online.

Earlier this month, a nice and easy to follow synopsis of what you can do to protect your email from being hacked was published by WikiHow - it's worth your read.

However, maybe one of the best bits of advice to keep your email safe (and other online accounts, as well) is to use really strong passwords and then change them on a routine basis.  Remember to use letters and numbers, lower case and upper case, and to see how tough your new password is against a hacker, get it checked online. 

For more help, check out the advice given by TheGeekStuff.  For those that understand that many of us need not only strong passwords, but ones that are easy to remember - read what LifeHack suggests.

Got a new password ready to go? There are lots of free password checkers online (and your security software may provide this service, too).  One you'll recognize:  Microsoft's Password Checker. 

February 16, 2011

In Search of the Best Ever Chicken Salad Recipe: What I've Found

Chicken salad sandwich for lunch
Source: Wikimedia - public domain.
I love Chicken Salad, and unlike some of my friends, I'm not committed to a single version (with grapes vs never with grapes; only white meat; chopped vs. torn; etc.) in my dedication to Chicken Salad as one of the best sandwich fixings on the planet.  However, there are some truly horrible versions of Chicken Salad out there.  You know; you've had that muck, too. 

So, I've begun my search for the Best Ever Chicken Salad Recipe (or five).

1.  The first one that I've decided must be on the list is Ina Garten's Curried Chicken Salad.  It's high in calories, and it's got chutney in it.  This, good bread, chilled white wine.  Wonderful stuff. 

2.  Another that I've found to be addicting is this mock restaurant chicken salad recipe from Real Restaurant Recipes.  Maybe part of the reason for this is its revelation of a bit of whipped cream getting thrown in the bowl -- but this tastes exactly like the stuff that I pay way-too-much for at the Ladies Who Lunch place downtown.  You know the place, you've got one near you.  Nice little breads in linen napkins appear as soon as you set down.  Mint leaves in your iced tea.  Lots of floral prints in the decor.  Clashing scents of expensive perfumes in the ladies' room.  This chicken salad is easy to make, and tastes great after it has had a chance to set awhile in the fridge.  I want some right now, just thinking about it. 

That's it for now.  As my search continues, I'll update this post till I have five recipes to share.

February 12, 2011

pH Balance in Your Body: Should You Care About Your Internal Acid - Base Balance?

I'm hearing more and more about the pH balance of the human body and how maintaining a proper pH balance is important to your health. 

What is pH balance?

It's the balance between acid and alkaline.  Water is neutral.  When your pH balance goes wacky, then you have physical consequences.  Things like acidosis can occur.  After that, really bad things can happen: cancer, kidney disease, things like that.  Turns out, pH balance is really, really important. 

What's acidosis?

Acidosis results when your body is too acidic and therefore internally promotes the growth of bacteria, viruses, mold, and other bad things that can make you sick. 

Acidosis is a state where your body lacks sufficient calcium and oxygen to keep an internal balance that keeps these nasty things in check.  It's not like you don't always have bacteria, mold, etc., inside your body.  It's just that when you get out of balance, then they have an environment conducive to their growth. 

Not only does this mean that you can suffer from gas, bloating, headaches, and other rather minor symptoms, but as these things continue to thrive, things get more serious.  Intestinal disorders -- and get this, I learned that osteoporosis is the result of chronic acidosis.  In order to grab the calcium it needs to fight off the pH imbalance, the body will suck out calcium from its own bones and teeth to try and get a better alkaline level - and win the war against the bacterial growth.  Less bone mass, that's osteoporosis.

You can monitor your pH balance by buying cute color-coded gauges at your nearby health food store, or online at places like The Wolfe Clinic

How to get yourself back in a balanced pH state?

First of all, there's no magic pill here.  Simply put, you have to eat right - the same kind of thing that you are supposed to be doing anyway.  Avoid sugar, fast foods, caffeine.  Eat lots of raw veggies and fresh fruit.  Drink water.  (Here's a nice chart for you.)   Apple cider vinegar is supposed to be helpful, too.  Get calcium inside of you, along with water and potassium. 

For more information, check out these articles:

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