4/16/21

Self-Care Investments: Aspects You Should Invest in to Show Better Self-Care


People have different views about self-care. For most of us, it is about keeping ourselves physically healthy. Others think it is about indulging in the things that make you happy. Some people practice self-care by taking a mental health day. Know that there are numerous ways to show how much you care about yourself.

 


If your goal this year is to practice self-care like you never did before, know that there are five aspects you need to focus on. Taking time to indulge in these self-care investments will help you achieve ultimate health and happiness. But what these aspects and how can you nurture them?

The Environment You Surround Yourself With

Where you live, where you work, and where you choose to do certain activities are all part of how you care for yourself. This is since your environment can impact virtually everything that can impact you. If you chose to ignore your environment, your overall health and well-being can already be affected without you knowing it.

 

Let's start with your home. If the place you live in is messy, noisy, and is surrounded by toxic people, it can be hard to stay happy and healthy. You are basically surrounding yourself with stress and negativity, which won't do your health any good.

 

Addressing issues in your living space is the best way to start self-care at home. This includes keeping the place clean, maintaining your home, and getting rid of pesky pests. Know that mosquito control and pest extermination is taken care of can give you the necessary peace of mind.

 

Another place worth considering is your workplace. Do you work in a dangerous worksite, are surrounded by toxic colleagues, or are you constantly stressed out and unhappy at work? Then it pays to consider finding another job or risk yourself with constant health risks and burnout.

The People You Keep Close to You

The crow you choose to keep can impact the way you care for yourself. Nurturing toxic relationships with negative people will do your mental health no good. They can put you at different risks, make you do things against your will, and find it hard to feel good about yourself.

 

Set boundaries and give yourself a break whenever you need one. Know that you are only responsible for your own happiness. If you need to share your thoughts, be objective, unemotional, and practice appreciative inquiry to share positivity.

Your Physical, Mental, and Financial Health

Everything you do can influence both your physical and mental health. Keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy is the standard practice for self-care. This involves practicing other habits other than regular exercise, enough sleep, and eating right.

 

This also involves building your sense of belonging by nurturing relationships with your loved ones. Share your hobbies with them and ask and give emotional support as needed. It also becomes a must that you get professional help in case you are struggling with physical or mental issues.

 

Find time for a mental health day and indulge in things that make you relax and happy. You can do yoga and meditation, gardening, painting, or baking. Manage stress and consider journaling to record your progress.

 

Dealing with financial stress can solve many problems. You can enjoy inner peace knowing you won't have to worry about your family's needs for years to come. You can avoid arguments with loved ones that involve money and pay off debts that are hunting your sleep.

 

It starts with saving regularly, creating more than a single source of income, and start investing. Even if your income starts to grow, stick to living below your means. One reason people can't build wealth is they increase their expenses along with their income.

Your Physical Appearance

Many would say your physical appearance does not really matter as long as you are healthy and confident. But then, it can be hard to chase your dreams, show professionalism, or even grab certain opportunities if you don't invest in your physical appearance. This does not necessarily mean you should consider going under the knife just to place others.

 

Investing in your physical appearance does not necessarily mean you are vain or are a narcissist. It only shows you take great care of yourself that it radiates from within. This is since when you care about yourself, you care enough about your hygiene and appearance.

 

Don't focus on what others will say or think about how you look. You just need to find ways to look and feel good while considering the occasion or circumstances. This can give your self-confidence and self-esteem a boost which is all necessary for your mental health.

 

Self-care should always be a priority instead of an option. This can help you attain your goals and welcome a positive impact on your quality of life. The moment you embrace self-care in your daily life, the happier, healthier, and stronger you will be as an individual.

 

4/15/21

Cancer Awareness Book Spotlight Tour


This morning, I have a special post in our book spotlight! Over the past several weeks, I have featured a number of the following books here at A Mama's Corner of the World or on our sister site Book Corner News and Reviews.  While each book is special in its own right--the authors behind them have a special connection as well:  Cancer.  The authors of the books featured here have each had their lives touched by cancer--either personally or through a close friend or family member.  Today, we are spotlighting these books as part of a Cancer Awareness Book Tour with iRead Book Tours!  Check out the books, learn about the authors!

 

According to the National Cancer Institute, "In 2020, an estimated 1,806,590 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 606,520 people will die from the disease." It is impossible to meet someone who has not been touched by this disease in some manner, whether it be physically or emotionally.

There are many types of cancer--so many that each month of the year is dedicated to promoting awareness of a different type. Just as cancer comes in various forms, it touches different people in various ways.

When a writer is touched by this disease, the natural reaction is to take pen to paper--or rather fingers to keyboard.

The results will surprise you! The stories are as diverse as the disease.

During the month of April, here at iRead Book Tours, we are featuring some tremendous titles written by or inspired by cancer survivors!



AGAIN: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists by Christine Shields-Corrigan
 
Book TitleAgain: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists
Author:  Christine Shields Corrigan
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 256 pages
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:  Koehler Books
Release date:  Oct 2020
Formats Available for review: print-softback (USA and Canada), ebook (
mobi file (for Kindle), gifted Kindle copy, PDF, NetGalley download)
Tour dates:  May 10 to May 28, 2021
Content Rating:  PG-13. My book has some profanity and one non-explicit sex scene with my husband.


"This no-nonsense debut memoir recalls Corrigan's two-time battle with cancer and takes a pragmatic approach toward guiding other patients. Candid, sagacious writing on illness and adaptation." --Kirkus Reviews
 
 
A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a “junky” cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and “what ifs,” and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with one exception—she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark.

With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family’s life “normal,” when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor’s unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others’ help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she winds her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.

 
I will be reviewing this book soon--so be sure to stop back for my thoughts!

 
FLYING AGAINST THE ODDS by Jean-Jacques Trochon
Book Title:  FLYING AGAINST THE ODDS: One Man's Journey to New Ways of Healing by Jean-Jacques Trochon with Heather Whitehall-Trochon
CategoryAdult Non-Fiction (18+),  249 pages
Genre:  Memoir
PublisherIkhaya Publishing
Release date:   November 2020
Format available for review:  print (Internationally), ebook (mobi, epub)
Tour dates: May 17 to June 4, 2021
Content Rating:  G. Memoir for General Audience.

Author Jean-Jacques Trochon
“IT TAKES A DIFFERENT KIND OF THINKING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM THAN THE KIND OF THINKING THAT PRODUCED THE PROBLEM.” —Albert Einstein

Jean-Jacque (JJ) had a devastating problem. At age fifty-one, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given three years to live. Rather than accept that outcome, JJ did what he always does: he set out to find a solution. Desiring to look beyond traditional treatments and their often harmful side effects, he put his unconventionally wired mind to work. JJ was relentless as he investigated alternative therapies and pursued global trailblazers in cancer research. Moving from the role of patient to patient-researcher, he became a trailblazer in his own right, being sought after for his latest findings. Ultimately, JJ brought together the most innovative international minds at the Rethinking Cancer 2017 conference in Paris. Together, they found common ground, and they continue to create integrative, synergistic approaches to treatment. Today, almost a decade after his diagnosis, JJ has defied the odds and is cancer-free. Recently retired from his career as a commercial airline captain on the Airbus A380, he now devotes himself to sharing his ongoing research with scientists and patients. JJ’s story illustrates how looking at things differently often enables us to see them in a whole new light.

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Book Depository
add to Goodreads
 

 
CAROLINE AND MORDECAI THE GAND by Jeff Gunhus
 
 
Book Title: Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus
Category Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages
GenreFantasy, Literary
Publisher Seven Guns Press
Release date March 31, 2021
Format available for review:  print (USA), ebook (mobi for kindle, epub, PDF, audiobook (audible download)
Tour dates:  Mar 31 to May 11, 2021
Content Rating: PG: The language is G. There is one scene with the main character punches a bully resulting in a bloody nose. The emotional treatment of grief and the death of a loved one can be somewhat intense.

"Readers of all ages who look for ethereal, haunting stories of recovery and courage will find Caroline & Mordecai the Gand may hold the trappings of a fantasy adventure; but inside there is so much more. Make the right decision, to read this!" - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"Caroline’s story is profoundly sad, and yet hopeful, magical, and yet rooted in reality. There is magic, mystery, and daring adventure." - BooksCoffee
Author Jeff GunhusJeff Gunhus
This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.

Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.

Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.

Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.

As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.

 

 

MARVELLOUS MACEY by Caitlin Bangsund 

 

Book Title:  Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days by Caitlin Bangsund
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 3-8),  40 pages
GenreChildren's Picture Book
PublisherCaitlin E. Bangsund
Release date:   March 2021
Format available for review:  print, ebook (PDF)
Will send print books out:  USA and Canada
Tour dates: Mar 1 to mar 28, 2021
Content Rating:  G. This children's book is for everyone.


Author Caitlin Bangsund 

 

Can you va va voom? Do you light up the room? Marvellous Macey does! She may not quite fit the mould, but she is living delightful days. Embrace Macey's world of imagination and ability to love and accept everyone. Life may not be perfect and some things might be hard, but Macey shows us how to live in the moment and find the delight! Be inspired by Macey to make everyday the BEST day.

Caitlin Bangsund is the author of Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days. It is the first in a series based on true life. Caitlin knows the trial and trauma of childhood cancer, childhood disability, and the fear of almost losing her daughter — the star of the series — Macey. She encourages readers to look for the treasures that hide in the rubble and gloom. Life is beautiful chaos and her message is to press on and conquer. Read her stories and help create a world that is full of kindness and acceptance.

Buy the Book

Author's Website
Amazon

add to Goodreads

 

 
MC PLAYS HIDE AND SEEK by Eva Grayzel
Book Title:  MC Plays Hide and Seek: An Empowering Story for Healthy Children Who Care About a Person Living with Cancer by Eva Grayzel
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  64 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
PublisherMascot Books
Release date:   Jan 5, 2021
Format available for review:  print (USA), pdf
Tour dates: Jan 5 to Feb 1, 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.

When asked about her motivation for writing her children's picture book about cancer, author Eva Grayzel explains:

My children were 5 and 7 when I was diagnosed with stage IV oral cancer. It’s a disease that cannot be hidden under clothing. My caregivers were so consumed with me, we didn’t addressthe feelings of our children. I regret not seeking professional attention for them during that time, but we didn’t think of it. If my healthcare providers had recommended it, we would have followed through. 
 
Since my voice was compromised during treatment, finding a book about understanding cancer would have been an easy solution. However, I could not find one to help start the conversation with our children.
 
Months after my recovery, my daughter still wouldn’t kiss me. She was intuitive, afraid of losing me and didn’t want to commit to another day of loving me. My son was shopping  with his grandma for a birthday card and he found a Get Well card. “Let’s buy this for Mom.” Grandma had to tell him that I wasn’t sick anymore.
 
When I reached my 10 year cancer-free anniversary, I had to mark it. There was no better way than filling the void for a children’s book to minimize fear and promote dialogue about cancer. ‘M.C. Plays Hide & Seek’ emphasizes feelings children experience and ways to address their emotions in a healthy, comfortable way. It’s everything I wished I had for my children. And, I hope it will be everything you need for yours.

Buy the Book 

Amazon.com
Eva Grayzel ~ B&N

 

Follow the Book Spotlights at iRead Book Tours


 


 

4/12/21

Tofu vs. Meat: Which is Better for Your Body?


You may have noticed more soy products on the shelves during your recent trips to the grocery store. This is because soy is an increasingly popular, and healthier alternative to meat. For vegans and vegetarians, soy, and in particular tofu, can be made in a variety of ways that provide a tasty option for their diets. But with so many people opting for tofu in their curries, salads, burgers and other dishes, critics have raised alarms about whether or not they are getting enough protein. Now, many are asking which is better: Tofu or meat?

 

 

Tofu is the popular meat substitute used by vegetarians and vegans, and is also common in Asian dishes. In fact, it was invented in China. It's made fresh soya milk that has been curdled and pressed into a block and cooled. Both tofu and meat have protein and iron, but meat is generally higher in protein, while soya, which comes from soy beans, is higher in iron and fiber.


The protein argument

Protein is essential for our bodies because it contains essential amino acids which help to build and repair muscle and tissue. It also produces anti-bodies, which help us to fight infections. This nutritional value of protein has led to a sense of caution when it comes to plant-based diets. While meat may contain high levels of protein, it also brings unwanted qualities such as fat, cholesterol, and risks of diabetes and cancer if consumed in excess. Most health experts agree that women should have at least 46g of protein a day, and men should have 56g. However, in common meat-based diets, most people are over consuming protein without realizing it.


As a useful comparison, if you eat 3oz of tofu, you will get 18% protein, and the same amount of skinless roasted chicken contains 46% of protein. But remember, this comes with added calories and fats. With varied protein content, there are many ways a vegan diet can be nutritious and enjoyable when compared to meat.


Health benefits of tofu

Research shows that tofu has numerous health benefits. All the essential amino acids can be found in tofu, so if combined with other plant-based proteins, you can meet your daily protein requirements. This natural superfood is also known to have properties that can prevent cancer, and is high in iron, calcium, and fiber. With significantly less calories than meat, and healthy fats, tofu is the clear winner for weight loss benefits. It can also help to reduce cholesterol levels, and is gluten-free.


Why is tofu bad for you?


While the health benefits of tofu are clear, it does have allergenic properties, so people who are allergic to soy products, should avoid it. It can also increase uric acid levels if consumed in excess. Due to its estrogen content, tofu should be avoided by women with breast tumors. If not cooked correctly, and if its mostly fried in oil, tofu can cause weight gain even though the food on its own has relatively low calorie content. But with all things, it should be consumed in moderation, and if consumed correctly, this form of soy protein can be more beneficial than harmful.


The best way to enjoy your tofu

If you've been considering adding tofu to your meals, but have been disappointed with the watery texture, the problem may be that you've been preparing it incorrectly. Some people may be put off tofu and eliminate it from their diets because they don't know how to cook it. Tofu must be drained properly in order for it to absorb the flavors in your recipe.


This is one of the other wonders of tofu. It comes in different types such as silken tofu, firm, or smoked, and can be cooked in so many different ways to add variety and nutrition to your diet. Tofu can be fried, baked, blended into a dip or pesto, used in soups, or even made into vegan ice-cream! An important part of the preparation is "pressing", which is a method of removing the moisture from tofu, without losing the shape or its unique taste. For more information on how to press your tofu for maximum enjoyment, visit  https://tofubud.com.


By cooking the tofu correctly, you will notice a world of difference and may even enjoy it more. In addition, to enjoy tofu and your time in the kitchen you need to begin with a clean kitchen.


Conclusion

It's pretty clear that in the tofu vs. meat debate, tofu is the clear winner as a healthier option for your body, seeing that it has protein, iron, fiber, and calcium, but without any of the unwanted cholesterol or calories. If eaten in moderation, and combined with a balanced diet, tofu can be a healthy substitute for meat, and enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians, or even meat eaters if they wish to try it.



3 Must-Try Lasagna Recipes


Who doesn't love a classic lasagna, right? My go-to lasagna recipe has been a favorite for family dinners and potlucks for many years! But when you want something different, these unique must-try lasagna recipes are a fantastic way to mix up this family favorite dish!

 


1. Skinny Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients for Skinny Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 6oz fresh spinach
  • 2lb ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice (optional)
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 124oz jar spaghetti or marinara sauce 
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions for Skinny Spinach Lasagna

  1. Preheat oven to 375’.

  2. Melt butter in a large skillet (medium heat).

  3. Add garlic and thyme and sauté for 2-3 minutes before adding the spinach.

  4. Once spinach starts wilting, remove the skillet from the heat and place to one side.

  5. Combine the ricotta, egg, salt, nutmeg, and a squeeze of lemon juice (optional) in a large bowl.

  6. Add spinach to the bowl and stir to combine (you could place some in a food processor to break up some of the spinach pieces if you want).

  7. Spread a little spaghetti or marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13” pan, then layer with 3 lasagna noodles.

  8. Top with 1/3 spinach mixture, ¼ of the sauce, and ¼ of the cheese, followed by 3 more lasagna noodles, then repeat.

  9. Pour ½ a cup of water over the two layers, then repeat again, ending on the cheese layer.

  10. Pour another ½ cup of water over the lasagna and tightly cover it with oiled aluminum foil.

  11. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.

  12. Remove the foil when the liquid is bubbling and the noodles have softened, then bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.

  13. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes. 

2. Taco Lasagna

Ingredients for Taco Lasagna

  • 12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1oz Old El Paso taco seasoning 
  • 15oz ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 24oz jar chunky salsa

Topping Suggestions (optional)

  • Sour cream
  • Green onions
  • Diced tomatoes

Instructions for Taco Lasagna

  1. Preheat oven to 350’F.

  2. Brown beef in a large skillet until there’s no pink remaining.

  3. Drain the beef and stir in taco seasoning until combined, then set aside.

  4. Add egg and ricotta to a small bowl and combine.

  5. Place 4 lasagna noodles along the bottom of a 9x13” baking dish.

  6. Create your lasagna layers in the following order: 1/3 ricotta, 1/3 beef, 1/3 salsa, 1/3 cheese.

  7. Top with noodles, then repeat twice, ending with cheese.

  8. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes until the lasagna is bubbling.

  9. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving with your choice of toppings.

3. Pierogi Lasagna

Ingredients for Pierogi Lasagna

Pierogi Dough Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup sour cream (plus extra for serving)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped (plus extra for serving)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dough-rolling)

Filling Ingredients

  • 2lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, hot
  • 8 tbsp butter, cubed, cold
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1lb bacon, chopped
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups Gruyere cheese
  • 1 ½ cups farmer’s cheese

Instructions for Pierogi Lasagna

Make the Pierogi Dough

  1. Combine egg, sour cream, butter, chives, and salt in a bowl, mixing with your hands to combine.

  2. Add flour and work with your hands until dough forms.

  3. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).

  4. Roll with a rolling pin, or use an Uno Casa pasta maker to create a 1/8” thick rectangle. 

  5. Cut into 4x18” strips, re-rolling as necessary, until you have 14-20 pierogi lasagna noodles.

Make the Filling

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot with 2” cold water and bring to a boil, seasoning generously with salt.

  2. Once boiling, reduce potatoes to a simmer. Cook until they can easily be pierced, then drain and return to the pot.

  3. Mash potatoes, slowly mixing in the hot cream and cold butter as you do so, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  4. Add olive oil to a large skillet and place on medium heat.

  5. Add bacon and cook until crisp (approximately 10 minutes), then transfer to a plate.

  6. Reduce heat to medium, then add onions, tossing to coat with bacon fat and seasoning with salt and pepper.

  7. Cook until onions are caramelized and sweet, stirring regularly, then leave to cool.

  8. Butter a 13x9” casserole dish or metal pan and preheat oven to 350’F.

  9. If you’ve not already done so, roll out your pierogi dough for assembly.

Assemble the Pierogi Lasagna

  1. Arrange 1 layer of pierogi dough strips along the bottom of your buttered dish, slightly overlapping.

  2. Top with a ½” layer of mashed potatoes, followed by caramelized onions, bacon, and a sprinkle of both cheeses.

  3. Repeat layers until you’ve used all the ingredients, finishing with a layer of pierogi dough sprinkled with the cheeses and more salt and pepper.

  4. Cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.

  5. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.

  6. Serve with sour cream and chives.

Enjoy the food! After serving the food, try these tips to help keep your kitchen clean.