Health: Life Hacks to Better Eating

My wife and I have been working really hard on our eating habits and the way we view food now. For most of our marriage of 28 years we have eat to enjoy food and were not really eating to live. These bad habits we built have now caught up with us and we are at the point of making huge changes in our habits. Eating is a habit and we either form healthy or unhealthy eating habits. We made some simple changes to how we view things and are not eating to live instead of eating to enjoy. Fact is you can eat to live and enjoy your food. With this said we have added many of these hacks into our daily plan for eating healthy and it has allowed us to both drop around 30 pounds already and still enjoy life, food and have the energy to function in a busy life. With this said below you will find some hacks for eating and food that can help you manage eating healthy and living your best life.

1- Add healthy fats to your diet. Adding healthy fats like Mahi Mahi, Tuna and Salmon help your body to burn fat that is stored. The fish are delicious and you can eat 5-7 ounces at a time and that is a lot of food.

2- Eat green veggies and lots of them. Green veggies are very nutritious and offer you the vitamens needed to maintain a healthy life style.

3- Prep your lunch and supper for the next day with the leftovers you have. I love to eat leftovers and recooking them with a few different seasonings and spices adds flavor and saves you lots of money when all those leftovers get tossed a week later from the fridge.

4- East five to six small meals a day about every 2:45. Eat every two hours and forty five minutes to fuel your body and keep to going in the fat burning process.

5- Replace three of your meals with shakes, soups and other low calorie nutritious options to keep you full and on track from binging on bad fatty foods.

6- Eat grilled chicken, lean pork chops, lean turkey and other foul that is tasty and can be prepared in many ways.

7- Take the butter out of the equation and replace it with olive oil and other more healthy options. Butter has lots of fat in it.

8- Drink 100 ounces of water a day to keep you full and hydrated. Getting dehydrated hurts your body function and glass of water can go a long ways in preventing you from eating snacks.

9- Get rid of the snacks in the house and do not buy anymore of them. If they are there you will eventually give in and eat them.

10- Eat healthy and do it with a partner or friends. Get someone to coach you in better eating and have them hold you accountable.

11- Weigh your food and never eat more than six ounces of any meat and 12 ounces of green veggies in one setting.

12- No sugar, no soda, no artificial sweetener or candy. Cut the cravings and get rid of the sugar.

Eating healthy and losing weight is not as hard as we often make it out to be. Make these small changes to eating habits slowly and watch the weight come off and your overall health get so much better.

Eat to live instead of living to eat!

Coach B

Outdoors: 20 Emergency Preparation Kit Items for Survival In a Disaster

Today we are talking about items that you need to have stocked in an emergency preparation and travel kit in case of a natural disaster, loss of power or who knows what with the current state of things.  After doing research on this I realized I had most of these items around the house or in the vehicles.  These are pretty basic items that you can buy at any store, even maybe a dollar tree store for lots of them. 

Being prepared for emergencies, natural disasters and other events we do not know are coming is something you need to do to make sure you and those with you are ok.  Going out the day before a predicted wind storm, hurricane or other event creates stress and the items you may need will be gone or very high priced.   
Take a look at this list and add/subtract what you want from it and prepare now.

Tuck these things away in a bag, box or the garage and have them ready to go.  Some of these things need to be in your car at all times as a precaution just incase you break down or have an accident.  Sometimes we have to think about the what ifs of life.  What if we have a wreck and the car goes down in the woods and cannot be seen by people passing by.  What if a storm hits quickly and kills the power for a few days or a week.  Think about being prepared, where are you in this process and what do you need to do to get stocked up.  As stated above, I can go to a dollar tree and buy lots of this stuff cheap and have it on hand for emergency purposes.

1. Bottled Water- You need a gallon of water per day per person.  You should have a minimum of a few cases of water tucked away in the cabinet or garage.  Water is an essential to survival and if power goes out you will need it for drinking, washing, cleaning and surviving.

2. Flashlights- Go to the store and get a few flashlights and put one in every vehicle with extra batteries.  A flashlight is a must when power goes out or if you are camping, lost or stuck on the highway somewhere.

3. Charged Portable Cell Phone Charger- Go to the store or order one online.  Fully charge it and put it in your vehicles, bedroom and emergency kit.  

4. Battery powered or hand crank radio.  You can get these online or at an outdoor store.  You lose power, get lost or have an unexpected event you grab it and turn the handle about 100 times and it gives you a way to listen to communication about things that are going on.

5. Non-Perishable Foods- Get a two week supply of canned foods for the house.  Soups, veggies and other items that you can open with a can opener (make sure you have a manual can opener in the kit also) and stock up.  It will not hurt to keep a few cans of these items in the trunk of the car as a backup plan in case of a wreck or accident and you cannot get help.  Do not leave them in the trunk over the hot months.

6. Flares or a Whistle- You need a flair or a whistle in your kit.  These things can be used to draw attention, ward off criminals and help you be found if you are lost, have wrecked or are in danger.  Flares and whistles can be bought at any outdoor store and most retail box stores.

7. Knife, Ax, Cutting tools-  Having an old cheap pocket knife or ax in your emergency kit is a must.  It offers you a variety of options such as protection, cutting tools for wood and being able to possibly bust a window out to save your life or others.  You can get a good knife pretty cheap or better yet a multi tool that has a cutting blade, screw driver, can opener and other functions.

8. Tools-  I have lots of tools as many people di, but I was able to go to the dollar tree and build a tool kit for about $10.00.  It has an adjustable wrench, different kinds of screw drivers, a multi tool, a knife, a small hammer, small box of nails, small box of screws, Pando straps, cheap duct tape, pliers, needle nose pliers and several other small tools.  

9. Moist Towels/Baby Wipes/TP- You can buy these at the dollar store and place them in your kit and every car.  Baby wipes, moist wipes or a few small rolls of TP can save the day if you know what I mean.  When traveling you need to make sure you have these and in case of emergency.

10: Paper Towels and Toilet Paper- Get a good deal on toilet paper and paper towels and put them in storage.  Remember back when everyone was fighting for TP and paper towels.  Prepare now and stock up now.  

11. Candles- You can get candles at any major store and even some tealights at the dollar store.  Tealights need to be in your emergency kit.  They offer light and heat if needed.

12. Pet Food/Supplies- If you have dogs and cats you need to have some food for them.  Even if it is cheap bag of food from the dollar store as a backup for emergency, power loss and other events.  Our fur babies need to eat also.

13. Medicines- Are you on medication and if so make sure you have enough extra tucked away in the kit for emergencies.  You may not be able to travel due to power lines down or fires.  Know which meds you must have on hand and stock up a months supply.  Put a week minimum in your emergency kit.

14. Important Documents- Get a fire proof safe or a small safe and put your most important documents in it.  If you for some reason have to leave quickly due a fire, emergency or whatever the reason you can grab the fire box and take it with you.  

15. Clothes- Socks, underwear and other needed items.  It pays to always have a change of older clothes in a book bag or bag in the trunk.  Put a few needed items in your emergency kit so you can grab and go.  Winter items during the winter and summer items during the summer.

16. Weapons- Not everyone will agree with this one, but I will never travel without a weapon to protect my family.  In the case of an emergency, traveling, camping, and other times you are away from your family carry some form of protection.  Better safe than sorrow.  Whatever you carry, learn how to handle it and make sure it is a last resort.  This can be a knife, big stick, stun gun, pepper spray or other weapons.

17. Fire starters or matches- You can get these at dollar tree and put them in your emergency kit and each vehicle. Do not leave matches in the car in hot weather.  It is best to have a fire starter found at any outdoor store or large retailer.  You can also get one of those clicking fire starters at the dollar store.  They last a pretty long time and can save your life in the wild, camping or if you have a car wreck and need heat.

18. Maps- This is a thing of the past, but if you are hiking, camping you may have to go old school and whip out a map to find where you are.  Cell phones do not always work and if your service is out or bad a map can serve as a guide for finding direction or a town close.  A compass is even better, it can help you find direction and if you know the road is north, follow the compass.

19. Eye glasses/contacts- Do you have to use these to see where you are going or what you are doing.  Put an old set of glasses in the emergency kit and the vehicles for caution.  Eye glasses can also be used to start a fire if needed on a sunny day. You can cut things with them and do other life saving activities.

20.  Cash and Coins- Store some spare cash in your home for emergencies and have maybe $50.00 in your emergency kit including some coins.  A debit or credit card may nor work for you depending on the situation so cash is then king.  

Other items you may need: Baby food, diapers, formula, feminine products, deodorants, hand sanitizer, extra batteries, roll of plastic wrap (you can always make a shelter with duct tape and plastic rolls).Fire extinguishers, cleaning items, car jacks, flares, first aid supplies, dust mask (covid mask), gloves, rubber gloves, water containers, sleeping bag, extra bullets, quick start fire logs and rope.  

Main thing is to be prepared for the worst case scenario and if you do not use something then that is a good thing.  You must have food, water, shelter, clothing and warmth to survive regardless.  So make sure you have those items on hand and ready.  I am not saying become a prepper for the end of the world, but if you get caught off guard and do not have the basics to live then life will be hard and survival will be tough. Best Wishes and good luck preparing for the “what ifs” of life.

Americana: Sundays At Grandma Smiths

Right After Church-

When I was a kid growing up we would all go to church on Sunday and then head straight over to my Grandma Smiths house and spend all afternoon eating lunch, playing outside, watching football and fellowshipping with family and friends.  When I say family and friends, I mean the entire extended family of at least 20-30 people.  My grandparents were not rich so I do not know how they fed all of us every week like that.  We did have some great fresh garden veggies, potatoes and corn that was grown on the property.  It was the coolest place to go and spend time growing up.  We had all the outdoor activity a child or teenager needed.  

Summertime Fun And Sports-

Summer time was my favorite season as the grass was nice and green and much softer to land on when your cousins and brothers piled on top of you playing tackle football.  Of course, we played with no pads and you got busted up good on most Sundays.  We played every sport you can think of, football, soccer, softball, baseball, basketball.  It wasn’t just the kids playing, the adults played also and I remember some collisions with my aunts and uncles while chasing a ball or going for a goal.  We would help each other up, laugh, and keep playing. 

We had a basketball goal that was about 8 feet high and you could run and jump off the little hill behind it and try to dunk the ball when you got older.  But, you had best watch out because someone older was going to try and stuff it back in your face and likely knock you down doing it. My brother Jerry loved to put it back in your face and did so to his son and daughter many times.

Cowboys vs. Redskins-

We watched football on the three main channels on that old box shaped television and if you were the closest to it, you became the remote control turning that little clicker button to change the channel.  After changing the channel you had to adjust the rabbit ears to get the signal just right.  Sometimes you had to freeze and not move so everyone could see the game or the Disney movie of the week.  The family was divided between Cowboy and Redskin fans mostly. 

Might have been a few Falcon fans here and there and we didn’t have the Panthers to root for back then.  The best seat was at the table near the television and nobody sat in grandpa’s chair.  That corner chair was his, as I type I can see him sitting in that chair eating and watching football. It got loud at times and you couldn’t hardly hear from all the smack talking going on, and sometimes we had to go outside and settle it on Grandma’s football field.

Grandma’s Biscuits-

My Grandma made the best biscuits ever.  She did not make them real big, but they were just right and tasted so good.  She wasted no batter, mix or dough and would cook every piece of that bread, even the little pieces that were left from cutting the round biscuits out of the dough.  Those little ends were fabulous and hit the spot, especially with some good gravy, home made jelly or honey on top.  You better not be the last few people through the line or you didn’t get any biscuits.  We had a a saying around the house, “last one to the trough, don’t get fed” and that was the truth.  

With all those children and teenagers the food got gone quick.  The stove would be full of food and it was a treat to look in and see what that weeks surprise was.  After lunch, we would have some nice cool watermelon that had been floating in the creek spinning as the water flowed cooling it off.  My grandpa would put the watermelon on top of the old well house and cut it and you better get it and run or it was gone just like the food.

Hair Cutting Time-

My Aunt Shirley would cut hair on the back porch on Sundays.  We would go one a time to get trimmed up and stay high and tight as young boys did back in those days.  She would talk to us, tell us stories and cut our hair.  Getting your hair cut was something you looked forward to because it meant something to the family and was an expectation.  We all got our hair cut by mom or dad with the trimmers back then. 

You sat down and about a minute later you had some short hair like an army or marine.  The girls had it a little better and Aunt Shirley kept them cut nice and neat like Marsha Brady.  Shoulder length and cut straight across and beautiful.  She could have made a fortune if she had spent all that time working in a salon cutting, but it was her way of giving back and taking care of us.

Playing in the Creek-

We had a small creek on the property that always flowed well and had some minnows, small fish and crawdads in it to catch.  We would build up a damn on the creek so the water would get a few feet deep and then swing on the rope and fall into the water or see if we could swing all the way across the creek and land on the other side without getting wet, especially in the winter when the water was freezing.  We would slide around on the ice in the creek during the winter playing hockey and laughing at each other for busting our tails. 

When it rained real hard the creek would flood and the yard pitched in so all the water would lay there and I remember it being 2-3 inches deep and man we had a good time in that flood water.   It seemed like a lake when you are a child, even though it was just a few inches deep.  Either way, it was nice and cool, dirty, sloppy and fun to roll around in.  I miss those days and the flooded yard on rainy days and Sundays.


We took our wrestling serious and you better not tell my grandpa it was fake.  We would watch wrestling on television and then go outside and bust each other up with the moves.  I have been body slammed, back dropped, closed lined and every now and then caught a kick off a tree limb or a running drop kick.  Yes, it was rough and we didn’t know how to fake it very good so some of us ended up bruised, battered and occasionally broke an arm or got a few stitches.  Of course, when someone got hurt nobody would tell how it happened, even though the adults knew it was the result of kids being stupid.  

We were invincible back then, well at least we thought we were anyways.  My brothers, cousins and myself did some high school wrestling so there were a few of those matches in the yard also.  I remember my uncle Robert challenging my brother Dale to a match and I don’t think it worked out too good for him.  

Pecking Order-

There was a pecking order back then.  The way it worked was by generation and age.  We ranged in age from toddler to twenty five and if you were the little brother, little cousin or youngest you got busted up, beat on, picked on, knocked down, dragged around the yard, buried in the garden head deep and other stuff I better not mention.  If you got hurt, you better not go cry to mom, dad or grandma or else.  It would be worse for you once they found out who snitched and the older ones got in trouble.  

When we ran over into the neighbors garden to grab a watermelon, it was always the young ones that got sent into enemy lines. The older ones were the commanders and the younger ones were the grunts.  We all knew our place in that pecking order until we got old enough to fight back or be promoted from grunt status.  This continued for many years as we were all close in age and typically there were 3-4 of us about the same age all the time. My cousin Russel (I hope we did not scar you for life) got it bad when he was little.  I apologize to you on behalf of Scott and I for carrying on the family traditions on you.  I know you pushed it on down the line as well.

GI Joe, Hot Wheels and Tonka Trucks-

Man we had a good time with GI Joes, the old 12 inch kind that I wish I had to this day.  We setup camps and everything to play with GI Joe, Big Jim and other action figures.  Once they started making the smaller ones, I remember my cousin Shane and Nephew Jeremy playing with those toys on Sundays.  Us older ones would throw firecrackers into their GI Joe camp and blow up the Joes and vehicles.  You could sit in the creek or dirt pile and play for hours with hot wheels, GI Joe, Tonka trucks and other toys. 

Junk Yard Finds and Dirt Clods- 

Right across the street from Grandma Smiths house was a junk yard.  Actually it was a trash dump and you would be surprised the cool toys, finds and contraptions we found raiding the junk yard every weekend.  We were young and knew there was some cool stuff over there and the owner, even though he had a sign up saying to “keep out” was a family friend and distant kin so he knew we were going to be in there.  There was lots of dirt piles from his construction company and we would hide behind them and play war. Some reading this may remember being hit by a dirt clod in the face, neck or back a few times.  If you stood up to throw and a cousin timed it right, you were going to get hit and hit hard.  You shook the pain off, rubbed the dirt off your face and attacked back.  Man I miss those dirt clod wars!

I could go on and on about those good old days and probably make it a book.  My friends, family and neighbors made so many memories on that property and in those woods.  The main thing it taught me was that God gave us nature to explore, enjoy and experience.  My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles taught us to work hard, play hard, have good moral values and how to take care of one another. 

I still to this day want a property with an awesome stream that flows so sweetly.  So I can Oneday watch the next generation play in the water, the mud, the woods and have the awesome life experience my family did. I wrote this one in honor of all my family, friends and those that grew up playing outdoors, in the creek, in the woods making all those wonderful memories you now can share with your kids.

God Bless!  KB

Relationships: Conflict Resolution vs. Conflict Escalation

This week I have been working with my students in class on social emotional skills to help them grow their ability to get along better with peers at school, online and at home.  As a veteran teacher I have seen my fair share of conflicts between students, staff and their peers.  Most of the conflicts are honestly teenage drama that revolves around he said, she said stuff.  In today’s world of the instant messaging on the thousands of applications things can escalate quickly. 

It is not just teenagers though, I see here and there husbands, wives, sisters, brothers and friends going back and forth arguing their points or posting stuff in an attempt to start trouble or fuel the fire.  By the way, my students refer to Facebook as the application for (older people).  I guess I am old because I have a Facebook page. Anyways, back to the drama and how to resolve it.  My students have found out that as soon as they tell me what is happening, the first thing I ask them is did you see it, hear it, feel it or witness anything about it.  If not, then it did not happen and it is time to move on. 

That works sometimes, but often they just cannot let it go because they are lacking the social-emotional skills to work through the conflict, find a common ground or just move on.  Adults alike often struggle with social-emotional skills as well when they are facing tough situations in life.  I actually saw an event yesterday at school during cross country practice as I was directing the team in some running drills that drove home the point that conflict resolution skills are lacking for many people.

We are on the track running some warmup laps and hear a car hit the brakes real fast stopping right in the middle of the road near the track.  A man jumps out the window as the female driver is trying to roll it up on him to trap him in the car. He falls out of the window onto the ground, gets up and his pants fall to his knees and he starts to run from the car while trying to pull his pants up from the knees. 

He falls down on the curb and as he is getting up, the female puts the car in reverse and slams on the gas driving backwards about twenty feet wide open.  He gets to his feet and hollers at her to chill out and she throws the car in forward and proceeds to try to run over him.  At this point my kids are just memorized by the craziness going on up on the road.  

The guy takes off running across our campus parking lot and the driver hits the gas and jumps a curb in her mid 2000’s white Pontiac four door tearing the bumper off and damaging the sidewalk and grass.  She jumps the curb goes down a small hill barely missing the stadium fence and the guy is running wide open and looking back to see where she is. 

She is driving like a maniac and screaming out the window explicative words that I cannot type on my blog.  He runs into a mans yard so she drives across the parking lot and into the mans yard almost hitting his truck in the process.  She slams on brakes, backs up and takes off after him as he is running behind the house and in the process she tore up his yard as well.  

At this point I have called 911 because we have kids on campus and this is taking place near the YMCA entrance also with lots of traffic coming in and out.  The guys keeps running and weaves in and out of several yards going behind houses as she pursues him wide open with no regard for anyone else or their property.  She was dead set on resolving the conflict by running over him and I do not know what he said to her, but man she was pissed off at him. 

The guy keeps running and she spends the next few minutes cruising back and forth, up and down the road screaming for him and telling him to come get in the car.  A few minutes later the police show up and she decides it was time to get gone, unfortunately running from the police didn’t end well for her as she got caught.

I tell this true story that just happened yesterday to say that this young lady and man obviously have some issues to work on after she gets out of jail for attempted murder or whatever the charges will be.  So now lets talk about how we can avoid conflict and work to resolve it if we run into issues with family, friends, co-workers and strangers.  I pulled some conflict resolution strategies from my recent presentation to my students and listed them below.  God wants us to resolve conflict by being kind, understanding and patient with others.  He does the same for us so we owe it to him to do the same.

Lets define conflict resolution first and then talk about easy steps to become better at resolving conflicts instead of escalating them by trying to run over everyone we disagree with.  To resolve something is to come to an agreement, to communicate a resolution or come to an impasse about a topic of discussion.  You may define it however you want, but we all need to learn to resolve and not escalate.

1- Do not become offended by what others say to you so easily.  Breathe and think about your response before getting all up in your feelings.

2- Do not attack using any sentence that begins with “you”.  This is placing blame on the other person and will escalate the situation quickly because they may become defensive at that point.

3- Tell the other person how you feel in a way that does not place blame or degrade them.

4- Allow the other person the opportunity to express their feelings, explain what happened or tell you their side of the story.  Remember, most of the drama in life comes from stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and anger issues.

5- When explaining your side, remain calm, cool and collected and use “I” statements which will show the person how you felt and not place blame with “you” comments.

6- Pay attention to all the non-verbal communication.  How is the person reacting to you, stay back and give them space in case they attack you.  Watch for emotions in their eyes and know when to stop talking.

7- Learn to walk away if you cannot agree or get your way.  We all have an opinion and that is what it is an opinion.  It is what you think, feel, see or hear, but may not be what they saw, thought or felt.

8- Do not make assumptions or assume the other person is trying to hurt you on purpose.  Do not let emotional baggage from your past destroy your future relationships.

9- Know when to apologize for your own behavior and forgive yourself or others when a conflict arises.

10- Choose your battles based on importance.  Is it really worth all the stress, drama, anxiety and conflict that is coming to pursue it.  If not, walk away, forgive and move on with life.

That woman is now in trouble with the law, facing charges of destruction of school property, attempted vehicular assaults’, resisting arrest and several other charges over what.  An argument about money, hurt feelings, relationships and some other minor thing that in the grand scheme of things means nothing in life.  It was certainly not worth the end result she got from it. 

So I will close by saying that the bible tells us in Ephesians 4: 31-32; “to Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”.  The example I gave was full of bitterness, anger, and slander.  By just getting away from one another, walking away or letting it go they could have been forgiving of one another.

James 1: 19-21, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls”.

Lord, show us how to be patient, kind and forgiving when conflict arises in our relationships and life.  Help us to be resolute in these situations instead of angry, bitter and malcontent on hurting those that hurt us.  Amen