Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mmmmmm Watermelon!

I love watermelon! This may not come as a surprise to my friends who know me well, or those who got to the fruit salad buffet late after I had picked all the delicious watermelon pieces out – every day.  One of my earliest memories of childhood is sitting outside in the warm sun and having a watermelon-eating contest with my brother. I’m pretty sure I won.

With summer approaching and with the day’s getting longer and hotter, I thought I would share some amazing facts about watermelon, why it’s so good for you and why you should cut one open today!!

Citrullus Lanatus otherwise known as watermelon is believed to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa.  Egyptian hieroglyphics on the walls of depicted the first watermelon harvest nearly 5000 years ago.  Watermelons were often set in the burial tombs for nourishment in the afterlife.  From Egypt, watermelon spread throughout the Mediterranean Sea, by merchant ships.  Eventually watermelon’s made their way to China in the 10th century, which today remains the world’s number one producer of watermelon.

Watermelon is recommended to help handle the heat of summer.  It helps to cool you off and hydrate you.  The fruit is low in calories and contains many nutritious benefits such as lycopene.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant (also found in tomatoes), which has been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.

Watermelon also contains high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin B6.  Vitamin C can give the immune system a boost against viruses and bacteria invading the body.  It also helps prevent premature aging by protecting you from free radicals.  Vitamin A is important for healthy eye function and also helps lymphocytes in the body, which are infection-fighting white blood cells.  Vitamin B6 helps the body produce antibodies to help the immune system fight diseases.  Vitamin B6 also helps maintain normal nerve function and helps to form new red blood cells.

Watermelon has a high potassium content as well.  Due to this fact, watermelon will originally quench your thirst, but over time the potassium will act as a diuretic, to help flush any toxins out of your body.  Combined with the beta-carotene in the watermelon, this will give a cooling anti-inflammatory effect to help flush contaminants through the urinary tract.

I have included some recipes to use with your watermelon this summer!  Happy eating!!

Watermelon Pina Colada


2 cups watermelon puree

1/2 cup chunked pineapple

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

3 cups ice

2 tablespoons cream of coconut


Mix all ingredients together in a blender.

Blend until desired consistency and serve. For an adult version add rum!


Makes 4 to 5 cocktails.

Mediterranean Watermelon Salad



6 cups torn mixed salad greens

3 cups cubed seeded watermelon

1/2 cup sliced onion

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 dash cracked black pepper


In large bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad mixture with oil. Garnish with pepper.


Happiness – How To “Get” It and Keep it!

Happiness – How to “get” it and keep it!

 1. Express Gratitude:

Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”!  Get in the habit of being thankful for what you have!  Appreciate everything you already have in your life, whether it is people, things or experiences.  If you are not appreciative for what you already have in your life, nothing will ever be “enough” for you.  You will continually chase more and more but not value everything you have going on for you right now.  I’m not saying you don’t want to strive for more, richer, better “stuff”, but act as if you already have it in your life and be thankful for it.   By giving thanks for things that you want in your life, it programs your mind that these things are already reality, and you’ll be amazed at how it sometimes just seem to “magically” appear within your life.

2. Chose Hope not Fear:

H.O.P.E. – Happy, Optimistic, Positive, Experiences

F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real

Optimism:  [op-tuh-miz-uhm] noun:

  1. A disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and expect the most favorable outcome.
  2. The belief that goodness pervades reality.

Disposition: [dis-puh-zish-uhn] noun:

  1. Natural mental and emotional outlook
  2. Predominate or prevailing tendency.

So to be an optimist, one can have a prevailing tendency to see the positive in most things.  You have the tendency to see the silver lining of an event and make the most of it.  Some people come by this naturally, but it can be learned.  Start off small and whenever anything that your first perceive as negative happens, catch yourself and try to list what positive outcomes could happen due to that event occurring.  At first it may seem like you are grasping at anything that could be positive, but over time it will become easier to see the light and not the darkness in events that take place.

With hope comes more hope.  With optimism comes more optimism.  With happiness comes more happiness.

 3.Practice Random Acts of Kindness:

Pick up something someone dropped, hold a door open, carry someone’s groceries, put money in their parking meter…it doesn’t have to be much, but just even the smallest act has a positive effect on everyone involved.

Whether you are the recipient of an act of kindness, the giver of an act of kindness, or someone random who happened to witness the act of kindness, you are all affected almost equally in the same positive way.  Everyone involved with the kind act receives the same mental lift from Serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter.  Serotonin is released in the brain, which is a natural mood elevator.

My grandfather always used to say, “you are part of the gang you hang with”. This is so true when it comes to how the people you spend time with effects your mood and ability to be happy.  So surround yourself with kind, gentle and positive people, you may find yourself happier because of it!

 “You are always living a reflection of whatever you are outputting.  And so, if you get into a little pocket where a lot of people are being rude, it’s probably because you are being rude – or because you have been aware of people being rude.  Nothing ever happens to you that is not part of your vibration!” – Esther Abraham-Hicks

 4. Develop Healthy Coping Strategies:

A coping strategy is how you actually deal with life and its ups and down.  Having a healthy strategy to help deal with stresses that occur in life can add happiness to your reality.

Let’s list some negative coping strategies first.  They may initially reduce stress but when done for a long time, may do damage.

  • Smoking
  • Drinking in excess
  • Overeating or Under eating
  • Oversleeping
  • Procrastinating
  • Using drugs to be stimulated or to relax
  • Isolating yourself from family, friends or activities
  • Zoning out for hours in front of the TV
  • Being overly active – must constantly be doing something

Healthy Coping Strategies

  • Avoid Unnecessary Stress – Eliminate things that you know cause a stressful reaction.   Could be such things as driving a different route home with less traffic, ordering your groceries online to avoid the supermarket rush, being prepared for everything you need to do in one day to prevent extra “running around” and multiple trips home if you forgot something.
  • Adapt to the stressor – If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude about the situation you are in.
  • Adjusting Your Attitude – How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the middle of a tension-filled situation.  Your physiology actually changes to mirror your thoughts.  Muscle tension increases, blood pressure rises, cortisol production escalates.  Negative thoughts = negative body physiology.  Positive thoughts = Happy, healthy physiology! Your mind believes what you tell it.  If you keep telling it negative things all day, your overall attitude is negative.  If you say good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel positive.  Henry Ford said  “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”

Healthy Alternative to help Relax

  • Go for a walk
  • Spend time outdoors in nature
  • Call a good friend
  • Play with a pet
  • Read a great book
  • Listen to uplifting music
  • Write in a journal
  • Meditate
  • Get adjusted
  • Exercise
5. Write your Goals:

People have more happiness when they have certainty than upheaval and chaos.  By having a written plan, you have a road-map to help carry out your purpose or passion in life.  Having goals helps to clarify and organize the wants, needs and desires of your life.

How to Write your Goals:

First figure out your Purpose by asking these two questions: “Who do you want to be?” and “What do you want to do?”  Once you figure out your purpose, divide your goals into five categories: Personal, Professional, Financial, Community, and Play.

When you have written goals, you have some certainty of where you want to go and what you want to attain, the choices of how you get there become easier.

6.Take Excellent Care of Yourself:

Your body is the only place you have to live in.  Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.  You need to maintain a balance of nutrition, exercise and rest.  In other words, you need to Move, Eat and Rest Well.

One way that proper nutrition, exercise and rest help to maintain ones happiness is through blood sugar levels.  With the epidemic of Type II diabetes in the world today, one must learn to control their blood sugar levels.  If this is not properly balanced, your mood can become tired, cranky and easily overwhelmed with mundane things in life.   If you don’t feel good physically, your focus, feelings and fatigue will affect how you feel.

Exercise is a proven stress reliever and releases endorphins, which do elevate your mood and make you feel less pain.  I do believe Reese Witherspoon’s character in one of my favorite movies said it right:  “Exercise gives you endorphins–endorphins make people happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands… they just don’t.” Elle from Legally Blonde

Also stay well hydrated.  Chronic dehydration can alter many things in your life, so increase your water intake to at least eight glasses of good, clean water a day.

7. Present Time Consciousness (PTC):

Learn and move on from your past, plan yet don’t stress about your future.  Worrying about tomorrow, takes away today’s strength.  Concentrate on the now of life.  Too often we get caught up in the “tomorrows” or the “yesterdays” baggage.  Learn to truly focus on what you are doing at this very place and time, and have gratitude for it.   Love this very moment for this moment is your life.

“The most powerful time in your life is NOW!” – Dali Lama

Love, light and laughter,

Dr. Vanda