Sugar Problems

From Dr. L. Lambert: Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you still need to be vigilant about the amount of sugar you consume every day. It’s not so much what you sprinkle on your morning cereal as what you eat when you’re noshing on processed foods. From sweetened beverages like fancy store-bought coffee to pasta sauces to breads — and of course, desserts — sugar is in lots of foods we eat.

Why You Need to Worry About Sugar
By A. Klemes, DO, FACE

Of all the things we eat, nothing perhaps does more harm than foods that are awash in sugar. Cakes, cookies, sugar-sweetened beverages like gourmet coffee and sodas come to mind. But sugar is everywhere — in low-fat yogurt and barbecue sauces, in granola, protein bars and canned soup, in canned fruit, smoothies and even spaghetti sauce and ketchup.

Sugar is everywhere because food manufacturers know our bodies crave it. When we consume sweet foods, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It also releases opioids, which are associated with addiction. Of course, there are legitimate reasons food manufacturers add sugar: It gives foods flavor, texture and color; sugar preserves some foods; and it balances the acidity of some foods like tomatoes, among other things. And it makes sweet foods sweet.

How Much Sugar Is Okay?
The federal government recommends that Americans 2 years and older limit their sugar intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s only 200 calories from added sugar — or roughly 12 teaspoons. Another way to put it: there are roughly 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon, so 48 grams of sugar is the limit on a 2,000-calorie diet. A 20-oz soda has roughly 65 grams of added sugar. This extra sugar consumption is fueling record levels of obesity and the diseases that come with it: heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Health Consequences of Too Much Sugar: More than 70 percent of Americans are overweight (me included!) or obese. The AHA estimates that the average American consumes more than 60 pounds of added sugar every year. The extra weight is driving an increase in preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea and even depression, among other conditions. In particular, sugar may interfere with leptin, a hormone the body produces to regulate hunger. Studies show that sugar may lead to leptin resistance—which can trigger obesity.

Sugar by another name: When you do buy processed food, pay close attention to food labels. Sugar masquerades under many different names, some of which you’re probably familiar with: corn syrup, sucrose and fructose. But there are at least 61 different ways manufacturers indicate sugar on a label. Here are some examples: Corn Syrup, Sucrose; Fructose; Honey; Fruit Juice; High Fructose Corn Syrup; Evaporated Cane Juice; Dextrin; Dextrose; Maltodextrin; Refiner’s Syrup; Sweet Sorghum; Molasses; Maltose; Glucose; Corn Sweetener; Beet Sugar; Barley Malt.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid all added sugar, but if you keep an eye on food labels and prepare more of your own food, you can hit recommended intake targets and eat a healthier diet.

When Dr. Lambert warned me that I was borderline diabetic, I stopped nibbling on dried fruits, chocolate covered almonds, and other deliciously addictive snacks.

Are you seriously avoiding extra sugar?

FREE ON APRIL 21, 22, 23 and 24.

THE MISSING STATUE: Are his statue and chateau worth endangering the life of the impetuous young woman who’s turned his life upside down. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010FX4OOY/   A Romantic Suspense sent in the Loire Valley and Paris.

This book is a great romance with an excellent mystery.” ~Publishers’ Weekly
This is a wonderfully exciting romantic suspense novel. The characters are appealing and the setting is very romantic, a chateau in the Loire Valley. There is an interesting cast of characters. The plot is full of action and the reader is never sure who is on the side of good or evil.” ~ Romance Studio
Murder, mystery, and intrigue seem to follow Cheryl as she assists Francois on his project. A great contemporary romantic read.” ~Review Your Book
Mona Risk brings old-fashioned romance back into style… full of mystery and intrigue.  I loved Ms. Risk’s injection of humor into the story. A sweet mystery romance you’re guaranteed to enjoy.” ~ Two Lips Review

Bunnies, Colored Eggs, Peeps and Hunts – EASTER is Here!

A little history first….  The first formal Easter celebration dates back to the 2nd century. But it is believed that Easter celebrations began earlier than that. The Christian holiday is to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion 2,000 years ago.

Easter Bunny and Eggs

Bunny Rabbits and Easter Eggs

In the medieval era, Christians would decorate eggs and eat them on Easter to celebrate the end of the Lenten fast–eggs couldn’t be eaten during the Holy Week. The first instance of eggs being decorated dates to the 13th century. In Christian symbolism, eggs represent new life, paralleling the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Bunnies have been associated with Easter since around the 17th-18th century!

But that’s enough of history — let’s move on to the fun stuff!

Most American families start off with an Easter Egg hunt, that can be before or after church, if that is your tradition. Sometimes the fun filled egg hunt will take place at a park, or school ground, or church–where you will see lots of little munchkins running around like crazy, loving the excitement as much as their prized chocolates, I’m sure.

The Good Ol’ Days

I remember the good old days when my parents would take my sister and I to church in our pretty new dresses, and how proud I’d be. Years have gone by, but for me Easter holiday is a memory of hiding colorful blue, and pink Easter eggs, chocolates and bunnies and little surprises around the house for the children to discover. Not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids or us, the parents.  Those days are long gone too.

For grandmas like me, it’s become a wonderful family time, followed by a delicious brunch or Easter dinner. A spiral ham has become the traditional meat of choice, but also turkey or prime rib, better yet– my favorite roast or grilled lamb can make a delicious addition or a great substitute.

On that note — here is a recipe for a Butterflied Leg of Lamb.

Easter Butterflied Leg of Lamb

This recipe came from a great friend of mine and she is a wonderful cook. I’ve tried it several times, grilling not roasted, but it is so amazing!!  I’m sure it’ll be perfect either way, but the timing will be important. My mouth waters just thinking about it! So easy, too:

  1. 1 5-lb leg of lamb, deboned and butterflied (weight after deboning).
  2. 12 oz bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce, a 5.5 oz bottle of mint sauce (Crosse & Blackwell), 1/2 cup oil
  3. Look for a leg of lamb that is mostly flat with the least fat. Pound it good so it’s about an inch or two thick and I suggest slicing off the extra fat.
  4. Combine chili sauce, mint sauce, and oil in a glass bowl. Pour over the lamb and marinate up to two days, turning the meat every 12 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, remove lamb from the sauce and grill over hot coals, basting often with the marinade. For medium rare, total cooking time is around 25 minutes. If you don’t own a grill, then place the lamb in a pre-heated oven set to 325* F for around 90-120 minutes.
  6. Carve the lamb into thin slices and choose your favorite sides. This is one of my easiest and best dinners ever!

HAVE A WONDERFUL EASTER NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO! ALSO, DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL. GRAB THOSE BARGAINS! LEARN MORE ABOUT ME BY CLICKING HERE.

Travel with Mona, visit Poland

In 2014, we spent four days in Poland, visiting the charming city of Poznan and the magnificent capital Warsaw, the historic Jasna Gora monastery, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and romantic Krakow, and later traveled to Gdansk on the Baltic Sea.

Poznań is a town steeped in history, as it was the first capital of Poland and seen by many as the birthplace of the Polish nation. Today it is a diverse and vibrant town, with much to divert the traveler. It has a stunningly rejuvenated central square, thriving night-life, fascinating museums, Renaissance town hall, Poland’s oldest cathedral, and many attractions in the surrounding area.

The Old Town square in Poznan

Warsow is the capital of Poland. It was completely reconstructed after wartime destruction. Its wide avenues contrast with the narrow lanes of the old section.

Palace of Culture and Science 
The tallest building in the city and landmark of Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and Science, was a gift from the Soviet people to the Poles. From its 30th floor, it offers a panoramic view of the city. It houses theatres, a cinema, museums and trendy bistros
[Picture taken from our hotel room]
Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów 
Wilanów Palace is a true pearl of Baroque architecture in Warsaw. King Jan III Sobieski, who successfully fended off the Turks in the battle of Vienna, lived in Wilanów with his beloved Marysieńka. The building and the park have both kept their original form, despite the partition, war, and occupation.
 
Vistula River
The Vistula is flowing through Warsaw. Its natural banks, inhabited by wild fowl, are right next to the city’s boulevards. In the summer, the weekend city life comes alive here – trendy bars and clubs, charming bistros, and outdoor events attract both city dwellers and tourists, while the sandy beaches are the perfect place to chill out. 
Old Town
A UNESCO world heritage site, the Old Town charms with its colorful townhouses and the exceptional atmosphere of its narrow streets.

 

We visited the Jasna Gora Monastery near Czestochowa that withstood repeated attacks of Swedish forces during the 17th century. Since then its Black Madonna is venerated as the “Queen of Poland” and has become the country’s national symbol.

The Jasna Gora Monastery:Bell Tower and monastery complex.
The entrance to the church
 
 
The Black Madonna, a miraculous icon, is the most important religious icon in Poland. Poland’s Black Madonna is located in a central chapel in the monastery complex. The Chapel of the Virgin is small, but an extended worship area enables pilgrims to attend services within the walls of the church. The icon itself is small, and the Virgin’s darkened face and hands, and the two scars that mar Her cheek, are almost impossible to see. The icon is located in the center of an ebony and silver altar, where candles and flowers are also placed.
John Paul II said that he prayed the miraculous Black Madonna during the attempt of assassination at St. Peter Square, Vatican, on May 13, 1981. There is a display of the belt of his cassock, shot and bloodied, in a special cassette on the right side of the altar.

 

Auschwitz: The Largest of the Death Camps According to our guide’s explanations, the most notorious of all the Nazi death camps, opened in the spring of 1940. Detainees included anti-Nazi activists, politicians, resistance members and luminaries from the cultural and scientific communities. Not all those arriving at Auschwitz were immediately exterminated. Those deemed fit to work were employed as slave labor in the production of munitions, synthetic rubber and other products considered essential to Germany’s efforts in World War II.

Auschwitz consisted of several divisions. The original camp, known as Auschwitz I, housed between 15,000 and 20,000 political prisoners. The biggest of the Auschwitz facilities could hold some 90,000 prisoners. It also housed a group of bathhouses where countless people were gassed to death, and crematory ovens where bodies were burned. More than 40 smaller facilities, called subcamps, dotted the landscape and served as slave-labor camps.

As 1944 came to a close and the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allied forces seemed certain, the Auschwitz commandants began destroying evidence of the horror that had taken place there. Buildings were torn down, blown up or set on fire, and records were destroyed. In January 1945, as the Soviet army entered Krakow, the Germans ordered that Auschwitz be abandoned. An estimated 60,000 detainees, accompanied by Nazi guards, departed the camp and were forced to march to Polish towns, some 30 miles away. Countless prisoners died during this process.

Huge posters gave statistics. Between 1.1 million to 1.5 million people, the vast majority of them Jews, died at Auschwitz during its years of operation. An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 Poles perished at the camp, along with 19,000 to 20,000 others.

In Auschwitz we visited rooms with glass doors showing hundreds of thousands of pieces of clothing or pairs of shoes or tons of human hair. Going through these rooms was heart wrenching. We were crying and couldn’t take any pictures. The worst nightmare you could imagine.

Krakow: Poland’s most beautiful city For almost 500 years it was the country’s capital and the residence of Polish Kings. Today it is the cultural center of Poland.

The Cloth Hall in the Main Market Street: It’s usually filled with tourists. We savored local pastry at a café.
Cardinal Wojtila’s –Pope John Paul II– house in Krakow, his hometown.

 

St. Mary’s Basilica with a dozen of lovely carriages to take us on a tour.
Enjoying the lively music in the street.
 
 
 

Gdańsk (Danzig in German) is a port city on the Baltic coast of Poland. At the center of its Main Town, reconstructed after WWII, are the colorful facades of Long Market, now home to shops and restaurants. Gdańsk is also a center for the world’s amber trade; boutiques throughout the city sell the ossified resin.

Neptune Fountain, a 17th-century symbol of the city topped by a bronze statue of the sea god.
Dlugi Targ or Long Market or Royal Way is the main street through Gdansk.

Below: The Golden Gate is the Western area with cafes, amber shops.

The iconic Town Hall Tower.
Vendors displaying their amber jewelry.

Poland is a beautiful country with old towns and modern cities, now opening its doors to millions of Ukrainian refugees.

A romance novel that will lift your mood and make you laugh:

 

BABY PLANS, Love Plans, book 5

Relax with a sweet and sassy Romance  

They meet at the fertility clinic.

Zach is working on an article. Audrey is secretly getting a baby.

And a big mess results.

Celebrating the Season

What is your favorite holiday to celebrate? Is it Christmas, when everything around us is sparkling lights, mistletoe, and evergreen? Or is it New Year, where you get to toast to new beginnings? What about Memorial Day, where everyone is ready for the sun and sand of the summer?

Personally, I’m a Memorial Day and 4th of July kind of girl. Celebrating freedom and spending time remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for that freedom. Plus, I’m totally a summer sun person!

Several years ago, I wrote a book called, Tangled in Tinsel. It was a sweet little Christmas romance, and one of my readers told me that she loved the little town of Celebration that it was set in. She said it would be so awesome to have a series there.

I thought that was a great idea too, and thanks to her, Tangled in Tinsel became the first of a thirteen books series!!

Celebration Township is made for family, friends, falling in love, and don’t forget celebrating the holidays. The first twelve books bring two people onto center stage as they overcome odds and figure out what their futures may hold. There is laughter, love, romance, and even suspense when you join these couples as they each find a happily ever after over a holiday. The thirteenth book brings all twelve couples, and even a few special guests, into final focus as the first couple in Tangled in Tinsel prepares for their wedding one year after they met.


Tangled in Tinsel, Book 1 (Christmas) – Download this one for FREE!
Tears to Cheers, Book 2 (New Year’s)
Heathens to Hearts, Book 3 (Valentines)
Rainbows bring Riches, Book 4 (St. Patrick’s Day)
Sweet as Sugar, Book 5 (Easter)
Making Mom Mad, Book 6 (Mother’s Day)
Sparklers or Spankings, Book 7 (Memorial Day)
Raffles to Rattles, Book 8 (Father’s Day)
Flirting with Fireworks, Book 9 (4th of July)
Working with Wheels, Book 10 (Labor Day)
Masquerading at Midnight, Book 11 (Halloween)
Blessings & Beans, Book 12 (Thanksgiving)
Velvet & Vows, Book 13 (Christmas one year later)