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Starved Rock State Park

I picked a nice fall day and drove out to Starved Rock State Park. There are a number of trails to choose from there and the geographical features are actually quite interesting (especially for Illinois). This is supposed to be the number one attraction in Illinois. I would rank Chicago first, and then this second. It was really interesting, and the views from up high along the river were nice. It was a nice place to go for a one day excursion to get away from the city and get some fresh air. I was hoping to see some animals (maybe some deer?) but there were so many people, that the animals stayed hidden.  

Anyway, it was nice and I recommend it if you want to go hiking near Chicago. Any significant change in elevation is achieved by wooden steps, not a dirt trail. That is a bit of a culture shock for me. I am used to dirt trails, especially in the National Parks. Overall, though, I would say it was worth it. The other Illinois Park I would like to go to is Garden of the Gods, but that is about 6 hours from Chicago, so I need to devote a weekend for that. I don't see myself doing that anytime soon.  

I hope you get a chance to go on a fall hike before the snow comes! 

Here is a picture from my hike: 

 

 

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Going for a hike

Can you believe the weather? It has been so beautiful! Here, in Chicago, it doesn't feel like October at all!  I am hoping to take advantage of this weather and go for a hike to look at the great fall colors. You should consider doing this too, especially since we now have a 3-day weekend. And the great thing is, you don't have to drive far to see the bursts of flaming reds, and bright oranges. I have a book called 60 Hikes within 60 Miles, Chicago edition. It tells you all sorts of places you can go hiking, gives you all kinds of info like trail length, difficulty, scenery, how to get there, etc. I've hiked some pretty fantastic places (Glacier, Acadia, Grand Tetons National Parks to mention a few).  While Chicago and its surrounding area can't quite compare to those, we do, surprisingly, have a few good options nearby. There are inland trails (if you like prairie and grass) or trails along Lake Michigan (I prefer water). Also, if you want to drive an hour or so, there are places in Southern Wisconsin or west of Chicago at Starved Rock State Park.   

Don't live in this neck of the woods? No problem. You can find some great hiking places near your home too!  There are other versions of this "60 Hikes..." book for  cities like New York, Atlanta, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Sacramento, Harrisburg.... you get the idea!   

So, find your city, pick a trail, have a picnic, and take a hike (I mean this in a good way, not the get outta here sort of thing)! Enjoy those leaves falling, and the sound of leaves crunching underneath your hiking shoes.Those who know me, know that I won't be enthusiastically recommending that you enjoy winter outside. I hate winter, but that's a topic for another day.

 

 

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Fall superfoods

Fall is finally here! I recently read an article that mentioned some superfoods available during the Fall harvest.  Fall veggies are fun to cook with. There are many interesting foods to pair them with! If you can't choose which one to start with, I wanted to provide you with some nutritional info that may make it easier to pick something you'd like. 

Apples are the fruit for fall. They are an easy fall superfood. You can eat them raw, or you can prepare them in all kinds of ways (like apple pie, one of life's many food pleasures). I like to bake sweet potatoes with apples in a sauce made of apple cider and maple syrup. Delicious!  Or, you might want to make baked pears with cinnamon and sugar. Yum! They are high in fiber and vitamin C. 

You might consider some veggies like brussel sprouts (good source of iron, vitamin K, folate), or parsnips (high in potassium and fiber). Or if you are in a food-trying mood, maybe consider rutabaga? I have to confess I have never tried it before! I might put that on my list just to try something new!

I cook a lot of cauliflower. It is high in vitamin C and in plant ingredients that help prevent cancer. 
There's also squash, which you see on people's doorsteps all the time, but they can be tasty too! There are many kinds, such as acorn, butternut, or spaghetti. Squash are usually high in Vitamin A and are a plant source of omega-3's.  

If you are in the mood for something fruity or a tropical in winter type of thing, try some fruit salad with kiwi and pomegranates? 

There are so many choices, so don't limit yourself to just one thing. Experiment this fall. Who knows, maybe you will FALL in love with a new recipe for autumn. Ok I'm going now; sorry for the cheesy joke.  

 

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never say never

For years I would tell my friends "I  will never run. I can't run. I wasn't meant to be a runner". Well, that changed this spring, and I have to say that I LOVE running now! But, to be honest, I never ever pictured myself as a runner. If you had asked me a few years ago if I would be a runner, if I would crave those opportunities to get out and run with my dog or with my close friend, I would have said "Never".  Well, now I say YES! I love it! Running lets me work off some calories (believe me, I love to eat so there is always something to work off). Running lets me work off some anxiety (who's not anxious about something in this world?). Running lets me be in my own world (with my dog) or it gives me a chance to connect with a close friend while we both do something good for us! And, best of all, after buying some good quality running shoes, running is FREE! I'm not paying a monthly gym membership. If you are fortunate enough to live in the right climate, you can run all year! 365 days! Wow! I can only dream of that! Unfortunately, my climate isn't that great. While there are those who run in Chicago snow and ice, I don't think that will be me. For a few months, I will have to use the indoor track or treadmill (and pay for it). Until then, I plan to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather (perfect for running). In fact, Monday was so perfect (55-60 degrees) that I was finally able to run 5 miles in less than an hour! I plan to get out there again tomorrow! Hope you have a great week! Find whatever it is you enjoy doing, and get out there! Remember, even if you thought it wasn't for you some time ago, you may want to revisit the idea now. We all change... What you thought wasn't for you back then may just be perfect today!

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breathe easier....

Did you know that September is the worst month for asthma attacks?  Do you suffer from asthma? Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Surprisingly, seasonal allergies are not to blame for the increase in asthma at this time of year. Instead, when children return to school, they trade-in an outdoor play environment for a predominantly indoor environment. Yes, you guessed it! Indoor allergens inside the schools cause many asthma attacks! Children are exposed to allergens they may not have in their own homes (ex: pet dander, cockroach allergens, chemicals, mold).  In addition, children often pick up a viral illness in the first month of school. Getting sick with a respiratory virus can make asthma less controlled.

So, what can you do to protect your child? Talk with your child's doctor. Ask if an antihistamine medication would be beneficial. Also, be sure that your child has a fresh supply of his or her asthma medications (both preventative meds and a rescue inhaler). Be sure that you have communicated with the school nurse, filled out all necessary paperwork, and perhaps (depending on school policy) provided the nurse with an extra rescue inhaler to use/keep at school. 

Happy Back to School! 

 

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An apple a day....

We've all heard the saying, "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away". Here's some "food for thought": I recently found out that celery, berries, and red grapes protect us against environmental pollutants which can cause cancer. Talk about keeping the doctor away! 

Are you getting enough fruits and veggies in your diet? It is easy to add berries in your oatmeal. You can buy them frozen and thaw what you need overnight. That way, you get fruit that isn't spoiled (berries tend to mold easily at the store) and at a better price (frozen are cheaper than fresh). Oh, and by the way, frozen fruits and veggies are almost  as nutritious as fresh produce. That makes them a great deal for your food dollar. 

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Hello and Welcome to the EmpoweringMe Blog.

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Hello and Welcome to the EmpoweringMe Blog.

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My name is Nadya Northrop.

This is my very first blog entry!  Let me introduce myself.  I'm a pharmacist, and health coach, a wife and a mother.  Summer is my favorite time of year.  I love gardening and eating what I have planted.  My garden has zucchini, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, arugula, sorrel, carrots and more!  I love to be outside (but not in the winter).  I like to run, swim bike, and walk my dogs.   

As a pharmacist and health coach, I see the struggles people go through to try to stay healthy.  I hear people complain about the cost of chronic medications, and they express their desire not to have to take them. 

I am using this blog to encourage and empower others to eat well and live well.

I look forward to having you join me on a journey to better health.

 

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