Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts in category Fitness

Blogging and Fit

Garden Reading Material

Garden Style Fitness

How in the world does a blogger get fit since writing blog posts requires sitting? Work out at the gym for an hour every day? That’s an option. So is walking, running, and swimming. But have you ever thought of simple ways like gardening? How about washing the dishes, sweeping and mopping the floors – just general housework? You might want to take a look at these possibilities. Each one is worth considering when keeping up a daily log of calories and fat-burning exercise.

Until I started keeping up with my daily food intake on MyFitnessPal, I didn’t give a thought to how many calories I was burning by everyday housecleaning chores and gardening. Wow! Hey, it pays off to not own a dishwasher! I am the dishwasher (and Mr. Fun helps, too – goes quicker when we join the effort with one washing and the other drying). You can burn 22 calories in 15 minutes washing dishes while standing (for a 150-lb person). See for viewing more ways to burn calories. If you cook in more than one pot or pan and more than one person is enjoying the meal, the dishes may take double that time.That’s burning 44 calories in 30 minutes. Not bad at all.

Think about it. If you blog, you’re going to need to get up out of the chair every now and then. Like when you’re hungry, thirsty, gotta have some coffee, need to go water the flowers, etc.

Speaking of the flowers, gardening is one of the best ways to get fit. Pull weeds for half an hour or plant flower and vegetable seeds for an hour. You’ll feel muscles you didn’t know you had. Even watering the garden causes calories to be burned. Every little or big activity you do adds up. Recording all you eat and calories burned lets you see what you need to do to get fit or stay fit.

Gardening is my favorite fitness program. It’s therapeutic, fun, rewarding, and it’s a workout. Winter is probably the worst season to stay fit that way, although there are flowers and vegetables that do grow well in that season. Recently, I blogged about flowers to plant in the fall that also grow well in the winter. It’s worth it, health wise, to have a winter garden. Organic vegetables taste better, you save money, and you stay more fit.

Growing tomatoes in the High Desert

High Desert Organic Tomatoes

Blogging is no excuse to not be fit. I know very well how easy it is to be forgetful of the time while plugging away at the computer on the blog posts. That’s what cell phone alarms are for. It keeps you accountable for each responsibility you have. Being a fit blogger is your responsibility. Nobody will do it for you.

Improv Garden Writing

Pink and Yellow Rose in Autumn

Now go get fit!

Recreational Bicycling

Safe Bicycle Tips

Tony and Terri, Tandem Bicycling in the High Desert












“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

― Albert Einstein

High Desert tandem bicyclists Tony and Terri that I met on Sunday, July 20, 2014 could agree with Einstein’s quote, especially in regard to pedaling. When the dual peddling gets out of sync, the ride is not so balanced. I was on my way to church when Tony and Terri rode by. Fascinated with the tandem bike, I called out, “Can I take a picture of you?”

“Are you serious?” they asked, turning around.

“Yes, I’m serious. I have a high desert blog and would love to blog about you.” Little did I know about tandem cycling, and I began to ask questions. Tony told me about the necessity of both cyclists pedaling at the same time. Their bike folds unlike some other tandem bicycles. Another benefit of riding this way is conversing while riding. Pedaling together is a fun way of exercise. Find out more on tandem bicycling from

An acquaintance told me this week that he rides a bicycle in the Inland Empire with a group of cyclists at least two days a week. It’s exercise, and it’s fun he said. Riding in a group also increases safety. They watch out for each other, calling out from the back of the group to the lead cyclist when there is a car.

Practice safety tips when riding alone or with a group. Is it safe for a bicyclist to ride on a busy two-lane road without a shoulder? I don’t think it’s a good idea. Imagine the scenario of a cyclist riding along, no shoulder, a car coming behind and one coming from the opposite direction. Someone has to move out of the way. Not a good situation. Ride safely and keep up with safety tips for bicycling in your neighborhood.

Einstein’s bicycle quote can also be applied to blogging. To keep your blogging balance, you must keep moving. If you sit for too long, it’s not a good thing physically. It can cause blood clots. This I know because it happened to my husband. Since then, I have become more conscious of the importance of taking breaks when blogging. Choose bicycling outdoors or a stationary bike indoors. If not a bike, get your exercise walking, jogging, 5k, swimming, or gardening.


Physical Activity for Bloggers

High Desert Bloggers (HDB) Meetup group has been promoting get-away-from-the-computer activities for its bloggers. Group members blog about various topics on their personal blogs then meet at least once monthly to discuss blogging.

The HDB group ventures out to areas and places of the community. The last meetup was held at the Pioneer Museum in Lucerne Valley. President Rusty LaGrange showed bloggers and other visitors the variety of planting tools and equipment used in the high desert back in the day.

Rusty at Pioneer Museum

Rusty at Pioneer Museum














photo (36) photo (35)











Bloggers are concerned about what will increase their readership and how to make money blogging, but are they concerned about how blogging for hours without getting up can affect their health? Physical activity is an important factor for a blogger to include in the daily routine of blogging.

It’s easy to sit for hours at a computer and forget to get up to stretch or exercise. One of my blogger friends sets her alarm to schedule time away from the computer – and eats a certain amount of M&M’s. If you’re extra nutrition-conscious, you might consider trying the dark chocolate ones.

You can start your own free physical activity program – right in your own yard. Why pay for a gym membership when you can garden and reap the benefits of natural Vitamin D from the sun? Pulling weeds, digging in dirt, and planting and watering flowers are considered moderate-to-intense physical activity for adults and children.

What type of fitness plan do you work into your blogging schedule?





The Big Deal About Gluten–Part 2, Gluten Related Illnesses

file2021258087420Last week’s post on High Desert Blogging asked the question What’s the Big Deal About Gluten?  We are continuing this week with information about celiac disease as well as non celiac gluten sensitivity.  These are two health problems which are related to ingestion of gluten and are becoming increasingly prevalent in our society.

Celiac disease is a severe form of gluten intolerance with intestinal complications.  For many years, it was believed that celiac disease occurred in about 1 in 5,000 individuals in this country.  Some experts stated that the prevalence was as low as 1 in 10,000.  These statistics are proving to be far from accurate, and a new condition referred to as non celiac gluten sensitivity is being diagnosed with increasing frequency.

In a study published January 2000 in the Journal of Pediatrics, 1200 children aged 6 months to 20 years were screened with blood tests and, in some cases, small intestinal biopsy.  The researchers reported that the prevalence of celiac disease in these patients ranged from 1 in 57 to 1 in 33.  This is significantly higher than the 1 in 10,000 that the medical community had espoused for years.    As a result of this misconception about the prevalence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance, many people are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, or other conditions, when the actual culprit is the gluten in their diet.

Donna at Simply Healthy Eats was recently diagnosed with non celiac gluten sensitivity after months of experiencing troubling health concerns.  She feels that her condition should  probably be considered pre-celliac and strongly believes that if she had not heeded the instruction of the nutritionist working with her, she would have continued to experience deteriorating health and progressed to full blown celiac disease.   She also believes that our standard American diet of highly processed foods, many containing hidden gluten, may be behind the increased prevalence of the condition.

According to  Joseph Murray, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist,  celiac disease is becoming a public health issue, and he states that it is a disease that hides in plain sight. Studies show four times the incidence compared to 1950, with fatal complications if it goes untreated.  The Mayo Clinic has found a four times higher risk of death for people with undiagnosed gluten intolerance.

“Celiac disease was rare, but it’s now more common in all age groups,” Dr. Murray says. Although the cause remains unknown, celiac disease affects about one in 100 people.  He estimates, however, that approximately 83% of these people are either misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.    Diagnosis is often complicated by the fact that in recent years, the condition has been found to cause a much wider array of symptoms that are not all gastrointestinal in nature.


 Next Week:   Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance–they may surprise you


**Patti is a frequent contributor at, a website dedicated to helping people make healthy food choices.  It features recipes,  many of which are gluten and dairy free.  She can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful.



What’s The Big Deal About Gluten?–Part 1

IMG_4241Everyone has seen it.  Products labeled “Gluten Free” are popping up in all of the stores in the high desert community.  These labels are on hamburger helper, cereals, frozen dinners and even on boxes of brownie mix.   Why should I care that a product is Gluten Free?  More importantly, what is gluten and why are all of these products suddenly telling me that they are free of it?  Is this just the latest fad diet?

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of two proteins that are found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats.  These proteins give dough it’s elastic texture.    Without gluten, pizza dough wouldn’t be stretchy, bread wouldn’t be spongy, and many of our soups and sauces wouldn’t be thick.  So, if gluten does all of these wonderful things, why would anyone want to buy products without it?

Gluten Allergy or Sensitivity

Gluten is the major allergy producing protein present in wheat, spelt, rye, barley and oats.  In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people who are being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, intolerance, or  allergy.  For those people, the same adhesive properties that hold bread and cake together interfere with the breakdown and absorption of nutrients.  This includes the nutrients from other foods ingested during the same meal.  What results is a glued together and constipating lump in your intestine instead of an easily digested and nutritious meal.  This may cause symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or constipation. For those who develop  full blown celiac disease, the presence of the undigested gluten, may cause your immune system  to attack the lining of your small intestine..  As your small intestine becomes increasingly damaged,  it becomes less able to absorb nutrients such as  vitamin D, iron, and calcium.  This inability to absorb vital nutrients from your food can lead to medical conditions such as anemia, osteoporosis, and other health problems.

So there you have it.  That’s the big deal about gluten.

 Next Week:   Gluten Related Illnesses


**Patti is a frequent contributor at, a website dedicated to helping people make healthy food choices.  It features recipes,  many of which are gluten and dairy free.  She can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful.

Winter Exercise Options in the High Desert

By Guest Blogger Bev Prine

Does the mere mention of exercise stop you in your tracks? Does the thought of working out

intimidate you? Afraid of going to the gym because you think everyone in the High Desert is

looking at you? You are not alone, especially in the High Desert, where the weather can be very

unpredictable. Now that February is here and real winter weather is upon us, it is even more

difficult to get outdoors and move your body. The month of February is historically 14 degrees

cooler than January in the High Desert, as reported on Exercise

during extreme weather changes can certainly become a challenge, especially if you are new to

a regular exercise program. There are many successful ways to sneak in some exercises, without

even realizing you are doing it!

The Sneaky-Exercise List

• Walk more! Park your car far from the entrance. This saves gas and time, since circling

the parking lot for a closer spot only wastes time and gasoline. The sneaky part? You

won’t even realize you are exercising, simply by walking a little further to get to the

• Stretch more! While sitting at a task, such as blogging on High Desert Bloggers, set a

timer for 30 minutes to stand up and stretch. This is an ergonomic trick to rest your eyes,

and while you are standing, reach for the sky like your life depends on it! Inhale deeply

while you raise your hands, then slowly exhale while you bring your arms back down.

• Dress to impress! Put your work-out clothes on, even if you are not planning on working

out. This little trick will tell your mind that your body is ready to move. Put on your

walking shoes, your running sneakers, or your hiking boots. Subconsciously, your mind

will think, “I might as well work up a sweat since I have my work-out clothes on.”

• Make a date with an exercise buddy (or two or three)! Being accountable to someone

else is an excellent way to stick to a new routine. For the beginner, working-out with a

buddy will make sure you will make the time to build in exercise. Coming up with new

(believable) excuses to cancel will soon run out. Your exercise buddy will hold you to

your promise, and you won’t want to let them down. After all, it is for your own good,

and good for your buddy!

• Get technical! During the cold winter months, you don’t have to go outside to work-out.

There are many options to work-out indoors, for example, use the Wii Sport game, or a

similar game-system program. Visit and search for “online workout

fitness programs” and get moving! Only 20 minutes a day, five days a week, will be a

great start to improving your health.


The first step is the worst – just get started! Don’t make unreasonable expectations for yourself,

and just keep going. The benefits are immeasurable! For instance, you will be sleeping better,

and feeling better. Little by little, you will have more endurance, for those times when you

need to climb a flight of stairs unexpectedly. By exercising and moving more, you will start to

consider your caloric intake, also. The nice thing is that the more you move, then you can eat

what you want, within reason. The more you move, the more calories you burn, the more you

can eat what you want.


2014 Blogging Commitments

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesper

High Desert Bloggers,
Bodacious Bundts, Hesper









What type of New Year’s resolutions or commitments do bloggers make?

How about these to begin with?

  1. Blog more often
  2. Blog consistently
  3. Learn how to drive more traffic to your blog
  4. Blog to change lives
  5. Be active in a fitness plan

Obviously, the first four are important to a blogger. Being active in a fitness plan might not be on every blogger’s agenda. Staying fit should be an integral part of everyone who sits for hours at a time posting on blogs, writing a novel, or working at a desk job.

Christmas goodies and holiday comfort foods quickly pack on the pounds. January rolls around, and diets galore start popping up in magazines, family members and friends tell about their new gym memberships, and coworkers moan about their back-to-the-grind diets. 

Bloggers, what are you doing about those extra pounds showing up when you stand on the scales? Successfully blogging requires hours at the computer, day after day. How about setting your alarm at least once an hour and move around for five minutes? Do that the first hour, and the next hour take ten minutes for activity. If you’ll stagger your activity that way when you’re sitting all day blogging, you’ll get the heart pumping. It’s not good to sit for too long without stretching.

And there they go!

And there they go!










What works for you in keeping fit? Take a few moments to share your fitness success. Readers and bloggers who read or write blog posts will surely welcome new fitness ideas.

Happy New Year! May you have a successful year in accomplishing your blogging and fitness goals. A comment section is available below for you to add your own blogging and fitness commitments or ideas for 2014. Any comments may be included in my upcoming book about food and fitness for bloggers. Thank you for participating.

New Year’s Activities and Foods

Breakfast Photos

“Breakfast” by Cristen Velasquez









Happy New Year from!

Most of us have ended 2013 and started 2014 with an enjoyable activity. I began a New Year’s activity and food list on my Facebook page yesterday. I asked for the activity or food in one word. Here is a list of some of the activities people have participated in since yesterday:


  1. Relaxing
  2. Noise
  3. Dominoes
  4. Family
  5. Work
  6. Movies
  7. Grilling
  8. Church
  9. Mall
  10. Sleeping
  11. Neighbors
  12. Zumba
  13. Walk
  14. Food

Now for the food list:

  1. Mexican
  2. Ribeye
  3. Popcorn
  4. Chocolate
  5. Hoagies
  6. Cheesecake
  7. Breakfast
  8. Scrumptious
  9. Teriyaki
  10. Fudge
  11. Lemon
  12. Pie
  13. Enchiladas

There is no doubt that people have food, exercise, and relaxation on their minds during this holiday. These three things will continue through 2014 to be among the most important activities to do.

Food takes up a large percentage of our time. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Preparing meals. Eating. Cleaning up after the meal.

The type of food we eat is, of course, of most importance. At least to many people. Healthy, nutritious, raw foods, organic – these are at the top of 2014 trends I’m seeing and hearing about. Specific one word 2014 food trend? Kale. It was a popular 2013 food as well. In fact, kale ended up often in my morning veggie and fruit smoothies. Kale is rich in Vitamin K, though, so people who take blood thinner medicines have to be careful about the amount of kale they eat. I learned this when my husband had a blood clot and started taking a blood thinner medicine.

Everybody has a preferred diet plan. People on a diet can be annoying when they declare that their choice of diet is the only way to lose weight or be healthy. The bottom line is research foods and determine what works for you and stick to it. Hint: moderation is the key to everything.

We need food to live. Exercise helps, too. Sitting down and getting up doesn’t count. Now if you make that into an exercise regimen of 10 to 20 times, that could become your way of exercising I suppose. Sit, quickly jump up, sit, quickly jump up…up to 20 times. Yes, it might get the heart to pumping.

Zumba was a 2013 popular exercise program. Today, January 1st, a friend mentioned that she joined a fitness gym that has Zumba included. I haven’t joined a Zumba program, but I hear it can bring great results.

Eat healthy, get fit with exercise, and relax. Get enough sleep. The body needs food, water, and exercise but can’t make it without sleep and relaxation.*

Add your one word foods and activities for New Year’s in a comment section below.

*See your physician when you begin any exercise program or diet. Comments about health, food, fitness, and exercise in this blog post are based on this blogger’s personal experiences and observations.

Home Based Business Part 2

In my previous post I spoke about modern day Americans needing to have a Plan B.  We need to put away for a rainy day, or as SciFi Channel would suggest, prepare for the Sharknado.  Expect the unexpected.  And definitely know that when push comes to shove, you have to be able to support yourself when economy shifts have shoved you out of that “safe” job.

More and more people are turning to home based business than ever before.  Not just being an independent distributor for larger well-known corporations like Pampered Chef or Tupperware, but many people are becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own brands from clothes, ribbons and bows, to foods and cakes.  If necessity is the mother of invention, then it is evident that there is a whole lot of necessity in this day and age.  I follow several Facebook pages like High Desert Sellers and High Desert Women’s Business Group, all of which have the same running theme: supporting the small businesses in the High Desert.  With the hiring drought people are turning to working from home as a means of survival.  And guess what? They are loving it.

As most of us have heard of The Avon Lady and the Tupperware Girl, I have had to ask myself: why get into the business? Now I, like many, have tried direct sales in the past from the timid Avon products to the risque Passion Party bounty.  I have heard of distributors making enough to support their family, but I never had that kind of outcome.  Maybe it was because I got in after the bandwagon had long  since forged a trail, or perhaps it was due to my lack of motivation and direct sales skills.  These points must be considered when looking into a home based business, and you must eventually ask yourself this question: am I ready?

Loss of income is a huge motivator for many, it can make the quiet become loud and the unmotivated become sparked.  So here is a list of questions to ask yourself before signing up to be your own boss.

  • Am I looking for extra income or the ability to support my family?
  • How much can I afford to invest?
  • How much time can I invest?
  • Do I have the support of my family?
  • Where will I sell?
  • Is there a demand for this product?
  • How much competition is out there?
  • Do I believe in what I am selling?
  • How long before I turn a profit?
  • Am I paid in items or money?
  • What types of perks are there? Incentives? Bonuses?

All of these questions must be addressed and seriously considered.  To the person looking to make some extra money it may not matter how much they sell or how much competition is out there.  To the person who is looking to support their family it would mean more to be paid in cash rather than items to add to a kit.  And for someone looking to get their own line of ribbons and bows out there, they need to look at how long it would take to turn a profit and what the demand for such items are.

Go in with a realistic outlook not with rose colored glasses.  If you are outspoken you will fair well.  If you are a quiet house mouse then some kind of internet sales may work better.  Also realize the importance of social media; much of my sales have been directly related to social media outlets. I’ve made more sales through Facebook messaging than through phone calls.  Know your strengths and your weakness and base a business off that.  If the best you can do is drop a catalog off in the lunch room then maybe something simple will do.  If you want to host in-home parties and set up at events then you need something with more pizzazz than the average catalog of make-up left in the lunch room.

And if you are selling something that is pricier than $10 per item, you better believe in your product.  The best way to sell is to love and believe in your product.  Also keep in mind that your biggest sales group will likely be family and friends and you don’t want them coming back at you because of a shoddy product.  Just as much as you should know your weaknesses you should also know your strengths: direct marketing, online marketing, large groups, small groups and more.  All of these will help you in choosing a route to venture into, but don’t go into something lightly because a friend or distributor says you can earn thousands; a lucky lottery ticket can give you the same outcome.  Remember, distributors are trying to make money too and the best way to do that is to get other distributors.  Do not be blinded by the promise of big bucks, it takes work! Research the company, know the payouts, and know your own limitations.

Part 3 next week.

Tania L Ramos, Author, RN, and Indep Distributor for It Works!

Want more info on my amazing body wraps and facial wraps? Ask me how you can earn one free.


Home Based Business Part 1

As I look around and listen one thing has become distinctly clear.  The change in the job market is affecting millions.  One recent report would state that the rate in  fulltime employment has seen a rugged drop, meanwhile the rate in part time employment made a tremendous climb.  As nurse who has been working as an on-call status–yet working fulltime hours over a year now–I get the implications.  It really is simple: why buy the cow when you get the milk for free.  I rely on my wages to support my household, and nothing short of a fulltime paycheck will do.  However, when the employer chooses to cut the fat, or drink low fat milk from their free cow, I feel strangled and run into  frenzied panic.  I do not get benefits nor do I get accumulated paid time off, so a loss in twelve hours is a complete loss.  I won’t  get into my political views about the entire thing as I am not a political commentator, more of a satirist when it comes to government.  But there is a definite change on the horizon and I realized that relying on some corporation’s budget left me as more of a pawn in a financial game of Risk.

When the world around me is intent on finding their bottom line and peaking the profit scale at the expense of expendable employees, I realized it was time to reevaluate my strategy for survival.  Now, I have a fire escape strategy in place at home, I have a burglary strategy, I have a stranger-danger plan, I’m working on becoming on a Ninja for my own safety net, and my zombie apocalypse plan is multi-tiered.  What I am lacking is an economic plan for survival. Sure I’ve acquired some savings, but only enough to get me a few loaves of bread.  What I needed was something that I would be in control of during these times of economic flux.  I needed to be my own boss and take charge of my own destiny, and believe me, this isn’t the first time the thought has hit me.  I am definitely not built to be a link on someone else’s chain and thusly decided it was time to make my own chain, but I didn’t know how or where to look and knew that trying to start my own business was a bad idea in the current market and in the small desert communities.

This left one option: home based business! Yikes. I’ve tried that one before and lost more than I made, plus I really needed something I could stand behind.  And low and behold, like a beacon of light, my friend asks me to try her body wrap thingy. As a nurse I was skeptical and would say no or just ignore it all together.  Then she said she was trying to get a bonus and needed some people to try her wraps, and trying to be a supportive friend, I said I’d try her confounded concoction.  Guess what? That little piece of paper that smelled like the spa really did work, and within a month I was now part of one of the fastest growing home based business companies in the states. Why? Because it was a product I believed in.  I believed in it so much that I showed everybody my before and after pictures, and I have never been so excited to show my stretchmarks, cellulite, and large belly . . . until I could show after pics with it.  Selling something you love is easy and I found that within a month I had already hit several bonuses and was well on my way to being able to put money away for a rainy day (ie, cut backs at the hospital) or to pay for publication of my next book.

In this day and age when people are so starved for income that they will take a part-time position working fulltime hours with no benefits or paid time off, I say this: I know how it feels.  I also know this, that many people are now turning to home based businesses, because with the proper motivation even a shy and quiet person can become a home business success.   I never though this was true, and being somehwat of a numbers and research nerd, I read a million (or a dozen) articles before committing to this business and I learned oh so much.  Too much for one blog, so I’ll write a part two on how to shop around for the business that suits you best, what to look for, and the pyramid scams versus the pyramid to financial independence.  The first part of picking a home based business is this: sell for money or sell for love a product? It really helps if you can have both, but if selling for big profit you must research the payouts.  If selling to make some pocket cash then make sure this is something you love,because the more you love the product the easier it is to sell.  Make a list of popular products you know and do a little research, know your start up budget, but do not invest just yet. There is more to know.

If you’d like to know more about the company I am working for feel free to contact me via email at or set up an appointment by phone at 909-896-2494 or visit my website at (my indep. site). And please have a look at my books which is still my biggest passion in life

Tania L Ramos, RN, Author, and on the road to independent wealth in the high desert


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

iBlog Magazine for Professional Women Bloggers