Although we no longer can catch Oprah during the day on a major network, she has continued her very popular tradition of honoring an audience with her “Favorite Things” just before the holidays. This year, on the OWN Network, Oprah is sharing her favorites with military spouses, saying “There’s nobody in the world more deserving of a day like you’re about to have.”
Among the wonderfully extravagant items such as a Tory Burch Michelle Tote, Michael Kors Glam Studded High Tops, and a Microsoft Surface Tablet were several health-related items intended to give the women some rest and relaxation for the sacrifice the families face while their spouses support and protect our country.
Taking care of personal health will become even more critical in the months to come for many military families. In March, the President announced changes to the 2013 budget that would decrease funding for military health care benefits. Over the past decade, military spending on health insurance and care has increased about 167% not only due to tragic loss of life and disability among soldiers, but also to provide healthcare for families dealing with issues while their loved ones are deployed.
Following is a partial list of the 50+ items Oprah shared with these special families:
Octane Fitness Q37ci Elliptical Trainer
Oprah was introduced to this piece of exercise equipment from her trainer Bob Greene. It provides a variety of total body workouts, including goal programs like a 10K and half marathon, along with a digital heart rate monitor. “Why not give the gift of good health?” Oprah said. Optional accessories that come with the elliptical trainer include resistance bands and weight stands for a Powerblock dumbbell system that can add a strength workout to your cardio.
Exercise has a powerful influence on lifting depression, quelling anxiety, and relieving stress in addition to the physical benefits of cardiovascular health and potential weight loss.
Also, since music has the ability to motivate one through a workout, Oprah has thrown in Beats by Dr. Dre earbuds – “Extra comfortable for anybody trying to log some treadmill time.”
For a little olive oil on your salad, try the Curtis Stone Kitchen Solutions Oil Can. It has an elongated spout that helps control the amount your pour, so your salad doesn’t end up being soggy with extra fat and calories. What better way to get your antioxidants from a food recommended by the European Food Safety Authority as an excellent prevention for cardiovascular disease?
Oprah says that she is “passionate” about Earth Balance foods, particularly their coconut and peanut spread. It is vegan, gluten free and “virtuous and sinful at the same time.” One part all-natural peanut butter, one part organic extra virgin coconut oil makes this a spread that is tasty on toast, in stir-fry dishes, or added to smoothies. All Earth Balance products are plant-based vegan, made without artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils and are free of gluten, lactose and eggs. According to the World Preservation Foundation, a vegetarian diet could eliminate 75% of common chronic diseases.
Ginger is another healthful food ingredient that has been used medicinally for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory and as a digestive aid. Oprah is sharing with her viewers the Wakaya Perfection brand of Organic Ginger Powder which “adds zest to a stir-fry and kick to a cocktail.” Oprah likes to mix it in hot water for a cup of instant ginger tea.
Dark chocolate is another healthy favorite of Oprah’s, especially the bite-sized, 100-calorie piece of Dark Secret chocolate made with 67% cocoa. Dark chocolate may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by potentially lowering high blood pressure and reducing bad cholesterol levels.
Sleep, Rest and Relaxation
It is estimated that 10 to 15% of Americans have symptoms of insomnia, which raises the risk of many chronic diseases, including hypertension and diabetes. Chronic insomnia is usually due to a medical issue, but if you have sleep troubles, it could be your bedroom environment. Oprah’s favorite mattress (that she claims is in every room of her house) is the Tempur-Cloud Supreme mattress which conforms to the body, and is also dust-mite and allergen-resistant. “This is like giving the gift of cloud nine,” says Oprah.
Since good quality sheets add to a great sleeping experience, she has added 600-thread count Egyptian cotton sheet sets made by Macy’s Hotel Collection Bedding.
Probably the best surprise of the day was when Oprah gave her military wives a five-night, all-expenses paid trip for two to Fiji’s Namale Resort and Spa. A recent study from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital found that just one week at a health spa greatly improves health.
In the study, the participants spent seven days with stress management courses (daily meditation and yoga programs), diet modification that included a low-calorie diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in meat and processed foods, and gentle exercise. The group (mostly women) displayed lower blood pressure levels, lowered cholesterol levels, and weight loss. There were also significant mental health improvements, especially with reduction of depression and anxiety levels.
For the entire list of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012, visit O, The Oprah Magazine at www.oprah.com. The full “Favorite Things” special will also re-air on the OWN network on Friday, November 23 at 9 pm ET.