Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cherry Moon Farms Valentine Special


Be Aware of the Early Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

I am busy archiving my old Internet articles and I came across this one today.  This is important information that I am going to share with you here before I deep six this one!  This is an old article first published in 2008 but it is still important information.

As a survivor of both breast and colon cancers, I want to always bring cancer awareness to the general public. While I have not had ovarian cancer nor been around anyone who has, I was struck to realize how easily the symptoms of this horrible disease can be mistaken for minor health problems. Don't take chances with your life, if you or someone you love shows any of the symptoms listed below, please go to your gynecologist and explain your symptoms.

Ovarian cancer is often known as the silent disease because so many women don't realize they have it until it's too late. As a cancer survivor, I always want to take advantage of getting any cancer information out to the public. According to Mark Messing, M.D., a gynecological oncologist with the Baylor Health Care System in Texas, some of the earliest signs of ovarian cancer are:

* Bloating
* Pelvic pain
* Abdominal pain
* Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
* Changes in urinary or bowel functions

Unfortunately, these symptoms are very common to many women and can certainly be signs of other problems. However, if you or someone you love shows any of these symptoms and they persist over a few weeks, over-the-counter meds aren't working, etc, contact your doctor immediately. Dr. Messing says women too often try over-the-counter medications for too long, have bloating but assume they are just gaining weight, etc. It is better to be checked out by your physician than to try to doctor yourself or ignore the symptoms. Many times ovarian cancer will not be the problem. But in the cases where it is present, early detection is vitally important, as it is with all cancers! Don't take chances with your life; you only get one!

Remember, no one knows your body like you do!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CITRUS FOR YOUR CHOLESTEROL

Would you believe citrus fruits are good for your cholesterol levels?  Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, etc are rich in flavonoids.  The predominate flavonoid in citrus is hesperidin with is credited with boosting levels of "good" HDL cholesterol and lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  What a tasty way to improve your cholesterol levels!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HOW TO MAKE A GOOD FOR YOU GREEN TEA SMOOTHIE

I don't usually put recipes on this blog as I have 5 other blogs that feature recipes.  Today, however, I am making an exception.  I am always stressing the health benefits of green tea, as my regular readers know.  Today I am posting a recipe for a green tea smoothie that is chock full of good for you benefits.  This recipe makes 2 servings and each serving contains 32% of your daily values of potassium (people with high blood pressure take note!).  Each serving is also full of cancer-fighting catechins, and 72% of your daily values of vitamin-C.  This is a smoothie you need to try!

3 cups frozen white grapes
2 cups packed spinach
1 1/2 cups strong brewed green tea, cooled
1 medium ripe avocado
2 tsp honey

Make as you would any smoothie by combining in a blender.

Note: I think I got this from an old Eating Well magazine.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A GREAT TEA FOR CHOCOLATE AND BERRY LOVERS

Being a big tea drinker myself, I really wanted to share this tea with you.  If you love tea and want to check this out further, click on the link in the right-hand column.


 

EASY WAYS TO ADD WHOLE-GRAINS

You probably get tired of reading about whole-grains on this blog.  Well too bad because here I go again. I do so because adding whole-grains to your diet on a daily basis is essential to good health!  You may say, "I don't like whole-grains, I can't have wheat, etc."  Well here is an easy way to sneak whole grains into foods that you and your children will not even notice.  When making a meatloaf, meatballs, or burgers, mix in 3/4 cup of uncooked oats (quick oats are fine and are smaller, thus less noticable) per 1 pound of meat.  If you choose to use bread crumbs, be sure you are using whole-grain bread to make the crumbs. 

Whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, all essential to good health.  Whole grains have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and they can assist with weight control, too. 

I try not to endorse products here as that is not the purpose of this blog.  However, when it is helpful I feel it is important.  As I have stated on this blog previously, King Arthur Flour has a great whole-wheat white flour.  If you have a hard time transferring from all-purpose flour to whole-wheat, give this flour a try.  It is made from hard white Spring wheat rather than the traditional red wheat.  It bakes up lighter in texture than does the traditional whole-wheat flour.

Another way to get more whole grains into your diet is to make less side dishes with white rice, potatoes, and regular pastas.  Make more side dishes with brown rice, whole-grain pastas, and start adding risottos, pilafs, etc to your meals using barley, brown rice, bulgar, or quinoa.

Make changes gradually if you have to but make them.  Your body will thank you by feeling better, performing better, and lasting longer.  That is a pretty good trade-off!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

RAINBOW TROUT

Most everyone knows you should eat fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines because they are high in the omega-3 fatty acids.  But did you know that rainbow trout are also considered a fatty fish?  So if you tire of the usual fatty fish or just plain don't like them, consider adding rainbow trout to your diet.  Research and scientific evidence says that 2 servings a week of fatty fish can slash your risk of dying of heart disease by as much as 36%!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

GRASS FED BEEF AND LAMB

If you are concerned about getting more omega-3s in your diet, you should buy beef and lamb that have been grass fed.  Research shows that grass-fed beef and lamb both deliver more omega-3s than do their grain-fed counterparts.

Friday, January 25, 2013

APPLE SKINS

Research posted last year in the journal PLoS ONE found that the skins of apples contain ursolic acid.  Ursolic acid is believed to boost metabolism by increasing muscle mass and a type of body fat that helps to burn calories.  So when eating an apple, you might want to consider not peeling it.  This is a case where you might want to go organic so you can be sure your apples haven't been chemically sprayed.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DATE SUGAR

Another post on sugar for all you bakers out there or those reading ingredient list on nutritional labels (You are aren't you?).

Date sugar is a sugar made by grinding dates.
  • 1 cup = 480 calories (240 less than granulated sugar)
  • Since date sugar is made from ground dates it has all the same nutrition as dates, including potassium and calcium.
  • Date sugar is similar in antioxidants as molasses which was listed here a couple days ago.
  • Some of the best uses for date sugar are banana bread and bar cookies.
  • When substituting for granulated or brown sugar in recipes, use 3/4 cup date sugar for each cup of sugar called for.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

30% OFF THIS MIGHTY LEAF ORGANIC GREEN TEA

15-count $6.95
If you follow this blog, you know how important green tea is to your health.  Personally, my favorite teas are Mighty Leaf and Teavana.  Take advantage of this closeout price on this Organic Spring Jasmine Tea from Mighty Leaf.  To order and/or to check out more closeout prices from Cooking.com, click on the link to the right.

MAPLE SYRUP IS A SUGAR

Continuing on the sugar series, today's post is about Maple Syrup.  Please note this is about Pure Maple Syrup and not the fake stuff you shouldn't be using anyway!
  • 1 cup = 800 calories (80 more than granulated sugar)
  • Chemical make-up is around 50% glucose and 50% fructose, depending on the grade.  Pure Maple Syrup contains a small amount of polyphenols, antioxidants that help to quell inflammation.
  • Best uses for maple syrup are topping for pancakes, waffles, and French toast.  Also great for glazing or marinading pork or chicken.  Personally, I like a dab in my oatmeal.
  • To substitute Pure Maple Syrup for sugar in recipes use 3/4 cup of syrup for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe and reduce liquid called for by 2 tablespoons.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TURBINADO SUGAR

Turbinado is also known as raw sugar.  Turbinado sugar is brown from the small amount of molasses that has not been stripped out.
  • 1 cup = 720 calories like granulated and brown sugars
  • Chemical make-up is 50% glucose & 50% fructose (same as granulated and brown)
  • Best uses for turbinado sugar are as toppings for cookies, breads, etc where you want a sugary crackle look.
  • To sub for granulated in recipes you need to know that the amount is equal, 1 cup to 1 cup.

Monday, January 21, 2013

25 WAYS TO SNACK FOR UNDER 100 CALORIES

I came across this article this evening that I wrote some years ago for an internet publication.  In reading over it I thought how much it still applies today, especially early in the new year when so many are promising to eat better and/or lose weight in the new year.  So I am posting it in full from the original publication:

As human beings, we all feel the need to nibble from time to time. It is part of our human nature. There is nothing wrong with snacking, sometimes, it is even recommended. As a Type II diabetic, I was surprised when it was recommended that I eat small amounts 5 times a day. Yes, that means snacking. It's what you nibble on that counts. Here are twenty-five ideas for snacks that won't leave you feeling guilty and come in at under 100 calories. Since some of the resources that publish these articles do not allow for keywords to be repeated, the word "calories" cannot be repeated after the number listed below. However, you will note that is what the number means. And remember different brand names and sizes, such as the mini carrots, can make a small calorie count difference. But the numbers given are the general accepted numbers for these items.

7. 10 baked tortilla chips with 1/4 cup salsa = 95

8. 1 cup sliced cucumber with 1/4 cup lowfat plain yogurt for dipping = 58

9. 1 pretzel rod wrapped with 1 thin slice of lean turkey or ham = 73

10. 1/2 cup fat-free butterscotch pudding with 1 vanilla wafer = 87

11. 3/4 cup nonfat chocolate milk = 96

12. 8 mini carrots = 40

13. 50 thin pretzel sticks = 96

14. 3/4 cup seedless grapes = 86

15. 10 dried apricot halves = 83

16. 10 bakes tortilla chips = 85

17. 12 cherry tomatoes = 43

18. 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows = 73

19. 1 mini bagel, toasted, with 1 tbsp lowfat ricotta cheese = 88

20. 1/4 cup chocolate sorbet with 1/4 cup sliced banana and 1 tsp chocolate syrup = 93

21. 1/2 reduced fat chocolate graham cracker with a half cup nonfat milk

22. 5 bite sized tootsie rolls = 90

23. 1/2 cup Cracker Jack = 85

24. 6 plain mini rice cakes = 46

25. 2 tablespoons dry-roasted sunflower seeds =93

Enjoy!

Coupon Code Ends Today.

If you are interested in saving $25 on an order of $75 or more at Cooking.com, be sure to click on the link at the right TODAY.  This is a holiday weekend special and today is the last day to use the coupon code!  Most orders are also getting free shipping right now.

MOLASSES IS A SUGAR

Continuing on this series of posts regarding sugar and the different types, today's post is about Molasses.  Molasses is stripped from sugar during the process of making granulated sugar.
  • 1 cup = 960 calories (240 calories more than granulated or brown sugar)
  • chemical component = 50% glucose & 50% fructose
  • Dark molasses has the most antioxidant levels of all sweeteners (per serving, similar to levels of antioxidants in nuts and berries).
  • Best uses for molasses: Adds a distinct flavor to baked goods,  BBQ Sauces, brown breads, ginger cookies, etc.  Molasses also has a toasty, slightly bitter flavor.
  • To substitute molasses for sugar in baking you need to use 1 1/3 cup of molasses for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe.  You need to reduce the liquid called for in the recipe by 2 tablespoons for each cup of sugar substituted and you should reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

USING HONEY AS SUGAR

Continuing on with the various types of sugar, today's post is about honey.  Honey is often substituted for sugar and people often don't even know why.  Here are some facts about honey:
  • 1 cup = 960 calories (that is 240 more calories per cup than granulated or brown sugar)
  • Chemically, honey has slightly more fructose than glucose.
  • Honey's antioxidant quality varies greatly depending on the type.  It is important to note that not all honey is the same.  The quality depends on where the bees get their nectar.  Buckwheat honey usually has the most antioxidants.
  • Some of the best uses for honey are dressings, marinades, slaws, etc where it adds a sweet delicate flavor.  Many people like to use it to sweeten hot tea.
  • When substituting honey for sugar in baking; for 1 cup of sugar called for, substitute 3/4 cup of honey.  As with Agave Nectar, reduce the liquid called for in the recipe by 2 tablespoons for each cup of honey subbed.  Lower the oven temperature called for in the recipe by 25 degrees for baking.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

USING AGAVE NECTAR AS SUGAR

Continuing on with information on the sugars we use, today's post is about Agave Nectar. 
  • 1 cup = 960 calories (That is 240 more calories per cup than granulated or brown sugar)
  • Chemically agave nectar is 90% fructose.
  • Best uses for this sweetener is in smoothies and iced drinks such as tea.
  • When substituting for sugar in baking, use only 3/4 cup of agave nectar for every 1 cup of sugar called for in the recipe.  Then reduce the liquid called for in the recipe by 2 tablespoons for each cup of agave substituted for sugar.  You will also need to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees.  If the recipe calls for baking at 350 degrees, reduce that to 325 degrees.
 
This picture is used only because it is a free picture of agave nectar.  This is not an endorsement or nonendorsement of this product.  One thing I do want to point out though.  This picture came with the following statement, use for sugar-free recipes.  Don't be mistaken; agave nectar is a form of sugar!  Agave nectar is marketed as a natural product which it is.  So is sugar and agave nectar is a form of sugar.  It is, however, mostly fructose which is absorbed more slowly by your body and is the type of sugar found naturally in fruit.

Friday, January 18, 2013

BROWN SUGAR

Continuing with the posts on the different types of sugar, today's post is about Brown Sugar.  Brown Sugar is granulated sugar with some of the molasses added back in.  Remember that granulated sugar is stripped of almost all nutrients during processing and that includes the molasses.  By adding some molasses back into the brown sugar, it has trace amounts more iron and calcium than does granulated or white sugar.  The calorie count stays the same as white.  Light brown sugar has some molasses added while dark brown sugar has even more molasses.
  • 1 cup = 720 calories
  • Chemical make up is 50% glucose & 50% fructose.
  • When used in baking it adds a bit of caramel flavor.
  • When substituting for granulated sugar in baking/cooking, you need not change the amount called for in the recipe.
  • Should be used minimally by diabetics.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

GRANULATED SUGAR

A couple of days ago I posted about sugar, both natural and added, in the American diet.  I have been thinking about that post and decided to go a little further with it and give some information on the main different types of sugars we commonly use.  Today will feature granulated sugar, the most common sweetener used in America today.  All the information below is strictly related to granulated sugar:
  • 1 cup = 720 calories
  • The chemical makeup is 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
  • Processed to the point that is has very few vitamins and minerals remaining.
  • Best sweetener to use for good results in sugar cookies, meringues, toppings, and delicate fluffy cakes.
  • To use in baking, follow the recipe directions for how much to use.
  • Should be used minimally by diabetics.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MILK ALTERNATIVES

To put it simply, a lot of "alternative" foods and beverages are not what you should be eating or drinking.  Today it is almost faddish to say you are intolerant of this, that, or the other.  And let me state up front there are people who truly are lactose intolerant, allergic to glutin, etc.  And for that handful of people, the numbers are much less than the advertising community would have us believe, alternatives are very important.  In fact they can be a matter of life or death.  So this is not directed to those people who have serious health concerns with certain foods.  That said, for the average person, milk from a cow (or even a goat), is better for you than the alternatives.  To back me up on this point, I am posting this from the people at Rodale who produce medical-type books about health.  I quote,

"Non-dairy milks are growing in popularity and oftentimes are seen as a healthier alternative to good 'ol moo juice-but upon closer examination, it is hard to decipher what makes them healthier for the average person. If you have a whey or casein allergy, then milk alternatives are a must-have, and if you are lactose-intolerant then they can be useful. Outside of those situations (which are rarer than most people think), cow's milk is better for you than any flavored almond, soy, coconut, or other dairy-free milk.

With the exception of soy milk, this class of beverages is seriously lacking in the protein department, a place where milk excels. Then there's the fact that additives are needed in order to enhance the flavor, texture, and appeal of these milk alternatives-and unfortunately sugar is one of these major ingredients in addition to fibers, binding agents, and added vitamins and minerals. The levels of additives needed to mimic the flavor, taste, and nutritional profile of milk varies from alternative to alternative, but if you don't have issues with lactose or dairy proteins, then you are probably better off reaching for real milk."

If you notice in the above paragraph, sugar - as mentioned on this blog's post yesterday - is one of the added ingredients in these milk alternatives.  Remember, as mentioned in yesterday's post, the naturally occuring sugar in cow's milk is a natural, not added, sugar.

Again I want to remind you that natural substances are almost always preferable to manufactured ones.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

INTERESTING INFO ON SUGAR

As I was doing some research today at the college, I came across some interesting facts regarding sugar.  No wonder America has an obesity problem!
  • The average American now eats approximately 28 teaspoons of added sugars a day.  That is more than 90 pounds per year.  Note this is added sugars which is those sugars that are added to food and not found in foods in their normal state.
  • Read that above bullet again keeping this in mind: The American Heart Association recommends a limit of (added sugars) 100 calories of sugar or 6 teaspoons a day for women and only 150 calories or 9 teaspoons a day for men.
  • Americans are spending almost a quarter of their grocery dollars on processed foods and sweets.  That number is twice what it was 20 years ago.  A side note from me - One of the best things you can do for yourself and your weight and/or health is to cut way back on processed foods.  Use as many fresh, frozen, and/or whole foods as you can.
  • You know I always stress that you read the nutritional labels on any thing that goes in your mouth.  Keep this in mind regarding sugar content on said labels, the sugar amount listed is the combined natural and added sugars.  To see the added sugars you need to read the ingredients list and remember the first item is the most down to the last one being the least.
  • All of the following ingredients, commonly listed in food products, are aliases for sugar:
  1. dextrose
  2. fructose
  3. honey
  4. invert sugar
  5. raw sugar
  6. malt syrup
  7. rice syrup
  8. sucrose
  9. xylose
  10. molasses
  11. corn sweetener
  12. fruit juice concentrate
  13. high fructose corn syrup
  14. brown sugar
  15. corn syrup
  16. glucose
  17. lactose
  18. maltose
  19. evaporated cane juice
  20. agave nectar
  21. cane crystals
  22. cane sugar
  23. crystal-line fructose
  24. barley malt
  25. beet sugar
  26. caramel
I listed all those names by number to get your attention to just have many times food manufacturers sneak sugar into the products you buy and feed to your family.

If you only make one major change in your kitchen this year, make this one for all your family's sake.

Monday, January 14, 2013

MORE ABOUT WHOLE-GRAIN LABELING

I have written about this before but feel it is important enough to mention again.  This has come to my attention as we are once again at the beginning of a new year.  Many people decide at the first of a new year to work on improving their diets and their weight.  Whole-grains play a role in both.  I am once again urging you to read the labels on all food products before you buy them.  As has been mentioned previously on this blog, if you are going whole-grain, look for the Whole-Grain Seal that is shown above.  Without that seal, you may not be getting whole grain except in a small percentage.

Several people I know are currently doing what is known as the Daniel Fast which requires eating only certain things.  One of the requirements is that grains must be whole-grain.  I would be cooking for one of these persons over this past weekend.  Since I only use whole grains, I knew I was okay with what I had on hand but I did need some pasta.  Being curious, I decided to check out the shelves. I was surprised how many "Whole-Grain products" are not really whole grain.  I was reminded that a product can be called a whole-grain product but actually be only 51% whole-grain.

For a label to have the whole-grain stamp all the grains in that product must be whole-grain and contain at least 16 grams whole-grain per serving.  Products packaged as whole-grain, without the seal, only need 51% whole-grain to make the claim and can be as low as 8 grams of whole-grain.  NOTE, however, it is possible for a product to be whole-grain and not have the above seal.  Again, read labels on all food products.  Go for 100% whole-grain when at all possible. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

SAUERKRAUT (POST FROM MY DIABETIC BLOG)

Today I am copying a post from my diabetic blog.  This is the post from that blog today.  I have never done this before but I feel this is important to share with both audiences.  If you are interested in the recipe mentioned, the link to that blog is listed in the right hand column of this page.

SAUERKRAUT IS A SUPER FOOD!



Yesterday I posted a recipe for a Chicken Sauerkraut Panini. Well lo and behold when I turned on my computer what should be there but the following statement about sauerkraut as an overlooked food we should be eating. I am passing this information on to you:
Sauerkraut
Considering cabbage is low-carb, high-fiber, and contains cancer-fighting 3-indole carbinol and d-glucarate, a compound that works to clear excess estrogen, the veggie is already a superfood. Fermenting it into sauerkraut, however, puts it on nutritional steroids. The probiotics that drive fermentation also help repopulate your digestive system with healthy, hardworking good bacteria that lower inflammation, improve digestion, and maybe even aid in weight loss. Plus fermentation increases the bioavailablity of the antioxidants found in cabbage, and the longer cabbage ferments, the higher the levels of antioxidants become, meaning your body can better absorb and use them.
If sauerkraut is not a part of your diet, you'd better try that panini sandwich!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

EASY WAYS TO GET MORE SPINACH INTO YOUR DIET

We all know spinach is good for us but many of us don't like to eat it.  Personally, I love spinach and could eat it every day.  I know that is not the norm.  Whether you like spinach or not, it is important to include it in your diet.  The American Heart Association recommends spinach (and other green leafy vegetables) as part of a heart-healthy diet as they provide good sources of vitamins A and C.  Spinach also a good source of iron as was noted in yesterday's post on healthy foods for anemics.  Spinach also contains flavonoids and beta-carotene both of which are important to maintaining good health and preventing disease!  If you don't want to eat a spinach salad or a whole serving of cooked spinach, here are some easy ways to work spinach into your diet.  Whatever method you choose to use, just be sure to include spinach into your diet on a regular basis.  Try to include it at least once a week, starting out slowly if necessary.  Try these little tips:
  • Use supermarket bagged spinach to save time if you don't like the rinsing, drying, stemming, etc required in bunches of fresh spinach.
  • Coarse chop and toss into scrambled eggs and/or omelets.
  • Saute with garlic until just wilted and toss into tarts, casseroles, etc.
  • Add chopped spinach leaves to rice and/or pasta dishes.
  • Toss a handful of fresh spinach leaves into soups right at the end of the cooking time.  Chop up if you don't want to get a whole leaf in your spoonful of soup!
  • Coarsely chop, toss in a little olive oil and put on pizza.
  • Use fresh baby spinach leaves in smoothies.
  • Chop and toss with onion and garlic.  Add to browned sausage and or ground beef or turky and use as a filling in little hand held personal pies.  You could even use refrigerated pie crust or pizza dough without having to make your own.




Friday, January 11, 2013

SOME HEALING FOODS FOR ANEMIA (LOW IRON)

It is a fact that healthy blood depends on a good supply of iron.  When your blood is low in iron, your body isn't getting the oxygen it needs causing you to feel tired and listless.  Anemia means your blood is iron deficient.  If you have a problem with low iron, here is a partial list of healing foods you should be eating.
  • Clams
  • Low-fat meats, especially beef
  • Poultry, especially the dark turkey meat
  • Duck
  • Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Tofu
Vitamin-C is helpful to the body in absorbing the iron from grains and veggies.  Consider some citrus, etc when eating vegetables and/or grains to improve the iron in your blood.

If you are wondering why liver isn't listed above, that was intended.  Doctors used to recommend eating liver to improve ones iron level.  However, over the years they have discovered that while liver is great for iron levels it is also loaded with cholesterol.  If you have a problem with cholesterol, get your iron from other sources!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

MORE ON WALKING

Anyone old enough to remember the old song, "These boots are made for walking and that's just what they'll do"?  Well now, I don't recommend boots but I do recommend a good pair of walking shoes and get with it!  Dr. James Rippe stated, "You can lose about 18 pounds a year - without dieting - if you walk 45 minutes, four times a week."  There are many other benefits to walking besides weight loss.  Ask your doctor about the benefits of walking and he/she will probably give you more than you ask for!  I'm not even recommending the 45 minutes 4 times a week that Dr. Rippe mentioned.  As in yesterday's post, make some small changes requiring more walking of yourself.  And 20 minutes a day or 3 or 4 days a week is a good start.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WOMEN AND WALKING

Almost all of us can walk.  If you can walk, you need to be doing so.  I am a big advocate of taking a far from the door parking space at the mall, carrying in groceries, etc, one bag at a time, taking the stairs when possible, etc.  These simple things keep you moving and give you much needed exercise.  But I am talking about real walking here, at least 20 to 30 minutes at a time.  Consider these facts:
  • According to a Harvard Medical School study, walking just three hours a week cuts the risk of heart attack and stroke in women ages 40 to 65 by 40%.
  • Women who walk 40 to 45 minutes 5 times a week are sick with colds or flu only half as often as sedentary women.  This information comes from Appalachian State University.
Just those two statistics alone should be enough to get one moving!  And there are many more benefits to walking.

The good thing about walking is that it is available to almost everyone.  No expensive equipment, a gym is not required, etc.  According to Kathy Smith, a fitness instructor, "Walking is an equal opportunity exercise.  There aren't any biases against uncoordinated people, and everyone knows how to do it.  It's a 'no excuses' workout because you don't need equipment or a gym."

The statistics in this post are on women.  However, walking is a good exercise for men, women, and children!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

BELIEVE IT - POPCORN IS A HEALING FOOD

Sometimes popcorn gets a bad rap.  We are warned to avoid it in movie theaters, etc.  But it is not the popcorn that is bad.  We have slathered popcorn with butter, salt, sugary syrups, etc. to the point the healthy, healing popcorn has a hard time getting noticed.  Make your own healthy, healing popcorn by air-popping it.  A handful of air-popped popcorn has only 6 calories.  Popcorn contains a little bit of iron to help us fight fatigue and it contains some B-vitamins that help to steady ones nerves.  So make yourself some popcorn and sprinkle it with a tiny bit of salt or some other spices and herbs.  Curry powder, chili powder, garlic powder, etc are all great for sprinkling on popcorn.  Mix with some pumpkin or sunflower seeds and/or some nuts for a healthy snack.

Monday, January 7, 2013

WHAT IS A HEALING FOOD?

The editors at Prevention Magazine put it in a simple way that is easy to understand.  A healing food is one that is short on elements we know are bad for us, like saturated fat, cholesterol, salt, and too many calories.  A healing food is chock-full of things we have learned are good for us, like select vitamins and minerals, fiber, and fish oils.  These healing foods can be found in a wide variety of foods that are readily available to us all.  If you think that is complicated, here are a very few examples of healthy healing foods:
  • fish
  • lean meat
  • poultry
  • beans
  • broccoli
  • sweet potatoes
  • cauliflower
  • cantaloupe
  • seeds such as sesame
  • yogurt
  • fresh fruit
  • fresh vegetables
  • whole grains
  • members of the onion family, including chives
Like I stated earlier, this list is very small but you can see how readily healthy healing foods are.  Remember this, for any food to be healthy, even healing, it should be consumed in reasonable portions.  It is not healthy to overeat any foods.  Also remember how you cook foods and the things you add to them can sometimes destroy their healthy healing status!

Friday, January 4, 2013

LETTUCE LEAVES INSTEAD OF BREAD

If you are serious about cutting down on your calories and/or carbs this year, here is a simple trick for you.  Replace bread, wraps, or tortillas with large lettuce leaves when making sandwiches.  Constance Brown-Riggs, R.D., CDE, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association recommends this for people who want to cut back on their carbs and/or calories but still want to eat enough to feel full. This works for salad sandwiches, ie chicken, tuna, egg, etc, as well as meat and cheese sandwiches.  You will increase your vegetable intake and cut back carbs and calories.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

COMBINE CITRUS WITH FOODS FOR MORE HEALTH BENEFIT

We can actually improve the benefits we get from certain foods by what we combine them with.  Here are some examples of what you can do to not only improve taste but health benefits by combining citrus with other foods.  Citrus is today's example but it is not the only food that can be added to make healthy tasty combinations.

  • Take some plain light vanilla yogurt and add some finely shredded lime peel or cara cara oranges to add lycopene to the yogurt.  You are not only adding flavor to the yogurt, you are getting some lycopene-rich food in the process.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Blood oranges are anthocyanin-rich fruits.  Add some segments to salsas and chutneys to not only improve flavor but for the anthocyanin benefits.  Anthocyanins have powerful antioxidant properies.
  • Add tangerine segments to spinach salads.  This vitamin-C rich citrus will help your body absorb the iron from the spinach.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice onto fish, into sauces, and onto salads.  This will add a fresh zesty taste while giving you a vitamin boost.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

EAT YOUR CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES!

Personally, I love cruciferous vegetabes.  However, I am aware that many people do not.  If you aren't sure what vegetables we are talking about, this group includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, etc.  These vegetables are important to our bodies for many reasons but one of the most important ones is this - research has shown that cruciferous vegetables contain a phytochemical which helps our bodies break down potential carcinogens.  Since carcinogens are agents that can cause cancer, I highly recommend including cruciferous vegetables in your diet!  If you have a real aversion to these healthy vegetables try eating them in small amounts at first or look for new and tastier ways to prepare them!  But do eat them!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

WE EAT WITH OUR EYES

Most people eat with their eyes.  We may use our hands to put food in our mouths but before we even get that far, our eyes have already decided how we will react to foods.  Consider how important this is to how much and/or what you eat and make some changes to trick what your eyes see.  First of all, go out of your way to make healthy foods look attractive!  Given a choice between something that "looks good" and something with not so much eye appeal, we will almost always choose what looks good.  It is just human nature to go with what appeals to our sight.  This is especially important to getting our kids to eat healthy.  To use a simple example, take cereal for instance.  Is a child going to pick the colorful sugar-coated cereal or a bowl of plain boring-looking cereal?  But if you add a few colorful berries or pieces of fresh fruit to the plain cereal, you may just win over that child to the plainer healthy cereal.

Another thing we can do and I have mentioned on this blog before, is to become aware of the plates we are using.  There are two things about plates to consider.  First is to downsize your plates.  Buy some smaller dinner plates or serve the meal on salad plates.  Your eyes see a full plate of food when in reality you are eating much less.  Also remember this when purchasing plates.  No matter how pretty the highly decorated plates, steer clear of them.  When you put food on busy plates, the food becomes lost in the design and you may "load up" more than intended.  Also use white or light colored plates.  Again, you want the food to "stand out" against the plate so your eyes immediately see how much food is on your plate.

You will be surprised how these simple little steps can help you eat less food overall and more healthy foods than in the past.  These are simple little baby steps that can take you a long way to improving your diet without angst.  Make this new year a healthier one for you and your family.  It is in your power to do so!
What do your eyes see when they look at your plate?