May 29, 2008
San Fransico is the Fittest!
It looks as if the West has won.
San Francisco is the fittest big city in the USA, just slightly more fit than Seattle, according to a scientific analysis of 16 cities released today by the American College of Sports Medicine at its annual meeting in Indianapolis.
But not all of the West is in top shape. Los Angeles is near the bottom of the list.
To rank big metropolitan areas, health and fitness experts analyzed government data from the 15 most populous cities in the country and Indianapolis, where the sports-medicine group is headquartered. They took into consideration a number of health indicators, including the percentage of people who exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, eat the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, have access to health care, have health insurance and don't smoke. They also looked at the environment, including the availability of parks, walking/bike trails and public transportation.
The sports-medicine group's physical activity guidelines recommend that adult Americans, ages 18 to 65, do moderate-intensity aerobic activity (walking, dancing, biking) for at least 30 minutes five days each week and strength training at least twice a week for all their major muscle groups, including the chest, back, shoulders, upper legs, lower legs and arms. This could be strength training with free weights or machines or weight-bearing calisthenics such as pushups. It should be done on two non-consecutive days.
The aerobic activities should be done in at least 10-minute bouts, the group recommends. Short spurts of low-intensity movement — shopping, taking out the trash or walking a few minutes in the office or parking lot — don't count.
More information on the fit-city rankings is available at americanfitnessindex.org.
May 26, 2008
Grilled Banana Split
1. Slice an unpeeled banana lengthwise in half, leaving the bottom peel intact. Stuff the middle with 2 Tbsp of dark chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp crushed pineapple.
2. Wrap banana in foil and grill 3-4 mins. Remove the foil, place banana on a plate and slice through.
3. Top with ¼ cup strawberry sorbet.
Crunchy Frozen Bananas
1. On a plate, roll a small, peeled banana in ½ cup fat free vanilla yogurt (about half will stick).
2. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp whole oats and cover with wax paper.
3. Chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours. Unwrap banana, discard paper, and eat immediately.
May 24, 2008
Quote of the Day
"Those who believe they can do something are probably right, as are those who believe they can't."
May 22, 2008
Value: Just because it’s not a bright green vegetable doesn’t mean it has no nutritional value.
Nutrients: (1 cup) 46.4mg vitamin C (77 percent), 16mcg vitamin K (20 percent), 57mcg folate (15 percent), 0.222mg vitamin B6 (11.1 percent) and, notably, 303mg potassium (9 percent), 2.5g fiber (10 percent) and 15mg manganese (4 percent).
Health Perks: Cauliflower is a top source of the antioxidants known as glucosinolates. These are phytonutrients that remove free radicals from the body by stimulating the body's own natural antioxidant systems. Additionally, the high amounts of vitamin C in cauliflower are healthy for the skin and the immune system. Lastly, diets rich in potassium (which lowers blood pressure), fiber (which reduces cholesterol), vitamin C (which prevents oxidation of LDL 'bad' cholesterol) and vitamin B6 (which reduces homocysteine levels) are associated with maintaining a healthy heart,
Nutrition Stats: (1 cup) 25 calories, 5.3g carbs, 1.98g protein, 2.5g dietary fiber, 0.1g fat, 30mg sodium.
Purchasing: Look for firm, white, clean tops. Avoid brown spots and soft heads.
Storage: Cauliflower will keep for up to five days if stored in the crisper section of the refrigerator. If the head is not purchased wrapped, store it in an open or perforated plastic bag. Keep it stem-side up to prevent moisture from collecting on it.
6 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
4 medium artichokes (each about 12 ounces)
1 (7-ounce) bag whole baby carrots with tops
3 cups small cauliflower florets
1 (8-ounce) bag baby pattypan squash, halved
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Combine water and 2 tablespoons juice in a large bowl. Cut off stem from an artichoke to within 1 inch of base; peel stem. Remove bottom leaves and tough outer leaves, leaving tender heart and bottom. Cut lengthwise into quarters. Remove fuzzy thistle from bottom with a spoon; place in lemon water. Repeat procedure with remaining artichokes. Drain artichokes. Cook artichokes in boiling water 6 minutes or until tender. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon; plunge into a large bowl of ice water. Add carrots to pan; cook 1 minute. Add cauliflower and squash to pan; cook an additional minute or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Drain and plunge in ice water with artichokes. Drain artichoke mixture well.
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons juice, vinegar, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add artichoke mixture, onion, and olives; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill. Sprinkle with the parsley just before serving.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
CALORIES 117 (44% from fat); FAT 5.8g (sat 0.8g,mono 4g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 3.9g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 62mg; SODIUM 360mg; FIBER 5.7g; IRON 1.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.3g
May 20, 2008
Eating Healthy on a Budget
The weekly trip to the grocery store is getting more expensive and there’s no relief in sight, experts say. Many shoppers are wondering how to save on their food bills, without sacrificing nutrition.
There are some strategies you can follow to help avoid grocery sticker shock:
List it: Shopping with a list can save you 10 percent on unnecessary items like junk food.
Buy in bulk: But don’t buy more than you’ll use. Waste is costly too.
Simpler is better: The more processed the food, the more it costs—and, generally, the less healthy it is.
Dodge impulse traps: Stores are set up to spur impulse buying. Focus on staples such as milk, eggs, bread and canned or frozen veggies and avoid tempting cookies and cakes in the deli section.
Use coupons: Store discount programs and supercenters such as Wal-mart and Costco can also help generate significant savings. By being flexible and planning meals around what’s on sale, you can lower your grocery bills.
Rather than cutting back on healthy staples, click on the items at the left to learn how to get the most nutrition bang for your grocery buck.
May 16, 2008
Traffic Light Snacks
A new software helps kids replace unhealthy snacks with healthy foods. The Snackwise software works by assigning snacks a color based on their nutrition facts label: green for healthy snacks, yellow for snacks that should be eaten occasionally and red for snacks to The Nationwide Children’s Hospital developed Snackwise in 2005 because schools needed healthy food standards.
The actual software costs $25, but the online version is free and available to anyone.
Some red foods include Skittles and Lay’s Cheddar Sour Cream chips, according to the Snackwise Web site. Yellow foods are Rice Krispie Treats and Reduced Fat Cooler Ranch Doritos. Even if foods are low in fat, such as Fig Newton bars, they might still be considered a yellow or red label food because they are low in vitamins and nutrients.
May 3, 2008
Fresh Herbs: Cilantro
An herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavor. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavors are very different and cannot be substituted for each other.
Season: available year-round
How to select: Easily confused with flat-leaf parsley in appearance, so be sure to sniff carefully. Look for a bunch with unwilted leaves in medium green. Found fresh year round in most markets.
How to store: Store in refrigerator with cut ends in a jar of water and leaves loosely covered with a plastic bag for several days. Change water every 2 days. Or store in a plastic bag for a week.
How to prepare: Wash and pat dry before using, as the leaves attract sand.
Matches well with: avocado, chicken, fish, ice cream, lamb, lentils, mayonnaise, peppers, pork, rice, salads, salsas, shellfish, tomatoes, yogurt
Fresh Tomato-Pineapple Salsa
4 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup finely diced pineapple
1 cup sliced green onions
1 whole jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients and mix gently. Serve salsa with grilled fish or chicken. Also makes a great dip for fresh tortilla chips or pita chips.
Garbanzo Corn Salad
12 ounces fresh or frozen corn
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Jalapeno or other hot peppers, grilled, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
8 tomatillos, chopped
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 16 ounce can Garbanzo Beans
1 cup chopped cilantro
Sauté corn in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add hot pepper, onions, tomatillos and vinegar to corn and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the black pepper, red bell pepper and garbanzo beans. Chill at least 4 hours. Add minced cilantro just before serving.