February 26, 2010
Kids Eat Kiwi
A new way to eat kiwi can be fun for kids. Instead of peeling and slicing the kiwi, cut it in half lengthwise. Have your kid scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Kiwifruit are packed with vitamin C and are in season all winter long.
February 23, 2010
Staying Positive Benefits Everyone
A friend sent this to me as one of those forwarded emails which are usually not worth reading...but I thought this one had some good thoughts. Here's an excerpt:
1. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
3. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
6. Dream more while you are awake
7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
8. What other people think of you is none of your business.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
13. Smile and laugh more.
14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...
15. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
16. The best is yet to come..
February 22, 2010
If you don't "got milk", do you need calcium?
Do men need a calcium supplement if they rarely drink milk?
Staying physically active, not smoking, not drinking excessive alcohol, and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and low in saturated fat and salt can help decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Even if you rarely drink milk, there are lots of other good food sources of calcium including cheese, yogurt, fortified cereals and juices, canned sardines and salmons with bones, collard greens, spinach and tofu.
If you don't eat any of these foods on a regular basis, you might consider taking a calcium supplement to reach the recommended daily allowance of calcium in men which is 1,000 mg for men age 19-50 and 1,200 mg for men older than 50. Don't forget to include vitamin D which is equally important for bone health. The RDA of vitamin D, which will most likely increase in the near future, is 200 IU (internationa units) for men 19-50, 400 IU for men 50-70, and 600 IU for men older than 70. You can also get vitamin D from sun exposure but your ability to do so decreases as you age.
If you take decide to take a supplement, calcium carbonate is the least expensive, but if you take antacids frequently or are on acid-blocking medication for ulcers or reflux, calcium citrate is a better choice, as it is better absorbed in a lower acid environment. Calcium carbonate is best taken with food but calcium citrate can be taken with or without food. In addition, your body cannot absorb more than 500 mg of calcium at one time so you must take a supplement twice a day.
February 18, 2010
Misleading Food Claims
The “Food Labeling Chaos” report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest identifies several misleading labeling tactics used by food companies. Here are six common but misleading claims included in the C.S.P.I. report.
Lightly-sweetened: Cereal packages often contain the phrase “lightly sweetened” to suggest less sugar. The Food and Drug Administration has regulations concerning the use of “sugar free” and “no added sugars” but nothing governing the claims “low sugar” or “lightly sweetened.”
A good source of fiber: A number of food marketers now claim their products are a good source of fiber, but C.S.P.I. notes that often the fiber doesn’t come from traditional sources — whole grains, bean, vegetables or fruit — known to have health benefits. Instead, food makers are adding something called “isolated fibers” made from chicory root or purified powders of polydextrose and other substances that haven’t been shown to lower blood sugar or cholesterol.
Strengthens your immune system: Through “clever wordsmithing,” food companies can skirt F.D.A. rules about health claims and give consumers the impression that a product will ward off disease, notes the C.S.P.I. report. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice claims to “strengthen your immune system with a daily dose of vitamin C.” Green Giant offers an “immunity blend” of frozen vegetables. Nestle’s Carnation Instant Breakfast says it contains “Antioxidants to help support the immune system.”
Made with real fruit: Often the “real fruit” is found in small quantities and isn’t even the same kind of fruit pictured on the package. Tropical fruit flavored Gerber Graduates Fruit Juice Treats show pictures of fresh oranges and pineapple. But the main ingredients are corn syrup, sugar and white grape juice concentrate. Betty Crocker’s Strawberry Splash Fruit Gushers don’t contain strawberries — just pear concentrate.
Made with whole grains: Many products make a whole grain claim even though they often contain refined flour as the first ingredient and the amount of whole grains are minimal. The C.S.P.I. reports that the package of Keebler’s Townhouse Bistro Multigrain Crackers boasts they are made with “toasted whole wheat,” but the ingredient label shows the crackers contain more sugar than whole wheat.
All natural. Although the F.D.A. has issued several warning letters to firms making misleading “all natural” claims, the agency has never issued formal rules about the term, C.S.P.I. says. As a result, some products containing high fructose corn syrup claim to be “all natural.” One example is Minute Maid Premium All Natural Flavors Berry Punch. “Though glucose and fructose certainly occur in nature, the chemical conversions of cornstarch should not be considered natural,” writes C.S.P.I.
February 15, 2010
Serve all three with baked tortilla chips.
3 seeded and chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 Tbs lemon juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Mix all together, refrigerate and serve.
2 cups chopped mango
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Mix all together, refrigerate and serve.
White Bean Dip
2 cloves chopped garlic
15 oz can drained, low-sodium cannellini beans
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper.
Puree all together. Top with chopped fresh oregano.
February 11, 2010
Smart Move: Move More!
Everyone knows the bottom line: Getting plenty of physical activity is basically one of the smartest moves you can make. Getting fit lowers your risk of serious diseases and reduces your need for medications, while improving your performance at work or school and your outlook on life. Here’s how to get the incredible benefits of fitness.
1. Get into fun aerobics with some friends.
Aerobics are any activities that get your heart pumping. Adults need at least 30 to 60 minutes a day for optimal health and well-being.
How you get those minutes is up to you! You can get active in any way that you enjoy: walking, dancing, swimming, biking or running, as well as team sports like basketball or volleyball. Just do it with friends — for the fun and the support.
2. Pump those muscles with some weight.
It’s never too late to get stronger: People in their 80s and 90s can still build muscles! While weight training in a gym or with a personal trainer is great, you can also get strong with simple equipment and activities at home. Make a commitment to pump some weight two to three times a week with small hand weights, a resistance band, leg lifts, squats, or wall pushups.
3. Stretch flexibility in new directions.
Flexibility is one of the most essential, but often neglected, fitness basics. Flexibility is the key to injury prevention, as well as to feeling and looking young and energetic. You can get and stay flexible with simple stretches and twists, like on the floor while watching TV. Yoga, tai chi and Pilates classes are also excellent ways to learn and practice daily flexibility.
4. Strengthen the core with balance activities.
While core strength seems like a recent buzzword, the basic concept has been fundamental to fitness forever. When the muscles in your abdomen and lower back are strong and flexible, you stand taller, look better, and have less back pain. While all physical activities contribute to a stronger core, balance activities — like those using a stability ball — are especially helpful.
5. Make play part of every exercise routine.
If you want to get into great shape, listen to your inner child and focus on play. If you hate to exercise, choose those activities that you really enjoy. If you hate to go to the gym, borrow a treadmill with fur (aka a dog) and explore your neighborhood parks and trails. If you have trouble being active alone, sign up with a buddy.
February 08, 2010
Try Something New: Quinoa
Whether you are dealing with gluten intolerance or merely trying to reduce the amount of animal fat in your diet, quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah,") packs a powerful nutritional punch.
Quinoa seeds are covered with a bitter, resin-like coating called saponin, which acts as a natural pesticide. Its flavor is repellent to birds, insects — and people. Though most quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged, it is worth the extra effort to rinse it again thoroughly in cold water before you cook it.
Quinoa cooks to a light fluffy texture in about 15 minutes, increasing four times in volume as it cooks. It can be cooked using a rice cooker or on the stovetop, using one part quinoa to two parts liquid. Either water or broth works fine. It can be added raw to soups and stews 15 or 20 minutes before cooking is completed. It is a wonderful kitchen chameleon — taking on any flavor you add to it.
In appearance, quinoa is frequently compared to couscous, but it has a texture all its own. As it cooks, the external germ, which forms a band around each grain, spirals out, forming a tiny, crescent-shaped "tail." The cooked grain is soft and creamy, while the "tail" has a pleasant crunch, giving quinoa a unique mouth feel that complements its delicate, nutty flavor. Toasting the grain in a dry skillet for 5 minutes before cooking imparts a delicious roasted flavor.
Quinoa is an appropriate repast for any time of day. Prepare it for breakfast as a porridge with nuts, dried fruit and honey. It is delicious as a lunch salad, tossed with herbed vinaigrette and tomatoes and piled in the center of a ripe avocado. For dinner, serve it either as a side dish with fresh fish or meat, or as a main dish or vehicle for a ragu. It is a particularly fine accompaniment to legumes.
Black bean, tomato and corn quinoa
Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 20 minutes Makes: 6 servings
Here, quinoa takes on fresh, south-of-the-border flavors. Adapted from allrecipes.com.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 can (14 ounces) black beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
4 green onions, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
Juice and zest from a fresh lime
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or to taste)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Cook quinoa in boiling salted water until liquid is absorbed and the little "tails" appear, 15 to 20 minutes. Place warm quinoa in a large bowl; add beans, corn, green onions and tomatoes. Whisk together lime juice and zest, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and chili powder. Stir dressing into quinoa mixture; stir in cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information: Per serving: 223 calories, 26% of calories from fat, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 38 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 530 mg sodium, 8 g fiber
February 04, 2010
Go Red for Women!
Friday is National Go Red for Women Day! Support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red. Heart disease is often preventable and largely based on lifestyle choices. Make the choice to live heart healthy today by eating right and being physically active. Visit www.goredforwomen.org for more information.
February 03, 2010
Foods to Help Fight Off a Cold
To keep your immune system working at its best, increase your intake of these foods during cold and flu season. You'll be glad you did.
Mangoes include a broad spectrum of antioxidants, including vitamin A and zinc. Vitamin A enhances immunity by revving up the function of white blood cells, which fight infection. Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for maintaining an overall healthy immune system.
How to get it: Whip up some mango salsa or a mango smoothie, or top yogurt with fresh mango slices. Strive to consume about 1 cup a day for the best benefit.
Sometimes referred to as the "poor man's antibiotic," garlic has been eaten for centuries for its broad spectrum of therapeutic benefits. It is believed to stimulate the immune system by increasing the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells). Even more, two compounds found in garlic, inulin and allicin, are thought to be responsible for effectively killing bacteria as well as intestinal parasites.
How to get it: Add fresh garlic to sauces and dressings. Try to eat at least a clove every day during flu season.
Chinese medicine and Eastern cultures have relied on mushrooms for their health benefits and immune-boosting properties for centuries. Beta-glucans, a type of sugar found in both raw and cooked mushrooms, is believed to be responsible for the immune-stimulating properties.
In addition, mushrooms are the only vegetable that naturally contains vitamin D, and decreased blood levels of vitamin D have been correlated with an increased risk of catching the influenza virus.
How to get it: Add mushrooms to salads, sauces and omelets. Eat about 1 cup of white button, crimini, shitake, maitake, reishi or portobello mushrooms every day.
During the winter months when the air is dry, mucous membranes dry out and crack, providing the perfect opportunity for viruses and other nasty bugs to enter the body. Eating more fish that are rich in omega-3 fats can help maintain healthy cell membranes. Salmon (and other seafood) is also a source of selenium, which has been shown to reduce the severity of a virus once a person is exposed.
How to get it: Broil a salmon fillet or salmon steak and serve with fresh mango salsa. Eat salmon twice a week.
5. Green Tea
Drinking plenty of fluids during flu season is especially important for hydration as it helps the body maintain a strong defense against bad bugs. Green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate, which has been shown to stop the common cold from spreading.
How to get it: Drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea each day to get immune-boosting benefits and stay hydrated.
Aside from being an excellent source of calcium, dairy products like yogurt provide immune-boosting vitamin D and probiotics (also referred to as "live active cultures"). Vitamin D's production of antimicrobial substances is believed to stop viruses from spreading in the body. Probiotics found in yogurt can help the body fight infections and boost immunity by fortifying the healthy bacteria found in the digestive tract.
How to get it: Yogurt parfaits are the perfect breakfast or dessert. Make tangy salad dressings with plain yogurt or add to smoothies for an extra nutritional boost. Consume two servings of yogurt daily.
Almonds contain vitamin E, which may help prevent colds and ward off upper respiratory infections. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that works in combination with other nutrients found in almonds, including selenium and magnesium.
How to get it: Make your own granola with toasted almonds, rolled oats and cinnamon. Or use almond butter instead of peanut butter. Eat about 22 almonds (or its equivalent) a day.
Spinach is a nutrition powerhouse offering several key nutrients that help to boost immune function and health. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, folate, iron, vitamin B-2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B-6, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. With all these vitamins in one food, it's no wonder everyone should be consuming more of this leafy green.
How to get it: Sautee spinach with garlic and onions. Or make a spinach salad with pomegranate dressing, topped with toasted almonds. Try to have about 2 cups a day.
February 01, 2010
Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much
Michael Pollan's new book, "Food Rules" follows in the same foot steps as his previous book "In Defense of Food". Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much. Here's a sample of some of the rules in his new book:
Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.
Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
Don't eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot...There are exceptions --- honey --- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food.
Always leave the table a little hungry.
Eat meals together, at regular meal times.
Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.