Continue to read our thoughts on how to
get free of eating, exercise and weight worries
at our new location: AWeightLifted.com.
March 26, 2009
Healthy Recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes
Click here to view the recipe.
March 25, 2009
What to Eat...& What Not To
Joining Twitter has certainly put me in touch with the world at large. I've been able to get an overview of popular thoughts about healthy weight, weight loss, diet, fitness...all those subjects that interest the women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run. (Of course, I don't have any time to do anything else anymore, but that's a different story.)
This is a lead-up to the fact that today's post features my thoughts on a few items that came across my desk computer in the last week, most of them courtesy of those I follow on Twitter. (Thanks, Twitter friends!)
So if you're interested in...
- whether we have to eat organic to eat healthy (& a great recipe)
- whether we need to eat things we don't like if we want to eat healthy
- how to eat like a French woman
- the latest on weight loss supplements
Do we have to eat organic to eat healthy?
I've loved Mark Bittman's recipes for a long time; recently, he has been bitten by the health bug, and he's doing some wonderful work on lighter recipes that taste fabulous. (Check out his great mixture of dandelion greens and potatoes; I made it last week for company, and we were all transfixed. Really, we did like it that much. I left off the bread crumbs because I am gluten sensitive, and it's still very yummy.)
His recent New York Times article "Eating Food that's Better for You, Organic or Not" is a good brief on some of the issues surrounding organic foods, which he summed up like this, "...when Americans have had their fill of “value-added” and overprocessed food, perhaps they can begin producing and consuming more food that treats animals and the land as if they mattered. Some of that food will be organic, and hooray for that. Meanwhile, they should remember that the word itself is not synonymous with “safe,” “healthy,” “fair” or even necessarily “good.”"
Bottom line: Good doesn't always have to be organic, and organic isn't always good.
Do I have to eat foods I don't like if I want to eat healthy?
A recent survey showed one in three Britons eat foods they don't like because they think it's good for them. The article quotes a nutritionist saying she is astonished that so many people don't realize there are other choices for nutrients than foods they don't like. For example, abhor spinach? Try beef or dried apricots to get iron. Bonus: iron from beef is even better absorbed than that from spinach so you might end up better off for it, at least as far as iron goes.
Bottom line: We don't have to eat what we don't like to be healthy. (Caveat: If we think we don't like anything but highly-processed food that's devoid of much in terms of good nutrition, we may need to work on changing our tastes. It's worth it!)
French women do get fat but fewer of them do than Americans.
I love to read someone who is talking about really appreciating good-tasting food; this wasn't about that. :) But it's where we can get to when we start paying attention to enjoying our food. Psychology Today featured an article with a title referring to the French paradox; it was a discussion of mindful eating comparing French and American eating habits. Has some useful tips for helping yourself slow down and start paying attention. So does our FitBriefing we wrote a while ago looking at the book French Women Don't Get Fat.
Bottom line: Enjoyment is not just in the taste of what we eat, but also in how we eat it and how we feel after doing so.
One more reason not to use weight-loss supplements.
To end this discussion about what we eat I thought I'd focus on what a lot of folks do to help them not eat: diet supplements. The Food and Drug Administration last week expanded its list of weight loss supplements that are tainted with drugs such as antidepressants, amphetamine, diuretics and experimental obesity drugs.
Bottom line: Not only do weight loss products represent quick weight-loss efforts that don't work for most (any?) folks, now they come with additional risks. Or maybe they did all along....
Have you recently read any interesting info about food and weight that's worth sharing?
March 19, 2009
Healthy Recipe: “Oven-Fried” Chicken Nuggets
Chicken nuggets are always a big hit, even with the picky eaters of the family. For kids and adults it's a yummy treat and, with this recipe courtesy of the American Cancer Society, you can feel confident that it's also a healthy one. The crunchy outside keeps the meat tender and moist. Who knew nuggets could be so good . . . and good for you?
Tip: Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper to speed cleanup.
Prep time: 15 minutes or less
Total time: 30 minutes or less
10 classic or whole grain Melba toasts (2 pouches)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch "nuggets"
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a food processor, pulse the Melba toast until pieces are about ⅛ inch in size, with some smaller and larger pieces. Don't over process. Add oil and pulse once or twice, or until crumbs are just moistened. (You can also use a rolling pin or a meat mallet to crush the toasts by hand in a zip-top bag. Then mix the oil and crumbs together in a bowl.) Transfer crumbs to a plate.
In a bowl, beat egg. Add mustard, oregano, salt, and garlic powder and beat to combine. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then in crumbs, pressing to coat all sides of the meat. Place on the rack.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
Photo by PurpleDinosaurr via flickr.
March 12, 2009
Healthy Recipe: Poached Pears in Cranberry Brandy
We're fans of blogger Joie de Vivre's healthy gourmet recipes. She's been dropping pounds since reading French Women Don't Get Fat. So it's true! You can eat like a queen, eat what you want and still lose weight. The secret is eating for pleasure. If you want to know more about this, check out our FitBriefing on how to emulate a healthy "European" lifestyle.
Joie shared her recipe for a scrumptious fruit dessert slow cooked in a crock pot. Enjoy!
Makes 8 servings
1 1/2 cups cranberries
8 pears, peeled, halved and cored
2/3 c. water
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. brandy
zest and juice of 1 lime
Whipped cream, to serve
1. In the insert of a 6 qt. crock pot, combine the cranberries, pears, water, sugars, brandy and zest and juice of lime. Stir gently to coat the pears.
2. Cover the crock pot and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours until the berries have burst and the pears are tender.
3. To serve, give each person two pear halves and some sauce. Pass the whipped cream to top.
Photo by Joie de Vivre.
March 05, 2009
Healthy Recipe: Acorn Squash Souffle
Do you balk at squash unless it's in a pumpkin pie? Preparing winter squash is surprisingly easy and the results are tasty and nutritious. This recipe for acorn squash souffle is courtesy of the American Diabetes Association's recipe generator, MyFoodAdvisor. Check out our upcoming women's program: Mastering Diabetes Through Lifestyle Change, in conjunction with the Joslin Diabetes Center. Early bookings get a discount!
1/2 cup cooked acorn squash
1/2 cup prepared and cooled mashed potatoes
1 egg, beaten
dash of black pepper
dash of salt
1 tsp butter or margarine
For a complete meal, serve with steamed green beans and a whole wheat roll.
1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Scoop the pulp from the squash into a small bowl.
2: Add the mashed potatoes, egg, pepper, and salt and blend well. Spoon the mixture into a small casserole dish.
3: Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly puffed and lightly browned. Add butter or margarine to taste.
Photo: Acorn squash by janeyhenning via flickr.
February 26, 2009
Healthy Recipe: Cinnamon Orange Pancakes
Find yourself skipping breakfast on a regular basis? By depriving yourself in the morning, you could be paying for it all day and may end up overeating later. With this recipe for Cinnamon Orange Pancakes, courtesy of the American Heart Association, you won't want to miss your a.m. meal. Is there anything better than warm pancakes on a blustery February morning?
(Makes 6 servings)
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon grated fresh orange zest
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 large egg, or egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg
Vegetable oil spray
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flours, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except the vegetable oil spray. Pour into the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Don't overmix.
Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Remove from the heat and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray (being careful not to spray near a gas flame).
Using a 1/4-cup measure, pour the batter onto the griddle. (You should have 12 pancakes.) Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the tops are bubbly and the edges are dry. Turn over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Photo by rstanek via flickr.
February 24, 2009
Healthy Eating: Flippity-Flop the Potassium and Salt
Cindy's taking some rare time down the first part of this week, but faithfully left this look at what we eat for me to post in her stead. Enjoy that massage, girl!
On average, Americans eat twice as much sodium (salt) as potassium, just too darn much of the stuff -- and much of it unknowingly. Since convenience is king, most Americans still buy lots of processed foods which contain oodles of sodium. If you're leaving the grocery store with most of your goodies in a can or box, it's highly likely you're consuming much more than the 2300 milligrams of sodium recommended by The American Dietetic Association.
The truth is, salt makes food taste better -- so what's a salt-lover to do?
Findings from a new study at Loyola University Chicago provide interesting insight into the intriguing and ever-sexy world of dietary minerals. Turns out encouraging a more intimate relationship between potassium and sodium may have some really important heart health benefits.
"Potassium and sodium are like peas in a pod, except they're in opposite pods," says epidemiologist Paul Whelton, president and chief executive of the Loyola University Health System in Chicago and one of the authors of the study. "This is the first study to show that the two together give you a benefit over and above what you can get with either one."
Healthy eating might mean simply consuming half as much sodium as potassium. The recommended daily intake of potassium is around 4,700 mg -- twice as much as sodium. But researchers speculate that more potassium may even 'soften the blow' of higher amounts of sodium. What are good sources of potassium? Fruits (especially dried fruits like apricots, raisins and dates), avocados, nuts, beans, potatoes (both white and sweet) and brightly-colored vegetables.
We read and review lots of studies here at A Weight Lifted, and more often than not, it comes back to what your grandma told your momma, and hopefully your momma told you , "Eat your fruits and vegetables, eat fresh, and use salt to taste -- preferably from your own hand."
February 19, 2009
Healthy Recipe: Tagine of Moroccan Vegetables and Chicken with Cous Cous
(Makes 4 servings)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup butternut squash cut in 1- inch chunks
1 1/2 cups diced canned tomatoes
16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut in 4 pieces)
1 cup zucchini, cut in 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons raisins
3/4 cup cous cous
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook stirring often, until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper and cook stirring, about 1 minute. Add carrots, squash and tomatoes and add enough water to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken, cover and continue to cook until the vegetables are just tender and the chicken is almost cooked. (about 15-20 minutes). Stir in the zucchini and raisins and continue to cook about 10 minutes or until all of the vegetable are tender.
Meanwhile in large sauce pan cook 3/4 cup of cous cous according to package directions. Toss with olive oil.
To serve spoon about 1/2 cup cous cous on a plate and top with 1 chicken breast piece and about 1 cup of vegetable mixture. Garnish with toasted almonds.
February 12, 2009
Healthy Recipe: Sesame Squash
Sesame seeds have been used in cooking for over 5,000 years, and it is still used extensively in all kinds of healthy recipes. The seeds themselves come in many sizes and colors as shown (photo right from seasamegrowers.org). Sesame seeds are not only a very good source of many nutrients, they also contain sesamin and sesamolin. Both of special beneficial fibers (called lignans) have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, prevent high blood pressure, and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. They're a small, tasty and potent healthy eating food!
1 1/4 lbs yellow crook neck squash or zucchini, sliced thin (1/8" to 1/4")
1/4 to 1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sesame seed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp Lemon Pepper (or less according to taste)
Cavenders Greek Seasoning to taste (Optional but good!)
Heat sesame oil in skillet over medium heat. Combine flour, sesame seed, lemon pepper, and Cavender's Greek Seasoning in plastic bag. Shake vigorously to mix. Combine egg, milk, salt and pepper; mix well. Place a few slices of squash at a time in egg/milk mixture then place in flour mixture and coat well. Fry in hot oil until both sides are nicely brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with more sesame seed.
February 05, 2009
Healthy Recipe: Asparagus and Roasted Pepper Salad with Toasted Pecans
Pecans, the only native nut in the United States, can actually double the cholesterol-lowering effectiveness of a traditional heart-healthy diet, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. That makes two great reasons to enjoy today's healthy recipe from the CA Pecan Growers Association. Enjoy this vegetable-rich salad with a sprinkle of pecans which as flair and a hearty crunch.
20 thin asparagus spears
12 oz. jar roasted peppers, preferably red and yellow mixed, drained
2/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sherry or wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. mixed salad greens
Break off tough ends of asparagus. Heat 1 inch of water to boiling in a deep skillet. Add asparagus and cook two minutes to blanch. Drain and transfer asparagus to bowl of ice water to quickly chill. Drain and set aside or wrap and refrigerate until serving.
In a medium bowl, stir together peppers, pecans, and basil. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and salt to blend; whisk in oil to make dressing. To serve, mound salad greens in center of serving platter; arrange asparagus in two clusters on opposite sides of greens. Spoon pecan mixture over greens and asparagus; drizzle dressing over all.