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March 31, 2006

The Feline Diet

A friend sent this little gem to me some time ago and I wish I knew who wrote it. (If anyone knows the author, please let me know). The important thing is, it always makes me smile. For all of you out there still struggling to find new ways to manage your weight, here’s a diet that may get you thinking less about food and more about your 'catitude'.



Breakfast: Open can of expensive gourmet cat food. Any flavor as long as it cost more the .75 per can -- and place 1/4 cup on your plate. Eat 1 bite of food; look around room disdainfully. Knock the rest on the floor. Stare at the wall for awhile before stalking off into the other room.

Lunch: Four blades of grass and one lizard tail. Throw it back up on the cleanest carpet in your house.

Dinner: Catch a moth and play with it until it is almost dead. Eat one wing. Leave the rest to die.

Bedtime snack: Steal one green bean from your spouse's or partner's plate. Bat it around the floor until it goes under the refrigerator. Steal one small piece of chicken and eat half of it. Leave the other half on the sofa. Throw out the remaining gourmet cat food from the can you opened this morning.


Breakfast: Picking up the remaining chicken bite from the sofa. Knock it onto the carpet and bat it under the television set. Chew on the corner of the newspaper as your spouse/partner tries to read it.

Lunch: Break into the fresh French bread that you bought as your part of the dinner party on Saturday. Lick the top of it all over. Take one bite out of the middle of the loaf.

Afternoon snack: Catch a large beetle and bring it into the house. Play toss and catch with it until it is mushy and half dead. Allow it to escape under the bed.

Dinner: Open a fresh can of dark-colored gourmet cat food -- tuna or beef works well. Eat it voraciously. Walk from your kitchen to the edge of the living room rug. Promptly throw up on the rug. Step into it as you leave. Track footprints across the entire room.


Breakfast: Drink part of the milk from your spouse's or partner's cereal bowl when no one is looking. Splatter part of it on the closest polished aluminum appliance you can find.

Lunch: Catch a small bird and bring it into the house. Play with on top of your down filled comforter. Make sure the bird is seriously injured but not dead before you abandon it for someone else to have to deal with.

Dinner: Beg and cry until you are given some ice cream or milk in a bowl of your own. Take three licks/laps and then turn the bowl over on the floor.


Breakfast: Eat 6 bugs, any type, being sure to leave a collection of legs, wings, antennae on the bathroom floor. Drink lots of water. Throw the bugs and all of the water up on your spouse's or partner's pillow.

Lunch: Remove the chicken skin from last night's chicken-to-go leftovers your spouse or partner placed in the trash can. Drag the skin across the floor several times. Chew it in a corner and then abandon.

Dinner: Open another can of expensive gourmet cat food. Select a flavor that is especially runny, like Chicken and Giblets in Gravy. Lick off all the gravy and leave the actual meat to dry and get hard.

Bon Appetit!

Cat courtesy of: static.flickr.com

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Posted by Cindy on March 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2006

Soba Noodle Salad

Sooo-ba healthy, heartwise and happenin'! Serve this soba noodle salad and your guests will rave about this Asian-inspired dish. Serve with grilled salmon with sesame glaze and a green vegetable such as snow peas for a fabulously different meal. 

(Makes 4 servings)

    1/3 cup orange juice
    2 teaspoons honey
    1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
    1 teaspoon minced ginger root
    2 cups cooked soba noodles
    1 cup bean sprouts
    1/2 cup sliced scallions

In a medium bowl, whisk together first six ingredients. Toss in remaining ingredients and serve.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Posted by Laura on March 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 29, 2006

Dieting & Canned Tuna: Confessions of a Food Safety Worrier

Tuna_fish_salad I seem to be on a food safety jag these days.  I don’t think I’m looking for things to worry about, but I do keep running into a lot of articles about the subject in the professional journals I read.  The one that grabbed my attention this week is about fish and mercury content. I posted a note about fish and mercury on this blog several months ago, but I totally forgot about it.  So assuming many of you did, too, I thought I write again on the subject.

The dieters and ex-dieters among us surely remember (and may still partake of) those endless lunches of canned tuna sans mayo over lettuce.  Canned tuna was a simple lunch and fairly satisfying, if you liked it.  Plus, tuna and other fish seemed to be just the food to help us reach healthy weights – rich in protein with the right kind of dietary fat that made the American Heart Association recommend eating fatty fish twice a week for heart health.

But in recent years, we’ve been warned away from eating too much tuna and other high-fat fish because of its mercury content.  Which, of course, made me worry how much mercury my body had accumulated from those years of tuna lunches (and dinners).  I don’t have any answer for that except to think that I should probably get tested to put my mind at ease, or to find I need to take some steps to detoxify – whatever those steps are.  I have no idea.

Aside from airing my neuroses, I thought readers might appreciate a look at how different fish rank in mercury content, as listed in an article in Nutrition Reviews titled “Too Much of a Good Thing? Update on Fish Consumption and Mercury Exposure.”  It was written by two seemingly credible folks – a professor with the Program in Neuroscience and the Department of Nutrition, Food & Exercise Sciences at Florida State University, and another PhD with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

It appears you can’t access the journal online without a subscription so I’ll just repeat the bottom line here.  It lists tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico (also known as golden snapper), mackerel from the Gulf (also known as gulf king mackerel), shark and swordfish as fish that should not be eaten by men or women (based on a 154-pound man and 110-pound woman.  Women weighing 100 pounds or less also apparently should avoid grouper, orange roughy and marlin.  If your weight is higher, you can probably feel safe eating those latter fish, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone eating the others, even if you do weigh more than 154 pounds.

Other fish – including tuna – appear to be okay to eat especially if fish is eaten in 3-ounce portions not more than twice a week.  If fish is eaten daily, fresh and canned albacore tuna falls off the list of okay to eat, as well as bluefish, Pacific croaker, saltwater bass, halibut, sable, snapper, monkfish, Spanish and south Atlantic mackerel and Atlantic tilefish.  Fish that are low in mercury (listed from lowest to highest) include whiting, ocean perch, fresh salmon, tilapia, sardines, freshwater haddock, freshwater trout, herring, mullet, catfish, Atlantic croaker, flounder/sole, North Atlantic mackerel, Pollack, squick, shad, whitefish, Pacific mackerel, cod, canned light tuna.  Lobster ranks up with bluefish in its mercury content, so it shouldn’t be eaten daily by women (as if).  Crab, crawfish, oysters, shrimp, clams and scallops are all fairly low in mercury.

Hope this post gives you some good info and doesn’t warn you off fish altogether!  The authors of the journal article did conclude that the AHA recommendation to eat at least two 3-ounce servings of fish a week was supported by their review.  They conclude with this recent advisory from the Environmental Protection Agency:

1)      Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish.

2)      Eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury; and

3)      Check state advisories about the safety of fish caught by individuals in local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.  If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but do not consume any other fish during that week.

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Posted by Marsha on March 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 28, 2006

Feeling Good Better than Weight Loss

Skip_1 Fit as a fiddle

Like a kid again

A million bucks

Full of P and V

These are terms that we use to describe feeling great in our bodies and minds. For a lot of us, it's been a long time since we've had anything like these phrases cross our minds or our lips. One of these phrases in particular sticks out to me...."Like a kid again."

Do you remember when you moved your body for fun, you rode your bike until you thought that you had two legs and two wheels as part of your body, you climbed because you could, you hung upside down from the monkey bars because it was thrilling, did somersaults or rolled down a hill just to see what it felt like, and practiced turning cartwheels while pretending to be in the Olympics?

Let's go a step further - do you remember when you ate because you were hungry, stopped when you were full, and didn't spend significant amounts of time thinking about food? And what about getting mad at your best friend - didn't you get it out, then celebrate making up by bouncing on the neighbors trampoline?

So what has happened to our ability to move, eat and think in a way that doesn't cause stress or strife, but joy? I guess that would be growing up and taking on more and more of other people's expectations, expecially in regard to the American obsession with "healthy eating," pre-occupation with acceptable body types, dieting for weight loss, exercise for weight loss, and thinking for weight loss.

Let's turn back the hands of the clock (or calendar :-) and do things because they make us feel good - making food choices that make our body and mind feel good, moving our body because it feels good to use it, and giving ourselves a break in the stress department. If you need more encouragement than just me, take a look at the article below about how kids view exercise and activity.

Now skip to my Lou my darling!

Kids exercise to feel good, not lose weight

By Amy Norton Thu Dec 8,10:15 AM ET 

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Children and young teens may be more likely to exercise if they're motivated by fun and fitness rather than weight concerns, a new study suggests.

In a study of 200 students (average age, 12-1/2 years) at one Pennsylvania middle school, researchers found that "personal fulfillment" was the only motivation to be active. That meant that kids tended to exercise for the sake of their health and athletic skills, and to simply feel good -- and not in order to shed pounds or to emulate their friends or parents. The findings, according to the study authors, point to a potential way to encourage more kids to exercise: highlight the fun and fitness.

It was something of a surprise that middle-schoolers would want to exercise for the health benefits and the pure enjoyment, study co-author Katie Haverly told Reuters Health.

One might expect that young adolescent girls, in particular, would be more motivated by weight loss, noted Haverly, who was with the State University of New York at Albany at the time of the study. She is now based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

But weight goals did not spur kids to exercise. In fact, personal fulfillment was the only factor that was important for all students, regardless of their weight. Even though overweight children put more value on weight loss than their thinner peers did, personal fulfillment was still a more important motivation to be active, according to findings published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Given the increasingly sedentary lifestyles U.S. children are leading, experts believe it's important to find new ways of motivating kids to get off the couch and away from the computer.

If kids are indeed motivated by health, skill-building and fun, then physical education in schools may be able to play a key role, according to Haverly. Not all kids have the athleticism or interest needed for organized sports, she pointed out, so it's important for them to have the chance to exercise in a non-competitive, health-focused way.

In addition, she noted, exposing kids to a range of activities in gym classes can help them find the ones that they enjoy and might stick with.

Haverly said she believes school administrators and government, through funding, should make physical education a greater priority.

SOURCE: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, December 2005.

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Posted by Gina V. on March 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 27, 2006

If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It

Friendswalk I was having a conversation with a girlfriend of mine this weekend. I use the term ‘conversation’ lightly, because what it really turned out to be was a debate. We’re both opinionated, this is true, but boy that girl sure likes to be right!

What were we talking about?  Our current fitness regimes.  ('Regime' being a word I abhor). Mine, a more integrated approach, hers having to do with her new devotion to a national fitness chain of the 30 minute circuit variety.  That being said, my point is this…why does it matter what exercise plan you’re involved with if it’s working for you?

For whatever the reason, when it comes to changing the way you eat, getting a new hairstyle, trying a new fitness activity, or any lifestyle change you might be trying to make, people are inclined to judge, criticize and/or advise.  I recognize that most of us believe we dish out our opinions from ‘the goodness of our heart’, but let us not forget that in reality unsolicited advice isn't always welcome. 

So, next time you feel the urge to offer up an opinion, maybe rethink your intent and say something someone really might like to hear:

‘Your dedication and hard work is impressive. Congratulations!’

‘I’m glad you found an exercise routine that you really enjoy, that's great!’ 

‘You’re really making positive changes – and it shows. Keep up the great work!’

‘Let’s go out and celebrate our success. I'm buying!’

My advice? Compliment and support. Celebrate each other’s success. Who cares how you got there?

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Posted by Cindy on March 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 24, 2006

National Women's History Project

National Women's History Project 25th Year Anniversary!
Among other things, March is National Women’s History Month.  And like the founders of the National Women's History Project, we believe that spreading the news about the achievements of women helps diminish the tendency to dismiss and trivialize who women are and focus instead on the incredible thngs they accomplish. Please witness the extraordinary achievements of the 2006 National Women’s History Month Honorees:

GutierrezJuana Gutierrez (b. 1933)
Political Activist and Community Organizer
Juana Gutierrez began her political activism by knocking on her neighbors’ doors. It was the beginning of her work to take back her community from outside interests. To give the community a powerful and effective voice, she organized the Madres de Este Los Angeles (MELASI).

HernandezAileen Hernandez (b. 1926)
Union Organizer and Human Rights Activist
Aileen Hernandez’s commitment to world-wide justice has been fueled by traveling and meeting with women throughout the world to gain a global perspective on humanitarian issues. Currently, she chairs the California Women's Agenda (CAWA), a network of 600 organizations dedicated to implementing the plan of action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995.

LadukeWinona LaDuke (b.1960)
Author and Environmentalist
Winona LaDuke has worked for nearly three decades on the land issues of the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota including litigation over land rights in the 1980's. She currently serves as the Director of Honor the Earth and Founding Director of White Earth Land Recovery Project.

MaranoCindy Marano (1947-2005)
Economic Justice Activist and Public Policy Visionary
Cindy Marano worked for 35 years to build a vision of economic equity for women and low-income workers. A brilliant strategic thinker, Marano focused on public policy issues, built legislative and government support, and engaged a network of national, state, and local organizations to help women and low-income workers fulfill their dreams. Many of her policies were adopted into federal law.

MolloyMary Aloysius Molloy (1880-1954)
Educator and Innovator
Mary Molloy, developed a rigorous four-year undergraduate curriculum for a women’s college, comparable to those used by colleges that educated men. In 1907, she set high standards for both scholarship and public service. The College of Saint Teresa rapidly grew into one of the premier Catholic colleges in the United States.

Nordhoff Nancy Skinner Nordhoff (b.1932)
Philanthropist and Environmentalist
Nancy Nordhoff , a hands-on philanthropist who has been a funder and advisor the driving force in the Women’s Funding Alliance of Seattle for over 25 years. Nordhoff generously puts her money, time, and energy into visionary projects. These include Hedgebrook, a retreat center for women to write their stories, and an organization and retreat that supports and encourages women to write their stories and Bayview Corner, a model of environmental integrity, economic development, and community revitalization.

PreviteMary Taylor Previte (b. 1932)
Pioneer and Advocate for Juvenile Justice
Mary Taylor Previte passed on the survival skills she learned from her seven years as a Prisoner of War in a Japanese prison camp during World War II to the children of America’s urban wars. Her profound belief in humanity and her ability to communicate positively with youth made the Camden County Youth Center for ages 14 to 17 a national model.

SoskinBetty Reid Soskin (b. 1921)
Cultural Anthropologist and Writer
Betty Reid Soskin’s deep, ingrained sense of culture, place, and purpose are obvious in the way she lives her life. Helping to make our history authentic, she persuaded the Rosie the Riveter/ World War II Home Front National Historical Park to acknowledge the role of Black neighborhoods surrounding the Richmond, California site, which had been bulldozed after the war.

TsukamatoMary Tsukamato (1915-1998)
Educator, Writer, and Cultural Historian
Mary Tsukamoto’s ultimate decision to become a teacher was heavily influenced by teachers in her early life who helped fund her college education. Tsukamoto’s family was interned in rural prison camps during World War II. This internment experience defined much of her life as a teacher and a leader. She worked tirelessly to secure the U.S. government apology and compensation for those who had been interned.

Vanlandingham Marian Van Landingham (b. 1937)
Artist and Community Leader
Marion Van Landingham, with her belief that artistic expression is central to the health of a community, convinced the City of Alexandria, Virginia, to support her vision of an innovative partnership between the city and 185 artists. Her plan created the Torpedo Factory Art Center, which now serves as the anchor of Alexandria’s revitalized waterfront and a beacon of culture and community.

Source: The National Women's History Project
Email: [email protected] 

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Posted by Cindy on March 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2006

Chicken with Truffles

To celebrate Women's History Month, here is a recipe from one of the first - if not THE FIRST - famous female chefs in french cuisine: Eugénie Brazier.  Born in the "Gastronomic Capital" of Lyon in 1895, Eugénie was put into the service of a wealthy family at a young age, taking over for a cook who had fallen ill. When she showed promise, La Mère Brazier (as reknowned female chefs were called) finished an apprenticeship, started two restaurants in Lyon and became the first female chef to earn 3 Michelin stars for each establishment in 1933.  To be awarded a total 6 stars is truly a rare honor for even today!

Chicken with Truffles Recipe

Voila le 'Volaille Demi-Deuil'! Literally translated, this dish means 'Chicken in half-mourning,' but it is also called called Black and White Chicken since the white meat makes an excellent contrast with the black truffles. It will definately make an impact on your plate and palette! The thin slices of truffle are slid underneath the skin and then the chicken is poached.

    4 lb. free-range chicken, rinsed and patted dry
    1 truffle, very thinly sliced
    3 carrots, peeled and cut in half
    6 leeks, washed, green parts removed. Tie the white parts into a bundle
    8 cups chicken stock

To serve:
    Dijon mustard
    fleur de sel

Gently loosen the chicken skin of the breast and thighs, being careful not to tear the skin.

Insert the truffle slices under the sking along each breast and over each thigh.  Secure the loose ends of fabric under the wings and thighs with kitchen string.

Wrap the chicken in a large piece of cheescloth. Smooth it over the chicken and secure the loose ends of fabric under the wings and thighs with kitchen string.

Pour the chicken stock into a large Dutch oven and add the chicken, carrots and leeks. The stock should just cover the chicken.

Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Remove from the heat and set aside, still covered, for 30 minutes.

Lift out the chicken, remove the cheescloth. Remove the leeks and untie.

To Serve:

Put the chicken on a serving platter. Arrange the carrots and leeks around the chicken. Serve with the mustard, cornichons and fleur-de-sel.

Note: Pictures and recipe courtesy of CuisineAZ.com

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Posted by Laura on March 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 22, 2006

Paying by the Pound

Dollar Well, I'm speechless today - I'm going to let this article from Reuters speak for itself...

Hotel charges guests by the pound Mon Mar 20, 10:39 AM ET

A hotel in northern Germany has started charging its guests by the kilo for an overnight stay.

In the town of Norden, close to the Dutch border, guests now have to step onto the scales before moving into their rooms and fork out half a euro ($0.61) per kilogram (2.2 lbs).

"I had many guests who were really huge and I told them to slim down," said Juergen Heckrodt, owner of the three-star establishment. "When they came back the year after and had lost a lot of weight they asked me what are you gonna do for me now?"

Heckrodt said he hoped his initiative would inspire Germans to become leaner and healthier.

"Healthy guests live longer and can come back more often."

Larger customers may be reassured that the hotel turns no one away who refuses to step on the scales and charges no guest more than 39 euros, the normal single room price.

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Posted by Gina V. on March 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 21, 2006

Healthy Eating: Does Organic Pay?

Fruits_veggies Healthy eating is critical for healthy weights, but it sure can get confusing just what healthy eating is sometimes.  One example:  I’ve always been kind of on the fence about organic foods.  On the one hand, fruits and veggies grown with pesticides often look better than the organic variety.  And, of course, they cost less.  But the mother in me wonders whether feeding my kids (and myself) the pesticide version is really good for them (me). 

“Expert’ advice often doesn’t reassure me that much.  Maybe it’s because the advice changes according to the ‘expert.’  But I look for reassurance where I can get it.  The nutritionist at my trusted coop recently published an article talking about the science and concluded that produce grown with pesticides is safe and encouraged eating a wide variety of vegetables for health and healthy weights. But I really appreciated the article by Consumer Reports titled “When buying organic pays (and doesn’t).”  It categorizes foods into “buy these items organic as often as possible,” “Buy these items organic if price is no object,” and “Don’t bother buying these items organic.”  It uses some clear science – USDA lab testing results – for categorizing produce and some logical thinking to sort out other foods.

I will weigh in with the coop nutritionist and say that I believe eating plenty and a wide variety of vegetables are more important to health than whether they’re organic or not.  But sometimes the details can make us feel better psychologically and maybe even physically.

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Posted by Marsha on March 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2006

Healthy Aging and REACHING 50

I was watching Dr. Michael Roizen, author of “The Real Age Diet”, “You - The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger” and "The Real Age Makeover", this weekend on my local PBS channel talking about his popular aging theories. So, of course, like anyone I wanted to know how old am I, really?  Like most of us, I think I’m still 25, but on some days I feel every day of 49! 

So, for all of you out there (like me), about to reach another milestone, here are some views on aging from the granddaddy of observational comedy… 

                                  A View on Aging, By George Carlin

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids?

If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?"  "I'm four and a half!"

You're never thirty-six and a half.  You're four and a half, going on five!  That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back.  You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm GONNA be 16!"  You could be 13, but hey, you're GONNA be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life . . . You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony…you become 21.  Yes!!!

But then you TURN 30.  Ooooh, what happened there?  Makes you sound like bad milk! 
He TURNED; we had to throw him out. 

There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling.  What's wrong?  What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40.  Whoa!  Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50!
And your dreams are gone.

But wait!!!  You MAKE it to 60.  You didn't think you would.

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!  After that it's a day-by-day thing;
you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch;
you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.  And it doesn't end there.  Into
the 90's, you start going backwards;

"I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens.  If you make it over 100, you become a
little kid again.  "I'm 100 and a half!"

May we all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

For other books by Dr. Roizen see About RealAge

For other George Carlin fans check out his site at GeorgeCarlin.com

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Posted by Cindy on March 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack