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January 31, 2007

Childhood Obesity & Kid Power

Eating_spaghetti A refreshing article on feeding children recently appeared in the pages of Newsweek.  Titled  “Not Hungry?  No Problem,” it’s an article about a new booklet produced by a nonprofit group named Zero to Three. You can get a free copy of the booklet“Healthy from the Start”  by going to Zero to Three’s website. 

The feeding advice given in the booklet is intended to help with the problem of childhood obesity.  Unlike the all-too-common advice about carefully controlling a child’s eating, this booklet appears to recommend the more progressive approach that encourages parents to let children make decisions based on the child’s inner cues.  Parents provide the food choices, and the child makes the decision whether he or she will eat or not and how much.  This is advice first served up by Ellyn Satter, a pioneering child feeding expert, and someone worth listening to.  Basically, she advises parents to take charge of their children’s food, allowing all things in moderation, but let children take charge of their eating.  That is, encourage children to listen to their bodies and decide what’s right for them.

If only we had all started eating mindfully in the first three years of life.  Actually, a lot (most?) of us probably did.  Then we fell victim to pressures to be thin, or to our hectic lifestyles that just don’t blend well with mindfulness.  Either way, we can become mindful again.  And reap the same benefits we hope for children who are just starting out.  Our ‘start’ can be any day.  One of the attitudes of mindfulness is ‘beginner’s mind,’ to "see the present moment, cultivate a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time and be open to new possibilities" (that from mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn).

It’s like finding the child in ourselves again.

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Posted by Marsha on January 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack


January 30, 2007

Making the Connection

Dsc_5889_1 I started thinking more seriously about that term “making the connection.” Excluding travel agents, it’s not a phrase that I hear others use often – I think Oprah uses it in someway (never have seen her show or read her magazine, no kidding), and I use the phrase to describe part of the process of getting your life in balance…but what does it actually mean in words (I know in feelings, but don’t think I’d be able to describe it).

I did the internet-pokey, and came across a discussion about handling stress that sheds some light on what “making a connection” connotes to me – I found it interesting and enlightening, and hope you do to.

Apparently, those that handle stress better than others have something called “hardiness” by psychologist that gives them the ability to ride through stress. The personality factors that stand out in stress-hardy people are love of challenge, commitment and control. In the following descriptions of each factor, I find that “making the connection” is well defined. Here is the list for your review.

  • Having a strong commitment to self, work, family, and their personal values. A strong sense of commitment allows people to see problems through without being too disrupted by stress.
  • Having a sense of control over their lives. They know they cannot control every detail of their lives (for instance, their supervisor's personality), but they see where they do have control, such as their reaction to their supervisor's personality.
  • Generally seeing change as a challenge rather than a threat. Change is inevitable. When change is viewed as a threat, stress levels rise. By viewing change as a challenge, stress-hardy people avoid the stress associated with threats.
  • Participating in activities that promote creativity and their own uniqueness.
  • Having a strong network of support and close relationships. Believing you are alone in the world makes the effects of everyday stress much worse.

These descriptions are found multiple places on the internet, so giving proper credit is a little hard.

If you’re interested in this topic, you can search under "hardiness" or “stress hardiness.”

Cheers!

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Posted by Gina V. on January 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


January 29, 2007

Healthy Lifestyles – National Wear Red Day

February is upon us, and it’s for lovers!  I’ll admit I lost a little of my squee for Valentine's Day once we stopped passing out the little glittery cards that said, ‘Be My Valentine’ and ‘Will You Be Mine’, always accompanied with a boxes of candied hearts professing the same sentiment - now, that was romantic! 

But, regardless of where you stand on February 14th, there’s no ignoring we’re moving into one of the most romantic months of the year…traditionally known for chocolate, flowers and maybe even a hot date or two. And even if you're not expecting to receive a big box of chocolate covered cherries, there’s still something else you can get behind - National Wear Red Day!

Celebrate with women from all over the country and sport your favorite red ensemble on February 2, 2007. Maybe not as sexy as a dozen red roses, but what could be more important than having a healthy heart?  All the better to love someone with…

The American Medical Women's Association states that heart health can be greatly improved with awareness of heart disease risk and our willingness to reduce those risks. Like most things regarding healthy lifestyle change, the earlier you start, the greater the benefit.  So, why not start today? Lifestyle improvements each of us can follow include finding pleasurable physical activity that you enjoy and will continue to do regularly – because you love it.  Efforts made toward reaching and then maintaining your own healthy weight, which features normal eating (while paying attention to low cholesterol, low saturated fat diet, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables) and managing life stresses and positive thinking.  Nothing, new there!

In honor of our hearts, this coming month we’ll try to focus some of our posts around tips, news, resources and best practices, in relationship to your heart health…and maybe even a little bit on romance, just for fun!

PinoncreamThe Red Dress Pin is the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. To purchase your pin, find a special offer HERE.

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Posted by Cindy on January 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


January 26, 2007

More on the 15-Minute Miracle

Warholmp1 Previously I wrote about the relief of giving yourself permission to do something for just a short time, The 15-Minute Miracle.

That's the first step, realizing that it's okay to do something even if it's not perfect.

I've been working hard to keep that kind of relief in the front of my mind. In addition, I've been subscribing to "No Chaos" living...one of my favorite supports for that is "Real Simple" magazine and website. They've read my mind with their "15-minute" series...here is an excerpt and link to the 15-minute Workouts.

"Try adding one of the following workouts to your day, or mix it up and do a different one each day of the week: Hop on an exercise ball, practice yoga, do strength exercises, walk briskly, jump rope, and watch those little bursts add up to big gains." from Real Simple

The Workouts
  • Exercise Ball Workout 
  • Yoga Workout 
  • Strength Workout 
  • Walking Workout 
  • Jumping Rope Workout
  • Enjoy the weekend in more than 15-minute intervals - but remember you can work in anything if it's just 15-minutes you're committing to!

    (For those of you that might not get my oblique choice of artwork - those are the Campbell's Soup Cans that were made famous by Andy Warhol, who also coined the term, "15 minutes of fame.")

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    Posted by Gina V. on January 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


    Polenta with Artichoke-Caper Sauce

    Polenta has gone upscale! Once a peasant food made of corn meal mush (hailing back to Roman times), polenta is still a staple in northern Italy and many other countries. You may have tried it before and found it bland, but I assure you this low fat flavorful and healthy recipe will tempt even the most trepid tasters.

    Recipe from: The Low Fat Vegetarian Recipe Archive
    Picture on right is an Italian painting by Longhi, Pietro (ca 1702-1785) entitled "Pouring the Polenta."

    1 package of polenta mix
    1 onion, chopped (or 1 bunch green onions, chopped)
    1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    6 artichoke hearts, cut in half
    1 lb. pureed roma tomatos
    1 tablespoon capers
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    1 teaspoon fresh oregano
    salt and pepper to taste
    6 ounces fat free mozzarella - shredded or sliced
    fat free parmesean

    Make polenta and pour into an 8x8 pan that has been sprayed with PAM.  Set aside to cool down. "Saute" onion and garlic in a little water until soft.   Add bell peppers, and artichoke hearts, and then pour over passata.  Stir to blend.  Add capers, oregano and salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Turn the cooled polenta out onto a cutting board, and cut into bite-sized cubes.  Put some of the cooked sauce on the bottom of a shallow baking dish.  Place polenta cubes in a layer over the sauce, and then top with the mozzarella.  Put the remaining sauce on top of the mozzarella layer and then sprinkle with some parmesean.  Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

    For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites.

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    Posted by Laura on January 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


    January 24, 2007

    Stress Overeating

    Stressed I get Sally Squires’ column in the Washington Post emailed to me each week, so that’s one reason I refer to her work a lot on this blog.  The other is that she definitely covers topics of interest.  Not always in the way I’d like to see them covered, but that’s not unusual!

    Her column this week had to do with stress and eating.    I was particularly taken by this excerpt from her article:

    Nyers gets up at 3:45 a.m. and begins her commute from Southern Maryland at 4:45 a.m. She doesn't get home until 12 hours later.

    I know it’s easy for me to say because I’m no longer a part of the rat race, but a schedule like that, well…the person interviewed for this article is talking about how she gets the urge for a sweet snack in the middle of the afternoon.  I think she deserves one if that’s what she wants!

    Before I get any strong reactions to that last comment, let me say first that it’s generally accepted that a carbohydrate craving in the middle of the afternoon in itself will not make or keep anyone fat.  Usually there’s a lot of ‘stuff’ surrounding that snack that leads to overeating when it happens, and it’s not necessarily the stress of work or long hours (I’m really talking about attitudes and beliefs that get in the way of us eating what we want in moderation).  Plus, I’d love to see what the rest of that person’s day looks like in terms of eating.  Is she eating enough?  Is it balanced?

    But it’s likely the bottom line really has a lot to do with what Sally has identified – a stressful lifestyle that would create problems for most of us in terms of eating and probably a lot of other things, too!

    One of the things I dearly wish for my children is that they don’t get caught up in this stereotypically American lifestyle.  Even if they have to move elsewhere to avoid it.  It’s plain just not good for us!

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    Posted by Marsha on January 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack


    January 23, 2007

    What Was She Thinking?

    Gisele Bundchen has now opened her mouth to insert foot over the growing debate around anorexia and high fashion modeling by saying possibly the stupidest thing I've heard in a long time. The 26 year old says, families are to blame for anorexia - not the fashion industry.

    "I never suffered this problem because I had a very strong family base," the supermodel told a local Brazilian newspaper on Friday. "The parents are responsible, not fashion."

    Huh?

    "Everybody knows the standard for models is to be thin, but you can't generalise and say that all models are anorexic."

    Now who's generalizing, Gisele? Such damaging statements by a fashion icon, stating that unsupportive families cause anorexia nervosa only perpetuates misconceptions and further stigmatize eating disorders. By the way, four women in Gisele's home country of Brazil died last month from anorexia, including 21-year-old model Ana Carolina Reston.

    Sometimes it really is better to be seen and not heard.

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    Posted by Cindy on January 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


    January 22, 2007

    When Words Hurt

    Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me...

    Of course, we know that’s not true. Embracing negative self talk can derail us from even our simplest efforts when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes. So, we can imagine (and perhaps even remember), what it’s like to experience the worst type of negative talk, insults and even bullying every single day.

    In an effort to eliminate name calling from schools and communities, No Name Calling Week is celebrating its 4th year - running today through the 26th of January.

    No Name Calling Week was originally created to focus national attention on the problem of name calling in schools and to provide students and teachers with the tools and inspiration to launch an on going dialogue about ways to eliminate name calling in their communities.

    The program has the backing of groups from the Girl Scouts to Amnesty International. If you’re interested in creating a no name calling week in your school, you will find all the information and your complete kit, here.

    Image website

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    Posted by Cindy on January 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


    January 19, 2007

    America the Beautiful

    America Ferrera wins the Golden Globe for "Ugly Betty". Ugly Betty also won for best comedy. For mothers and young women out there looking for role models in a sea of spoiled, privledged starlets who seem to spend so much time partying they forget where they put their underwear, this 22 year old beauty is the real deal - a real American beauty….

    America wins the Golden Globe:
    http://tinyurl.com/2rtro3

    America being interviewed after her win:
    http://tinyurl.com/3dfj6o

    For more information regarding young women and positive images in Hollywood visit: Turn Beauty Inside Out - Mind on the Media.

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    Posted by Cindy on January 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack


    January 18, 2007

    Very Veggie Soup

    A hearty hot soup on a cold winter day can’t be beat. But making it might take more time than we’ve always got. Try these ideas for a tasty and healthy soup in only minutes. A little creativity and a few extra ingredients can add extra nutrition and turn canned vegetable soup into a real treat! Check out the Green Mountain at Fox Run website for two other super soups: Tomato with Basil and Cheddar Cheese and Corn Chowder with Chicken and Broccoli (shown above).

    (Makes 4 servings)

      1 18.5- ounce can of vegetable soup
      1 15-ounce can of black beans,drained
      1 8-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes (or other diced tomatoes)
      1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
      1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
      Salt and pepper to taste

    Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan and simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors. Serve.

    For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites.

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    Posted by Laura on January 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack