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February 14, 2007

When Emotional Eating Helps: Snowstorms, Valentines & Good Food

Steak_dinner There's a huge snowstorm here today, school is cancelled, and it's Valentine's, too.  The combination just makes me want to snuggle down to a nice day inside, cooking some great food to keep us warm and feeling cozy and comforted. 

Some might say that's a definition of emotional eating, and I guess it is.  But emotional eating is part of normal eating.  Take the famous definition of normal eating by Ellyn Satter, pioneer in the area: "Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad, bored, or just because it feels good."

The black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking that says we shouldn't ever eat emotionally can set us up for overdoing it.  And indeed, when we begin to overdo emotional eating, that's when it begins to hurt.  And when we need to start using other ways to take care of ourselves.

But if you're like me, caught inside on a cold, cold day in the midst of a blizzard, and a good meal seems just the way to end this Valentine's Day, go for it.  We need to eat, and making our meal a celebration of our emotional connections is perfect! 

If you're in some other part of the world where it's sunny and warm, and a good meal seems just the way to end your Valentine's Day, ditto.  Valentine's Day is about love, and what better way to love than to provide our loved ones, including ourselves, with a nourishing, good-tasting meal that hits the spot.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Posted by Marsha on February 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2007

Dangerous Beauty

Dangerous_1 In the wake of Madrid’s fashion week controversial ban on underweight models, and the recent publicized death from anorexia of a Latin American model, the fashion industry and the media went into a short lived frenzy of self reflection asking, what is too thin?

The Chelsea Museum has created an exhibition, Dangerous Beauty, that investigates and challenges society’s ideal of beauty and the designer body created and supported by mass consumerism. Many of the artists selected capture the anxiety of this beauty-centered society and raise questions on the human impact of living in the glare of images that, without manipulation, may have no human incarnation. The exhibition aims to raise questions about the mass ideology of beauty and explore the connections between beauty and violence, the phobia of aging, issues of self-perception and the element of power inherent in an “ideal.”

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: Nelly Agassi, Beth B, Nicola Costantino, Jacob Dahlgren, Davis and Davis, E V Day, Martin C.De Waal, Daniella Dooling, Ruud Van Empel, Sylvie Fleury, Lauren Greenfield, Margi Geerlinks, Kirsten Geisler, Micha Klein, Paul Knight, Barbara Kruger, Rachael Lachowitz, Assi Meshullam, Marilyn Minter, Joshua Neustein, Erwin Olaf, Orlan, Patricia Piccinini, Tom Sanford, Gae Savannah, Joan Semmel and Joseph Stashkevetch.

Chelsea Art Museum
Home of the Miotte Foundation
556 West Street
(At 11th Avenue)
New York, NY 10011

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Posted by Gina V. on February 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 12, 2007

The Answer Isn't In a Pill

I was going to let this newest weight loss pill go. Why add to the mishagas around something that, in my view, adds no value whatsoever to anyone engaged in healthy lifestyle change? Especially, if that change includes efforts towards managing weight. Well, here I go anyway.

Allie, is the first FDA approved weight loss drug available without a perscription. The drug is developed by GlaxoSmithKline. What does Allie actually do? Well, according to the FDA, for every 4 or 5 pounds someone might lose through diet and exercise, Alli might help them lose a couple more.

Alli is basically Orlistat or Xenical only in a much milder dose (60mg). Basically, the same properties hold true. Ingesting the drug prohibits a percentage of fat to be digested allowing it to pass through the intestine saving you a few calories here and there.

There are problems with Alli. Besides flatulence, embarrassing anal leakage and unexpected trips to the bathroom, is its allure for young consumers desperate to lose weight, who are less likely to educate themselves on what they’re ingesting. After all, if it’s sold in a pharmacy, it must work, right?  Isn’t using a drug like Alli or Xenical in some way a form of purging? I fear the use of this drug could easily be abused, especially by those who struggle with binge eating. 

Here’s the kicker, according to the Wall Street Journal, the FDA has approved OTC use of Alli only for overweight adults when they combine use of the pill with a program that includes a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet and an exercise program.

Huh? And how are they going to police that? And if you are already being encouraged to follow a low fat diet (what’s low fat to some may be non-fat to others), what’s going to happen to the minimal amount of fat you’re putting in your body? We need healthy fats.

There are so many things wrong with this. Alli isn’t going to get to the root of any problem. It isn’t even a very effective weed killer. I hope we can all just step back for a moment, think about it and use a little common sense.

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Posted by Cindy on February 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 09, 2007

Healthy Eating Is Better With Chocolate

Some things are worth repeating. Forrest Gump’s mama said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” But we do know one thing - chocolate can be good for us.

Chocolate is still a high-fat treat and best consumed judiciously. However, nature in its wisdom, rewards our desire for this heavenly delight by delivering healthy antioxidants, in some cases more than red wine, blueberries or black tea. The darker the better.

So what's the magic in dark chocolate? The lant phenols, or cocoa phenols, are highest in dark chocolate and provide the most benefit to our blood vessels, which in turn lowers our blood pressure. We know this because in 2006, researchers at a American Society of Hypertension Annual Scientific Meeting in New York, reported that consuming dark chocolate and cocoa improves the function of blood vessels.

So with Valentines Day just around the corner, go ahead and ask for chocolate. Savor each piece mindfully, because you’re worth it! 

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Source – WebMD

Posted by Cindy on February 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 08, 2007

10 Minute Fresh Berry Dessert with Yogurt & Chocolate

Valentine's Day is around the corner!  Why not indulge without compromising your healthy living lifestyle? This 10 minute dessert combines some of your favorite flavors - chocolate and strawberries - in a quick and easy way that is rich tasting, yet it provides for healthier eating than many desserts. The chocolate is a great complement to berries and yogurt. So set the mood and be decadent with that special someone! Healthy recipe from the World's Healthiest Foods.

Serves 2

1 basket fresh raspberries or strawberries
8oz low fat vanilla yogurt
2 oz melted dark chocolate

  1. Fold together yogurt and berries.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler with heat on medium. Place berries and yogurt in individual bowls and drizzle with melted chocolate.

    * For a more formal presentation you may want to pour a pool of yogurt on a plate and place berries on top of pool. Drizzle chocolate over berries.

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 February 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 07, 2007

Tired of Struggling With Your Weight? Throw Away The Scale!

My favorite e-letter has come to my rescue again.  It’s the DailyOM e-letter I signed up for a while ago, and have mentioned several times on this blog.  This time, the message was about throwing away the scale.  It spoke to me because I’ve recently found myself paying too much attention to it.  I experienced a bit of weight loss last fall as the result of an allergy elimination diet, and liked feeling lighter.  And my clothes fit better.  In an effort to stay that way, I thought I’d just weigh myself once a week – something I haven’t done in years, ever since I quit dieting and started living and eating mindfully.  Well, weighing once a week became more often.  And then it started dictating the way I felt that day.  And how I was feeding myself.  Needless to say, it hasn’t been a pleasant detour from sanity.

So just in time, a DailyOM arrives to remind me that ‘each of us is equipped to gauge our relative healthfulness without any equipment whatsoever.  When we have achieved a state of wellness, we feel buoyant and energetic.  Some of us are naturally slim, while others will always be curvy.  No matter what our weight, we can use the cues we receive from our physical and mental selves to judge how healthy we really are.  When you throw away your scale, you commit to a lifestyle that honors the innate wisdom that comes from within your body and within your mind…If you have concerns regarding your weight, remind yourself that at its proper weight, your body will feel buoyant and agile.”  Hey, that’s right – that’s what I liked about losing weight last fall!  It’s the feelings, not the number! 

Words for the wise.  The really wise.  Which I like to think I’m getting closer to being as time goes on.  So the scale is back out the door for me.  The only reason I have one in my home in the first place is because my brother-in-law gave it to us when he closed his medical office.  It’s buried in the basement, although it’s one of those industrial looking things that’s really hard to bury.  I can easily find it, but usually the only reason I need to is to weigh my bags before a plane trip.  Now that’s what it’s going to be doing again.

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(Posted by Cindy for Marsha Hudnall)

Posted by Cindy on February 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 06, 2007

Listen to the Symphony

Symphony20orchestra20group Over the weekend I was in a Whole Foods Market (lucky you if you’ve got one near you) and I overheard one of the employees answering a question about the “hot” in peppers. I came into hearing range mid-sentence but the answer is just as good as an example.... “you know the Bose people? They do the same kind of demonstration about sound in their stores –sound can be reproduced from speakers, but lacks the depth and breadth of a live performance because only one type of sound wave – direct – is represented. They add reflected sound, and the experience becomes like a live performance.” (I didn’t know that either – and where does Whole Foods get guys that know this stuff???). He continued, “in the same way, while we know what makes peppers taste hot, extracting that substance and using it doesn’t recreate the experience of eating and tasting a hot pepper, it’s ALL the stuff in the pepper that makes a pepper not only hot, but taste like a pepper.”

Wow – I thought – this guy is brilliant! He’s come up with an example that is easy to understand, and that I can use in trying to describe to women that are having difficulty imagining what Green Mountain at Fox Run is like. Since real lifestyle change (the kind that sticks) is very experiential – like listening to music – listing a bunch of classes and workshops doesn’t convey the message of how the change happens, any more than single notes can tell you what a symphony sounds like.

Hearing about feeding yourself well is a start, but the spark of change doesn’t get ignited until you walk into the dining room, and experience eating a meal that leaves you fully satiated without feeling stuffed. When this happens over several days, and you find yourself having more energy, able to work better and harder at fitness activities, able to stay awake in the afternoon then you’ve really learned something. When you pull on your pants and find that they want to fall down when you stand up, that’s another piece of the experience – it’s just not all the experience.

I’m trying to integrate “orchestral” thinking into my life in response to the trend in reductionism in thinking that’s been going on for quite some time (think back before “soundbite” was a term we all knew). When you want to hear all the music that your body’s orchestra plays, sometimes you need some help in getting quiet enough to hear the melody. Keep listening for all the music, not just one note.

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Posted by Gina V. on February 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 05, 2007

Healthy Living - Take a Walk For Breast Cancer

As many of you may know, one of the great ones succumbed to breast cancer last Wednesday, at the age of 62. Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins (August 30, 1944 – January 31, 2007) was an American newspaper columnist, political commentator and best-selling author from Austin, Texas.

Hundreds of newspapers subscribed to Molly’s syndicated column. She was well known for her liberal views and her well known populist humor. Ivins' illness never seemed to curb her ability to deliver biting one-liners.

"I'm sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person," she said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News in September.

She also told them, even when she was battling cancer and Karl Rove, that they should relish the lucky break of their consciences and their conflicts. Speaking truth to power is the best job in any democracy, she explained. 

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, and rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."

When asked about her illness Molly replied,

"I don’t need get-well cards, but I would like the beloved women readers to do something for me: Go get the damn mammogram done."

Far be it from me to argue with the mighty and magnificent Molly. Register, Volunteer, or Donate Today! Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Good things come to those who walk! Here are the 2007 Weekends:

Washington D.C. - May 5/6
Boston - May 19/20
Chicago – June 2/3
Denver – June 23/24
San Francisco – July 7/8
Los Angeles – September 15/16
New York – October 6/7
Charlotte – October 20/21

Source:Susan G. Komen For The Cure, npr.org

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Posted by Cindy on February 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2007

Healthy Aging – A Half Century of Beauty

I thought it was time to give a few shout outs to advertisers and cosmetic companies for embracing older women in their recent advertising campaigns. I’m sure this has more to do with the growing demographic shift in the marketplace than anything, as early baby boomers begin to hit 60 and Gen X-ers creep up on 40. But one thing’s for sure, women in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s will not go quietly into the night – and that’s a good thing.

Just last week three 50+ actresses became Academy Award nominees for best actress. They are Meryl Streep, 57; Helen Mirren, 66; and Judi Dench, 71. None of which seem to have gone under the surgeon’s knife and all of which seem to have embraced their body types and not succumbed to Hollywood pressure, but let their talent do the talking.

Recently, several fashion houses and cosmetic companies have jumped into the mid-century market. L’Oreal for Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda - 61 and 69, respectively. (Two originals, that’s for sure). The eternally sexy Catherine Deneuve, 63, and Raquel Welch, 65, for M.A.C. Animal rights activist and Golden Globe winner, Kim Basinger, 53, for Prada; MENSA member Sharon Stone, 48, for Dior; Academy Award winner and political activist Susan Sarandon, who believe it or not just hit 60, representin’ for Revlon and finally, Christie Brinkley, 52, still a Cover Girl.

I appreciate not everyone is born with the bone structure of Catherine Deneuve or Sharon Stone, and maybe we don't have the body of Susan Sarandon at 60, or the financial resources of any of the lovely ladies mentioned above, but they are all women who represent what it ‘feels’ like to be over 50. They remind the world that it’s not all over just because you hit 40.

Yes, I suspect these new ‘business partnerships’ came about because there’s a huge audience for their products. We’re perceived as motivated and we have the money to spend. BUT, if it gets women of ‘a certain age’ noticed for the beautiful, vibrant, imaginative, passionate creatures that they are and can be, that’s a win in my book.

Source: For more on this topic, check out this recent article by Anita Creamer of The Sacramento Bee. Anita’s article was the resource for the list of women above.

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Posted by Cindy on February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2007

Walnut Stuffed Salmon

Walnut Stuffed Salmon

Got your red on?

Or - in the case of salmon - pink? If you've read Monday's post, Healthy Lifestyles – National Wear Red Day, you may be inspired to make this next heart-healthy recipe from California Walnuts. Those 'nuts' say "this entree packs a 'mega punch' with walnuts and salmon both being rich in omega 3 fatty acids."  Plus, brown rice and spinach bring balance and flavor, which will make this heart-shaped meal let the real thing know just how much you care.

(Makes 4 servings)

2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup shredded old Cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped California walnuts (or other available brand)
1 pound salmon fillet, skinned and pin bones removed

In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, spinach, salt and pepper and cook until spinach starts to wilt, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.  Add cooked rice to spinach and stir in lemon zest until well combined. 
Spread spinach mixture evenly over salmon and sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Roll up gently using toothpicks or butcher’s twine to secure.  Place salmon on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake in 375° oven until fish is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.  Transfer to cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with steamed seasonal vegetables or green salad.

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 February 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack