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June 29, 2007

Healthy Eating - Corn on the Cob

177108_corny_dinner_shot_1Corn on the Cob! It's the yummiest thing going all summer long. Hey, what’s summer without corn on the cob? Come on…you know you want it, with a little butter and just a dash of sea salt. Just like you had it when you were a kid. Some things are just meant to be eaten in a certain fashion and corn on the cob is one of them!

I was in the market the other day and actually bought corn on the cob for the first time in a few summers. Why have I abstained from my dear friend corn for so long? I’m not really sure. Maybe at some subconscious level I bought into the high starch, high carb, miminally nutritious flack poor corn has taken over the last few years.

I thought just in case some of you out there have also been neglecting summer corn for reasons other than you simply don’t like it, here’s the scoop on beautiful, delicious, nutritious sweet summer corn on the cob!

One ear of sweet corn provides three grams of fiber and another three grams of protein, plus it contains folate, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. In fact, cooking sweet corn makes more of its healthful antioxidants available - helping reduce risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bottom line? Corn is one vegetable you simply shouldn’t ignore during the summer! Just don’t forget to have plenty of dental floss on hand! Bon Apetit!

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Posted by Cindy on June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 28, 2007

Healthy Recipe: Red, White and Blue Rocket Popsicles

Have a blast making this fun 4th of July rocket recipe! Kids (and adults) will enjoy a patriotic pop to cap off the day's celebration. Cool, colorful and refreshing, these healthy eating treats will send taste buds soaring. A great family holiday project. Have a wonderful Independence Day with today's healthy recipe!

Serving Size  - 1 popsicle

Red juice (red raspberry, cherry, cranberry)
Blue juice (blue raspberry)
White juice (lemonade, coconut juice drink)
Red string licorice for fuse (optional)
3 oz. paper cups
Popsicle Sticks

Line up several 3 oz. paper cups on a baking sheet. Pour 2 tablespoons of red juice into each cup. Freeze 2-3 hours until firm-slushy.

Remove from freezer and poke a popsicle stick into the center of each cup of juice. Add 2 tablespoons of white juice and freeze 2-3 hours.

Remove from freezer. Top off with blue juice and freeze 1-2 hours until slushy.

Remove from freezer and insert a 2 or 3-inch string of licorice into each popsicle. Freeze until hard. Peel off paper cups to 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 June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2007

Healthy Living: Becoming a Master of Joy

If you haven’t visited Annette Colby’s great website Loving Miracles take a few moments. It has a wealth of wonderful tips for taking care of ourselves, which for many of us is the ultimate answer for weight loss. You can also sign up for her e-newsletter which always has a lot of good insight that’s helped me more than once.

Her most recent e-letter focused on self-approval. Lots of good stuff in it, but I liked one step she listed: Learn to become a master of joy! Joy is the energy that makes you feel great - not just in the moment, but in the long-term. Joy generates the power to accomplish. Do things that require joy, and you will become more joyful. For instance:

 Eat delicious food and activate every sense while eating
 Sing from your heart and dance from your soul
 Do kind things for yourself
 Engage in activities that make you feel great to be alive
 Give yourself positive feedback
 Take action on the goals that are important to you
 Learn to relieve stress

I think I’ll go do all of the above right now!

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Posted by Marsha on June 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2007

Healthy Eating - Abstinence and Weight Loss

Ist2_536563_martini_s_girlyFor some strange reason I found myself craving a cigarette this weekend. I haven’t had that feeling in years. Occasionally, the feeling comes, usually when I've had a glass of wine or I'm feeling particularly anxious. I quit smoking almost 15 years ago, but I know that it’s one of those habits that could easily sneak back into my life if the circumstances were right and I was vulnerable to make poor choices.

Whenever you conquer something as monumental as smoking, people want to know how you did it. For me? The simple answer was, I never let myself believe I couldn’t have another cigarette. I just tried to see how long I could go without one - one day at a time.

The way I quit smoking is in many ways analogous with how I most successfully manage my weight. When I gave up on the idea that I’d never have another cigarette, I didn’t care so much. I didn’t feel so deprived. As many of us know from experience, depriving ourselves of the things we want can lead to over-indulgence. Especially, if the thing we’re giving up is food.

Quitting the nicotine habit is about abstinence. Giving up our favorite foods is made more complicated because we have to eat to live and we don’t want to feel cheated or deprived every day – and we shouldn’t. We want and need to eat well. I think the lesson may be in taking these big changes in our lives one day at a time. Setting realistic expectations and obtainable goals. Slow and steady wins the race. We'll get there.

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Posted by Cindy on June 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 25, 2007

Body Image: Being Compared to Kate Moss Can Make You Feel Like A Zero

You may not know who Lily Allen is, but I'll bet you can empathize with her predicament.  Lily Allen, 22 year old rising singer/songwriter from the UK had the unfortunate timing of launching her new clothing line Lily Loves at the same time Kate Moss was unveiling her own new line. The media naturally drew comparisons, but they went further than just discussing fashion and printed pictures of both women side by side for the public to weigh in on their appearance.

"As far as I was concerned," says Lily (a 'whopping' size 8) about her clothing line, "I was trying to do something positive, you know, promote women of a larger size and make people feel better about their physical appearance. But there were all these photos of me next to Kate and it made me feel a bit sh*t about myself. I felt grotesque. Everyone knows that Kate is one of the most beautiful women in the world and everyone was comparing me directly with her, and I was like 'wait a second, how did this happen." (Celebrity Gossip Fashion Blog, 2007).

Despite her talent, rising success, and commitment to change the fashion world's size 0 culture, the public scrutiny momentarily shook Lily to the core.  While touring the US to promote her Alright, Still album, Lily vented in her MySpace blog about how horrible her body image had become and that she was even considering gastric bypass surgery and liposuction.

"In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have done it but I'm actually quite glad I did," she explains. "It's good to be honest and say what's on your mind. I think the whole thing highlighted the issues and pressures of being a young woman in today's society."

A deluge of almost 3,000 comments of support letting Lily know that she was beautiful just the way she was prompted her to apologize to her fans the next day.

"It was just a stupid thing that crossed my mind at that minute," she is quoted as saying. "It's not how I feel now. There's nothing wrong with the way I look. I'm not overweight. I'm just not really, really thin. I don't feel that I over-eat, I'm just not someone who wants to live on a diet.”

I hear that Lily Allen's fan base is growing exponentially. Count me in. Obviously her popularity is not only based on her music and style, but her ability to express herself in genuine lyrics and through candid interviews. I applauder you, Lily, for promoting self-acceptance instead of conforming to unrealistic and often unattainable standards of beauty.

"I'd rather encourage people who are reading all this stuff in the newspapers and magazines that they shouldn't feel bad about themselves." Lily Allen told reporters. "Everyone looks fine."

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See a video of Lily Allen on Body Image:

Lily Allen 'Smile' Video:

By Laura Brooks

Posted by Laura on June 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 22, 2007

Don’t Tell Me It’s Over! – The Therapeutic Benefits of Massage

I love getting a massage. Yet, I’m always surprised to learn how many women have never had a real massage. Often times (certainly not always), this reaction to massage is due to issues around self and size acceptance.  Most of us spend a lot of time and consideration disguising our lumps and bumps, only to visit a perfect stranger, disrobe (you don’t have to by the way), and let them go where no man has gone before – even if you’ve begged him to!  If legitimate shyness is keeping you from having one of the most wonderful experiences in your life, consider this:

• Massage reduces stress
• Massage provides general relaxation
• Massage reduces muscle tension throughout the body    
• Massage can relieve acute and chronic pain 
• Massage can promote recovery from muscle fatigue and from minor aches and pains
• Massage reduces swelling
• Massage improves blood circulation 
• Massage can increase oxygen capacity of the blood
• Massage induces better lymph movement 
• Massage can increase mobility and range of motion of joints
• Massage stimulates or soothes the nervous system 
• Massage can enhance the condition of the skin
• Massage can assist with better digestion and intestinal function 
• Massage can aid in improving physical health and the quality of life
• Massage feels really GOOD!

There are other benefits you can receive from regular massage. Read more about massage therapy at Holistic.com. You can also get more information about massage, therapies, techniques and what to expect from a credited massage therapist at The American Medical Association.

Source: (Benefits of massage) Holisticonline.com.

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

June 21, 2007

Tomato Gazpacho with Lobster

You say 'to-may-to', I say 'to-mah-to'!  Well, no matter which way it's pronounced, tomatoes are delicious. Today's healty recipe, from CaliforniaTomatoes.org, transforms this nutritious souce of the antioxidant lycopene into a tasty and elegant summer gazpacho. Sherry vinegar, onion, garlic, and Piment d’Espelette* add just the right kick which is balanced by cool sweetness of cucumber, beets and lobster. Make healthy eating a festive event! Gazpacho and lobster fans alike will have spoons pounding on the table in eager anticipation for this vibrant and flavorful dish.

Makes 6 servings

3 live lobsters (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
3 cups canned tomatoes in juice, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 large red bell pepper, cored and coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup cold water
1/3 small cooked red beet (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of Piment d’Espelette* (can be found at gourmet food stores)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced apple
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
18 baby red or yellow pear tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
12 small thin toasts (optional)

To cook the lobsters, fill a stockpot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil.
Slip the lobsters into the water, cover, and cook until the shells are bright red, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, remove the lobsters. Set aside to cool.

When cool, lay the lobsters on their backs and cut each one in half lengthwise, starting at the head.

Remove and discard the intestinal vein along the back of the tail.

Snap off the claws, crack them with a mallet and carefully pull the meat out of the shell, intact if possible. Using the same method, remove the tail meat, set it aside with the claw meat and discard the shells.

Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, water, and cooked red beet in a blender; puree until smooth, about 1 minute.

Strain the puree into a bowl using a chinois or fine mesh sieve. Immediately pour the puree back into the blender, add the sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, Piment d’Espelette, and extra-virgin olive oil. Blend on high speed until smooth and well combined.

Pour 3/4 cup of gazpacho in the bottom of a shallow soup bowl. Place one lobster tail half, cut side up in the center of each bowl. Prop a claw up against the tail.

Garnish the bowls equally with the apple, cucumber, tomatoes, chives, and toasts.

*Piment d’Espelette is made solely from native red peppers grown in the tiny village of Espelette, in the Basque Region, where it is often used at the table in lieu of black pepper. Its rich aroma and gently spicy, fragrant character lend a magical depth of flavor to Basque cuisine.
By Gerald Hirigoyen  Piperade, San Francisco

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 June 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 19, 2007

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones...

15380_14148696…but simply walking down a few stairs should never hurt me - but it did!

No one can escape injury, no matter how hard we try. Outside of a few sprained ankles in my life, I always believed I was pretty blessed. No broken bones, no hospital stays, not much more than the common cold, really.

Perhaps, I didn’t knock on enough wood, because this was my year for injuries. I feel like they should dedicate a special chair for me in the emergency room, you know the kind with your name written across the back. “Klutz!”

A broken elbow, a sprained ankle, one torn ligament and finally the pièce de résistance – a broken foot. My point? Breaking stuff hurts. It's inconvenient. And you're never prepared. What my injuries brought to light for me was how important it is to consider healthy bones and strong muscles. As I was hopping around with and without crutches, this spring, I realized how extremely difficult (if not almost impossible) this would be 25 years from now. Especially, if I were living alone.

If breaking a bone when you’re still relatively young and healthy doesn’t make you think twice about bone strength and staying as far away from casting plaster, orthopedic surgeons and crutches, I don’t know what will.

Now granted, not all things dense are desirable, but bones ain’t one of ‘em. Not that long ago, the only way you might discover you had weak bones, or even worse osteoporosis, was if you broke one. By then, the health of your bones might already be severely compromised. But now, with a bone density test, known as a densitometry, we can be made aware early in the game if the mineral composition of our bones is not up to snuff.

What can we do to prevent the onset of osteoporosis and weakened bones? Well, first off, if you need to lose weight, don't diet. Dieting affects hormones that can affect the absorption of calcium. A Rutgers University study found that just six months of dieting decreased bone density by 3 percent. Researchers say losing weight can also cause a change in three hormones (parathyroid, estrogen and cortisol) that affect the absorption and utilization of calcium.

What you CAN do, is make sure to include weight bearing, impact and muscle strengthening exercises to protect your bones. Eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and get a bone density test when your doctor recommends it. It’s a breeze!
For more information check out The National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Sources: MayoClinic.com

Posted by Cindy on June 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

Got Controversy? The Milk Industry Is Forced Off the Weight Loss Band Wagon

You've probably seen the yogurt ads that promise to help you fit into an 'itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow dot bikini' or read posters with the slogan "Milk your diet. Lose weight!" (campaign from National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board). Well, no more!  According to a recent ruling by the Federal Trade commission, the dairy industry can no longer make any such claims. 

Several years ago, soon after studies touted milk as a possible metabolism booster were published worldwide the dairy industry (ahem) 'milked it' for all they could. 

April 17, 2000 -- Got milk? New research suggests you should if you want to lose weight. The study shows that calcium -- three or four daily servings of low-fat dairy products -- can help adjust your body's fat-burning machinery.  (WebMD.com)

But the good (and profitable) times that were once rolling have finally come to a screeching halt.  Recently, following a 2005-filed petition from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the nation's dairy industry will no longer make claims in their advertisements that dairy products encourage weight loss. 

"Only one researcher - who has a financial stake in the outcome - showed a statistically significant effect of dairy product consumption on weight loss and only when paired with a strict caloric restriction," argued PCRM in the petition.

According to PCRM, the two most-published clinical trials cited by the dairy industry involved small sample sizes and were both funded by the dairy council or General Mills (which makes Yoplait). Michael B. Zemel, MD, director of the University of Tennessee’s Nutrition Institute, led both studies. PCRM asserts that because Dr. Zemel has a patent on his findings, dairy companies must pay him directly to cite his studies in their ads, and that makes his results suspect. In addition, other research, such as the recent Purdue University study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have found no significant association between dairy consumption and weight or body fat changes.

Personally, I'm not crying over any spilled milk (sorry, couldn't resist). What does concern me, however, is that because of this ruling in PCRM's favor (a pro-vegetarian group), consumers may start to see milk as a 'bad' food and and begin to wean themselves off a source of many health benefits such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein .  Most disturbing is Dan Kinburn's (PCRM's general counsel) accusation that the dairy industry is treating milk "as a health food, when really it is high in saturated cholesterol and sugar." WHAT? Is milk UNhealthy now?

What about other studies that suggest dairy foods may also protect against insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), also known as metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and and Type 2 diabetes? Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association 2002, the Cardia study found that each additional daily serving of dairy was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), also known as metabolic syndrome.

Milk may be white, but I hope consumers won't think in terms of black and white.  OK, maybe dairy did jump on the weight loss bandwagon, but my beef is that all this controversy makes milk look guilty - not just the industry.  Sadly, an all too common occurrence when food is put in context of 'weight loss' rather than 'healthy eating.'

Posted by Laura

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Posted by Laura on June 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2007

Your Body Image - Through The Mind’s Eye

According to the Eating Disorder Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Denver, our body image exists in the mind’s eye and emerges from our collective memories and experiences. This powerful combination creates positive and/or negative feelings about how we perceive our height, weight and shape.

Marie Dalloway, PhD, talks about ‘visualization techniques’ as a language that builds success.  Visualization techniques are often used by elite athletes to enhance performance.  Although, positive internal dialogue is an important tool in creating changes in behavior and beliefs, visualization involves use of mental images, not just our thoughts. Dalloway says, “Images or pictures are the primary content of visualizations because words cannot be generated at a fast enough rate to describe events as they occur.”  There’s a physical reaction within our bodies that occurs when we think this way -- a link between belief and behavior.

Einstein said, "What you can conceive and believe, you can achieve." Visualization somehow seems to activate a unique power within our brains that tells us what we see is real, even if it hasn’t materialized itself just yet. There’s a significant difference between talking to ourselves about wanting to be healthy, fit and more active and creating a realistic and detailed movie inside our head creating that scenario. Think of it, you’re the producer of your own theatrical production where you’re the writer, director and star! 

We all look for inspiration, motivation and support when trying to make important changes in our lives. So, why not stop thinking about being happier and start visualizing it?  For even more interesting insights around how this practice may help you meet your healthy lifestyle goals visit the e-zine article written by Dr. Annette Colby, RD, on Creative Visualization.

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Posted by Cindy on June 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack