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June 14, 2007

Healthy Recipe: Grilled Summer Vegetable Medley

‘Tis the season for healthy eating:  fresh corn, Heirloom tomatoes and outdoor cooking! This fresh, colorful and great-tasting healthy recipe combines these veggies and more for a perfect accompaniment to grilled meat, chicken or fish.

Makes 4 servings

1 cup roasted (grilled*) corn (from about 2 ears)
1/2 cup chopped grilled* zucchini
2 thick slices grilled* red onion, cut up
1/2 cup chopped Heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped jarred roasted red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
Salt
Pepper

In a medium bowl, combine ingredients and toss lightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Marinate for 15-20 minutes before serving.

                            *Preparing grilled vegetables:

- Place 2 ears of corn in microwave dish with a small amount of water. Cover and heat on high for 2 minutes. Drain and brush with olive oil; place on grill and roast turning frequently for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly and cut kernels from cobs.
- Cut 1 zucchini in quarters and precook in the microwave for about 1 minute. Brush with olive oil and grill about 6-7 minutes, turning frequently.
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Brush 2 thick slices of red onion with olive oil and place on the grill; cook about 10 minutes until onions is lightly softened and lightly browned.

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 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


June 13, 2007

Healthy Living: The Dressing Room Project

Dressing_room_project Who hasn't anticipated a trip to the clothing store, only to stand in front of the dressing room mirror feeling more and more depressed?  I don't know what it is about dressing room mirrors, but they never seem to show me to myself the same way mirrors at home do.  And it's not always worse than at home -- sometimes the clothes look better on me at the store, sometimes not.  Either way, I often have to remind myself not to revert to those old negative messages that can truly damage self-esteem when I don't like the way things look.

The Dressing Room Project
recognizes this behavior.  It's an effort to help young girls, who arguably may be the most body image challenged of us all, help themselves change that negative self talk in dressing rooms. Along with workshops that help girls focus on their positive qualities and expand the defintion of 'beautiful,' they provide cards to post on mirrors in dressing rooms, the gym, school bathrooms, at home.  Messages like "Worry about the size of your heart, not the size of your body."  And "You will be beautiful if you believe it."  And "Beauty is within."

While it's targeted at teenage girls, we could probably all benefit from seeing those messages every day as we look in the mirror. 

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Posted by Marsha on June 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


June 11, 2007

Eating Healthy - Come On, Spice It Up!

Sure, we’re all busy, and having quality time to prepare delicious meals sometimes seems like a concept ripped right out of the pages of June Cleaver’s diary - something most of us can’t relate much to these days. Complicating the issue, is the fact that we’re all trying to eat healthy good tasting food that won’t bore us to tears or be a pain in the neck to prepare.

I say, why not throw caution to the wind and begin thinking with a more culinary mindset? Summer provides us with wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits and an opportunity to grill out of doors. I was at a graduation BBQ this weekend with lots of the summer’s delightful food, grilled salmon, chicken, corn on the cob and other roasted (on the grill) vegetables. Wonderful fruit salad, watermelon and strawberries.

Here’s what I noticed, being outside sets the stage for a more esthetic and mindful eating experience. Everything just tastes better outdoors. I highly recommend if you live in a climate where it isn’t too hot or humid, get out of your kitchen this summer – all your 5 senses will thank you.

So, how can we make food taste better this time of year? Try experimenting with some interesting rubs, marinades, spices, salsa and salad. Whenever I experience different cuisines, it reminds me how using seasoning and interesting cooking techniques can make food taste wonderful and still be very healthy (think Indian).

Here are a few more recipes you may want to play with, if you want to take yourself on a new cooking adventure. Cin! Cin!

Salsas     Salads    Cooking with herbs

Posted by Cindy on June 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


June 08, 2007

Healthy Living - Working Out With Pain

Weights2Today’s post is about pain. The pain I’m sometimes in after working out with weights. I know working out with weights is very important. Building strength and stamina though exercise is one of the major benefits, but lately, when I pick up the weights, I pay later with pain in some of my joints. The temptation is to stop because it hurts, but the fact is you have to exercise smarter, not harder - and certainly don’t stop.

One of the bummers of getting older is, our muscles tend to atrophy. This means they may not be supporting our joints as well as they use to and all our joints, especially those in our knees, hips and back need shock absorption. With out it, the painful effects of arthritis, especially osteoporosis (OA), are magnified.

OA never gets better and cannot be cured. But the good news is, you can eliminate some of the effect of the wear and tear on your joints by losing wieght and building up the muscle around the joint. The more pain you’re experiencing the less likely you’ll work the area – hence no progress. Caution: you must begin to exercise slowly. You can easily irritate the area instead of help it. Working with an experienced exercise physiologist, or better yet, a physical therapist who can help you identify what type of exercise you can do to help minimize your pain and begin building that all important strength.

Remember that 'more is better' doesn’t apply when you're exercising with arthritis. You need to work with your compromised joints. Be good to your body and it will be good to you.

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Posted by Cindy on June 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


June 07, 2007

Healthy Recipe: Grilled Sweet Summer Corn

Get the grill out! Nothing beats the fresh taste and crunch of corn on the cob and grilling is a great way to prepare today's healthy recipe. This summer forget the salt and sprinkle seasonings like garlic and basil to really wake up your taste buds.  There won't be a kernal left!  Healthy eating tip: try a grilling other veggies in season like asparagus and broccoli!

Makes 4 servings

1/2 Tbsp. blend of garlic and basil (to taste)
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine sprinkles
4 corn on the cob, husks on 

Preheat barbecue to medium high. Carefully peel back corn husks, but do not remove. Remove the silks and discard. Gently rinse corn. Shake dry.

Sprinkle each corn cob with butter and seasonings. Do this step with the corn on its side, gently fold husks around the corn and tie with kitchen string. Grill the corn on the barbecue directly over medium heat 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the corn at least three times during the cooking process. Cook until tender.

To serve, remove the string from corn. Peel back husks and enjoy.

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 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


June 06, 2007

Healthy Eating: Interpreting Food & Health-Related Scientific Studies

Confusion All of us can probably relate to this often-repeated statement:  I don't know what to eat anymore!  One day such and such is bad for me and something else is good for me.  The next day, it's totally different!  Of course, that's a bit of exaggeration, but anyone who closely follows media reports about healthy eating and health studies is sure to be confused at times.

The International Food Information Council provides an extensive discussion of how to accurately interpret food and health-related studies.  It's a bit lengthy, but well worth the read for anyone who pays regular attention to such studies, and feels somewhat lost as a result.  If you don't want to take the time to read the whole article, consider this overview next time you wonder about whether you should take the results of a study to heart.

The scientific process—how studies are designed, conducted, and reported—frequently generates a great deal of debate. Tracking the debate is often key to putting new research into context. With that in mind, new research studies published in scientific journals should be viewed as discussions among scientists. In these discussions, almost no one gets to have the final word, as it is rare that a study provides a final, complete answer. In fact, occasionally even old, accepted research results are revisited and discussed again. With the benefit of new information or technology, scientists sometimes see old results in a new light. The publication of research findings allows researchers to obtain input on their work, which not only confirms or contradicts their results but also adds to the body of literature on a subject and helps shape future research.

The bottom line is that dialogues characterized by cycles of revisions, conjectures, assertions, and contradictions are frequently key to investigating a subject. In addition, although such cycles often frustrate non-scientists and can contribute to increasing public skepticism about advice on food and health, it is important to understand that science is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Because scientific research explores the unknown, uncertainty is an unavoidable part of current investigations. Only through repeated research and analyses do certainties emerge.

The bottom line for a consumer, i think, is that we don't want to make decisions about what to do based on a single study.  We want to look for those 'certainties' (if we can call it that -- as the above summary states, even old certainties sometimes prove uncertain) that come from repeated research and analyses.  This is frustrating for someone who needs answers now, and it's understandable that we might choose to take steps that seem relatively harmless if there is some promise that they might help a certain condition.  For example, someone mentioned using cinnamon to help with insulin resistance in a recent comment on this blog.  Cinnamon seems on the face of it a relatively harmless substance that, who knows, might have some effect.  But I always recommend a thorough review of the potential benefits and risks before taking the plunge. 

The old adage 'better safe than sorry' really does hold true when it comes to supplements and the like. That's one thing that science has proved with certainty.

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Posted by Marsha on June 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


June 05, 2007

Tuesday's Affirmation

A smile accentuates the beauty of your face!

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.  ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A smile confuses an approaching frown.  ~Author Unknown

People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.  ~Lee Mildon

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.  ~Phyllis Diller

Smile.  Have you ever noticed how easily puppies make human friends?  Yet all they do is wag their tails and fall over.  ~Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course, 1997

The world always looks brighter from behind a smile.  ~Author Unknown

Start every day with a smile and get it over with.  ~W.C. Fields

Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available.  ~Jim Beggs

A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.  ~Charles Gordy

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.  ~Mark Twain, Following the Equator

"Smile" - Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand::

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


June 04, 2007

Visiting Your Physician - No Joy Ride

From our own experience speaking with women over the last 35 years, we've known for quite some time, that missing regularly scheduled doctor visits and yearly Mammogram and Pap smear appointments can be a residual effect of being over weight.

This article was forwarded to me a couple weeks ago and I finally had a chance to read it. Here’s an excerpt, which should provide you with the gist:

Obese Women Less Likely To Be Screened For Cancer
By Amy Norton - Tue May 8, 2007

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who are extremely obese are less likely than thinner women to undergo screening for breast and cervical cancer, according to a new study. Using data from a national health survey, researchers found that severely obese women were about half as likely as normal-weight women to be up-to-date with their mammograms and Pap tests.

It's not clear why severely obese women are less likely to be compliant with these guidelines. But the study found no evidence that their doctors were lax in recommending the screening tests.

It will be important to figure out why, since obesity has been linked to higher risks of breast and cervical cancers, the study authors point out.

"We are currently conducting focus groups with women and interviews with physicians to determine what can be done to help improve cancer screening among severely obese women," said lead study author Dr. Jeanne M. Ferrante, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. - SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, June 2007.

Here are just a few of the reasons we’ve heard over the years, which might help to identify why women who are considered ‘severely obese’ find it intimidating to visit their doctors.

1. No one relishes the idea of being scolded for being fat. It is likely they will be told they are unhealthy, if not at death’s door.

2. Feeling humiliated. Many medical tests are not conducive to very obese women. Mammograms and/or PAP smears are not fun for anyone – imagine if your test was not set up for someone with your body type and was made much more challenging.

3. Women who have not followed the advice of their physicians (getting annual testing, etc), may be suffering tremendous guilt (piled on to the guilt of being fat in the first place), compounded with fear about their health.

4. It’s never fun to be naked in front of strangers, but if you have serious issues with body image (you don’t have to be severely obese to fall into this category), the prospect of exposing yourself in a gynecologist’s office can be intimidating, even frightening.

5. Getting weighed. Often wmen who struggle with their weight – particularly those who are significantly over fat, do not know how much they weigh - and do not want to know. Facing the scale can be terrifying.

6. Denial and fear.

7. Many women have negative experiences at their doctor’s office.

I’m sure there are many other reasons why women find it hard to follow up with very important screenings each year. Let’s hope physicians can work to discover what they can do to make their offices more welcoming and the experience as comfortable and safe as possible, because these check ups are vital for every woman.

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Posted by Cindy on June 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


June 01, 2007

More Good News on Chocolate!

Is there such a thing as too much information when it comes to chocolate? Could be, and maybe I’ve crossed the line. I think this is my third 'chocolate is good for you'  post this year. I can’t help it, I get all a twitter when the science guys start touting how something as sinfully delish as chocolate is good for me. Seriously, even if chocolate had no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever, it wouldn’t matter. I’d still be dippin’ my strawberries in it.

Epicatechin the magical ingredient in cocoa is a flavonol. It can improve cardiovascular function and increase blood flow to the brain, so says Salk Institute researcher Henriette van Praag. She and her colleagues, “found a combination of exercise and a diet of epicatechin also promoted functional changes in a part of the brain involved in the formation of learning and memory." The entire report can be found in the 2007, May 30th issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

So, just give me a little dark chocolate after a brisk afternoon walk, and Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle here I come!

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