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January 31, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Sloppy Joes

This healthy recipe is from the Minnedsota Soybeen Research Council which studies and reports the many health benefits of this excellent source of fiber and protein. Research indicates that people in Japan who eat soyfoods daily are less likely to get cancer than people in Japan who seldom eat soyfoods. Soyfoods may also help to prevent type 2 diabetes or complications the disease, reduce menopausal symptoms, and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. So, enjoy these delicious Sloppy Joes...there soy good for you!

Make 6 servings

1 cup boiling water
1 Tbs bottled chili sauce
1 cup dry TSP (Textured Soy Protein)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/4 cup bottled chili sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cider vinegar

Combine the boiling water and 1 Tbs chili sauce and pour them over the TSP to rehydrate it. Set aside.

Saute the onion, zucchini and bell pepper in a nonstick pan until tender (add a little water if necessary to prevent sticking). Add the rehydrated TSP and cook, stirring for another minute.

Stir the tomato sauce, 1/4 cup chili sauce, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar into TSP mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

Alternate Spicy Version: Sloppy Joses

Prepare Sloppy Joes, but substitute tomato sauce or ketchup for the chili sauce and omit Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Increase the chili powder to 2 tsp. Add 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies or 1/2 cup salsa, if desired. This makes a great taco filling, too!

Posted by Laura on January 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 30, 2008

Staying on Track with Healthy Eating

HealthyeatingOur FitBriefing alert for the month of January alluded to lagging New Year's resolutions. It's pretty predictable. We start out strong the first of the year with our get healthy and lose weight resolutions, but as the month goes on, well, life does get in the way.

One thing that goes first for many food and weight strugglers are healthy eating resolutions. And many of us agree that diets often seem easier to follow than eating mindfully, because all the decisions are taken away. Diets tell us what to eat -- and what not to eat -- so we don't have to spend a lot of time thinking about it.

We can marry the eating structure of diets with the concept of mindful eating. It's all in how we think about it. In truth, eating structure goes a long way towards helping us stay on track with healthy eating and start to feel well and lose weight if we need to. Read our FitBriefing "Healthy Eating for Healthy Weight Loss: It May Look Like a Diet but It's How You Think About It" to understand this idea more, and start to put it in place in your life. This concept can make the difference between staying with our New Year's resolutions to eat well and reverting to old eating habits that don't get us where we want to go.

Btw, if you want notice each time we post a new FitBriefing, sign up here (if you don't want our brochure, just say so in the box for comments).

Posted by Marsha on January 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2008

Healthy Living - Getting Fit For All The Right Reasons

919290_ride_a_bike_2Years ago, the idea of little or no exercise for a prolonged period of time might have really depressed me, especially if I was in one of my ‘exercising periods’.  That sense of dread would come because I never really looked at exercise as a way of life. It was always a means to an end – just like a diet. The more religiously and rigorously I did it, the faster I’d get to where I wanted to be – thinner. Any time missed could be disastrous, sending me reeling backwards.

I can honestly say that today I live without the ‘exercise to lose weight head’.  And it’s liberating. There was an interesting study which proves this very point.  The study was lead by Michelle Segar, a University of Michigan psychology researcher who collaborated with Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, former U of M psychology professor, and Donna Spruijt-Metz of the Institute of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Los Angeles. 

From the study:

Women exercising with a body-shape motivation reported walking 2 ½ times less than women with non-body shape motives, (16 percent vs. 55 percent).

• Women with body-shape motivation reported taking classes and going to gyms/fitness centers three times as often as women with non-body shape motives (52 percent vs. 12 percent), showing that women with this goal used exercise techniques they might not enjoy more frequently because they thought it would help them lose weight the fastest.

• Women who exercised for body-shaping reasons reported participating in physical activities that are higher intensity. They also selected activities that fit into the more traditional definition of exercise—more formal and structured activities—with the idea that they had to go some place for it to count as exercise.

As we’ve often written here, finding the intrinsic joy in exercise is the key to getting a healthier body, mind, overcoming exercise fears, and improving your outlook on just about anything. It takes a little practice to get there, but once you get there you feel such joy and accomplishment, nothing feels quite so good.

Source: Joe Serwach – University of Michigan News Service

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Posted by Cindy on January 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 28, 2008

Diabetes: Possible Link Between Environmental Pollution And Type 2 Diabetes

This image is a work of a United States Department of Agriculture employee, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domainCambridge scientists, Drs. Oliver Jones and Julian Griffin, believe a link between persistent organic pollutants (or POPs) in the environment and insulin resistance, may lead to type 2 diabetes.

"Of course correlation does not automatically imply causation," says Dr. Jones. "But if there is indeed a link, the health implications could be tremendous. At present there is very limited information. Research into adult onset diabetes currently focuses on genetics and obesity; there has been almost no consideration for the possible influence of environmental factors such as pollution."

What are POPs?

In the 1940s, POPs became popular pesticides along with DDT, but were blamed for harming wild birds,  animals, and possibly humans.  After their discontinuation, they remain in the environment, slowly biodegrading and eventually entering the food chain. Once in the body, POPs can persist in body fat for very long periods of time following exposure.

The POPs Link

In their research, Jones and Griffin reviewed other studies in this area and noted that one conducted by Dr D Lee, et al, demonstrated NO association between obese subjects and diabetes when they had low concentrations of POPs in their blood. In fact, thin people with high levels of POPs were more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes than obese individuals with low levels.

While the exact mechanism by which this link exists remains unknown, it bears further investigation, say Jones and Griffin. POPs may not be responsible for all cases of type 2 diabetes, but if a causal relationship can be found, new treatments for the disease may be possible.

The article by Jones and Griffin, "Environmental pollution and diabetes: A neglected relationship," appears in the latest edition of the "Lancet."

Posted by Laura on January 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2008

Diabetes: Diabetes Remission In Obese Patients More Likely With Weight Loss Surgery?

This headline has been splashed all over the Internet and media.  But does this preliminary study take into account health risks associated with weight loss surgery or the percentage of patients who regain weight?

Weight Loss Surgery vs. Healthy Lifestyle Change

The results of an Australian study conducted by Dr John B Dixon and colleagues, of Monash University, Melbourne have been published in the January 23rd issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Over 2 years, a small test group of 60 patients, (55 of whom completed the study), gastric banding was compared to conventional diabetes treatment in people with type 2 diabetes.

Apparently, weight loss in the surgical group was responsible for a remission rate 5 times higher and a drop in blood sugar that was 4 times that found in the control group.

But What About The Long Term?

While researchers acknowledge that a larger, more diverse population and longer followups will be needed to confirm these results, they believe this study shows that "intensive weight loss" rather than "simple lifestyle change" is more effective when combating type 2 diabetes.

Will such a strategy really work in the long term?  Some people regain a significant amount of weight after a success gastric surgery, which would put them at risk for type 2 diabetes again. In addition, a good portion of obese patients who undergo surgery develop gallstones, nutritional deficiencies, have more serious complications due to the operation itself or will require a secondary surgery.

"After 10 years, only 1 out of 5 people have kept the weight off. A review of studies on stomach stapling (vertical banded gastroplasty) notes that 60% of excess weight (the weight above what is considered healthy) was lost, although a large portion of people regained the lost weight after 3 to 5 years.

About one-third of all people having surgery for obesity develop gallstones or a nutritional deficiency condition such as anemia or osteoporosis. And about 1 out of 5 people may need a second operation because the connection between the stomach and the intestines narrows (stomal stenosis), leading to nausea and vomiting, or because of an increase of gastroesophageal reflux after eating." (WebMD)

While surgical weight loss for obese patients with type 2 diabetes may be greater than healthy lifestyle changes in the short term, so are the risks.  Traditionally, surgery has been recommended for the morbidly obese only after conservative measures such as diet, exercise, and medication have failed. With America's growing obesity problem, I hope this and other similar studies won't pressure patients into 'bypassing' careful consideration before undergoing weight loss surgery.

Posted by Laura on January 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 24, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Microwave Garlic Mashed Potatoes

With all the popular fads promoting low carb diets, potatoes have taken an unfair hit. In reality, potatoes are perfect for a healthy eating lifestyle. A fresh potato, with skin on, contains 45% of the recommended daily value (DV) of vitamin C, 18% DV of potassium, almost no sodium, no fat, and no cholesterol. One of my favorite side dishes is Garlic Mashed Potatoes, which I usually order at restaurants when it's on the menu. Thanks to a healthy recipe from Wisconsin Potatoes, we now have a simple, tasty, and FAST microwave method to make it home.

Makes 4 servings

1-1/3 pounds potatoes (approx. 4 medium)
1 cup skim milk
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Pierce potatoes with fork. In microwave oven cook potatoes on HIGH for 13 minutes. Halve lengthwise, scoop out pulp into medium microwave-safe bowl. Mash potatoes with potato masher or beat with electric hand mixer until smooth; set aside. Place milk, butter, and garlic in small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Thoroughly mix into potato pulp. Mix in additional milk to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Heat in microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately. Note: Cooking times are based on 700 watt microwave oven.

For added nutritional value, serve in baked potato skins:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place each potato skin, scooped side up, on a shallow baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with ground pepper and/or salt to taste. Scatter the grated cheese lightly on top of the buttered skins.  Place the cookie sheet in the upper third of the oven. Bake the skins for approximately 30 minutes or until hot, crisp and golden. Scoop in Garlic Mashed Potatoes, garnish and serve.

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

Posted by Laura on January 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2008

Food Cravings for Calories, Not Carbs

226658_27261781It wasn't a surprise to read a press release on a recent study conducted at Tufts University on food cravings. Researcher Susan Roberts said, ""The findings [of this study] suggest that cravings are for calories, not carbohydrate, as is widely assumed." Although foods craved do contain carbohydrate, they often contain fat and protein, too.

The study then went on to say that food cravings are normal (91 percent of people report having them), but it appears that dieting increases the frequency. Which makes sense, of course -- when we're hungry, we crave food! No rocket science there.

In this month dubbed National Diet Month, it's useful info to keep in mind as many of us seek healthy weight loss. When we start craving food, it's a good sign that we need it. It's not a sign that we're weak willed.

If you're having trouble managing food cravings, think first whether you really need to eat. Then, if you're not hungry, but still craving, could deprivation be at work? When we cut out foods in the belief that they 'make us fat' or somehow interfere with weight loss, we might set ourselves up for wanting them even more. Think moderation, not elimination if this is the case for you.


Posted by Marsha on January 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

When Getting Your ZZZ’s Seems like Mission Impossible

832605_cell_phone_3According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is more and more evidence that lack of sleep contributes to a host of health conditions like, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. We’ve written on this topic on several occasions, and the news just keeps getting worse.

It seems every year the recommended amount of sleep we're supposed to get increases. The standard recommendation by the National Sleep Association is now 7 to 9 hours. Can you imagine getting 9 hours of sleep? I long for that much sleep. The last time I remember sleeping more than 4 or 5 hours in one shot was after a typical 3 day sleep drought - and that just seems more like passing out then restful sleep!

So, today I read that it’s possible I might be losing sleep at night because my cell phone is too close to my head while I slumber. Yes, indeed! A new study* conducted by Bengt Arnetz, a Wayne State University professor and lead author of the study found that radiation from cell phones delayed the onset of sleep and shortened deeper stages of sleep. When the body doesn’t have adequate time to repair itself, there is more chance you’ll suffer long term health problems.

So, for now, I'll sleep with my cell phone in the kitchen - where it belongs - and hope for the best.

Check out more recommendations how to get a more restful night sleep here.

*This study was published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposium and funded by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, an international association of radio communications equipment manufacturers.

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Posted by Cindy on January 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 21, 2008

Weight Loss: Weight-Gain Genes Make It Harder to Fit into Skinny Jeans

Weight loss is the number one New Year's resolution.  But according to a new report, there are potentially thousands of reasons why weight loss success still remains elusive for many: genes.

Michael Tordoff, PhD, of Philadelphia's Monell Chemical Senses Center, announced in a news release that genetic studies show approximately 6,000 genes affect weight in mice.

"Reports describing the discovery of a new 'obesity gene' have become common in the scientific literature and also the popular press," Tordoff says in a news release. "Our results suggest that each newly discovered gene is just one of the many thousands that influence body weight, so a quick fix to the obesity problem is unlikely."

Weighing the Gene Odds

Out of the 1,900 known mouse genes were studied by Tordoff's team, 31% were found to increase weight and only 3% could lower weight.

This 10 to 1 ratio of weight-gain to weight-loss genes "might help explain why it is easier to gain weight than lose it," Tordoff says.

Despite their number, weight-associated genes (as a whole) are only one factor in weight loss for mice and humans. Becoming more active and adopting a healthy eating lifestyle are ways to work with the body's natural design in becoming more fit and lean.

A New Kind of Resolution for the New Year

Weight loss diets have been shown to work against our genetic makeup. They make work initially, but eventually increase our hunger and slow metabolic rate so that the weight-gain genes kick in with a vengeance after the diet.

"I’d rather be a few pounds heavier and enjoy life." ~Drew Barrymore

By adjusting weight loss goals by aiming for a healthy lifestyle and peace with our bodies, people stand a much better chance at achieving weight loss success in the long run.

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Posted by Laura on January 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 18, 2008

Diabetes: Spice Slashes Blood Sugar Levels

health benefits of cinnamonMove over ginseng! Recently, nutrionists have been touting the medicinal benefits of cinnamon. Used in a variety of recipes - from hot chocolate to soup to grapefruit - this spice has been shown to promote healthy blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

"Good medicine doesn't always take the form of a pill. Sometimes the answer, or part of the answer, can be found in your kitchen cabinet," says Dr. Richard Goldfarb, the medical director for the Bucks County Clinical Research Center.

In a recent Pakistani study, participants ingested 1-6g of cinnamon daily for a total of 40 days, while a control group took a placebo in the same amounts. The cinnamon group showed a significant drop in their blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, even after the study was concluded.

"It is our hope that better eating habits and simple, everyday herbs like cinnamon can become allies in people's journey toward disease-free living through proper nutrition," says Dr. Goldfarb.  Working with an Arizona biotech company, Goldfarb hopes the development of a concentrated liquid extract of cinnamon will bring down high blood sugar to healthier levels in type 2 diabetics. Cinnamon health products may prove to be another potent diabetes prevention treatment.

So spice up your healthy eating! Cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium and - moreover - it just tastes great!

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Posted by Laura on January 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack