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July 31, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Chicken, Fruit and Celery Salad

This is a wonderfully refreshing and salad for a beautiful summer day!  And what's better than an easy, tasty meal that fits perfectly into your healthy eating lifestyle?

Makes 4 servings

2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
1 cup chopped apples and/or pears
1/4 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tablespoon dried dill (or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped)
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon nonfat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


    1. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, pears/apples, grapes, celery and dill.
    2. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Serving suggestion:

    Serve on a bed of mixed greens garnished with slivered toasted almonds.
    Use as a filling with your favorite bread to make a sandwich.

Posted by Laura on July 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008

Healthy Living: Becoming a Master of Joy II

I've had an old, dear friend visiting with her husband this week, and it has been a delight, enhanced by the gorgeous weather we've had in Vermont. I've known Patti since I was 18 -- we became best friends early on, and even though separated by a continent, we stay in touch so that when we get together, it's like we saw each other yesterday. Although more stories to catch up on. :-)

Anyway, in searching for a quick post to put up this morning (we're off on another day of sightseeing soon and I haven't even showered yet -- although I did do my morning Nordic walk -- more on that next week!), I thought I'd just search for an oldie but goodie that I did in the past. I chanced upon the title of this one and thought it surely expresses the tone I'd love to communicate today. I am having a joyous week, and if I could help you do the same, well, all the better.

So I'm repeating this old post on feeling good about ourselves (which will help us with all kinds of emotional eating, binge eating, disordered eating, exercise resistance, boredom...and endless list) and wish you a happy, no, joyous rest of the week, month, year, life. Just click on feeling good about ourselves and go, girl (and boy, too)! This is truly what healthy living is all about.

P.S. The picture on this post isn't what Vermont looks like right now -- it's just a promise of things to come!

Posted by Marsha on July 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 29, 2008

Butter Someone Up With Corn On The Cob!

177108_corny_dinner_shot_1Hey, 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!

Posted by Cindy on July 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2008

Diabetes: Half of Americans Have Gene that Affects how Body Burns Sugar

A new diabetes research study reveals that about half of the U.S. population have a gene variation that causes them to metabolize food differently and puts them at a much greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Edward Weiss, Ph.D. assistant professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Doisy College of Health Sciences at Saint Louis University, looked at a version of a gene called FABP2 (fatty acid binding protein 2) which plays a role in the absorption of fat from blood and concluded that the people who have this type of gene process food in a different way than those who do not have this gene. The good news for the other half of Americans is that they possess the type of gene that reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by helping the body burn more fat and remove sugar.

Lifestyle, Other Genes Also Involved in Type 2 Diabetes

"That is not to say that half of U.S. residents are destined to get type 2 diabetes,"  says Weiss. "Many other genes, some known and some unknown, are involved in a person's overall risk of developing diabetes. Those are things a person can't control. But there are risk factors for diabetes that a person can change -- lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise."

According to Weiss, despite the FABP2 gene and many other factors that can cause a person to develop type 2 diabetes, pursuing a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and healthy eating will help all Americans burn fat and lower blood sugar.

Posted by Laura on July 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

Weight Loss: Using Food Diaries Doubles Weight Loss - Study Shows

A recenthttp://fitwoman.com/images/blog/fooddiary.jpg study on weight loss (sponsored by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)  shows that dieters who write down everything they eat each day lose weight twice as much as those who don't. Nutritionists and weight loss programs have brought this idea to the table for years and now this study proves that their idea was correct.

“Food diaries are a powerful self-management technique. They help you figure out where the extra calories are coming from," says Victor Stevens, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. "It works best if someone else looks over your food record. When you put yourself in a position where you are accountable for your behavior, it changes behavior."

Food diaries are an excellent way of  helping anyone who is willing to live a healthy lifestyle as well as a way of avoiding those bad diets that do make you lose weight unhealthfully.

“These weight loss techniques work well with everybody, including African Americans, who are often underrepresented,” adds Stevens.

Using a food diary, as part of a healthy eating lifestyle, can also help you curb overeating due to stress or emotions, and a fitness diary is a great tool for overcoming exercise obstacles.

See what results you get with your own diary and let us know how it worked for you!

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

July 24, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Bruschetta with Tomato-Basil Relish

Simple garlic-rubbed grilled toast rounds with a tomato topping –yumm. It must be summer! Fresh tomatoes are in great supplyright now. Choose from the many varieties at your local farmer’s market or produce stand.* Any variety tastes great, and you can make a tomato topping in a variety of ways. We like this healthy eating combination, which is a variation on the healthy recipe Tomato Relish in Green Mountain's Recipes for Living cookbook. 

Makes 4 servings

Grilled Toast Rounds
16 slices French bread (or about 8 slices Italian bread)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove

Brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil and place on medium hot grill; grill until lightly brown; turn and grill other side. Remove from grill and rub one side of toasts with garlic. Serve with Tomato- Basil Relish (below).

Tomato-Basil Relish
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped basil

Mix tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste Cover and let stand about 30 minutes.

*If you’re worried about tomato safety, the government warnings as of June 2008 say cherry and grape tomatoes, those sold with the vine attached and those grown at home are safe to eat.

Posted by Laura on July 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008

Doctors, Body Weight & Shame

We've posted on the subject of doctors and weight several times before so when a colleague forwarded me an article from the New York Times titled "Should Doctors Lecture Patients about Their Weight?," I skimmed it without expecting to learn a lot. But I was wrong. I found a delightful blog written by a physician "Dr. Rob." The name of the blog: Musings of a Distractible Mind.

I haven't had a lot of time to browse the blog but thought Dr. Rob's musings about shame over body weight were worth sharing, especially his closing comments.

Is obesity a problem? Sure it is. But we need to get off of our self-righteous pulpits. Obese people should not be made into a group of outcasts. The “them” mentality and the finger-wagging are no more than insecure people trying to feel better by putting down others.

Sounds like a doctor I'd like to visit. Although I am blessed with doctors here in Vermont who don't feel like they need to lecture me about anything, much less my weight. We are all adults and as Dr. Rob says, " Obese people are rarely under the impression that it is perfectly fine that they are overweight. They rarely are surprised to hear a person saying that their weight is at the root of many of their problems. Obese people are the new pariahs in our culture; it used to be smokers, but now it is the overweight."

The only thing I'd say about that quote is that I think many more problems are attributed to overweight than is actually the case.

Read the rest of his post, and if you find any other great musings, let us know. I'd be surprised if you didn't.

Posted by Marsha on July 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2008

Healthy Living: See Jane Run!

I just wanted to give a shout out to one of my favorite women's athletic apparel stores, "See Jane Run". Argh! I wish I would have thought of it first!

This wonderful company has always had the best kind of 'tude'...here's a sample from the homepage on their website:

"Here's to you.

The broad-shouldered, the knock-kneed, the pigeon-toed, the small breasted, the wide-hipped.the long-waisted, the short-legged, the stocky, and the skinny. And yes even the perectly proportioned.

May you live long, enjoy dessert and never stop laughing.

Blisters heal. Muscles recover. Friendships last a lifetime. High heels have their place in the very back of the closet. If you can run a mile, you can run a marathon. There comes a time when you really need to replace your sports bra. No, really.

Consider this. Only one person wins. Everyone else should have a rockin' good time. Yes, you can talk and run at the same time. Chewing gum is the hard part. A little chocolate goes a long way.

Be yourself.

There's a little bit of Jane in all of us."

What else it there to say, except - all Jane's rocks?! Oh, and they have great athletic clothes in all sizes!

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Posted by Cindy on July 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 21, 2008

Weighing In: Wall-E Movie Equates Enviromental Decline with Fat People

The hero of Pixar's new film.Pixar's new animated movie Wall-E has received rave reviews, but is it a fair social commentary to equate obesity with environmental destruction?

The world of robot Wall-E is a dry, desolate future Earth, stripped of its ability to sustain life. The guilty carbon-based lifeforms responsible for this mess have retreated to an intergalactic lifeboat.  Diabolically designed by mega-corporation "Buy N Large" to promote consumer dependency, the flying space oasis inevitably result of making Earth's refugees morbidly obese.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich lauds the film for "in touch with what troubles America," and providing "a gentle, if unmistakable, summons to remake the world before time runs out." But other critics aren't so fast to buy into this bloated message. Daniel Engber is one such dissenting voice:

"Wall-E is an innovative and visually stunning film, but the "satire" it draws is simple-minded. It plays off the easy analogy between obesity and ecological catastrophe, pushing the notion that Western culture has sickened both our bodies and our planet with the same disease of affluence. According to this lazy logic, a fat body stands in for a distended culture: We gain weight and the Earth suffers. If only society could get off its big, fat ass and go on a diet!"

Movie buys into into myths about fat people.

"The metaphor only works if you believe familiar myths about the overweight: They're weak-willed, indolent, and stupid," writes Engber at Slate.com. "Sure enough, that's how Pixar depicts the future of humanity. The people in Wall-E drink "cupcakes-in-a-cup," they never exercise, and if they happen to fall off their hovering chairs, they thrash around like babies until a robot helps them up. They watch TV all day long and can barely read."

What makes this message all the more objectionable is the fact that it's being sent to kids.  Do we really need to reinforce fat-a-phobia?  Do we need to make kids doubly stressed with the fear of getting fat plus the anxiety about global warming?  Already younger and younger children are developing eating disorders and now there's a new psychological problem: eco-phobia, or the fear of ecological problems. For example, a high school student in Australia became afraid to drink water because he was obsessed with the fear of the planet running out of water.  I've also read online about teaching plans called "How to Deal with the Panicky Child" when discussing shrinking habitat, pollution and global warming. Here's a poem written by a 10 year old:

I am dying.

My blue ice caps are melting away like ice cubes on concrete.

My water is rising as if it were a stalking tsunami.

There is nowhere for my polar bears to rest.

The skin of my continents is cracking

Like feet that have gone too far.

Soon when you look at my coasts, you will find bodies,

Floating in the sea with broken cities.

Would you help me?

I'm all for teaching about environmental responsibility and addressing global warming issues, but it's just not emotionally healthy for our kids to feel such a bleak helplessness and sense of doom. Nor is making fat people the scapegoats for hurting our planet. My own niece and nephew described Wall-E as a 'lonely' movie.  What does that say about how these apocalyptic scenarios make our children feel?

Daniel Engber: "...There's an endless appetite for stories linking obesity and environmental collapse. Pounds of fat and pounds of carbon are routinely made to seem interchangeable. Two months ago, the Washington Post compared childhood obesity to global warming. Last year, an AP story called "Fighting Fat and Climate Change" claimed that we could cut annual CO2-emissions by 64 million tons if every American just got out of his car to walk for half an hour a day. (The nation would also burn 10.5 trillion calories!) The New York Times has reported that obese Americans make air travel less efficient, and that our extra pounds cost us 1 billion gallons of gasoline per year. And we didn't just figure this out, either: During the oil crisis of the 1970s, a pair of economists calculated that we could save 1.3 billion gallons by getting all overweight Americans to "optimum body weight."

I wonder if overweight folks leaving Wall-E suffer dirty looks from the skinnies, or if they internalize any guilt. And what about the fat kid at school? Will he or she be bullied now for being fat AND wrecking the planet?

Global warming is a GLOBAL problem.

Adults need to take care when addressing environmental problems with children and stop blaming fat people. If we don't keep perspective, our kids certainly won't. And, after all, a world with more fat prejudice isn't such a rosy future, either.

Posted by Laura on July 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 18, 2008

Podcast: Fighting the Freshman 15

Posted by Laura on July 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack