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July 17, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Sesame Glaze

This Asian-inspired healthy recipe comes from award-winning is perfect for the grilling season. with soba noodle salad and a green vegetable such as snow peas to round out this stylish meal.

(Makes 4 servings)

1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger or minced ginger root
1 pound salmon filet
Oil for brushing fish

Combine tahini, orange juice, honey, lime juice and ginger in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat for a few minutes, stirring often until mixture is well blended. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut salmon into 4 serving pieces. Brush lightly with oil. Place salmon on heated grill. Cover and grill fish 5 to 6 inches from medium coals about 4 minutes. Turn fish; brush with glaze; cover and grill about 4 minutes longer or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with fork.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

Posted by Laura on July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 16, 2008

Healthy Eating: Saving Money at the Grocery Store

WomanshoppingcartGas prices being what they are, we can always use a little help saving money. So when I received an email from Alice Henneman, MS, RD, with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension service, I thought her tips for healthy eating while saving bucks would be a good thing to share. Whether you’re striving for healthy weight loss or just trying to stay the course, these tips can help. Note that the prices for things she gives does vary by region and is rounded off so maybe it’s not exact for you.

1. Keep a grocery list. Gas for an extra trip to the store easily can add a dollar or more to your grocery bill. And the less you shop, the less likely you will make an impulse purchase. Keep a grocery list where it’s easily accessible, such as on the fridge and remember to take it with you to the grocery store. Stick to your list for added savings, but do stay flexible if you encounter a sale.
(1) Gas to drive four miles for an extra trip to the store: $1.00 (or more!). 
(2) Impulse purchase of snack crackers at the store: An additional $2.50 spent. 

2. Garbage check. We lose money whenever we toss food because it spoiled before we got around to eating it. If leftovers get the “heave ho” because they’re left too long, we’re putting money in the garbage can. Make planning to avoid tossing foods a priority.
Consider: If wilted lettuce is a frequent occupant of your garbage can, serve more salads at the beginning of the week. If extra mashed potatoes get tossed because they’ve lingered too long in the fridge, make less next time. Or recycle them as potato patties, shepherd’s pie or potato soup within a day or two of making them. Some other ideas: Use ripe bananas in banana bread; add juice to smoothies or make popsicles; freeze leftovers for another meal.
Example: Tossing a half bag of “tired” lettuce: $1.00.

3. Avoid shopping when hungry. Everything looks good on an empty stomach. And, it’s all too easy to buy something to tide us over in the car until we make it home. Eating before going shopping not only helps forestall impulse buys, it may save calories. If you’re shopping with your kids, feed them in advance, as well.
Example: Buying an energy bar at the grocery store to tide you over until you get home: $1.50 more spent.

4. Brown bag it. If you normally eat out at noon, consider brown bagging it at least one day a week. The typical fast food meal out easily can cost $5.00 or more. Take food left over from the evening meal to work the next day. A peanut butter sandwich and a piece of whole fruit quickly can be packed from foods on hand.
NOTE: You may save money on your children’s lunch by having them participate in the school lunch program. They can eat a balanced meal that is offered at a reasonable price.
(1) Eating a sack lunch once a week: Save $2.50 (or more!) 
(2) Eating a sack lunch 5 days a week: Save $12.50 (or more!)

5. Coupon common sense. Use coupons only for foods you normally would eat, rather than for “extras.” Don’t miss out on potential sources of valuable coupons. Check your grocery receipt – sometimes there are great coupons on the back that help save money. Also, if you have access to a computer, check online for coupons. For starters, check the Web site of the store where you shop or of products you use. Often the Web site address for many foods is given on the product label.
If possible, shop on double or triple coupon days when a store increases the value of coupons. Grocery store loyalty cards may be another source of savings, offering in-store discounts to cardholders.
(1) NOT buying that NEW dessert mix: Save $2.00
(2) Using two 50-cent coupons for items you DO use: Save $1.00

6. Check expiration dates. Avoid buying a food that is past its prime. If it’s on sale and near its expiration date, use it soon.
Example: Avoid dumping a half gallon of soured milk down the drain: Save $2.50.

7. Small scale experiments. Before trying a new food, buy the smallest size of package. If your family doesn’t like the food, you won’t be stuck with a big box of it.
Example: Limit your purchase of an exotic spice you discover your family won’t eat to a small container: Save $1.50.

8. Costly convenience foods. How much time do you really save when you buy a convenience food? It takes just a few seconds to mix your own sugar and cinnamon rather than buying it pre-mixed. Microwaving a bowl of regular oatmeal rather than pouring hot water over a pre-measured package adds only a few minutes.
You’re likely to save by cutting fruits and veggies yourself. Plus, the precut ones won’t keep as long.
Example: Buying a carton of old-fashioned or quick oatmeal that provides 30 servings vs. buying 3 boxes instant oatmeal that contain 10 packets each: Save $5.50.

9. Staple food stock up. Invest in staple foods when they’re on sale. Buying a boatload of bananas (and other perishable foods) isn’t a very good long-term investment. Stocking up on staple items such as reduced-price canned tuna, tomato sauce or mandarin oranges can be. Remember to check expiration dates.
Example: Stocking up on 10 cans of food reduced by 20 cents apiece: Save $2.00.

10. Bulking up when the price is right and you can use it. First, do the math and check if you actually do save by buying a larger package. The cost of two foods of the smaller size may be a better price than the larger one. Plus, will you use the food while the flavor is still tasty? Always check it out and if the larger size meets your criteria, go for it!
Example: Buying a 5-pound bag of rice instead of a 1-pound bag: Save $1.50.

11. Store brand savings. Store brands are comparable in nutrition to name brands. And, taste-wise, there may be little difference. In some comparisons, they have been preferred over the name brands.
Some store brands may vary more in size, color, or texture than the name brands. However, this may be unimportant, depending on their use. A less than perfect appearing vegetable may be just fine if used in a casserole or soup.
Store brands and lower-priced brands tend to be positioned on the top and bottom shelves. The national brands are more likely to be on the middle shelves.
Example: Buying just two store brands and saving 50-cents on each: Save $1.00.

12. Prevent food flops. Check preparation methods for unfamiliar foods. Perhaps that tropical fruit looked enticing at the store. However, if you’re not sure how to prepare it or where to find more information once you bring it home, think again. Or, that new cut of meat – do you slowly roast it or can it be grilled? Either way, find out or risk having a food flop.
Often the produce person or the meat manager at the store can give you some tips. Many produce departments have books with descriptions of all the items, what they taste like, how to prepare them, etc.
Example: Purchasing a bag of self-rising flour without reading the directions and discovering it won’t work in your recipes: Lose $2.50 

13. Beware of snack attacks. Unless you’re fairly active and need the calories, enjoy snacks, such as chips, cookies, candy, etc. in limited amounts. You’ll save money and may lose unwanted pounds at the same time!
Example: Buying one less bag of chips weekly: Save $2.00.

14. Shop the specials. Plan your menus around sale items, especially more expensive purchases, such as meat. A dollar saved is even better than a dollar earned, as you don’t have to pay taxes on it!
Buying several packages of meat when it is on sale and freezing it may save quite a bit. “It is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its supermarket wrapping but this type of wrap is permeable to air,” advises the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS). “Unless you will be using the food in a month or two, over wrap these packages as you would any food for long-term storage using airtight heavy-duty foil, (freezer) plastic wrap or freezer paper, or place the package inside a (freezer) plastic bag.” If you plan to repackage family packs into smaller amounts, USDA/FSIS also recommends using these materials.
While raw ground meat maintains optimum quality in the freezer for 3 to 4 months, larger pieces of meat like steaks or chops will maintain optimum quality for 4 to 12 months, according to USDA/FSIS. At 0 degrees F, frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. The safest way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator on a plate on the bottom shelf so it doesn’t drip on other foods.
Example: Buying meat on sale: Save $2.00

15. Think before you drink: Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water. Your investment soon will pay for itself. Limit consumption of soft drinks and fancy coffees.
Example: Drinking tap water vs. buying a 12 pack of bottled water: Save $4.00.

16. “Checkout” temptation. OK, you’ve almost made it to the finish line … don’t stumble now as you approach the checkout lane. As you’re waiting in line, think twice before buying some last-minute temptation.
Example: Resist that magazine with the latest diet: Save $3.50.

GRAND TOTAL: The more of these tips you can use and the more foods you can use them with, the more you can save. Case in point: If you were able to use each of the preceding examples in one shopping trip, you could save as much as $40 a week.

Multiply that by 52 weeks and the savings would be … TA DA! … over $2,000 yearly!

Photo courtesy of UNL Extension Service

Posted by Marsha on July 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 15, 2008

Healthy Living - Exercise...The Best Medicine

07I was working out the other day and feeling quite proud of myself for getting on the horse (again) when I really didn't want to. For the umpteenth time it re-emphasized the fact that I always feel better when I move my body - regardless of how I feel going in. Even if I'm tired, sore, or the idea of working out seems about as appealing as a spoonful of cod liver oil, I will feel better.

And isn't moving your body just like taking medication for the body and soul? If we have an illness or we're in pain, don't we take the appropriate medication to feel better? Even if the prescription may be something unpleasant, we do it, because we know the outcome will bring relief.

I think it's the same with physical activity. Just like taking medication, once it takes effect, you'll feel better, maybe even wonderful! Our bodies like to move - they want to move. It's important to get that blood and oxygen circulating - allowing your body to do its thing! There's no better way to give it what it wants than giving it the appropriate dose of movement every day.

This is one of the first steps to realizing the intrinsic joy of exercise. Your body tells your brain that there will be a pay off off when you exercise, and before you know it, you'll want to work out.

So, next time you don't feel like working out - do what I do, think of it as a spoonful of cure. Its good for what ails ya! 

Posted by Cindy on July 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 11, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Curried Chicken

This Jamaican recipe will have your spirit floating away on the warm trade winds. It one of many family recipes from immigrants, brought to you from the Library of Congress Recipe Section, which are accompanied by personal stories: "I remember as a little girl, my mom, who was very active in the church would season the chicken from the Saturday night, and the spices would fill the whole house. Then early Sunday morning she would cook the curried chicken and we would be so tempted to steal a piece of chicken before we left for Sunday School. Almost every Sunday my mom would invite someone over from church and we would enjoy this delicious dish, along with other native Jamaican dishes."  We hope that you, too, will enjoy your house being filled with wonderful smells and memories!

3 lbs chicken breast (boneless, skinless)
1/2 cup curry powder (hot, mild or regular)
1 stalk green onion
1 medium onion
1 tsp. thyme salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. Jamaican pimento (optional)
1 tbls. cooking oil   Preparation Clean the chicken well, and cut into nice size pieces.

Add all of the spices to the chicken and marinate for no less than 3 hours. Brown the chicken slightly, while leaving some of the spices in the bowl. Add water to the bowl then pour into the pot. Make sure there is enough water in the bottom of the pot for the chicken to simmer in. Cook on medium heat until the liquid starts to thicken and becomes like a gravy. Make sure the chicken is well cooked (no hint of pink). Serve with rice and a green vegtable and enjoy.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

Posted by Laura on July 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2008

Healthy Living - Get Inspired by Sport!

Those who know me, know I couldn’t let the Wimbledon Championship Men's Final match pass by in infamy without commenting on my favorite sport and player, Rafa Nadal

I’ve been a tennis fan for over 30 years and I’ve watched and loved many players along the way. Rod Laver, Stephen Edberg, Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova, Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter, Monica Seles, Gustav Kurten and now Rafa. All have two things in common: never say die and lots of class.

I’m not sure what happened when I was a teenager that attracted me to the game. No one in my family or any of my friends played tennis. It wasn’t a sport offered at my school and the courts in my rural Oregon hometown were grown over with weeds and used primarily as a soccer field for truants.

I just remember one afternoon watching Rod Laver play Ken Rosewall and I became mesmerized by the athleticism, strength, strategy and intelligence it took to get that ball back and forth so quickly and still set up an unbelievable shot.

Little did I know that this particular meeting between Rod Laver (The Rocket) and Ken Rosewall (referred to as Muscles), would be an epic encounter – just like the one we witnessed this past Sunday. It was 1972 and part of the world championship tennis tour. I had happily stumbled upon the final which would later be deemed one of the most influential matches in tennis history. It was magic and I’ve been watching (and even sometimes playing) ever since. I love this game!

What does all this tennis talk have to do with anything? It has to do with what's really important. It has to do with moving your body for the pure joy of it. It has to do with allowing yourself to be the best you can be and getting the most out of your life. And it doesn't have to be as a professional tennis player.

At times in my life I've been hopelessly lethargic, unfit and unmotivated. And it was tennis that came to my rescue. Every summer there is was - the great motivator. Austrailia, France, England and the United States. It inspired me to get up off my duff. It wasn’t about losing weight or getting a flat stomach, or ridding me of my flabby upper arms. It was about getting out on the court and playing a game I love. It was about being even the slightest bit like my idols – after all, look at the dedication and work they put into their sport. I could at least get fit enough to hit a few balls!

So whether it's tennis, the summer Olympics or your son or daughter's community soccer game. Let sport get you inspired. It can be the best reason you ever had to get in shape and start feeling good about yourself again. Let's play ball!

And what about Rafa? Well, just like the greats before him, he never says die and he's a class act all the way. Way to go, mama and papa Nadal for raising such a great kid.

Posted by Cindy on July 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 05, 2008

Weight Loss: Weight Watchers Vs. Fitness Centers

Weight Watchers has started a new campaign ad that says, 'Diets Don't Work...Weight Watchers Does.' The experts at Green Mountain at Fox Run have been saying that since its founding in 1973, but have always stressed healthy eating along with fitness goals and mutual support. Now a new study that uses the latest technology such as the Bod Pod (photo-right) reinforces the Green Mountain philosophy.

University of Missouri researcher Steve Ball belives his study indicates that a multi-pronged approach to weight loss - diet, exercise and support - is much more likely to be effective than simply taking out a gym membership or joining Weight Watchers alone.

A Study in Body Composition

The study examined how people lose weight in the real world, comparing not only the number of pounds lost, but also the percentage of body fat. Ball used sophisticated methods, such as a 'Bod Pod' and CT scans to measure the body composition of Weight Watchers vs. fitness club members.

The Weight Watchers group averaged a 5% reduction in body weight (or 9 pounds) over a 12 week period, but much of that was lean tissue, not fat.

“Participants’ body fat percentage did not improve at all because they lost a much higher percentage than expected of lean tissue,” said Ball, assistant professor of exercise physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. “It is advantageous to keep lean tissue because it is correlated with higher metabolism. Losing lean tissue often slows metabolism. What your body is made of is more important than what you weigh.”

The fitness center group didn't see much of a change on the scale, but those participants did lose fat around the vital organs.  Ball says that a change in body composition, regardless of negligible weight loss, is still beneficial to overall health and an improved metabolism.

Strength in Numbers

Sticking with any new lifestyle change takes perseverance. The group support in the Weight Watchers program proved to be very effective at helping participants see the weight loss program through whereas nearly 50 percent of fitness club members quit within 6 months.

“I think the outcome of the study speaks volumes about the necessity for a multi-pronged approach," concludes Ball, "in order to lose weight, body fat and gain health benefits. I hope that this will be the first in a series of studies investigating commercial weight loss programs.”

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Weight Watchers Vs. Fitness Centers." ScienceDaily 5 July 2008. 5 July 2008 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/07/080702101351.htm>.

Posted by Laura on July 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Red White and Blue Trifle

You'll have lots of free time on Independence Day to enjoy family, friends and fireworks with this 4th of July healthy recipe. I buy the angel food cake, vanilla pudding, and whipped cream premade, but you can make it from scratch if prefer. You can even whip up a trifle faster: the photo on the right shows a version made just with blueberries, raspberries and whipped cream.  Now THAT'S easy! And kids love to help with the layering, so it's a great way to show them that delicious desserts can be a part of healthy eating.  Have a blast!

1 angel food cake
2 packets of vanilla pudding (or equivalent amount of pre-made store bought pudding)
1 pound of strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 pound of blueberries, fresh or frozen
Low fat whipped cream

Make pudding by directions on the box (or use store bought). Thaw fruit if frozen. If fruit isn’t frozen, slice into bite sized pieces and add a tsp of sugar to make juices flow. Cut angel food cake into large chunks. Using a large clear dish, place a layer of cake chunks onto the bottom of the container. Top with a layer of strawberries, then a layer of pudding, cake chunks, blueberries, pudding - repeat until you reach the top of the container. Finish with a topping of low fat whipped cream.

Posted by Laura on July 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2008

Healthy Body Image: Body Hatred is Learned

Another excellent e-letter from our friend and consultant Karin Kratina. Karin and her colleague Amy Tuttle write how body hatred is a learned behavior:

Have you ever met a baby who hated her body? Somewhere along the way, we learn to dislike, and even hate, our bodies. How did we learn this?

With that provocative statement, they then go on to discuss the effect of advertising, female oppression in the workplace and the power of positive self talk. It's a worthwhile read -- check it out on their website Nourishing Connections.

Read more about positive self talk on Green Mountain's website, too. Giving ourselves positive feedback is a great way to start the day, and the more we do it, the more it becomes a habit that can change our lives for the better. And positive self talk is a key behavior for healthy weight loss and maintenance.

Here are a few suggestions from Karin and Amy for talking to yourself when you pass a mirror:

So, just for today, whenever you see your reflection, say something powerfully positive to yourself. Take a minute right now to decide what that will be. Some examples are:

• “Wow, what a wonderfully powerful woman!” • “Hey, bright and beautiful you!” • “Hello there sweet and wonderful person!”

Posted by Marsha on July 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack