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September 30, 2008

Healthy Living: Is Wall Street Bad For Your Waistline?

ImagesIt’s impossible at this juncture to be unaffected by the recent events on Wall Street. With an election just around the corner, our financial markets are a mess, Americans are losing their homes, the country is at war, and we’re still dealing with shortages of oil and rising fuel costs, not to mention the rise in unemployment. Gee, did I miss anything?

No matter if you’re young and just starting out, or your retirement is looming just over the horizon, all the recent news makes gaining a few extra pounds seem like childs play, doesn’t it?

Turning on the news may give you an upset stomach. Or, like many Americans, cause you to reach for your cupboards for solace. So, with all this anxiety out there, I thought it might be well worth it to direct you to a Green Mountain at Fox Run Update that was published in the winter of 2002.  Food for thought…

Craving Comfort Foods in Times of Crisis – Update 2002 | Vol. 28 No. 1

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Posted by Cindy on September 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 29, 2008

Healthy Eating: Lower Your Cholesterol with TLC

Roughly half of all adults in the United States are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease because of high or borderline cholesterol levels. As a result, statin drugs are widely prescribed both here in America and abroad.

A Little TLC Goes a Long Way

But drugs aren't the only answer, stress promoters of the National Cholesterol Education Program. A healthy lifestyle which includes healthy eating and exercise (which they call Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes or TLC) can also keep cholesterol levels in check and avoid potential side effects that statin medications can cause.

TLC Guidelines

Here are some ways you can lower your cholesterol levels through healthy lifestyle change.

  • Reduce saturated fat to no more than 7 percent of total calories, and cholesterol to no more than 200 milligrams per day
    • Tip: read food labels and track your daily saturated fat grams
  • Strive for or maintain a healthy weight
    • Tip: just losing 10 percent of overall body weight can substantially improve your health.
  • Add soluble fiber to your healthy eating plan
    • Tip: choose foods like oats, beans, fruits and veggies
  • Add 2 grams of plant stanols and sterols a day to reduce absorption of cholesterol
    • Tip: For best results, eat foods containing plant stanols and sterols with meals twice a day.
  • Practice therapeutic lifestyle changes
    • Tip: read more of our blog posts under Lifestyle to learn ways to change your habits

Posted by Laura on September 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2008

Diabetes: Exercise Can Help Reduce Liver Fat Levels

Results from a Johns Hopkins study demonstrate that high liver fat levels (common in type 2 diabetes patients), can be greately reduced by exercising.

The study’s lead investigator, exercise physiologist Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., says the rise in the number of people with nonalcoholic fatty liver, mostly due to obesity, signals “a dark trend” because the disease, also called hepatic steatosis, may lead to cirrhosis and subsequent liver failure and transplantation, even cancer, as well as increased risk of diabetes-related heart disease.

In the study, one group of 39 men and women exercised for duration of 45 minutes, 3 times per week.  The ohter group of similar number was the control group and did not exercise. In the group that exercised, fat levels in their livers significantly decreased compared to the control group.

“People with type 2 diabetes have added reason to be active and to exercise, not just because it is good for their overall health, but also because our study results pinpoint a key benefit to trimming the fatty liver that complicates their illness and which could accelerate heart disease and liver failure,” says Stewart, a professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute.

Read the press release here...People with Type 2 Diabetes can put Fatty Livers on a Diet with Moderate Exercise

Posted by Laura on September 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 25, 2008

Heathy Recipe: Fruit Jumble

With this mix of delicious fruits, juices and yogurt, you couldn't ask for better healthy recipe. It's a healthy eating breakfast meal or treat for whole family, or as a welcome potluck menu item!

Makes 6-8 servings

1 1/2 cups grapes, green, purple or combination of each      
1 medium apple, cut into bite-sized pieces      
1-16 ounce can of chunky unsweetened pineapple, drained (save the juice), or 1-11 ounce can mandarin orange sections, drained (save the juice)      
1 medium banana, cut into slices      
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped      
Coconut flakes (optional)      

Wash grapes, wash and chop apple, peel and slice banana and open canned fruit and drain juice into a measuring cup. Combine fruit into a serving bowl.

Jumble Juice:
1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt    
2-3 tablespoons of reserved pineapple or mandarin juice

To make Jumble Juice:

Put yogurt into a small bowl or cup. Add juice and stir with a whisk or fork until smooth. Pour Jumble Juice over fruit and toss gently to coat. Divide Fruit Jumble into bowls or plates and sprinkle with nuts, coconut and cinnamon.

Posted by Laura on September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2008

Healthy Eating - Who Says Deprivation Leads to Overeating?

Apple9_2Oh yeah, we do!

I'm late posting again. I've been very busy lately and what happens to me when I'm busy? I forget to eat. And by the time those old hunger pangs are panging, I've waited too long. Dang it, foiled again!

And as sure as I want my apple candied, I'll miss the opportunity to eat a little something in the afternoon because I've had a late lunch just an hour before I'd normally grab a healthy snack.

Let's face it, nothing goes right when you don't feed yourself. It's happened to me more than once this week. In fact, most nights this week, I've arrived home and barely slipped my briefcase off my shoulder before I'm rummaging through the refrigerator for something to eat...anything...'Just get me some food, I'm starving!!'.

I know better. We all know better. But still, it happens. I will say this, at least these days I'm aware of what I'm doing. I can feel it happening. The anxiousness when I'm finally around food - what am I going to eat, will it be what I want, can I get it fast and will I get enough? Usually, I'm 'picking' while I'm deciding. Another tell tale sign of mindLESSness!

There is typically more than one culprit when my behavior goes all willywompus. First, I've skipped breakfast. Second, I've allowed myself to say yes to some kind of business comitment too close to lunch, so it gets pushed back an hour...or two. I eat a late lunch. I skip an afternoon snack. And that's all it takes to get the ball rolling.

The old saying, tomorrow is another day doesn't apply here. There's no such thing as a perfect day, a perfect eater. So, even though I'm not that hungry right now, I'm off to get an apple, because history tells me I'll enjoy and it will allow me to get back on track before dinnertime. Besides, I need a break.

Tommorrow? I'll be packin'! (A lunch and snack, that is).

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Posted by Cindy on September 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 23, 2008

On the Job Fitness

It's a gorgeous Fall day here in Vermont -- sun shining, fairly warm outside. I want to get out soon for a walk.

But I also know what's coming -- winter in all its glory...and all its reasons not to get outside (although after living here for more than two decades, I've adjusted and really love snowshoeing and other winter-time activities).

In case you're still struggling to develop a love of the outdoors in the winter time, or if you find yourself tied to a desk much of the time when it's still light outside, our most recent FitBriefing "Work or Workout? Office Exercise You Can Do" might have a few good ideas for keeping your fitness program alive.

These types of activities are good for what ails us, whether it be just feeling down (I find physical activity a quick way to adjust my mood) or a need to keep a healthy lifestyle program going for a weight loss program, diabetes management and/or reducing risk of the host of disorders that a healthy lifestyle works against.

And if anyone in the office thinks you're a bit strange doing some of these activities, just invite them to join in the fun!

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

September 22, 2008

'Baby' Fat Cells May Be Key To Treating Obesity, Say Researchers

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered the location of immature fat cells which reside in blood vessel walls.  When a person takes in more calories than he or she can expend, these 'baby' fat cells begin to mature and are responsible for excess fat storage. By identifying where these fat cells exist in the body, future studies may reveal ways in which to inhibit them from converting calories into fat.

"There's both intellectual and clinical importance in this discovery," said Dr. Jonathan Graff, associate professor of developmental biology and molecular biology at UT Southwestern (picture on right) and senior author of the study, which appears in today's online edition of the journal Science. "Identifying the progenitor cells and finding where they live gives us an exciting therapeutic opportunity.

"Since we can now isolate the progenitor cells, we can interrogate them molecularly and gain insight not only into how they function but also how to harness their powers to help in a variety of human conditions. And because we have found their location, we might be able to develop therapies that can help people with obesity, [type 2 diabetes] or other metabolic challenges."

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Excellence for Education Foundation, involved engineering mice so that the stem cells glowed green, allowing researchers to track them from 'baby' to adult fat cells.

If researchers can learn how to isolate and remove these progenitor fat cells, they could transplant them to other places in the body to treat various diseases, including obesity, diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Graff also believes that these progenitor - or adult stem cells - could also be used for wound healing, or filling in areas in a woman's breast after a lumpectomy or other reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

Posted by Laura on September 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 19, 2008

Diabetes: Human Skin Cells Turned Into Insulin-Producing Cells

Millions of people with diabetes and type 2 diabetes may have a new treatment available in the future, and one that's close to science fiction. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, researchers have learned how to reprogram skin cells into insulin producing cells.

First the human skin cells were transformed into pluripotent stem cells, which are cells that can become any other fetal or adult cell type, then into the cells that can produce insulin. Although there has been other previous research in this field, UNC is the first study (published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry)to show that the human skin cells turned stem cells can be manipulated into differentiating.

"Not only have we shown that we can reprogram skin cells, but we have also demonstrated that these reprogrammed cells can be differentiated into insulin-producing cells which hold great therapeutic potential for diabetes," said study lead author Yi Zhang, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UNC and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Of course, there are many years of additional studies that are required first, but this study provides hope for a cure for all patients with diabetes," said John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., president of the American Diabetes Association and professor and chief of the endocrinology division in the UNC School of Medicine's department of medicine.

Other current research has been studying transplantation of insulin-producing beta cells, but transplants require immune suppression.  Zhang's approach potentially eliminated that issue because the insulin-producing cells would be made directly from the individual diabetic patient.

Posted by Laura on September 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 18, 2008

Healthy Recipe: Cantonese Lemon Chicken

Another favorite from the healthy weight loss program at Green Mountain, this light ‘fried’ chicken recipe is rich in taste. Goes to show that healthy eating can please even the pickiest eaters!

Makes 4 servings

12-16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup cornstarch (divided)
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
Cantonese Lemon Sauce (see below)

Place chicken breast in glass baking dish. Combine egg, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small bowl and mix until smooth; pour over chicken breasts, turning chicken to coat well; cover and place in the refrigerate for an hour or more.

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch and flour in a flat shallow dish. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; Remove chicken breasts from egg/soy mixture and dip and coat each chicken breast into flour mixture; gently set into heated skillet and sauté on each side about 2 minute or until golden brown. Remove chicken from skillet and place on baking sheet. Bake 15- 20 minutes or until done. Slice chicken breasts and spoon Cantonese Lemon Sauce over top. Serve.

Cantonese Lemon Sauce

Makes ½ cup

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ tablespoons water
½ teaspoon lemon zest

In a small sauce pan, combine lemon juice, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon water and sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 ½ tablespoons water and add to lemon mixture, continue cooking, stirring until sauce is desired thickness. Stir in lemon zest and spoon over chicken breasts.

Posted by Laura on September 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 17, 2008

Healthy Eating on a Budget

With the troubles on Wall Street and the economy in general, even the most well-cushioned are likely starting to think about ways to be a little more conservative with money. Healthy eating has long been considered (unfairly) to require a major investment of money to do regularly. So here's a brief primer on healthy eating on a budget, whether we want to manage type 2 diabetes, healthy weight loss, polycystic ovarian syndrome, metabolic syndrome, or any of the myriad problems that healthy eating can address.

I found these tips at the hospital where I went to get my yearly mammogram last week (next month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!). I'm rewording but want to give a nod to Jane Harrison, RD, nutritionist at HealthAtoZ, a site I wasn't aware of before. A brief review makes me think it's a pretty good site.

- Bulk buying saves money. Just make sure you don't buy more than you can use before it spoils.

- Cook once, eat twice (or more). Cook enough for several meals, so you can pull a great meal from the 'frig or freezer instead of going out to eat, or resorting to costlier convenience options.

- Beans, beans, beans. And other plant sources of protein cost less than animal sources. Try tofu -- it's a great food that picks up the flavor of other foods and seasonings to make a meal that pleases.

- Buy in season. Seasonal produce costs less and tastes better than produce shipped from wherever it was grown. Better for the environment, too. Oh, and if your produce spoils before you use it, frozen is probably a better choice. It's as nutritious as fresh although may not be as tasty.

- Generic rules. Take the risk and try generic brands. They are less costly and often just as good.

- Eat before you shop. If you're hungry, that is. You'll cut down on impulse purchases, especially of those rich non-essentials like chips and cookies that often seem to call out to empty stomachs.

Posted by Marsha on September 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack