Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Yes, I’m a day early but I want to give you time to plan and make some healthier choices.  A local pub has a sign that says “St. Paddy’s Day is our favorite Alcoholiday!”  Keeping in the spirit of the day…

It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without beer so let’s take a look at the calorie counts on some Irish Favorites.  Because these are “heartier” beers, the plan is to drink only 1 or 2, which will save calories. These tips are for those 21 and older, please.

1. Guinness Draught. Twelve ounces of this dark and rich beer has just 125 calories! Makes me want to do an Irish jig!

2. Harp.  This cousin of Guinness comes in at 142 calories for 12 ounces.

3. Killian’s Irish Red.  This popular beer has 163 calories in a 12-ounce bottle.

6. Smithwick’s Irish Ale. If you aren’t a fan of the darker beers, try 12 ounces of this Irish ale that has a reasonable 150 calories.  Pronounce it Smit-icks.

7. Irish Car Bomb.  This drink has a whopping 237 calories and will knock you back on your shamrock so drink responsibly!

3/4 pint Guinness stout
1/2 shot Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/2 shot Jameson Irish whiskey

Add the Bailey’s and Jameson to a shot glass, layering the Bailey’s on the bottom. Pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full and let settle. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug. If you don’t drink it fast enough it will curdle and increasingly taste worse.

You  will probably want some food with your beer and the obvious choice is Corned Beef and Cabbage.

The Good News:

Cabbage is a great source of protein, thiamin, calcium, phosphorus, copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, folate, magnesium,potassium and manganese. It has no fat, very low sodium and just 19 calories in one cup.

The Bad News:

While corned beef is a good source of protein, Vitamin B12, and zinc, it is VERY high in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.  A 3 oz serving (which is quite small) has 251 calories, 19 g of fat (6 g saturated), and a whopping 1134 mg of sodium- almost half of your daily allowance.  YIKES!  If this is something you enjoy once per year- go ahead and have some.  Just be aware that your blood pressure and heart rate might increase for several hours so don’t do anything too strenuous and drink plenty of water to flush the sodium out of your system.

Here’s a “healthier” version of Corned Beef and Cabbage in the form of a reuben sandwich.

Kind of  a Reuben!”

1 tsp Dijon mustard=45 calories (Nu Val 6)

2 slices rye bread  Pepperidge Farms Jewish Rye=80 calories per slice (Nu Val 29)

1 slice Sargento reduced fat, reduced sodium Swiss Cheese=60 calories

2 oz. thin sliced smoked turkey=60 calories

2 tbl. sauerkraut, drained=5 calories (Nu Val 39)

1 tbl. Walden Farms Zero Calorie 1000 Island Dressing=0 cal (Nu Val 4)

Canola oil=120 calories per tsp. ( Nu Val 24)

Spread mustard over each slice of bread.  Place cheese on 1 slice, add turkey.  Top with sauerkraut and dressing. Top with bread, mustard on the inside!

Heat canola oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sandwich to skillet, cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

This sandwich, as shown, is about 450 calories.  You could opt for a cooking spray instead of the canola oil to save even more calories.

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Are You Insane?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

                                                                             -attributed to Albert Einstein

This post is not about clinical insanity , it’s aobut the day to day things we do that are insane.

Some background:

I use my ipod every single day.  Every single day I wind the earbud wires the same way and put it in the holder.  Everytime I go to use the earbuds, the wires have somehow gotten all twisted and knotted so I waste time and get frustrated while I untangle.  This happens every day…day in and day out.  Guess what?  That’s insane!  For some reason I never thought to wind them in a different manner, I favored fussing about the untangling process each day.  I saw someone at the gym using a different technique and the light bulb went on!  I changed my ways  and am now saving myself time, and more importantly, frustration.  Maybe my headsets will last longer as well!

Do you have something that is bugging you?  A garbage bag that won’t stay in place?  A squeaky door?  Searching for keys?  A pet dish that is always in the way?

All of these are pretty simple to solve but we tend to prefer being annoyed than making a change.  I search through my purse for my office keys every day while juggling my coffee cup, lunchbag and laptop bag.   Well…how about keeping those keys in a side pocket for easy access?  Duh. Now I just need to remember to put them there, and even more challenging, remembering where I put them before I tear my purse apart!

What about the number on the scale or your clothing size? It’s stuck?  Or worse- going up?

Are you still eating the same number of calories?  Have you added any exercise to your routine?  Do you wonder why nothing changes?

It’s time to stop the insanity!

Is this you?

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Today is National Potato Chip Day!

I love potato chips, I could eat chips all day long but I also know that they are full of fat and calories so I try to limit my consumption.   While some choices are better than others, don’t fool yourself into thinking that any commercially made chip is “healthy”.  If you must eat chips (and I must!) here are some of my favorites:

1-      Kettle Brand Baked Chips (Nu Val 26)- you will find these in the Natural Foods aisle. With 65 percent less fat than regular chips, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of fat, and only 120 calories, these are a best bet.  However, a serving is 1 oz (about 20 chips) so if you eat the whole bag you need to multiply everything by 5! These chips come in some great flavors but keep in mind that more flavor typically means more sodium.

2-      Michael Seasons Lightly Salted (Nu Val 28)- This product has the same basic nutrition info as Kettle Brand with 140 calories in a serving and is located in the Natural food aisle.

3-      Lay’s Kettle Cooked Chips Reduced Fat (Nu Val 25)- there are 20 more calories per serving than the Kettle brand but these are really good and are often on pink tag! Watch the Nu Val scores as they vary widely by flavor.

4- Special K Sea Salt Cracker Chips – these are a hybrid chip, kind of a cross between crackers and chips but 30 chips total 110 calories so I can get past the fact that it isn’t a real chip.  The texture is more  like Pringle’s or Baked Lays but they are quite crunchy and satisfying.  Count 30 into a bowl and eat them 1 at a time, much more satisfying than other 100 calorie treats.

My favorite potato chip is Hawaiian Kettle Style Sweet Maui Onion, they come in a giant bag at World Market.  At 140 calories per 15 chips, I save these as a special treat.  And there is no way I would stop at 15 chips, even if I counted them out and hid the bag!

Remember everything in moderation.  Today’s food choices=tomorrow’s body.

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Where are the Candy Bars on this Chart?

A friend sent this chart to me and it is very interesting.  I really believe if we eat the way nature intended, get rid of all the chemicals and artificial ingredients, many health issues would go away.  Find a food and read across to see how it can benefit your body.

Apples

Protects your heart

Prevents   constipation

Blocks diarrhea

Improves lung   capacity

Cushions joints

Apricots

Combats cancer

Controls blood   pressure

Saves your eyesight

Shields against   Alzheimer’s

Slows aging process

Artichokes

Aids digestion

Lowers cholesterol

Protects your heart

Stabilizes blood   sugar

Guards against liver   disease

Avocados

Battles diabetes

Lowers cholesterol

Helps stops strokes

Controls blood   pressure

Smoothes skin

Bananas

Protects your heart

Quiets a cough

Strengthens bones

Controls blood   pressure

Blocks diarrhea

Beans

Prevents   constipation

Helps hemorrhoids

Lowers cholesterol

Combats cancer

Stabilizes blood   sugar

Beets

Controls blood   pressure

Combats cancer

Strengthens bones

Protects your heart

Aids weight loss

Blueberries

Combats cancer

Protects your heart

Stabilizes blood   sugar

Boosts memory

Prevents   constipation

Broccoli

Strengthens bones

Saves eyesight

Combats cancer

Protects your heart

Controls blood   pressure

Cabbage

Combats cancer

Prevents   constipation

Promotes weight loss  

Protects your heart

Helps hemorrhoids

Cantaloupe

Saves eyesight

Controls blood   pressure

Lowers cholesterol

Combats cancer

Supports immune   system

Carrots

Saves eyesight

Protects your heart

Prevents   constipation

Combats cancer

Promotes weight loss  

Cauliflower

Protects against   Prostate Cancer

Combats Breast Cancer

Strengthens bones

Banishes bruises

Guards against heart   disease

Cherries

Protects your heart

Combats Cancer

Ends insomnia

Slows aging process

Shields against   Alzheimer’s

Chestnuts

Promotes weight loss  

Protects your heart

Lowers cholesterol

Combats Cancer

Controls blood   pressure

Chili peppers

Aids digestion

Soothes sore throat

Clears sinuses

Combats Cancer

Boosts immune system  

Figs

Promotes weight loss  

Helps stops strokes

Lowers cholesterol

Combats Cancer

Controls blood   pressure

Fish

Protects your heart

Boosts memory

Protects your heart

Combats Cancer

Supports immune   system

Flax

Aids digestion

Battles diabetes

Protects your heart

Improves mental   health

Boosts immune system  

Garlic

Lowers cholesterol

Controls blood   pressure

Combats cancer

Kills bacteria

Fights fungus

Grapefruit

Protects against   heart attacks

Promotes Weight loss  

Helps stops strokes

Combats Prostate   Cancer

Lowers cholesterol

Grapes

Saves eyesight

Conquers kidney   stones

Combats cancer

Enhances blood flow

Protects your heart

Green tea

Combats cancer

Protects your heart

Helps stops strokes

Promotes Weight loss  

Kills bacteria

Honey

Heals wounds

Aids digestion

Guards against   ulcers

Increases energy

Fights allergies

Lemons

Combats cancer

Protects your heart

Controls blood   pressure

Smoothes skin

Stops scurvy

Limes

Combats cancer

Protects your heart

Controls blood   pressure

Smoothes skin

Stops scurvy

Mangoes

Combats cancer

Boosts memory

Regulates thyroid

Aids digestion

Shields against   Alzheimer’s

Mushrooms

Controls blood   pressure

Lowers cholesterol

Kills bacteria

Combats cancer

Strengthens bones

Oats

Lowers cholesterol

Combats cancer

Battles diabetes

Prevents   constipation

Smoothes skin

Olive oil

Protects your heart

Promotes Weight loss  

Combats cancer

Battles diabetes

Smoothes skin

Onions

Reduce risk of heart   attack

Combats cancer

Kills bacteria

Lowers cholesterol

Fights fungus

Oranges

Supports immune   systems

Combats cancer

Protects your heart

Straightens   respiration

Peaches

Prevents   constipation

Combats cancer

Helps stops strokes

Aids digestion

Helps hemorrhoids

Peanuts

Protects against   heart disease

Promotes Weight loss  

Combats Prostate   Cancer

Lowers cholesterol

Aggravates
Diverticulitis

Pineapple

Strengthens bones

Relieves colds

Aids digestion

Dissolves warts

Blocks diarrhea

Prunes

Slows aging process

Prevents   constipation

Boosts memory

Lowers cholesterol

Protects against   heart disease

Rice

Protects your heart

Battles diabetes

Conquers kidney   stones

Combats cancer

Helps stops strokes

Strawberries

Combats cancer

Protects your heart

Boosts memory

Calms stress

Sweet potatoes

Saves your eyesight

Lifts mood

Combats cancer

Strengthens bones

All round health food (dc)

Tomatoes

Protects prostate

Combats cancer

Lowers cholesterol

Protects your heart

Walnuts

Lowers cholesterol

Combats cancer

Boosts memory

Lifts mood

Protects against   heart disease

Water

Promotes Weight loss  

Combats cancer

Conquers kidney   stones

Smoothes skin

Watermelon

Protects prostate

Promotes Weight loss  

Lowers cholesterol

Helps stops strokes

Controls blood   pressure

Wheat germ

Combats Colon Cancer  

Prevents   constipation

Lowers cholesterol

Helps stops strokes

Improves digestion

Wheat bran

Combats Colon Cancer  

Prevents   constipation

Lowers cholesterol

Helps stops strokes

Improves digestion

Yogurt

Guards against   ulcers

Strengthens bones

Lowers cholesterol

Supports immune   systems

 aids digestion
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Happy Birthday, Dad

This is what being a teacher for 30 years will do to a person!

Today would have been my dad’s 82nd  Birthday.  He died 3 years ago from complications of Parkinson’s, a disease that he struggled with for 20 years.  Watching him go from being a smart, compassionate, very funny vibrant man to a person who couldn’t walk, talk, or take care of himself was devastating and was a big part of my interest in doing what I can to be healthy until my last day on this earth.  As you can see from the pictures, he had a great love of life and was always making us laugh.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of some funny thing he said or did. I sure wish we could have one last conversation.

Your mission for today: If you had 5 minutes left in your life and could talk to just one person…who would it be, what would you say, and why are you waiting?  

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Even big kids love Happy Joe's

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Spring Ahead!

Did you remember to spring ahead… If not, you were probably late for something today!  Look how much one hour can affect us:

> A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed an 8 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents on the Monday following the time change. However, the extra hour of evening daylight in the spring may help prevent pedestrian fatalities. So, I guess you are better off walking than driving today, but then, walking is always better than driving when you have the option.

>Workplace accidents may be another side effect of the sleep loss from the one-hour time change. Accidents increase in frequency the Monday after the clocks move.  Researchers found a 5.7 percent increase in injuries and a 67.6 percent increase in work days lost to injuries so be extra careful on Monday.

>We are already sleep deprived and losing an hour does not help.  One tip- take a nap on Sunday.

>It is a well known fact that Monday is a big day for heart attacks, but recent studies show that there is an even greater increase in heart attacks the Monday after our clocks change. Click here for information on heart attack symptoms and warning signs.

So, in order to have a healthy Monday, you simply MUST take time for a nap today!

I recommend a couch or bed- it's safer!

Also- check  your smoke detector batteries and flip your mattress!

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Pink Slime- Dangerous Additive or Harmless Filler?

This is how we think most cattle are raised.

 

The answer to the title question  is “It depends.”  It depends who you are listening to, who you trust, and how important eating all natural food is to you.

First- what is Pink Slime?  Pink slime is a nickname given to Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings, also knows as BLBT.

How is Pink Slime (BLBT) made? In order to extract valuable lean beef trimmings from fat, centrifuges are used to separate the fat out of the trimmings.  The resulting meat is then squeezed through small tubes where it is exposed to a small amount of ammonia gas which turns it pink.  This gas is necessary to kill e-coli as the trimmings are from parts of the cow that are more susceptible to being contaminated.  This product is then added back into the beef, typically by grinding.

Is it dangerous?  According to the FDA- no.  It is still a meat product and is treated as such. Some food safety advocates warn against it, others say the criticism is overblown.

Is it edible?  Again- yes, it is.  It is basically just the scrapings off the bone. However, it has been exposed to a type of ammonia.

Should you eat it?  That’s up to you.  Are you ok with eating meat that has been chemically treated to kill e.coli?  Are you ok with eating a product that does not specify all the ingredients? Keep in mind, unless you have been buying organic, locally grown beef, you have been eating pink slime for 20+ years.  Does it make a difference now that you know?

Why is pink slime used?  I’m guessing the politically correct answer from beef producers/processors is that they want to use every bit of meat they can so nothing goes to waste.  I’m also guessing that money is a huge factor.  The more product you can scrape and squeeze out of each cow, the more  you can sell.

We as consumers are very much to blame.  Additives keep costs down and we  love to buy our food as cheaply is we can.  People run all over town to save a few pennies and heaven forbid, one store tries to charge a bit more for quality.  We’ll fuss about pink slime for a few days, much like we fussed about eggs from abused chickens, but when it comes to paying a bit more…..well,  that’s a different story.

Food has become like everything else.  We want cheap toys!  What?  It contains lead paint?   We want cheap clothes!  Do we think about the conditions in sweat shops?  We want jobs!  Wait- it can be manufactured cheaper overseas?

We want locally grown, grass-fed beef with no antibiotics, fillers, or “pink slime.”  What??? It costs more?  We seem to quit being outraged when it comes to our pocketbook.

Is pink slime dangerous? The jury is out so the choice is yours.   Do your research and do what you think is best for you and your family.

Factory farms have led to crowded condtions which can spread e-coli. Most cattle in the US are produced from factory farms.

 

 

 

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Some tips to help you sleep

 

This is from everyone’s favorite Doctor: Dr. Oz

Relax from Head to Toe

Sometimes, concentrating on relaxing your muscles and taking deep breaths will help you fall asleep. In a way, it’s like pressing the brakes on your body as you’re signaling it to slow down — 8-hour red light straight ahead! This is called progressive relaxation.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Your bed should be cozy and comfortable.
  • Eliminate any distractions, like ticking clocks, pets, or mobile phones.
  • Get in a comfortable position and think about your toes. Are they tense? Take a deep breath and relax them.
  • From toes to ankles, all the way up to your face and tongue; focus on each muscle group. Take a deep breath and relax that muscle group as you exhale.

By the time you get to the top of your head, you should be well on your way to quality sleep. But if you’re not, don’t worry. Practice this relaxation technique every night and make any variations that work best for you.

I like these ideas, except for the pet part, they would be banging on the door if I kicked them out!  The best thing we have done is NO TV in the bedroom.  Well, we do have a TV in the bedroom, but only for watching when NOT trying to fall asleep.  This was a tough habit to break (the sleep timer made it too convenient) but you will be amazed how much faster you fall asleep and how much better you will sleep.  Even putting the cell phone on the” calls only” setting makes a difference.  No more pinging and buzzing when someone updates facebook or sends a text at odd hours!  Also, flip your phone so you don’t see the light blinking.  An easy change, but it works.

Have a good sleep!

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Pork- It’s What’s for Dinner

I had some time to do a little cooking over the weekend so I dug into my Allrecipes.com saved file and pulled out one I have been meaning to try:

Guisado de Puerco con Tomatillos, also known as Pork Stew in Green Salsa.  I prefer that Spanish name as it makes it sound much more “gourmet” and more difficult than it actually is.The prep time is 25 mintues, cooking time is about an hour.

Most of you who are north of the border have probably not cooked with tomatillos, but they are a staple in Mexican cooking.  The fruit of the tomatillo (toe-ma-tee-oh)  is green and about the size of a large cherry tomato. The inside is white and meatier than a tomato. They are covered by a papery husk which may range from the pale green color of the fruit itself to a light grocery-bag brown. The husks are inedible and should be removed before use. (duh)

Tomatillos have no fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium. They are also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of  fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Niacin, Potassium and Manganese. One tomatillo has just 11 calories!

The original recipe called for 3 pounds of pork shoulder roast, I switched this to 2 pounds of boneless pork loin chops to save some fat and calories.  Two pounds were plenty but add more if you are big meat eaters.  I also used low-sodium chicken broth instead of water to give it a bit more flavor.

Guisda de Puerco con Tomatillos (Pork Stew in Green Salsa)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour                     2 cups chopped fresh tomatillos

1 tsp salt                                             1 (7 oz) can green chiles, drained

1/2 tsp cumin                                      2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (see note)

2 lbs. boneless pork loin chops,cubed         2 tsp. dried marjoram

2 tbl. olive oil, more if needed            1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water)

1 large onion, chopped                       3 cloves garlic, minced (see note)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1- Stir together the flour, salt, pepper, in a large bowl.  Place cubed pork into the mixture, stir well to coat the meat with seasoning.

2- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.  Place the meat into the hot pan in a single layer and pan-fry until the pork is brown on all sides.  Remove meat to a bowl.

3-Cook and stir the onion in the hot pan, adding oil if necessary.  Cook until the onion is beginning to brown.  Add the pork, garlic, tomatillos, chiles, marjoram, chopped cilantro, and broth.  Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Garnish with a dollop of fat free sour cream if desired.

Notes: I don’t like peeling and seeding jalapenos so I buy the 7 oz can instead.  My husband likes spicy hot food, I am more medium so I used 1/2 of the can and it was plenty spicy!   If you are not a fan- omit the jalapenos or cut back on the quantity.

I also don’t like peeling and dicing garlic so I by the diced garlic in a jar, usually found in the refrigerated produce section. I just dump in an amount that looks good.  (I love garlic so I know I won’t overdo it.)

A sprig of cilantro makes it look fancy!

Serving suggestion: This is a thick stew, I served it over brown rice (love the Uncle Ben’s 90 second pouch).  The two of us each had a hearty bowl for dinner, the same for lunch, and finished it off with a side salad for another lunch!  This stew is also thick enough to put in a tortilla.

The nutrition facts won’t be quite accurate because of the change in meat and adding broth instead of water, but this is close.  The calories and fat will be a bit lower in my version!

Amount Per Serving
Calories 346
Calories from Fat 145

% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16.1g 25 %
Saturated Fat 4.8g 24 %
Cholesterol 88mg 29 %
Sodium 904mg 36 %
Potassium 740mg 21 %
Total Carbohydrates 18g 6 %
Dietary Fiber 3.1g 13 %
Protein 32g 64 %
Sugars 5g
Vitamin A 17 %
Vitamin C 62 %
Calcium 7 %
Iron 30 %
Thiamin 99 %
Niacin 108 %
Vitamin B6 38 %
Magnesium 20 %
Folate 22 %

 Wow!  look at those percentages on the vitamins and minerals!
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Sunday Morning Inspiration

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