SEVEN RULES FOR A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER LIFE

IF you’re ready for a little positive change in your life, here are seven health rules to live by that are as simple as they are effective.

Eat the colors of the rainbow.

Vegetables (and some fruits) in a wide range of deep colors should make up most of your diet. Intense color indicates loads of phytonutrients, biologically active substances that protect plants from viruses and bacteria — and offer similar benefits to humans.

Exercise like kids play.

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Our bodies are not built to run long distances for no reason at all. We’re built to chase down prey and then stop. To run from danger and then stop. That’s what feels best and works best to keep us in shape — short bursts of intense exertion interspersed with periods of leisurely movement. The long-held belief that we need to elevate the heart rate with 30 minutes of sustained activity is being replaced by this plan — often referred to as interval training. You don’t need a specially designed workout or a personal trainer to apply this. When you’re running, sprint for a minute, then walk or trot for five. In the pool, swim one fast lap, then do three at a leisurely pace. This system is organic to many yoga classes (you practice kicking up into handstand for two minutes, then you follow up with a restorative child’s pose). But with some workouts it’s up to you to adjust. Worried you won’t burn enough calories? With interval training, you’ll actually burn more.

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Spend lots of time with people you love.

It’s a health factor, yes — a boost for your immune system. You need to be around those who really get you, to laugh, talk unguardedly about your problems, and listen deeply. You need hugs and smiles and belly laughs. You need to be able to be your true self. If you’re lucky, this stuff is built into your day. But even if it requires an effort, make it happen. Don’t assume e-mail or Facebook or even the phone is going to do — physical, as well as emotional, closeness is a big deal.

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Buy these every week.

  • Dark Leafy Greens: More nutritious, calorie for calorie, than any other food
  • Cruciferous Veggies: Lower the risk of cancer
  • Avocados: Help protect your body from heart disease, cancer, and certain degenerative diseases
  • Blueberries: Help prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, ulcers, and high blood pressure
  • Eggs: Full of protein and good fats
  • Walnuts: Packed with omega-3s and other nutrients that help protect your heart

Wander barefoot.

Kick off your shoes and walk on grass, earth, or sand whenever you have the chance. Not only will this boost your immune system by exposing you to unfamiliar microbes, but it will also give you a little charge — literally. Believe it or not, just as we get vitamin D from the sun and oxygen from the air, we get electrons from the earth, which have calming and healing benefits for the whole body.

Do something you love for at least 10 minutes a day.

It’s incredibly powerful and healing. We all think we don’t have time, but most of us can find it somewhere (maybe in the time we spend online — just a guess). It doesn’t have to be a big deal: Shoot hoops in the driveway. Sketch something on the bus home. Blast music and dance around the living room. Pick up an instrument and play three pieces. Do it on purpose, like taking a supplement.

Look up.

Be present in your surroundings. Looking up and out — and making eye contact with others — is a form of nourishment that the age of smartphones has seriously messed with. See the sky, look at the ticket collector on the commuter train, take note of the people nearby when you’re eating lunch. Instead of burying your face in your phone — which takes you out of the moment and often into a sort of junk-food-for-the-eye place — lift your head and be part of your environment.

TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH – THE MIGHTY WINTER SQUASH!

I recently read an article in bon appetite where the author clearly did not like spaghetti squash – his article entitled “5 Creative Ways to Cook with Spaghetti Squash” involved deep fat frying it and frittering it (also in deep fat fryer).  He even stated that spaghetti squash had a “blah” flavor and that his favorite was acorn squash.  So why did he write the article?

I find spaghetti squash to be a super food that most people seldom, if ever eat!

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Spaghetti squash, a type of winter squash, gets its name from the pale-yellow flesh that can be fluffed into stringy, pasta-like threads. It has a very mild flavor and, unlike other winter squash, does not have much sweetness. So you can use spaghetti squash in both savory and sweet dishes. Consider eating it warm, topped with pasta sauce or tossed with a small amount of olive oil and fresh herbs, or serve it chilled with sun-dried red peppers, olives and feta cheese.

Calories and Fat

Most varieties of winter squash contain almost twice the calories per serving of spaghetti squash, which has only 42 calories per cup.  It’s also very low in fat, with less than 0.5 grams of fat per cup. (So why would you deep fat fry it?)  Spaghetti squash contains about 92 percent water by weight, which may account for its lack of calories. These qualities make spaghetti squash a good choice for weight-loss or weight-management plans. It will fill you up without adding a lot of calories or fat to your daily total.

Carbohydrates

Spaghetti squash also fits well into a low-carb or diabetes meal plan. It contains only 10 grams of total carbohydrates per cup, whereas most types of winter squash have at least 18 grams. Of the total, 4 grams come from natural sugar in the squash, and 2 grams come from dietary fiber. Eating a diet rich in fiber may regulate digestion, reduce constipation, lower your cholesterol and help you manage your weight.

Vitamins

You’ll get small amounts of almost every essential vitamin from eating spaghetti squash. Vitamin C and vitamin B-6 are the vitamins found in highest concentration in the squash. Vitamin C plays a role in the growth and repair of body proteins, aids in wound healing and supports your immune system. It’s also an antioxidant that helps defend your body against harmful free radicals. Vitamin B-6 is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions in your body, including energy metabolism and hemoglobin production.  The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content.

Minerals

Every essential mineral is found in trace amounts in the flesh of spaghetti squash. The mineral potassium plays a part in building muscle, metabolizing carbohydrates and maintaining proper muscle function in your body. It also functions as an electrolyte, helping to regulate fluid balance and the acidity, or pH, of your blood. Replacing electrolytes is essential any time you sweat heavily or lose body fluids. Without enough potassium you may experience weak muscles, an abnormal heart rhythm or an elevated blood pressure. Spaghetti squash also contains the minerals calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium.

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Ingredients

Servings: 4

I think I would add some black beans that have been drained and well rinsed!

  • Pierce squash all over with a knife to vent. Place on microwavable plate and cover with waxed paper.  Microwave on high 5 minutes.  Turn squash over and microwave on high about another 5 minutes until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife.
  • Let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds; discard. Scrape flesh with a fork to remove in long strands. Spread out on paper towels to drain, then transfer to a bowl and chill until cold.
  • Just before serving, whisk lime juice and ranch dressing in a large bowl. Add chilled squash, avocado, cucumber, and chicken and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with basil or parsley leaves.

5 TIPS TO STAY ON TOP OF YOUR HEALTH GOALS

1. DON’T TRY TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE – LIFESTYLE CHANGES TAKE TIME

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  •  SET TWO OR THREE GOALS TO START.
  • EACH WEEK REVIEW HOW YOU HAVE DONE AND EVALUATE THE AREAS THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT.
  • AFTER TWO TO THREE WEEKS OF A CONSISTENT CHANGE, YOU HAVE MADE IT A HABIT AND YOU CAN BEGIN TO ADD ON TO YOUR GOALS.

2. SET “SMART” GOALS

SMART-Goals

Instead of I’m going to lose weight try:  In the next three weeks I will lose 2 pounds

3. MAKE EXERCISE PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE

  • ACTIVITY SHOULD BE FUN AND THINGS YOU ENJOY
  • YOU DON’T NEED TO GO TO A GYM OR HAVE SPECIAL EQUIPMENT – WALKING IS GREAT
  • EVEN HOUSEHOLD CHORES COUNT AS ACTIVITY – VACUUMING, DUSTING, RAKING LEAVES, WASHING THE CAR, SHOVELING SNOW
  • SHOOT FOR AN HOUR OF EXERCISE A DAY (YOU MAY NEED TO BUILD UP TO IT)

4. WHEN GROCERY SHOPPING STICK TO THE OUTSIDE AISLES OF THE STORE

  • MY STORE HAS FRESH PRODUCE FIRST – TRY TO BUY LOCAL
  • NEXT IS THE BAKERY – STICK TO WHOLE GRAINS
  • THEN MEATS, FISH, POULTRY
  • EGGS AND DAIRY

That covers all the food groups avoiding all the processed, packaged foods as well as the candy aisle!  Of course you will need some things occasionally from the inside aisles but keep it to a minimum.

5. KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

  • IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN
  • START WRITING DOWN AT LEAST ONE THING YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR EACH DAY
  • START WRITING DOWN AT LEAST ONE THING  THAT BROUGHT YOU JOY EACH DAY
  • ASSOCIATE WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE AND PUT THE DRAMA QUEENS AND POT STIRRERS ON THE BACK BURNER
  • EXPERIENCE SOMETHING NEW OFTEN – NEW FOOD, NEW RECIPE, NEW ROUTE TO WORK
  • LEARN FROM YOUR EXPERIENCES

 NOW LET’S GET HEALTHY!!

POST INSPIRED BY OSCAR HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDING PROACTIVE HEALTH INSURANCE IN THE NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY AREAS

 

MUST TRY COURGETTI

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COURGETTE IS JUST A FANCY NAME FOR ZUCCHINI AND NOW IS THE TIME OF YEAR THAT WE ARE HARVESTING OUR HOME GROWN ZUCCHINI AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL!

Courgette spaghetti is a fantastic food for every day! You just shred a courgette with a peeler, quickly fry or microwave and then serve in a sauce of your choice. It’s quicker to cook than pasta and is so tasty.  One large courgette, enough to make a big bowl of spaghetti, has only 36 calories.

The easiest and lowest calorie way to cook it is by steaming the coughetti  in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.  You can add a few tablespoons of vegetable broth or chicken broth for a little flavor but I usually just top with my favorite sauce.

1 large courgette (36 cals)

1 tsp olive oil (27 cals)

1 clove garlic, crushed (4 cals)

2 tomatoes, chopped (28 cals)

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (4 cals)

7 BASIC NUTRITION TIPS

 

AVOID OVEREATING

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Focus on finding a balance of hunger and fullness as you eat. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not just when you are full. While I still get snide looks from my Italian relatives when I refuse second helpings and dessert at Thanksgiving, I’m not complaining about being stuffed or having heartburn afterward!

THINK BEFORE YOU EAT

Food is energy for your body. Nothing more, nothing less. Think about your food before you eat: “Why am I eating this?” “Do I really need this?” This will help you focus on eating enough to keep you moving, and choosing foods that will give you prolonged energy.

EAT NATURALLY

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Focus on things that come from the earth, not a factory. The best advice is, when shopping at the grocery store, stay along the outside walls where you find fruits, vegetables, beans and lean sources of meat. All of these occur naturally. This helps keep those processed foods and sugar-packed snacks, all of which will kill your metabolism, out of the cart.

GO ORGANIC

NUTRITION TIP 4

Grow your own when possible or try some organic foods.  If you must purchase other produce wash well to remove pesticides and other toxins.

AVOID ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

NUTRITION TIP 5

Avoid artificial sweeteners. These are most often consumed in Crystal Light, diet sodas and “sugar-free” products. Think of them as toxins, because they are! Drink plenty of water.

CONTROL PORTION SIZES

Use small coffee mugs to eat your cereal in the morning. Get rid of all the large plates and cups in your house and only eat with the smaller or children’s sizes. Eat slowly, being certain to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Try to eat slower than the slowest eater at the table. If you go to a restaurant, split a meal with your partner, or once your portion is delivered, cut it in half and have the waiter box up half of the dish for another meal.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES TAKE TIME

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Good nutrition is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t make the mistake of trying to change everything overnight. It took your entire life to adopt your current nutrition habits, expect it to take some time to change them. After two weeks of a consistent change, you have made it a habit. Pick two or three of these tips to start. Each week review how you have done and evaluate the areas that need improvement. During this review, plan on making an additional change to your nutrition.

 

WORKING ON MY VERY OWN COOKBOOK

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Do not expect this to be your usual run-of-the-mill cookbook.

I will share what is tried and true: some good recipes yes, some sound nutrition advice and some fitness tips that have worked for me. It will be a potpourri of recipes and life’s lessons. Please join me in this adventure!

My recipes are easy with ingredients you will generally have on hand.  They are kid friendly because my husband has finicky taste like a child and is hard to please.  They are tasty and nutritiousI have also included some vegetarian recipes and gluten free recipes.

My fitness tips and ideas are for a healthy lifestyle.  They may encourage activities for families or for individuals just beginning to change their lifestyle.  There are even ideas for those who are more advanced in their routines. I do not use fancy equipment or machines.

Lastly, my nutrition tips are simple ideas that can make a big difference.  I don’t recommend any special dietary supplements, protein powders or meal replacements.  I don’t use a lot of low-fat products but prefer to use just a little of the real thing.  I often offer tips on how to make a recipe healthier.

THINK OF THIS AS A MANUAL FOR A HEALTHIER YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

SPRING CLEANING – IDEAL WORKOUT REGIMEN!

SPRING CLEANING

The calories burned while you’re doing household chores can really add up. In fact, many household chores burn just as many calories as workouts do. Here’s how some of your household chores stack up in terms of calories burned.

Indoor Chores

Chores you do inside the house also help to burn calories. Here’s how many calories are burned in the course of performing your daily tasks:

  • Scrubbing the bath for 30 minutes burns 200 calories. Removing that stubborn soap scum from your tiles is a great way  to tone the muscles of your arms and shoulders.
  • Carrying shopping bags for 30 minutes burns 190 calories, and maybe more if the bags are particularly heavy. Distribute the weight evenly on each hand, or swap back and forth at regular intervals. Carrying too much weight on one side won’t just overdevelop those muscles, it could injure your spine.
  • Making beds for 30 minutes burns 130 calories, the same number you’d use if you jogged on a treadmill or on flat terrain for 15 minutes.
  • Cleaning windows for 30 minutes burns 125 calories, the same number used in 20 minutes of power yoga (about one-third the length of a typical power yoga class).
  • Loading the dishwasher for 30 minutes burns 105 calories, which is less than the 160 calories burned when washing them by hand.
  • Vacuuming for 30 minutes burns about 90 calories, the same amount you’d burn in 15 minutes of kick boxing.
  • Dusting for 30 minutes burns about 50 calories.
  • Ironing for 30 minutes burns about 70 calories and tones the muscles of the upper body. Stand up straight at the ironing board and press down firmly. Switch hands periodically so you don’t overdevelop one arm.

Yard Work

Yard work offers some of the most labor intensive household chores. Tasks like digging and raking the leaves not only burn a lot of calories but can help tone muscles in your arms and legs. Here are some statistics:

  • 30 minutes of digging in your yard will burn about 315 calories, the same amount burned by 45 minutes of bicycling on flat terrain. Digging tones the muscles of your calves, thighs, arms and shoulders. If you do it vigorously enough and continue the activity for 20 minutes or more, you can raise your heart rate and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
  • Washing your car works your arms and abdominals. For every 30 minutes of car washing, you’ll burn 143 calories.
  • Weeding for 30 minutes burns 115 calories, the same amount you’d burn in 15 minutes of weight training. Weeding tones your thighs and buttocks. Just be careful to bend with your legs while keeping your spine straight, or you could hurt your back.
  • Raking leaves for 30 minutes burns 225 calories. The resistance offered by the leaves makes this chore a type of weight training. Raking leaves tones all the major muscle groups in your body.

Other Calorie Burners

Here are some other activities that burn surprising amounts of calories:

  • Climbing stairs for 30 minutes burns about 285 calories.
  • Painting and decorating your home burns about 160 calories.
  • Showering and toweling off for 30 minutes burns about 70 calories.  (WOW, that’s a long shower!)

REMEMBER EVERYONE BURNS CALORIES AT A DIFFERENT RATE BASED UPON BODY SIZE.  YOU MAY WANT TO TRY THIS CLEANING HOUSE CALORIES BURNED CALCULATOR FOR MORE ACCURATE MEASURES!

NOT ONLY WILL YOU FEEL ACCOMPLISHED WITH YOUR CLEANING EFFORTS YOU’LL GET MORE FIT ON TOP OF IT – WHAT I CALL A TWOFER!!

SPICED CHICKEN AND BEAN SALAD

SPICED CHICKEN AND BEAN SALAD

2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 # chicken breasts/tenders
1 c frozen green beans
1 c frozen wax beans (if you can find them – what happened to these?)
1 c frozen lima beans
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, sliced
3 oz crumbled blue cheese
Ranch dressing

Combine oil and spices. Coat Chicken and grill 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine beans in microwave dish. Microwave until heated through. Prepare avocado. Cut up chicken and serve over salad with ranch dressing.

I ADDED BLACK BEANS TO THE SALAD AND GRILLED SOME HOMEMADE SWEET POTATO FRIES (USED THE SAME OIL AND SPICES) WITH THE CHICKEN! JUST DELICIOUS!

QUICK AND EASY FOR A WINTER COOK OUT! LOTS OF COLORS MEANS LOTS OF ANTIOXIDANTS AND CANCER FIGHTING.  YOU CAN USE A LOW FAT RANCH DRESSING BUT I PREFER TO USE LESS OF THE REAL STUFF!

“IF MD STANDS FOR MENTALLY DEFICIENT, RD MUST STAND FOR REALLY DUMB!”

What Prompted This Post?

I was on an elevator with a doctor (not an intern) in one of the hospitals I worked in (I won’t mention the name), and he looked at my badge and asked me what the RD stood for!  While shocked, somehow I came up with this witty reply: “If MD stands for Mentally Deficient, then RD must stand for Really Dumb!”  Thankfully, the elevator doors opened for my timely escape.  Needless to say, I did NOT stay at that hospital for long!

What Is a Registered Dietitian?

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Registered dietitians, or RDs, are THE food and nutrition experts, translating the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. The expertise, training and credentials that back a registered dietitian are vital for promoting positive lifestyle choices.

When you need food and nutrition information based on fact or need to know how a healthy diet improves health and fights disease—rely on qualified professionals in the field.

Registered dietitians draw on their experience to develop a personalized nutrition plan for individuals of all ages. They are able to separate facts from fads and translate nutritional science into information you can use. A registered dietitian can put you on the path to a healthy weight, eating healthfully and reducing your risk of chronic disease.

RDs work in hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food industry, research, private practice and more. Many RDs have certifications in specialized fields such as diabetes, sports, pediatric, renal, oncology or gerontological nutrition.

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An RD can provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice. Here are a few of the benefits of working with an expert.

  • Between what you hear on TV and read in the news, eating right can seem like a real challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. A registered dietitian can help you weed through nutrition misinformation and provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice.
  • Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is essential to managing diabetes, and choosing nutritious foods and monitoring portion sizes help keep blood sugar levels as stable as possible. If you have diabetes, a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help manage the disease while ensuring you get the nutrients you need.  A CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) can also be an RD with specialized training.
  • Individuals with kidney disease likely need to follow a diet with specific daily amounts of certain nutrients to help prevent progression of the disease. A registered dietitian nutritionist can teach patients how to eat well and manage this vital part of their health plan.
  • WEIGHT CONTROL is always a huge concern.  No powdered meal replacement or pill is going to help you control your weight effectively.  A registered dietitian will work with you one-on-one to look at your current diet and fitness routine and help you develop a personalized plan that will work for you!
  • Dietitian’s can help with sound nutrition advice through all stages of life:  Pregnancy & Lactation; Breastfeeding, Picky Toddler & Food Jags,  Teen Athlete Needs, Nutrition  as we Age, Geriatric Nutrition and Palliative Nutrition.

Some RDs may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The RD credential can only be used by practitioners who have met specific educational and professional requirements.

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (previously the American Dietetic Association) recently changed the credential to Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN).  So when looking for sound nutrition advice, whether from a “Dietitian” or “Nutritionist”, always make sure to look at their credentials.  If they are Registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration in the US,then they can call themselves an RD or RDN.  They will have a card to prove it!

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What Are My Credentials?

I HAVE BEEN A REGISTERED DIETITIAN FOR OVER 25 YEARS – NOW, I GUESS, I AM A REGISTERED DIETITIAN-NUTRITIONIST IN THE USA!  I AM ALSO A CERTIFIED DIETITIAN-NUTRITIONIST WITH THE NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT.  THIS IS WHAT OTHER STATES MIGHT CALL A LICENSE TO PRACTICE AS A DIETITIAN-NUTRITIONIST IN NYS.  I WAS ALSO A CERTIFIED DIABETES EDUCATOR FOR 10 YEARS.

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I HOPE YOU FIND MY BLOG USEFUL AND INFORMATIVE!

Adapted from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics web page.