Tag Archives: health

“Orbit” by John J. Nance

9 Aug Mir spacecraft

All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. When you follow a healthy lifestyle, you want to be sure to eat right, get enough exercise and enough sleep, and also incorporate entertainment into your life. If the entertainment you choose is educational, all the better! Audiobooks fill that bill for me.

 

This is a review of the audiobook “Orbit” by John J. Nance. It is a bit unusual that the author is also the performer of this audiobook. Nance did a great job! This was especially surprising to me since I am such a big fan of performer Dick Hill. I still favor Mr. Hill over Nance, but Nance’s writing is so strong and so vivid that it put this audiobook over the top. He has a gift for detail.

 

Recently, I had seen the movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Two people told me they didn’t like it. I ignored them because generally, I love space movies. I enjoyed Gravity very much as I knew I would. But when I noticed the audiobook, Orbit, on a shelf, I wondered if it would be too soon to see another space flick, knowing that it might be similar to Gravity. I decided to give it a try regardless.

 

It started out being similar to Gravity; even so, I was getting into it anyway. I can usually tell by the first disc if I’m going to stick with it or not. Then, it took an interesting turn. Each turn it took was more interesting and exciting and surprising than the next! I was hooked before the end of the first disc.

 

This is an audiobook that is difficult to turn off, that’s how good it is. The main character, Kip Dawson, wins a trip to outer space. His second wife (his first one died in a car accident) doesn’t want him to go. She and his daughters are terrified that something will go wrong. Kip knows the company offering the trip has a clean record. He is confident nothing will go wrong. But something goes very wrong.

 

We are told that if anything does go wrong, nobody will come to his rescue. Not NASA, not the Russians, not the Chinese, nobody. It would be too expensive. Besides, this is a commercial flight. This, readers, is the future of outer space. Our grandchildren may be lucky enough to book such a flight!

 

While Kip is in space, he witnesses a tragic accident on board and has accepted the fact that in four or five days, his oxygen will be depleted and he will die.  He decides to record his thoughts on the ship’s laptop computer. All communication systems are down so he writes to what he anticipates will be a reader sometime in the future who finds the spaceship. It could be a few days, weeks, months, years, or maybe never. He doesn’t know. So, he writes about his first girlfriend. He writes about his second marriage and how unhappy he is in it. He writes about his oldest son who hasn’t forgiven him for the death of his mother, Kip’s first wife. He writes about sex and how important it is to him and to all men! What the heck, right? Who’s going to read it? Probably nobody! Right?

 

Oh contrare, mon ami! As it turns out, the space engineers who built the ship set up a separate communications link on the laptop so that it could download information. It was only one-way communication. A kid on earth, someone who had gotten into trouble hacking once before, hacked into the Kip’s laptop. What are the chances?

 

I won’t spoil the ending or even the middle, but this was a great story – so much fun with a good ending and a positive, inspirational message. I loved it and I was sorry when it ended! It will make you laugh and it will bring a tear to your eye. Make an effort to get a copy. There are nine hours of listening pleasure on eight discs. I’m giving a very strong recommendation.

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5 Mile Walk at Home ADVANCED with Leslie Sansone – Exercise DVD Review

29 Jul Walking Shoes

When I last posted a review, it was of an audio book. This time I’m doing a review of an exercise DVD. This is an excellent exercise DVD that is low impact and great if you can’t go outside to exercise because it is too hot, too humid, too blustery, too cold, too icy, too snowy, or too whatever! Working out at home is convenient, saves you money, and gives you the most control over your workout. I have nine of my own exercise DVDs and shuffle them with DVDs I get from the library. It’s the 5 Mile Walk at Home ADVANCED DVD with Leslie Sansone that I’m reviewing here.

 

Leslie Sansone has built an empire on her Walk at Home exercise DVD program. I purchased her 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk DVD and when I needed more, I checked my library and they had this advanced program which I tried and liked a lot.

 

Leslie’s as chipper and perky as ever and her motivating style keeps you focused. In this DVD, she uses hand weights in the first mile, a stretch belt in the third mile, and a stretch band in the fifth mile. I use my stretch tube in the third and fifth mile and it works just as well.

 

Each mile runs from 10 to 14 minutes. The back of the DVD says the entire running time is 65 minutes. I usually do the entire 5 miles. Today I only did three miles. I might do the other two miles later.

 

There are several highlights in this DVD. She included a bonus segment of a 7-day weight loss meal plan and suggests you follow it and do the ADVANCED walk DVD every day to see your body change. You have the choice of Leslie’s instruction with music or the music only option.

 

She’s got a nice group of people walking with her in each mile. One of them is her daughter who is a bit quiet and apparently more introverted than her mother! Then she also included a husband and wife couple. There’s a grandmother who doesn’t look anything like grandma, and a working mother with three kids. There’s a guy in the back row who looks like a body builder. Leslie gets around to talking to all of them.

 

There is no separate warm-up section but she slowly warms you up at the beginning of each walk segment. I do my own warm up before all my exercise DVDs regardless of whether or not they include a warm up. Although it isn’t stated anywhere on this DVD or on the case, she included a cool-down stretch segment that comes at the end of mile five and she included two of the women who were in the other segments.

 

Leslie used two-pound hand weights in mile one. I only used one-pound hand weights but I also used two-pound ankle weights in the three miles I covered. I like to push myself to do more being careful not to injure myself by doing too much.

 

On days when I’m tired or sore, I do Leslie’s 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk which is my easiest exercise DVD.

 

Whether you are just starting to exercise or if you are a dedicated exerciser, Leslie has a DVD to suit you! Whichever one you chose, you will find it lowers your stress level besides all the other benefits of walking. Give her 5-Mile Walk At Home ADVANCED DVD a try. I think it’s her best one yet!

 

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Bean Relief Tip-Puree Them!

14 Jul Beans (sxc.hu - adyna)

Lot’s of people have intestinal gas from eating beans and lentils. These legumes can cause problems in their whole form.

According to a mini-magazine I received in the mail, you can avoid this issue by eating puréed chickpeas (beans) and lentils. Puréed chickpeas are also known as Hummus. You can also make lentil soup and purée the soup.

These puréed legumes are less likely to trigger symptoms! Now there is no excuse not to eat your beans! I don’t know if this works with all beans, but if you try it out, let me know!

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New Food Friday Flash – Dandelion

16 May dandelion-sxc-hu-theartistg

Wait! Wait, you exclaim! dandelion is a food? You want us to try a new food called dandelion? Yes, fellow foodies. As I have been known to say, “Try it, you’ll like it.”  Or, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Or, “Variety is the spice of life!”

While I wouldn’t want to see you grazing on your lawn masticating the stuff, you could try the supermarket version of dandelion. It’s nutritious and delicious. Why else would I post it here if it wasn’t?

Naysayers halt your protests because this New Food Friday Flash is about the controversial weed called dandelion.

It’s controversial because we hate seeing it in our lawns but we (some of us anyway) love seeing it on our dinner plates.

Did you know that dandelion is a relative of endive? That doesn’t sound so bad does it? It’s low in calories, high in potassium, vitamin C, and calcium. If you want to know more about the dandelion, how it got its name, who gave their child the name, and other amusing and interesting facts about dandelion, click here.

Otherwise, I’ll let the thought about eating dandelion percolate in your brain for a while and when you’re ready, you can click on the above link. Far be it from me to force you to eat something that you perceive as negative. 

More for me I always say!

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Men’s Health – Their Greatest Threats

25 Apr Wheel-chaired Man (sxc.hu ba1969)

Today’s post is devoted just for men but women should read it too.  I’ve noticed recently that my male readership has increased steadily and so I want to address health issues that men specifically find challenging.

It’s no secret that men don’t live as long as women. I think part of the reason for that is that men don’t take care of themselves as well as women do. I’ve been witness to this countless times with my own father, my son, my husband (ex), men I’ve dated, through social networking, and just in general.

I remember my dad saying that when he finally went to see a doctor, the doctor was shocked that my dad hadn’t had a physical in 20 years!

A past boyfriend of mine told me that he fell over the balcony of his two-story house, landed on his back, and never went to the doctor!

Another past boyfriend had symptoms of depression but never followed up with a health professional. He was a counselor prior to his current job.

My son told me he had growths on his hands that he let go for too long. He doesn’t believe they are warts.  He still hasn’t seen a doctor.

My ex-husband quit smoking countless times. He IS a doctor!

So men, you can see you are not alone in not seeking out help for your health issues. We women would like to see you live as long as we do. The way to do that is to pay more attention to your body. Seek medical help when you need it and even when you don’t, in the form of a preventative checkup or procedure.

I’ve written more here. Start now to take better care of yourself.

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New Food Friday – Kasha, Groats, Buckwheat

18 Apr Kasha (sxc.hu - yirsh)

I had never tried Kasha until an Internet friend said that she loved it and would eat it for breakfast everyday. So, I bought a box of Wolff’s Kasha at my local Meijer.

Box of Kasha

Box of Kasha

Kasha is buckwheat and it comes in several granulations. I chose medium. This particular box had a small cellophane window so you could see the product inside (which I ignored), and put the box in my cart. When I got home, I placed the box in my pantry. When it was time for me to try the Kasha, I opened the box and began pouring the Kasha into a bowl. Out poured contents that contained Kasha, caraway seeds, and some other type of seeds. I recognized caraway seeds when I saw them and I didn’t think they were supposed to be in this box!

After doing some research, I realized that seeds were not supposed to be part of Kasha! I contacted the company and told them about it. I received a nice letter of thanks for letting them know from the vice president of Birkett Mills. He said they use the most efficient and sophisticated cleaning machinery known in the dry grain processing industry and that rarely even the most advanced technology can be fooled. (Well, we all know how I feel about technology as per my last post, now don’t we!)

In a show of their appreciation, they sent me two more boxes of Kasha (without seeds) and a whole bunch of information about Kasha. I kept one box and gave the other to my son, the other health enthusiast in the family.

Rather than let the box with the seeds go to waste, I used the caraway seeds from the “bad” box of Kasha for my Russian Rye Bread recipe! As you know, the loaves turned out great! To be honest though, I’m not crazy about Kasha for breakfast even though I know how good it is for you and how popular it is in Russia and throughout the Balkan region of Europe.

Map of Europe (sxc.hu - vygnyo)

Map of Europe (sxc.hu – vygnyo)

However, a recipe I found among all the recipes they sent, sounded good and good for your health too, so that I had to chose it for this New Food Friday.

The following information was provided to me from Birkett Mills, established in 1797. (Yes, that date is correct, 1797.) Read the eye-opening information that I have written by clicking this link.

If, after you have clicked the link and read the material you are now convinced that you need buckwheat in your diet, Birkett Mills offers a cookbook with over 50 recipes, many with full color illustrations, for $2.50. Write to: Pocono Buckwheat Cookbook, P.O. Box 440 PC, Penn Yan, NY 14527

Here is one of their recipes that caught my eye.

Grilled Portobello Caps with Kasha Pilaf
1/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Kasha
salt to taste
6 large Portobello mushroom caps
Olive oil
1 1/4 cup grated hearty cheese (such as aged Gruyere or aged Gouda)

Aged Gouda

Aged Gouda

Prepare the Kasha Mixture First
In a 2-qt saucepan on medium-high heat, combine celery, onion, water and 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Cook until liquid is very hot, but not quite boiling. (Or, you can microwave it.)

Old Bay and Kasha Granules

Old Bay and Kasha Granules

While the liquid mixture is heating, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the extra virgin olive oil add remaining 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning and the Kasha. Stir Kasha until it is hot and slightly toasted.

Browning Kasha in a Pan

Browning Kasha in a Pan

Reduce heat to low. Carefully add hot liquid mixture and cover pan tightly. Simmer about 10 minutes until kernels are tender and liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and “fluff” with a fork. Season to taste with salt. This may be used immediately to stuff mushrooms or refrigerated for up to two days (or frozen for up to 1 month.) Makes nearly 4 cups.

Prepare medium-hot grill fire. Discard mushroom stems, clean gills with soft brush, and wipe caps with damp paper towel. Brush top of caps with olive oil.

Mushrooms (sxc.hu - mzacha)

Mushrooms (sxc.hu – mzacha)

Grill mushrooms gill-side down for a couple minutes. (I didn’t grill mine, I used my skillet.) Use tongs to flip caps top-side up and move them away from the heat while you fill the caps with the Kasha mixture.

Stuffed Portobello Muchroom Caps with Kasha Mixture

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Kasha Mixture

Return caps to the heat and continue grilling, with grill lid down for 3-4 minutes. Top each cap with a scant 1/4 cup grated cheese. Lower grill lid and heat until cheese melts.

My mushrooms were not very large so I had left-over Kasha. I used it in another meal and added diced chicken and peas.

This mushroom recipe is good for when you crank up the barbecue. It would go well with my recipe for hot dogs with Chipotle in Adobo Sauce. Add a salad,  corn on the cob, 

Sangria (sxc.hu - matthijs_v)

Sangria (sxc.hu – matthijs_v)

a pitcher of Sangria, and you could invite the neighbors!

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New Food Friday – News Flash!

13 Apr Flash Drive (sxc.hu - mrceviz)

I thought of a way I could keep my New Food Fridays going while reducing the amount of time it takes me to do them. Introducing the New Food Friday Flash. The difference between the regular New Food Friday and the new New Food Friday Flash is that the New Food Friday Flash would be shorter and with less photos. Taking photos and finding good ones on the Internet takes up a lot of time for me when putting together New Food Friday.

I still have one more New Food Friday post ready for April’s post, but then after that, New Food Friday Flash will take its place until further notice. The bones of it will stay the same: 3rd Friday of the month, informative, hopefully entertaining, just shorter and sweeter. A food flash in a pan, in a manner of speaking minus the negative connotation! I think you will enjoy it!

*One more thing; if you’re wondering how things are working out now that I’ve canceled my AT&T Internet service, I don’t miss them one bit! I put my posts and any work I need to do at home on my Flash Drive or what some call a USB Memory Stick. The library computers are fast, much faster than my computer, and accept Flash Drives so I can transfer my work from the Flash Drive to the library computer and into my blog. This is working out great! I wish I had done this sooner! You may want to follow suit!

 

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End of Support for XP so I’m Canceling my ISP on April 8

24 Mar System Failure (sxc.hu DGBurns)

Sometimes it’s good to get things off your chest and to assert yourself. It’s good for your health and as we all know, my blog is about good health. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Here’s the story.

Those of you with Windows XP know that Microsoft is ending its support on April 8.  As I have mulled over this event since their announcement, I decided that I did not want to upgrade my desktop computer to Windows 7 or 8 in order to avoid malware and viruses and other clouds of doom. And I resent the fact that it is expected of me.

So, in my way of protest, I have scheduled to cancel my Internet Service as of April 8, the same day Microsoft is ending XP support. What gives? I am so glad you asked.

1. I resent being led around by the nose by the Microsoft conglomerate needing to line their pockets by forcing consumers to buy new software when XP has been doing a good job for us. Better than Vista, better than Windows 8. Nobody liked either one.

2. I scoff at their cavalier throw-away attitude and lack of concern for the environment because rather than upgrade, many people will decide to buy new computers with Windows 8 loaded on it and not load software on their old computer all day long.

3. I’m mad at programmers and software developers for not creating better products that could last longer. Yes, I want computer products to last longer so that we don’t have landfills overflowing with discarded computers that take years and years to break down and then pollute the land and the air while doing so. Read more about computer pollution here.

4. I’m ticked off at AT&T my ISP (Internet Service Provider). I try to avoid calling them because I know that every time I do, it means a long conversation where they try to get you to buy something or add something and you can’t get done what you need to get done until they let out all the stops and wear you down! Other people must have complained about this issue because this time I was asked if I would allow the representative to explain other product options. I told her no. I asked if I decided to get DSL again in the future would I be able to. She said no.  She said she would explain why but since I already told her I did not want her to explain, that she would not be able to tell me. Oh boo-hoo my heart is broken! Then she said, to cover her *ss, you’ve probably gotten notices in the mail about these new products or options or whatever she called them. Yeah, like every week! They never stop coming. And the funny thing is that it is about $15 more than what I’m paying now so why would I want it? But I didn’t say that. I was nice. Speak softly and carry a big stick is my motto.

Then she tried to get me to agree to call waiting and some other service because it would be a package deal. Oh boy, a package deal! Would it save me money this special package deal? Heck no, it costs more than what I’m paying now. Thanks but no thanks.

Then at the end of the conversation she said if I change my mind, they could re-instate my DSL service. Huh? Didn’t she just tell me I couldn’t have DSL anymore if I cancelled it?

So what does this mean for us? For you, me,  my blog and my posts?

I went to my local library branch today and inquired about using their computers. Since I have a library card, I am allowed 1 hour at a time. If I need more time, I can sign up on their computer for another hour. My library is about 2-3 minutes from my house. At 2:30 pm today, all their computers were in use. I’ll have to get there earlier.

At this point I don’t know if using the library computers will work for me. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. As of now, I’m not canceling my New Food Friday posts. If worse comes to worse, I’ll just do them as time permits instead of the 3rd Friday of the month.

The last time I checked, there were still over 400 million XP users out there who hadn’t upgraded to Windows 7 or 8.  For a different point of view about the XP issue, read this.

When I had Window’s ’95 on my old laptop computer, I ended up having to upgrade to Window’s ’98. When I did so, my $200 audio system did not function correctly with it anymore. To this day, I’m still tinkering with it, trying to “fix” it. If I upgrade to Windows 7 or 8, on my desktop computer, my Italian language software programs will not work, nor will my printer and who knows what else. I can probably get an upgraded driver for my printer but it will be difficult if not impossible to do anything about my language CDs. I use them around Christmas time to send letters written in Italian to my relatives in Italy. I refuse to buy new language CDs when I’m happy with what I’ve got.

Upgrading XP boils down to spending a lot of time correcting computer issues, searching for solutions and being chained to my desk a little longer. I’ve already written a post about how sitting at your desk is not good for your health. If you haven’t read it, check it out here.

After all the record snow we had here in Indy this winter, 55″ (and counting) when we usually have between 19″-23″ depending on which news program you follow, I am itching to get out in the sunshine! I don’t want to spend more time on my computer, I want to spend less time!

Well, some of my prayers have been answered. A website, epinions.com,  that I had written reviews for the last six years, has shut down. Kaput, The End, No More. I typically spent 3 hours writing each review. I’ve written over 400 reviews. To read them, click REVIEWS at the top of the page. While this turn of events frees up my time, it also lightens my pocketbook because I was paid for these reviews. Some of these reviews were of books.

I’ve recently gotten in the habit of listening to audiobooks. I love them! But now I have no outlet to write about them. Unless I do it here.  The way I see it, listening to audiobooks or reading printed books is good for your health because they are entertaining, often educational, can increase your vocabulary, and darn it, I say they’re good for your health! So, while I haven’t decided completely, I’m leaning towards adding book reviews to this blog.

Final words. A few people got rich crying out, “A computer on every desk!” We followed these commands like lambs to the slaughter. Have they (computers) really saved us time? How many times has someone misread your email so that you had to write another email explaining your original email? How many times have you hit the delete key for the Spam you got and then had to go into your Trash folder because you (or  software) accidentally deleted an email that you wanted to keep? How much time have you spent online trying to find a free anti-virus program that didn’t eat up all your resources and slow down your computer to a crawl? How many times have you gotten the “Unresponsive script” warning and it hung up your computer? How many times has malware or a virus screwed up your computer because your anti-virus software didn’t catch it? How many times….fill in the blank with your own time-consuming computer issue. Enough already!

I know. Normally I’m a quiet girl but when I get a bee in my bonnet, look out! The wheels are in motion, my mind is made up. Upgrade be damned! AT&T call yourself and hang up. Power to the people!

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New Food Friday – Bok Choy or Pak Choi

21 Feb Polenta instead of rice with Bok Choy

If you haven’t tried Bok Choy, you don’t know what you’re missing! Bok Choy is my choice for this New Food Friday.

This Asian staple is full of vitamin A, C, and is high in calcium and many other nutrients.  It resembles celery but doesn’t taste like it and it’s juicy like celery, maybe even juicer. I like to munch on it raw while I’m preparing it for a stir-fry or a soup. Bok Choy is in the cabbage family but it doesn’t taste like cabbage either. Its taste reminds me of escarole except that Bok Choy is mildly sweet and has a slight peppery bite at the end.

The leaves of Bok Choy are very dark green but the stalks are very white.

Bok Choy Stalks

Bok Choy Leaves

It’s a beautiful vegetable! The Chinese have been cultivating it for over 5,000 years.

Recently, my local Meijer had Bok Choy on sale for 88 cents a pound. Oh happy day! I bought 1.75 pounds of it!

Bunch of Bok Choy

Bundled Bok Choy – 1.75 pounds

There are two versions of Bok Choy in this country: there is the Baby Bok Choy and the regular Bok Choy. I’ve purchased both in the past and they taste the same to me. It may be more convenient to cook the Baby Bok Choy because you can cook it whole.

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy or Pak Choi (sxc.hu – MeiTeng)

You couldn’t cook the regular Bok Choy whole because you wouldn’t have a pan large enough! I like the larger version which can sometimes be quite large! Ginormous, in fact, so you can expect more prep time with it. Don’t wash it until you’re ready to use it. Bok Choy stays fresh for up to a week in the fridge.

In my research for this post, I was surprised to learn that Bok Choy falls under the category of cruciferous vegetables. As you may well know, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) contain anti-cancer compounds. All the more reason to try, buy, stir-fry Bok Choy!

Cooking Bok Choy

I typically cook all greens the same way when I use them for a side dish: olive oil, garlic, a few tablespoons of water or broth, cover and cook in my large fry pan. Bok Choy is good this way. But I decided to do a stir-fry with chicken. I found two recipes online that I liked and I combined them and tweaked them too. The results were delicious. I’m posting the recipe for you below. Since one recipe was Chinese and the other was Thai, I’m calling it:

Chinese-Thai Almond Chicken Stir-Fry

1 Tablespoon oil (peanut or coconut, I used olive oil)

1/2 cup whole almonds

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast

1 Tablespoon soy sauce (reduced sodium is best)

1 Tablespoon oyster sauce

Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce

1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce

Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili Garlic Sauce

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

8 oz (more or less) rinsed Bok Choy cut into bite-sized pieces

2-3 Tablespoons Chicken broth if pan seems dry

You can add mushrooms, thinly sliced onions, or whatever you like to this. I added 1/4 cup thinly sliced carrots and 1/4 cup chopped celery.

To thicken gravy

1 Tablespoon corn starch

1/4 cup cold water

Stir together then pour into pan at the end of cooking until gravy thickens. (I did not do this step. See below.)

Directions

In a small bowl add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice. Stir the mixture well to melt the sugar. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a fry pan or wok and add the almonds and heat on medium-high heat until golden about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn! Remove from pan.

Stir-fry thinly sliced chicken breast in same pan for 2-3 minutes. Add the Bok Choy, then the carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, or whatever you like and spoon 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce mixture over it; stir and cook 2 minutes. (Cook longer and cover if you prefer your veggies less crispy.) Add a few tablespoons of broth if the mixture seems dry. Taste. If you like it spicier and saltier, add the rest of the soy sauce mixture. If you have any leftover, you can use it to baste most meats. I reserved my leftover for my next Bok Choy meal using the same recipe but substituting bay scallops in place of the chicken. (It wasn’t as good as the chicken.)

Serve with the sprinkled almonds on top. This is a very nutritious dish, low in calories, high in fiber, high in calcium, but also high in sodium which is why I suggested you taste the dish before adding all the soy sauce mixture. If you’re watching your sodium intake you may not want to use all the soy sauce mixture.

This dish is great served over rice and is the typical way it would be served. I wanted to try something different. I already had a pan of polenta that I had made the day before and feeling adventurous, I decided to try it in place of the rice.

Polenta instead of rice with Bok Choy

Polenta with Bok Choy

It was just as good! In fact, it thickened the gravy without using the cornstarch mixture. I liked this recipe so much that I decided to make it again, this time with brown rice.

Bok Choy dish

Bok Choy with a drizzle of sweet & sour sauce and mustard

 

Whichever way you try it, be sure you do try it! It’s delicious!

qǐng màn yòng!

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Sleep is Important to Your Good Health

20 Jan sxc.hu LotusHead Bedroom Basics

Have you noticed how many news reports there are lately about getting enough sleep? As a nation, we are deprived of sleep. One of the benefits to getting enough sleep, the experts tell us, is that it can help prevent weight gain.

sxc.hu 963360 Gorilla Sleeping

Lack of Sleep can Result in Weight Gain (sxc.hu PaulMT)

Lack of sleep interferes with our ability to concentrate. Sleeplessness also causes memory lapses. When we do sleep, we should avoid cat naps longer than 30 minutes.

sxc.hu 640611 Cat Nap

Don’t Take Long Cat Naps (sxc.hu EweSaidIt)

And perhaps the most important, sleepiness is the reason for many traffic accidents.

 

But if we have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, what can we do? The experts tell us to be sure our bedroom is cool: 65 degrees. The room should be dark and not contain a television or computer.

sxc.hu 709419  Sleeping at the Computer

Sleeping at the Computer (sxc.hu gozdeo)

If you have a digital clock, you should prevent the glowing clock numbers from facing you. I block the numbers and their light with a box of tissues. When I want to see the time, I lift the tissue box.  Experts also tell us to wake up the same time every morning.

sxc.hu 1146531 Alarm Clock

Set Your Alarm Clock for the Same Time Everyday (sxc.hu zvon)

When I have a poor night’s sleep, I find getting up the same time the most difficult instruction to follow.

Make sure you have a comfortable pillow and that your mattress isn’t lumpy.

sxc.hu 515207 Racoon

Poor Conditions for Sleep (sxc.hu – deste)

We are told if we can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, to get up and do something quiet until we are sleepy. What would that be? Read a book? Take up knitting? Listen to the radio? Who can find anything decent on the radio at 3:00 am? Don’t you need to turn on a light to read a book or knit – and isn’t light something we want to avoid? It’s a conundrum.

While I was thinking about this sleep problem, I began thinking about the times when I had problems staying awake!

  1. During pregnancy. When I was pregnant, I would come home from classes at 3:00 pm, go to bed and sleep until 6:00 pm, get up and eat dinner, and then go back to bed around 10:00 pm and wake up the next day around 7:00 am! I could sleep at the drop of a hat! This is common for pregnant women and typically lasts only for the first trimester.
  2. When I had the flu. There is something about being sick that allows you or maybe forces you, to slow down. Sleep seems to come naturally and often. I could sleep during the day and then sleep at night too. If I had a cough, I would take Robitussin DM (at night) and that would always make me even more sleepy.
  3. Riding the subway. The constant rocking back and forth was reminiscent of being rocked in a cradle or a parent’s arms. Often, someone sitting next to me on the train would be leaning heavily against me as they snoozed. While I could appreciate their giving in to the delicious dozing, I didn’t appreciate their weight which was sometimes substantial! However, I could hardly cast any stones because I’ve fallen victim to the sleep fairy on the NY Flushing line more than once.
  4. Flying on a commercial airline. This was hit and miss. There were times I would fall asleep and times I wouldn’t. It depended on how excited I was about my trip, who the person was sitting beside me, and when food was going to be served!
  5. Storytelling. I doubt any of us remember falling asleep when we were infants as someone read us a story, but we all know that has happened. Many of us with children watched our kids, or our grand kids fall asleep as we read to them. There’s something about storytelling that seems to put children to sleep.

 

Aside from these ways to fall asleep, I recently found a unique way to fall asleep or to get back to sleep if I wake up. Read about it here then try it, and tell me if it works for you. Do you have a sleep story?

Happy Sleeping!

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New Food Friday – Russian Black Bread

17 Jan sxc.hu-uccrow Basil's Cathedral

I have a childhood friend who is originally from Estonia. A little bit of a history lesson is worth mentioning here. Estonia was part of the Russian empire until 1918 when it proclaimed its independence. 

The Russian Basilica-Tallinn, Estonia

The Russian Basilica-Tallinn, Estonia (sxc.hu sx937)

It was  incorporated into the USSR in 1940 by force but regained its freedom in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The last Russian troops left in 1994.

sxc.hu Tallinn Capital of Estonia

Tallinn, Capital of Estonia (sxc.hu  gundolf)

Today, the Estonian economy has one of the higher GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates in Europe.

So, back to my childhood friend. One day my friend gave me a loaf of black bread. I don’t remember if she said it was Estonian black bread or Russian black bread. Maybe they’re one in the same. Anyway, it was delicious! Now, many years later, I have found a recipe in one of my cookbooks for Russian Black Bread. I will share it with you for this New Food Friday.

This recipe makes two round loaves. The bread is delicious, reminiscent of the loaf my Estonian friend gave me and I will definitely make it again. It is made with chocolate, coffee, and molasses. It is a dark color (hence the name black bread) and looks chocolatey! You can almost taste the chocolate and almost taste the coffee. However, it is not a sweet bread. It has a slight sour taste similar to a sour dough bread because of the rye flour and maybe the vinegar but this taste seemed to dissipate after the first day and the chocolate flavor became more pronounced instead.

I’ve already finished off one loaf. I stored the other in the freezer and then let it defrost in the refrigerator when I wanted more. It is just as delicious as the first loaf. In fact, I believe I noticed that the bread tasted even better the day after I baked it and it kept well in the refrigerator. I usually sliced off 3 ounces for my meal, buttered it, and let it warm to room temperature.

This bread can vary somewhat in flavor depending on the type of chocolate you use or the type of coffee you use. The recipe also calls for bran cereal so depending on the type of cereal you use, that can also alter the taste. However, I doubt that the varieties you use would make that much difference. Just use the best ingredients that you can afford. There are a lot of ingredients!

4 cups unsifted rye flour

3 cups unsifted white flour

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups whole bran cereal

2 tablespoons caraway seed, crushed

2 teaspoons Instant Coffee

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed

2 packages active dry yeast

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup dark molasses

1 square (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine or butter

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup cold water

Combine rye and white flours. Mix 2  1/3 cups of the combined flour mixture with the sugar, salt, cereal, caraway seed, coffee, onion powder, fennel seed, and undissolved yeast.

Combine 2 1/2 cups water, vinegar, molasses, chocolate, and margarine or butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120 – 130 degrees). Margarine and chocolate do not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup flour mixture. Beat at high speed 2 minutes.

Russian Black Bread Batter

Russian Black Bread Batter

Stir in enough additional flour mixture to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Cover; let rest 15 minutes. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 to 15 minutes. Dough may be sticky. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk. about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide in half. shape each half into a ball about 5 inches in diameter. Place each ball in the center of a greased 8-inch round cake pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. I like to let my bread rise in the microwave with a cup of very hot water. This is a draft-free environment and the cup of hot water makes the small area warm enough for the dough to rise. Important, don’t turn on the microwave!

Russian Black Bread Rising in Microwave

Russian Black Bread Rising in Microwave with Hot Water

Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes until done. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and cold water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil; continue to cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. As soon as bread is baked, brush cornstarch mixture over top of loaves. Return bread to oven and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until glaze is set. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Russian Black Bread Cooling

Russian Black Bread Cooling

This recipe comes from my Fleischmann’s Bake-it-easy Yeast Book. I hope you bake this. It’s very good and has a lot of nutritional value! Das vadanya!

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Exercise: I Talk the Talk and I Walk the Walk

8 Oct sxc.hu createsima - Rainbow Image

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post about exercising. I’m sure you won’t be surprised at what I’m about to tell you. (Although it surprised me!)

I was acknowledged for doing the most workouts at my health club for the month of August.

Marcy at top of the list

Marcy at the Top of the List

See my name at the top of the list?

I wasn’t aiming to claim the most visits and I wasn’t keeping track even though some members at the club don’t believe me. A new doctor I had been seeing recommended I workout AT LEAST 5 times a week! To me, this translated into doing more than 5 times a week so I was at the club everyday it was open: 6 days a week. I did that for 2 1/2 weeks straight and I didn’t take the 7th day off when I was home!

How was it? It was exhausting! Are they serious? What senior citizen can continually exercise at that pace? Maybe if they didn’t put much effort into their workouts but my workouts aren’t like that. I put my all into it. I’m known at my club as the person who works out the hardest. Really, it’s more of a social club for a lot of the members. I hope their social friends visit them when they’re in the hospital recovering from illnesses due to their lack of exercise!

So, there has to be a balance here. It should be taken into account how seriously you exercise! Plus, I don’t exercise for 30 minutes. I figure since I’m there, I’m going to exercise until I’m tired and that is usually 50 minutes and, depending on which gym I’ve been going to and the equipment they have, as long as 1 hr and 15 minutes. I think doctors need to ask their patients about this. Or, maybe I need to volunteer this information the next time at my appointment since I seem to be stereotyped: Senior = Sedentary.

MY GOALS

I’ve been working on increasing my upper body strength in the past few months and the effort shows. My biceps have increased .25% while I’ve slowly continued to lose weight. I’m still using the caloriecount website and I don’t know if I can ever do without it! I am seriously hooked on it because it has been so beneficial to me!

The reason I’ve been working on my upper body strength is that women in general, are known to have poor upper body strength and I’ve always wanted to do a chin up. So far, I can master a chin up half way. This is a new goal for me. I like to challenge myself and I am always seeking new exercise goals to keep things interesting and to have something to achieve.

Since April of this year, I put together a warm-up routine for myself that I do now every time I exercise. It is about 6 minutes long and involves a variety of arm movements but also leg and ab movements too. I am crediting this routine for healing my shoulder issues that had dragged on for over 2 years! I will write up and post the routine in a future post. You may want to try it. If it worked for me, it may work for you.

Recently, I saw a 75-year-old female body builder on TV. She was lean and didn’t look anywhere near 75! She was inspirational! I was telling one of the gals at my club about her and I said that the body builder was my idol to which she replied, “You’re MY idol!” I got a kick out of that. Hey, that’s OK with me. That’s what this blog is all about:  talking the talk AND walking the walk; reaching that goal at the end of the rainbow!

sxc.hu/cempey - Colorful Rainbow Shot

sxc.hu/cempey – Rainbow Gold Goal!

 

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Update On My Weight Loss Using The CalorieCount Website

29 Jun Fashion Model Silhouette

In a recent post I wrote about the website called caloriecount.about.com. I mentioned that it wasn’t very easy to learn (it wasn’t). However, I stuck with it and so far have lost 4 lbs. I attribute this weight loss to cutting back on fats, sodium, and over-sized portions. I also increased my activity level.

My goal is to lose 10 lbs so that my BMI will be in the healthy range.

The caloriecount website notified me that I had a sedentary lifestyle. Boy, my feathers bristled at that one! If MY lifestyle was sedentary, what was the lifestyle of people who didn’t work out and were couch potatoes?

Other than calorie logging, the website also allows you to enter activities you do each day. They would include: showering, driving, sitting at a computer, weight lifting, gardening, throwing out the trash, preparing meals, grocery shopping, aerobics, stretching, circuit training – the list is almost endless. Yes, this is tedious and time-consuming until you get the hang of it. I now have a clearer picture of my daily activity level and although I still don’t agree with them about having a sedentary lifestyle, I have to admit that losing 4 lbs without starving myself does say something.

I began entering my foods and activities May 29.  Today is June 29.  That’s about a pound per week of weight loss.

The website (and you) calculate what you want your ultimate weight to be and that determines what your calorie count should be each day. Mine is 1600 calories per day.  

I had the hardest time reaching my minimum daily values for potassium (4,700 mg).  Once I began to realize that sweet potatoes and butternut squash (two of my favorite vegetables) were high in potassium, I incorporated them into more meals and now reach my potassium level more often. Other Potassium rich foods: prunes, bananas, spinach.) Potassium may neutralize the heart-damaging effects of too much salt.

I knew that processed foods contained salt but I wasn’t aware that natural foods like white potatoes, spinach (yes, spinach), and fish contained high amounts of sodium! By themselves, you probably won’t go over your daily limit. But when you salt your foods or forget to read food labels as I did when I bought some blueberry bagels, each one having over 700 mg of sodium, you can quickly go over your daily limit of 2300 mg or 1 teaspoon of salt.

I was also heavy handed with olive oil and butter. Now, I measure by tablespoon what I put over my salads or my roasted veggies. Lately, I skip olive oil altogether and sprinkle my own homemade chicken stock when making my roasted veggies. It tastes just as good, maybe better.

I expect to use the caloriecount website until I imprint in my mind what portion sizes I need so that I can eventually forego the use of measuring spoons and cups. Yes, I’ve been weighing my foods like walnuts, golden raisins (another good source of potassium), and edamame (also potassium rich).

About a week ago, I decided that I didn’t need to enter my activities into the website any longer. I have a good idea in my mind how active I have to be each day.  Today I worked out AND I did the laundry. Usually I save laundry day just by itself but my stamina has increased and now to do both in one day doesn’t phase me.

The caloriecount website allows you to have snacks and I juggle my food entries to allow me snacking pleasure in the evening when I watch tv. Usually I have edamame, or frozen tart cherries, or grapes for a snack. Sometimes 1/2 slice of rye bread spread with blue cheese if I’ve gone light on the sodium intake earlier in the day.

I only had one evening when I was still hungry and went over my daily 1600 calorie limit by about 300 calories. I still ate smart though: 1/2 can of tuna, 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 tablespoon peach preserves, 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (My own concoction that tastes Asian to me). When this wasn’t enough, I cooked a cup of mixed vegetables. Finally, I was satisfied. I must have been very active that day to still be that hungry!

Some days I felt stuffed and I didn’t want to eat my evening snacks…..but I had to in order to meet my daily requirements.  For example, sometimes I saved my almond milk (calcium) for my evening snack along with 1/2 oz of walnuts and maybe some fruit. Well, a couple of times I had to force myself to eat the snack because I am determined to meet my calcium requirements everyday! One particular night this week, I was so stuffed that I couldn’t stand the thought of a snack and skipped it altogether, to heck with not meeting my DV! (It wasn’t a calcium snack though. I eventually decided to get my calcium for breakfast every morning – OJ and almond milk.) I don’t intend to skip my snacks often.

Once I lose the rest of the weight, I won’t be limited to 1600 calories a day. I don’t know that I will continue to use the caloriecount website because I should have a good idea in my mind what I need to watch: sodium, fats, sugars and portion size. On the other hand, I do like seeing their graph showing that I met my iron, calcium, fiber, sodium, fats, saturated fats, potassium, carbohydrates, protein, Vitamin A, and cholesterol limits. (I think I named them all.) The graph shows if you’ve gone over or are under or are good.

If you need to lose weight, I highly recommend this weight loss website. Also, I should mention that I previously checked out other weight loss websites and none of them compared to caloriecount. It’s more thorough and contains more helpful information. It is worth the time you have to spend learning it. And, who knows, you may find it easier to navigate than I did!

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My Nutrition College Course and a Follow-up Website

4 Jun sxc.hu michtur

When I was in college, I took the course Nutrition 304. This was no light course. I was the only non-nursing student in the class at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

University of Evansville Rick Lewallen 2005

University of Evansville (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year was 1985 and I was 5’8″ tall and 148 lbs. Sigh! I’m still 5’8″ but I’m not 148 lbs.!

I know my exact weight at that time because in this class we had to do a dietary project which consisted of logging information on data sheets recording our mood when we ate, the place where we ate, with whom, the times, the food and amount, and our observation.

Fruit basket (sxc.hu michaelaw)

Fruit basket (sxc.hu michaelaw)

If that wasn’t enough, there were also calculations that we had to do such as percentage of calories from fiber, fat, carbs, etc.  This was an 8-page project of instructions and forms which included an evaluation form where I had to make recommendations to myself for improving my eating habits and diet. It was thorough and tedious!

In case you’re wondering, I don’t remember all of this from memory, I stumbled upon the dietary project today tucked into my Nutrition Concepts and Controversies 3rd Edition soft cover text book (133 pages) that I’ve kept on my bookshelf all these years because it is excellent. I paid $27.95 for it. You can now purchase the 13th paperback edition (864 pages) on Amazon for $177.49! YIKES!

My project required that I record my food intake over the course of five days. My findings were that I rushed when I ate and needed to try to relax more before and during a meal. I was low on calcium, iron, and too high on fats. I improved my fiber intake and my carb intake during the project. 

Bell Peppers (sxc.hu ivanmarn )

Bell Peppers (sxc.hu ivanmarn )

It’s interesting that I notated that I felt bloated when I drank milk. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t pursue that because even though I was low in calcium, I’m sure the bloating feeling influenced the amount of calcium I consumed. If I didn’t work out so much and lift weights, I wonder if I would have had a broken bone or two by now because throughout the years, I really didn’t improve my calcium intake enough.

asparagus-and-tomatoes-sxc-hu-muffet1

Asparagus and Tomatoes (sxc-hu-muffet1)

In those days, I drank soda. My poison of choice was Dr. Pepper. It was shortly after this course that I gave up all soda. I also gave up beef. Many years later, I gave up ketchup (too much sugar). 

I received an “A” for the project and ultimately a “B” for the course. I was SO close to getting an “A” –  missed it by that much! 

Part of the reason that I bring all this  up is because I stumbled upon a website where you can log your food choices and activity level. It is an outstanding website: caloriecount.about.com

I had been logging my foods and activity previously on WebMD but it isn’t as detailed as caloriecount.about.com. There are over 250,000 foods listed in their database! There are over 5 million members. You can chose to keep all your records private, or you can share with the other members. 

One of the things I love about this website is that it is very detailed, and you know me, I love details! I can click a button and find out how many carbs I ate in a day and which foods had the carbs and the percentage of carbs in each of those foods! The same is true for sugar and other nutrients/vitamins. I learned I have been eating too much sugar without even realizing it! I don’t even add sugar to my coffee or my tea, yet I was getting too much sugar from the foods I ate. 

You get a nutrition report at the end of the day that shows whether you are too low, good, or too high for each nutrient/vitamin. This is very helpful because you can check how you are doing any time of the day and if you notice that you are too low in, let’s say calcium, you have the opportunity to correct that by drinking some milk, or eating some yogurt or consuming any food that contains calcium. I love this feature!

One of the great things about this website is that I have finally been able to get my needed amount of calcium each day. I am ecstatic over that!

One of the down sides to the site is that it takes a while to learn. I’ve been using it for two weeks now and I still don’t know everything about the site.  So, if you plan to use it, expect it to take some time until you get the hang of it. Keeping track of the foods you eat is the best way to lose weight. It’s been proven. 

Not only can you keep track of your foods and activity levels but when you mouse over words like sodium or potassium, you can click the link and it will take you to a page that explains all about it, listing the foods that are high in these nutrients. This website is like a continuation of my college nutrition course and it’s free!

There are two other levels to joining caloriecount.about.com. One is a Premium level for $3.33 per month. (One day free trial). The other includes a Dietitian service for $24.99 per month (Seven day free trial). I’m not pushing either, I’m just explaining what is available.

For the free service, you also have access to over 400,000 recipes, nutrition articles, a goal-setting page, and much more. I haven’t even scratched the surface myself.

So far I haven’t been able to lose any weight. I’ve been too busy trying to squeeze in all the vitamins and minerals that I need. Calcium, fiber, and potassium take a great deal of effort and planning for me.  I also made the mistake of buying bagels without reading the label. They contain over 700mg of sodium per bagel! They’re blueberry bagels so I don’t want to throw them out. Every day that I eat one, I’m over my limit for sodium.  They are also high in sugar. This is why I preach reading the labels. I don’t know why I forgot to do it for these bagels. Maybe because they looked so good!

It takes perseverance to meet your daily requirements but it’s worth it. I hope you will take a look at the caloriecount website. It might save you a broken bone!

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Signs of Spring: Wet Rains, Weeds, and Wandering Plants

25 May Columbine Flower

My garden is looking pretty and I’ve pulled a lot of weeds to get it to look that way!

Irises

Irises

We’ve had a lot of rain – like every other day. We’ve also had a roller coaster ride of temperatures, from low 40’s to mid-80’s.  It keeps going up and down!

First Rose of Spring

First Rose of Spring

When it’s cool, I make sure I get out in the backyard and get to work!

Flowering Thyme2

Flowering Thyme

I’ve had to mow the lawn weekly, unlike last spring/summer when we had the drought and I didn’t have to mow at all!

Boxwood

Boxwood

My neighbor’s lawn service shaved my Columbine flowers to the quick last summer but fortunately they came back full bloom. A resilient flower that mimics a resilient town in Colorado. When they spread out some more, I will transplant some to the front yard.

Columbine Flower

Columbine Flower

Half of the seeds I sowed in my vegetable garden died due to frost. FROST! In MAY! So, I went out yesterday and planted more seeds. My Cilantro survived though and it’s the first time I planted Cilantro.  Let’s hope there are no more frosts!

I have plants growing in my front yard also. Two of them,  I don’t know where they came from. One looks like a fir tree and it’s about 4 inches tall.  When it gets a little bigger, I’ll transplant it to my backyard. The other plant is a common spider plant. I transplanted it indoors last summer and the plant died. So, I was shocked to see another spider plant out front in the same spot where I removed the first one! The more I think I know about plants, the more they surprise me.

If you’re not growing a garden, you’re missing a lot of fun, good exercise, and Vitamin D.  It’s never too late to get started.

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My Radio Gig – Call-in and Live Chat Details

2 Apr sxc-hu-pmos-phonebooth-and-Big-Ben

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can call in to the Blogtalkradio show to ask a question or make a comment about my talk on humor and its connection to wellness and good health. 

sxc-hu-pmos-phonebooth-and-Big-Ben

Phone Booth and Big Ben sxc-hu-pmos

I’ll be the guest speaker April 7th, this Sunday at 11:00 a.m.  

You can call in to the Wellness Coaches show who are the hosts and will be interviewing me. The number is: (917) 889-9079. This is a free call on Skype.

sxc.hu Cieleke - Girl with Phone

Caller with a Question      sxc.hu/Cieleke

You also have the option to use the live chat feature on their webpage with any questions or comments you’d like to make.

If you decide you like the show, you can sign up on Blogtalkradio to receive automatic reminders to hear your favorite shows or any show you like: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/?glogout=true

Just FYI, the Wellness Coaches shows are listed under the category of Self Help. There are 19 categories in all.

I hope you will listen to my talk. Since you know that my blog is about good health, get your unbuttered popcorn, your diet soda pop, and maybe even your mom and pop together to listen in; it should be an interesting show!

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New Food Friday – Almond Milk

15 Mar Milk Mustache-flickr

In my search to find lactose free foods that are high in calcium, I found almond milk. This particular brand (Silk), has 45% DV calcium with no lactose. I am very pleased to say that it is also delicious and is therefore the pick for this New Food Friday!

I love almonds, who doesn’t? So it’s no surprise that I love almond milk too.

sxc.hu sateda Almond Heart

Almond Heart sxc.hu sateda

Almond milk tastes like chocolate milk without the chocolate. But before you lactose intolerant folks run out and buy some, you should know that there are differences in the various brands of this type of milk in the event you want to cook with it. Aye, there’s the rub. There’s always a catch, isn’t there?

First, what about freezing it? Since an opened container of almond milk should be used before 7-10 days, I wondered if I could freeze some in the event I couldn’t drink it all in that time span.

According to the Silk website, the product changes in texture when thawed although you may still use it for frozen dessert recipes.

As it turned out, I had no problem drinking one cup daily for breakfast and finishing the container before the 10 days was up. The almond flavor goes great while eating a banana. I’m not a cold cereal eater in the wintertime, but I bet almond milk would be great in a bowl of cereal with sliced bananas!

So, can you heat it? Yes, you can with the Silk brand of almond milk.  I can’t wait to make hot chocolate with it. By the way, the recipes on their website are decadent! See http://silk.com/recipes 

If you can heat it, then you can bake with it so I made a batch of carrot/walnut/raisin muffins with one cup of almond milk.  

Carrot.Walnut.Raisin Muffin

Carrot/Walnut/Raisin Muffin made with Almond Milk

They came out great!

Many people make their own almond milk. It’s not that difficult. Here is one example.

Almonds and almond milk are very good sources of Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps with less cognitive decline as you age.  Some say almonds keep you thinking clearly and boost brain power. So, the benefits of almonds and almond milk go further than adding calcium to your diet and helping folks with lactose intolerance.

One cup of Almond milk also contains 25% DV of vitamin D. Vitamin D as you know, is the sunshine vitamin. We don’t get as much sunshine in the winter as we do in the summer when we’re outdoors more. It isn’t easy to get the vitamin D we need everyday so almond milk can help you reach those dietary needs too.

Here is the nutritional information.

Almond Milk Nutrition Facts

Almond Milk Nutrition Facts

 

This is an almond grove.

sxc.hu pv Almond Trees

Almond Trees sxc.hu pv

 

This is an almond branch with almonds.

sxc.hu pv Closeup of Unhusked Almonds

Closeup of Unhusked Almonds sxc.hu pv

 

This is your brain on almonds and almond milk.

sxc.hu plrang This is Your Brain

This is Your Brain on Almond Milk   sxc.hu plrang

The milk mustache in the Featured column is by Vengel Crimson – flickr

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My Radio Gig – An Update

13 Mar sxc.hu martwork ON AIR

As I mentioned in this post, I will be a speaker on Blogtalkradio on April 7, which isn’t that far away!

Microphone

Microphone sxc.hu katagaci Moi Cody

I wanted to give you more details about the show and also to give a heads up to my newer followers who may not have seen my first post on the link above .

The hosts of the show are The Wellness Coaches, Marilyn Jess and Tatiana Abend.

Wellness Coach Marilyn is a registered dietitian. You can learn more about Marilyn here. Wellness Coach Tatiana facilitates Vtrim© courses presented by the University of Vermont. You can learn more about Tatiana here.

If you would like to listen to their previous shows on Blogtalkradio, you can listen here. All their shows are related to health and wellness. Sound familiar? It is no wonder we’ve gotten together since we have the same interests: your good health!

My talk will be about humor and its relationship to your good health. This is a call-in show so if you have a question or a comment, feel free to call in. Every show is 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning. I will post the call-in phone number one week before the show.

sxc.hu martwork ON AIR

ON AIR sxc.hu martwork

My goal is that you take away some piece of information from my talk that you didn’t know before and that you enjoy your time spent with Marilyn, Tatiana, and me.

If you miss the show, it will be archived so that you can download it and listen to it any time from the Blogtalkradio website, or from the link on my post which I will publish on my blog following my talk.

sxc.hu drella RADIO

RADIO sxc.hu drella

I’m looking forward to it and hope that you are too!

P.S. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and would like to know more about the creator of Blogtalkradio, its inception and what is in store for its future, (tuning in to Blogtalkradio on your car radio)

sxc.hu mans1ay3r  Car Radio

Car Radio   sxc.hu mans1ay3r

listen to the interview with our own WordPress Jacqueline Jax  and Blogtalkradio’s CEO Alan Levy.

Keep tuning in FOR YOUR GOOD HEALTH!

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New Food Friday – Lactose Free Dairy Products

1 Mar sxc.hu wendyrmelg Yogurt Parfait

As each day goes by, we all become more and more lactose intolerant. Yes, that is the sad news folks. Gone are the days when we could drink bottle after bottle of milk with no aftereffects.

sxc.hu Cylonka Baby drinking Milk

Baby drinking Milk sxc.hu/Cylonka

Lactose intolerance increases with age. The good news is that New Food Friday will be covering a few of the most common dairy foods that you CAN eat that won’t cause intestinal distress.

These foods are:

Milk

Ice cream

Yogurt

Cheese

I’m not talking about dairy substitutes. For example, I bought a new Silk product that was a soy-based yogurt. Ick, is all I can say. I tried two varieties. Both were very watery. The second one I couldn’t even finish it was so bad. 

I’m talking about dairy products that include the lactose enzyme which enables you to eat it without any digestive distress.

sxc.hu iamiam Dairy Farm

Dairy Farm sxc.hu/iamiam

Ice Cream

The first dairy product is Breyers Lactose Free Vanilla Ice Cream. This is sinfully good. I think it tastes even better than their regular vanilla ice cream.

sxc.hu LotusHead Ice Cream Sundae

Ice Cream Sundae sxc.hu LotusHead

Although I am not a big ice cream eater, I found it very difficult to not go for a second helping. Those of us who watch our weight should not allow this ice cream in the house because it is too tempting and too good for our own good! So, sadly, I can’t recommend it if you are lactose intolerant! You would have to have a will of iron to just eat 1/2 cup and who among us has that?

sxc.hu lekyu Dairy Farm wCows

Dairy Farm with Cows sxc.hu/lekyu

Yogurt

The next lactose free product is Yoplait Lactose Free Yogurt. Yoplait’s Lactose Free Yogurt comes in four flavors. My two favorites are the Peach and the Vanilla. The Strawberry and the Cherry are also very good. Each are 170 calories per 6 oz container so they are not low calorie. They also contain 20% calcium per container including Vitamin D. While I am not a big fan of yogurt, I can easily make an exception for Yoplait’s Lactose Free. It is delicious and I can recommend it heartily! I feel satisfied after one container and am not tempted to get a second one. That is the good news.

The bad news is that my local Meijer discontinued carrying it! Yoplait has a store locator on their website so you might find their products using the locator.

Then again, you might not. It is still showing that my local Meijer stocks the lactose free yogurt. It also shows that my local Wal-Mart stocks the lactose free Yoplait. Well, I went to the Wal-Mart near me and they didn’t have it either. So much for the Yoplait store locator. I hope you have better luck than me! (And by the way, I’ve contacted Yoplait about all this.)

But the good news is that  I recently learned that Chobani Greek yogurt is 95% lactose free! 

The bad news is that Greek yogurt is more expensive than Yoplait Lactose Free Yogurt.

Not all Greek yogurt is equal. For example, I bought Meijer Greek yogurt and it only contained 15% calcium per container.  Strangely enough, on many websites touting Yoplait Lactose Free Yogurt, the nutritional value for calcium shows 50% not 20%! I don’t know where they are getting their information but the containers I bought all showed 20%.

Stoneyfield also makes a lactose free yogurt but the manager at the Wal-Mart I went to said they discontinued it.

It doesn’t make any sense to me that these lactose-free products are being discontinued when companies must know that as people age they become more lactose intolerant! Since baby boomers are coming of age where, once they realize they have become lactose intolerant, they will be demanding  more lactose-free products.

Symptoms for lactose intolerance can be mild to severe depending on how much lactase your body is still making: bloating, abdominal cramps, stomach pains, diarrhea  nausea, and vomiting. 

It’s the lactase enzyme in your small intestine that breaks down the lactose (without me getting too technical on you). When you’re a baby, your body produces a lot of lactase which enables you to drink milk, your primary source of nutrition.

I found a Stonyfield Greek Plain Yogurt that contains 30% calcium. I will probably be buying that again.

Cheese

Many of the harder cheeses like cheddar or Swiss are more easy to digest. You may be able to tolerate them.

sxc.hu VictorBR Cheeses

Cheeses sxc.hu/VictorBR

The only way to know is to try them. Generally, the harder the cheese and the longer it ages, the less lactose it contains. Check the label too. It might show the lactase enzyme in the ingredients.

Milk

While I haven’t tried this product myself, you can buy milk called Lactaid. Lactaid milk comes from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones, according to the Lactaid website. It contains the same nutrients as regular milk and is lactose free. If you still suffer from lactose intolerance because you haven’t tried any of the lactose free dairy products that I recommended, don’t blame me! But there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk.

sxc.hu laswift Spilled Milk

Spilled Milk       sxc.hu laswift

The next time you go to the supermarket, pick up a few lactose-free products and let me know how you liked them.

UPDATE: Good news! Bryers now has a chocolate lactose-free ice cream! I have learned that Greek yogurts (the thicker yogurts) contain less lactose so you may be able to tolerate them. And the variety of Greek yogurts is going through the roof! Every brand seems to make a Greek yogurt now and the flavors are divine! My favorite is Lime. It tastes like a cheesecake to me. Try them!

Standing/Sitting Desk Workstation – Free!

1 Jan Standing Desk with Mat

Too much sitting has been under the gun as the latest bad health habit. Momentum has been gaining in companies to offer standing desk workstations to their employees. Some include treadmills!   What about us bloggers who sit in front of the computer day after day? We can’t run out and buy the latest standing desk workstation. Some will run you upwards of $4,000!

standing desk 2.0

Standing desk with chair 2.0 (Photo credit: A.J. Kandy)

Some say women will get increased problems with varicose veins using standing desk workstations. My thought was that some people would have swollen feet. Since this is a rather “new” idea in the workplace for many, there isn’t much data to prove that standing all day is better than sitting all day. So, like most things, my feeling is that it’s best to do both standing and sitting in moderation. 

Sitting at desk with feet up

Sitting at desk with feet up – sxc.hu/cornnius – Maria Luisa Gutierrez

One of the benefits of doing more standing is that you burn more calories than if you just sat all day. However, some claim that there are many more benefits to standing, including adding years to your life! You know that if something benefits your health, you can be sure that it will be posted in this blog.

Create Your Own Standing Desk

I researched and wrote an article about how I created a standing desk workstation that could be converted back to a sitting desk workstation in less than 5 minutes, (actually less than 1 minute), without spending any money. The initial setup may take a few hours depending on what you have on hand and how creative you are.

I’ve been using my workstation now for over a week. I had forgotten how tiring it is to stand all day! But how great it feels when you finally sit down! Like the guy in the photo, you may want to put your feet up after standing at a standing desk workstation!

Continue reading to learn how to create this workstation and don’t forget to check the links in my article. There are only two. They explain the pros and cons of standing desk workstations along with companies that use them, people who use them, and costs to purchase them. It’s worth checking out.

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