Monday, November 17, 2008

How to Eat More Tasty Veggies!

People say they eat healthy, but do you really eat enough healthy foods?
If you enjoy watching the FoodNetwork, you're showing curiosity about food--good news!
But the CDC warns that 90 percent of us do NOT meet the daily recommended fruits and veggies consumption! Most people need to double their veggie consumption. The US and UK governments each have a fruits and veggies public health campaign: "5 a day".

How? Start adding greens supplements and try these quick and easy veggies recipes that I've created for today's busy lifestyle.

Truth is, you're more likely to ACTUALLY eat healthy if you pre-make your food or find ways to make it easily while you're busy doing other things. If you premake your veggies to include extra leftovers, you can pack them for lunch or grab them quickly for a snack. After you've done your grocery shopping, you're excited about your food--cook your veggies while they are fresh OR while you're fresh with energy. I aim for quick veggie recipes that require only 15 minutes (or less) of active time. MMM-mmm tasty!

Here are some ideas for the month of November. Take advantage of the winter roots and squash that the stores are carrying in preparation for the Thanksgiving feasts.


* the oven and timer allows you to cook root veggies and squash without thinking about it, with about 5-10 min of prep time.
* sautee your veggies lightly in these basics: olive or grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and garlic or shallots and then add some pizazz like wine or other flavors.

1) Carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes (whatever roots you like, whatever you can find)
A friend asked: What do parsnips look like? white carrots!!!
Photo of Parsnips
Aim to buy sweet potatoes and not yams. Cut into similarly sized pieces as carrots so that slices cook evenly. Depending on your sweet potato size, you might need to cut your sweet potatoes in quarters to match the carrots.

a) preheat oven or toaster oven to 425. wash, peel (optional), and slice roots thinly, diagonally.
b) spread parchment paper on a baking pan, spray or brush oil (olive or grapeseed) on parchment paper.
sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic or shallot slices on parchment paper.
c) if you like herb taste and have fresh or dried thyme (optional), add. if you like sweet/spicy, sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg
d) place roots as one layer across parchment paper. drizzle a very thin layer of oil on top. add salt, pepper, garlic to your
preferences. place in oven. set timer to 20 min.
e) at 20 min. timer buzz, take a spatula to flip/toss the roots. return the roots to the oven and heat for another 20 minutes.
don't forget to set the timer again. this time, set it for 15 min=20min, depending if you think your oven is strong.
roast until roots are tender and golden. if you like them extra crispy, leave in the oven longer.
PERKS of roasting veggies: the flavors intensify. you can ignore the cooking and multitask. roots make great leftover. if you're cooking for 2, the toaster oven is quicker to preheat.
VITAMINS: Carrots are known for vitamin A. parsnips are more nutritious and wellrounded than carrots in vitamins and minerals--bonus B3, E and the potassium (helps combat muscle cramps). Sweet potatoes are known for A and C.

More 15 minute recipes to come...
2) Kale with white wine and garlic
3) Pea sprouts with chix or veggie broth and garlic
4) Green beans with black sesame seeds

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trouble breathing? Sing!

Have you been told you need to breathe better? Calm down that blood pressure?

Sing for your health

If doing cardio exercise makes you feel winded, don't be discouraged--use singing techniques to help you control your breathing and you can conquer your cardio challenges.

As a child I studied piano, and I fell into singing while in college to meet other musicians. Many of us don't know how to tap into all the layers of our abdominals and I've used singing techniques help teach ab exercises where many have been stumped before. Singing can help you not only get a flatter stomach, but also exercises your heart and lungs!

The English have decided to make singing a public health charity event this December. Here's a cue--let's round up some friends and do some singing. Here are some ideas: 1) join a sing-a-long Messiah 2) find a caroling group that brings cheer to hospitals 3) find a singer-friend to host a party and lead a singing circle.

The health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological. Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting. Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together as well as alone because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour.
- Professor Graham Welch, Institute of Education, University of London

The Beauty of Omega-3 Supplements

Feeling fit is not just burning calories and being a health weight, but it's also getting good fuel for the brain and the body.

Here's a great article on Omega-3 Fish Oil supplements from the NYTimes. DHA from the fish oil helps the brain function and supports a healthy heart.

From the article: "Most health care providers suggest 1,000 milligrams of combined DHA and EPA daily for a child, and up to 2,000 milligrams for an adult, but they say they adjust the amounts depending on weight. Some experts recommend higher doses to get the full therapeutic effect, but there are risks."

Some brands at health food stores have a flaxseed oil blend (less expensive), but studies show the fish oil has better absorption by the body. Fish oil supplements are under strict review to be mercury-free and most companies adhere to stricter European standards. Here's a brand with superior potency power. If you were recommended to take 3000 mg by your doctor, you'd only have to take 4 capsules instead of 6 from other brands. Plus, you get the power of Vitamin E to assist in your absorption of this fish oil.

You can get other heart healthy monounsaturated fats from nuts like walnuts, macadamia, pecans, cashews, almonds, and pine nuts. Avocados are not only good for your heart but get raves for improving hair and skin!