Archives for February 2012

Resolutions to Stay on Track!

February 29 –Happy Leap Year Day!

A good opportunity to check in on those New Year’s Resolutions.

My theme for the year is:  “Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.”

I like that!  I’ve been succeeding at waking up with a smile or at least not a groan as I shut the alarm clock…I’ve also been successful at keeping up with my blogs,   (this one and my blog on media), exercising, eating well, taking my vitamins, nurturing friendships, visiting family and writing at least 1 letter each week.

I still need to work on living in the present moment.  I’m pretty good about not dwelling on the past, but I can still use some work on not worrying about the future!  Also I see that I set a resolution to run the Seacoast Race Series again this year.  Funny just this morning I said to myself, “no, I don’t think I’ll run the series this year, there is too much pressure”–good thing I made a resolution.  Now I will do it!!  The first race is in May so it’s also good thing I started running again (this morning as a matter of fact.  I was running when I contemplated not racing this summer!)

Lastly, I find that breaking one or two of the resolutions into Monthly action items helps he achieve them so here are March’s  goals:

  • Run at least twice a week
  • Visit my friends and family in Virginia
  • Cut out Cow’s Milk from diet

Dark Cholocate for a Healthy Heart and a Happy Mind!

I read an interesting history of chocolate on the blog Afternoon Tea and it got me thinking about…chocolate.  I love chocolate.  I can resist sugared treats and salted treats, but I give into chocolate!

The chocolate industry would have us believe that chocolate is  good for us.  Hoping that is indeed the case I decided to do a little research, and I like what I found. However, we are talking about dark chocolate, not milk or white chocolate.

The health benefits from chocolate comes from the cocoa plant and dark   chocolate has 65% more cocoa than milk chocolate.  Since chocolate is made from plants,  it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables including antioxidants.  Dark chocolate contains almost 8 times the antioxidants as strawberries.

Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A little bit everyday (3.5 oz of dark chocolate without the caramel, nougat, peanut butter, etc) can help lower blood pressure and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.

And it is true, dark chocolate is therapeutic!  It stimulates endorphin production, giving us a feeling of pleasure; it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant, and it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants.

While chocolate does indeed have fat, only 1/3 of the fat in chocolate is bad for for our cholesterol.  1/3 of the fat (Oleic Acid) is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil, 1/3 is Stearic Acid  which research has shown to be neither good nor bad,  and only 1/3 is a saturated fat that raises cholesterol — pretty good odds!

But (there are always buts), these health benefits are only for DARK chocolate.  We only want to consume 3.5 oz of dark chocolate a day for maximum benefit and we need to balance out those 200+ calories by eliminating something else from our diet.  And lastly —  some research shows that drinking a glass of milk with chocolate could prevent the antioxidants being absorbed or used by your body, thereby negating the heart healthy effects.  There we go again with milk being the enemy.

The Good and Bad of Healthy Eating

Things happens when you do some research into the foods you eat.  Some good things:

  • You learn about the foods you eat
  • You alter your diet
  • You lose excess weight
  • You get healthier

Some bad things:

  • You give up foods that most people still enjoy — milk, ice cream, sugary desserts, processed foods, etc.
  • You need to learn to enjoy new foods and new cooking techniques  (this could be good or bad)
  • You want to share your knowledge and as a result
  • You drive everyone around you crazy!

In a recent post I talked about the serious health problems associated with drinking cow’s milk as a result, I have been eliminating milk from my diet.  Switching to soy milk in my cereal has been relatively easy.  But what about ice cream, yogurt and half and half for my coffee?  That is proving to be a bit more difficult. (I know I should probably give up coffee too, but there is positive research about coffee and health).

As for driving everyone around me crazy, perhaps I probably shouldn’t refer to the little packets of Equal and Splenda as “poison” when a friend asks me to pass them across the table.  And I’m pretty sure that if I post one more article about the dangers of sugar (like this one) I will lose a few friends!  So, if you want to read a good article, by all means click on the link, and if you don’t, I won’t push it on you!!

I Love my new Juicer

A friend of mine has been raving about her juicer for  months.  She comes into work every day telling us about the juice she had that morning and how great she feels.  I had to have one!

It is wonderful.  We all know that we should eat at least 3-5          servings of fruits and vegetables  a day (that’s 3-5 of each, not a total of 3-5), but  it is rather difficult to get these all in.  Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits and vegetables leaving the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals found in the whole fruit.

An easy and delicious juice combines:

  • apple
  • pear
  • carrot
  • celery
  • 1/2 a beet
  • red pepper
  • 1/2 a package of spinach

There is no concrete evidence that juicing is actually better than eating raw whole fruits and vegetables, but some believe say that we can better absorb the nutrients from juice. Because juicing allows us to get in all our servings of fruits and vegetables, it can boost our immune system, help remove toxins from our body, reduce our risk of cancer, aid digestion, and help us lose weight!

The only thing lacking from juice is the fiber as the pulp is separated from the juice. But the pulp can be used .  Today I juiced the fruits first,  and discarded the fruit pulp, then I juiced the vegetables.  I mixed the vegetable pulp with a can of mashed black beans and about a tablespoon of olive oil.  I mixed it all together, made 4 patties, rolled them in bread crumbs and sautéed them in olive oil for delicious high protein, high fiber veggie burgers!

Spill Out the Milk!

My daughter is vegan. Her motivation for adopting a vegan diet was to eat a healthy diet. She is a firm believer that we should eat healthy foods that our bodies were designed to digest and avoiding those that we weren’t. One case in point…Did you know that humans are the only mammals who drink milk after we are weaned? And not only that, we drink the milk of other mammals.

Today she sent me a very interesting article on dairy consumption from One Green Planet

According to the article, we have been led to believe (by the dairy industry) that dairy products (cow’s milk) is vital for our health, but research has proven that:

The interesting thing is that as people are becoming aware of what they are consuming, they are consuming less dairy in favor of soy, coconut, almond and rice milks.

And, ready for this….the dairy industry, not wanting to lose it’s place in the American diet is responding with a marketing campaign attacking plant based milks.