Monday, January 29, 2007

Truer Words Have Never Been Spoken

Knowing my profound love for margarine and all things heart healthy, a coworker forwarded me the following email and it made me laugh to myself.

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?"

And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil and margarine in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before theflickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips anddeep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Is Chromium More Than a Metal?

According to Wikipedia, chromium is a steel-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish, and has a high melting point. It is also odourless, tasteless, and is malleable.

Why is that relevant to me or this blog? Well, according to the HealthBeat newsletter from Harvard Medical School, chromium may have some therapeutic uses. The research isn’t conclusive yet but in the future, we may be able to find other uses for chromium that improve our health. Of course, I would advise waiting until further research can be done on the matter. Its supposed health benefits include:

Lowering Cholesterol: Some clinical trials reported chromium deficiency may lead to higher cholesterol. Although the best ways to boost HDL (the good cholesterol) is exercise and eating properly, some studies indicate chromium may help imrpvoe cholesterol levels.

Diabetes: According to the article, chroium influences insulin action and glucose metabolism so there is some hope for chromium replacement therapy. However, the American Diabetes Association does not recommend this practice for now.

Weight Loss:
A popular diet aid, chromium picolinate, apparently assists with weight loss. However, there aren’t any studies confirming this notion. Until there are, we all have to suck it up and exercise and eat well to keep the weight off.

If you would like to incporate more chromium into your diet, you should consume foods such as broccoli, whole grains, green beans and nuts.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Heart Healthy Cuban Black Bean Soup

It seems like most of the country has been hit with a dreadful bout of cold weather. While you’re cuddled up inside, why not try making a delicious dish that’s healthy and will keep away the chills? The recipe (from recipeforall.com) below not only contains margarine but also black beans. Two heart healthy ingredients in one dish – can it get any better!?


Cuban Black Bean Soup
Yield: 4 servings
1 lb Black beans, dried
1 cups Onion; chopped
1 tablespoon Margarine or butter
4 cups Water
1 Bouillon cube, beef
12 oz Ham, cooked lean
2 Bay leaves
½ teaspoon Thyme, dried leaf
½ teaspoon Oregano, dried leaf
½ teaspoon Salt
1 Red pepper, dried whole
1 cups Green pepper; chopped
1/3 cups Dark rum (optional)
1 cups Sour cream (optional)

Sort and soak beans overnight; drain and discard soak water. In a 4-quart pot, saute onion in butter or marg until tender but not browned. Add soaked beans, 4 cups water, bouillon cube, ham (cut into 4-6 chunks), bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt & red pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beans are tender, 1 to 1-½ hour. Remove 1 c. beans from stew, mash in a bowl with potato masher or fork. Add mashed beans to stew; stir to thicken. Remove ham and dice. Remove bay leaves and red pepper, if used and discard. Add diced meat, green pepper and rum (if desired) to beans. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Serve beans over rice and top with sour cream if desired

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Assess Your Risk for Heart Disease

I was checking out WebMD yesterday when I saw an interesting video on women’s risk for heart disease. According to this video, there are four numbers that you must know in order to assess your risk for heart disease.

Blood Pressure
– your ideal blood pressure at any age should be 120/80.
LDL – this is the bad cholesterol level and it should be less than or equal to 100.
HDL – this is the good cholesterol level and it should be greater than or equal to 50.
Triglycerides – This level should be less than 150.

There are things you can do NOW that will help prevent heart disease and allow you to live a long and fulfilling life. Don’t be a part of the half million women who die each year due to heart disease. Assess your risk and then do something about it…today.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Eat to Live Not Live to Eat

Eat to live not live to eat. I used to do the latter for many years. I would wait with anticipation for the coming meal, planning what I would eat and drink for hours before the meal itself. It was the highlight of my day, followed by utter disappointment once the meal was over. Food became somewhat of an obsession. And, this period of my life was when I was at my highest weight – not surprisingly.

I’m not quite sure when it all changed but over time I began to look at food as more of a tool. You know when you take vitamins, you feel so healthy that you’re doing something good for your body? Or, when you exercise that feeling of satisfaction you get? That’s how I started to think about food. It became somewhat of a game for me. How many vitamins and nutrients could I get into one meal? I would pat myself on the back when I ate fish, spinach, olive oil…and of course, margarine. Not surprisingly, once I started eating healthy and looking at food in a different light, my weight dropped considerably. I lost approximately 15 pounds, which is significant on my 5’2” frame.

These days I don’t have as much time to play the vitamin game but I do still get that feeling when I know I’ve eaten something really good for my body. Like this morning, I ate some whole wheat bread and margarine along with a strawberry smoothie enriched with protein and fiber. It just started my day off well. I think it actually tricks my mind into being in a good mood.

Anyways, my point is, it’s a lot more enjoyable when you think about food as something delicious that’s purpose is to fuel your body. Too many people consider food an enemy and have a love-hate relationship with it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Eating Healthy Can Equal Fun

I was reading an article yesterday about eating healthy in the New Year and something the author really hit me, “Who says healthy eating can’t be fun?”

When most people (myself included) think of healthy eating, we think of bland-tasting foods that contain a lack of sustenance. While this may be true for “healthy” foods of the past, the nutritious foods in grocery stores today are often delicious and full of flavor.

I really think it’s about making a few simple changes every couple of months and over time, one can develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.

When I switched from butter to margarine, I thought my body would be confused and would freak out. Instead, I began to feel better and look better. By making this simple change, I’m reducing my risk for heart disease and ensuring my future children will have a mother around for a long time. It might be a depressing, morbid thought but heart disease runs in my family and I’ve got to be realistic. Heart disease kills.

So, in the New Year I’m not only going to focus on eating healthier but I’m going to make a sincere effort to have fun while doing so. After all, life’s not worth doing if you can’t have fun.

Healthy Eating Can Equal Fun

I was reading an article yesterday about eating healthy in the New Year and something the author really hit me, “Who says healthy eating can’t be fun?”

When most people (myself included) think of healthy eating, we think of bland-tasting foods that contain a lack of sustenance. While this may be true for “healthy” foods of the past, the nutritious foods in grocery stores today are often delicious and full of flavor.

I really think it’s about making a few simple changes every couple of months and over time, one can develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.

When I switched from butter to margarine, I thought my body would be confused and would freak out. Instead, I began to feel better and look better. By making this simple change, I’m reducing my risk for heart disease and ensuring my future children will have a mother around for a long time. It might be a depressing, morbid thought but heart disease runs in my family and I’ve got to be realistic. Heart disease kills.

So, in the New Year I’m not only going to focus on eating healthier but I’m going to make a sincere effort to have fun while doing so. After all, life’s not worth doing if you can’t have fun.