Monday, December 22, 2008

Outdated Laws, Gotta Love 'Em!

As promised, here are some other weird, outdated laws that still exist today:

In Texas, you can't carry a concealed ice cream cone.

In Baltimore, you can't take a lion to the theater.

In St. Louis, you can't sit on a curb and drink beer from a bucket.

In Gary, Ind., don't go out in public four hours after eating garlic. It's a public health issue, you know.

Don't speak English in Illinois. "American" is the official language.

Happy holidays people!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Missouri Lawmaker Hopes to End Ban on Yellow Margarine

This article made me chuckle. There are so many crazy laws esblished many years ago (like the example below) that need to be thrown in the trashcan.

"Southwest Missouri lawmaker wants to end a state ban on yellow margarine that hasn't been enforced in years.

Rep. Sara Lampe said Tuesday she plans to file legislation repealing the state's ban on yellow-tinted imitation butter and the other restrictions imposed on the sale, possession or shipment of substitute sandwich spread that is a different hue.

Most of Missouri's butter restrictions date to 1895 and they were last amended in 1939. Although the state no longer enforces its restrictions on imitation butter, the penalties for dealers in contraband dairy product still apply: up to a month in jail and a $100 fine for first-time butter offenders and six months in jail and a $500 fine for repeat offenders.

Enforcement of the law falls to the Agriculture Department, and officials there didn't know when someone was last prosecuted under it. Case records from the late 19th and early 20th century show that Missouri courts upheld the constitutionality of the restrictions in several appeals.
Agriculture Department spokeswoman Misti Preston said it's likely that the Legislature restricted margarine and other imitation butter products to protect Missouri's dairy industry, which was a key business for the state in the early 20th century.

Lampe, D-Springfield, said she intends to keep on the books the existing definition for imitation butter and the prohibition against selling the substitute as real butter. Eliminating those provisions could allow for products to be advertised as butter when they are not, she said.
The 2009 legislative session starts in January, and it is common for lawmakers to announce plans for new laws and constitutional amendments in the weeks before it starts. It's less often that a legislator suggests removing a law that already exists.

Lampe, who likened the butter repeal to cleaning out a closet, said she decided to look for a law that could be removed after asking constituents' ideas on new legislation.

There are things in your closet that you don't wear, and it's important to clean that out so that you know what's there and know what's necessary," Lampe said.

The number of state laws can be intimidating, she said, so it makes sense to pare them down where possible. She said she plans to direct her staff to look for other laws that could be stripped.
Missouri's statutes are broken into more than 700 chapters, contained within 15 volumes and four supplements. The indexes make up an additional six volumes. The butter law is only a tiny portion of a single chapter."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Onion-Cheddar Bread

Orange juice is a surprising ingredient in this yummy bread. The reason I love this recipe so much is because it's one of the few that doesn't require a breadmaker.

Onion-Cheddar Bread Instructions:
Yield: 4 servings
2½ cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 package Active Dry Yeast
1/3 cups Warm Water (110-115 Degrees)
½ cups Orange Juice ½ cups Water
2 tablespoon Margarine *
1 Env. Onion Soup Mix
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
5 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese
* Margarine should be cut into small pieces.

In medium bowl, combine flours and set aside. In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add orange juice, water, butter, onion recipe soup mix, sugar, salt, and 2 cups flour mixture. Mix until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour mixture until soft dough is formed and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured board, then knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Punch down dough, then turn onto lightly floured board. Press into 10 x 8-inch rectangle; top with 1 cup cheese. roll, starting at 8-inch side, jelly-roll style; pinch ends to seal. Place in 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan, seam side down. Brush with melted butter, then top with remaining cheese. Bake 45 minutes or until bread sound hollow when tapped. Remove to wire rack and cool completely before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Up, Up, and Away!

Hey guys! This past month has been absolutely insane and I’m more than happy to say things are finally calming down…only to start back up again for the holidays. Needless to say, I’ve decided nt to make the huge move to NYC and to remain in Houston, TX with my family, friends and boyfriend. It was a huge decision but in the end, I’m so incredibly happy I made it. Emma here doesn’t do too well being a “cold and broke” kind of girl. I’m much more of a “warm and shopping” kind of gal.

No worries though, I can still deliver you the latest and greatest news related to heart healthy, healthy living and of course my mainstay, margarine! Be on the lookout in coming weeks for lots of updates, delicious recipes and ways to improve your way of living.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I Am One Stuffed Bird

I don't know about you guys but wow, did I stuff myself last week! I just looked down at my stomach and there's a pooch there that I'm 99.9% positive wasn't there before Thursday. Welllll, okay maybe it was there but certainly not as prominent! I'm happy to report that my infamous mashed potatoes, which happen to be fairly healthy by using skim milk and light margarine spread and low-fat cheese, were a huge hit this year. Mashed potatoes are a staple in my house for Thanksgiving and this year was no exception. I made almost five pounds worth of mashed potatoes. Talk about some major carb overload!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Turkey Day and tis the season to be jolly (and fat but who's counting?).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life's a Beach

Forgiveme if this post is a little short in length and lacking in content because I'm currently blogging from a work conference in Naples, FL. If anybody's looking for a delightful vacation within the continental U.S., I must urge you to visit the La Playa Beach & Golf Resort. People get on the phone and make your reservations NOW! The amenities, staff, beach, rooms, etc. are to die for! The only bad part of this trip is a cold front swept through on Sunday and it was a little chilly until this morning. Now the weather;s glorious and people are heading for the sand.

I'll post more later this week but Ijust wanted to say hello.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Let's Talk Turkey

Like many of you, I'm starting to brainstorm about all the yummy items I'll be making for Thanksgiving dinner. I can already smell the tantalizing scent of roasting turkey permeating the house.

Here's one of my faves from Kellogs.

Cheddar Broccoli Corn Bake with Kellogg's Corn Flakes(R) Original
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6

Ingredients
1/4 cup margarine, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded, low-fat low sodium Cheddar cheese
2 cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes(R) cereal (crushed to 1 cup)
1 can (16 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen broccoli spears, thawed and drained

Directions
1. In 2-quart saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the margarine over low heat. Stir in flour and salt. Add milk, stirring until smooth. Increase heat to medium and cook until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Add cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Kellogg's Corn Flakes(R) cereal and corn. Remove from heat.
2. Arrange broccoli in 12 x 7 1/2 x 2-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour cheese sauce over broccoli.
3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons margarine in small saucepan. Stir in remaining cereal. Sprinkle over casserole.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F about 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where Did That Roll Come From?

Today officially starts my, "Oh my gosh, my best friend is getting married in a month and her bridesmaid gown doesn't fit me" diet. Crap, crap, crap. How in the world did I gain seven pounds in two months? I went from feeling svelte and sleek to fat and frumpy. Nonetheless, I WILL conquer these fat cells and return to my regular figure. I'm certainly not the kind of girl that would ever aspire to be stick thin. I like having some meat on my bones but right now, some is more like lots.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New Zealand is Making the Switch!

It looks like the people of New Zealand are following suit and making the switch from butter to margarine. Way 2 Go!

According to TVNZ.com:

Giving up butter is being suggested as one of the easiest ways to reduce the country's skyrocketing cholesterol rates.

New Zealand sits in the top five countries for heart disease in the OECD.

Auckland University Professor Rob Jackson says New Zealand has twice the number of cases than in Australia.

He says the biggest difference between the two countries is that New Zealanders eat an average of 10 kilograms of butter a year while Australians only eat three.

He has told a symposium on cholesterol that people need to be encouraged to switch to margarine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Your Questions Answered: Butter or Margarine?

The name of my blog, I Heart Margarine, gives most of my readers a pretty good indication that I would obviously choose margarine over butter. But, many people send me emails asking, "Why?" Well, let me tell you exactly why I, and most health organizations, believe everyone should choose margarine over butter:

  • Butter contains two cholesterol-raising ingredients: dietary cholesterol and saturated fat.
  • Because butter is high in saturated fat, this increases levels of LDL or the "bad" cholesterol.
  • By substituting a margarine product for butter over a week’s time, you can save yourself a whole day’s worth of saturated fat.
  • Research continues to clearly show that margarine products are the best choice of tablespreads when it comes to biomarkers related to heart health.
  • Margarine, in conjunction with an overall healthy diet, can benefit people on a low cholesterol diet.

In my opinion, it's very clear that margarine is the clear winner here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turning 26 Has Never Felt This Good

Today is my 26th birthday (getting old, huh?) so I've decided to take the day to do whatever it is that I want. Sure, I've got mountains of work that needs to get done first but once all of that is complete, it's fun Emma time! Here's what I'm hoping to do today:

  • Have lunch with an old friend I haven't seen since high school
  • Hit the gym to burn off the calories I'll be eating later tonight
  • Get a massage
  • Take my dogs to the park
  • Enjoy drinks and a nice dinner with a group of my closest friends

All in all, it sounds like a pretty fantastic day to me. I'm off to tackle one of the 8 million items I need to do for work but then it's play time! Won't you join me?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chocolate Sin Raspberry Truffle Brownies

I’m licking my lips at the thought of making this recipe. Today is a very, dreary day in Houston, TX so I plan to spend it trying to make some of the recipes I’ve had on my “to-do” list for months now. This will definitely be one of them!

Chocolate Sin Raspberry Truffle Brownies
Instructions:

Yield: 9 Servings
Brownies:
1½ cups Semisweet chocolate chips
½ cups Margarine
¾ cups Brown sugar
2 lg Eggs
1 teaspoon Instant coffee; crystals
2 tablespoon Water
½ teaspoon Baking powder
¾ cups All-purpose flour
Raspberry truffle filling:
1 cups Semisweet chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon Instant coffee; crystals
1 package Cream cheese; 8 oz
¼ cups Powdered sugar
1/3 cups Seedless red raspberry
Glaze:
¼ cups Semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon Shortening

Brownies: In saucepan over low heat, melt morsels and margarine; cool slightly. In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs. Add chocolate mixtur and coffee dissolved in water. Mix well. Stir in baking powder and flour; blend well. Spread in greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 350^ for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick tests clean.

Raspberry Truffle Filling: Melt chocolate with coffee in pan over low heat Set aside. In small mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese until fluffy; add powdered sugar and preserves. Beat until fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate mixture until well blended. Spread over cooled browned layer.

Glaze: In small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and shortening. Drizzle over truffle layer. Chill 1-2 hours. Cut into bars. ~Diana Rattray

Your Chocolate Sin Raspberry Truffle Brownies is ready. Good luck

Friday, October 10, 2008

Margarine Brings One Couple Millions

You know the phrase, "out of something bad often comes something good?" Well, a couple in New Zealand is living proof of that! According to this article, a New Zealand man (name not identified) went to the supermarket in search of a special the store was running on margarine. Much to his dismay, by the time the man arrived at the store, the margarine special was over. Feeling rather disgruntled at missing the margarine special, the man decided to buy a Big Wednesday lottery ticket. He thought nothing of it and returned home to report to his wife that he did not make the margarine special. A few days later the couple was reading the newspaper and discovered they had won "a first division prize package worth $2,997,140 made up of $2 million cash, an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, an Audi Q7, a $250,000 American Express platinum card, a $250,000 luxury travel package and a Rayglass Legend 2500 Boat." Now if that's not a reward for missing out on the margarine than I don't know what is.

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy weekend! I'm off to Dallas for the state fair and TX vs. OU game. Hook em horns!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Margarine FAQ

Here's a little margarine FAQ that I've been asked a couple of times. This answer comes from Chef Richard Erskine.

Q: Does whipped margarine weigh as much as regular margarine?

A: Whipped margarine has air whipped into it, so the volume of whipped margarine will be more than un-whipped margarine. But one pound of whipped margarine weighs the same as one pound of margarine solids.

There's your margarine trivia for the day. I'll be back tomorrow with a delicious recipe for Chicken and Black Bean soup that I've been eating literally ALL week. Salud!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Let's Start This Week of With a Little Salmon

We’ve all heard how great salmon is – it’s low in calories and saturated fat, high in protein and contains the almighty omega-3 fatty acids. Have a great week everybody!

Salmon Steaks With Wine Sauce

Instructions
Yield: 2 servings
8 oz (2) salmon steaks *
2 teaspoon Cooking oil
1 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 Dash white pepper
½ cups Half & half light cream
1 Lge. beaten egg yolk
2 tablespoon Dry white wine
1 Seedless green grapes (opt.)
* Salmon steaks may be either fresh or frozen.

Directions
Thaw salmon steaks, if frozen. Preheat a 6½-inch microwave browning dish on 100% power for 3 minutes. Add cooking oil to the browning dish; swirl to coat the dish. Place fresh or thawed salmon steaks in the browning dish. Micro-cook, covered, on 100% power for 30 seconds. Turn the salmon steaks and micro-cook, covered, on 50% power about 3 minutes or till the salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork. Let the salmon steaks stand, covered, while preparing the wine sauce. For the wine sauce, in a 4-cup measure micro-cook the butter or margarine, uncovered, on 100% of power for 45 seconds to 1 minute or till melted. Stir in the cornstarch and white pepper. Stir in light cream. Micro-cook, uncovered, on 100% power for 2 to 3 minutes or till mixture is thickened and bubbly, stirring every minute. Stir HALF the hot cream mixture into the beaten egg yolk. Return all to the 4-cup measure. Micro-cook, uncovered, on 50% of power for 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds. Stir till mixture is smooth. Stir in dry white wine. Transfer the salmon steaks to a serving platter. Spoon the wine sauce atop. Garnish with seedless green grapes, if desired

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Cookie Monster

I saw the article below and it made me laugh. First of all, I love that he says he has switched from butter to margarine (good choice!). Second, the article focuses on men shopping in grocery stores. Ladies, do you take your husbands/boyfriends to the grocery with you when you go? My boyfriend truly believes the four categoies of food are potato chips, dip, cookies and beer. Every time I send him to the store for eggs or milk or something sensible he comes back with the newest "sensation" of potato chips that we've just got to try. He's almost physically incapable of only buying what's on the list.

Enjoy!

Of Men and Groceries
Overheard at the superstore: "No, put that back." I looked for a patient mom dealing with a child who had snatched some forbidden goodie from the shelf, a regular moment in any supermarket.

There was no mother, no kid. There was, however, a wife dealing with a spouse who was "helping" with the shopping. An embarrassed man looked at me, shrugged and put the package of chocolate chunk cookies back in the display.

Some wives have adopted the immutable rule: spouses must not be allowed to participate in the shopping. Of course, that is unfair and unfortunate for it removes the opportunity of enhancing what many men believe is a boring shopping list.

Recent welcome additions to food shopping options in London -- stores like Sunripe, Remark and the Real Canadian Superstores -- have become mandatory destinations for husbands, veritable treasure houses of heretofore unavailable goodies.

Women are practical shoppers, men are not. We gravitate toward the really important stuff in the deli department, ethnic food aisle and, of course, nirvana -- cookies.

Check out the contents of a sensible wife's shopping cart: lots of vegetables, fruits, grain bread and the occasional family treat such as frozen yogurt. Now look at a man's choices: smoked trout, very old cheddar, hot sauce, garlic dills, Mexican salsa and cookies. Of course this man is on his own, he's "helping" by doing the shopping and his wide grin and devil-may-care approach means he's shopping solo.

Couples shopping together agree to split up. No, not that, I mean they go their separate ways when she says, "Honey, I'll get the bread and vegetables. You get the margarine (I once ate butter before my ticker troubles, alas now it's margarine), the eggs and the milk."
Advice to wives: Don't send him on his own to the dairy section. He'll come back with chocolate milk.

In some cultures, men do not do chores such as grocery shopping they believe are traditionally what the missus should do.

That, though, is changing in some regions in the East. Recent reports indicate Asian husbands are challenging traditions and becoming more involved in helping with the food shopping.
In Singapore, it is now noted husbands' involvement includes not just shopping, but influencing what to buy even though in that culture wives are still the principal decision-makers about food. Marketing communicators and advertisers would be wise to portray more husband-like figures in their messages to reflect their more active role in grocery purchasing.

Here follows a joke, or so I was told by a friend I encountered recently at the supermarket. He told me of a husband and wife doing their grocery shopping in an American store. The man picks up a case of beer and sticks in into the shopping cart.

"What do you think you're doing?" asks the wife. "They're on sale, only $10 for 24 cans", he replies. "Put them back. We can't afford it," says the wife and they carry on shopping.

Later the woman puts a $20 jar of face cream into the cart. "Whoa, what do you think you're doing?" he asks. "It's my face cream and it makes me look beautiful." The man replies, "You are already beautiful and 24 cans of beer will make you look even lovelier to me."
Great line, and I think he was allowed to keep the beer.

When in Florida, I've noticed grocery stores have wine and beer sampling, a civilized example of customer service that would be frowned on in Ontario. One supermarket recently threw in free pizza samples and it was reported there was a sharp increase in the number of men volunteering to do the shopping.

I'm told a London wife and mother handed her husband the grocery list and he put it in his pocket unread and headed off to the supermarket. He faithfully selected only the items on the piece of paper and then glanced at the last item, probably something very practical and saw this: "When you see this, you are done shopping -- come home now."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane Ike Reaked Havoc on Houston

Hey guys! Sorry for the MAJOR lack of updates lately. As most of you know, I live in Houston so we've been dealing with Hurricane Ike for the past week or so. I decided to get the heck out of dodge and fled to Austin for the weekend but I'll be heading back to Houston later today. Everyone is safe but Houston's expected to be without power for 2-4 weeks!! Now I know what the cavemen felt like. And, believe you me, living in Houston without air conditioning is a form of punishment I think should be reserved for the worst of the worst. I'll try to post as soon as I can but without power, it's gonna make things ever so slightly difficult. Take care!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Aftermath of Gustav

While I temporarily reside in Houston, TX until my pending move to New York City, I have once again had the unfortunate opportunity to experience the dreaded hurricane season preparation. While Americans around the country were enjoying the Labor Day weekend with barbecues, boat rides and picnics, people in the Gulf Coast region were boarding up houses, stocking up on supplies and even evacuating to other parts of the country.

Houma, LA, the town that Hurricane Gustav hit the hardest, won’t have power or electricity for weeks at the earliest. Citizens of New Orleans waited in line for gas for five to six hours this week as they made the trek back home. There are people who reside in Louisiana that have no idea what condition their homes are in and won’t know for some time now as they aren’t allowed back to their towns until notified.

Once these people are finally able to return home, the cost of damages will be considerable. In addition, with no power, the food in their refrigerators will have gone bad and that will need to be replaced. Many of these people don’t have the money for such astronomical, unplanned costs.

Please help out your fellow Americans and visit DirectRelief.com. This is a reputable organization where you can feel safe and secure donating money to.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mono a Mono

So, I'm pretty sure I should win the "Blogging Slacker of the Year" award. No updates in two weeks is so unlike me...but wait, I have an excuse! Of course I have an excuse you say, people always do. But wait, mine might actually be considered valid. I've got mono. Yep, mono or what some people refer to as the "kissing disease." Unfortunately, I got mine by sharing food with my high school best friend who unknowingly was carrying the virus.

All in all, it hasn't been nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, I'm tired all the time but I love to sleep so that's not so bad. My fever's pretty much gone and I'm living on yummy comfort foods. I'll give you a breakdown of what I ate yesterday:

-Breakfast: low-calorie English muffin: one side topped with margarine and the other side topped with peanut butter (margarine and peanut butter = the best of both worlds!)

Lunch: macaroni and cheese made with skim milk and margarine to cut the calories in half; a salad with low-cal. Ranch dressing and a piece of whole toast topped with margarine

Dinner: chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes (topped with ow fat sour cream and margarine), a dinner roll and side salad.

Did you happen to notice a them in my meals? Perhaps a margarine theme? I'm eating very healthy and incorporating lots of fruits and veggies to help my immune system while still enjoying my favorites. And naturally margarine's going to be a part of this healthy diet too!

Cheers to all and I'm off to take nap.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Burger Ban Bombs in My Book

Trying saying that headline five times quickly!

I thought this news story was rather interesting and I’m curious to know what others think. In light of the childhood obesity epidemic, San Jose, CA, is considering imposing a one-year moratorium on new fast food restaurants in the area, citing the claim that it is the fast-food establishments that are significantly contributing to childhood obesity rates.

However, the California Restaurant Association has different sentiments, “We just feel that banning one type of restaurant . . . is not the answer to a healthy California," said Lara Diaz Dunbar, the association spokeswoman.

I tend to agree. Banning one kind of food will not only do absolutely nothing to solve the problem, it will make children only want more of this mysterious, forbidden type of food. Instead, and of course this is only my opinion, we should focus on teaching kids to eat in moderation and incorporate all foods into a healthy eating plan.

Anyways, I just thought this was an unusual and controversial approach to solve our “weighty” problems here in the States. What do you think?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Glazed" Out of Sight

I don't know what it is about the word "glaze" that conjurs up memories from my childhood. Maybe it was the warm cinnamon rolls "glazed" with frosting and fresh out of the oven after school. Or, my grandmother's infamous raisin bread "glazed" with a cinnamon sauce she rbought every holiday. Whatever it is, if you glaze it, I will be waiting with a hungry stomach, licking my lips. Here's a recipe for Glazed Lemon Bread that's sure to satisfy.

Ingredients:
For the bread:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted stick margarine

For the glaze:
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar

Directions:
To prepare bread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, salt, sugar, lemon zest and baking powder in a bowl. Add milk, eggs and butter and stir until batter is well blended. Coat a 9-by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, then pour in the batter. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not remove the bread from the pan.
To prepare glaze: While the bread is baking, stir the lemon juice and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved.

After removing the bread from the oven, use a toothpick to poke holes in the top of the bread while it's still hot. Baste top with glaze several times. Allow time between basting for glaze to set. This will take about 1 hour.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pura Vida en Costa Rica!

Wow, it feels like it's been ages since I last blogged! I just got back from Costa Rica yesterday after a weeklong vacation and I've gotta say, I wish I was still there! The people of Costa Rica are wonderful - very welcoming, open to new cultures and more than happy to help in any way possible. Plus, they helped me brush up on my basic Spanish, which really need some work!

The motto for the country of Costa Rica is "Pura Vida." Translated literally in Spanish it means "pure life" but Costa Ricans use it to mean anything from hello to thank you to your welcome to long time, no see. It's their favorite phrase and it represents the notion of not worrying about the small stuff and enjoying life everyday. They love their lives' because they realize that's really all one has.

So, pura vida to all!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Much Needed Comfort Food

With my upcoming move to the Big Apple, I've been relying heavily on comfort foods lately. Think cheese, chocolate and lots of carbs. Sure, my jeans might be getting tighter as I type this but the food is certainly helping calm any nerves I may have about making such a big decision. Enjoy!


CONFETTI MAC'N CHEESE
Instructions:
Yield: 6 servings
¼
cups
Chopped onion
¼
cups
Chopped green pepper
2 tablespoon Margarine
1 lb Pasteurized process cheese
½ cups Milk
2 cups (7 oz) elbow macaroni

Saute vegetables in margarine until tender. Reduce heat to low. Add process cheese spread and milk; stir until process cheese spread is melted. Stir in macaroni. Spoon into 2 quart casserole. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Big Move

Big news on the home (and work) front here: I’m moving to New York City! The move is actually a long time coming and I hate to keep secrets from dear readers but I didn’t want to jinx this move by announcing it before it really happens.

I’ll still be working for the same company and supporting the benefits of margarine as part of a heart healthy lifestyle. However, now I’ll be able to fill you in on all the happenings of the big city.

More details to come on Friday – I’m insane with all of the packing and moving arrangements right now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hamburgers Diane

During the summer there’s nothing better than a juicy burger. These burgers are great and if you want to make this even leaner, try using ground turkey. I made these last night (with the ground turkey) and they were a hit with my roommates. Pair with some low-fat oven-roasted potatoes and a mixed green salad and you’re good to go. Or make it low-carb by nixing the bun and wrapping your burger in lettuce.

Hamburgers Diane
Instructions:

Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoon Margarine Or Butter
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
¼ teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic; Minced
1 Onion; Sliced, Small
1 cups Fresh Mushrooms; *
1 lb Lean Ground Chuck
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Pepper
* Mushrooms should be washed, trimmed and sliced.

Melt the margarine in a large skillet. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, onion, and mushrooms. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Mix the meat, salt and pepper together. Shape the mixture into 4 patties, each about ¾-inch thick. Push mushroom-onion mixture to the side of the skillet. Cook the patties in the same skillet over medium-high heat, turning once, to the desired doneness, about 10 minutes. Serve with the mushroom-onion mixture spooned over the patties.

Your Hamburgers Diane is ready. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Debunking Popular Margarine Myths

I'm absolutely loving this blog's post, in which many of the popular "margarine myths" are debunked. Major kudos!! Here's the majority of the post: To read the entire thing click here.

Recently I got tons of emails titled "Butter or Margarine- your choice". It's email stating about the bad stuffs about margarine which intends to convince us about the evils of margarine. The email neither cite any sources nor does it include proofs for its claims. I was very doubtful and disturbed by the claims made so I went to do some googling and guess what I found? There was this article from snopes.com, titled "The Butter Truth". In this article, it explains that some information presented by the email are valid but some are simply meaningless; this destroys the credibility of the "Butter or Margarine- your choice" email.

Email Claims: Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC.
These types of statements (even if they were true) are essentially meaningless. Many disparate substances share similar chemical properties, but even the slightest variation in molecular structure can make a world of difference in the qualities of those substances. [1]
Email Claims: Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.
Contrary to the claim, margarine was not invented as a turkey fattener. It was formulated in 1869 by Hippolyte Mège Mouriès of France in response to Napoleon III's offering of a prize to whoever could succeed at producing a viable low-cost substitute for butter. Mège Mouriès' concoction, which he dubbed oleomargarine, was achieved by adding salty water, milk, and margaric acid to softened beef fat. By the turn of the century, the beef fat in the original recipe had been replaced by vegetable oils. [1]

Email Claims: Margarine contains very high trans fatty acids.
Since the issuance of warnings and regulations about trans fats in the last few years, many margarine producers have reformulated their products. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, for example, now (in 2006) bears a notice on its label proclaiming "NO TRANS FAT," and the amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat per serving has dropped from 4.5g each to 4g (polyunsaturated) and 2g (monounsaturated) per serving. [1]

When margarine was first introduced to the marketplace, it was loaded with trans fat. The trans fats were created through hydrogenation – the very process used to solidify liquid vegetable oil into a spread. Just like saturated fats, trans fats increase LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and lower HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol). In recent years, food manufacturers and the general public began to realize the negative health effects of trans fats. As a result, manufacturers have created non-hydrogenated margarine, which is now widely available. Non-hydrogenated margarine contains no trans fat, and it's softer than the first-generation margarine stick. Instead of hydrogenating liquid vegetable oil, manufacturers now add a tiny amount of modified palm and palm kernel oil to enhance the spreadability of margarine, creating a soft margarine that's trans fatty acid free. [2]

The following table gives us an idea of recommended calories and fat we should take daily and of course, a comparison between butter and margarine. Take note that stick margarine is the first generation margarine (the not so good one).

Judging from the numerical values, it seems like the new margarine is better in terms of less cholesterol but I prefer how the verdict was done on this website. It's a good piece of advice. Here's a print screen of the verdict.

From what I have learnt, whether it's butter or margarine, we just have to take things in moderation. Minimize saturated fats and trans fats intake. That should be sufficient.
Lastly before I end this post, I would like to remind others that what you get from email isn't always the truth, it might be partially correct or in fact entirely wrong. Do more readings and do some thinking on the information you get. Blindly taking in information without learning the truth gets you nowhere. Try not to mislead others by sending email containing hoax. Sometimes a simple Google search can clear up an urban legend. The following is the full email I hate I received.

p/s: So much for the chinese proverb, share something of VALUE with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others. Oh, I forgot to mention it's OK to eat margarine.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Staying Slim During 4th of July

Happy almost 4th of July! I hope everyone's got something fun planned for this weekend. My big problem on holiday weekends is always the extra calories I consume between the hot dogs, hamburgers, desserts and refreshing beverages. Here are a few helpful tips to keep your holiday weekend light without skimping on fun!

1. Use leaner cuts of meat, ground turkey or wild Pacific salmon.
2. Cut the bread. Lettuce wrap your burgers instead.
3. Grill vegetables or vegetable kabobs
4. Use mustard instead of mayonnaise.
5. Prepare fresh green salads and fruit salad instead of macaroni salad, creamy coleslaw, and potato salad.
6. Eat your corn on the cob or baked potato plain. Enjoy their natural flavors.
7. Put out a veggie tray and use mashed up avocado for dipping instead of ranch dressing.
8. Drink water, diet soda, low-calorie flavored waters or unsweetened iced tea instead of high calorie drinks.
9. Eat until you are satisfied and not over full. The 4th of July is a social experience, not a food orgy.
10. Add fun activities into the mix. Think sack race, three legged race, and balloon toss. These activities are an excellent way to burn calories while having fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pizza Grilled Cheese

This recipe is great for kids of all ages! Who doesn’t love a new twist on old favorite?

1 tsp margarine
2 tsp pizza sauce
2 tbsp low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Your favorite pizza toppings (four thin pepperoni slices, 1 sliced mushroom, 1/4 green pepper)
Lightly spread margarine on one side of each slice of bread.

Place one slice margarine side down in a frying pan over medium heat.
Add pizza sauce, shredded cheese and all your favourite toppings, and cover with the second slice of bread, margarine side up.
Flip and lightly brown.
Once cheese is melted, remove from heat, slice in half and enjoy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Top Five Best Things About Summer

To follow up my Negative Nancy post about the things I hate most the summer, I’m bringing you my top five favorite things about this season.

***Flips Flops – who doesn’t love the fact that when the weather’s warm you can slide on a pair of cheap flip flops with a cute dress and you’re ready to go. No painful high heels or stuffy boots, just open freedom of the feet.

***Longer Days – I’m definitely one of those people that experiences the symptoms of Season Affective Disorder (SAD). As the days get colder and darker, so does my mood. That is why I love the long summer days when the sun stays out longer and lifts my mood!

***Barbecues – this season is a great time to get a big group of friends and family together for a cookout. Grab some hot dogs, burgers, bun and beer and you’ve got a great party in the making

***Beach time – I love the ocean and although I live four hours away from the closest beach I always make it a point to make at least two road trips every summer to beaches in Charleston, Hilton Head, St. Simon, etc. You just can’t beat the beach experience.

***Flowers – Take a walk around your neighborhood and enjoy all of the fresh greenery and flowers in bloom. The air even smells different during the summer because of all the delicious flowers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues

Is this summer just flying by or is it just me? It’s already the middle of June! It’s Tuesday and I’m a little crabby so I’ve decided to compile a list of things related to summer and that agitate me. I don’t mean to be Negative Nancy but I’ve got to get this off my chest:


***Trying to drive after my car sits in the sun all day at work. How am I supposed to navigate the wheel when I can’t even touch it?

***My shirt being permanently stuck to my back. Now that’s hot I tell you.

***People (myself included) constantly saying, “Wow, it’s hot today.” Duh, it’s summer.

***The number of magazines with headlines touting, “Look great in that bikini!” or “Lose ten pounds in ten days for summer.”

***The fact that children are not in school yet I still have to go to work.

So there’s my top five things I hate about summer. That being said, this is my favorite time of year. I’ll follow up with my top five favorite things about the season later this week!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ohh, Those Silly Brits

I thought the following blog post was rather amusing and since it relates to margarine, I thought it was appropriate to post:

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has been accused of endorsing unhealthy food.
The Food Commission has said the monarch's use of the Royal Arms on sugar, chocolate, margarine and fizzy drinks packaging is "inappropriate".

Food magazine, published by the commission, says the queen should not be contradicting the government's message of healthy eating. It read: "Royal patronage can be a valuable marketing tool for those companies which are lucky enough to get it.

"Although foods and drinks with poor nutritional profiles are an inevitable part of our everyday diet, it is questionable whether the queen should be granting her warrant, and the status associated with royalty, to such products.

"This is especially relevant when her own government is actively seeking to reduce consumption of such foods." But a Buckingham Palace spokesman said Royal Warrants were awarded to companies and not individual products.

He said: "Royal Warrants are a mark of recognition that a trade organisation has supplied the Royal household to its satisfaction. It doesn't necessarily mean that that particular product [bearing the coat of arms] has been used by the queen."

My response: Ironic that the British government should try to censor royalty since it was the Emperor Napoleon that offered a prize for anyone who could develop a substitute for butter. Enter Frenchman, Hippolyte Mège-Mouriez, who in 1830 who captured the prize with a creation made from natural vegetable oils. Because it had a rich pearl-like consistency, he named it after the Greek word for pearl, margarites. It came to be known as margarine. Today's healthful soft margarines -- less than 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, no cholesterol and a great source of polyunsaturates and Vitamin are nothing like the margarine of 1830. But butter is still butter -- 7 grams of saturated fat and 30 milligrams of cholesterol. Makes you wonder, 'What was the British Food Commission thinking?'

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Eat This, Not That" Makes Whack Attack on Margarine

If you haven’t read it, you need to check out one of my favorite new books on the market, Eat This, Not That. The basic premise of the book shows what foods to avoid while dining at popular fast food places and chain restaurants as well some very low-calorie healthy, options that just might surprise you.

The book not only teaches people how to be on the lookout for meals that sounds healthy but pack hidden calories, but also reinforces that notion that it is possible to eat healthy no matter where you are just by making the correct choices.

However, I have a bone to pick with the author, David Zinczenko. On the Men’s Health Web site, he lists 14 “Health foods that aren’t!” Chicken Caesar salads, turkey burgers and granola bars all make his list of foods that people trying to lose weight should avoid. Margarine is also number 14 and he states:

“In their haste to remove saturated fat from butter, margarine makers created a monster—a soft, spreadable sludge loaded with trans-fats, a dangerous lipid with more concerning links to heart disease than saturated fat. Stick with the real stuff, but pick up whipped butter from brands like Land O’ Lakes instead; by whipping air into the butter, manufacturers decrease the caloric density of a tablespoon of butter, plus it makes for easier spreading.”


Apparently Mr. Zinczenko is completely unaware of the fact that you won’t find any soft or liquid margarine that contain trans fat, and trans fat levels of stick margarines have been greatly reduced. Using new technologies, margarine manufacturers have met the challenge and eliminated or reduced trans fat in margarine products, making a good product even better. In fact, the margarine industry has led the food industry in removing trans fat content from its products. Soft, liquid and spray margarine products are now in sync with the recommendations included in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid food guidance system. Soft margarine products were elevated in their importance in that they “help meet essential fatty acid needs and also contribute toward Vitamin E needs” according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report.

Okay I’m going to get off my high horse right now. I’ve said my piece and now it’s time for a much needed nap. All this margarine misinformation is making me tired!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Weight Loss Tips

It’s been looming on my calendar (and my mind) for months now. At first, just as a random, fleeting thought I could brush aside. Then, the dreaded event began to wheedle its way into my mind at the most inopportune times – at fast food joints, in the shopping mall, even while I was sitting on the couch watching TV. It’s gotten so close now that I even have nightmares about it. What is this dreaded event you ask? Bathing suit season. AHHHHH!!!!

Okay, sure, I’m being a little dramatic here but let’s face the facts. As we age, our metabolisms’ slow down and it’s much more difficult to keep the weight off. In my early twenties I could binge eat all day and throw on a bikini without even thinking about it. Now, I eat a carrot and gain five pounds. If you’re worried about bathing season, here are some tips from BlueSuitMom.com to help cut calories and feel great this season!

Stock Up For the Summer. Chocolate bars and chips are fine once in a while but they won't give you the nutritional value you need. To really boost your health, make sure you load up on nutrient-dense snacks that you can easily grab and go. A good way of doing this is to prep your snacks in small plastic bags or containers so that you have them when you want them.

Here are a couple ideas that will stir up your creativity.

Chunks of fruit and veggies
Trail mix of dry cereal
Nuts, dried fruit, and a few chocolate chips
Whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter
Energy bar cut into bite-sized pieces
Popcorn or cookies in small portions
Munch On This When summer hits, the grocery stores are overflowing with mouth watering greens, fruits and vegetables - which by the way are great for amazing salads.

When we think "salads" our automatic thought is leafy green lettuce with tomatoes and the rest of the boring ingredients. But salads don't always have to be like that, you can add, watercress, spinach, mixed greens, grapes, avocados, peaches, asparagus, grape tomatoes, melons, and strawberries for a refreshing change.

And if you wanted to add a little protein to your meal try a little grilled chicken, tuna, beans, chickpeas, nuts, or cheese. Mix it up a bit. Use some leftovers from the fridge, it's simple, healthy, and you don't have to plan ahead. Just get your butt to the grocery store!

Don't Let the Heat Keep You Down. Don't be couch potato this summer. If you want this to be a healthy summer limit your TV and computer time to less than two hours a day. What are you going to do with the rest of your time? Get outside. Become a healthy role model for your family.

There are lots of great outdoor activities to try or you could even learn how to play a new sport. I actually have a good friend whose learning to play golf it's something out of her element but I know she's going to have fun and learn something new, but on top of all those benefits she's being active which is what we're aiming for. So go out there and try some belly dancing, horse back riding or something different that you wouldn't normally do.

Think outside the box!

Glug, Glug. One of the most important aspects to being healthy and staying active in the summer is hydration. Depending on the temperature, humidity, and the type of activity, you might not realize how much you're sweating.

Try to drink about two cups of water two hours before your activity, during your activity drink about 4-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes and replace the lost fluid after your activity as well.

Water is the best for most outdoor activities as well as for weight loss. If your exercise lasts more than an hour, either watered down fruit juice or a sport drink will provide carbohydrates for energy plus minerals to replace lost electrolytes that you lose when you sweat.

Enjoy a Nap. Who doesn't love a midday nap? Rest your back out on a hammock or lawn chair. Research shows that taking a nap may lower your risk of heart disease. Being able to take afternoon naps can help lower your stress levels, which helps you maintain your heart health.

There was actually a study in Greece that found that taking naps at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes reduced risk of death from heart disease by one-third.

Become a Morning Exerciser. Nobody likes waking up in the morning to exercise…especially in the winter. But the summer is a little different. You get that inviting morning air feeling that you don't get in the winter.

The weather is great because it's not too hot and not too cold. The birds are chirping and everything seems to just slow down. Exercising in the morning is a healthy way to lose weight, plus you'll beat the heat. Try to have some self-discipline and treat your morning exercise as an important meeting, I guarantee that once you get started you'll feel 1000 times better

Now here’s a tip from me, Emma: Try using margarine on your morning toast or even in your recipes. Margarine is lower in calories than butter, lower in saturated fats and has no cholesterol!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ice Cream Cookie Sammies

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! I’m going to advocate a switch to the four-day work week all the time, not just for special occasions. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. We made these ice cream sandwich es over the weekend and they’re great after a long day out in the sun. If you want to make a low-fat version use Breyer’s slow-churned ice cream and low fat cookies. I used cookies and cream ice cream for sandwiches but you can whatever flavor you like.

Chill-Out Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Instructions:
Yield: 15 Sandwiches
¼ cups Margarine
¼ cups Vegetable shortening
½ cups Packed brown sugar
¼ cups Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 cups All-purpose flour
½ teaspoon Baking soda
3 cups Rice Chex cereal, crushed to
1½ cups
1/3 cups Miniature semi-sweet candy
Coated chocolate pieces
1 qt any flavor ice cream, slightly softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Beat margarine, shortening and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and baking soda; mix well. Stir in cereal and chocolate pieces.

Using rounded tablespoon, shape dough in 1¼ inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand one minute before removing to racks to cool.

When cookies are completely cool, place ¼ cup ice cream on a cookie and spread to edge. Top with second cookie. Store in airtight container in freezer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I don't know about you guys but wow, am I glad it's the weekend! And it's not even just a regular it's a four day weekend!!! I hope that everybody has got lots of fun plans for the weekend. I'll be heading up to Asheville, NC for a bridal party extravaganza and some good old time in the mountains.

Everyone please be safe and if you're going to be drinking, please find a designated driver.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Exercise Tips for People with Heart Disease

If you’ve got heart disease it’s likely your doctor has already told you about the importance of exercise. However, you certainly don’t want to overexert yourself. Here are some tips from WebMD on effective yet safe strategies to keep in mind when you exercise.

Be sure any exercise is paced and balanced with rest.

Avoid encouraging isometric exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups. Isometric exercises involve straining muscles against other muscles or an immovable object.

Don't let the patient exercise outdoors when it is too cold, hot, or humid. High humidity may cause you to tire more quickly; extreme temperatures can interfere with circulation, make breathing difficult, and cause chest pain. Better choices are indoor activities such as mall walking.
Make sure your loved one stays hydrated. It is important to drink water even before you feel thirsty, especially on hot days.

Extremely hot and cold showers or sauna baths should be avoided after exercise. These extreme temperatures increase the workload on your heart.

Have your loved one steer clear of exercise in hilly areas. If he must walk in steep areas, ask him to slow down when going uphill to avoid working too hard. Have him monitor his heart rate closely.

If the patient's exercise program has been interrupted for a few days (for example, due to illness, vacation, or bad weather), ease him back into his routine. He should start with a reduced level of activity, and gradually increase it until he's back where he started.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Calling All Foodies

I recently found out about a really cool foodie Web site that you simply must check out: www.FoodBuzz.com. According to the Web site it is, “the first-ever community site devoted exclusively to food and dining content—an unparalleled resource for searching, surfing and sharing with fellow foodies everywhere.” I will serve as a Featured Publisher (you all know how much I love my food!), which is an honor because there are so many great food blogs on this Web site.

My favorite thing about this site? I often get the urge to dine out somewhere different instead of doing the same ole, same ole? I love the food in Atlanta but I must admit, I usually stick to my favorite places and rarely venture out. It’s part out of laziness and part out of the hatred of paying for bad food or worse, bad service. Problem solved!

At FoodBuzz.com, you can find people living in your city and check out what their favorite restaurants in your city are. And remember, these people are foodies so food is their passion and they’re not likely to steer you wrong. You can also get lots of yummy recipes and meet some really cool new people.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My New York Minute

I’m back!! Did you miss me? Of course you did.

The trip to NYC was absolutely amazing, just as expected. I must say though, New Yorkers really do a lot of walking! Even with all of the delicious goodies I was eating such as pizza, Chinese food, pastries, etc. I still don’t think I gained my usual five-pound vacation weight.

If any of you have not yet been I’d like to take this blog entry to encourage you to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, better known as MoMA, in New York. This is by far on of the most stunning museums I have ever been to. The work of artists such as Salvador Dalí and Vincent Gogh are displayed everywhere and some of the exhibits take up an entire wall – it is astounding. Really, if you haven’t been, you must go.

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. I’ve got a super yummy recipe (made with my super yummy margarine!) on tap for later this week so be sure to tune in.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Leaving for Vacation!

Hello my blogger friends! I am headed to New York for a week for a MUCH needed vacation. I will miss all of you while I'm gone but promise me you will do your best to live heart healthy (including my mainstay, margarine!) in my abscence.

I will have tons of news on my vacation as well as some recent heart healthy advice upon my return. Adios amigos!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Chicken and Lime Fajitas

Cinco de Mayo is next Monday and being born in Texas, this holiday is huge in my family! I can remember being younger and watching my parents dust off the chip and salsa platters, margarita glasses, sombreros and tortilla warmers. We always had a huge party in our backyard where everyone gathered to munch one chile con queso, fajitas and icy frozen margaritas.
Here’s a yummy chicken and lime fajita recipe that is heart healthy and has a little kick. Happy early Cinco de Mayo!!

Total Time: 45 min
Olive Oil
1 T margarine
2-3 lbs bonesless, skinless chicken, cut into strips
1 large onion, cut into strips
1 red pepper, julienned
1 yellow pepper, julienned
2 T. chopped garlic
2 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
Seasoned Salt
Garlic
Pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. dried clinatro
1/2 lime
6 roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
Flour Tortillas
Garnishes: Sliced Jalepeno, Sliced black olives, shredded mexican flavor cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips

1. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in large skillet Add margarine When margarine melts add chicken, onion, peppers, garlic, and seasonings (except lime).
2. When chicken is almost done, add tomatoes and squeeze lime over all.
3. Cook about 10 minutes longer on low. Serve with Spanish Rice and garnishes.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trans Fat Trivia

Friday is finally here! This weather is certainly making it difficult for me to motivate myself during the week. I hope everyone gets to spend some time outdoors and enjoy the season this weekend.

Here's an informative true or false quiz about trans fats, which appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Measure your fat grams of knowledge
Here's a quiz to test yourself on trans fat.
True or false?

1. Trans fat is also known as trans fatty acid.

2. Trans fat behaves like saturated fat in the body by raising bad cholesterol.

3. Trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil.

4. The most common places you will find trans fats is in solid vegetable shortening, some margarines, crackers, cookies and snack foods.

5. The FDA estimates that the average daily intake of trans fat in the U.S. is about 4 grams.

6. Trans fat can occur naturally in some animal products such as butter, milk products, cheese, beef and lamb.

7. The USDA recommends choosing vegetable oils (except coconut and palm kernel oils) and soft margarines (liquid, tub or spray) when possible because the combined amount of saturated and trans fats is lower than the amount in solid shortenings, hard margarines and animal fats.

8. The USDA allows a manufacturer to list 0 grams of trans fat per serving if the product has less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving.

9. It is healthier to eat butter instead of margarine in order to avoid trans fat.

Answers: 1. True; 2. True; 3. True; 4. True; 5.False. Americans eat about 5.8 grams daily. 6. True; 7. True; 8. True; 9. False. The combined amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol for butter is usually higher than margarine even if the margarine contains more trans fat than butter.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, www.cfsan.fda.gov

Monday, April 21, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This recipe doesn’t utilize my all-time favorite ingredient, margarine, but it is absolutely delicious just the same! It’s quick, easy and is very addictive. Enjoy!

8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup red hot sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (or use the already made grilled chicken breast strips)
1/2 cup diced celery

Heat oven to 350*
Place cream cheese in pie plate microwave 1 minute to soften Whisk in salad dressing, hot sauce & blue cheese crumbles until smooth.
Stir in chicken & celery

Bake 20 minutes and serve with tortilla chips

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Counting Sheep

I have been dealing with a serious bout of insomnia lately so last night I decided to do a little research into the matter. Below is some information from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) that you might find useful. I thought it was really interesting that women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. Like we don't already have enough to deal with!

What is insomnia?
Insomnia is too little or poor-quality sleep caused by one or more of the following:

Trouble falling asleep
Waking up a lot during the night with trouble returning to sleep
Waking up too early in the morning
Having un-refreshing sleep (not feeling well rested), even after sleeping 7 to 8 hours at night
Insomnia can cause problems during the day, such as excessive sleepiness, fatigue, trouble thinking clearly or staying focused, or feeling depressed or irritable. It is not defined by the number of hours you sleep every night. Although the amount of sleep a person needs varies, most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night.

What are the different types of insomnia and what causes them?
Insomnia can be:
Transient (short term) insomnia lasts from a single night to a few weeks.
Intermittent (on and off) insomnia is short term, which happens from time to time.
Chronic (on-going) insomnia occurs at least 3 nights a week over a month or more.
Chronic insomnia is either primary or secondary:
Primary insomnia is not related to any other health problem.
Secondary insomnia can be caused by a medical condition (such as cancer, asthma, or arthritis), drugs, stress or a mental health problem (such as depression), or a poor sleep environment (such as too much light or noise, or a bed partner who snores).

Do women suffer from insomnia more than men?
Women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. Some research suggests that certain social factors, such as being unemployed or divorced, are related to poor sleep and increase the risk of insomnia in women. Also, insomnia tends to increase with age.
Sometimes perimenopausal (the time leading up to menopause) women have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep; hot flashes and night sweats often can disturb sleep. Pregnancy also can affect how well a woman sleeps.

How is insomnia diagnosed?
If you think you have insomnia, talk to your doctor. It might be helpful to complete a sleep diary for a week or two, noting your sleep patterns, your daily routine, and how you feel during the day. Discuss the results of your sleep diary with your doctor. Your doctor may do a physical exam and take a medical history and sleep history. Your doctor may also want to talk to your bed partner to ask how much and how well you are sleeping. In some cases, you may be referred to a sleep center for special tests.

How is insomnia treated?
If insomnia is caused by a short-term change in the sleep/wake schedule, as with jet lag, your sleep schedule may return to normal on its own.
If your insomnia makes it hard for you to function during the day, talk to your doctor.


Treatment for chronic insomnia includes:
Finding and treating any medical conditions or mental health problems.
Looking for routines or behaviors, like drinking alcohol at night, that may lead to the insomnia or make it worse, and stopping (or reducing) them.
Possibly using sleeping pills, although controversy surrounds the long-term use of sleeping pills. You should talk to your doctor about the risks and side-effects.
Trying one or more methods to improve sleep, such as relaxation therapy, sleep restriction therapy, and reconditioning.
Relaxation Therapy. This type of therapy aims to reduce stress and body tension. As a result, your mind is able to stop "racing," the muscles can relax, and restful sleep can occur.
Sleep Restriction. Some women suffering from insomnia spend too much time in bed trying to fall asleep. They may be helped by a sleep restriction program under the guidance of their doctor. The goal is to sleep continuously and get out of bed at the desired wake time. This treatment involves, for example, going to bed later or getting up earlier and slowly increasing the amount of time in bed until the person is able to sleep normally throughout the night.
Reconditioning. This means using your bed only at bedtime when sleepy or for sex. Avoid other activities in your bed, such as reading or watching TV. Over time, your body will relate bed and bedtime with sleep.

What can I do to sleep better?
Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Do not take naps after 3 p.m.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day or at night.
Get regular exercise. Exercise during the day--make sure you exercise at least 5 to 6 hours before bedtime.
Make sure you eat dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a "white noise" machine to cover up the sounds.
Follow a routine to help relax and wind down before sleep, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath.
If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes or don't feel drowsy, get up and read or do something that is not too active until you feel sleepy. Then try going back to bed.
If you lay awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed.
Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
See your doctor if you think that you have insomnia or another sleep problem.


For more information on insomnia, call the National Women's Health Information Center at 1-800-994-9662 or contact the following organizations:

National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
NHLBI Health Information Center
Phone Number(s): (301) 592-8573
Internet Address: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sleep

American Insomnia Association
Phone Number(s): (708) 492-0930
Internet Address: http://www.americaninsomniaassociation.org/

National Sleep Foundation
Phone Number(s): (202) 347-3471
Internet Address: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Summer is just around the corner and nothing reminds me of summer like some delicious barbecue chicken. Pair this recipe with some grilled veggies or a fresh vegetable salad and maybe a baked potato topped with margarine and low-fat sour cream and you’ve got a low-calorie, heart healthy meal in a jiffy!


Jan's Barbecued Chicken


Ingredients:
Chicken Parts, Breast or legs or thighs skinned.
1 cup margarine liquid type
1/4 cup dill cut up fresh or 2 tbsp dill
2 tbsp garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper,very little

Directions:
Start your barbecue and cook the chicken parts as you would normally do. Last ten minutes of cooking add the melted margarine, salt and pepper; cayenne pepper; dill an minced garlic. Brush margarine mixture on chicken every 10 minutes - watch so chicken doesn't burn.
This is a great sauce for the chicken as well as corn on the cob and also baked potatoes. The dill is different and very tasty. The cayenne gives a bite of spice.

Number of Servings: 6

This recipe is courtesy of Jan Toomey, on http://www.margarine.org.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Striving for Good Health

Happy Friday everybody! My post today is something a little out of the ordinary and doesn’t focus so much on heart disease or heart health but it’s just as important.

I read about this little girl’s story here and it broke my heart. She’s weathered an incredibly rough storm and she’s far from in the clear. I’ve never met her or anyone in her family but I can only wish them the best. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Favorite Cheesecake Squares

Words cannot even begin to express my love for cheesecake. I could write a small novel on all of its wonderful qualities. Every time I have a serious break up, bad day at work or really any sort of stress in my life, the first thing I turn to is cheesecake. It’s my source for relief and tranquility. In fact, I'm going to create a category on my blog dedicated solely to cheesecake. These scrumptious cheesecake squares are sure to be a big hit.

Favorite Cheesecake Squares

Instructions:
Yield: 16 servings

¼ cups Margarine
1/3 cups Packed Brown Sugar
1 cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour
½ cups Chopped Walnuts
8 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
¼ cups Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Large Egg
¾ cups M&M Candies*

*NOTE: You can use any type of milk chocolate candies in place of the M&Ms.

Beat margarine and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour and walnuts, mix well. Reserve ½ cup crumb mixture; press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. 10 mins. Combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add egg, mix well. Layer ½ cup candy over crust; top with cream cheese mixture. Combine remaining candy, chopped, and reserved crumb mixture; mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture over cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F., 20 minutes. Cool and cut in to 16 equal squares.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Busting Common Diet Myths

This article, which appeared in the March 5th edition of the Hampton, Virginia Daily Press, does a great job dispelling popular diet myths such as the notion that pregnant women need to eat for two, red meat is always bad and butter is better than margarine.

Eating well, not to mention losing weight, is hard enough without bad information getting in the way.

Unfortunately, a huge number of diet myths are lurking in people's minds, dietitians say. Here are 10 falsehoods to throw out with the trans fats:

1. All fats are bad. Nope — the body actually needs fat to absorb nutrients from food, transmit nerve signals and keep cell structures strong. The goal is to replace unhealthy saturated and trans fats often found in commercially packaged and fried foods with "good" fats such as those found in nuts, avocado, salmon and certain oils (including olive, canola, corn and sunflower). Even then, people should spend more time thinking about portion control than "bad" fats, says Gale Pearson, a registered dietitian in Newport News. "It's not the food's fault!" Pearson says. "It is the amount of the food that a person chooses to eat."

2. Brown is always best. The low-carb craze helped fuel the idea that all refined "white" foods are fattening and all "brown" foods are natural and healthy. While whole-grain foods are good choices, the truth is more complex, says Gloria Tsang, a registered dietitian and founder of a nationally-known online nutrition site (www.healthcastle.com). Brown eggs, for example, aren't any better nutritionally than white eggs. Ditto for many brown breads without the words "whole-wheat" or "whole-grain" listed first on their ingredient list. And sugar, molasses and honey are virtually identical to white sugar in terms of calories. "Many people will buy a packaged food based on the type of sweetener," Tsang says. "It's better to choose a product that has less of whatever sweetener is on the ingredient list."

3. Calcium is the only key to strong bones. Calcium is very important, but so are other nutrients. Two prime examples are vitamin D (found in fortified dairy products and cereals) and vitamin K (found in many greens and seafood), which help the body absorb calcium and build bone. Exercise matters, too, especially weight-bearing activities such as walking and strength training. "Stress on the bones is needed to stimulate them to take up calcium from the diet," says Suzanne Barnes, a registered dietitian and certified diabetic educator at the Bon Secours Heart Institute in Portsmouth.

4. Skipping meals helps people cut calories. In fact, studies have shown that temporary fasters take in more calories over the course of a day, Tsang says. When the body thinks it is starving, metabolism slows and blood sugar levels dive, making people hungrier than usual at their next meal or snack. Tsang recommends eating based on hunger signals alone. "That's better than coming up with a magic number of meals or snacks for a day," she says. As for people who really do cut calories and exercise regularly but can't lose weight, they should see a doctor to check for an underlying health issue such as insulin resistance, says Anita Pozin, a personal trainer in Newport News.

5. Cutting salt is the only way to lower blood pressure. You do want to eat less salt (first step: get rid of the salt shaker), but you can help prevent and control high blood pressure with a diet high in fruits and vegetables, unsaturated oils and proteins from healthy foods such as chicken or fish. Exercising, limiting alcohol intake and losing extra pounds are other important steps.

6. High-protein diet = big muscles. "If this were true, almost everyone would look like The Incredible Hulk," Pearson says. Many people actually eat more protein than nutritionists recommend, especially those who pile on protein powders and shakes. "It's not the protein that builds muscle, but resistance training and a healthy diet," Pearson says.

7. Red meat is always bad. Although poultry is naturally lower in saturated fat, the way meat is cooked tends to be more important than the type of meat, Tsang says. A piece of chicken fried with its skin still on, for example, is likely to have more fat and calories than a steak trimmed of fat and grilled. People who enjoy red meat should go for leaner cuts such as top round roast or pork tenderloin.

8. Sugar causes diabetes. It's important for people with diabetes to control their sugar and carbohydrate intake, but sugar doesn't bring on the chronic disease. The major culprits are too many calories (of any kind), obesity and a lack of exercise.

9. Butter is healthier than margarine. Butter has more saturated fat — about 21/2 grams per pat and 7 grams per tablespoon — than many people realize. And contrary to popular opinion, most margarine doesn't have any trans fat but contains a mix of unsaturated oils and smaller amounts of saturated fats, Barnes says. In general, liquid or tub margarines are better than stick forms.

10. Pregnant women need to eat for two. Sad to say, most mothers-to-be only need about 100 additional calories early in their pregnancy — think a banana or a small container of yogurt — and about 300 calories extra toward the end of their pregnancy, Tsang says. She does recommend following cravings, even if they point toward fattening foods such as ice cream, but to practice serious portion control. For example, one serving of ice cream is usually about half a cup, much less than what most people eat in a sitting.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why the Easter Bunny Brings Eggs

Why the Easter Bunny Brings Eggs


10. Big tax write-off.


9. Who ever heard of Easter Bricks?


8. Consider all of the varieties: scrambled, over easy, hard boiled.


7. He gets a good deal from the local chickens.


6. Secret plan to eliminate human race by cholesterol overdose.


5. Pressure from the Egg Marketing Board.


4. Because if it brought bottle rockets it would be the Independence Bunny.


3. Would you want to hunt for waffles?


2. He thinks guys should get chicks at least once a year.


1. Because the Energizer rabbit got the good job.



Happy Easter everybody!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Don't Let Stress Get You Down

Stress – it’s an unavoidable fact of life. And while there’s not much you can do to remove stress in your life, there is something you can do about the way you handle stress.

Remember, stress can lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke or cancer. The Harvard Healthbeat offers the following advice:

Sometimes just thinking about embarking on a program of stress control can be stressful. Rather than freeze in your tracks, start small. Pick just one stumbling block or source of stress in your life, and see if these suggestions work for you.

Often angry or irritated? Consider the weight of cognitive distortions. Are you magnifying a problem or leaping to negative conclusions without checking to see if they have any foundation in fact? Take the time to stop, breathe, reflect, and choose.

Unsure of your ability to do something? Don’t try to go it alone. If the problem is work, talk to a co-worker or supportive boss. Write down other ways that you might get the answers or skills you need. Turn to tapes, books, or classes, for example, if you need a little tutoring.

Overextended? Clear the deck of at least one time-consuming household task. Consider what is truly essential and important to you and what might take a backseat right now.
Feeling unbearably tense? Try massage, a hot bath, mini-relaxations, progressive muscle relaxation, or a mindful walk. Practically any exercise — a brisk walk, a quick run, a sprint up and down the stairs — will help, too. Done regularly, exercise wards off tension, as do relaxation response techniques.

Upset by conflicts with others? State your needs or distress directly, avoiding “you always” or “you never” zingers. Say, “I feel ________when you _____.” “I would really appreciate it if you could ______.” “I need some help setting priorities. What needs to be done first and what should I tackle later?” If conflicts are a significant source of distress for you, consider taking a class on assertiveness training.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Healthy Habitation

Cooking Light recently ranked the Top 20 American cities that best fit the magazine’s philosophy to eat smart, be fit, and live well.

My city, Atlanta, is on the list. Is yours?

Seattle, Washington
An abundance of fresh local foods, walker-friendly streets, and inclusive attitudes helps make Seattle America's best city for healthy living.

Portland, Oregon

Life is good in our second-ranked city, thanks to its seemingly endless supply of outdoor activities, cutting-edge restaurants, and vibrant environmental consciousness.

Washington, D.C.
Our capital city sets an accommodating agenda with farm-fresh dining, diverse cultures, and ample opportunity for exploration on foot.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
In our fourth-ranked best city, lush parks and shimmering lakes provide a natural backdrop to a rich cultural landscape.

San Francisco, California
Our fifth-ranked city steps up with one of the world's most unforgettable settings--along with great cuisine and an energetic spirit.

Boston, Massachusetts
Strolling historic parks and swanning around the water are but two of the pastimes that make summer prime time to enjoy our sixth-ranked city.

Denver, Colorado
The Mile-High City ranked seventh on our list for an outdoorsy Western lifestyle that makes living well accessible and irresistible.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Our eighth-ranked city proves a worthy destination for food lovers, adventure seekers, and culture aficionados alike.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In America's fifth-largest city, the historic past provides a backdrop for a present that's healthful and happening.

Tucson, Arizona
Tucson offers a taste of the authentic Southwest in a desert setting that's ideal for a warm winter getaway.

Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore, it turns out, has lots of people who eat five or more servings of fruits and veggies a day--27 percent.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Graced with bountiful trail systems, no wonder 91 percent of the city's population claims to be in good health.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Skies, once dark with factory smoke, open above crystal-towered downtown Pittsburgh, bound on three sides by the rivers Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio.

St. Louis, Missouri
A love for local produce and healthful activities keeps this urban center well fed and on the move.

New York, New York
New Yorkers walk far more than most Americans, and they do it quickly. But they slow down for green markets--25 in Manhattan alone.

Atlanta, Georgia
Approximately 55,000 people gather on the Fourth of July at the Peachtree Road Race, the largest 10k in the world.

Austin, Texas
You can't swing a yoga mat in Austin without hitting a cool place to exercise--whether it's inside a gym or outdoors in a natural, spring-fed pool.

Chicago, Illinois
The city's environmentally-friendly mentality is one of the reasons why it is home to the 2007 Cooking Light FitHouse.

Las Vegas, Nevada
In our list, the city ranks third in restaurants rated "extraordinary to perfection" and third in nominations for James Beard awards.

Kansas City, Missouri
A recent study revealed Kansas City has the purest water of any major city in the country.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Clean Out That Dirty Mouth

This video really fascinates me because it discusses a correlation between dental health and heart health. Basically, the video notes that a couple of studies have indicated that intense treatment of periodontalitis, which is a rather common mouth disease, can make your arteries cleaner and flow freer. Scientists think the correlation between dental and heart health may have something to do with bacteria.

Anyways, check out the video. I must warn you – the voiceover is slightly monotone so stick with it and I’m sure you’ll gain some valuable information.



The video also notes it’s important to get 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times, limit unhealthy fats in the diet (one way to do that is by using margarine!) and to not smoke.

Remember, the more ways you can incorporate heart healthy foods such as nuts, fish, margarine, etc. into your diet, the healthier your body will be.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Super Simple Calorie Slashers for Heart Health

Maintaining a healthy weight is a step we can all take in reducing our risk for many diseases. Excess weight really can be a danger to your health and can even lead to death. I’m as guilty as many people about indulging in a scoop of ice cream or a handful of potato chips from time to time. Remember, all foods can be a part of an overall healthy diet as long as they are consumed in moderation. Here’s a great article from WebMD on simple ways to slash unnecessary calories from you diet. FYI, by cutting just 100 calories a day you could lose up to 10 pounds a year!!!


Gaining weight into your 30s, 40s, and beyond isn’t inevitable. The secret? Cut out or burn off an additional 100 calories a day. Use our favorite tricks, and you’ll save 3,000 calories this month. That’s more than enough to help you keep your youthful figure.

Supersimple calorie slashers
Top 1 cup of apple slices, instead of 8 crackers, with cheese. Save 100 calories.
Choose a fresh spring roll instead of a fried egg roll. Save 100 calories.
Eat chocolate sorbet instead of chocolate ice cream. Save 140 calories per 1/2 cup.
Skip the crust on apple pie. Save 100 calories.
wap pepperoni on your pizza for veggies like fresh tomatoes and peppers. Save 100 calories per 2 slices.
Choose steamed shrimp over fried. Save 122 calories per 3 ounces.
Make your sandwich open-faced (use only 1 slice of bread). Save 100 calories.
Leave blue cheese off your salad. Save 110 calories per 3-tablespoon serving.
Substitute 1/2 cup steamed veggies for 1/2 cup noodles in a pasta dish. Save 100 calories.
Use a 6-inch flour tortilla instead of a 10-inch one on your next burrito. Save 120 calories.
Skip the tortilla and put your filling on lettuce. Save 100 calories.
Eat a whole-wheat English muffin at breakfast instead of a bagel. Save 150 calories.
Top pancakes with 1/4 cup apple-sauce sprinkled with cinnamon instead of syrup. Save 180 calories.
Top ice cream with 1/2 cup fresh berries instead of 2 tablespoons strawberry syrup. Save 168 calories.
Leave 10 French fries on your plate. Save 100 calories.
Split a Krispy Kreme doughnut with a friend. Save 100 calories.

No-sweat calorie burners*
*Based on a 150-pound woman
Embrace your inner schoolgirl by jumping rope for 10 minutes. Burn 100 calories.
Tend your garden for 25 minutes. Burn 103 calories.
Schedule a 20-minute walk date with a buddy. Burn 102 calories.
Crank up the tunes and shake your groove thing for 20 minutes. Burn 100 calories.
Give your partner a 22-minute massage. Burn 103 calories.
Do your nails or knit while watching your favorite hour-long TV show. Burn 102 calories.
Spend 60 minutes typing e-mails to your friends. Burn 100 calories.
Write a letter to a friend by hand for 50 minutes. Burn 100 calories.
Push around a grocery cart for 40 minutes. Burn 103 calories.
Shoot pool or play darts for 35 minutes. Burn 100 calories.
Play fetch with your dog for 35 minutes. Burn 100 calories.
Do a little house-cleaning. Burn 107 calories.
Play a 35-minute round of putt-putt golf. Burn 180 calories

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Does Heart Disease Have a "Look?"

I really like the following article because it relays the fact that heart disease doesn’t have a “look.” A woman who looks like she’s in great shape, eats fairly well and doesn’t smoke can still get heart disease people! Read on people, read on…

Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, and what may surprise you is that it doesn't just affect those who are older and out of shape.

Shelly Martel was 43, exercised regularly, didn't smoke and ate somewhat healthy.

Then she had a heart attack.

Her near death experience caught her completely off guard, and her story serves as a wake up call during this Heart Disease Awareness Month for Women.

"Thinking back, I'm trying to decide," Martel says. "Did I know this was coming on? I really can't say that I did."

That's because Martel isn`t your typical heart attack victim.

"I don't know how I had a heart attack, I just did," she says.

"To look at her you would not think she`s a woman with heart disease because she's slim, she's trim, she's in shape, she eats right, she exercises, I mean she does everything right," says Judy Meyers, coordinator of cardiac rehab at St. Alexius.

Still four years ago, as Martel was ironing her clothes for the next work day as a lab technician, she was hit with tightness in her chest and the other tell tale sign of an impending heart attack.

"I had horrible, horrible left arm pain and I kept thinking to myself," Martel says. "If I could just cut off my left arm that pain would be gone it was just excrutiating. It's the worst pain I've ever had."

So she drove herself to St. Alexius's emergency room, and 45 minutes later she went into cardiac arrest.

"I had chest compressions and the whole electric shock to bring me back," says Martel.

And she's lucky they were able to. Cardiologist John Windsor says the odds were against her..."

50 percent of women over the age of 45 will die from coronary artery disease, 75 percent of women over the age of 65 will die from coronary artery disease," Windsor says. "It is the leading killer."

Since Martel's brush with death four years ago, she’s had seven stents inserted into in her heart and has found out she likely has heart disease because it runs in her family. Her advice to other woman? Get to the ER or call 911 if you experience any chest pains, regardless of your age or health level. She says she likely would not be here to tell her story if she hadn’t.

***Fellow bloggers, it is evident from this article that you can't look at someone and determine whether they are at risk for heart disease. You have so many tools in your toolbox to help combat your risk for heart disease - lose the excess weight, don't smoke, eat heart health foods, make regular visits to your physician. By incorporating margarine into a heart healthy diet, you can rest assured that you are taking just one more step in reducing your risk.***

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chocolate Brown Delight

Yum, yum, yum, yum…okay enough, I promise to stop “yumming.” These brownies are deliciously bad when it comes to calories but positively divine when it comes to taste.


Chocolate Brownie Delight
Instructions:

Yield: 1 Batch
6 oz Unsweetened chocolate
¾ cups Margarine
6 Eggs, beaten
2 cups Sugar
¼ teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Vanilla
1½ cups Flour
16 oz Pkg. semi-sweet morsels

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 X 13" pan and line with wax paper. Set aside.

Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter in pan, stirring constantly. Remove and cool. Combine eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla; add to chocolate. Mix well. Stir in flour and morsels. Pour in pan and bake 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let's Have a Heart to Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! WebMd actually created a special “love section” on their site just for this momentous occasion.

Any big plans? Considering I don’t have a boyfriend or someone special (wah-wah), I’ll be spending my night with my best girl friends, going to dinner and to see the new cheesy romantic comedy, “Definitely, Maybe.” In all actuality, there’s nothing I would rather do than spend a night with my best friends. I don’t really buy into this Hallmark holiday but it’s always fun to celebrate loving people and being loved. If you’re in a great relationship – congrats and recognize how lucky you are. If you’re single like me – enjoy it and relish in the ability to be selfish during this time…not too selfish of course. And remember, today is a great day to start living a heart healthy lifestyle!

Below are excerpts from a WebMD article that features, Mimi Guarneri, MD, who authored the book, “The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing.” I pulled my favorite Q&A’s but if you’d like to access the whole article, its available here

What aspects of modern life are bad for our hearts?

Everything. The new definition of normal is going to work every day in a car that is not paid for so you can pay for the house that you never get to use because you are always at work. We are stressed out to say the least. Not to be doom and gloom, but this so-called modern life is not conducive to health. Today, people are so focused on mergers and acquisitions and the accumulation of things that the question becomes when is enough, enough. Sometimes our body has to put the brakes on for us with a big heart attack.

How is having a BlackBerry bad for the heart?
Today there is constant bombardment with emails, faxes, and BlackBerries. It's nonstop. We are forced to make split-second decisions because we don't have time to think. It's extremely stressful and as a result, we are flooded with stress hormones. The release of stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol can increase the risk of having a heart attack.

That's scary. What can we do to prevent this from happening?
Start by thinking about the heart physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Physical care involves choosing the right foods and exercising. That's the easy part. The emotional aspect involves asking yourself if you are stressed, depressed, anxious, or angry. And the deeper, spiritual issue is asking yourself 'who am I [and] what is my purpose?'

If eating right and exercising is the easy part, why don't people do it?
People know how to eat and they know they need to exercise, but they are making poor choices mostly driven by stress and depression. They think: 'I am depressed, so why exercise?' Or: 'I am stressed, so I will have four martinis.'

Any Valentine's Day prescription to help combat the effects of modern life on our hearts?
Wake up and say, 'I will take responsibility for my health and well-being and ask myself the deeper questions.' There is nothing more important than health and family, and we take that for granted until we don't have them anymore. We need to get people back on track.

Anything else?
Turn off your BlackBerry and go for a walk.

How can a person be love?
Instead of looking to give love, just be love: Do something good for someone. The feeling you get when you see their face light up brings joy to your heart. Be grateful for your life and have gratitude for the gifts you have been given

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Skinny Jeans Taunt Me

Whew, where have I been lately?! It seems like this month is really flying by. January whizzed by and I just looked at my desk calendar only to realize it’s almost mid-February!! How are you guys doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Did you even make a New Year’s resolution?

My basic theme in 2008 is getting healthy, well healthier that is. I’m trying to hit the gym at least three times a week, consume a (heart) healthy diet and try to avoid adapting any lifestyle habits that might be detrimental in the long run.

Much to my surprise, and chagrin, I have lost ANY weight yet. Actually, I’ve gained weight. Can you believe it? I can’t understand and I must admit, it certainly doesn’t help to motivate me. I just have to keep telling myself muscle weighs more than fat and these new healthy habits will pay off in the long run. I’m not even going to act like I need to lose weight. I’m a petite girl and weight has never been a problem but man would it be nice to fit into that skinny pair of jeans that keeps taunting me from my closet.

Have any of you run into a similar problem? You know, when you think you’re doing everything right only to come to find out it hasn’t done a bit of good?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Okay Ladies, Pay Attention

Hey ladies, this video’s for you. It was produced by the Heart Specialists of Lancaster and demonstrates the real need for programs the increase awareness of heart disease among women. Everyone at is at risk, learn how to reduce your chances of getting heart disease.



According to the American Women’s Medical Association and
Healthyfridge.org:

A woman who has a heart attack is one-and-a-half times as likely as a man to die from it, and, if she survives, more likely to have a second one.
Framingham Heart Study

In women, the rate of death from heart disease far exceeds that of breast cancer. One woman in 29 dies of breast cancer. One in 2.4 dies of cardiovascular disease, including a heart attack or stroke. Heart disease is the number-one killer of women.
2003 American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Statistical Update


Making margarine a part of your overall healthy diet, which should be rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is a great way to cut back on saturated fats. As most of you are aware, saturated and trans fats are the two kinds of fats you do not need (or want) in your diet. Margarine is low in both!