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