Friday, December 30, 2011

Healthy New Year's Eve Recipes

Because I plan on having a very low-key New Year's Eve at home with my husband and some friends, we've decided to whip up a meal to ring in 2012 that's not only delicious but heart healthy too! Below are a couple of the recipes from EatingWell.com that we're thinking about cooking up:
Carmelized Onion & Shrimp Bruschetta - the only switch I plan on making to this recipe is using soft margarine to saute the onions instead of canola oil.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

John Besh's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

IN honor of my hubby's 29th birthday today, I made a huge pot of chicken and sausage gumbo. This belly-warming dish is worth the time it takes. It's definitely not one of my heart healthy dishes, but as they say, all things in moderation!


John Besh’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

from My New Orleans

Ingredients:
■1c. Canola Oil
■1 c. Flour
■2 onions, diced
■1 large chicken, cut into 12 pieces
■2 Tbsp. Basic Creole Spices (I used Tony’s)
■2 lbs. spicy smoked sausage, sliced 1/2″ thick
■2 stalks celery, diced
■2 green peppers, diced
■1 tomato, seeded and chopped
■2 cloves garlic, minced
■2 sprigs fresh thyme
■3 quarts chicken stock
■2 bay leaves
■6 oz. andouille sausage, chopped
■2 c. slice okra
■1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
■Salt
■Pepper
■Filé Powder
■Tabasco
■4-6 c. cooked rice

Directions

1.Make a roux by heating the oil in a heavy bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking until the roux turns deep brown, about 15 minutes.

2.Add onions to the roux and stir with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium low and continue until the roux is a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.

3.Season the chicken with the Creole Spices. Add the chicken to the pot, raise the heat to medium, and cook for about 10 minutes, turning the chicken pieces as you go.

4.Add the smoked sausage and stir for a minute.

5.Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic. Cook, stirring for three minutes. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off the fat.

6.Add the andouille, okra, Worcestershire, and season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder and Tabasco. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat off the top.

7.Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stolen Margarine Truck Still Missing!

Here's an update on the stolen margarine truck debacle from the Sacramento Bee

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Authorities say a thief who slipped away with $50,000 worth of margarine remains at large even though the truck that carried the payload has been recovered.The trailer was parked awaiting delivery to a Target Corp. warehouse in Cedar Falls when it was stolen Dec. 10 from a parking lot near Waterloo. It was found Dec. 15 in a parking lot more than 500 miles away in Fowler, Mich.But the thief and the margarine are nowhere to be found. Waterloo police Capt. Rick Abben says the theft was the latest in a series of semitrailer thefts in the area during the past 18 months.He says the others included a trailer filled with beef jerky, one loaded with dog food and one carrying dental hygiene products.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Breaking News Alert: Thief Makes Off with $50,000 Worth of Margarine!

What a hilarious story!


Margarine thief gives 'em the slip in Iowa, makes off with truckload, $50K worth


(CBS/AP) CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Authorities in eastern Iowa are searching for a thief who slipped away with a trailer filled with $50,000 worth of margarine.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that authorities say a semitrailer packed with the spread disappeared during the weekend from a truck stop in Elk Run. The margarine haul was bound for a Target warehouse in Cedar Falls.


The Black Hawk County sheriff's office says the driver left the trailer at the truck stop to wait until the warehouse had space. Another truck was slated to pick up the trailer for the last leg of the journey.


Authorities say before that could happen, sometime Saturday night, a thief hooked up the trailer and drove off with the margarine.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Movin' on up!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week but Brandon and I have been busy packing to move into...our first house! We have been doing a lot of work on the house, most of which is still not complete (the painters will be there all night tonight) but no matter, we're moving in. I promise to be better about posting next week.
In the meantime, happy almost Friday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Creamy Confetti Corn Recipe

This recipe from Detroit Free Press is low in calories, looks delicious and will be quite festive at your holiday party!

Creamy Confetti Corn

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 1 hour

Vegetable oil cooking spray

1 tablespoon soft margarine

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen corn kernels

3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup skim milk

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch quiche pan or pie plate with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat margarine over medium heat and cook the green pepper, onion and garlic until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Add the corn kernels and continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the corn mixture and gently stir to combine.

Spoon the corn mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Place the oven on broil and continue cooking until the cheese topping is golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. 116 calories (31% from fat), 4 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 17 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 159 mg sodium, 10 mg cholesterol, 52 mg calcium, 2 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Which is MOre Important - Your Weight or Level of Fitness?

This interesting article from TIME examines which is more important when it comes to living a longer life - how much you weigh or how fit you are. What are your thoughts?

Fit Versus Fat: Which Matters More for Longevity?
By Alice Parker

Most of us are all too familiar with how much we weigh — but how many of us know how fit we are? And which matters more?


When it comes to lowering our overall risk of death and dying from heart disease, fitness may be just as important, if not more so, than weight. That's what researchers concluded after studying fitness, weight and mortality among 14,345 middle-aged men in an 11-year study.


Most studies that have previously linked weight gain, overweight and obesity to higher mortality risk have focused only on BMI, or body mass index, a ratio of height and weight. That's because weight can indirectly affect a number of different metabolic processes that contribute to mortality, such as how we burn calories or process sugars, and how high our blood pressure is. But weight may also be masking the effect of another factor that could protect or propel us to an early death: how efficiently our hearts and lungs are working, or, in other words, how fit we are.


Duck-Chul Lee, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of exercise science at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health, and his colleagues decided to focus specifically on the role of fitness in overall mortality rates as well as deaths due to heart disease. So they recruited a group of men aged 20 to 100 and had them run on a treadmill to measure their heart and lung function. The researchers compared the participants' maximum fitness levels — how long the participants could run at increasingly steeper inclines — taken at two points during the 11.5-year study, to death rates among the group, and factored in changes in the participants' weight as well.


The men who maintained their fitness levels between the two measurements lowered their risk of dying from heart-related or any other causes by up to 30%, compared with those who lost fitness. Those who actually improved their fitness lowered their risk even more, by up to 44%. In fact, for every unit improvement in fitness, measured as metabolic equivalents (METs), there was a 15% decrease in death from any cause, and a 19% decrease in dying from heart-related events.


All of these changes occurred regardless of how much weight the men gained or lost. When it came to BMI, fluctuations during the study period weren't linked to any changes in all-cause mortality, though men whose BMI went up had an increased risk of dying from a heart event compared with those whose BMIs went down.


"Regardless of weight change — some lost weight, and some gained, while some remained stable — loss of fitness was associated with a higher risk of mortality," says Lee.


It's a confusing concept — after all, isn't weight a reflection of how fit we are? Well, yes and no. To a certain extent, yes, the more weight we gain, the less fit we tend to be. In fact, when Lee and his team looked at who in the study lost fitness, they were the sedentary men who started smoking and developed conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. And those who were the least physically active also lost the most fitness.


But that assumes that a high BMI is primarily due to extra fat tissue, which in many cases it is. But muscle also contributes to a person's weight, and people who are more active may also develop more muscle tone, which may add to their weight — and their BMI — without necessarily harming their health. That's why the researches wanted to tease apart fitness from weight to pinpoint how each contributes to mortality. "When you change your body weight, you have to consider whether you become more fit or not," says Lee. "If you gain weight, but become more fit, then that might be okay regarding your mortality risk. We have to start considering other factors when we talk about weight change and health outcomes."


Lee stresses, however, that the results don't completely absolve weight as a potentially health-harming factor. He notes that the study included white upper-middle class men who were close to normal weight or only slightly overweight. Previous studies have shown that among the obese, weight loss can have a much more dramatic effect in lowering risk of dying from heart events of other causes.


The findings do suggest, however, that lowering your risk of early death may be more complicated than simply watching the scale. If you're trying to stay healthy and to lower your risk of dying from a chronic condition, you might not need to shed pounds, but you'll still have to exercise — the best way to stay fit, says Lee, is to be physically active.


Alice Park is a writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @aliceparkny. You can also continue the discussion on TIME's Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.



Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/06/fit-versus-fat-which-matters-more-for-longevity/#ixzz1flqjazDM

Friday, December 02, 2011

Study Indicates Calorie Restriction Helps Fight Heart Disease, Diabetes in Obese

We already know that following a low-calorie diet can help people to lose weight. But besides weight loss, researchers are now learning that calorie restriction can also do amazing things in the bodies of obese people, including improving heart function and helping with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers recently presented their results at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America and said that lifestyle interventions — such as calorie restriction — may be more powerful and beneficial for heart health and reversing diabetes than medication. Diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the U.S., and type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, representing 90 to 95 percent of diagnosed cases among adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now, the study was pretty extreme. Researchers gave 15 obese patients just 500 calories a day for four months. The calorie restriction decreased the patients' average BMI from 35.3 to 27.5 and the visceral fat around their hearts went from an average of 39 milliliters to 31 milliliters. This fat is detrimental to cardiac function. Fourteen months after the study, the patients' BMI increased to 31.7, but the visceral fat around their hearts only increased to 32. Therefore, researchers concluded that calorie restriction improved heart health, even when some weight was regained.
With calorie restriction so drastic in the study, researchers caution that it is to only be done under a doctor's close supervision. Not to mention that most low-calorie diets recommend that you eat no fewer than 1,200 calories a day — let alone only 500.Do you eat a lower-calorie diet? Will you follow this research on calorie restriction?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Double Chocolate-Mocha Cookies

These Double Chocolate-Mocha Cookies are to die for!!! I've modifed the recipe a bit as the original recipe used both butter and margarine. To make it more heart healthy I replaced the butter with additional margarine. No need for butter when you can have better - margarine!

Double Chocolate-Mocha Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, slightly softened (see notes)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups lightly packed all-purpose flour (12 ounces)

3 tablespoons European dark or Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (see notes)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon table salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, beat butter, margarine and sugars until light. Add eggs and vanilla; beat for a few seconds, just enough to break the yolks.

2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture and combine well. With a spatula, stir in chips. For easier handling and flavor development, cover dough and refrigerate overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment. Using a Number 60 scoop or three tablespoons of dough, shape into balls and arrange about 1 inch apart. Bake 16 minutes or until cookies are no longer moist in the center. Do not overbake or cookies will be dry. Let cookies cool, then remove from baking sheets.

Per cookie: 200 calories; 10g fat; 5g saturated fat; 20mg cholesterol; 2g protein; 26g carbohydrate; 17g sugar; 1g fiber; 225mg sodium; 5mg calcium.



Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/recipes/double-chocolate-mocha-cookies/article_877de1e9-eb5c-5f23-bba2-9b4cb8ee6d49.html#ixzz1fIWxFpBf

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stuff the Bird, Not Yourself This Thanksgiving

The article below from the Calorie Control Council contains some great advice on how to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without the guilt.

According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat from snacking and eating a traditional holiday dinner with turkey and all the trimmings. And these figures don't even include breakfast or the late evening munching on leftovers!


The average holiday dinner alone can carry a load of 3,000 calories. And most of us nibble our way through more than another 1,500 calories downing dips and chips and drinks before and after the big meal. Combined, that's the equivalent of more than 2 1/4 times the average daily calorie intake and almost 3 1/2 times the fat. The typical holiday dinner can be loaded with 45 percent of calories from fat. In fact, the average person may consume enough fat at a holiday meal to equal three sticks of butter.


Many of us will figure that we've blown our diet and the holidays are to be enjoyed, so why worry about weight? But even if you start the holiday season off with gastronomical excess, you can quickly get back on the right track.


Reducing the amount of fat and calories in your snacking and main holiday meals can help prevent the average weight a person will gain over the holidays (from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day). And instead of crashing on the couch after eating, you can lessen or ward off weight gain by burning off that eggnog or pie.


Also, try these "Low-Fat Holiday" tips from the American Heart Association:

Eat lower-fat and reduced-calorie foods for days in advance of the holiday feast, and for days after.


Prepare for handling your worst temptations; if you want both pecan and pumpkin pie, take a tiny slice of each, instead of an average serving.

If cooking, provide low-fat foods, or ask if you can bring a low-fat dish.

After the meal, start a tradition -- a holiday walk, for instance. You can also reduce the calories in a meal by using lower-calorie products.

Try using a low-calorie sweetener in your tea or coffee or a casserole that requires sweetness.


So, to all our visitors, here's to a holiday season full of health and happiness, and to holiday eating that doesn't make you too full to move!


Learn how to lighten your holiday feasting and still have a jolly good time!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Perfect Roasted Chicken Recipe

When it comes to trusted sources, Ina Garten, aka "Barefoot Contessa," is my go to gal. Her recipes are easy to follow, often come with helpful tips and tricks and always come out delicious. Her roasted chicken recipe below is always a crowd favorite and makes a great presentation at dinner parties. The only tweak I've made is it use soft margarne instead of butter to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the recipe. This is also a perfect dinner for winter.

Happy Friday people!!!

Perfect Roasted Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the margarine and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Study affirms 'mediterranean diet' improves heart health

I try my best to eat heart healthy, following the mediterranean diet as much as possible. The study below published by MedicalXpress.com tells me I'm doing something right!
In a report prepared for the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Orlando next week, the Johns Hopkins investigators say swapping out certain foods can improve heart health in those at risk for cardiovascular disease, even if the dietary changes aren’t coupled with weight loss.
“The introduction of the right kind of fat into a healthy diet is another tool to reduce the risk of future heart disease,” says Meghana Gadgil, M.D., M.P.H., a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who will be presenting the research.
Gadgil and her colleagues analyzed data from the OmniHeart Trial, which studied the cardiovascular effects of three different balanced diets on 164 people with mild hypertension but no diabetes.
The researchers compared the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and maintain healthy insulin levels while on a carbohydrate-rich diet, a protein-rich diet and a diet rich in unsaturated fats. People whose bodies fail to effectively use insulin usually develop type 2 diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. The researchers found that a generally balanced diet higher in unsaturated fats such as those in avocados, olive oil and nuts improves insulin use significantly more than a diet high in carbohydrates, particularly such refined carbs as white bread and pasta. The preferred diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, inspired by the foods of southern Italy and Greece and emphasizing healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.
Each participant in the study was fed each of the three diets for six weeks in a row, with two to four weeks off in between. Blood samples were collected after fasting periods in weeks four and six of each diet, and used to monitor insulin and glucose levels. The study was designed to keep participants at their starting weights. “A lot of studies have looked at how the body becomes better at using insulin when you lose weight,” Gadgil says. “We kept the weight stable so we could isolate the effects of the macronutrients. What we found is that you can begin to see a beneficial impact on heart health even before weight loss.”
Provided by Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Slumber Party French Toast

Who doesn't love a good slumber party when the temperatures drop? Get into those pjs, pop in a great movie and curl up with this comforting dish...and it's heart healthy too!

Slumber Party French Toast
Recipe from the American Heart Association Kids' Cookbook
◦1/4 cup soft margarine spread

◦1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

◦3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

◦Liquid egg substitute equal to two eggs

◦1/4 cup skim milk

◦6 1-inch thick slices French bread

◦1-2 Tbsp. powdered or confectioner’s sugar

Place margarine in baking pan or heat proof baking dish (9x13-inch). Place pan on burner. Turn heat to low. Heat margarine until melted.

Place brown sugar in small bowl. With fork, stir in cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture evenly over melted margarine in baking pan or dish.

Combine egg substitute and milk in glass pie plate. Mix with fork until blended.

With fingers or fork, dip bread slices into egg mixture to coat both sides. Lay slices over sugar-cinnamon mixture in baking pan or dish. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the bread slices.

Cover pan with foil and refrigerate overnight. Remove pan from refrigerator one hour before baking. Let stand on the kitchen counter to reach room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Carefully place toast in hot oven. Bake 25 minutes.

Using oven mitts, remove pan from oven to wire cooling rack. With oven mitts, carefully remove foil from pan. Return pan to hot oven. Bake for 15 minutes longer. Using oven mitts, remove pan to cooling rack.

Sprinkle French toast with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings (one slice per serving).



Nutrition Information:
Per Serving:
*calculated using a 70% oil soft margarine spread
Calories 288
Fat (grams)8
Cholesterol (mg)less than 1

Friday, October 28, 2011

Taking the Mystique Out of Candy

Taking the Mystique Out of Candy


Today's post is from a guest blogger, Emily Matthews. Enjoy!

Many children, and adults, consume more sugar than their bodies need. Consequently, more and more parents are trying to show their children what harmful effects sugar can have on a person. Of course, it’s not that we want kids to stop eating candy and sweets. We just want them to eat less.

One of the best approaches to talking to children about nutrition and sugar is a mental one. It doesn’t take a masters degree in psychology to know that actions speak louder than words: show your kids what the sugar is doing them. Show them pictures of teeth affected by too much sugar. Sharing images of rotten teeth might be the tactic you need to open up a dialogue about moderation.

You can teach children about the sugar in soda using a similar method: drop a penny into a glass of dark soda. Let the penny soak in the glass for a few days, then take the penny out and show it to your children. The soda will corrode away at the tarnish on the penny and you can use this to show your children what soda can do to their enamel.

As a parent, you can also show your children how eating too much sugar will make them more tired. One way to do this is by having your children do an experiment. First, tell them about the experiment and explain it. Tell them not to eat candy for a whole day and play outside. On the following day, allow them to eat several pieces of candy before playing outside. This will allow your child to feel the difference and show your child that eating too much candy will make them become tired more quickly after the initial sugar rush.

These are wonderful psychological ways to teach your children about the effect too much candy can have on them. None of these tips will harm your child. They will, however, allow your child to physically see the problems caused by excessive sugar intake.


About Emily: Emily Matthews is currently applying to masters degree programs across the U.S., and loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature. She lives and writes in Seattle, Washington.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This is a great article about ways to reduce your risk for breast cancer. Check out my blog tomorrow for a special guest post about Halloween candy!
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which makes this a good time for every woman (and man) to reflect on lifestyle changes they can make to promote breast health.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women; one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Although there are some non-modifable risk factors for breast cancer — including family history of breast cancer, onset of menopause after the age of 54 and increasing age — there are risk factors which are modifiable, such as obesity, alcohol use and diet. Addressing these modifiable risk factors can reduce your chance of developing breast cancer.
My prescription for promoting breast health is as follows:
1. Be physically active, and try to maintain a normal weight. Exercise is a powerful way to decrease your risk for not only breast cancer but other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity five times a week. Find something you enjoy doing, such as taking a brisk walk, going on a bicycle ride or taking an aerobic class. The important thing is to just get moving.
2. Eat well. The food you eat has a significant impact on your health. Diets high in fruits and vegetables and whole grains have been shown to decrease the risk of cancer. Aim for six to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Use turmeric, which acts as a great anti-inflammatory agent. Eat a least two servings of broccoli or cauliflower a week, and include 1-2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed in your food daily to help with estrogen clearing. Limit red meat and other animal fat, and avoid eating charred meats which are carcinogenic. Add healthy oils, like olive oil, nuts and fatty fish.
3. Don’t smoke, and limit your alcohol consumption to no more than seven servings of alcohol a week.
4. Drink several cups of green or black tea a day. Tea has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties.
5. Take a daily multi-vitamin/mineral and vitamin D (1,000 to 2,000 IU) daily. Also take an omega-3 supplement (2,0000 mg EPA+ DHA) daily. For those at high risk for breast cancer, consider adding the supplement indole-3-carbinol (400 mg per day) to help with estrogen clearing.
6. Reduce toxic exposures in your life. One of my favorite websites is www.ewg.org — a great resource to learn about pesticides in food and toxic chemicals in household and personal products.
7. Manage stress in your life by developing a daily relaxation program.
8. Get annual mammograms starting at age 40. Although there has been some recent debate about when to get mammograms, most breast cancer experts will tell you that mammograms are the best tool we currently have for early detection.Incorporating these lifestyle changes not only will help you delay or avoid the development of breast cancer, but will improve your overall health and wellness.
IHM tip: Don't forget to add soft margarine spreads to your diet, which contain no trans fat a dn can be beneficial to your heart health and overall health in general!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Useless, Unrelated Tip of the Month

Okay, I just read this tip in Women's Health magazine and I'm so impressed with it that I just have to share it with you, my beloved readers.
Do you struggle with a dirty keyboard - crumbs, hair, dust getting stuck between the keys? I have a solution for you!
Take a sticky note and run the stick part of the part between the keys of your keyboard and voila! Your keyboard is instantly de-junkified. How cool is that? I really enjoy seeing all the crap that ends up on the sticky note. Is that wrong? If so, I don't want to be right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tips for Cooking and Baking with Soft Spread Margarine

Here are some tips for cooking & baking with soft spread margarine, courtesy of www.butteryspreads.org

Use the following guidelines when selecting a soft spread margarine product (also know as buttery spreads) for use in a favorite recipe:


◦Spreads with 60% or more oil can be used almost anywhere butter or margarine is specified. (Spreads are not recommended for baked goods that require precise amounts of fat and moisture, such as pastry crusts, unless a recipe has been developed specifically for that purpose.)

◦Spreads with 50-59% oil also work well for most cooking applications, including sautéing, in addition to topping and spreading.

◦Spreads with 49% or less oil should be used only for spreading, topping and adding flavor to recipes. They are not designed for baking and frying.

◦The lower the oil content (% oil), the less fat there is in the product. Because fat contributes texture and browning properties to foods, spreads with a lower amount of fat may not perform in the same way as traditional stick margarine or butter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Listening to Life: Heart health, weight loss benefits of pets have been focus of national studies

I found this article online and thought it was so cute that I'd have to share it with my lovely readers. As if we all need an excuse to own a pet it turns out it's actually beneficial to heart health.

Listening to Life: Heart health, weight loss benefits of pets have been focus of national studies
Naples News
By Nori St. Paul

Life isn’t always a bed of roses.

I woke up this morning, stretched and popped a few bones. I’m getting old, I thought. I reached out my hand and slid around the sheets, looking for Lily. I drew her to me and felt the indescribable warmth of pure love next to my skin. My physical discomfort melted into the background as Lily snuggled close and kissed my face and I began my morning meditation.

If you have a pet, you know the feeling. Well, unless you have a pet fish or snake, you wouldn’t want to wake up to them in bed. (Eh-hemm. No comments, please!) But, as a matter of fact, I’ve had those, too, and loved them. There’s just something about Lily. I’m not alone in my zeal for my precious pup.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that about two-thirds of all U.S. households own at least one pet, and a 2009 report reveals there were more than 160 million pet cats and dogs nationwide. And reports abound about the health benefits of our four-legged friends. One NIH-funded investigation looked at more than 2,000 adults and found that dog owners who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active and less likely to be obese than those who didn’t own or walk a dog. Another study supported by NIH followed more than 2,500 older adults, ages 71-82, for 3 years. Those who regularly walked their dogs walked faster and for longer time periods each week than others who didn’t walk regularly. Older dog walkers also had greater mobility inside their homes than others in the study.

Well, let me tell you, I do love the opportunity to get more exercise, like now.

OK, I’m back. Took her out real quick for her morning business, then I did what I always do. I turned on my computer to start my day writing, and started my coffee, which brand happens to be a step down from my passion for Starbucks. “OK,” I say, “That’ll be one extra scoop for this brand. There, ahhh,” I say as I simultaneously sip and will myself to imagine the weaker more rancid tasting coffee is as blissful as any, and after all, practical in an economy that is wearing thin the term “economic recovery.” Anyway, I’m happy. Where’s Lily? Oh. Here she is. “I’m lucky,” I say to myself.

It’s just a fact that Lily gives me unconditional love. No matter what, she loves me. No matter what, I’m good enough for her. I really like the study where the NIH looked at 240 married couples. Those who owned a pet were found to have lower heart rates and blood pressure, whether at rest or when undergoing stressful tests, than those without pets. Pet owners also seemed to have milder responses and quicker recovery from stress when they were with their pets than with a spouse or friend.

Excuse me while I take a break; breakfast time for Lily. She doesn’t ask for much, and she gives me so much — I feed her the best dog food money can buy. Dollar for dollar, the dog food is more expensive than my coffee, and all the other canine brands on the shelf are cheaper, every single one of them. If I went for the cheapest dog food, I could justify my Starbucks coffee. If you knew how much I loved my Starbucks French Roast in the morning, you’d know how much I love my Lily to forgo it for the IAMS. And she’s worth it.

Although, I’ll admit that at first I thought, how funny…people would rather be with an animal than a human? But now that I think about it, when I was a little girl, I had pets that served as my safe haven from all kinds of discord, and even saved my emotions in some ways, just as the studies indicate. Let’s see, there was Rusty, Sam, Bandit, Max and a beagle whose name I can’t remember. In my adult life, there were two more Sams, a Shadow, Bit Bit and Little Boy. There was Jolie, Caesar, Callie and Romeo. And then my fish, and that little baby king snake. Never once did any of my pets abuse me, call me a name, shame me or hurt my feelings in any way.

When I first got Lily a year and a half ago, I was worried that she may be too much of a distraction for a writer, or too demanding of my time. While it’s true that pets are a great commitment, they give far more than they require. Twenty four-seven, my precious dog is available to give me love, and let me love her. She has truly become my most trusted and loving confidant, odd as it sounds, and she is always so happy to see me, no matter what.

And Lily, who I adopted from a client at the Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children, (where, by the way, they allow pets), well, she is my life jacket. Really. Another NIH related study reveals she’s good for my cardiovascular system, and when I pet her, not only does it reduce my blood pressure, it reduces my stress and risk of heart attack. One NIH-funded study looked at 421 adults who’d suffered heart attacks. A year later, the scientists found, dog owners were significantly more likely to still be alive than were those who did not own dogs, regardless of the severity of the heart attack.

So, yes, life isn’t always a bed of roses, but it’s been pretty awesome with my friend Lily, and you know, this coffee tastes pretty darn good after all. C’mon Lily, let’s get on with our day.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

State Fair of Texas' Big Tex Awards

My husband and I are heading to Dallas for the annual University of Texas vs. Oklahoma University football game held in Dallas at the State Fair of Texas.

Besides football and carnival games and rides the fair is well-known for its fried item contest. Next week I'll update you on the variety of fried items we tested but I can assure you the fried bubblegum will not be on that list. Below are the list of this year's finalists. For more information check out www.bigtex.com


Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack BEST TASTE - A buffalo chicken strip is coated in flapjack batter, rolled in jalapeno bread crumbs, deep fried to a golden brown, skewed, and served with a side of syrup. Crowd pleasing appetizer or a meal in itself! inside the Automobile Building and in the Thrill Way.

Fried Bubblegum MOST CREATIVE - You’ll swear it’s bubblegum! A light as a feather bubble gum flavored marshmallow is dipped in batter and lightly fried to perfection. Decorated with a swirl of icing. A final sprinkling of powdered sugar completes this treat! It will blow you away! Granny’s Funnel Cakes on Coliseum Drive.

Deep Fried Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Fresh and sweet pineapple rings are delicately dipped in cake batter, fried, and coated with a caramel, sugar, and cinnamon glaze. What tropical treat is complete without a cherry on top? Fun Way across from Guest Relations and Nimitz Avenue by the Embarcadero.

Deep Fried Texas Salsa™ - This spicy medley of jalapenos, roasted garlic, onion, tomato, and pepper is rolled together, dipped in masa, and covered in crunchy tortilla chips. Into the fryer and served with warm, deliciously creamy queso. Located on Cotton Bowl Plaza at the Taste of Cuba stand and the Beer Garden.

El Bananarito - In case you are wondering, it’s a deep fried banana rolled in a flour tortilla, topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, a dusting of cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla extract. Top it off with your choice of smooth, hot caramel or decadent chocolate syrup. Funnel Cake stand on Fun Way.

Fried Autumn Pie - Fairgoers will fall for this hard to resist puff pastry infused with a scrumptious combination of pumpkin, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and fall spices. Deep fried and rolled in ginger, cinnamon, and sugar. Chicken on a Stick stand located on Nimitz Drive, near the entrance to the Embarcadero.

Hans’ Kraut Ball - A conglomeration of taste: browned pork sausage, onion, garlic, a zing of sauerkraut, mustard, and tasty seasonings all rolled into a mouth-watering ball of delight. Covered with seasoned bread crumbs, deep fried, and served with your choice Spicy Mustard, Raspberry Chipotle, or Ranch. Hans Mueller tent next to the Main Stage, in Cotton Bowl Plaza, and at on Nimitz Circle.

Walking Taco - Stroll down the Midway with this concoction of seasoned hamburger meat, lettuce, onion, fresh tomato, grated cheese, sour cream, and tasty salsa. Inventively served up in a Nacho Cheese flavored Doritos® bag! Darn Good Corn stand across from Gateway Pavilion tent on Coliseum Drive.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Mom's Margarine Cake

Mom's Margarine Cake

Ingredients
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups margarine, softened
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk


Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch tube pan.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and margarine until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and lemon juice. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; mix into the batter alternating with the milk just until blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the crown comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, September 26, 2011

10 Tips for a Healthy Heart

These tips are reasonable and easy to implement. Try incorporating one tip each week into your daily schedule. The more you do it, the easier it becomes a habit.


Avoid smoking
Smoking reduces life expectancy by 15-25 years. If you are a smoker, you are twice more likely to have a heart attack than a non-smoker. The moment you stop smoking, the risk of heart attack begins to reduce.

Cut down on salt
Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Watch your diet
Try to have a balanced diet. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, starch foods such as wholegrain bread and rice.

Monitor your alcohol
Too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle, increase blood pressure and also lead to weight gain. Avoid intake of alcohol or at least limit it to one to two units a day, gradually decreasing the consumption.

Get active
At least aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Keeping yourself fit not only benefits the heart but also improves mental health and well-being.

Monitor your BP, blood sugar and cholesterol levels
Routine medical check-ups will ring an alarm, if you need medical help.

Manage your waist
Cholesterol deposition in blood vessels begins in the first decade of life. Carrying a lot of extra weight as fat can greatly affect your health. Make small but healthy changes in your diet.

Manage your stress level
If you find things are getting on top of you, you may fail to eat properly, smoke and drink too much. This may increase your risk of a heart attack. Practice yoga/meditation. Take a vacation.

Check your family history
If a close relative is at risk of developing coronary heart disease from smoking, high BP, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, obesity and diabetes, then you could be at risk too.

Laughter is the best therapy
Laughter anytime will work wonders for you. It is an instant way to unleash the pressure and it makes you feel light.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pulled Pork

This is simple yet indulgent recipe for pulled pork. Gather the ingredients, dump it in a slow cooker and come home from work to find dinner waiting for you.

Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

3 lbs. Pork Shoulder

1 lb. Pork Tenderloin

12 oz. Dark Beer

1/2 cup Ketchup

1/4 cup Cider Vinegar

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

3/8 cup Whole Grain Mustard

2 T Chili Powder

1 tsp. Garlic

1 tsp. Cumin

2 tsp. Paprika

2 tsp. Black Pepper

2 Onions (diced)





Combine all ingredients except for pork and beer. Set aside 1/4 of mixture. Add remaining 3/4 to a slow cooker and add pork shoulder, pork tenderloin, and beer. Cook for 8 hours on low heat. After 8 hours, drain all liquid and fat. Remove bones and fat from pork shoulder as well. Add remaining 1/4 of reserved liquid and 1/8 cup of water and cook for an extra 1-2 hours. Serve by itself or on a whole grain or whole wheat bun.


Serves 10.




Nutritional Information (just meat ... bun not included):
Calories: 262, Total Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 480mg, Carbs: 10g, Protein: 29g

Friday, September 09, 2011

Just One More Justification for My Chocolate Addiction


Chocoholics may have edge in heart health



THE QUESTION Does chocolate, which is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, offer heart-related health benefits?

THIS STUDY analyzed data from seven studies involving 114,009 adults, ages 25 to 93, and including information on their diets and occurrences of cardiovascular disease over periods from eight to 16 years. People who ate the most chocolate — dark or light and in such forms as bars, drinks, desserts, snacks and nutritional supplements — were 37 percent less likely to have developed cardiovascular disease and 29 percent less likely to have had a stroke than were those who ate the least amount of chocolate. Chocolate consumption had no effect on the occurrence of heart failure.

WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? People who eat chocolate. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among both men and women in the United States, killing more than 600,000 people each year. Diet and other lifestyle changes are considered key in preventing and controlling heart-related disorders.

CAVEATS
Data on chocolate consumption came from the participants’ responses on questionnaires. The study did not determine whether the benefits varied by type of chocolate and did not indicate what constituted the highest and lowest amounts of chocolate consumption. The authors warned that chocolate should be eaten in moderation because of the generally high sugar and fat content of many commercially available chocolate products and urged that efforts be made to reduce this, in light of the benefits shown in the study.

FIND THIS STUDY in the Aug. 29 issue of BMJ (www.bmj.com).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Four Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol

The Four Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol

Eating certain foods can help people lower their cholesterol levels, even without the aid of medication, a new study finds.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients who started out with high or borderline high LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels (anything above 158 mg/dL) were able to lower their LDL by 14% over six months by sticking with a diet rich in cholesterol-lowering foods.

That diet cut participants' LDL three times more than a standard low-fat diet.

So what foods were effective against artery-clogging fat? According to study leader Dr. David Jenkins, chair of nutrition, metabolism and vascular biology at the University of Toronto, there are four pillars of a cholesterol-lowering diet: plant oils or sterols such as margarine; viscous fibers including oats, barley and psyllium; nuts; and soy.

For most people, Jenkins says, it wouldn't require that much effort to boost consumption of these foods enough to achieve a cholesterol-reducing effect. In fact, he says, it would be sufficient to substitute oat bran or psyllium cereal in the morning in place of your regular breakfast, and to try soy milk products instead of dairy.

The six-month study was the first to look at the potential impact of a real-world diet on cholesterol levels. Rather than providing their 345 participants with foods to eat, researchers counseled them on how to shop for and incorporate more cholesterol-lowering products into their diet on their own. (The only food given to the study participants was plant sterol-based margarine, which was not permitted to be sold in Canada, the site of the study, at the time.) One group of participants received two nutritional counseling sessions of 40-60 mins. each, while another group received a more intensive schedule of seven sessions over six months. The control group got advice on how to eat a low saturated fat diet.

At the end of the six months, the two intervention groups showed an average 25 mg/dL drop in their LDL levels, compared with an 8 mg/dL decline in the low-fat-diet group. Both groups that received counseling on cholesterol-lowering diets showed similar reductions, suggesting that people were able to change their diets after just two sessions of instruction.

"The results show that we do have something worthwhile to add to the dietary formula," says Jenkins.

He notes that the majority of people in the study were recruited through advertisements, which may have targeted people with a pre-existing interest in lowering their cholesterol levels, so they might have been particularly keen on adopting the necessary dietary changes to keep their lipid levels in check.

Jenkins suggests that the results could be even more impressive among people who aren't paying much attention to their diet at all and may therefore have more to gain. "The implication from our point of view is that if we take the couch potato, and they were to bite the bullet and adopt these changes, they could do much better in terms of reducing their cholesterol," he says.

How much more tofu and oat bran would it take to make a difference? Based on an average 2,000-calorie daily diet, Jenkins said the study participants were instructed to aim for 2 g of plant sterol, nearly 20 g of fiber, and 40 g each of soy and nut products daily.

Only about 40% of the volunteers reached this target, but Jenkins says anyone can easily start adding some of these foods into their diet gradually. "To eat more oats, for example, change your breakfast cereal and try some desserts made of oat bran with fruits and nuts," he says. He acknowledges that boosting soy intake could be a little more difficult, particularly among westerners who still aren't accustomed to the protein that's such a staple of Asian diets.

But the effort may be worth it, especially for those who aren't eager to start popping pills to lower their cholesterol, Jenkins says. In the first study his team did on these foods, in 2003, they showed that in a lab setting, when participants were provided with the adequate amounts of fiber, nuts, soy and plant sterols, they were able to lower their LDL levels by nearly 30% — with the reductions associated with early cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

Jenkins says his next step is to follow-up with his diet-study patients to see whether the change in their eating habits translates to cleaner arteries and therefore to fewer heart events. He plans to conduct imaging studies of the major arteries to document any changes the diet may have on blood vessels.

In the meantime, he says, "I don't think it's that difficult" to switch to a more powerful cholesterol-lowering diet. "You don't have to hold your nose, but just change as much as you can and look for substitutes for high-fat foods that often fill the gap very, very well."

Monday, August 08, 2011

Some Health Facts About Margarine

Courtesy of ButterySpreads.org...

Did You Know...

◦By replacing butter with soft spread margarine, the average person will cut at least 1200 grams of saturated fat from their diet per year

◦Losing as little as 7-10 pounds can significantly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease

◦A whole stick of butter has almost as much animal fat and cholesterol and double the amount of saturated fat as three quarter-pound burgers with cheese

◦Healthy adults should consume two servings of fatty fish per week to reduce their risk of heart disease

◦Lifestyle management of exercise and diet can lead to an approximate 20% reduction in cholesterol levels

◦Soft spread margarine provides rich buttery taste, but with less saturated fat and no cholesterol

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sauteed Tuna on a Bed of Greens

This is the perfect light summer dinner.


Sauteed Tuna on a Bed of Greens

◦3 cups torn Romaine lettuce

◦3 cups torn red leaf lettuce

◦1 cup chopped endive

◦1 cup torn radicchio

◦1 cup sliced mushrooms

◦1 cup snow peas

◦1 large tomato, cut into wedges

◦3 cloves garlic, minced
◦1 tablespoon stick margarine (60% or more oil)

◦1 pound tuna steaks

◦1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

◦2 tablespoons sugar

◦1 teaspoon dry mustard

◦1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

On six individual salad plates, arrange lettuce, endive, radiccho, mushrooms, snow peas and tomato. Set aside. In large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook garlic in margarine for one minute. Add tuna steaks and cook, browning on both sides, until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove fish and break into chunks. Arrange tuna on individual salads; set aside. In same skillet, add vinegar, sugar, mustard and pepper; heat through. Drizzle vinegar mixture over salads; serve immediately.

Number of Servings: 6

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Check out the New ButterySpreads.org

The National Association of Margarine Manufacturers has a newly redesigned, updated web site at www.butteryspreads.org. It's got information about ways to prevent heart disease, recommendations from nutritionists, links to third party resources that support the use of soft margarine products, delicious recipes and much more!

Check it out today at www.butteryspreads.org!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Check Out this Margarine Sculpture


I am LOVING this article from BBC. Very cool and yet bizarre all at once


A prize-winning "street" made out of pastry margarine by a Leicester artist has gone on display at a museum.

Last November, Vipula Athukorale, 47, won a gold medal for his unusual Victorian street scene at a world food sculpting competition in Luxembourg.

The 40kg (88lb) artwork, which took one month to complete, will be on show at Belgrave Hall Museum until 16 July.

Mr Athukorale said the sculpture, kept at his Belgrave home since the win, is "purely for public enjoyment".

'Hard to describe'

The piece is based on a Ronald Embleton painting which depicts a street scene with nine different characters.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
We thought if we don't show it to the public then it was a waste”
End Quote
Vipula Athukorale

Food sculptor

Clare Hudson, from Creative Leicestershire, approached the artist about his "unique" sculptures. She said people were "highly intrigued" about his pieces.

"His work is so hard to describe, so we thought the best thing would be to display it publicly," she said.

"He works freehand and he has an amazing eye and technique."

Mr Athukorale said: "We thought if we don't show it to the public then it was a waste.

"I really want people to enjoy my work."

The artist has an array of other margarine sculptures at his home, including a foot-long Rolls Royce car complete with four passengers travelling to a wedding.

Mr Athukorale beat contenders from more than 50 countries to win the top prize at the International Culinary World Cup.

The sculptor said he hoped to win more medals at other world events with his next unusual artwork.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Wedding Tornado has Passed

Please excuse my major lack of updates but the past month has been absolute chaos due to wedding planning, the wedding itself, honeymooning, etc. I'm now back in the real world unfortunately and hoping my cravings for salty, sweet, fatty foods will pass soon. I guess all that pre-wedding healthy eating went out the window along with my single life.
My clothes are fitting very tighly due to major indulgences and no exercise for three weeks. Starting this week I am getting back on track. Any tips that might get my mind and body on the same page?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Almond Pancakes with Roasted Red Fruit

I have been on a "breakfast for dinner" kick lately so I'm loving all things waffles, pancakes, eggs, etc. I made this last night for dinner and my fiance finished his plate in 5 minutes flat.

Chocolate Almond Pancakes with Roasted Red Fruit
Makes 18 pancakes

For the Pancakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 T. unsalted melted margarine
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Non-stick margarine spray
1 cup sliced toasted almonds (reserve half for garnish)
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
6 mint leaves for decoration


Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level with knife. Combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, almonds and salt in large bowl. Make a well in center of the mixture. In another bowl, combine milk, margarine, egg, pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir until smooth.

Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto a hot non-stick griddle or skillet coated with non-stick margarine spray. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look crisp. As each batch is completed, set aside.

For the Fruit

3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
Zest of 1 lemon
2 pints raspberries
2 pints strawberries
1 pint currants
3 red plums, each pitted and cut into 6 wedges


Preheat oven to 450°F. Place sugar in large bowl. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and use tip of paring knife to scrape vanilla pulp into the bowl with the sugar. Add lemon zest and rub sugar between fingers to evenly distribute ingredients. Add fruit and toss with sugar.

Spread fruit on rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes tossing once until the juices are thick and bubbling.

Serving suggestion: Stack 3 pancakes in the center of plate. Pour roasted fruit and syrup over the pancakes. Sprinkle with sugar and serve. 7

by Waldy Malouf Chef / Co-Owner Beacon Restaurant

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Survey Finds Many Young Adults Oblivious to Heart Health

Survey Finds Many Young Adults Oblivious to Heart Health

As obesity and other risk factors rise, many believe stroke and heart disease won't affect them

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- A new U.S. survey finds that nine out of 10 college-age adults think they're living a healthy lifestyle, even as experts warn that that's not the case and current lifestyles will have consequences for health down the road.

In fact, too much fast food, too much alcohol and too many sugary drinks are putting people aged 18 to 24 at increased risk for heart disease and stroke, say experts at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

"There is a clear disconnect," said Dr. Ralph Sacco, president of the AHA/ASA and a professor of neurology, epidemiology and human genetics and chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"Even though young people may think they are in good health, the national statistics don't show that," he said. "Current statistics show that less than 1 percent are meeting our definition for ideal cardiovascular health."

Young people aren't recognizing the importance of ideal health, but at the same time they feel "invincible" when it comes to their heart's well-being, Sacco said.

"Young people may not realize that healthy behaviors now translate into better health in middle adult life," he said. "Living a healthy lifestyle at the earliest ages is critical to living free of cardiovascular disease and stroke," he said.

For example, any rise in obesity in children will have serious health consequences later in life, he said. "If we don't do something as early as possible -- focusing on better health behaviors, like diet, exercise and not smoking -- it will be too late regarding development of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol," Sacco said.

In the survey released May 2, nearly 1,250 adults aged 18 to 44 were asked about their attitudes about health, healthy behaviors and their personal risk for stroke.

Most of the 18-24 year olds surveyed said they want to stay healthy and live a long time -- until they are 98, in fact. However, nearly half (43 percent) said they aren't were concerned about heart disease or stroke, and a third do not believe that healthy behaviors they engage in now will affect their risk for stroke later on.

Only 18 percent in this age group was able to identify one risk for stroke, the researchers added.

Other highlights of the survey:
•15 percent of college age adults and 23 percent of 25-34-year-olds say they smoke.
•36 percent of those aged 25 to 34 say they aren't concerned about heart disease or stroke.
•Only 22 percent of "older young adults" -- those aged 35 to 44 -- said they are not worried about heart disease, heart attack, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes or stroke.
•All of the age groups surveyed said they ranked stroke as the least of their worries in terms of personal health threats.

But experts beg to differ, noting that stroke prevention begins early in the life span. In fact, people who make healthy lifestyle choices lower their risk of a first stroke by as much as 80 percent, compared with those who don't make similar choices, according to the AHA/ASA.

Healthy behaviors include eating a diet low in "bad" fats and high in fruits and vegetables, drinking alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages in moderation, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight and not smoking.

Commenting on the survey, Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine said that "one of the things I distinctly recall about my own teenage years was a sense of immortality, or at least a very vague sense of my mortality."

"I'm not sure we can expect adolescents and young adults to be reliable judges of the healthfulness of their behaviors," he said. They are, to some degree, insulated against the adverse effects of their less healthy behaviors by their youth, Katz said.

They can play now, and pay later, he said. "But pay later, they will. And, with ever-more chronic disease [arising] at an ever-younger age, later comes sooner, and sooner," he said.

Katz doubts changing the character of youth is the answer to this problem.

"Rather, I believe it resides in changing the character of our culture, so that eating well, being active, and getting to health all lie along a path of lesser resistance. Young people may always tend to assume that what they tend to do is fine for their health. Our job is to create a society, a culture and environments that make them right," Katz said.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Asian Salmon

I made this healthy salmon dish last night and it was gone in a flash. Serve with some stir fried veggies and you've got yourself a hearty yet nutritious meal. You might double the marinade because I didn't really have enough.

Ingredients
2 pounds salmon filets, with skin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
4 cups water

Directions1.Make several shallow slashes in the skinless side of the salmon filets. Place filets skin-side down in a glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, pepper, onion and sesame oil. Pour the liquid over the salmon, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
2.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium saucepan combine the rice, water and dill weed. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium low heat until rice is tender and water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
3.Remove cover from salmon, and bake in the marinating dish for about 30 minutes, or until fish can be flaked with a fork. Serve salmon over the rice, and pour sauce over.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kids' wrist size tied to heart health

Kids' wrist size tied to heart health By Mary Brophy Marcus, USA TODAY The size of a child's wrist may offer clues to future heart health. A study in this week's Circulation found that overweight children with larger wrist bone measurements had higher insulin resistance, a risk factor for developing heart disease. It occurs when the body makes insulin but can't use it efficiently to break down blood sugar. "Wrist circumference mirrors insulin resistance levels," says senior study author Raffaella Buzzetti, a professor in clinical sciences at Sapienza University of Rome. "One of the major priorities of clinical practice today is the identification of young people at increased risk for insulin resistance. This is a very, very strong link," Buzzetti says. In the study, the wrist circumferences of 477 overweight and obese kids and teens (average age 10) were measured with a tape measure; 51 also had nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. This allowed researchers to measure the wrist bone alone. All of the children also had blood tests to measure insulin levels. There was a much stronger relationship between wrist bone circumference and the level of insulin in the blood than the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and insulin levels, the researchers report. BMI is a number based on weight and height that doctors use to estimate whether a person is normal weight, underweight, or overweight. BMI is also an indicator of diabetes and heart risk. While excess body fat is linked to heart disease risk, this is the first evidence that suggests a larger wrist circumference flags it, too, says Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Steinbaum says it makes sense because it's known that an increased amount of insulin in the system acts as a growth factor on bone. "We talk about the concept of being big-boned, but does that imply anything? What this is saying is that there might be some correlation between wrist circumference and insulin resistance," she says. More studies are needed before doctors can use wrist measurements to predict heart disease in youngsters, says Steinbaum says. She says inactivity and poor diet are at the root of a dismaying increase in the number of overweight and obese children. "What's very sad is that we have to do this at all — that we have to do more studies to figure out heart disease risk in our children," she says.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Secret Ingredient to a Moist Cake

It's potatoes! I know, I know, it sound ludicrous but I saw this article online the other day and just had to try it out. Guess what? It works! Potatoes have such a mild flavor that you can't even tell they're in there and the texture of the cake comes out moist, soft and scarfable.

Potato Chocolate Cake 1 cup hot mashed potatoes, not seasoned

1 cup lukewarm water

2/3 cup soft margarine

2 cups white sugar

1 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp) salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Icing sugar or icing

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Prepare desired cake pan (3.5 l/9 by 13 inches rectangular or a tube pan) by lightly greasing, then dusting with flour or lining with wax paper.

Whisk water into well-mashed potatoes until a smooth mixture is formed. Let cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl, beat margarine and sugar with electric mixer until combined. Add vanilla and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 of the eggs and beat until blended. Add remaining eggs. Beat at medium speed until blended.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir to combine. At low speed, add one-third of the sifted dry ingredients alternately with half the potato mixture to egg mixture until all is blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes for rectangular pan or 55 minutes for tube pan until cake springs back when pressed lightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Let cool on rack. Sift icing sugar over cake or frost with icing of your choice.

Will store at room temperature for up to 3 days in airtight container. Freezes well.

Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Nutritional information per 1/16 cake (values have been rounded to nearest whole number): 330 calories; 4 g fat; 5 g protein; 52 g carbohydrates; 190 mg sodium.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I am Losing My Mind with Mindless Snacking

I'm not sure whether most of you know this but on most days of the week I work from the comfort of my home in Austin, TX. It's a great arrangement and seems to be going well except one thing: I can't stop eating!!! In the morning. In the late morning. Early afternoon. You get the point.

I'm not used to have access to all of my favorite snacks just a room away with nobody to give me the "Are you really eating that?" glare when I dip into the bag of pita chips and hummus for the fifth time in ten minutes.

I've been trying to chew sugarless gum lately, which seems to help. I also try to set specific snack times and not graze at any other point in the day.

What do you do to avoid snacking?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Slumber Party French Toast

I've got my girlfriends from college coming to Austin this weekend for a girl's weekend and I couldn't be more excited. Is it Friday yet? I;m going to whip up this Slumber Party French Toast from the American Heart Association. Find this recipe and more at ButterySpreads.com.


Slumber Party French Toast
Recipe from the American Heart Association Kids' Cookbook

1/4 cup soft margarine spread

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Liquid egg substitute equal to two eggs

1/4 cup skim milk

6 1-inch thick slices French bread

1-2 Tbsp. powdered or confectioner’s sugar
Place margarine in baking pan or heat proof baking dish (9x13-inch). Place pan on burner. Turn heat to low. Heat margarine until melted.

Place brown sugar in small bowl. With fork, stir in cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture evenly over melted margarine in baking pan or dish.

Combine egg substitute and milk in glass pie plate. Mix with fork until blended.

With fingers or fork, dip bread slices into egg mixture to coat both sides. Lay slices over sugar-cinnamon mixture in baking pan or dish. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the bread slices.

Cover pan with foil and refrigerate overnight. Remove pan from refrigerator one hour before baking. Let stand on the kitchen counter to reach room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Carefully place toast in hot oven. Bake 25 minutes.

Using oven mitts, remove pan from oven to wire cooling rack. With oven mitts, carefully remove foil from pan. Return pan to hot oven. Bake for 15 minutes longer. Using oven mitts, remove pan to cooling rack.

Sprinkle French toast with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings (one slice per serving).

Nutrition Information:
Per Serving:
Calories 288
Fat (grams) 8
Cholesterol (mg) less than 1

Friday, March 11, 2011

Not Your Mother's Margarine

From ButterySpreads.org

Today's Buttery Spread: Selection and Usage Not Your Mother's Margarine

Today's buttery spread case is full of more varieties than a typical ice cream parlor -- stick margarine, low-fat, squeeze, tub, 60 percent oil, etc. What will work best in a recipe calling for stick margarine or a soft margarine spread, or a favorite recipe ripe for conversion?

There is a whole new generation of margarine products on the market today designed to help consumers reduce fat and cholesterol in their diets. Like the traditional stick margarine consumers have used for decades, these products are vegetable oil-based, contain no cholesterol and have considerably less saturated fat than butter. And buttery spreads (soft margarine spreads) can be an important part of a low cholesterol diet.

It’s never too early and never too late to start eating healthy. Over time even small choices like the substitution of soft margarine spreads (“buttery spreads”) for butter can make a significant difference in overall health. In fact, soft margarine spreads have been proven to significantly reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol when used in place of butter, as part of a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels can result in dramatic improvements in heart-health over one's lifetime by reducing the risk of heart disease.

The risk of heart disease can be significantly reduced by adapting a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet which is low in total cholesterol and saturated fat. Choosing soft margarine spreads in place of butter can have a major impact: A typical buttery spread has no cholesterol, 0 grams of trans fat and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving. In contrast, butter has 7 grams saturated fat and 30 milligrams of cholesterol per serving. In fact, a simple substitution such as using a soft margarine spread instead of butter over a week's time can cut an entire day's worth of saturated fat.

Buttery spreads – the soft (“tub”), squeeze and spray varieties – meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Food and Drug Administration and the federal government’s National Cholesterol Education Program as well as the American Heart Association all recommend choosing soft margarine spreads (buttery spreads) over butter.

Today’s healthful buttery spreads are not traditional margarines (not your mother’s margarine). In fact, most of what’s sold in the supermarket today is not traditional stick margarine -- it's a buttery spread (soft margarine spread). Buttery spreads are made from nutritious, natural vegetable oils; butter is made from animal fat.

Buttery spreads are used primarily for spreading on various breads (65%) and as a topping on a variety of foods (10%). However, 25 percent are used by consumers for cooking and baking. When cooking or baking with margarine products, consumers should understand that product oil levels vary and can often affect recipe results. To select the right stick margarine or buttery spread for various uses, it is important to understand the differences between them. The following descriptions should help.

Margarine

With no other descriptors in the name (such as "light") must meet government guidelines ("standard of identity") for minimum fat content (80%). The same is true for butter. Unlike the products mentioned below, the percentage of oil is not found on margarine or butter packages because the standard of identity does not require it (similar to whole milk which does not show the percentage of fat on the container). One can tell if the product is traditional stick margarine by checking the Nutrition Facts: a one tablespoon serving will have 100 calories.

Stick margarine can be used in all recipes where "margarine" or butter is specified. The results will meet expectations, especially where baking is concerned. However, if margarine is labeled "light", "lower fat", "reduced fat", "reduced calorie/diet" or "fat-free", see the guidelines below before cooking and baking.

Vegetable Oil Spreads

Products that contain less than the 80 percent oil mandated by the government for margarine. The front of the package will often state the percentage of oil in the product (e.g., 70% vegetable oil spread).

Modified Margarines (now known as Buttery Spreads)

The result of recently implemented nutrition labeling regulations. These products can be called "margarine", but this identification must be preceded by one of the Food and Drug Administration's approved nutrient content claims. To qualify, the product must meet certain criteria:

Reduced-fat or reduced-calorie/diet margarine -- will contain no more than 60 percent oil (25% reduction in fat and calories)
Light/lower fat margarine -- will contain no more than 40 percent oil (50% or more reduction in fat)
Fat-free margarine -- virtually fat-free, will contain less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving
Regular/traditional margarine can be used in all recipes where margarine or butter is specified. The results will meet expectations, especially where baking is concerned. However, if margarine is labeled light, low-fat, reduced-fat or fat-free, or is called a vegetable oil spread, these guidelines should be followed for cooking and baking. You will want to check out the front of the package, which will often state the percentage of oil in the product (e.g., 70% vegetable oil spread, 26% corn oil). If a product is regular/traditional margarine, it will have 100 calories per tablespoon, and according to the government's standard of identity, the percentage of oil in regular margarine - 80% -- need not be listed on the package.

Using Traditional Margarine or Buttery Spreads in Recipes

The following guidelines should be helpful when selecting a margarine product for use in a favorite recipe. Keep in mind, however, that many recipes now available (especially on product packages) are designed for use with these lower oil buttery spreads (soft margarine spreads).

60 percent or more oil products can be used almost anywhere butter or "margarine" is specified. However, buttery spreads (e.g., reduced-fat, light) should not be used for baked goods that require precise amounts of fat and moisture, such as pastry crusts and spritz cookies (unless a recipe has been developed specifically for a particular buttery spread).
50-59 percent oil products also work well for most cooking, such as the preparation of side dishes and sautéing, in addition to topping and spreading.
49 percent or less oil products should be used only for spreading, topping and adding flavor to recipes that already contain a significant amount of moisture (e.g., macaroni and cheese). They are not designed for baking and frying.
Keep in mind this "rule of thumb" when selecting a margarine or buttery spread for cooking or baking:

The higher the oil content, the more fat there is in the product. While fat does add calories, it contributes texture and browning properties to foods.

The lower the oil content, the less fat there is in the product. This is critical to know when sautéing or baking, since products with the lower amount of fat do not perform in the same way as traditional stick margarine.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Is There a Lack Between Your Sleep Habits and Your Heart Health?

This article from "The Future of Things" is a great recap of a study on the links between sleep habits and heart health. It's an interesting topic for me because I typically get one or two nights of good sleep a week and the rest are either restless or I only sleep soundly for a few hours and then wake up wide awake.

Do you sleep soundly at night or do you have problems getting adequate rest?


Researchers at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island discovered a link between sleeping habits and heart health in men. According to their study, men who get less sleep than the norm can develop a thickened carotid artery wall. This thickening, called intima-media thickening or IMT, is a known marker of heart disease. Interestingly, this correlation is gender-specific; lower than normal sleep in women does not have the same effect.

The study, led by Brown graduate student Megan Sands, monitored the sleep of over 600men and women between the ages of 37 and 52 located across the United States. The men in the study slept an average of 5.7 hours per night while the women slept an average of 6.3 hours.

The study also examined ultrasound tests for each participant, discovering that the men also tended to have thicker carotid artery walls than the women, 0.74 millimeters for the men versus 0.68 millimeters for the women. However, the major difference between men and women was what happened to the artery wall when subjects managed to achieve an extra hour of sleep: the carotid artery wall was 0.021 millimeters narrower on average in men while the difference for women was a mere 0.002 millimeters, negligible within the parameters of the test.

No causal link between the length of sleep and the carotid artery thickening has been reported at this time. Discovering the reason behind this phenomenon and why it only happens in men may lead to additional insight and information about the role of sleep in health and the causes of heart disease. In addition, these are preliminary results reported at a meeting of the American Heart Association and should not yet be accorded the same level of trust as studies that have been fully peer reviewed and published in a professional journal. That said, the preliminary result of a link between sleep and IMT in men seems sound.

TFOT previously reported on another study that examined the relationship between the amount of sleep we get and mortality rates over a period of 20 years. TFOT also reported on other research studies related to cardiovascular disease including the discovery of a protein that can reduce cell damage during heart attacks, the use of electric pulses to clear blocked arteries, a new medicine that helps patients adjust to stents and live a more active life once they've been implanted, and a new method for generating heart tissue and blood cells from skin cells.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tips for Staying Healthy on an Airplane

I'm on a flight right now back to Austin from Los Angeles. All around me I can hear sneezing, sniffling, coughing and wheezing. Flu season is upon and it seems like everybody I know has been sick lately.

After spending a week in bed with a virus a few weeks ago, I was determined not to get sick on this trip. Unfortauntely, airplanes are full of germs wafting throughout the cabin and they're hard to escape. Here are some of my tips for fighting infections while in the air:

1. Drink water. Staying hydrating is probably the most important thing you can do when traveling by airplane or any other means of transportation. When your body gets dehydrated its ability to fight disease weakens, increasing your chances of getting sick. so drink up before, during and after your flight.

2. Avoid alcohol. Many people knock back a few drinks during a flight due to fear of flying or simply boredom. It's best to avoid alcohol while traveling because it dehydrates the body. Plus, it interupts your sleep cycle, which is vital for good health.

3. Board the plane last. The less time you're on the airplane, the less time you spend in the germ-infested vessel.

4. Bring antibacterial wipes. wipe down the armsrests and tray table immediately to avoid contact with any germs. Also, wipe down any areas in the bathroom before you touch them.

5. Take vitamins before your trip. In the days leading up to a flight be sure to take a multivitamin as well as an extra dose of vitamin C to fight infections.

Safe travels!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Heart Health Guidelines for Women

This is a great article!
the past, women have used heart-health guidelines that were developed based on research on men.

The American Heart Association is out with a new set of guidelines aimed at preventing heart disease in women. Although, heart disease is thought to mainly affect men, it is actually an equal opportunity killer. These are the first heart-health tips tailored specifically for women.

Heart disease is the biggest killer of both men and women worldwide, and is projected to stay that way for decades, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Lori Mosca, who headed the group which wrote the guidelines, says "heart disease is largely preventable," and there are ways women can reduce their risk. "In fact, control of major risk factors has been shown to cut the rate of dying of heart disease in half in the past two decades."

The guidelines, which were first introduced a decade ago, are actually designed to help doctors counsel their patients, but this year for the first time, the revised guidelines are also being published in a more user-friendly form, written for non-physicians.

The guidelines promote reducing the risk of heart disease by stopping smoking, being physically active, and eating fruits and vegetables, among other lifestyle choices. Other guidelines deal with aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs and when those drugs are most effective.

In some cases the latest guidelines lower the threshold at which women would be considered at high risk, "because many of the current strategies and tools that we have to define high risk in women have been shown to actually underestimate the level of risk that a woman has," Mosca says.

Although the guidelines are issued by the American Heart Association, Mosca says they apply to women everywhere.

"The scientific base to develop the guidelines has been drawn from across the world, so we're quite confident that the guidelines themselves apply to women regardless of the country they live in."

That said, the experts who developed the guidelines acknowledge they may need to be adapted to reflect regional or local resources and lifestyles.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sauteed Tilpaia with Lemon-Caper Pan Sauce

I modified this recipe from Cooking Light and it really couldn't be easier for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients
Ingredients
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons drained capers
1 teaspoon soft margarine
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 (6-ounce) tilapia or sole fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons butter
Lemon wedges (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients.

Melt 1 teaspoon of margarine with oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.

While butter melts, sprinkle fish fillets with salt and black pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; shake off excess flour.

Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until margarine turns golden brown. Add fillets to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fillets from pan. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in two teaspoons of soft margarine with a whisk. Serve sauce over fillets. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Calories:282 (26% from fat)
Fat:8.3g (sat 3.2g,mono 2g,poly 2.1g)
Protein:35g
Carbohydrate:15.3g
Fiber:0.8g
Cholesterol:92mg
Iron:1.5mg
Sodium:739mg
Calcium:43mg

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

2011 Red Dress Award Winners, Raising Awareness of Heart Disease

This article is courtesy of Women's Day

2011 Red Dress Award Winners

Meet the newest recipients of WD’s heart disease-awareness honor:

Hoda Kotb
For the past three years, Kotb has been an ardent AHA supporter. In addition to hosting the Go Red For Women special on NBC, she served as a guest speaker at several Go Red events and has advocated for women’s heart health in her role as coanchor of the fourth hour of the TODAY show.

My wakeup call was... When my dad died of a heart attack at age 53. I don’t live in fear, but it made me more mindful of my own health habits.
My motto is... You have to be selfish in order to be selfless. I exercise every single day. It’s easy to say, “How can I spend one hour on me when other people need me?” But it’s the only way you’ll be around to continue helping other people for a long time to come.

Barbara Walters
One of the best-known names in journalism, ABC News correspondent and The View co-executive producer and cohost Barbara Walters was diagnosed with a faulty valve in her heart in 2009. After undergoing openheart surgery, she decided to share what she learned through an hour-long television special. (It aired on February 4 and featured prominent heart disease survivors such as Bill Clinton and David Letterman.)

I want to urge women to...Talk to their doctors about their heart health, and make sure that they’re thoroughly screened. Most women have mammograms, but not EKGs. That has to change.

Since my surgery... My diet and exercise habits are basically the same— I was doing pretty well before—but my outlook has changed. I used to do a lot of things I didn’t want to do because I thought I should. Now I only do the things that give me pleasure.


Rita Redberg, MD
Dr. Redberg, the director of Women’s Cardiovascular Services at UCSF Medical Center, has spent her career educating patients—and doctors—about heart disease in women. She has spearheaded physician education programs for the American College of Cardiology and the AHA, and is currently the editor of the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

My proudest heart-health moment was... When I helped a patient go off statin medication. Another doctor had put her on it, and she was suffering from side effects like memory loss, fatigue and muscle weakness. She was miserable. I took a detailed history and figured out that her chance of developing heart disease was actually very low, since she didn’t have any risk factors besides high cholesterol. Sometimes medication is necessary, but in her case it wasn’t. I told her she could stop taking the drugs as long as she followed a heart-healthy diet, got regular exercise and didn’t take up smoking. She was so happy— she told me that I had given her her life back!

The good news about heart disease is... Small steps really do have a big impact. Walking just 10 minutes a day or losing 5 pounds can drastically reduce your risk. Photo: courtesy of Rita Redberg, MD


Delores Covington
As a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Heart Truth Champion, Covington was trained to speak out about women’s heart health to organizations in her community. She went above and beyond this by playing a key role in research on heart disease in African-American women. As president of the Sacramento, California, chapter of The Links, a nonprofit community service organization, she volunteered to collaborate with experts at the University of California, Davis to recruit women for their research. Their goal was to find out whether reaching out to women in churches and community centers would improve their heart disease risk factors. (It did.)

I was surprised to learn... That although chest pain can be a heart attack symptom in women, so can nausea, indigestion and fatigue. It was also surprising that heart disease kills more women than cancer every year, and that it’s the number-one killer of African-American women—facts I didn’t know prior to my work in this area.

What I want women to know about heart disease… It’s usually preventable. You don’t have to die from it. Photo: courtesy of Delores Covington

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mom's Margarine Cake

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a few weeks now so my goal is to bake it tonight. Looks yummy!

Mom's Margarine Cake
Ingredients:
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups margarine, softened
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch tube pan.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and margarine until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and lemon juice. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; mix into the batter alternating with the milk just until blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the crown comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely