Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

This post is about 6 weeks overdue, but I think it’s worth it…12 in 12

As the calendar flipped over to 2012, I was resolved not to resolve; no resolutions for me! I haven’t had a successful New Year’s resolution since I was about 8 years old and resolved to stop biting my nails. But then I came across a brilliant idea from Fitarella: 12 in 12. Basically, take on just one goal (or resolution, if you prefer that term) each month for the year, 12 goals in 2012. Focusing on something each day for a month is likely to make it a habit, yet you’re making your goals much more manageable by taking on just one thing at a time. At the end of each month, you can choose to continue that goal while you move on to your next monthly goal, or not. Your choice. Either way, at the end of the year you’ll have completed 12 resolutions…when was the last time you can say you did that?

I haven’t planned out my entire year’s worth of goals yet, but I did complete January (floss every day) and have begun February (clean/organize for at least 15 minutes a day). I plan to also have months where I journal every day, go completely vegan, workout every day, etc. I love the variety, the possibility, the feasability. I think ahead to my month and choose a goal that I know I can achieve, regardless of my travel schedule, holidays, etc.

How are your goals for the year coming along? Would you be more likely to succeed if you break it down into smaller segments (monthly, weekly, quarterly)?

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The wellness program at my new job is AWESOME! Yay for employers that take a proactive position in their employees’ health. This month’s challenge: track (and reduce) our sodium intake.

salt shaker

Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve gone OCD about lots of things in my diet and fitness life, from heart rate to ounces of water, carbs and fat, time of day I’m eating, and, of course, calories. But I’d never tracked sodium. This was going to be hard, because even though I rarely add salt to food, I crave salty snacks. Give me fries or chips or popcorn over ice cream any day!

Turns out, this challenge is even more enlightening than I thought. After only 10 days, my blood pressure had dropped from a normal 120/80 to 94/62! I realize lots of factors can affect blood pressure, so I probably can’t attribute it all to less sodium, but it was enough to motivate me to keep at it. I also felt like I was less…well, puffy. And it is amazing the sodium that hides out in foods, even those that you don’t think of as salty.

People do need SOME sodium for normal bodily functions, but most Western diets include many times the recommended amount. According to Mayoclinic.com, healthy adults should not exceed 2,300 mg of sodium a day. Our challenge is to keep it around 1,500 mg, which is very tough to do! I consider it a good day if I’m under 2,000.

If you’ve never paid much attention to your sodium intake before, try it out for a week. Or even a day! I think you’ll be surprised.

– albledsoe

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Clean and Lean

What does a Type A foodie love more than good healthy food? An article about cleaning out your kitchen and making room for more good healthy food! The experts over at Active.com have put together some great info with tips on clearing the clutter in your kitchen and restocking your shelves with with goodness. You clean out and organize your closets and junk drawers every spring, so why not add the kitchen to your list of spaces to tidy up this year?

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It’s Lent, and in St. Louis that means you can find a fish fry on nearly every corner. Break out the vat of grease and bring on the deep-fried fish, fries and hush puppies. What a way to start your weekend!

This becomes the meal of choice for so many families this time of year. One of my co-workers has admitted to eating this meal at least once a week during Lent. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in splurging on treats, but in moderation. One fried fish dinner every now and then is just fine, but every Friday? No thanks! Just because you are avoiding meat, doesn’t mean you have to turn to a fried food bonanza.

Grab a bowl of vegetarian chili, indulge in a fillet of fish, but bake, broil or grill it. Make some hearty vegetarian lasagna; enjoy half this weekend and freeze the rest for next week. You do have choices. They may require a little pre-planning, but it will be worth it in the end. You will feel better heading into your weekend knowing you made a smart choice. Skip fry-day this week.

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Salmon with ginger-soy butter, I lovingly refer to it as, scrumptious salmon.

Okay F2BT readers, I’m sharing this recipe with you so you can add the ingredients to your grocery list and get this on your menu this weekend. If you like fish, try this recipe for salmon with ginger-soy butter; I promise you won’t be disappointed. It is the best tasting salmon I’ve ever eaten. Yes, ever. The blend of ginger and lemon is nothing short of a miracle; it has a perfectly balanced flavor that you will savor in every bite. I know it’s cliché, but this will melt in your mouth.

This dish is easy to make and it tastes and looks like you spent all day putting the meal together. The adaptation was concocted by the gang over at Men’s Health; they cut the fat, sodium and calories way down from P.F. Chang’s version of this dish. Mad props go out to them for sharing this recipe with the world. Seth made this for the first time in February, and I’ve been coming up with reasons for him to make it again and again since then. This is the kind of meal that is so good, it makes you want to swear off restaurants forever. I guarantee that our next round of house guests will be treated to this delight!

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[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=oranges+fruit&iid=238870″ src=”0235/d48a6b4d-2b53-4273-827b-7743dc6d926c.jpg?adImageId=10634529&imageId=238870″ width=”117″ height=”175″ /]What was it? A box of clementines. This sweet and healthy treat becomes a staple in my kitchen as soon as winter hits. I usually buy the bag instead of the box, (Seth doesn’t like oranges; no, I don’t understand this) but I couldn’t pass up the deal on a box the last time I made it to the grocery store.

How does one gal eat about 30 clementines in a week? They accompanied my meals morning noon and night. For breakfast I would have a clementine, a boiled egg and some cereal or yogurt. Snack time meant a handful of almonds and a clementine or two. For lunch I swapped out tomatoes on my salads for clementines. At dinner I topped my cottage cheese with them or treated myself to a few clementines for dessert.

In addition to being the perfect snack size (35 calories each), they are so easy to peel and travel very well. They fit into your purse or lunchbox easily and you don’t have to worry about bumps and bruising like you do with other fruits. Is this the perfect fruit or what?

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To Eat, Or Not To Eat

Are there any foods you refuse to eat? I don’t mean foods you don’t like the taste of, but actual foods you refuse to put in your body. This list of 7 Foods the Experts Won’t Eat posted on Yahoo Shine made me think about some of the foods I have decided to avoid.

You know how Amanda and I feel about all things containing HFCS and Hydrogenated Fats; they are not doing your body any good. So, any items containing these ingredients rocket to the top of the list. Read those labels! Just remember that the longer the shelf life processed food has, the worse it is for you.

Reaching for things that are pre-packaged and marketed as convenient can sometimes find their way right into your grocery cart. Here are a few more sneaky items I always try to avoid: pre-packaged biscuits/rolls, non-organic broth and soup, frozen dinners, breakfast bars and toaster pastries.

What is on your “I won’t eat it” list?


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More on water

This RealAge.com article reports on a study that finds dehydration causes not only physical angst, but also has a negative effect on your mood. I recently wrote about water and nausea, and I maintain the dogma that when you’re feeling icky in any way, the first thing you should do is drink a big glass of water. It can’t hurt, and much of the time it will help.

In other beverage news, the Drs. Mohr at MohrResults.com reported on red wine and how its touted health benefits may be exaggerated, while green tea holds up as a powerful antioxident-filled drink that provides a nice energy boost.

It seems that with most people, simply changing your beverage intake can be a huge step toward a much healthier, fitter lifestyle. Especially if you drink sodas, flavored coffee drinks, and lots of alcohol, cutting back to mostly water (and a lot of it), black coffee and tea, and the occasional glass (5 oz.) of wine can save a lot of calories and make you feel much better, even if you change nothing else about your diet.

– albledsoe

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Earlier this week I was having a serious pasta craving. Not just any pasta would do, I wanted the mother of all pasta dishes. Fettuccine alfredo. But, the problem with fettuccine alfredo, is that it’s like going swimming in a vat of salt, butter and cream. It tops the list as on of the worst foods you can eat and I knew that I don’t want to put all that bad stuff in my body.

Spinach Fettuccini Alfredo

The healthy version of fettuccine alfredo.

Self.com came to the rescue with one of their oh-so-good and healthy dishes. Their Spinach Fettuccine with Yogurt-Cream Sauce was just what I needed. I was able to indulge in a pasta treat with a cream sauce and still feel great about what I ate. I heart healthy versions of unhealthy classics! This dish comes in at 249 calories per serving, 4.9 g fat (1.7 g saturated), 38.9 g carbs, 3.3 g fiber, and 13.3 g protein.

I didn’t have everything I needed to follow the self recipe exactly, so I used asparagus instead of squash and I added a cup of grilled chicken to the recipe. It was delish! Since I was only cooking for two, I had leftovers for lunch the next two days. Consider this healthy alternative the next time a pasta craving hits you!

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Roasted Purple Potatoes

Roasted Purple Potatoes

I stumbled upon these little purple guys at one of my favorite grocery stores, Trader Joe’s. At first I thought they would only have a purple skin, but much to my surprise these purple potatoes were just as purple on the inside as they are on the outside. How fun is that? I think any vegetable that is purple automatically makes it more fun to eat, but it’s even better when said vegetable goes above and beyond in the good for you department.

As it turns out, these little purple guys are more than just pleasing to the eye. The Purple Majesty is a natural breed that is purple from the inside out. This violet veggie that is loaded with antioxidants debuted in 2006. In addition to being rich in Potassium and Vitamin C, the Purple Majesty variety boasts a whopping amount of antioxidants per serving (235 milligrams of anthocyanins). In case you’ve forgotten about the benefits of indulging in free radical fighting antioxidants: they can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and they can also help to boost your immune system and lower cholesterol. It doesn’t get better than that!

Once you get your hands on this purple tuber, what do you do with it? They are about the size of a new potato, and they have a very thin skin so you can use it in a number of ways. This variety is a little sweeter than a regular new potato, and the mellow flavor and thin skin makes the purple potato perfect for roasting. It’s a nice break from the usual Russet or Yukon Gold variety used day in and day out. I have also used them for potato salad; this purple potato definitely stands out among the crowd and will spark some conversation, so be ready to defend your purple potluck contribution.

Have you ever tried purple potatoes? Leave a comment to share your favorite purple potato recipe.


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