Archive for: diet
As some of you may have already figured out, I get a little non-traditional during the holiday season opting for seafood over stuffing, chocolate over cherry pie and tofu over turkey most Thanksgiving meals. Maybe it’s the non-conformist, rebellious side of me that strikes out against the routine of familiar fare. My guess is that we all feel that way on occasion, although there is something to be said for the comforts of tradition especially when we are far from home and loved ones. This year, while I’m still not tempted to prepare a turkey, I have decided to be bold and daring in other endeavors, namely punching up my Thanksgiving spread with pomegranates. Don’t let its quirky exterior fool you, inside this exotic fruit is packed with non-traditional nutrients that are sure to make your body thankful for years to come.
In the past few months, I’ve had the honor to work closely with remarkable Veterans and civilian leaders who fully committed to creating a permanent Veterans Family Center here in Maine. It was the vision of Staff Sergeant, Travis Mills, one of only five surviving quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, to have a permanent, handicap accessible camp for Veterans and their families to relax, rehabilitate and rejuvenate among fellow Veterans. This week, Travis retired from his military service and will be moving his family to begin a new life away from the familiarity of 19 months in rehabilitation at Walter Reed, his unit, squadron and fellow veterans. Like many veterans and their families, change can bring exciting opportunities but it can also trigger stress and anxiety especially for those dealing with PTSD.
As teenagers go, I was a pretty good kid. I stayed active in sports, was the editor of my yearbook, acted in theater productions, stayed on the honor role, and was always home by curfew. But, like all good kids, when you fall, you sometimes fall hard. A day after graduation, I told a little lie in order to attend a dinner and a play in the city. By midnight, we had crashed the car in the median after the driver feel asleep behind the wheel. I ended up in the hospital with a severely broken wrist and hand. Beyond my mother’s wrath, I also suffered terrible flashbacks. For years, I couldn’t get into a car without tremendous anxiety and the sound of a gravel road would completely freak me out. It is remarkable how traumatic experiences affect our physical and emotional state and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for our military and veterans. While I won’t presume any fool-proof solutions for the physical and emotional complexities of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there are some helpful healthy choices that are easy to incorporate right now that may help alleviate some factors that aggravate PTSD.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an investor, squirreling away my hard-earned lawn mowing and babysitting money in my passbook savings account at our local bank. At a young age I knew the importance of compounding interest and the benefit of investing in my future. The same rules apply to your health — the more you invest in it at an early age, the better return you’ll get on your investment in the future. Are you well-invested? If not, there are some simple investments you can make right now to ensure you’ll reap those healthy dividends.
For nearly a year now, I haven’t watched any news and it is amazing how much I haven’t missed. While I can appreciate the role of the media to keep us informed and connected, I wonder it if sometimes does more harm than good. A snappy headline here and there catches our attention especially, it seems, when it comes to our health. For whatever reason, soy has been much maligned in recent years as a dangerous and harmful food. This week alone, I had two people express their concern over soy and their vow never to eat it. Let’s stop the insanity and get at the real truth about soy.
Now, I’ve never been one to dream about food but I have to say that after living in New Mexico for a few years working at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman AFB, I developed quite a taste for green chilies. As a meat & potatoes midwestern girl, spicy foods seldom, if ever, made it to my plate. So, it must have been the captivation of the high desert, the thin air, majestic mountain ranges, or even the expansive, clear night sky that drew me into not only the scenery but the culinary delights of the southwest. Little did I know that my indulgence into these potent peppers was a healthy one!
Have you ever had moments in your life when you’ve met someone and you knew that the meeting was more than just coincidental — like fate or faith had something to do with it? Recently, while on a wonderful anniversary trip to New Mexico, Mark and I met a terrific couple whose anniversary is the same date as ours. In just a few short days, we became fast friends and look forward to seeing them again soon. Was it just a coincidence.…or was it something else? There is a saying that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” When you keep yourself open to possibilities, it is remarkable how many pivotal people will enter your life at just the right time. Recently, one of those pivotal people in our lives has been Dr. Alfredo Galvez. I thought you might appreciate spending some time with this genetic genius as he answers important questions about your health.
For as long as I can remember, I have had an affinity for water. Maybe it’s because every state I’ve lived in from the time I was born was near a body of water. From the expansive Great Lakes, the calm shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the rocky coast of the northern Atlantic ocean, I love the water. As a sports enthusiast, water is the one medium you can enjoy year round. Last Christmas, we had the rare occasion to skate on “glass ice” at my parents’ lake home. In college, I lived on the shores of Lake Superior. Chilly for swimming but an incredible snow maker in the winter. Living in Maine, I have even bigger reasons to love the water…I can get lobster year round! For those of you who love surf more than turf and think crab, lobster and other crustacea are rare indulgences, it’s time to put it back on your plate!
Sorry to have missed you last week. My parents were in town for a visit and we had a very full schedule of activities. One thing I notice about spending time with my folks is how many characteristics we share. I love working on projects with my dad as much as I love shopping adventures with my mom. This photo is from a trip I took with my mom to Eastport, Maine — the easternmost city in the United States — how cool is that? I’m fortunate to have amazing parents who are kind, loving, generous, fun and loaded with talent. You may or may not be in the same boat with your folks — the good news is that you have the power to do something about it.
Like all good Italian families, we had a huge garden when I was a kid. My inventive father cleverly created an outdoor carpet template with holes cut strategically to allow the plants to thrive while keeping the weeds at bay. As a result, our garden was a veggie producing machine! With an overabundance of produce, I learned about 100 different ways to prepare zucchini. Little did I know just how good it was for me and can be for you too.
For most of North America, August ushers in the dog days of summer. Here in Maine they usher in the beginning of autumn — I am not kidding you. Our temps have already dipped and, just yesterday, I saw a maple tree whose leaves were already turning — come on, tree, seriously? It would make sense then that you never find a parked car with the windows cracked this time of year. Actually, it’s not the weather that keeps them shut. Around here, if you leave your windows cracked open, you’ll be met with a seat full of cucumbers, squash and zucchini! Every Mainer knows about twenty ways to use a zucchini and the rest leave a trail around the state. The good news is that these healthy harvests produce some great nutritious dividends as well. Today, we’ll focus on the cucumber.
Did you ever see the animated movie, The Incredibles? It’s about a family of superheroes who must keep their super powers secret in order to fit into a suburban lifestyle. Of course, when evil threatens, you can’t keep good superheroes down! My favorite character is Edna, or “E”, a tiny yet extremely high strung designer tasked with creating costumes for “gods” as she described the cast of super heroes she clothed. Her biggest gripe was “no capes” after several super heroes met their demise with tragic wardrobe malfunctions! As kids, I’m sure we all had fantasies about becoming superheroes. Maybe a super you isn’t so far off thanks to the exciting new world of Epigenetics.
After an exceedingly cold and long winter, I promised myself that I would never again complain about summer heat…until now. It is hot and its sticky here already and it isn’t even noontime. In any other part of the country, a hot, humid day is bearable when you can flip on the a/c and chill out, literally. Unfortunately in Maine, the closest thing we have to air conditioning is opening a window. Am I complaining too much? No wonder my thoughts are turning to the tropics. Summer is one of the best times to experiment with tropical fruits that cool you down and improve your health at the same time. Here are a couple you can add to your summer dishes and drinks.
Have you ever caught a whiff of coconut and it immediately triggers an image of a tropical paradise with warm sandy beaches, waves lapping ashore, a chilled umbrella drink in hand, and steel drums playing in the distance? Or does that just work for me? Coconut is obviously one of my favorite scents and flavors of summer. Unfortunately, coconut is considered a forbidden fat-laden food found in rich, decadent cookies, pies and cakes. Let’s bust through coconuts crusty shell to reveal some amazing health and fat-loss benefits.
In high school, my brother and his buddies started a band. Not only were they a crazy-talented bunch, they also had an uncanny ability to throw a concert together on a moment’s notice and fill the room with 300 or more avid fans. Last summer, they got the band back together for a one-night-only concert on the lake. It was a blast and we’re looking forward to an encore this year. It proved to me that you can go back and relive experiences from your past. With summer in full stride, maybe it’s time to shake up your fitness routine, rekindle some passions of your own and maybe even cultivate a few new ones.
Saturday finally felt like summer here in Maine so we made the most of the day from an early morning walk, to a round of golf and then two hour bike ride. A day outdoors is great for the body and the mind but it can take its toll on the skin. Fortunately, we remained skin savvy by wearing UPF clothing, hats and kept the sunscreen handy. Another great way to save your skin this summer is to protect it from the inside out. Some of the best summer foods also happen to be great skin savers.
I used to be addicted to protein bars!
In order to build muscle, I was chowing down on about 2–3 bars a day thinking they were good for me just because they were called “Protein Bars”…
But, the problem was that commercial Protein Bars are more than often LOADED with sugar, and cost on average $3 — $5 a bar…
Then a friend of mine gave me a muscle-building recipe book with the perfect homemade protein bar — one that has all the good stuff and none of the bad.
I was a very lucky kid growing up on a lake. When my parents bought their lake home, they said “We aren’t buying a house, we’re investing in a way of life.” There is nothing like lake-living. My winters were spent skating, ice fishing and cross country skiing, and it was always a goal to have the first boat in the water in the spring and last out in the fall. When summertime came along, my siblings and I spent countless hours in the water swimming, sailing, or just floating around. That meant that we also spent a lot of time in the sun. No matter where you live, chances are you’re going to be spending time in the sun this summer. Before you hit the beach, lake, pond or pool, it’s time to get savvy about your skin.
Although I’m fascinated with ancient history and artifacts — I could totally be Indiana Jones, whip and all — I’m not a huge fan of museums. Everywhere you go, there are signs saying “Do Not Touch.” Truthfully, doesn’t it make you want to touch everything that much more? The same may be true when it comes to off-limits food. The more forbidden it is, the more we want it, right? If you’ve hung in there with me all month through the litany of what-not-to-eat’s for weight loss, you may be wondering if there is anything left to eat! The good news is there are some fun foods you can enjoy this summer guilt-free.
Now that I’ve conquered the mini scooter world, I’m upgrading this summer to a Vespa (thanks Mom!). For an Italian girl, it just doesn’t get any better than that! Because it has more power than my little Bajaj, I had to go to scooter school — otherwise known as a mandatory motorcycle safety course. Of course, with more power comes more responsibility so I’m going to have to learn how to handle my classic Italian dream machine from starting, accelerating, maneuvering, avoiding obstacles and stopping safely. If your desire is to upgrade to a better, more powerful body this summer, you’ll need to know the rules of the “ripped” road.