Archive for: food
I have a true confession for you — this weekend I caught a case of the sniffles. It’s probably been 5 years or longer since my last cold so I can’t complain too much. Undaunted by my semi-disease ridden body, however, I bundled up and ventured out to the grocery store to restock our exceedingly barren refrigerator. Perhaps influenced by my influenza, I loaded up my grocery cart with a refreshing variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Lengthy winter months often wither our resolve to eat fresh foods as many of us opt for comfort foods to warm us up when the cold winds blow. What better time to turn up our internal temperatures with an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables as we march into March?
Did you ever walk through a museum or past a static display that enticed you with its rich texture, glimmering sheen or perhaps its historical significance? Instinctively, you reach out to indulge your tactile temptation only to find yourself recoiling at the sight of a “Do Not Touch” sign? I hate those signs, don’t you? It makes me obsessed to touch it at the risk of reprimand by the local curator or temporary incarceration in museum prison for my defiance. So, now I’m feeling a little guilty for spending the better part of this month telling you what you shouldn’t do. Maybe it would be helpful, instead, to hear what you can do when it comes to your heart health.
I feel honored and blessed to have a grandfather who was part of the Greatest Generation as a veteran of World War II. Although I don’t recall him sharing many stories from the war, I always found it interesting that he never smoke or drank during a time when it was common and, quite frankly, fashionable to do so. I feel equally fortunate that my parents never smoked. So, it came as a complete shock when I was old enough to discover that my uncles smoked cigarettes. Fearing for their health, my siblings and I hatched plans to bury their cartons of cigarettes on numerous occasions. While that may not have been the best method to get them to quit, it at least got their attention. At the time, I didn’t know why it was dangerous to smoke, I just knew that I loved my uncles and hated cigarettes. If you, or your sweetheart, still light up, the following heart disease facts may help you bury your butts too!
Living in a rural state like Maine, it’s easy to get spoiled by the solitude. With no traffic to speak of, nights are still and silent which makes for a perfect sleeping environment. It also makes it easier to get startled when an errant noise jolts you out of bed with your pounding heart leading the way. Isn’t it amazing how much we don’t think about our hard-working hearts until they remind us in a big way? Since February is a month in which we celebrate the decadence of Valentine’s Day along with the prudence of heart health month, let’s find a happy medium to enjoy both!
As a kid, I had a propensity towards injury for some reason. Maybe it was the daredevil in me that led to compromising predicaments which ultimately ended in scrapes, cuts and an assortment of broken bones. I was either doing stunts on my banana-seated bicycle, or climbing on top of the refrigerator when inclement weather kept me from my favorite backyard tree. While those antics served me well in adulthood — I’m not afraid to try something new — several knocks to my noggin resulted in minor concussions and one major one requiring dozens of painful stitches. My past antics have certainly made me more aware of protecting my cranium inside and out. Recently, there has been more attention focused on brain trauma from concussions to traumatic brain injury (TBI) especially in sports and in military service due to some alarming survivability trends.
Early in the 2013–2014 football season, I had every confidence that I would be watching my beloved Packers play in the Superbowl this Sunday only to see my hopes fade as Aaron Rodgers was out with an injury for several games and, of course, a playoff loss that quickly ended their season. So, I turned to my runner up, the Patriots, and, yet again, my dreams were dashed as were theirs when they lost to the Broncos. Undaunted, I pinned my faith to the fast & furious 49ers. As you can tell, I don’t place any bets on my predictions! At least my fourth favorite is playing in the Superbowl this year, although, I’d better not say to whom I betroth my allegiance for fear of jinxing the outcome. The reason for my football rant is seated in what you’ll be doing this Sunday and beyond. Drinks and snacks will be the norm for Superbowl Sunday and, while it’s okay to share good cheer, you may want to rethink your cocktail concoctions.
Did your grandmother ever have a tried-and-true remedy for whatever ailed you? It usually came from ingredients she gathered from her backyard garden or root cellar that transformed into a stinky, sticky concoction she would rub on your chest or stick under your tongue, right? My grandmother’s cure-alls were cocoa butter and Vitamin E. Regardless of the nature and severity of your complaint, she’d say, “Just rub some Vitamin E on it and you’ll be all set,” with such a commanding tone that you were convinced it would work. And, actually, it did more often than not! Maybe Grandma was onto something after all and science is backing up her home remedies with even more E-vidence.
Bill Murray is one of my favorite comedic actors…I don’t know how he does it, but for me, he just stands there funny. From iconic SNL skits to wacky movies like Stripes and Groundhog Day, Murray portrays an ordinary guy who comes out on top no matter the circumstances. As we begin the new year with lofty resolutions and grand plans to transform our lives, I suddenly thought about Bill Murray in “What About Bob?” Bill plays Bob Wiley, an off-centered but endearing phobic who receives misguided advice from Dr. Leo Marvin played by Richard Dreyfuss in the form of the doctor’s new book entitled Baby Steps. Fearful of everything, Bob takes his book and his pet fish in hand and baby-steps his way to Dr. Marvin’s vacation home. “Baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle…baby steps into the elevator…I’m on the elevator!” Maybe we could take some advice from Bob and take consistent steps instead of quantum leaps to achieve our goals this year.
For some odd reason, I never seem to have a very stocked refrigerator. Maybe it’s my tendency towards minimalism or perhaps my propensity for reducing clutter behind closed doors like pantry shelves and closets. Either way, more often than not, my cupboards tend to be on the bare side, that is, until my relatives arrive in town! My mother has the opposite problem, a fridge so full that food and condiments spill out of ever door and shelf. Growing up there was never an utterance of “there’s nothing to eat in the house!” So, with the arrival of family this Christmas, it will be my turn to stock the shelves, and overload the refrigerator — it will be a foodie’s paradise for at least a week. While this time of year lends itself to over-indulgences, shaking the salt habit is one simple thing you can do to stay slim this season.
Like most of the country, it’s cold and snowy today. Hard to believe that it’s still officially autumn as winter won’t arrive for another few days. Even though I grew up in the midwest and have lived in Maine for a number of years, I still get a little grumpy when the cold weather arrives. I will say, though, that one advantage to living in Maine in the wintertime are the stunningly brilliant blue skies and abundant sunshine. The problem is that by the time those golden rays hit us, they’ve lost their power to warm us up — not to mention the fact that the sun sets around 4pm this time of year. Beyond frosty fingers, less sunlight means we have to work a little harder to get a very essential vitamin that is a dynamo at warding off disease. Let’s find some ways to supplement our sunshine with dominating vitamin D.
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.
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.