Archive for: food
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.
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.
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.
Last summer my dad gave us a scooter he’d had in storage for quite a while. It’s a little bitty thing — think motorized bicycle versus high powered rocket — but man is it fun to ride. We did some basic maintenance on it over the weekend, checking tire pressure, replacing gear box fluid, etc.. You could tell it had been idle for years by the black, sticky fluid that drained off. Now it’s running like a champ. It is amazing what the right fuel will do for a simple engine to help it perform at its peak. If you’re looking for leaner abs and a carved physique this summer, maybe it’s time to give your muscles a tune up too.
Okay, I know exactly what you are thinking, “Here we go again, there’s something else I have to give up in order to lose weight.” It’s no wonder the weight-loss industry is booming as fast as our collective bellies are growing — sucking you into the latest diet fad or weight-loss product promising to shrink your belly once and for all. Gismos, gadgets, pills, and powders may have caused more harm than good. They are that “something shiny” that distracts our attention away from a common sense approach to losing belly fat. Let’s see if we can bust a few myths along with a few unwanted inches.
As a teenager, I had my share of traumatic moments…haven’t we all? My most devastating moment came was when I asked my mom for my first 2-piece swimsuit. My ultra-conservative father would only agree to it with his prior approval. There I stood in the glare of fluorescent department store lighting awaiting a thumbs up or down. Finally, my over-inflated teenaged humiliation was replaced with jubilation when I was approved for my first bikini. Unfortunately, for most of us, men and women alike, the burgeoning summer season creates its own grown-up trauma when a slip into our swimsuits reveals more belly than brawn. This week, we’ll explore some surprising ways to banish our bellies.
Are you one of those perky morning people who wakes up refreshed and ready to take on the day with a smile on your face, a head full of ambition, and a can-do attitude? If you had met me several years ago, you would have agreed that I was the polar opposite: grumpy, crabby, sleepy, sneezy…my own little version of the seven dwarfs! My family and co-workers knew to keep their distance until I came to life, which was usually around 10am. If you make more enemies than friends in the morning, maybe it’s time to look at better ways to fuel your day which may lead to a sunnier disposition and a slimmer you.
I’ve always been a fan of clever marketing — you know those commercials that get your attention with funny lines, edgy graphics or memorable characters? My favorite spot lately is the guy who goes around telling people to feed their lawns. The hook is that he’s got a really cool, thick Scottish accent that gets your attention when he says, “Feed you’re lawn, Feed et!” Now, instead of the mundane spring task of seeding and fertilizing your lawn, you feel like Braveheart rallying his troops to slay the enemy in an epic battle of grass versus dandelions. With that image in mind and summer weather on its way, maybe it’s time we “burn the fat…burn et!”
One of my favorite classic skits from Saturday Night Live was when comedian, Billy Crystal, played Fernando, a superficial and overtly sexual latin night club performer who greeted everyone with the phrase, “Dahling, you look mahvelous.” His character lived by a personal credo that it was always “better to look good than to feel good.” Maybe we all have a little Fernando in each of us with our desire to look good. While I don’t believe we are all vain and self-absorbed like Fernando, could it be that we put a bigger price tag on our outward appearance than our inner health? This month, let’s focus on ways to feel good from the inside out starting with our body composition.