52 weeks of good health....

every week I will share with you a tip to improve your eating habits or lifestyle to help you reach maximum energy levels and increase overall physical and emotional health.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Recipe of the Week

Curried Zucchini Soup - people were looking for a recipe involving soup and something to help use up the loads of zucchini from their veggie gardens. I came across this recipe last year on allrecipes.com and had almost forgotten about it; if you like curry then this one's for you!


· 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

· 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

· 1 tbsp curry powder

· Sea salt to taste

· 4 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1inch slices

· 1 quart low sodium chicken stock

· Red pepper flakes (optional), to taste

· Plain yogurt for garnish (optional)


1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Stir in the onion, and season with curry powder and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in zucchini, and cook until tender. Pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.

2. Remove soup from heat. Use a hand blender, or transfer in batches to a blender, and blend until almost smooth.

3. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and garnish with yogurt (optional).

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Most people claim that eating healthy is too expensive; while I agree buying a case of Macaroni and Cheese can be a weeks worth of cheap and easy meals, it's not very good for your body. There are a few ways you can make the most of your money, so that you aren't breaking the bank, but also aren't compromising your health.

Make meat the side dish - instead of focusing your entire meal around a cut of meat, how about putting the focus on your veggies and grains and letting the protein take a back seat? This way, you can afford to purchase better cuts of meat (organic or grass-fed). If you're concerned about not getting enough protein, just include some beans or lentils in your veggie or grain dishes.

Have a plan and stick to it - if you take the time to meal plan at the beginning of the week, then you should only be purchasing the food you need. This will cut down on how much uneaten food you are throwing away at the end of the week. It can take a bit of practice, but soon you'll figure out how to plan meals using left overs from meals earlier in the week. Also remember that most foods can be frozen, so if you have leftovers that you know won't be eaten, try freezing them for a lunch later in the week, instead of tossing them.

Double recipes - when cooking soups, stews or casseroles, why not double the recipe and freeze leftovers in single servings for lunches? Having meals waiting for you to grab in the freezer may stop you from purchasing your lunch on days that you are in a hurry or feeling to lazy to make something. Invest in a slow cooker, they make big meals so much easier.

Other tips:
  • Grow your own – cherry tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, and small peppers can be grown in pots on your deck during the summer months.
  • Buy the whole chicken and cut it up yourself.
  • Buy in bulk, avoid packaging
  • Cook more – eat out less
  • Buy in season and buy locally – to avoid transportation costs
  • Eat nutrient dense food – you’ll be less hungry
  • Don’t throw out wilted veggies – these make beautiful soup stock that can be frozen and used later
  • Don’t spend too much time in the grocery store – you’re apt to spend more
  • Avoid “ready-to-eat” foods. Buying basic food items will save you money and will be healthier for you and your family.
  • Read labels – be sure you’re getting the best nutrition for your food dollar.
  • Foods that have a Nutrition Facts label will also have an "ingredients" list. The ingredients are listed from "most" to "least" -- in other words, if sugar is the first ingredient, you know that the food is mostly sugar!
In good health,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weight control and regular exercise are important tools in maintaining a healthy heart—but the food you eat is just as important. Experts say that eating a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke by 80%.

So, what can you do to reduce your risk? By understanding how your food choices impact your heart health, you may be able to prevent or manage heart disease and high blood pressure.

Learn which foods and methods of cooking are healthiest for your heart, and you can take greater control over the quality and length of your life.

Tip: cut out saturated and trans fat.

Of all the possible improvements you can make to your diet, limiting saturated fats and cutting out trans fats entirely is perhaps the most important. Both types of fat raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level, which can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.

By reading labels, limiting your solid fats and substituting lower fat products (like using plain yogurt in place of sour cream), you can learn to control how much saturated and trans fats you take in.

Common transfat sources include: crackers, doughnuts, French fries, cookies, pastries, cakes, margarine, chocolate, shortening and fried foods.

While saturated and trans fats are roadblocks to a healthy heart, unsaturated fats are essential for good health. You just have to know the difference. Good fats include:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Fatty fish like salmon, trout or herring and flaxseed, canola oil or walnuts all contain polyunsaturated fats that are vital for the body.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Vegetable oils, soy nuts, and many types of seeds all contain healthy fats.

Monounsaturated fats. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, and butters made from these nuts, as well as avocadoes, are all great sources of “good” fat.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Recipe of the Week

Such a simple recipe this week...so easy, so good!

Chicken in a Crock Pot (Serves 4)
(taken from Weelicious.com)

1 4 Lb Whole Chicken
2-3 Thyme Sprigs
1 Lemon, cut in half
Salt (preferably kosher salt)

1. Stuff the chicken with the thyme and lemon halves and sprinkle the outside with salt.
2. Place the chicken in a crock pot (also known as a slow cooker).
3. Place the cover on the crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours (3 1/2-4 hours for a 5 pound chicken).
4. Using a meat thermometer, make sure the chicken is cooked to 160 degrees (the times on different slow cookers may vary).
5. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into pieces (this allows the juices to redistribute and the chicken to remain extremely juicy).
6. Serve.
*The skin on the chicken won’t be golden because this is more of a steaming method, but the meat will be outrageously moist, tender and juicy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Power of Thought

This rainy weather is making me realize that the end of our beautiful, sunny, summer weather will be coming to an end before we know it. It's so easy to find ourselves in a funk, when the weather turns dismal and this can have such an impact on our mood and daily life.

So, what can you do to avoid getting into this rut? Well, if you've been reading my weekly posts and trying to follow my suggestions; you're already eating (somewhat!) healthy and getting active a few times (at least!) a week...this is actually half the battle, when trying to combat dark moods.

Another way to lift your spirits to to try a little positive thought! Most people, when they hear about daily affirmations, think new age, hippie nonsense...if you're one of those people, have a little faith in the power of your own mind and open up to the idea!

It's first important to acknowledge that you have fallen into one of these moods and give yourself time to examen where it came from (for me lately, it's been the lack of sleep, combined with pregnancy hormones!).

What I'm suggestion is that we can actually change our own way of thinking and maybe even influence others in the process. We can use positive affirmations to wipe out the old negative ideas, replacing them with new fresh ones of our own choosing.

Here are a few examples:

  • I am at peace
  • I chose to make positive, healthy choices for myself
  • I choose to exercise daily
  • I nourish my body, mind and soul
  • I believe in myself, so do others
You may need to repeat these to yourself several times a day, before they really start to resonate with you, but eventually you WILL begin to believe it. We are all pretty conditioned to dwell on negativity, so it may take some work in the beginning, but like any new program it will take a few weeks for it to become habit. Before you know it, you will be passing on your good energy vibes to all those around you...and believe me, they will appreciate it!!

"A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows" - St. Francis of Assisi

In good health,