Spotlight on: Mangoes

  • Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and they are also an excellent way to replenish potassium lost through exercise or for those who are constantly “on the go.”
  • An average-sized mango can even contain up to 40 percent of your daily fiber requirement, thereby being a great way to curb constipation and irregularity.
  • Mangoes can also help to prevent certain types of cancer and help to lower blood cholesterol levels, too.

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Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad

  • ½ cup prepared or purchased honey mustard dressing
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 4 chicken breast halves without skin, boneless
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 2 large fresh mangoes
  • 10 to 12 cups mixed greens

Stir together honey mustard dressing and lime zest.  Cover and chill dressing while preparing chicken.

Rinse chicken and pat dry; sprinkle with Jerk seasoning.  In a large skillet cook the seasoned chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat about 6 minutes on each side until browned and no longer pink.  Thinly slice each chicken breast.

Recipe:  Mango Pork

  • 2 medium ripe mangoes
  • 1 pork tenderloin, about ¾ pound
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce

Put pulp of one mango in food processor or blender. Cut the other mango into small cubes.  Trim pork tenderloin and slice into 1-inch thick medallions.  Flatten slices lightly with hand.  Spray a skillet or medium saucepan with cooking spray or add a small amount of olive oil and heat on medium-high.  Brown pork for one minute on each side. Season each side with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat and cook pork another five minutes to cook through.  Remove to plate and add mango to skillet or saucepan. Cook puree about, scraping

Heart Health: Obesity and Your Risk Factor

It’s a well-known fact that being overweight increases your chance of being at risk of a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  But research shows that even a small amount of weight loss can lessen your risk of falling victim to these deadly diseases.

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Research also shows that, unfortunately, eating just 100 more calories a day than you should, can cause your body weight to be in the obese category and not just the overweight category.

To determine whether or not you are overweight or obese, use a BMI Calculator.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is considered obese.  If your BMI is greater than 25 and you are older than 30 years old, you should strongly consider losing weight to reduce your risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

 

Detoxify your Food

Because our foods are becoming laced with synthetic ingredients more and more, take this advice when attempting to detoxify your foods and reduce your exposure to these unwanted ingredients.

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Clean Your Produce:  Before eating or cooking with any fruits or vegetables be sure to wash them very well.  Washing your fruits and veggies eliminates the chemicals and pathogens from your food’s surface and help to eliminate any harmful ingredients.

Watch Your Animal Fat Intake:  Do you know what’s in your animal fats?  They are loaded with synthetic hormones, antibiotics, organochlorine chemicals, and other harmful pesticides. Look for low-fat options when buying your foods and be sure to trim all of the fat off of poultry and meats when you buy them.

To eliminate these chemicals in their products, in the mean time you can avoid these chemicals by choosing frozen, fresh or dried foods.

Think Organic:  According to a study done by the Environmental Working Group, your pesticide exposure can be eliminated by 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated conventionally grown produce including: peaches, apples, bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, lettuce, strawberries, grapes, carrots and pears. 

Choose Whole Foods:  Whole foods are not processed, therefore they have their own natural ingredients.  Choose whole grains and look for food items that say “whole” on them … but be sure to check the labels, just to be sure.

Safer Seafood:  We are exposed to a number of chemicals when we eat seafood, particularly.

Burning Calories in the Snow

Let’s face it.  Most of us don’t have the luxury of living in a climate where it is warm and sunny 12 months out of the year.  Instead we must learn to deal with all four seasons …including the dreaded winter.

But, thinking positively, there are plenty of things to do outdoors in the winter where you can burn calories – lots of them!  So, try one of these high-intensity, fun winter activities today:

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  • Cross country skiing
  • Downhill skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Hiking
  • Dog-sledding
  • Zip lining
  • Sled riding – especially if you find a really steep hill!
  • Snow tubing

 

It’s important to keep in mind that whatever winter outdoor activity you decide to take part in, it’s necessary to dress in layers, remain hydrated and watch for signs of hypothermia.

Remember to warm up first.  Just like you were working out indoors, warming up first before you get started working out outdoors is definitely important.  Colder temperatures can cause your muscles to tighten up, so a proper warm up session will help prevent injury.

When you come in from out of the cold, it’s also important to NOT strip down and remove all of your layers.  Give your body time to adjust from your outdoor workout.  Post-exercise hypothermia is possible, so be sure to let your body adjust before taking off all of those layers.

Staying hydrated is also a big one, so be sure to have plenty of water on hand for whatever outdoor activity you choose.

Beat the Winter Blues

The winter season brings the least amount of sunlight of any time during the year – and people who work indoors get a mere 30 minutes of sunlight a day, compared to 90 minutes of sunlight a day in the summer time.

So instead of sitting indoors and enduring the winter blues… get outdoors, have some fun, and the winter months will fly by!

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Get outside:  To fight the winter blues, you have to join the winter blues… or something like that.   Bundle up, build a bonfire and roast some marshmallows.  Campfires don’t need to be just for summertime anymore!

Create a positive playlist:  Studies show that when people listen to happy music that their mood increases.  While you clean the house or do the laundry, pump up the jams and listen to some music that puts you in a good mood to fight the blues.

Cheer yourself up with color:  When all you see outside is shades of blue and grey, cheer yourself up by adding a little bit of color to your life.  You don’t have to do anything drastic like paint your walls a bright pink or anything, instead fill up some vases with colorful flowers.  Or fill a bowl with fresh lemons and limes for the beautiful yellow and green hues.

Start planning your vacation:  While you may not be able to get away from work or life during the winter months, there’s no reason why you can’t start planning your spring, summer or fall vacation.  Many people get more pleasure from the anticipation of the vacation, than the actual vacation!  Brainstorm about where you want to go, when you want to go there, what new foods you want to try or what new activities you will try out this year.

Have a snow day:  Snow days can be either indoors or outdoors.  An outdoor snow day includes building snow forts and having a snow ball fight.  While an indoors snow day includes lots of hot chocolate, popcorn, funny movies and family-friendly games.

Fitness for All: New Year! New Workout!

Try these quick and easy ways to jump start your new workout regimen in 2017!

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  • Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day. Shoot for 10,000 steps per day.  If you aren’t reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.
  • Add jumping to your exercise routine – also known as plyometric moves – to build muscle and improve your bone density. Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.
  • Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities – clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc. Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.
  • Don’t spread germs. Always wipe down gym equipment before and after using them to protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria that can be passed from unclean gym equipment.
  • Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying – clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.
  • Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise. Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.
  • Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.
  • Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind. Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.
  • Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member. This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.

Spotlight on: Cranberries

  • Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and also an excellent source of fiber.
  • Cranberries alone can be particularly tart, but in a sauce, juice, or as an ingredient in cakes, stuffing or casseroles, this fruit becomes tastier.
  • When shopping for cranberries, choose cranberries that are shiny and not shriveled.
  • A deep red or almost brown color actually signals freshness. A good cranberry should be hard.
  • Cranberries will keep up to two weeks in a refrigerator.

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Recipe: Holiday Cranberry Sauce

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups white sugar

Place fresh cranberries and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Wrap cloves, allspice berries and cinnamon sticks in a spice bag. Place in the water with cranberries. Cook until cranberries begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Discard spice bag. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Recipe:  Cranchick Salad 

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  •  1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 8 leaves spinach – rinsed, stemmed, and dried

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir together the celery, walnuts, cranberries, onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Add cooled chicken, and stir until well combined. Cover and chill about 6 hours and serve on top of spinach leaves, if desired.

Diabetes 101: Mediterranean Diet

When a person is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes most doctors start by getting their patients set up with a diet plan. Many people turn to a classic, low-fat regimen, while others have opted for a higher-fat, Mediterranean-style diet filled with lots of olive oil, as well as vegetables, whole grains and fish and poultry.

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Researchers studied groups of people who were following both diets and they found that after four years both groups had lost similar amounts of weight.

But, only 44% of the Mediterranean dieters needed to take diabetes medication, as compared to 70% of the low-fat dieters.

One of the major benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it is full of healthy foods and primarily because it doesn’t recommend fat-reduced foods that are chock full of refined carbohydrates.

What do you know about High Fructose Corn Syrup?

It seems that one of the most asked questions these days is high fructose corn syrup worse for you than regular sugar.  Well, according to studies, last year alone Americans consumed 27 pounds of high fructose corn syrup, after all it can be found nearly everywhere including the fruit on the bottom of your yogurt and in many whole wheat breads.

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While that number is down from the 37.5 pounds consumed per person back in 1999, it seems that most Americans are filling in those remaining calories and pounds by adding in good old fashioned sugar.

Normal table sugar is made up of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose.  But since fructose is sweeter than glucose many manufacturers increased the ratio, to inexpensively hook their consumers.  High fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Because it is sweeter, people who eat foods high in high fructose corn syrup it may cause overeating and weight gain.  Studies have also shown that high fructose corn syrup may also contain varying amounts of mercury.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy stated that “mercury was present in nearly a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverages in which high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label.”

It is important to be a good label reader and avoid foods that list high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient on the label. Even if an item is marked “natural” or in the health food aisle, it still can contain high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient.

Even though table sugar isn’t as bad for you as high fructose corn syrup, it can still wreak havoc on your diet and weight loss goals.  Indulge in sugary items as a treat or only on special occasions, instead of at every meal.

How Fit Are You?

Take this Quiz and Find out!

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2017, take these three self tests to find out how fit you are first!

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  • How are your muscles?  Do some push-ups.  A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor.  For every decade after 30, the amount of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.
  • How is your flexibility? Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart.  Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet.  Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet.

Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles. 

  • What’s your heart rate?  Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age.  Then exercise all out for three minutes.  Check your pulse.  Rest for two minutes and then check it again.  Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats.  The faster it drops the more fit you are.