Healthy Picnic Food 101

It’s getting warmer and it’s almost time for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties! But just because you aren’t choosing all of your meals, that doesn’t mean that you have to pack on the pounds this summer. Keep these tips in mind at your next picnic:

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• Choose lean ground meat when making burgers. You should also try low-fat hot dogs, sausages and bratwurst and other grilled favorites.
• Seafood and chicken are great grilled foods and are both still healthy picnic options.
• Don’t forget your greens and mix in a salad to your picnic or party menu.
• Remember your veggies as they are also great on the grill and in side dishes, especially summer time veggies like squash and zucchini.
• Instead of chocolate desserts, think fruity desserts instead, and take advantage of a season when fruits are plenty.

Overcoming Obesity

abcAny way you look at it the statistics regarding obesity are unbelievable:

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In the U.S., 55% of adults are overweight, nearly 25% are obese. 

Each year there are approximately 280,000 deaths in the U.S. that can be attributed to obesity.

 There is no longer any doubt that the most widespread and the largest threat to our health is being overweight or obese.

 And while these statistics are shocking to most, there are still as many as 80 million people in the United States dealing with obesity.

What experts, like those at Prevention Magazine, are trying to get across to these millions of people who are dealing daily with this disease is that obesity is not going to cure itself overnight.   There is not a magic pill that someone can take that will reverse the toll we have taken on our bodies over the years.

We, as a society, need to learn that losing weight and keeping that weight off is a commitment – a lifelong commitment – and something that won’t come easy to many people.

 

Weight loss is not a short term goal.  Instead it is a long term lifestyle change that you must be ready to take on before you start any type of diet or fitness regimen.

 

Keep in mind there are plenty of support groups out there that will help you get you where you need to be as far as diet and fitness goals and most importantly: don’t give up!

Easter Candy Calculator

Easter may be just around the corner, but that Easter candy always sticks around for a few weeks and sometimes months.  While it’s ok to satisfy your sweet tooth use this calorie calculator to monitor your intake!

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From marshmallow peeps to chocolate, find out the calories of the content of your Easter basket…

4 Peeps Marshmallow Bunnies: 130 calories

1 Peeps Hollow Milk Chocolate Egg: 420 calories

5 Mars Mini Chocolate Eggs: 179 calories

1 Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny: 890 calories

1 Cadbury Crème Egg: 150 calories

8 Robin Eggs: 180 calories

1 Milky Way Bunny: 160 calories

12 Cadbury Mini Eggs: 190 calories

5 Mini Kit Kats: 210 calories

12 Cadbury Chocolate Eggs: 190 calories

1 Dove Solid Chocolate Easter Bunny: 230 calories

1 Nestle’s Crunch Solid Chocolate Easter Bunny: 692 calories

1 Snickers Cream Sports Egg: 140 calories

1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg: 180 calories

1 Reese’s Reester Bunny: 798 calories

1 Brachs Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Egg: 43 calories

5 Brachs Malted Easter Eggs: 180 calories

35 Jelly Belly Assorted Jelly Beans: 140 calories

1 Cadbury Caramel Egg: 190 calories

5 Peeps Marshmallow Chicks: 136 calories

1 Large Solid Chocolate Bunny (7 oz.): 1050 calories

1 Hollow Chocolate Bunny: 270 calories

1 Tootsie Pop: 60 calories

2 Tootsie Roll Snack Bars: 100 calories

2 Small Boxes of Dots: 140 calories

Healthy Benefits of Massage Therapy

For more than 120 years, experts have been researching the benefits of massage therapy, and besides the obvious stress-free feeling that people have following a massage, there are plenty of other benefits to this ancient healing procedure.

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One major benefit of massage therapy that researchers have found is that people who get massages on a regular basis have noticed a decrease in their blood pressure.

Massages also help to alleviate the pain of those who suffer from migraine headaches.

Massage can also: reduce your heart rate, increase blood circulation and lymph flow, relax your muscles, improve your range of motion, and increase endorphins. Some other physical benefits of massage therapy include: relieving muscle tension and stiffness, alleviating discomfort during pregnancy, reducing muscle spasms, promoting deeper and easier breathing, enhancing the health and nourishment of your skin, and improving your posture.

Massage therapy, while a physical act, is not all about physical benefits.  There are plenty of mental benefits that having a massage can give you.

Some of these mental benefits include: promoting mental alertness, relieving mental stress, reducing levels of anxiety, improving motor skills, creating   body awareness, and fostering a feeling of well-being.

While this article only touches on a few benefits of massage therapy, both physical and mental, there are plenty more out there that researchers are learning about each and every day.

So, go pamper yourself!

Walk Off that Easter Candy

Feeling a little guilty after learning how many calories are in your favorite Easter treats? (See “Food for Thought section of this newsletter.)

Don’t worry!  Just use this handy guide to determine how much walking you need to do to work those calories off!

Editor’s Note:  Mileage is based upon eating only one serving of each of the following candies.  Should you eat more than one serving (according to package) or a combination of any of the following then your mileage will need adjusted.

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Jelly Beans: 1.4 miles

Peeps: 1.6 miles

Robin Eggs: 1.7 miles

Small Chocolate Bunny: 1.4 miles

Medium Hollow Bunny: 2.6 miles

Large Chocolate Bunny: 10.5 miles (!!!!!!)

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Bunny: .6 miles

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Egg: 1 mile

Cadbury Crème Egg: 1.7 miles

Cadbury Caramel Egg: 1.9 miles

Lindt Chocolate Carrots: 2.1 miles

Prefer real eggs over chocolate eggs?  You may need to do some walking, too.  One hardboiled egg requires .76 of a mile to walk it off and a half of a deviled egg takes .73 of a mile to burn!

Spotlight on: Spinach

  • Leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, provide more nutrients than any other food.
  • Researchers have found at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that have been known to act as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents, combating specific cancers like ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.

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Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

 

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

 

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9-in. by 13-in.baking dish for lasagna. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.

Spring Eating 101: Get the Freshest Produce

Before hitting the grocery store or produce stands this season, check out what fruits and veggies you should be getting:

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  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)

 

Foods that are Making you Sick

Every year, more than 9 million people come down with a food borne illness and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it is more than likely the foods that you are eating every day that are making you sick and not something out of the ordinary.

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While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working hard to enforce higher safety standards on farms, they have linked many of these illnesses to three major areas.

Here are some examples of foods that may in fact be making you sick.

Green leafy vegetables – various strains of E.Coli have been found on green leafy vegetables and according to the CDC study resulted in the highest percentage of illness.

Poultry – diseases in poultry killed the highest number of people in the CDC study, with listeria being the cause.

Dairy – 14 percent of all food borne illnesses were the result of contaminated dairy products, including ice cream and cheese.

Odd Home Remedies… Fact or Fiction

Whether you heard it from your great aunt Millie or from your grandma’s neighbor, at some point in your life you have been told a home remedy or two that simply did not make any sense.  While there are plenty of home remedies that are more folk lore than fact, there are others that do indeed work. Here are some home remedies that were put to the test to determine – fact or fiction?

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Honey helps heal wounds… FACT.

Because of its antibacterial properties, honey is most effective as a wound healing agent.  According to studies, honey has an inhibitory effect to more than 60 different species of bacteria.  To heal a wound with honey, apply liberally and cover with a nonadherent dressing; change dressing once or twice a day.

A penny over a bee sting relieves pain and swelling… FICTION.

Unfortunately there is no medical evidence to show that putting a penny over your bee sting will relieve the pain and swelling.  Instead you should use aloe vera gel and apply it liberally or until it is absorbed, about 4 times a day.

Licorice helps heal sore throats… FACT.

Don’t run out and get a bag of candy though when you have your next sore throat because even though licorice helps heal sore throats, it is the active ingredient in the licorice root that actually has the healing power.  You can find licorice tea bags in most drug stores that will help to heal sore throats if you drink them twice a day upon feeling your first symptoms. Two notes though, don’t drink your tea after 6 p.m. as it may cause sleeplessness and do not take it if you have high blood pressure.

White flour on a small burn helps it to heal… FICTION.

White flour may not help a small burn to heal, but luckily the small burn category has a number of home remedies that do in fact work.  One suggestion is to use diluted apple cider vinegar (diluted with equal parts water) to apply to the burn.  You can also try honey, tea bags, oatmeal or milk.  If you go the tea bag route, apply wet, cool tea bags to the burn or you can soak a cloth in milk and apply it to your burn for 15 minutes, repeating every few hours for pain relief.

 

Benefits of Acai Berries

The acai berry represents a new trend in weight loss efforts, but its pound-dropping effectiveness may be questionable.

Although some claim that drinking the berry juice can stimulate weight loss, few studies can actually justify this theory according to www.webmd.com.

Although the acai berry may not actually help you lose weight, it is beneficial to you.  Like other berries in the same family, the acai berry has many antioxidants and is a good part of any diet.

Any fruit with high antioxidant content can help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Those with allergies to pollen, however, should be cautious.  Some allergy sufferers have been sensitive to this berry and should avoid it.

In conclusion, should you incorporate the acai berry into your diet?  Of course!  It has a place there, just like all fruits.

Should you base your weight loss regimen solely on this fruit?  Probably not.