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Archive for March, 2012

Food Tip: Storing Herbs

When I served on a panel a few months ago for a program about healthy eating for lawyers, one of my fellow panelists was Alexis Coppedge, who has a great blog at Cooking After Work. One of her Basil herbsrecent posts explains how you can keep fresh herbs in your refrigerator crisper for TWO WEEKS. This is great! Before spring arrives so I can plant my herbs, I can still have flavorful food made with fresh herbs without throwing away more than half of what I buy.

Here’s what Alexis writes:

Here’s what you do:  (1) lightly pat herbs dry with a paper towel; (2) place the herbs in a Ziploc (or other sealable plastic bag) and press excess air out of the bag; and (3) seal the bag and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.  It’s as simple as that!

Read her full post to learn what to do to ensure the herbs last for as long as possible.

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“I know, I know,” you say, “getting a massage regularly would be great. I wish I had the time to fit one into my super-hectic-crazy-busy schedule once a week, or at least once a month. What a luxury that would be!”

Yes, it would be a luxury. But you need to think about it differently because it’s not just a luxury. It turns out that massage is very important to a healthy and happy lifestyle. We all probably know these benefits of massage:

  • Woman getting a massageMassages release toxins that build up in muscles and thus have a calming effect on the body.
  • They also help relax the mind with the quiet time that goes along with the massage.
  • Another benefit is the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.

But there’s a lot more. Recent research by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine shows some surprising benefits. For example, massaging any part of the body — not just the part that hurts or is tight — has benefits because it reduces a brain chemical called substance P that is related to pain. According to TRI, massage also has the following benefits:

  • Boosts your immune system by reducing stress and thus cortisol, which kills cells important for immunity.
  • Blood pressure benefits. Massage has a positive effect on blood pressure because it reduces hypertension, which can increase blood pressure.
  • Technique doesn’t matter that much; in other words, any good massage — whether it is shiatsu or swedish or deep tissue — provides benefits.
  • Even self-massage is beneficial.

So find the time — make the time — to get that massage. Not only do you deserve it, you NEED it for your good health!

Source: “Five Surprising Benefits of Massage,” Newsweek

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I thought this was great information and wanted to share it with you. Check it out!

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This is my life philosophy: do the best you can, most of the time. You may think this is setting my expectations too low, and maybe you are right, but it is an effective philosophy nonetheless. When we set unrealistic goals for ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for failure. When we realize we cannot possibly achieve our expectations, we stop trying. By setting our goals more realistically, we are more likely to achieve them, which inspires us to set new goals — usually a small step higher than our earlier goal — that we are more likely to achieve. And, most importantly, we feel good about ourselves.

Think about what goals you have for yourself, and that you are constantly “failing” to achieve. For example, have you set a goal to go to the gym three days a week? But you haven’t been more than once in the past month! Try setting your goal more realistically: perhaps you can set a goal to go for a walk around your neighborhood twice a week for the next month. Or to go the gym once a week during the month of March. You will be better off at the end of March even with this lower expectation.

Or perhaps your goal is to eat more healthfully every day, but you still keep eating two cookies as your mid-afternoon snack. And maybe your restaurant choices on the weekends are not in line with your goal either. Maybe it’s not such a big deal. If your meals are healthy every week day, then you are in fact eating healthy most of the time. Keep to this “schedule” of eating for the month of March. Come April, you can try to improve even further.

people celebratingRemember to celebrate all your accomplishments, no matter how small.

What other expectations for yourself do you need to revise?

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Attorney at Work logoHere’s the intro to a blog post I wrote for Attorney at Work:

“Most people make a New Year’s resolution related to their health. But by the end of February, more than 75 percent of them have given up on it. If one of your resolutions was to get healthy in 2012, don’t despair. You can do it with these five ways to get healthy, starting now.”

While the intended audience is attorneys, the advice is useful to everyone. Read the rest of the post here.

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Two weeks ago, I posted on how you can figure out the right amount of food to eat. Simply speaking, it was about determining the correct amount of calories for you to reach your health and weight goals. That post was a follow-up to an earlier post on the importance of keeping a food diary. I hope you were able to experiment with your caloric intake, using your food diary, and that you were able to determine the right amount of food for you on a daily basis.

Different foodsThe next building block on your path to healthy eating and reaching your health and weight goals is this: determining the right kind of food. By this, I mean figuring out how carbohydrates, protein, fats, sugars, etc. make you feel.

Consider these examples:

One day, I made food choices that worked for me. For breakfast I had egg and cheese on an english muffin. I know that I need protein at every meal, or I am hungry about an hour later, so the egg and cheese sandwich fit the bill, and for 280 calories with protein, the sandwich was the “right” choice for me. About three hours later, I had a mid-morning snack of six medium-size strawberries, which was an excellent choice because I was planning to eat an early lunch around 11:30 a.m. I ate a sensible lunch of fish with mustard greens and sweet potatoes, which was approximately 400 calories, but was rich in protein and good fats, so it sustained me until around 4:00 p.m., when I needed a mid-afternoon snack. Then I ate a sensible dinner. All told, I came in with 1850 calories that day, never felt tired or hungry, and ate balanced meals and snacks.

The very next day was not a successful food day. I did well with breakfast, having an egg sandwich on whole wheat bread and then strawberries again for a snack. But I got lunch all wrong. I had a whole wheat wrap with only eggplant, tomato, and olive oil, and some cole slaw. Sounds healthy, but it was protein-deficient yet high in calories because of the fat in the oil (good fat, but still high in calories) and cole slaw.  An hour later, I was starving and went for a snack. Because I was famished and lacking energy due to my protein-deficient lunch, I ended up with a small piece of pecan pie for a quick-fix sugar rush! This was not the “right” choice for several reasons: one, it was loaded with calories and offered no nutritional value; second, it wasn’t sustaining because it was mostly sugar.  Ultimately, the pie compounded my problem since I had eaten, once again, high calorie/low protein foods that don’t sustain me for more than an hour or so. By my evening commute, I was sitting on the train, writing this article, and feeling very hungry even though I had consumed 1500 calories – before dinner! My target calorie consumption for that day, where the only exercise I got was the sprint to the train, was 1850 calories, so I had only 350 calories left for dinner. And I knew that was going to be difficult, not to mention disappointing and unfulfilling, given the state of my stomach (growl)!

Use these next two weeks to keep your food diary and experiment with the kinds of food that you are eating. Here is a Sample Food Diary Page.

See how they make you feel, whether they sustain you or leave you feeling drained, how long it is before you want to eat again, and what you want to eat at that time. Experimenting like this for two weeks will enable you to start taking control over your food and energy, rather than feeling at the mercy of your hunger.

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