Livliga

Live Healthy | Live Vibrant

Friday, August 31, 2012

No Cook Meal- Thai Beef Rolls


These No Cook Meals have been a real treat! In the midst of my summer doldrums it is so nice not to have to face a hot stove. The Thai Beef Rolls (294/cal) have ingredients you can truly buy already prepared at the grocery store. How easy is that? I added roasted beets (1 beet = 44 cal) and a mixed berry salad (1 cup = 52 cal) to complete the meal for a total of 390 calories. It didn't take much time to prepare and yet the reaction from the folks eating the meal was a "high five". Almost makes me feel guilty it was so easy! No, not really! Another hit of a meal. A definite repeat...truly good for any time of year.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Obesity as a Global Epidemic

Obesity in America vs. obesity in China

Teens from wealthy American families aren't as prone to obesity as their less-affluent counterparts. In China, the opposite is true. Why?

A Chinese man eats at a Burger King in Shanghai in 2005: Obesity levels in China are rising fast, but the epidemic afflicts a different segment of the population than it does in the U.S.

A Chinese man eats at a Burger King in Shanghai in 2005: Obesity levels in China are rising fast, but the epidemic afflicts a different segment of the population than it does in the U.S. Photo: Imaginechina/CORBIS
 
Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, and is a particular concern among children and teenagers because of its association with a lifetime of health problems, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. A recent study, however, has found that the condition is very different among adolescents in China than among those in the United States. Here, a brief guide:

What did the study find?
In some ways, teenagers in China and in the United States are similar with regard to obesity. Those who sleep fewer hours, and who spend more time in sedentary activities, are more likely to be overweight. But according to the report, published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, that's where the similarities end. In affluent Chinese families with educated parents, teens are more often obese; American teens from those kinds of families are usually less likely to have weight problems. Chinese boys are more likely to be overweight than girls, whereas teen obesity in the U.S. is roughly equal among the sexes. And overweight adolescents in China more often report eating lots of vegetables, consuming relatively few sweets or fast food, and engaging in more physical activity.

What causes these differences?
China's robust economy is likely a prime factor. Newly prosperous families are now able to buy foods that were unavailable to them just a few years ago. So while teens report eating lots of veggies, they're suspected of also eating larger quantities of many other foods, including deep-fried, fatty meals. Meat consumption has also risen sharply in China; in 1965, meat comprised just 6 percent of the Chinese diet, but in 2005 that figure grew to 27 percent.

How will this affect China?
There's fear of a sharp rise in obesity-related disease among the Chinese. Roughly 25% of Chinese adults are now overweight or obese. (In the United States, about two-thirds of adults share that distinction.) "China is now home to the world’s largest diabetic population, with 23 million diagnosed, up 40 percent from 2001," says Laurie Burkitt at The Wall Street Journal. "The U.S. is home to 20 million diabetics."
Sources: Times of India, UPI, Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fabulous Steak & Frites Dinner!


I am trying out recipes from a new cookbook I got. Yep, it is another Cooking Light Cookbook. This one is called Fresh Food Fast 24/7. So far all the recipes have been very tasty and visually appealing. This Flank Steak dinner is now the top of the list. I heard things like- "this is the best dinner you have made...ever!" to "Wow! this is so good I want to eat it on a weekly basis!". Clearly everyone loved it. What I liked so much about it is that it is reminiscent of a French "Steak Frites". It has a sophisticated look and feel while being easy to prepare.

The Horseradish-Garlic Flank Steak was delicious and easy to assemble. I couldn't find the recipe on line so I am describing it here:

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish            4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tabespoon olive oil                                       1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt                                             Cooking Spray

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spread mixture onto both sides of steak.
3. Place steak on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill: let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces.)

I served it with a Lemony Arugula Salad (recipe also included on my blog) and Julienne Fries (my version mixes in russet potato). The calories for this meal is 494. A definite repeat.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lemony Arugula Salad....so good!







I made a wonderful Steak Frites dinner which included an arugula salad with  shaved Parmesan. I have often had a watercress salad with vinaigrette with my steak frites, but I have not had an arugula version before. It was delicious and easy to make. I couldn't find the recipe on line so I am describing it here. It is from my new Cooking Light Cookbook, Fresh Food Fast 24/7 on page 253. The recipe is:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I added more, @ 2 teaspoons, total)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (5-ounce) bag arugula
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula: toss to coat. Divide arugula mixture evenly among 4 plates; top evenly with cheese. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup salad and 1 tablespoon cheese).

It is nice to have a few quick salads in your stable of easy sides for any number of menus. This is a salad that holds up to a variety of entrees. It is also fresh and colorful so it can balance out a bland looking meal easily. And for only 102 calories for all that flavor and satisfaction, it is a meal deal. A definite and frequent repeat.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Snack Time!--Quick & Easy Yogurt Dip that's Tasty!

Homemade Dijon Mustard & Greek Yogurt Dip will Dill
I am always looking for quick and easy ways to make satisfying snacks. I also have the desire to have things handy in my refrigerator ready to go so I am not wasting time or reaching for the "bad stuff" because it is handier to eat.

My daughter and I were hungry and ready for a snack. I knew I had grape tomatoes and finger carrots ready to go in my icebox but didn't have a dip. I do on occasion have store bought dips handy, but like with most prepared foods you buy from the grocery store, they have additives to preserve the food and also add things like salt and corn syrup you just don't need. Being able to make something where you put all the ingredients together is definitely the way to go....but, it has to be easy!

As so many of us have discovered, Greek yogurt is a wonderful, creamy ingredient that is great by itself but also wonderful added to many other foods. It is particularly handy as a base for sauces and dip. The other day I was inspired to see if I could create a tasty dip, that didn't require any prep time and used few ingredients. I combined the Greek yogurt with Dijon mustard and a little Dill. It was yummy! Clearly this is a very flexible concept where different herbes and condiments can be added to change the flavoring around. I do think the Greek yogurt is why the dip turns out so well. For now we are very happy with this first version of the "Quick & Easy" Dip. Here is the recipe:

Quick & Easy Yogurt Dip
1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard (can adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon dried or fresh Dill (can adjust to taste)

Total calories: 102
2 Tablespoons: 32

Enjoy!



Monday, August 20, 2012

The Strength of Daily Aspriations


As I concentrate on building more strength into my daily aspirations in order to help me become a better person, live a healthier lifestyle and achieve the goals I have, I thought I would share what I found to be a helpful explanation of what an aspiration is and how best to practice them on a daily basis-

About Affirmations:

The key when saying, and/or reading, affirmations is to feel the feelings they portray. It can help to fully relax and know that at the core of your being, these statements are true. If they feel out of reach or you are having a hard time convincing yourself of their truth, adjust the affirmation to include the words choose, potential, or willing to make them true for you at this moment.

Also, affirmations gain their power from repetition. The more often you say them, the more they will impact your reality. Affirmations are not a one-time-event…say them once and life is perfect. Affirmations are an everyday choice, a choice we make with our thoughts and feelings. The more often you use them, the quicker you will begin to see new opportunities, engage in new healthy behaviors, and feel energized by the direction your life will be taking.

A couple of examples of an aspirational statement-

Today I will remember to breathe
Today I will take the time to exercise my body
Today I will nourish myself with healthy foods

Friday, August 17, 2012

Great Healthy Living Quote #27


I am the first one to be guilty of spending too much time on Facebook. It is a great time-killer. The problem/challenge is that it is a very passive activity...better for us to move. I am making it a goal to look at Facebook only at the end of the day, after I've been active and engaged in the happenings of each day. Why not join me?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Marinade-Applesauce Barbeque Sauce


It is a good thing I like roaming around on the internet. You can find great recipes in the most amazing places. I was looking for a healthier barbeque sauce. Such sauces tend to be packed full of sugar. I wanted one that avoided refined sugars but had great flavor. I found a great one! Who knew Safeway had healthy recipes?!?

I recently tried out their Applesauce Barbeque Sauce to put on a Cornish Game Hen I had sitting in my freezer leftover from a menu where I didn't need everything I bought. It was really good! The per serving calories are very reasonable (48 cals/serving). Substituting applesauce for some of the sugar is a great solution! It strikes me as a versatile barbeque sauce that will work well on all sorts of meats. I plan to check that out. Such an easy way to flavor meats over the grill in the summertime.

The Cornish Game Hen basted in this Apple Sauce Barbeque Sauce was delicious. A big hit with all members of the family and a definite repeat. Who knew Safeway would be the source of a healthy sauce for a great meal!??!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Applesauce Bran Muffins-- moist and yummy!






I am constantly on the lookout for muffin recipes that use healthy ingredients that look like they won't be too heavy and don't use refined sugar. The Applesauce Bran Muffins  I found on the American Heart Association website fit the basic requirements. The healthy ingredients include bran flakes, oatmeal and egg substitute. The only sugar, besides the unsweetened applesauce is 1/3 cup of brown sugar. As you can see by the photo the recipe makes a handsome muffin. Better, they are also tasty and moist. And for 129 calories per muffin you can't beat the flavor for the calories! I served the muffins with the Sesame Shrimp Salad for a total of 368 calories for the meal. This is a great menu for either lunch or a lighter dinner. Everyone loved the muffins and the meal. A good solution for a summertime meal. A big hit and a definite repeat.






Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Dangerous Food Addiction

Bill Frist

How to wean America from its dangerous food addiction

The nation's obesity epidemic is as much about brain chemistry as it is poor diet and laziness — a fact we must realize if we're going to treat obesity effectively

Bill Frist

In ancient history, eating was for survival. Food was tough to come by and we consumed what we needed. Food was a necessity. In today's America, it is an addiction.
Much of the conventional wisdom about obesity, including what your doctor has probably told you, is wrong. My fellow doctors, for the past four decades, have preached a "calories in — calories out" approach, suggesting that weight loss must be achieved by restricting calories or expending more energy. That approach is failing… miserably.
Contemporary medical research, most of which has not yet made it to mainstream understanding, suggests we should focus on two other more promising areas: Food addiction and diet. Consider it an "it's what you eat" approach that takes into account human biology and the response to certain food types.
According to the research of Nicole Avena of Princeton University, eating sugar triggers a dopamine-mediated response in the same part of the brain that is similarly targeted by cocaine, nicotine, and other highly addictive substances. Originally, this "reward center" evolved to reinforce behaviors, such as food and sex, that maximize species survival.
To combat this epidemic, we may have to start with the brain, not the stomach.
Sugar, however, seems to hijack the same neural and biochemical connections in the brain. The intense cravings for sugar may be explained by the intensity of dopamine secretion in the brain when we consume sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, both of which are staples of the common American diet. Consistent eating of sugary and processed food literally rewires our brain. In 2011, 28 studies, from animal investigations to clinical studies of compulsive eaters, all point toward unhealthy foods as being addictive.
So why do we get fat? It's not a simple matter of calories consumed and calories expended. It's probably wiser to think of obesity as a result of a hormonal imbalance, with the dominant obesity hormone being insulin.
Insulin secretion is stimulated by eating easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods: Refined carbohydrates (including flour and cereal grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and sugars) and high-fructose corn syrup. Eating more of these makes us fat, hungrier, and even more sedentary.
Why does all this matter? First, your kids are going to live a life with more disease and will die younger than they should. This does not have to be the case, but we can only reverse course if we act. With a third of adolescents in the U.S. overweight, and adolescent diabetes and prediabetes skyrocketing from 9 percent in 2000 to 23 percent in 2008, we are on the path to an explosion in heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Second, healthcare spending is driving you and the country bankrupt. Obesity, a problem which didn't really exist even 40 years ago, today accounts for almost a fifth of our nation's health spending, which amounts to more than $150 billion every year. That is an annual tax of $1,400 on every household, and it continues to escalate.
The good news is that the obesity problem is solvable. It is reversible, if we act smartly, both individually by our own life choices and collectively through wiser, more active public policy.
What can we do?
1. Focus on the root causes of why people crave food, often hungering for the unhealthiest options, and not just deal with the aftereffects. Studies show that exercise alone does not lead to weight loss (but it is very healthy for you!), replacing lost calories with increased appetite. It's what you eat that you should concentrate on. Weight loss regimens succeed long-term when they get rid of the fattening carbohydrates in your diet.
2. Think out of the box. If the increasingly strong hypothesis that sugar is addictive is correct, we need to treat it as such. An addiction demands attention to replacement foods, development of new classes of anti-craving and relapsing medicines, and possibly even more intense use of 12-step programs for therapy.
3. Public policy tools and tactics that affect advertising, availability, and cost (including taxation) have been effective in fighting alcohol and tobacco addiction. Our society instinctively rejects policy that suggests "food police." In the future, however, expect these tools to be considered much more aggressively since obesity stands as an even greater public health threat than tobacco.
We cannot afford to ignore obesity. But let's be open to changing our approach. To combat this epidemic, we may have to start with the brain, not the stomach.


Dr. William H. Frist is a nationally acclaimed heart transplant surgeon, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, the chairman of Hope Through Healing Hands and Tennessee SCORE, professor of surgery, and author of six books. Learn more about his work at BillFrist.com.

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Cook-- Prosciutto Peach & Sweet Lettuce Salad







The first of my No Cook meals was the Prosciutto Peach & Sweet Lettuce Salad. It was so delightful not to have to "slave over a hot stove" for a change in order to fix dinner! This was an easy to assemble dinner.  The fresh, ripe peaches from the Farmer's Market were delicious in the salad. Adding goat cheese and prosciutto made the salad truly scrumptious. Using sunflower seeds as a crunchy "nut" was nice and refreshingly different. I served this with a slice of Pugliese bread to complete the meal. Total calories for the meal is 379. The only thing I would do differently is add additional lettuce to make the salad a little more bountiful, one bag of lettuce seemed a little light. No one had anything left on their plates. A great success and a definite repeat...soon!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Red Wine Maintains Strong Bones!



I found this article in a recent The Week in their Science & Health section. You can imagine how delighted I was to read that red wine has been found to protect our bones as we age. This is good news! Here is what I read:

Wine may be a better beverage for maintaining strong bones than milk-- at least for older women. A new study of post-menopausal women between the ages of 50 and 65 shows that a glass or two of wine a night actually helps shore up their bones. Researchers tested the bone strength of 40 moderate drinkers before, during, and after a two-week abstention from alcohol. They found that when the women stopped drinking, their bones began to shed old cells, a process called resorption, more quickly than normal. As postmenopausal women lose bone-building estrogen, resorption often outpaces the production of new bone cells, weakening bones and increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. But as soon as the women resumed drinking, their resorption rates returned to normal-- suggesting that alcohol may significantly slow typical bone-cell loss. "after less than 24 hours, to see such a measurable effect was really unexpected," Oregon State University researcher Ursula Iwaniec tells The Globe and Mail (Canada). Previous research has found that moderate drinking leads to a host of health benefits, including lower risks of arthritis, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fresh & Spiffy Tomato and Pepper Salad


Not all Tomato and Pepper salads are made alike. In fact, most are pretty boring. The one thing they all have in common is that they tend to be very colorful so they are great on a buffet or served on a plate. The challenge is that not many are very flavorful. I am glad to report I have found the exception! I ran across this recipe in an old Cooking Light cookbook from 1998. Good news is I also found it on line!

The secret to this Fresh Tomato and Pepper Salad is that it has capers. This adds dimension to a very popular salad. To make it even better, I used only yellow peppers instead of using the green pepper called for since I find them to have an unpleasant bite. I also substituted red onion for the "onion" called for in the recipe. It was a hit and a definite repeat. A great summer salad to add to my stable of favorites.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fabulous "Fried" Chicken


I think I have finally found a oven fried chicken that is worthy of replacing my deep fried version. I have been in search of such a recipe for years. Turns out it was in one of my favorite recipe books all along. What intrigued me about the recipe was that you "double dip" the chicken in preparation. I think that is what makes it so crunchy. I tried to find it on line but couldn't so I decided to share it with you on my blog, it is that good! My daughter is a snob when it comes to homemade fried chicken. She tried this recipe out with great trepidation. To my amazement and pleasure, she admitted she liked this variety of "fried" chicken and would be willing to eat it again! This is a big victory! We can now enjoy a fabulous tasting variety of "fried" chicken that is much healthier, much easier to make and so much easier to clean up after! What is not to like about that!?!


Oven Fried Chicken
Prep: 15 minutes     Cook: 50 minutes
1 cup egg substitute or low-fat buttermilk (I used buttermilk)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika (I used sweet Hungarian)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 pounds assorted chicken pieces (I used legs & thighs), skinned
Cooking Spray
1 tablespoon stick margarine or butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Place buttermilk (or egg substitute) in a shallow dish. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dip chicken pieces in the buttermilk, and dredge in flour mixture. Dip and dredge each piece a second time.
3. Arrange chicken on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle margarine over chicken. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until done. Yield: 6 servings. Calories 297 per serving.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Perfect Picnic Food--Even in the Rain!!


We had so much fun! I fixed a from scratch picnic dinner with the intention that we were going to our outdoor cinema to watch Back to the Future....but then the storm clouds came in and the lightening sparked in the sky. So we stayed home and set up our picnic inside. The food was wonderful and the clean up was a cinch. Our fun was not dashed, not for a minute!

The menu I picked and prepared for our picnic was:
Oven Fried Chicken                                     297 calories
Tropical Cucumber Salad                           169 calories
Fresh Tomato and Pepper Salad                 20 calories
Chocolate Chip Cookies                              88 calories
Cranberry & Lime Perrier                           24 calories
                                                      Total        598 calories

Friday, August 3, 2012

Why fat-free salad dressing might actually be bad for you

 I thought this article was worth sharing. Real Food wins again! Read on to learn why:

Consider this the next time you eat a salad: A little bit of fat in your dressing could be more useful for unlocking the nutritional potential of your veggies

Good news, dieters: Now you can really let loose and opt for salad dressings with a little more fat (in small amounts), as a new study finds that those kinds of dressings help you absorb the good stuff in those greens.
Good news, dieters: Now you can really let loose and opt for salad dressings with a little more fat (in small amounts), as a new study finds that those kinds of dressings help you absorb the good stuff in those greens. 

Doctors may say that fat-free balsamic on your salad is better for you than something with more fat and flavor, but striking new evidence from Purdue University suggests that such thinking might be flawed. It turns out that fat-free dressings don't maximize the nutritional firepower you get from eating veggies the way a regular dressing might. Here's what you need to know before your next meal:

Why is using a fat-free dressing bad?
Dieters often turn to fat-free dressings because they're lower in calories, but in this new study, led by Purdue associate professor of food science Mario Feruzzi, a little bit of fat helped the body absorb carotenoids, a healthy group of phytochemicals naturally found in vegetables. These phytochemicals act as important anti-oxidants in the body and help stifle the harmful effects of free radicals, which have been linked to everything from cancer and cardiovascular disease to immune-system dysfunction and macular degeneration.

How did they test for this?
Feruzzi and his team enlisted 29 volunteers and fed them salads topped with dressings made from three different types of fat: a saturated fat (butter), a monounsaturated fat (canola oil), and a polyunsaturated fat (corn oil). These dressings were tested in three different quantities: 3, 8, and 20 grams. Afterward, researchers tested each volunteer for the amount of phytochemicals their bodies had absorbed.

So which kind of fat is the best for dressings?
Dressings made with monounsaturated fat — which is also abundant in foods like nuts and avocados, and in olive oil — helped the body absorb the highest amount of carotenoids. Better yet: The subjects didn't absorb much more of the carotenoids when they used 20 grams of a dressing, so for people looking to cut calories while getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, a few grams of monounsaturated fat could be the sweet spot. "If you're looking for a reason to quit buying those less-than-tasty fat-free salad dressings," says Beth Fontenot at The Atlantic, "this could be it."

Sources: The AtlanticFitSugar, Gizmodo

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tropical Cucumber Salad--Yum!!


I love fixing a Tropical Cucumber Salad. This is a great summer salad. It uses wonderful fresh ingredients like mango, cucumber, avocado and cilantro. It is great for picnics. It is more like a fruit salad so it is a good complement to an all vegetable salad you might also serve. For our picnic I served both this salad and a Fresh Tomato and Pepper Salad. It is always a big hit. It is not the usual salad so it is one of my favorite stand bys to impress family and friends on a hot summer night. Each 1 Cup serving is 169 calories.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Easy Way to Peel and Cut a Mango



There are so many fruits in season this time of year! Mangoes seem to be very plentiful now at our local Safeway. I have come across a variety of recipes to make use of this abundance. One such recipe is Tropical Cucumber Salad. The challenge is peeling and cutting the mango. Here are a couple of tips I have found to be helpful!

To peel and cut a mango:

1. Slice both ends off the mango, revealing the long, slender seed inside. Set the fruit upright on a work surface and remove the skin with a sharp knife.

2. With the seed perpendicular to you, slice the fruit from both sides of the seed, yielding two large pieces.

3. Turn the seed parallel to you and slice the two smaller pieces of fruit from each side.

4. Cut the fruit into the desired shape.