Archive for September, 2012

ARE YOU READY OR ARE YOU FAKE READY?

Change is hard for most people. For some, it’s harder than others but when it comes launching into a diet or exercise program, it’s challenging for most of us because it involves some form of sacrifice. Let’s face it–change means having to give something up. You might have to sleep a bit less to exercise prior to work; you might have to eat fruit instead of those delicious cookies; you might have to start cooking instead of simply ordering in. Please do not underestimate how difficult this process is.

I’m not trying to be discouraging. However, before taking the plunge, you have to truly prepare mentally, get organized and implement your plan. You can’t cook a healthy meal if you don’t have a recipe or the ingredients in your house. You can’t go for that morning walk if you don’t have a good pair of sneakers. You can’t have “healthy snacks” at work if you don’t pack them in the morning. All of this takes time and effort. It means you have to be READY not FAKE READY.

Fake ready means that you want to make changes but don’t have a plan, which sets you up to fail. It’s hard enough executing change when you are organized. If you try to “wing it”, it will be twice as hard.

So make an investment in a good plan before you dive in. Being READY makes all the difference in the world. If you’re FAKE READY you’re not likely to succeed.

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PAN-FRIED TROUT WITH TOMATO BASIL SAUTE’

Pan-Fried Trout with Tomato Basil Sauté

If you are unable to find trout fillets, you can substitute the trout for salmon fillets. I did this and it was delicious!
ingredients

2 ounces  pancetta, choppped

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves of garlic, minced

salt and black ground pepper

¼ cup small basil leaves

olive oil

4 (4-5 ounce) trout fillets

4 lemon wedges

directions

Heat the pancetta in a large skillet over low heat. Cook for 4 minutes or just until pancetta begins to brown. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften. Stir in the basil leaves.

Push the tomato mixture to the perimeter of the skillet. Drizzle olive oil into the  pan. Sprinkle the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Add the fillets to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. (Note—if you are using salmon fillets, they might take longer to cook, depending on the thickness of the fish. In order to prevent the fish from drying out, lower the heat and cover and let the fish steam. Flip every few minutes.)

Serve the fish topped with the tomato mixture and with the lemon wedges.

(Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.myrecipes.com)

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THE INSTANT GRATIFICATION OF EXERCISE

Due to technology, we live in an instant world and are accustomed to instant gratification. However, when it comes to exercise, many of the benefits are far from immediate. Consider these wonderful “pros” of exercise that we can’t necessarily see or feel immediately:

Exercise……

  • improves cardiovascular fitness
  • increases bone density
  • increases muscle mass, making us more metabolic
  • improves cognition
  • reduces LDL cholesterol
  • improves posture
  • helps control diabetes
  • prevents back problems
  • decreases risk for several types of cancer
  • reduces blood pressure

To obtain these benefits, you can’t just exercise once and that’s that. So for many people, nothing on this list will be a motivator to start moving. So I thought I’d create a shorter list that focuses on what exercise can do for you NOW. This way, you can actually view exercise though “instant gratification” lenses.

Exercise……

  • increases energy
  • reduces stress
  • helps alleviates anxiety and depression
  • and my favorite one……..makes you feel good!

So don’t procrastinate exercising because you feel that you have a long time before you need to worry about your heart or your blood pressure or your brain. Just do it because exercise will make you  feel happier……….when you’re finished, of course!

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MY TAKE ON AGING: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I consider myself to be a healthy person—I eat right and exercise regularly. I also consider myself to be a  happy person and try to keep stress under control. And yet there are times where I just can’t believe this aging process.

Two weeks ago, I wound up decapitating my side mirror while parallel parking and had to bring my car to the auto body shop for a week. During this time, I drove my daughter’s car, as she is away studying abroad. One week later, I noticed that my right lower leg was extremely tight. It was uncomfortable to point and flex my toe. Simply put, my leg was killing me!!

Well, surprise, surprise—my leg was a mess merely because I switched cars! In my daughter’s car, I have to sit closer and press down harder on the brake. Sitting closer and lower down and moving my foot back and forth from the gas pedal to the brake did this. I don’t even drive THAT much!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????

I know I can’t be the only one who is aghast at this BS aging process. So if you have any aging issues that you feel like sharing, please send them my way. It might make me, and my aching leg feel better!

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SHRIMP FRIED QUINOA

Shrimp Fried Quinoa

ingredients

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup quinoa

1 T olive oil

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

1 cup thawed frozen peas

1 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 t toasted sesame oil

½ cup chopped cilantro

directions

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan, add quinoa, cover and cook quinoa at a simmer until the chicken broth is completely absorbed, about 18 to 20 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook green onions in hot oil until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir corn into the onions, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until the corn is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 5 minutes. Stir the peas into the mixture and cook just until the peas are hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir the cooked quinoa into the shrimp mixture. Return heat to medium. Pour soy sauce and sesame oil over the mixture. Cook and stir until completely hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle cilantro over the dish to serve.

(Adapted from  “Victor’s Shrimp Fried Quinoa” found on allrecipes.com)

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CRAP……….I MESSED UP THE FAMILY PET!

When my son when off to college, I became the caretaker of his guinea pig,  Maggie. Lucky me! For those of you who don’t know much about guinea pigs, they are kind of like giant hamsters, only they are much more social. In fact, they squeak and squawk when they want attention or food.

Maggie lives in the corner of the kitchen. When my son took care of her, he was very careful not to give her too many treats (carrots, lettuce, grapes, pepper) because then she would start making a ruckus. She was pretty quiet under his watch.

Well, now I’m in charge. And I feel badly for her because quite frankly, I’m not all that thrilled about taking care of her. To assuage my guilt, I started giving her a piece of carrot every time I had one. Or some pepper every time I was cutting one up for a salad. To make a long story short, I have created a MONSTER. Now, the second I walk into the kitchen, she starts squealing and I want to strangle her.

This got me thinking about how EASY it is to create bad habits. It’s awfully unfair since establishing good ones not only take time, but blood sweat and tears. Now I’m stuck with a squawking pig and will have to take specific measures to break this bad habit. REALLY?

Please think about this the next time you know you’re not doing the right thing. (Yes, I’m talking about diet and exercise habits.) NIP IT IN THE BUD before you actually have a real behavioral issue that you have to change.

Sorry Alex…….

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IS THERE A BENEFIT OF BEING OVER-WEIGHT?

As we all know, being overweight can lead to health issues and put us at higher risk of developing chronic diseases. However, since I always try to see the positive, there is one positive about carrying a few extra pounds: more weight-bearing.

Let me explain. The best exercise for your bones is weight or load-bearing  exercises that work against gravity. By pulling on your bones, you stimulate them, increasing bone density. Examples include walking, jogging, hiking, stair climbing, dancing, racket sports, step aerobic classes, and weight training.

Let’s take a closer look at one of these exercises—stair climbing. Imagine two women climbing up stairs. They are both the same height only one woman weighs 115 lbs and the other weighs 165 lbs. Clearly, the heavier woman will have more force going through her hips and legs as she climbs up the stairs than the lighter woman. Heavier means more weight bearing. This is why thin women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

Having said this, I do believe that it is very important to take off weight if you are overweight. However, if you want to look at the bright side, this is it!

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