November 18, 2008

Recipe Time

In lurking around the NYTimes Website I came across this yummy salad and thought I'd share it with you -- maybe in time for an addition to Thanksgiving??

For the salad:
1 quart water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
Salt to taste
1/3 cup lightly toasted broken walnut pieces
3 celery stalks, preferably from the heart, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage (2 good-size leaves) (optional)

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons walnut oil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt

1. Bring the water or stock to a boil in a large saucepan, add salt to taste and the wild rice. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and splayed. Drain and toss in a large bowl with the remaining salad ingredients.

2. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk in the walnut oil, olive oil, and buttermilk or yogurt. Toss with the wild rice mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


November 17, 2008

Muscle Building Monday

Try it three times this week:

Side Squats

To perform this exercise, stand with your feet together, slight bend in the knees, arms relaxed at your sides. Keep your left foot stationary as you take a side-step with your right foot, so your feet are a little more than shoulder-width apart. Squat down, remembering to not go lower than a 90 degree angle in your knees while keeping your knees over your ankles (in other words, stick your rump out).

Push through your heels to return to your beginning position (feet together). Repeat for your left side, keeping your right foot stationary, and return to beginning position. You just did 2 reps of side squats. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps, resting 1.5 to 2 minutes between sets. If you really want a challenge, hold medium-heavy dumbbells in your hands while performing side squats.

November 15, 2008

Latest research from Dove

Dove recently completed a study entitled Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem. A total of 4,373 girls, ages 8 to 17, were surveyed online and throughout the United States. Some highlights of the findings include:

-Seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members
-62% of all girls feel insecure or not sure of themselves
-57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks
-More than half (57%) of all girls say they don’t always tell their parents certain things about them because they don’t want them to think badly of them
-75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking, when feeling badly about themselves (Compared to 25% of girls with high self-esteem)
(For more, see the report at

For those of us who care about this topic, it's not any news that our society's view of "beautiful" has been severely distorted. “The existing narrow definition of beauty is not only unrealistic and unattainable, but clearly it also creates hang-ups that can lead girls to question their own beauty,” said Philippe Harousseau, U.S. marketing director for Dove. “It’s time to free the next generation from these stereotypes and give girls the tools they need to discover their own definition of beauty.”

Dove is offering free tools to download for moms, girls, and mentors, including "True You and Mirror, Mirror" booklets, Interactive exercises, & Workshop Facilitator Guide DVD (find those tools HERE.)

I could honestly go on and on about the importance of instilling a sense of worth, value, and beauty in not only young girls but in everyone, but this post is already long enough (plus you can also check out my other posts on Dove's campaign here and here). The bottom line is we can't teach this to others unless we can accept ourselves for who we really are. If you need help or want to help, check out Dove's workshops or see what else you can do to help.

I've also pasted this video below; show it to others so they know how a photoshoot actually works!

November 11, 2008

Effects of exercising at a young age

I read this online from the NY Times today and wanted to share. It's a Q&A session with Dr. Barry E. Levin, a neurologist at New Jersey Medical School.

"Q. Does exercise really make a difference?

A. A large group of people in the National Weight Control Registry report doing very heavy amounts of exercise as part of their weight management strategy. And we know that exercise helps overcome the body's natural tendency to lower its resting energy expenditure in response to weight loss. But for most people, exercise in and of itself isn't the answer.

What we are finding is that exercise done very early — immediately after weaning in animals, and probably anywhere from age 2 to 8 in humans — may help prevent someone with an obesity-prone template from becoming fat. We did an experiment in which a running wheel was put in a cage of animals who enjoy using it. They ran on it like crazy, and we found that even animals with a propensity to obesity did not gain weight, even after the wheel was taken away. The effect was incredibly dramatic.

We had never been able to change the set point of the obesity-prone before, and we suspected that exercise done during this early developmental period somehow made their brains more sensitive to leptin signals. We don't know if the effect is permanent, but it certainly is long-lasting. And it's encouraging because it shows that there may be a way to change the obesity genotype with an early intervention."

I'm going out on a limb here, but I bet most of you reading this are not between the ages of 2 and 8 years old. However, you may have children in your life that are between these ages; encourage them to exercise for their future health. Help others live well!

November 3, 2008

Holiday Eating

Keeping the balance of all that holidays offer with healthy living can be difficult. But with some careful advanced planning you can enjoy any holiday while sticking to your healthy living routine.

1). Plan your workouts that week to include the day before the holiday and either the day after the holiday or two days after the holiday. Don't stress about working out on the holiday. There's a very good chance that won't happen anyway. Enjoy your day off!

2). Hosting your own holiday party will ensure that you have plenty of healthy food & beverage choices.

3). If you're not hosting but instead attending a holiday party, offer to bring a dish and make it one of your healthy choices.

4). Assuming the host doesn't need any help or you don't want to offer it, eat a meal before attending so you're not hungry enough to eat everything served.

5). Attending a dinner party where #4 won't work? Watch your portion sizes during dinner and drink water during the meal. Eat very little or completely omit spreads and dips like butter, sour cream, gravies, white sauces (like Alfredo), etc. Load up on the veggies and trim the fat off meat.

6). When confronted with a buffet of desserts, pick your top two and decide if they're worth the calories. If they are, eat half of each one and discard the rest. If not, chose one, eat it slowly, and enjoy every bite. Then discard your dessert plate. Don't go back for more! If one dessert is served, again watch your portion size, and savor the yummy goodness. Drinking water after eating something sweet will help get the flavor out of your mouth and deter you from eating more.

In most cases of life planning ahead really does help you avoid pitfalls. Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Don't dread the holiday celebrations this year and plan ahead to continue to live well!