MWLC Mock Guacamole

2 May

Your diet doesn’t have to be a bust because you’re hosting a party. This Mock Guacamole is the perfect dip to add to your Cinco de Mayo menu and keep you on track!

Servings:
3 Vegetables

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked Asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbs. Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 cup Cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/4 medium onion chopped
1/4 medium Jalapeno Pepper, minced
1 small Tomato, chopped
1 medium Garlic Clove, minced
1/8 tsp. black pepper, to taste

Preparation:
Bring large pot of water to boil.  Add asparagus and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.  Place asparagus into food processor and puree until smooth.  Stir in remaining ingredients and serve.

Obesity and Stroke Risk

1 May

Did you know that strokes kill more than 133,000 Americans annually?  This makes stroke the leading cause of serious, long-term disability.  Fortunately, eighty percent of strokes are preventable!

May is ‘American Stroke Month‘, which focuses on educating individuals about what strokes are, what are the risk factors, and how to prevent this condition.

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone, at any time.  It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.  When that happens , part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.  How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

High blood pressure is the greatest, and most controllable risk factor for stroke.  Currently, one in three American adjusts has high blood pressure.  Excess body weight and obesity are also linked with an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Obesity can increase the risk of stroke due to inflammation caused by excess fatty tissue. This can lead to difficulty in blood flow and an increased risk of blockage, both of which can cause strokes.  Also, excess fatty tissue has been shown to have a significant association with risk of stroke, independent of other vascular risk factors.  Losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds can decrease your risk of stroke.

The best way to achieve a lower risk of stroke is by eating a heart healthy diet, in proper portions, and by being regularly physically active.

Looking for a fun way to get active?  Join the MWLC Walking Team at the upcoming Michigan AHA Heartwalks!  Register Here:  http://mwlc.com/Community_Events.php

More Information on American Stroke Month Here: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/AmericanStrokeMonth/American-Stroke-Month_UCM_459942_SubHomePage.jsp

More Information About Obesity and Stroke Risk: http://www.obesityaction.org/wp-content/uploads/Obesity-and-Stroke-Fact-Sheet.pdf

The Difference Between Spices & Herbs

1 May

Update: 4/15/18

A great reminder to utilize herbs and spices to flavor your foods with out added fat, sugar and sodium!

Herbs and Spices: These words are often used together, but what is the difference between them?  While both are seasonings, spices generally are stronger tasting and smelling.  Spices typically are derived from the bark, berries, buds, fruit, seeds, roots, or stems of plants and trees, while herbs are the more gently fragrant leaves of plants. Spices include cinnamon, clove and nutmeg while herbs include mint, parsley and cilantro.

When Do You Add Herbs?

When you add herbs and spices to your dish depends on the kind of seasoning you are dealing with along with the cooking time. Mild flavors like basil and parsley work best added at the end while bolder flavored herbs like bay leaves and sage can be added from the beginning.

Comparing whole spices to ground spices, the flavoring of ground spices is more concentrated and will infuse food with flavor faster than whole spices. Ground spices can be added in the beginning if you have a short cooking time while whole spices can take their time releasing flavor in recipes that require longer simmer times.

Before adding any leafy herb to a dish, rub them with your fingertips gently in the palm of your hand to release flavors and aromas. Toasting some spices like cumin in a dry skillet can also enhance flavors as well.

Obesity and Sleep Apnea

27 Apr
More than one-third of Americans are now obese according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Obesity is a risk factor for many medical conditions, and is considered a major risk factor for the development of sleep apnea. Simply ... Read more »

5 Tips to Sleep Better

27 Apr

Updated: 4/27/18

Research indicates that lack of proper sleep and poor sleep quality can contribute to weight gain and obesity, and slow weight loss while following a diet.

Try these 5 tips to help you achieve the right amount of sleep.

1. Cut the caffeine!  Stick to 2 cups or less of caffeinated coffee and tea per day.  Even small amounts of caffeine in the afternoon or evening can make it harder to rest when it’s time for bed.

2.  Clear your mind!  Have too much on your mind?  Practice meditation, jot down your thoughts in a notebook next to bed, or listen to calming music to put aside your worries from the day.

3.  Get comfortable!  Make your bedroom an ideal place to fall asleep.  Avoid computers, cell phones, and TVs an hour before bed, and dim any night lights.  Take a warm bath or shower.  Make your bed comfortable, get the room temperature how you like it, and relax.

4.  Stick to a schedule!  Set a time to go to bed and wake up each day, and stick to those scheduled times.  Move your alarm clock across the room if you have trouble passing up the snooze button.  This helps get your body’s internal clock get on a  healthy routine.

5.  Get active!  Exercise daily – but finish up your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.  Research* has found that regular exercise can improve sleep quality.

More Information About Sleep and Obesity Here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/

*Source:  http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/09/aerobic-exercise-relieves-insomnia.html

Spice Up Your Kitchen

26 Apr

Updated: 6/19/18

There are many fresh foods that are delicious enough on their own, but when it comes to modifying recipes to lighten them up, it’s important to understand how to retain flavor when reducing fat, sugar or sodium.

Adding spices, herbs or other flavorings such as lemon or lime juice are great ways to accomplish this. Some recipes utilize aromatic vegetables such as garlic, onions or celery while others will add herbs and spices to season up the dish. Here are 3 tips for storing and using spices.

  1. Dry vs. Fresh: Dried herbs do not always taste like their fresh counterparts, so sometimes they are not always interchangeable in a recipe. Substituting one part dry herb for three parts fresh will work in a pinch.
  2. Shelf Life: Dry herbs and spices have a shelf life, and most should not be kept for more than a few years, especially if they have been opened. Store your dried herbs and spices in airtight containers in a cool, dark place like your cupboard or pantry – not your counter.
  3. Seasoning: It’s much better to under-season and add more spices than over-season. Taste and season your recipe throughout the cooking process.

Pre-made blends can be nice to have on hand, but check the ingredient label, as you will want to avoid the blends that are filled with sodium.  Some recipes may call for specific herbs and spices but the list below is a great place to start outfitting your spice rack.  You can also grow your own herbs with a seed kit. It’s easy to do and kids will have fun watching them grow.

 Dried Herbs and Spices2

 

 

Pina Colada

26 Apr

The warm weather has set in and summer is so close, we can feel it! Sit back and enjoy a Pina Colada for a taste of summer! 🍹

Servings:
1 Fruit
1 Supplement
Suitable for Fast Track Patients

Ingredients:
1 Vanilla Pudding Shake Supplement
1 serving Fresh Pineapple
1 tsp. Imitation Rum Flavoring
1 cup Ice Cubes
4 oz. Water

Preparation:
Blend all ingredients together.  Enjoy!

5 Ways to Lower Stress Levels

24 Apr

Did you know that depression, anxiety, mood disorders, as a group are ranked number one among the top five national health conditions that contribute to poor health in nearly every state in the US?

Stress can make these chronic conditions worse, but you can manage everyday stress by setting realistic and manageable goals in honor of April, National Stress Month.

  1. A Healthy Diet: Some foods have been shown to lower stress by decreasing blood pressure and boosting mood. Examples include:  blueberries, crisp vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, etc.), salmon and sweet potatoes.
  2. Good Sleep: According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans today get 40 percent less sleep than the body needs to function at its best. Adequate rest allows the body and mind to recharge, which both help in the fight against stress. The benefits of adequate rest include: muscle repair, improved memory and heightened focus.
  3. Regular, Moderate Exercise: Physical activity is beneficial in managing stress so it may come as no surprise that the body and mind work together. Releasing endorphins works to boost energy, endorse positive thinking and improve overall cognitive function.
  4. Positive Psychology: Work on spreading positivity in your own life to combat everyday stressors by considering the following writing exercises: Gratitude Journal: Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. • Experience Journal: Spend five minutes journaling about a meaningful experience from the past 24 hours. • Thank You Notes: Dedicate two minutes to write an e-mail or thank a person in your social support network.
  5. Cognitive Restructuring: Train the brain to practice positive by actively replacing stressful thoughts with more positive, “glass half full” thoughts.

Read more tips on reducing stress in the original article: https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2017/04/12/tips-to-reduce-stress/

Easy Foods Kids Can Grow in the Garden

22 Apr

Update: 4/17/18

Looking for a fun Earth Day activity?

March was National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating, and now Earth Day is April 22nd.  Celebrate by growing your own produce with your family.  Enjoy the fruits of your harvest all season long!

Gardening may help your kids eat enough fruits and vegetables because when they lend a hand in the process, research shows they are likely to eat more produce and try different varieties as well. Gardening is a great way to spend time with your family outdoors and can also build self-confidence and provide a sense of responsibility.

Kids Gardening

Make Kids Part of the Planting Process

Allow your kids to choose the fruits and vegetables they enjoy eating and add other reliable plants suitable for your region and climate.

Go Herbal

Herbs are easy to grow and excess can be frozen in ice cube trays to be stored in the freezer or even dried for later use.

Dig What Grows Below Ground

Digging for vegetables like Beets can be a great way to introduce a new colorful vegetable to your child.

Click here to read more tips on gardening with your family.

Link to original article: Easy Foods Kids Can Grow In the Garden