Holiday Mantras

holiday fitness

With the holidays upon us, I thought I’d share a little hit list* I usually reference to help me keep myself on track, so that I don’t feel like I should resign myself to loose-fitting sweat pants to welcome in the New Year and beyond.

Everything in moderation is my year-round mantra but, I love addressing these too:

SHAKE MORE THAN YOUR SALT!   Exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, good cholesterol and blood pressure. “The Surgeon General recommends moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week,” says Caroline Klinge. Luckily, some of that exercise can be part of daily activities. Take the stairs instead of an elevator, walk, rake leaves, do housework and take 10 minutes to dance as if no one is watching. Exercise is more fun with friends and family members, so hit the gym or the trails in a group. And remember that people who spend most of the day sitting, are 54 percent more likely to develop heart disease.  Stand up, stretch or take a brisk walk.

SLEEP ON IT.  Sleep is good for the heart. According to The National Sleep Foundation, the rule of thumb for adults 18 years and older is seven to nine hours every night.

TRY SOMETHING FISHY.  Fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, herring and tuna are essential to a heart healthy diet. Fish oil supplements, especially those containing krill oil, have been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

LOL!  Laughter really is the best medicine. According to research from the University of Maryland Medical Center, laughing relieves stress that damages the endothelium, the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels and promotes blood flow and healthy blood vessels. Watch a lighthearted movie or sitcom, read a funny book or take in a show at a comedy club.

PASS ON THE SALT. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, cutting back on salt intake would make the number of coronary heart disease cases significantly decrease.  “To help reduce intake, try LoSalt as it has 66 percent less sodium than regular table, sea and rock salts but tastes just like regular salt,” recommends Klinge.

SAY OMMM!  Yoga/Pilates not only provides exercise that gets heart rates pumping, but the meditative aspects of yoga help reduce stress and build body awareness.

MAKE HEART HEALTH A FAMILY AFFAIR. Good heart health begins at home. With childhood obesity a growing concern in America, parents must help kids develop healthy eating and exercise habits.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT. Several smartphone providers offer free or very inexpensive apps to keep track of heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels and exercise progress. Several apps offer information on heart health, music, and links to social media sites.

And finally, these mantras should be used to help you stay healthy throughout the year, not just during the holidays!  Good luck.

 

What do you do to keep yourself balanced during the crazy holiday season?

 

 

 

 

*some of the wording for the mantras provided by LoSalt- UK’s leading low-sodium alternative!

 

Crater Pancakes

craterpancakes

Perhaps the BEST (and easiest) pancake recipe ever.

Why?

While it only contains 3 ingredients, it looks and tastes like it’s a gourmet recipe.

We enjoyed this pancake recipe for dinner tonight other night.

Bake it, add a little lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar, and some raspberry jam, and you’ve got a hit on your hands.

You must try this.

End of story (and post).

Cauliflower Soup

cauliflowersoup

It’s officially starting to feel like the precursor to winter. Snow on Thanksgiving?

To adapt, I’m kicking off my winter survival mode in the kitchen. So, beginning this week, the slow cooker will find a permanent place on the counter top as will the blender. Why? Because I slow cook meats and blend tons of soup—two hearty dishes ideal for wintertime.

Last night I made a terrific Cauliflower Soup. It wasn’t intentional. I noticed that I had a head of cauliflower in the crisper that needed to be used and, I had been sent a Cauliflower soup recipe earlier in the day that spawned my interest.

cauliflower

So, I adapted a few recipes based on the available ingredients and created the tastiest, filling soup. This soup’s base is not thick and creamy like many recipes that use half and half or whole milk. Rather, this soup relies on chicken broth as the base. Additionally, the cauliflower is not pureed. Instead, there are nice full chunks of the vegetable in the soup that adds a nice crunch to the overall texture.

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I added in some shredded cheese and bacon bits before serving which definitely sealed the deal with my kids.

Try it for yourself.  Any additions?

Levin House Salad

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Being with my extended family over this past holiday weekend made me very nostalgic.  As a young child, every Friday night we used to gather together at my grandmother’s house to partake in an extended  family dinner.   Gram usually baked all of main dishes (including her famous chocolate pies).  My mother would always bring a side dish, and Uncle Buzz became known for his tasty house salad (served in a bowl that, at the time, looked as big as a bath tub).

Now, 25 years after I moved out of the house for college and beyond, I still find comfort in recreating some of those seminal dishes.  The Levin house salad has been my go-to.  It’s the perfect combination of the sour orange with the sweet strawberries.  The Honey Poppy seed dressing takes the flavoring into a different dimension.  The salad is quite refreshing and tasty and has always received 2 thumbs up from my picky eater(s).

Try it for yourself and feel free to experiment with other fruits too.

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