“Boundless energy and I feel great every day….”

This was one lady’s answer to the question “why bother?” when she was diagnosed with cancer even after leading  an exceptionally healthy lifestyle.  “My only comeback, and one I truly believe, is that regardless of what eventually kills me, I have boundless energy and feel great every day.”
There are  no guarantees but it doesn’t mean that what you eat and how active you are doesn’t matter.

There was an interesting book that came out a few years ago called the Blue Zones. Researchers were trying to figure out what certain groups of people were doing to live so long. They identified 5 places in the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people who reach age 100.

They then assembled a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists to search for evidence-based common denominators among all places. They found nine. To read the list copy and paste this link into your browser. http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/power-9/

Here are  2 of them.

80% Rule
 “Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.

Plant Slant
 Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.

Again, nothing new.  Most of us know we eat too much. I remember hearing this same advice several years ago at a Health Event held in our City that was focusing on Brain Health and Preventing Dementia. “Eating Less” was one of their main points.

Eating a Plant Based Diet is nothing new either. It just takes a little more planning and preparation to include more of these in your diet.

I encourage you to plan then make at least one plant-based meal per week.  Include beans. Try a new vegetable. If you are new to my blog I encourage you to look around. I  have lots of recipes for you to try.  Start the meal with a big salad.  Enjoy time around the table by slowing dinnertime, one   course   at   a time.

My daughter made this amazing salad for a family weekend away at our local ski hill. We went cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing. So fun!  We also ate well:)

Mixed Greens Salad with Pomegranate seeds, Caramelized Pecans and Goat Cheese Feta

Wash a large bowl of mixed salad greens

Wash then Chop 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 each of a red, orange and green pepper, 1 green onion.

To Caramelize 1/2 cup raw pecans you will need  1/2 tablespoon butter and 1 tbsp brown sugar.

Melt butter in small frying pan over low heat. Add pecans and brown sugar. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is caramelized.  Spread out on wax paper or a plate to cool.

Remove the red delicious seeds from a fresh pomegranate. If you haven’t done this before it’s pretty easy, just a little messy and tedious. First cut the pomegranate in half,  then pull each half  apart again with your hands. Then pick out the seeds with your fingers.  So worth it!  You could substitute sliced pears or oranges  but you would really being missing out!

Mix this all together in a large salad bowl together with a small amount of feta cheese. The cheese is really just a garnish in this salad so a tbsp or 2 is plenty.
Add only enough dressing to lightly dress the salad.
Whisk together in a small bowl:
1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 garlic, crushed

Pinch salt, pepper

Eat slowly. Enjoy the distinct flavors.

I wish you boundless energy. I hope you feel great every day!

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2014 What’s New and what’s not

To be honest there is not alot NEW in the area of Healthier Living. The conversations about what’s healthy and what’s not are still happening with little change really being made. We are creatures of habit and change is hard but not impossible. It won’t happen overnight just like whatever health challenge you are facing didn’t happen overnight. Too much stress, too little exercise and years of not really thinking about what we are putting into our bodies and of those we love won’t change overnight.

We are more than a week into 2014 and if you’ve resolved to do something about living healthier don’t give up. What’s not new is that we need to GET MOVING. Our bodies were built to move! 150 minutes per week, 30 minutes 5 times per week for adults and 60 minutes per day for kids over the age of five is the bare minimum. According to Statistics Canada released in 2013, only 15% of adults and 6% of children meet these targets! Try something new like snowshoeing. It is aerobic and fun.

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We need to EAT MORE LEAFY GREENS. If you aren’t eating them now this is one food that boosts the nutrient density of your diet. Try something new: kale, collards, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, bok choy. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the supermarket. It is loaded with vitamins A, C and K.  I swap out spinach for kale in soups, stir-frys and even pasta dishes. Try this new recipe:

BAKED PASTA, KALE AND BEANS

Drizzle of olive oil for cooking

1 onion, chopped

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

28 oz can diced tomatoes

2 cup cooked white beans or 19oz can, rinsed and drained

5.5 oz can tomato paste

1/4 cup pesto (optional)

3 cups whole wheat or brown rice penne or rotini pasta

2-3 large kale leaves, washed, torn away from middle tough stem and cut into ribbons

1/2 cup shredded soy mozzarella cheese or sheep’s milk white sharp cheese

1/4 cup grated romano cheese

Fresh torn basil leaves

In a large pan, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, beans and tomato paste and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the pesto if using.

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain reserving 1/4-1/2 cup cooking liquid. Toss with kale, beans & mozzarella in a large bowl. Stir in hot tomato sauce which will slightly wilt the kale. Pour into a large baking dish or 2 if needed and sprinkle with grated romano. Season with fresh ground pepper.  You can cover and refridgerate overnight, freeze or bake now at 350 for about 30 minutes until bubbly and golden. Garnish with torn basil leaves.

Serve with a side dish vegetable like steamed carrots or broccolini and a salad.

Enjoy:)