Should I buy Chicken Breasts or Chicken Thighs?

Chicken

There is a recent trend in people purchasing chicken thighs rather than the previously popular chicken breast. I’m getting more questions as to which is better for you.

Chicken in itelf is healthy as a good source of protein, iron, niacin and zinc. The difference between breast and thigh is fat and sodium. What does that mean to you? If you have been prescribed a lowfat diet, you may want to stick with breasts. Thighs are higher in fat between the two. Sodium is higher in thighs as well, but if you do not have problems with sodium, it will be less impactful.

Some of the reasons people are making the switch:

  • They feel the difference is small and the nutritional value is pretty much the same between them
  • The cost for thighs is lower than for breasts’
  • They feel the taste of thighs is better
  • Thigh meat is moister

Sounds reasonable to me!

If you are cooking for a large active family, consider chicken thighs as an alternative to chicken breasts. It’s still a great option as part of a healthy, well balanced meal!

Live longer by having friends!

Friends

I always knew life was more fun with a lot of friends, but now a couple of 10 year studies say that having a lot of friends also helps you live longer!  It can reduce your chance of death by 20 to 50%!

But how does this work? Well, most people say that friends and family help you enjoy your life more, but under a stressful situation, people with friends near by actually have a slower heart rate and lower blood pressure. So, for people with fewer friends researchers assume the higher stress on the body strains the immune system. This could cause disease which can increase the chance of death.

Another study found that people with the common cold got better faster if friends were around to help take care of them. They also say that having friends who care about us give us more reason to take better care of ourselves. Or….. our friends may ask us to take better care of ourselves and keep us on track by following up. It’s like a support system to keep you healthy!

Either way, there is no better time then now to keep old friends and make new friends for life!

I eat 6 meals every day!

IMG_0059

That’s right! I said it! You are probably picturing me as big as a house now aren’t you?!

One catch….I didn’t say how BIG the meals were. In reality I eat 3 small meals a day with 3 snacks in between. My focus is to keep my blood sugar and metabolism up all day. That keeps the body burning calories efficiently without getting hungry. Skipping meals results in a slower metabolism which then leads to less calories burned. Between meals, the body notices a lack of food and stops burning it up. This is to reserve it in case no more is coming. When you start eating again, your sluggish metabolism isn’t burning as many calories potentially causing you to gain weight. You should eat more frequently to keep this from happening.

So what’s considered a small meal or snack? Well, you want to be balanced and you want a little protein at each. An example is below:

Breakfast:
1 egg
lowfat cereal with skim milk
a piece of fruit or juice

Morning Snack:
Yogurt

Lunch:
3-4 ounces of lean meat like chicken or fish
rice or potato
salad

Afternoon Snack;
Handful of Almonds

Dinner:
3-4 ounces of lean meat like chicken or fish
rice or potato
salad or vegetable

Evening snack:
Fruit
lowfat cheese

What’s nice is if you are a foodie, you’ll have plenty of eating opportunities! You’ll never feel like you are giving anything up, and yet you are eating healthier!

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Chicken Tortilla Soup

A healthy option for Chicken Tortilla Soup!

1 TBLS olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 orange freshly squeezed juice
32oz chicken stock
1 – 16oz can chopped tomatoes
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1 lb shredded cooked chicken
Shredded cheddar cheese
Greek yogurt
Tortilla chips

Saute onion and garlic in stock pot with olive oil until tender. Add orange juice, stock, tomatoes, chilies and cilantro and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes. Pour into serving bowls topped with shredded cheese and a dallup of yogurt. Some people like to crunch up tortilla chips in top of the soup. I prefer them on the side.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Never too old to jump!

concert

You’ve either been there or seen it. A sea of teenagers at a concert jumping up and down, arm in the air and chanting….”JUMP…JUMP…JUMP!!!” What enthusiasm! What energy! It makes me smile!

Even if you aren’t a teenager anymore, there’s no reason you can’t jump in (no pun intended). Jumping up and down is incredible for the body. It’s aerobic, gets the blood flowing and also an awesome way to lose weight. For older women, this kind of impact will reduce your chances of osteoporosis. Impact workouts actually help your body build bone.

Not only is jumping great for the body, it’s also amazing for your attitude. Just try to jump without emotion. It’s impossible to do! It’s a great way to relieve stress.

You don’t have to go to a concert to enjoy jumping. There are all sort of things you can do. Jumping rope has made a comeback and doesn’t cost much. You’ll find jumping in most all Crossfit routines. I’ve seen trainers with their clients not just running up and down stairs, but also jumping stairs with both feet, skipping a step in between. Looks challenging to me! There are all sorts of free routines online.

Video game companies are making a killing off their dance games. There is a lot of jumping in the lastest forms of dance. Try Xbox or Wii. These interactive games work on either mats or motion sensors, both of which work pretty good. Even sport companies and famous trainers have partnered with these companies to create great workouts. Take a look at Nike’s Kinect training from Xbox. If you don’t already have one of these game consoles and you don’t want to invest in one, there are free online games available. They just won’t be interactive.

Then, there is the old style aerobic and dance classes you can take as well as the latest Zumba and hip hop which have the most jumping to me. This way you still get music and the crowd like you have in a concert, with a little more room to move! Being in a group setting really increases the excitement!

So, don’t hold in that enthusiasm when you have it, let it out! ………Just jump!

Fish Tacos recipe

fish tacos

Fish tacos seem to be all the rage. Happy hours everywhere lure you in with these yummy bites! To top it off, if you limit how many you eat, they are mostly healthy too! Of course there are always some exceptions. That’s why I’m giving you my recipe!

Corn tortillas
8-10 oz your favorite fish, filleted (I prefer halibut)
Chili powder
Cumin
Pepper
White cheddar cheese, shredded (use sparingly)
Shredded cabbage
Tomato, finely diced
Red onion, finely chopped
Fresh cilantro
Salsa, your favorite (use sparingly)

White Sauce:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Lime juice, squeezed from 1/2 of a fresh lime
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Sprinkle fish with chili powder, cumin and pepper and bake at 350 degrees until it’s fully cooked and flaky (15 to 20 minutes for fillet).

While cooking, mix all the white sauce ingredients together until smooth. You want it a little runny so you can drizzle it over your finished tacos.

Place 2oz of the flaky cooked fish in the center of a corn tortilla, sprinkling with a small amount of cheese, and then add all other ingredients, drizzling the white sauce over the top.

Feel free to get creative with  your ingredients. If you want more heat, add more cayenne pepper, spicy salsa or even a finely diced fresh jalapeno pepper.

Enjoy happy hour at home!.

 

Habits reduce stress

Schedule

So many decisions need to be made every day. What if you reduced the number of decisions you needed to make? Wouldn’t that reduce your stress?

I bet you have a typical morning routine you go through every day. Take a shower……check……eat breakfast…….check……brush teeth…..check…….let dog outside…..check…….drive to work…….check. You are probably on autopilot when you do this every morning, aren’t you? Compared to other daily things you need to do, I bet this is one of the least stressful parts of the day, isn’t it? Think how easy life would be if you set up routines that became habit so you don’t have to think so much.

Decision making takes time! At work, I have a short timeline to complete a number of tasks in the morning. I used to struggle trying to decide which one to do first. At times I’d even miss a task which caused a lot of anxiety. I decided to stop wasting time deciding which task was priority and picked a sequence I would always follow, even if one seemed more important on any given morning. Interestingly enough, my tasks got done so much faster this way. I got through all the priorities in time regardless of which I started with! I know this sounds like a tiny change, but it’s amazing how outlining an ordered list causes you to focus on the task at hand rather than being scattered and questioning what to do next. Now I formed a habit and my mornings are FAR less stressful.

Think about how many things you can apply this to. Setting up a standard exercise routine is one that really comes to mind. It definitely increases your success. You can also do this with planning and cooking meals, taking care of your kids and pets, even going shopping. Now, I’m not saying you can completely live on auto-pilot. Things will come up, but it will be nice to deal with the exceptions rather than everything you have to do in your life.

Give it a try, you may be surprised!

 

 

Potato Soup Extraordinaire recipe

Potato Soup

What makes this soup extraordinary is it’s simple, all-natural, non-fat, gluten free, low cholesterol, low sodium, vegetarian and if you purchase the ingredients in the organic section, it’s also organic!

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic minced
4 large potatoes large diced
3/4 cup skim milk
salt and pepper to taste (I prefer less salt and more garlic)

Saute the onion, celery and garlic in a non-stick pan. Pour into stock pot along with potatoes and add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Simmer with salt and pepper until just tender, not too soft; about 15 minutes depending on size of dice. Pour about 2 cups of mixture into blender (or use a blending stick), add milk and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture back into pot and blend together. Now you have a creamy soup with chunks too!

Enjoy!

Oh no, oh no……vertigo!

Vertigo

If your only experience with vertigo is after a hard night of alcohol, count yourself lucky! It will usually go away quickly.

There is a virus going around that’s causing vertigo. If you’ve never had it, it can be one of the worst things you will ever experience! Most people find out they have it when they wake up one morning and either the room is spinning, or they sit up and feel like they’re falling over. Looking straight up or straight down causes you to lose your balance, and laying down, especially turning your head to one side is what really kicks it into high gear! Nausea and fatique are usually side effects from your body trying to deal with it. You may also have sinus problems or pain in your ears.

There are many causes of vertigo, but it all relates to problems in the middle ear. Besides viruses, it can be caused by (in layman’s terms) balance crystals in the ear that breaking lose and roll around where they shouldn’t be. Another is from a high sodium content in the body that causes retention and pressure in this area.

Getting relief is not easy but I can give you a few tips. You will feel better if you are moving around. Sitting still will make your vertigo more obvious to you. Keep your head up and looking forward all the time. It feels a little weird to do things like tie your shoes this way. Try bringing your feet up to your face more than bending over.

Get plenty of rest. I know this is easier said than done! If you don’t have an adjustable bed, prop up a bunch of pillows so you can sleep with your head mostly upright. Do NOT sleep on your side. If your back hurts sleeping this way, they have large wedge shaped pillows you can buy to give your back more support.

Watch your shoulders, neck and jaw. The more tense they are, the worse vertigo gets. Unfortunately, when you have a vertigo episode, you are more than likely tightening your muscles. Concentrate on relaxing. Roll your shoulders, losen up your jaw and get a neck rub.

Eat a good diet and drink lots of water. Stay away from salt and salty foods. If water retention is causing pressure in your middle ear, it can make it worse. Drinking a lot of water will reduce the water retention you may already have.

If you use a netipot to clear your sinuses, be very careful. If you are congested, fluid might run past your congested sinuses and in and around your ear area. That will not be fun for you! Try relieving your congestion through lots of fluids, keeping mobile, and steaming in the shower or using a vaporizor.

If your vertigo doesn’t go away after a week or so, you will want to see a doctor to see if it’s something more serious. They may even prescribe therapy. That’s right! There are physical therapists that specialize in this. It’s called “Vestibular Therapy”. Some people never get rid of their vertigo and these therapists help them train their bodies to live with it.

It’s amazing how the body works…..how it tells you when you are up or down…..isn’t it?!

 

 

Should you really give up quality cooking for quality time?

 

photo used with permission. www.imagineourlife.com
photo used with permission. www.imagineourlife.com

This morning, a friend told me about someone else’s blog entry that disturbed me. This woman stopped cooking and started feeding convenience food to her children so she had more time to play board games with them. Her explanation was she needed more quality time with her children so felt no guilt about cooking from a jar. I do not like to judge people and especially do not like to force my opinions on anyone, but my concern is people who read my blog may have a similar thoughts.

The first thing that pops into my mind is this is not a healthy trade off. Children are not only losing their healthy meal, they also learn that eating out of can is a good thing and you can play instead of cooking. Is that the impression you want to leave? Too many children today aren’t learning the basics of healthy survival. It seems more logical to me to bring your children into the kitchen and have them participate in the cooking of your meal. Teach them that fresh food is good, that cooking is fun and they might just grow up taking better care of themselves. Talk about quality time with your children!

I suspect the other blogger used the statement “not feel guilty” because deep down, she does feel it. The focus of my blog is simplicity, so the objective is to find creative ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and still have your time. Rethink your priorities. Don’t reason your way into giving up. There is always a way.