Monday, November 12, 2012
November seems to be my month. After all it is. I was born in it 64 years ago.
And the picture helps to tell the tale because the recliner and I got to be great buddies from November 5, 2007 when chemotherapy and radiation began through November 9 2011 when chemotherapy ended and my journey to get healthy began.
This last year has been a time of "fixing" everything wrong with me.
The Livestrong program at the YMCA went a long way to get rid of my neuropathy. My chiropractor got my head on straight, literally, getting rid of tinnitus, balance problems, and migraines. She also discovered a vitamin D deficiency and swollen legs which required the compression stockings some of you have read about.
They are a challenge when trying to bring a bit of style to the wardrobe. But I think I fear circulation problems in my legs more that a possible third recurrence of cancer. So I wear them. And work on the nutrition going in to my body, and I'm now working on becoming addicted to sweat producing workouts.
This week the new orthotics to fix my last physical ailment-my foot- should arrive and we'll see if I can't get the pain in my foot to go away.
So, knowing I spent almost every free minute in that recliner since 2007, my sister was surprised when I requested a rebounder for this birthday. Frankly, I was surprised also. My family owned one years ago and I remembered the health benefits claimed and realized by people who used one. Even paraplegics who put their feet on the mesh stage while someone else bounced improved their circulation.
I knew I could gently walk or bounce and do wonders for my efforts toward health.
There was no doubt what was in the huge box when my mom and sister walked in with it after dinner at Applebees. But I believe I'd better find another place for it. I can't even hide it behind the couch. I could put it out on the porch, but the truth is, the living room is the best place.
If I'm going to become addicted to sweat-producing workouts, I don't think I'd be real happy doing that on the porch where it freezes in the winter and pushes 105 in the summer. Besides, with it sitting in front of the recliner, I must take at least a couple of bounces to get into the chair or to get up and go anywhere (translated to go to the bathroom or to get a snack or more water.)
Perhaps they make an olive green or rose brown cover so it will blend in better with the decor. And with a little ingenuity, I could figure out a way to stash and dash it behind the draperies if company comes. I bet everyone will want to try it out at my Stratified Grain Salad Tasting Party. But if I leave it out in the middle of the floor, there will be no room for people.
Maybe a pulley system could work to pull it up to the ceiling like the Christmas trees some people hang up side down. I could hang mistletoe and garland and other ornaments from the springs on the underside!!
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I am following the Eat to Live program for my 2nd 6 week stint. I get to eat one serving of whole grains each day (and a LOT of fruit and veggies). I decided that if I was going to eat brown rice as my grain choice for a day, I was going to get a gourmet selection from Lundberg. Then while I was at the health food store trying to make up my mind, I thought I'd better follow my advice in my recent blog series to get kids to be healthy eaters. After all, I'm the biggest kid around my neighborhood.
So I bought
• Golden Rose Brown Rice
• Black Japonica: a Gourmet Field Blend of Black & Mahogany Rice
• Brown Sweet Rice
• Christmas Rice: A festive red rice for the holidays
• Wehani (This one I knew already, and will cook this the morning of my party, because you wouldn't want to miss the aromas when it cooks)
And I started a cup of each in casseroles in the oven this morning before leaving for my walk. I'm going to invite those in my neighborhood without families to come for a Stratified Grain Salad tasting party before I leave for NC for Christmas.. Between now and then, I'll experiment with different combinations each day so I'll have a pretty good idea what ingredients I'll need to set out on the buffet. I'm excited about checking out the lundberg.com site to find recipes I can deconstruct into healthy stratified rice salads!
This morning, I layered Black Japonica, Greek Yogurt, blueberries, shredded apple, cinnamon, and flaxseed meal. Delicious. And I'm still full, with no desire to eat lunch. This might be a 2 meal day that Dr. Fuhrman talks about in his book. Veggies from the Stratosphere with Wehani for lunch tomorrow.
So now I have 10 cups of 4 different grains which will never make it for the 20 days it will take me to eat all of it.
Can you freeze cooked grains?
Sunday, November 11, 2012
On one of my teams this morning, I was sent to a new site to find pumpkin recipes. The pumpkin recipes were great, but I found so much more. So I thought my Spark Friends might be enriched by reading their Manifesto. It makes so much sense to me today!
I particularly like this line:
"Celebrate every success. Laugh off every misstep. Appreciate every valuable moment.
SP won't let me insert the HTML that will allow the whole document to appear here, so here's the link to visit and read it yourself:
Saturday, November 10, 2012
So, if you start using any of the ideas I've shared in this series, you will learn that kids will at least taste something they have helped cook from start to finish. I've even had kids who were in the same room, though not involved want to try new dishes that were prepared.
There are added benefits for their cooking experiences. They will have lots of opportunities to learn and apply real world skills that are usually taught in school from the textbook. And you will have lots of opportunities to send them off on a research journey to find the answers to their questions. And perhaps, most importantly, you get to turn the tables on all those "Why?" questions that are thrown at you. You get to sit back and ask, instead of tell.
Bam! The Math of it all when the Kids Cook
Application of learning seals the deal. Many math concepts are involved in cooking, menu planning and nutritional evaluation. Young children who have learned to count can inventory the fruit bowl when you're getting ready to go to the store. If they've learned to read, they can inventory the cans of legumes or boxes of cereal. As you have them cook and plan, your kids will have lots of opportunities to use measuring cups and a scale, and to graph information. Graphing can be done with pictures representing information. Have pictures of family members that move along a scale. For example, the face of each family members
could move up a graph one box for each veggie eaten with a special reward when they reach the top of the graph. A digital scale will go a long way to help everyone understand the relationship between grams and ounces without having to convert with formulas. You just push the button and you know how many grams or ounces you have in that cup of sliced bananas.
And be sure you understand the math before you start discussing sodium. Do you know how many milligrams of sodium are considered optimum for your daily intake? Do you know what 580 mg. of sodium looks like? You know what it tastes like in canned soups or spaghetti sauce. You know what 1500 mg of salt tastes like in that restaurant meal. Do you know what that salt looks like in a dish all by itself? Could you measure out approximately 300 mg of salt or 1500 mg without a scale? And you can show what high sodium intake does with a blood pressure monitor, recording results before a high salt meal and after. Another possibility is to graph changes in blood pressure on one line and changes in salt intake on another. What's the difference between a gram and milligram?
Kids Find Out (KFO): Ask, Don't Tell, or Here's Where YOU get to ask Why? Why? Why?
Kids can find out more about what needs to happen in our diets than we give them credit for.
Please take time to watch this video, and if you have children, invite them along!!
I was so impressed with Birke Baehr the first time I saw his Ted Talk that I researched recipes on SP for Kale chips and made them right away. And I've since started my own organic fall garden for the first time in my life. Kids can truly be instruments of change. So if you start to implement some of the suggestions for having kids help cook and plan, then you are also going to have to be ready to talk the talk and walk the walk.
Now, I DO NOT mean to talk and talk and talk to your kids. They will usually turn you off quickly if you talk AT them. Kind of like the teacher episodes on Peanuts Cartoons. So get ready to Ask, Ask, Ask, and then Act, Act, Act.
You will be amazed at how many opportunities will come up for your younger charges to look for answers to questions. You need to be in the mindset of ASK, Don't TELL!! If your kids aren't asking questions, then you ask. If they ask, DON'T tell. Send them to find out at Spark People web search. KidsClick.org, a site created by librarians, has a wonderful list of internet sites available to help kids with their nutrition questions at http://www.kidsclick.org/searches/search.p
The sites are evaluated for reading level– for example 0, 3, or 7. The site which required 0 reading level was created by first and second graders!! Older kids could help younger kids find answers at any of these sites, or use them to do research for a report for an assignment.
If you home school, outlaw research questions that can be answered with a yes or no, or one word (like a number).
So here are some questions about sodium moving from less desirable "outlawed" research questions to more desirable questions.
1. a. How much salt should you eat?
b. What does the amount of salt you should eat look like?
c. Plan 3 meals at ________________ (fast food restaurant choice) for the day that stay within your salt recommendation for the day. All fast food chains publish nutrition for all items on the internet) and explain what you could do to improve the menu for our health if you prepared it at home.
2. a. Should everyone have salt every day?
b. What does salt do for your body?
c. What happens to our bodies if we eat too much salt? What happens to our bodies if we don't eat enough salt?
And the last question can be changed to many other options like calories, fats, calcium, fruit, cupcakes, fast food fries, etc.
While you're cooking and planning, be sure to casually talk about the food, about life. Ask. Don't tell them what they should think. By the same token, you should answer their questions of you candidly.
Which do you like better: riding a bike or jumping rope; apples or pears; painting or writing; red pears or brown pears; wheat bread or corn bread; tossed salad with oranges or tossed salad with shredded apples; walnuts or sliced almonds; steamed, raw, or roasted carrots; peel carrots or do the dishes? What did you think of dinner? the storm? the Lakers? the cassserole? the picnic? the appetizers? the carrot juice? the winner?
Now for the Act, Act, Act part. Do you believe kids watch you and emulate you? I do. So if they learn in their research that health problems are worsened by smoking, obesity, a nutrient poor diet, or a combination of high sugar/high fats snacks, and you march along doing one of those things, what are you teaching your child? You must set as a goal to walk the walk that the kids set for you. And celebrate the steps you take toward your healthy goals together.
I hope you've found something in this series to help you move your children along their journey to healthy eating and living!!
Friday, November 09, 2012
Involve the Whole Family in Monthly or Weekly Food Samplers
Adventures into the Unknown: You know how popular the food samples are in the grocery store?? Well, I see tasting parties being a great way to expose the family to new things. If presented the right way, like cooking on an electric fry pay in front of the eaters, everyone will try anything that smells good at least once. You could each be a judge with rating scales to vote for all the choices on the menu. Judge on visual, aroma, texture, taste and score from 1 - 5 or 10, or whatever number is appropriate for your youngest. Toddlers could give Thumbs Up or Down.
And asking young children to give names to new foods is always interesting. Have you ever been around a toddler who named broccoli florets "Green Trees?"
1. Appetizers, Hors d'oeuvres, Horsey Dervers (Dad's expression)
Have the kids help prepare little bits with small samples of crunchy veggies like mini sweet peppers sliced crosswise into wheels, never tried foods, or pinwheels of wraps with new tasty fillings like yogurt and nuts. "Veggie Juice" served in fancy glasses with a sampling of cheese cubes or cheese ball or a home made bread which you pull off in hunks will make the kids feel very grown up. They will love serving the tray while you finish dinner prep.
2. The Tray Sampler
Recently I watched a food show on Create TV. The three chefs prepared a huge salad sampler tray with many small piles of different foods and a vinegar/oil/herb type dressing on the side. They then sprinkled the dressing over all and started sampling.
Ideas for Large Tray Samplers:
a. Cooked grain sampler for a cold morning: Cook 3-4 grains and serve in large bowls. Your oven will be your ally to cook 4 different grains at once. Provide 3-4 very different whole grain breads and/or nuts that you normally do not eat. Provide a couple of different fresh fruits like berries or stone fruits or grated apples, and a new dried fruit. For a savory change, prep some herbs, caramelized onions and garlic, and chopped tomato and peppers. Sweeteners might include a cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, and a fruited yogurt sauce. If you feel very ambitious, you could prepare a casserole of grain like rose brown rice, coconut, dried fruit and almond. And how about a sampling of "dairy" with Greek Yogurt, an almond based drink, and a rice or soy based drink for those who want something like that with their grains. Put small serving spoons in each bowl to encourage a true tasting party. If you have them, divided bowls work well for each participant. Otherwise, 3 clear plastic solo cups on a plate will encourage sampling different combinations. This is a nice breakfast for Christmas morning if you are not preparing dinner. Be sure to have the family help.
b. Brown Rice Pudding Sampler: Ahead of the meal, cook rice. Mix Non Fat Greek Yogurt with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sweetener like maple syrup. Prep fresh and dried fruit. I like to put out washed grapes, berries, and shredded apple. But also consider coconut, pineapple and strawberries. Everyone mixes their own dessert. Nuts, nut butters, and black beans or cooked chunks of winter squash or sweet potato could also be choices to add to the pudding.
It might help with amount of work for this if you planned to eat in sturdy paper bowls for ease of clean up after the meal.
c. Salad/Sandwich Sampler: I'm picturing a large tray with a couple of different cooked beans, nuts and seeds, fruits, prepped veggies, meats, hard cheese cubes or shreds, etc. Include unusual colorful salad greens. Include some veggies that have been prepped 3 ways: raw, steamed, and roasted. Have the kids sprout three different beans about 4 days in advance for this sampler. Have some familiar items, but also some things your family doesn't usually eat including wraps, pita pockets, and whole grain breads. You might have two types of dressing–one savory and one fruity in bowls on the side. The tray can become the appetizer for a meal or the party tray for the super bowl. It would be easy to replenish the items which go quickly.
You can just dig in or provide skewers, small plates or bowls and silverware or chopsticks.
Left overs can go into a crockpot for a stew or soup because you haven't put the dressing over everything. Be sure to follow food safety rules. The food should either be back in the refrigerator after two hours, or thrown out.
And the next time you try a Food Sampler Tray, involve the kids in the shopping. Each one should have to find a new or little used food to include.
d. Dueling Crock Pots
Get your hands on two or more crockpots and divide up into two teams and challenge to make the best soup or chili or stew. If you have a large family with at least one teenager who could become a team captain, AND you can get a third crockpot from your family or a neighbor, go for a third team. After dinner the night before you plan to do your grocery shopping, pull out all of the left over containers and available veggies, beans, bean sprouts, meats, herbs, etc. Harvest the herbs from your garden or kitchen window or set out a few bottles of dried herbs. Remember the onions, garlic, and celery for lots of flavor. Everything is fair game for each team to use to dump into their crockpot to make their creation. They can make broths using the juicer or blender. Then plug in the soup pots and let cook over night.
I guarantee everyone will want soup for breakfast!! You can all have a taste to determine a winner (a tie) but save it for the meal just before you leave for the grocery store, or after you come home when everyone is tired.
e. You get the Idea
Have a family brainstorming session to come up with other sampling ideas: pasta bar, omelet station, raw bar perhaps for Halloween, . . . or to list items which could be included in a new sampling bar or tray.
If you encourage your whole family to participate in these healthy food adventures, everyone should become more knowledgeable about the textures, flavors, and identifications of new foods.
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