Trick or Treat

>> Friday, October 31, 2008

It's been a week of tricks and treats here. The tricks - bad backs, stomach viruses, and no time to write posts as planned. The treats - good old fashioned Halloween fun.

While I didn't have a chance to write all of the posts that I had planned, I did get a chance to read some bloggy trick or treats that I want to share with you!

First the tricks...

From the New York Times Health section comes the article, "Still Spooked by High-Fructose Corn Syrup" full of troubling studies linking HFCS to bad health problems. Whether the problems can be attributed to HFCS or the types of foods that HFCS is in, makes me glad that we've decided to ditch the stuff!

The Good Human - a blog about being green - presents a compelling argument against biofuels. I'm all for alternative energy, but we've got to be careful that we don't turn to something that will create more problems!

I don't know if this entry should be a trick or a treat. It's a little of both, and I love it! Survivor: The PhD Years is a new blog devoted to presenting the horror stories of graduate school. If you went to grad school, you know you have them! If you're thinking of pursuing a graduate degree, it also appears to be a good place for some straight information. The author is looking for stories, so if you have any good grad school stories, let us hear them!

Now the treats...

Did you know that Jason's Deli is HFCS free (except for soft drinks)? They're also trans-fat and MSG free. The Washington Post interviews one of the co-founders of Jason's Deli to find out why they've gone clean. Wishing we had a Jason's Deli around here...

Lori at Fake Food Free has holiday eating advice for real people - realistic holiday eating advice that lets you enjoy the delicious food that the season has to offer without feeling guilty. Good stuff!

Last, Nursing Assistant Central always has great blog lists. They just put out their list of the Top 100 Pediatric Health Blogs, and A Life Less Sweet is number 49! Check it out. Their lists always introduce me to lots of great new blogs.


My Family Doctor's Small Steps for Health Contest

>> Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last week James Hubbard's My Family Doctor magazine had a Twitter contest. (If you've not heard of Twitter, it's a social networking site.) In the contest, they asked Twitterers to answer the question, "What small steps are you taking for your health?" Participants "tweeted" through the day with responses. Now, the general public gets to vote on their favorite small steps for health tips!

There are eight general categories, including "Favorite Overall Tweet," "That's easy! Tips I'd most likely incorporate," and "Favorite Stress Tip." The winner of each category will get two subscriptions to My Family Doctor magazine, and the runner up also gets a free subscription. You can vote on your favorite tip in each category through this Wednesday. There are lots of great tips, so make sure you go check them out!

I really had a lot of fun submitting tips for this contest. Best of all, my tips are finalists in four of the categories!

If you haven't visited this site before, you're really missing out. Dr. Hubbard and the rest of the My Family Doctor staff do an excellent job of presenting current medical issues in an informed and objective way. Heard about a medical study on the news? Head to My Family Doctor to get the skinny on it. Their blog is on my daily must-read list.

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to James Hubbard's My Family Doctor and vote for your favorite tip in each category! (Better yet, vote for me! Less_Sweet, of course!)


A treat from Kraft - HFCS free Bullseye BBQ sauce!

>> Monday, October 27, 2008

Remember last week when I asked what your favorite HFCS-free BBQ sauce was? One commenter mentioned that Bullseye Barbecue Sauce, made by Kraft, is now HFCS free. I think that needs to be celebrated!

If you look back at one of my first posts, you'll see that Bullseye was one of the HFCS-containing foods in our pantry that we got rid of. So, since June of this year, Bullseye has been reformulated to be HFCS free. Woo hoo!

What caused the reformulation? I don't know, but the fine people at Kraft are making a really big deal out of the lack of HFCS in Bullseye. Take a look at the top label proudly proclaiming, "Now High Fructose Corn Syrup Free!" Perhaps Kraft realized that there is a market for foods that don't contain HFCS - especially since there are painfully few BBQ sauces that are HFCS free.

Bullseye is back in our pantry! We made pulled pork sandwiches late last week and enjoyed having a little Bullseye on them. They have five flavors for your tasting pleasure. We used their new Hickory Smoke flavor and thought that it was tasty.

Kudos to Kraft! And take that, Corn Refiners Association!


Friday Link Love

>> Friday, October 24, 2008

I guess this is going to be a regular thing for me. I am blatantly stealing the Friday links idea from Mark Salinas and Lori at Fake Food Free and MizFit. It's fun to share some of the great sites that I've visited over the past week. Hope y'all get as much out of it as I do!

My Family Doctor has a very important post on how the Bee Gees can help you with CPR. Be sure to read this! You'll never forget their tip, and it just might save a life!

Jen's Genuine Life responded to my BBQ sauce plea with a recipe of her own. It's a bit different, but it really does sound good.

We're trying hard to like winter squash around here. The Nourishing Gourmet has a recipe for butternut squash fries that really sounds good. We'll be trying it soon!

I like free things. I think that it goes back to my grad school days. In my experience, all graduate students (at least all engineering grad students) like things that are free. So, this site - Freebies 4 Mom - thrills me to say the least!

And last, another blogger who shares our disdain for HFCS - The Reluctant Eater. I'm looking forward to reading more from this blogger!


This one is for all kids at heart

>> Thursday, October 23, 2008

One thing that I've found already as we purge our home life of HFCS is that it's important for our kids to have substitutes to HFCS-containing foods that their friends eat. Peer pressure is a strong thing - even when it comes to food. My son seems to like (in theory) the idea of eating healthier, and if I give him a healthier substitute to something that his friends like, he's mostly content.

That brings me to fruit roll-ups. Not all fruit roll-ups have HFCS in them - in fact, most that I've looked at don't. I've already said that I'm not as freaked out about plain corn syrup, which is almost all glucose, but I still don't like giving my child a supposedly "healthy" snack that is mostly corn syrup with a little food coloring thrown in for the wow factor. (Have you seen the roll-ups with "tongue tattoos"?!? My son LOVES them even though the tattoo really just looks like a blob on the tongue. Bleh.) General Mills Fruit Roll Ups even have partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil in them! Healthy, these are not.

But, fruit roll-ups are huge with the preschool and elementary school crowd, and it's important to me that my kids don't feel left out even as we make our diet healthier. If they feel left out, they're more likely to abandon our efforts at eating healthier, so I work to find healthy (or at least healthier) substitutes. Fruit leather won't do (I tried). Homemade fruit leather roll-up-ish things won't do (I tried). It must be a fruit roll-up. Fortunately, there are a couple of good options out there.

First, there's Fruitabu Fruit Twirls. They come in a variety of flavors (grape and strawberry are favorites here). These are kind of a fruit roll-up strip. The packaging is perfect for throwing in a lunch box, purse, or diaper bag. Both of my kids love these. Take a look at the ingredient list:

Apple Puree Concentrate (Organic), Apple Juice Concentrate (Organic), White Grape Juice Concentrate (Organic), Strawberry Puree Concentrate (Organic), Apple (Organic), Palm Fruit Oil (Organic), Citrus Pectin, Strawberry Flavor (N
atural), Citric Acid, Fruit Juice (For Color), Sodium Citrate, Acerola Cherry Extract (Natural Vitamin C), Soy Lecithin

It's sugar and flavoring come from fruit (mostly apple, which is not the best fruit to use, but we won't quibble about that). It does have a little palm oil, but that's way better than partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. And no artificial colors!

Fruitabu is my roll-up of choice around here, but we also occasionally buy Jovy Fruit Rolls. These roll-ups are much larger - more of a traditional fruit roll-up shape. The kids almost always go for the Fruitabu Twirls first, but there are times when they want a more traditional roll-up and go for the Jovy Fruit Rolls instead. Here's the ingredient list for the Jovy Fruit Rolls:

Natural Fruit (Concentrated Natural Strawberry, Dehydrated Apple and Pear), Sugar, Glucose, Pectin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Artificial Colors [FD&C Red #40]

These aren't as big a homerun as the Fruitabus because it does add sugar and artificial color, but the Jovy Fruit Rolls don't have any extra oil.

I can find Fruitabu in the organic section of all of our grocery stores, and the Jovy roll-ups in the produce section of all of our grocery stores.

Just a couple of options for both kids and kids at heart!


In search of a good BBQ sauce

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's been four months since we started our HFCS-free life, and we've done pretty good so far. There are really a lot of good HFCS-free alternatives out there! We even managed to find suitable HFCS-free ketchup substitutes fast. But, we've hit a stumbling block - BBQ sauce. We live in northern Wyoming now, but in our hearts, we'll always be Southerners, and to be a Southerner is to love BBQ. Surprisingly, finding good BBQ sauces that don't contain HFCS has proven to be a bigger challenge than finding good ketchup.

There are a few out there. The one that we've settled on for now is Stubb's Original BBQ Sauce. It's a decent sauce, and HFCS free, but it's Texas style BBQ-sauce, and we really prefer Memphis-style BBQ. (If you are not a BBQ aficionado, the differences between the different BBQ regions - Memphis, Texas, Carolinas, Kansas City, etc. - can be quite dramatic. But even the subtle differences add up!) Stubbs is pretty good, but it just doesn't quite satisfy our souls the way a good Memphis-style BBQ sauce does.

To date, I've found three other commercial BBQ sauces that don't contain HFCS: Annie's Naturals Original BBQ Sauce, Consorzio Organic BBQ Sauce, and McClard's Bar-B-Que Sauce. Of those, I've only tried the Annie's sauce. The Annie's sauce is not a hit here. It has a strong burnt undertaste and is unpleasantly hot for a BBQ sauce (in my and my son's opinion, at least). I'm intrigued by McClard's sauce and might have to order it go give it a taste, but the Consorzio sauce describes itself as having a hint of chili pepper flavor, and that doesn't really make me want to try it.

Do you have a favorite HFCS-free BBQ sauce? If you do, I want to hear about it - even if it isn't Memphis style! We're still looking for one that really makes our taste buds sing, and it's proving to be harder to find than I would have imagined!

On an unrelated note, I'm also searching for a good crockpot cookbook. Anyone know of a good one that uses mostly whole food ingredients (i.e. not condensed soups - though I love those too)?


Yogurt and HFCS

>> Monday, October 20, 2008

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in a container of yogurt? Yogurt seems like such a healthy food, but it is typically loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients, and often artificial sweeteners and food dyes. We were shocked to discover how many yogurts contain HFCS when we started this journey. And if it doesn't contain HFCS, it probably has been replaced with an artificial sweetener (like Splenda or Nutrasweet). We're not giving up artificial sweeteners, but we are trying to limit our consumption of them, so yogurts that go the artificial sweetener route are kind of a turn off.

There are alternatives out there, though, and I want to talk about our favorite HFCS and artificial sweetener-free yogurt that we've found - Cascade Fresh All Natural Yogurt. Unlike most of the yogurts you'll find at the grocery store, the ingredient list for the Cascade Fresh yogurts is so amazingly simple. Take for example, Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free Lemon Burst yogurt. It was a favorite of ours back in the day. Here is its ingredient list:
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Lemon Pulp, Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Kosher Gelatin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.

Now, here's the ingredient list for the Cascade Fresh Fat Free Lemon Chiffon yogurt:

Grade A Pasteurized Non-Fat Milk, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Lemons, Tapioca, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Turmeric, Active Cultures.
Nice! I love that instead of using food coloring to enhance the color of the yogurt, they use natural ingredients - like turmeric in the lemon yogurt, and red cabbage and annatto in the strawberry yogurt.

These yogurts are not sugar-free. They're sweetened with fruit juice concentrate instead of cane sugar or HFCS, but a 6 oz container has 16 grams of sugar in it. Still, they taste good, so I can live with that sugar consumption, especially since we don't eat a ton of yogurt.

If you're a yogurt fan, give this brand a try! There are other brands out there that are HFCS free (like Brown Cow), but Cascade Fresh is by far our favorite - both for taste and simplicity of ingredients.


Sending out some link love

>> Friday, October 17, 2008

It's time once again to share a few of the great posts that I read this week.

The Clever Mom talks about the importance of cooking with our children - something that I very rarely do - and offers a kid-friendly recipe for chocolate mug cakes. I'll be trying these - and trying to incorporate the kids in the kitchen more - soon! has an enlightening post on preparing our kids for the big IF that no one wants to think about - the death of a parent. Lots of food for thought!

The Delightfully Healthy Blog is attempting a week of no complaining. Could you do it? I may need to attempt this one on a smaller scale - say a day of no complaining - but it sounds like a good exercise for the soul!

Mark Salinas has a great post on respect. He says, "In our busy lives do we tend to forget that we should slow down and remind ourselves that all people deserve to be treated with respect and kindness." Couldn't have said it better myself, Mark!

I'll end on a humorous note. May's Machette introduced me to Fail Blog, which can be a little raunchy but is also downright hilarious. If you want a laugh, check it out!


How I made peace with brown rice

>> Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You may have noticed that I am a picky eater. Until very recently - like maybe a month and a half ago - I did not like brown rice. I was a medium grain white rice fan and nothing could sway me from that. One thing you may also have noticed, however, is that I can be very tenacious when I set my mind to something - like giving up HFCS. I made up my mind a couple of months ago that I wanted us to eat brown rice because it is so nutritionally superior to white rice. I am happy to say that after some experimentation, I am now an avid brown rice fan! I find that I actually like it better than white rice now. More on how I made peace with brown rice later.

First, let's take a look at why we wanted to make the switch to brown rice in the first place. Brown rice is rice that has had the outer hull removed, but the bran and germ remains. To make white rice, brown rice is milled to remove the bran and germ and then polished to remove the aleurone layer of the rice. What remains is a shiny white grain of rice that cooks fast and has a long shelf life but has lost much of its nutritional value. Because brown rice still has the bran and the oil-rich germ, it can go rancid much, much faster than white rice.

Brown rice is a significant source of B vitamins (B1 or thiamin, B3 or niacin, and B6 or pyridoxine). B vitamins are water soluble vitamins that are important for whole body health. Among other things, they help the body convert carbohydrates into glucose and are essential in the breakdown of fats and proteins. Many of the B vitamins are also considered "anti-stress" vitamins because they serve to boost the immune system and improve the body's ability to withstand stressful conditions.

Brown rice is also an excellent source of manganese (one cup will provide 88% of your recommended daily value!), selenium and magnesium. It's also a good source of iron. All of these trace minerals are essential for your body to function properly. Interestingly, magnesium is a natural way to boost your mood.

Brown rice is also an excellent way to get more fiber in your diet. A single cup of brown rice will provide 14% of the recommended daily value of fiber. Fiber in your diet can help to reduce cholesterol levels as well as regulate blood sugar levels and is important for optimal bowel health.

What happens when brown rice is converted to white rice? Most of the vitamins and minerals that make brown rice so nutritionally attractive are contained in the bran and germ of the rice. Conversion of brown rice to white rice results in the loss of 60-90% of the different B vitamins, more than half of the magnesium, half of the manganese, and all of the dietary fiber and fatty acids. Most manufacturers enrich white rice with B vitamins and often iron, but often not in the same form as found in the original brown rice. Magnesium is typically not added back to white rice. As important as the vitamins is the fiber. Brown rice has about 3 times more fiber than white rice.

Really, while white rice is not a nutritional wasteland - especially when enriched - it doesn't even begin to compare to brown rice. The taste and texture of brown rice is really quite different from white rice. Brown rice has a lot more texture than white rice - it's chewy - and the flavor is nuttier than white rice.

So, what happened to change my taste buds to like brown rice? Up until a month and a half ago, I followed the cooking instructions on the package or on brown rice recipes. The result - al dente rice that was a little crunchy and tasted undercooked to me. (My husband does not mind the al dente brown rice. I cannot tolerate it.) My secret for loving brown rice is to cook it longer and with more water than the package calls for. Simple, huh? I add about an extra cup of water (more toward the end of cooking if necessary) and cook the rice for about 50 min. (I'm at altitude, though, so you might not need that much extra cooking time.) If you don't like brown rice, try playing around with the amount of water you add and the cooking time. It makes a world of difference in the texture and taste of the rice. I'm hooked! Best of all, the kids didn't even register that we switched to brown rice! They love it too!


Surprising HFCS food of the week

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm back with another food that surprised us. Are you ready? It's sushi! First, let me set the stage. My husband loves sushi - loves it. Craves it. So, when our grocery store installed a sushi station complete with a sushi chef making fresh sushi 7 days a week, he was skeptical but happy. He resisted for a long time, but once he tried the supermarket sushi, he was hooked. Suddenly, a quick meal of sushi for lunch or dinner that didn't break the bank was possible! I do not like sushi - not one bit - but was happy my partner in life could indulge more frequently in one of his favorite things in this world.

Well, yesterday after doing our weekly shopping he bought a packet of his beloved sushi, and for the first time he looked at the ingredients. Low and behold, there was high fructose corn syrup. In sushi. Actually, it was listed as an ingredient in the vinegar used in the sushi.

So, the question in our minds was why in the world would they use HFCS in vinegar? I don't know for sure, but here's my guess. Sushi typically uses a bit of rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar in the rice. Both rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar tend to be mild and sweet. I imagine that instead of using rice wine vinegar in their sushi, our supermarket uses a harsher and cheaper vinegar (like plain white vinegar) and adds a little HFCS to replicate the natural sweetness of rice wine vinegar. So, one way they make sushi so inexpensively is to use HFCS. That's my theory - if anyone has a better one, I want to hear it!

Fortunately, I have yet to see HFCS in vinegar bought for personal use, but it could be out there! I would have to guess that HFCS in sushi is not a problem at most reputable sushi bars. Most sushi bars will use real rice wine vinegar - sans HFCS - but I guess this shows that you just never know!

My husband was crushed to find out that his beloved sushi is now off limits. (He's as committed to this HFCS-free diet of ours as much as I am - maybe even more.) He plans to investigate to see if they have any HFCS-free options available and ask why if they don't.


Friday links

>> Friday, October 10, 2008

Thought I'd share a few posts from other blogs that I liked this week.

Let's start by staying on topic. Take a look at this blog: Live H.F.C.S. Free. More info on the vile stuff in case you don't get your fill of the topic here.

JC over at StoryRhyme has a rant about HFCS that every parent (at least every parent that regularly reads this blog) can relate to.

I'm always fascinated with food ingredients in general. Live Well 360 takes a look at the ingredient lists of a couple of common food items and explains some of the more obscure ingredients. (And if you like that post, check out the book Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger. He takes a look at each ingredient in a twinkie.)

Along that same vein, WebMD examines the claims that foods make (like "all natural" and "made with whole grains") and tells which claims you should ignore and which you should look for in your foods.

Love this guest post over at May's Machette. If you think you don't like tofu, read it! Great tips on making tofu that doesn't suck.

Fatfighter and 7 Day Shootout both talk about how the poor economy is making us eating eat worse. Watch what you eat, folks!

Last, MizFit reminds us to never take no for an answer.

Hope you enjoy the links as much as I did!


A farewell to summer

>> Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Few things say summer like a meal of fresh, tender vegetables. Two of our favorite fresh vegetables are summer squash and fresh green beans. These are available year round now, but they're so much better when they're fresh and at least semi-local (seems like nothing is truly local here in non-agricultural northern Wyoming). As a fond farewell to summer, which is long gone from here, I want to share two of my favorite preps of these vegetables.

Before getting to some recipes, you know I have to talk a little nutritional data. Let's start with squash. Summer squash is high in vitamin C and manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Summer squash has a mild flavor that is very different from winter squash. This nutrient-rich food comes in many different forms - zucchini (great hidden in baked goods), pattypan, and yellow crookneck squash to name a few.

Moving onto green beans. These little green pods are actually nutritionally dense. They're an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. They're a good source of vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. On top of that, they'll also provide a little dose of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids (not much, though), and niacin. Your mom was right when she told you to eat your green beans!

On to the recipes! I must admit that I'm not always a fan of summer squash. I like it when it is prepared so that it's still kind of crisp, and I like it when it's cooked to the point of caramelization (like this recipe), but in between, well, not so much. I will also admit the kids don't really like squash at all. Not one bit. But, I didn't either as a child, so I have hope that they'll outgrow their dislike.

Enough babbling. My prep of summer squash is very easy. I start with a nice tender yellow crookneck squash (younger is better), but really any summer squash could be used. Slice into thin coins. Next I add about a little less than an equal amount of onion. I like onion - a lot - but you could certainly use less. Next add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Cook over medium-high heat with a little olive oil until the onions and squash are a little caramelized. Season with salt, pepper, and any seasoning of your choice (I like to use onion powder) along the way. So simple, and so darn good!

Next the green beans. I like green beans most any way they're prepared. Crisp and barely cooked is delish, but cooked to the point of falling apart (aka Southern style) is equally good to me. Fortunately, the kids love green beans too. It's the vegetable I turn to when I want to make sure that the kids get a little veggie in their bodies.

The prep I'm going to talk about here is roasting green beans. Have you ever tried a roasted green bean? They look strange and charred, but trust me when I tell you that they are divine. And making them couldn't be easier. Start with fresh green beans. Spread in an even, single layer on a baking sheet and coat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sprinkle with some salt - pepper too if you're feeling frisky. Put into a oven preheated to 475 F and let roast for 15 min. For even cooking, shake the pan a couple of times while it's roasting. (I don't, and my green beans end up brown on one side and green on the other - but just as delish.)



Traveling and HFCS

>> Monday, October 6, 2008

We're back! We had a wonderful trip back to visit family and friends in Mississippi, where it's still warm and green and fresh produce is still plentiful. I thought I'd share my experience with HFCS while we traveled.

Traveling on a HFCS-free diet, while possible, is hard. To be honest, we didn't even try. We laid aside our no-HFCS rule for the trip to save our sanity. While traveling to and from in the car and plane, our diet went down the drain. Snacks from convenience stores (after we ran out of the healthier snacks I brought), meals at McDonalds (they're often the only fast and kid-friendly option around). Seems that everything in McDonalds has HFCS in it. Buns. Salad dressing. Drinks. (Though you can get brewed tea that doesn't have HFCS at McDonalds.) And we won't even think about the fat content. The kids really dig the playgrounds and Happy Meal toys at McDonalds, but happily are not all that crazy about the food - yet. It's amazing how different fast food tastes when you haven't eaten it for a long time. You can feel the fat coating your throat for a long time after eating. Bleh.

Flying was no better. Better buy a drink before you board the plane because unless you get their nasty, bacteria-laden water, your drink almost certainly will have HFCS in it. I got a canned tea and was amazed to see HFCS as the second ingredient.

HFCS-free options are just not the norm in stores catering to travelers. First, most travelers are looking for something fast that still tastes good without caring a bit about how healthy the food is. Second, most establishments catering to travelers are looking to maximize their profit margins. HFCS-containing junk food does that.

Our diet was considerably better while we were at
our destination. Our parents are not on the same HFCS-free journey that we are, but they're healthy eaters in general. Best of all, we found out that a couple of our friends are on the same health journey that we are - further along, in fact.

We had a wonderful vacation, but it's good to be back. It's good to be back on track.

Thanks to all of my guest posters! I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the guest posts. I must apologize for the funky formatting, though. I did all of the guest posts as pre-posts, and the preview that Blogger showed didn't match what the final post looked like in most cases.


Guest post - Fruit, Veggies, and Exercise are Good! by Blake Hagen

>> Friday, October 3, 2008

My last guest post is from Blake Hagen at Fight for Fitness. Blake's blog is a great one to read for health and fitness information and inspiration. Blake has a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Fitness and Wellness Management, so you know that his blog is filled with useful and reliable information!

Fruit, Veggies, and Exercise are Good!

There's more good news about eating more fruits/vegetables and exercising regularly: it will reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. That is according to different studies published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine (read details of the studies here).

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. We know fruits and vegetables are good for us. We know regular exercise is good for us. How many studies need to be published before we will actually start getting more exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables?

Regular exercise can help fight obesity, which is a major risk factor for not only type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of these chronic diseases and also help with weight control.

Do you see how most of these chronic diseases are related? For example, if someone is overweight or obese, they are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure (among other things). With high blood pressure comes higher risks of heart disease and stroke. Obesity also creates a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. All of these diseases are related to one another in that having one can really increase risk for the others.

We can fight these chronic diseases by getting to or maintaining a healthy weight and eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. The research has been done and will continue to be done. New studies are published all the time describing the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet. We all know what regular exercise and fruits/vegetables can do for us, but until we start getting enough exercise and start eating healthier, our knowledge is wasted.

Read more at The Fight for Fitness


Guest post - Celery a Healthy Choice by Mark Salinas, MN

>> Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mark Salinas' blog is one of my very favorite blogs. He has great posts that make exercise and healthy living accessible to everyone - even a sleep deprived stay-at-home-mom with little time to herself - as well as wonderful guest posts (sorry, couldn't resist the link), and his Friday links and Twitter posts have introduced me to more than one great new blog.

Celery a Healthy Choice

More recently, my wife has decided to insert celery more often into
our meals. As a guy on a journey I am always trying to eat healthier,
but celery? What is healthy about celery?
Well, after a bit of research and and many questions, answers.

Some benefits of celery:

* Low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
* High in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate,
Potassium, Manganese, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid,
Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus (good). Also high in salt (not so

The nutritional value and health benefits of celery makes it ideal for:

* Maintaining optimum health
* Weight loss

For years it has been mentioned that celery is good for diets and did
you know that eating celery actually results in negative
Also it could help safeguard mental health?

Researchers have found that it generates compounds that can fight
Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases. The compound, called
luteolin, is a potent antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory
properties. Luteolin belongs to a family of plant molecules called
flavonoids, which are found in various vegetables, fruits, and
beverages, including chamomile tea. Researchers have studied the
potential health effects of flavonoids, and shown that flavonoids can
counter dementia1.

Recommended daily vegetable serving is 2 ˝ cups, advised the US
Department of Agriculture. Ok that is allot of celery to consume
daily. But maybe celery should become a regular part of our diet?


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