Health-a-bet: F is for… Feast!

Thanksgiving is here, which means family, football, and food. Lots and lots of food. Since probably anyone taking the time to read this is health conscious, Thanksgiving is the oxymoron of holidays. Healthy eaters celebrating by taking in 3,000-4,000 calories of sugary potatoes, meat doused in gravy, and pie covered in whipped cream seems more frightening than festive, but it’s the holidays, so it’s just what we do, right?

Right. And wrong.

Holidays are celebrated with an abundance of food for those of us lucky enough to afford it. And there is nothing wrong with partaking in the festivities by loosening your belt a little and chowing down on your holiday favorites. In fact, you’ll have a much happier holiday if you aren’t counting calories in every single morsel. That being said, there are smarter ways to eat. First, eat breakfast and lunch and don’t try to save room for the big meal. There are always leftovers anyway. And if you fast for too long your metabolism is going to take all that turkey straight to the waistline. Second, since you’ll probably be taking seconds anyway, so pay attention to portion size and don’t overdo it on your first time around the table.

After the meal, convince Aunt Becky to take Fido on a walk with you, or gather the cousins for a game of touch football. Staying

active through the holidays is key to erasing the damage done. And finally, remember that it’s just one day. You won’t have another day of feasting for a month at Christmas, and not everyone is lucky enough to sit at a loaded table surrounded by family and loved ones. So eat, drink, and be thankful.

PS, check out my Flavors page for a few healthy holiday options!My best friend, Ej, and I love to eat!  My best friend, Ej, and I love to eat!

Health-a-bet: E is for… ExerCYse!

No, this is not a typo. ExerCYse is Medicine is a health initiative started at Iowa State University devoted to promoting exercise prescription for a healthier life. Everyone knows exercise is good for you, but most don’t know just how good for you it is.

To start, let’s look at exercise as preventative medicine. Exercise keeps the body physically stronger, flexible, and more balanced therefore reducing the risk of injury or falls. Research has also found regular exercise helps ward off dementia and memory loss. Exercising patients who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease suffer fewer falls and are less likely to be put in a nursing home than those who do not exercise.

Regular exercise is also linked to a decreased risk in heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. Much of this is due to exercise being a very effective method of weight management, but also due to improvements in blood pressure, blood flow to vital organs, and done density.

Ok, so exercise is preventative medicine, and it can help with Alzheimer’s Disease, but how is it actually as good as medication?

While you should definitely talk to your doctor about any major changes in medications or lifestyle, exercise can actually be treatment for conditions. The old way of thinking was that diabetics and asthmatics shouldn’t exercise, but research is telling us that respiratory function improves in asthmatics who are physically active, and can actually reverse the effects of type II diabetes.

It’s not only physical conditions that are improved by exercise. Exercise can be used as a prescription for conditions like depression or insomnia as well, so next time you see your doctor, ask him or her about exercise before reaching for the prescription pad.

See to learn more about ExerCYse is Medicine and the exercise prescription public health initiative.


Health-a-bet: D is for Dumbbells

There’s a definite time and place for all different types of weight training, but dumbbells are one of my favorites. They’re relatively cheap, and it doesn’t take more than a few different weights to get the job done. Dumbbell exercises don’t require a lot of time or space, and the injury risk is relatively low. In fact, because you work each side of your body individually, dumbbells can help decrease injury risk by fixing muscle imbalances.

Here is a link to a dumbbell workout by Men’s Health. A message to the ladies: exercises designed for men work the same for you, just use less weight! Physiologically you WILL NOT get bulked up and manly from lifting weights. Just toned and healthy. So go crazy ladies and gentlemen, and be the first smartie that picks up a dumbbell!


D is also for… Doughnuts!?
Yes, I said you CAN have doughnuts. By making your own baked doughnuts using this low-fat recipe you can enjoy one of the world’s cruelest inventions without making your waistline pay the price.

Makes 12-14 mini doughnuts, only 70 calories each!

1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup all purpose flourdoughnut*
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
dash of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
splash of vanilla
1 tablespoon melted butter

*To make this gluten free, I use buckwheat flour and rice flour instead.

Simply mix the dry ingredients, then whisk in the wet. Pour into doughnut pan or doughnut maker, depending on what you have. (I love my BabyCakes doughnut maker- about $15) Bake.

Deliciously simple ideas:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar, coat over warm doughnuts.
  • Whisk 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2/3 cups powdered sugar, glaze doughnuts when cooled.
  • Melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips in microwave until smooth, drizzle melted chocolate over cooled doughnuts.