Category Archives: healthy

Healthy Living in the News

Fascinating study today in the NYT on diet and food choice’s affect over an elongated period of time. Read full article here.

Short summary for those of short on time:

20 years research following group of people to see how their diets influence their weight. Overall summary is that it’s not entirely about how much you eat so much as eating the right things and exercising. There is such a thing as “bad” foods and “good” foods.

“The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound).”

“An increased intake of dairy products, whether low-fat (milk) or full-fat (milk and cheese), had a neutral effect on weight.” –> Thank goodness!

“And despite conventional advice to eat less fat, weight loss was greatest among people who ate more yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter, over each four-year period.”

Yogurt is linked to be the best food for weight management/loss. Bring on the Chobani Greek yogurt!

Yogurt = awesome

A healthy spin on Spinach Dip

I love week nights where I’m productive after work. Last night was one of those nights. When I got home, I took Hadley for a long walk. My knees and body in general was a little sore from my morning run, but taking a walk really loosened me up. I felt much better by the end of it.

After our walk, I dropped Hadley off, picked up my library returns, and headed off for some new finds. In addition to picking up Sloane Crosley’s How Did You Get This Number?, I also nabbed some CD’s. I just discovered that my library has a great CD collection last week, and its fun to explore all these new musical options.

Yes, that's Fiddler on the Roof.

When I got home, I started on dinner. Chris and Evan were both joining me, so I decided to try out a new recipe. I modified a recipe found here to make a healthy dip. I love dips and one of my favorite is spinach-cheese dip. It’s creamy, warm, and delicious. It’s also pretty fattening. This recipe is a great alternative as it’s much healthier and you can decide to skimp on or skip the cheese all together. Plus, its a great way to get lots of veggies and protein into a meal.

Spinach and White Bean Dip

Ingredients: 2 TBS olive oil, 10 oz. frozen spinach, 1 can of white beans, 1.5 TBS lemon juice, loads of garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 cup mozz. cheese (optional).

I sauteed the frozen spinach in a frying pan with 1 TSP of olive oil. When the spinach was wilted and no longer frozen, I added a heavy handed amount of garlic powder. Then I allowed time for the spinach to cool a little. Next I added the remaining olive oil, other ingredients, and the spinach into my food processor.

Full to the brim.

I processed the ingredients on the chop function until it became a smooth mixture. I stopped blending a few times to mix it around with a fork. I threw it in a bowl, heated it up in the microwave (its much better warm), and served with lentil chips. We all loved it!

I love dips.

We dipped dinner paired with Cupcake Vineyards red wine, while watching How to Train Your Dragon. I recommend adding the movie to your Netfix list – it’s a cute, fun, easy watch.

The dragon looked a lot like a cat.

Finally Some Homemade Hummus

I’m currently sitting here trying not to stress about the fact that NYC has a tornado warning. I’ve no clue about tornados, so I’m hoping the storm just passes us by. To distract my nervous thoughts, let’s take about hummus.  Homemade hummus to be exact. It’s something that has been on my 99 Before 30 list and can finally be crossed off! Check out my updated list.

Now I know homemade hummus is nothing new in the blog world. But it’s new to me. And maybe, it’s new to some of my readers. Or maybe you’ve read about it, but haven’t had a chance to try it out for yourself. So here’s my take on homemade hummus.

First off, its worth it. If you have a food processor (or maybe a blender?), try it out. Fresh hummus is one of the best things in the world to me, and the ability to personalize it is even more exciting. So here we go:

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas, 2 TBS tahini, 1/4 cup juice from chickpea can, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, heavy sprinkling of garlic powder, pinch of crushed red pepper and cumin. Optional use of oil up to 1/4 cup.

Open up the can of chickpeas. When you drain out the water, measure out 1/4 cup to use later. Peel the chickpeas. Yes, this takes some time, but it’s worth it for that creamier consistency. Put on some tunes like I did and turn it into a chickpea shooting into the food processor game. See if your dog wants to play and eat the fallen chickpeas that didn’t make it into the food processor.

Most of them made it into the food processor.

Yum, chickpea shells.

 Add two tablespoons of tahini into the food processor. I’ve read that tahini can be hard to find and expensive. I picked up a container for $2.50 at Trader Joe’s. You got to love TJ’s. Some recipe suggest to use more, but I found this to be a good amount.

 

Add in chickpea juice that you set aside.

This looks less than lovely.

 Add your seasonings. Go heavy on the garlic and moderate on the crushed red pepper and cumin.

Hit the chop function on your food processor and blend until creamy. I let my go for approximately 1.5 – 2 mintues. The recipe I used suggested adding up to 1/4 cup of oil that you drizzle in as the rest is processing. I forgot to do this (great chef, yes), but when I realized later, I choose to not add any. It tasted delicious sans olive oil and it only made it that much healthier (though, yes olive oil is good fat).

I set it out, but forgot it all the same.

 The verdict? Homemade hummus is yummy! I suggest making it a day before you intend to eat it. It was good that night, but it was super special the next day. And the day after that. The flavors seem to need some time to come together, and when they do, it’s magic. I’ll finish up this batch tomorrow and then probably make a new one right away. 

Delicious!

Pilates and Puppy Time

Yesterday’s weather was perfect. Maybe more than perfect. At 9PM it was still above 70 degrees. Today NYC is a rainy mess. But let’s focus on yesterday.

After work yesterday, I left in a wonderful, let’s-achieve-a-lot! mood. I mean, it was 70 degrees. I stopped by the library and picked out two new reads. Then Hadley and I traveled to the dog park. He had fun obsessing over a ball, so that was all good and cute.

Following the dog park, it was time to scoot over to Pilates. Since people who were just experimenting with Pilates from the Groupon have either left, or in my case, stuck around for the last two months, we are beginning to up our skill level. In the beginning, Pilates was really hard. My neck would hurt after class a lot. But then, classes became easier and I would wish I had a harder work out. Now I am getting what I wished for. Over the last two weeks, we have been upping both our intensity and skill level. My neck is a little sore today, and yesterday I learnt that I have pretty much no muscles in my middle back. On the up and up, I did learn that I can do a push-up easily enough – something I couldn’t even have faked two months ago. I’m excited to keep advancing with Pilates and learning new moves.

I came home from Pilates starving. Chris is still in the midst of trial (done hopefully this week!!!), so I’m still eating solo. I enjoying cooking for one, because then I can make whatever I want. Yesterday, I wanted a nice big salad. The problem was, I had a piece of salmon sitting in my fridge that needed to be eaten. So I compromised and grabbed a salad on my way home at the food store salad bar and cooked salmon to add to it. While the salmon cooked, I needed to munch on something, so I tried out a recent Whole Foods purchase:

Nutritional info

I’m really excited to have found these chips. Alone, I don’t think they would work, but used as a dipper they are excellent. They have an earthy taste with a little bit of a spicy kick. Lentil chips and hummus was the perfect app to curb my hunger as I waited for my salmon.

New go to snack.

When the salmon was ready, I threw it on top of the salad, and mixed it all together. It was a good compromise.

I ended the night taking Hadley to Rita’s for ices. I got a peanut butter ice and he got custard in a Pup Cup. This is Hadley’s favorite treat, but I only let him have it sometimes, since sugar isn’t good for dogs. He was thrilled to be included in my Rita’s run last night.

I couldn't snap a picture at Rita's (no hands), but doesn't this look like a smug and satisifed dog?

I ended the night reading one of my library picks in bed and tried to wait up for Chris to come home, but failed. I can’t wait to have that boy back in my life!

You Know What Makes a Great Snack?

Sliced cucumbers! Perfect for one of our first spring days. Plus, they have St. Patrick’s Day spirit!

Land of the Living

I’ve returned! Sorry for my hiatus, but I’ve had some past week. Remember when I thought I pulled out my back? Well, by Friday night I started exhibiting other symptoms like chills and a low fever, Saturday my back was doing much better but I developed a fun cough, and Sunday I was a mess. Monday I finally made it to the doctor’s. Turns out I didn’t pull out my back, but rather, had an infection that I was unaware of and had settled in my muscles until it made its way to my chest. Fun!

The doctor prescribed me antibiotics and I prescribed myself plenty of sleep, water, and bad TV. Finally, I felt nearly like a person yesterday, and today I have fully returned to the Land of the Living! This is especially good because 1) I was getting stir crazy and 2) I finished Season 4 of Friday Night Lights and moved on to such dramatic gems as Make it or Break It.

Quality TV.

Source

One of my favorite parts about being sick (favorite may be a strong word, but I’m trying to be positive) is when you finally feel better and can fully rid yourself and your home from its sick haze. I don’t know about you, but when I get sick my apartment looks like it gets sick, too. Dishes are forgotten, takeout containers pile up, and tissues fill all the trash bins. Plus every blanket I own has been cuddled under and discarded on the floor. It’s a mess. But when I finally feel well, I love to take a shower, put on clean clothes, wash everything I wore when I was sick, all the bedding, and the many blankets, and clean up everything else. Then my house feels like it reflects my health – all better!

Spring is here! Sometimes sunlight is the ultimate antibiotic!

Does anyone else let their place totally go when they’re sick?

Sunnyside of Things

It is annoying that I really cannot move much today. All my muscles in my back have seemed to revolt at once. This will be a short entry, because it kind of hurts to type.  But the real point of this post is to say that even though something annoyingly happened, it has had its upsides.

Last night when I first did this, I tried to “sleep it off”. Because that always works. When it didn’t, I called Chris at work, and he came home to take care of me even though he was busy. Sure he still worked from home, but anytime I needed a drink or to be helped into a new position, he was there for me. Today I didn’t even ask him to, but when I woke up he was there working from home. Just in case I still needed him. That’s love, and I’m thankful for him.

I’m also thankful for Hadley. Hadley is a cuddle bug and has been keeping a comfy, but watchful distance from me. It’s like he’s saying Mom I’m here for you.

My superhero circa Halloween 2010.

So I know that pulling out my back isn’t that big of deal, but I am excited to be taken care of so well. Sorry for this sappy post – I’m in pain!