Sometimes simple is best. Here is a post, found on the Healthy Carrot, which I thought would inspire you to keep going in your 2013 goals! The going might be getting tough now, but you can do it!

 

The Healthy Carrot

The Healthy Carrot

They have become the rage in the health industry. Eat more Kale. Eat more chard. But what are they exactly. Here’s an overview along with a few recipes to help jump start the ideas that will help make a healthier you this 2013!

 

Kale

Flowering kale; Wikimedia commons.

Flowering kale; Wikimedia commons.

Brassica oleracea acephala is a green leafy vegetable of the cruciferous, or cabbage, family and may, in fact, be the closest relative to the wild cabbage. Kale and collards are essentially the same vegetable, with kale’s leaves being curly about the edges and less tolerant to heat. (Other greens in this family include mustard greens, turnip greens, kohlrabi, and watercress, and offer similar benefits so as to make them easily interchangeable with kale in recipes.) Thought to have originated in Asia Minor, it was brought to Europe around 600 B.C., and to America in the 1600’s, and has been cultivated into several varieties including curly, ornamental, and dinosaur.

 

Kale is among the highest nutritional vegetables, being an excellent source of carotenes, vitamins B6 and C, and manganese, in addition to dietary fiber, minerals (copper, iron, and calcium), and the vitamins B1, B2, and E. One cup of kale supplies more than 70% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C, with only 20 calories! It also has three times as much calcium as phosphorous, a beneficial ratio for bone health.

 

It also exhibits the same anticancer properties of other cabbage family members. In other words, the higher the intake of these vegetables (i.e. cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, and turnips), the lower the rates of such cancers as colon, prostate, lung, and breast.

 

Select produce that is fresh, tender, and dark green. Smaller leaves are easier to handle, are more tender, and possess a milder flavor. Kale’s peak season is mid-winter through the start of spring.

 

Serving ideas:

  • Add kale to a dinner salad
  • Lightly saute kale with fresh garlic and sprinkle with lemon juice to serve
  • Add kale into a morning green juice
  • Puree cooked kale and potatoes together with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin for a delicious soup, adding vegetable stock if needed

 

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard; Wikimedia commons.

Swiss Chard; Wikimedia commons.

Beta vulgaris cicla belongs to the same family as beets and spinach. It has a thick, crunchy stalk and wide fan-like leaves that might be smooth or curly. Both the leaves and stalk are edible with a taste that resembles the bitterness of beet greens and the slightly salty of spinach leaves. Of the varieties, some of the most popular include bright lights, rhubarb or ruby chard, Vulcan, and White King.

 

Native to the Mediterranean region, chard has been honored for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. For example, the leaves were said to neutralize acid and have a powerful laxative effect. Among its other benefits, it is rich in carotenes, vitamins C, E, and K, dietary fiber, chlorophyll, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese.

 

Due to its combination of phytochemicals (carotenes, chlorophyll, and other plant pigments) and soluble fiber, Swiss chard is a powerful anticancer food especially for the digestive tract. Some studies have found that it significantly reduces precancerous lesions in the colon. Additionally, the high amount of vitamin K maintains bone health.

 

When purchasing, look for leaves that are vivid green without brown or yellow spots and holes from insects. The stalks should look crisp and unblemished. Store in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator.

 

Serving suggestions:

  • Sprinkle chopped walnuts over braised Swiss chard and top with a little freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Toss penne pasta with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, navy beans, and shredded Swiss chard
  • Include in omelets and frittatas
  • Substitute for spinach in vegetarian lasagna

 

Here are some other links with which to find out more about kale and chard:

 

17 Ways to Use Kale Slideshow

Top 10 Ways to Use Kale

What to Do with Swiss Chard

6 Ways to Use Swiss Chard

 

Main Source

Murray, Michael, N.D.; Pizzorno, Joseph, N.D.; and Pizzorno, Lara, M.A., L.M.T. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, 2005, p. 177, 209-211, 238-240.

Last November or December, I was attending a YogaFit workshop, as I’m working toward my certification, and one of my instructors mentioned that Alzheimer’s is quite possibly Type III Diabetes. Just this week, I received an email from my dad stating that he’d like to know more. A friend of his had been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s and, I assume, was struggling with the diagnosis. With mental illness and disease becoming more prevalent in our society, and with people living longer, I thought I would touch on this topic briefly. (Please note: I’m not a doctor. These thoughts are a combination of research and speculation.)

 

So, what is Alzheimer’s? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is “a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.” I’ve seen this personally. My grandmother slowly descended into memory loss.

 

First it was short term things, like what she was supposed to do or reminding us about the same thing three times within ten minutes because she’d forgotten that she’d already said it. Then it was forgetfulness unless everything was written in the calendar. Then it was forgetting how to drive, being too distracted by the surroundings to pay attention to the cars stopping ahead. Then it was forgetting the rest of us…our names. Those who came into her life last, it seemed, she remembered last.

 

I will say that it was a relief when she passed away. It is a terrible thing to watch a person slowly slip away. It isn’t that they’re gone. Much of the angry outbursts that occur when people have some form of dementia stems from the frustration that they cannot remember as they used to or the cannot communicate as they used to. Often times, it’s the latter. Seniors get very upset when they feel like they’re locked within themselves. Think about it? Would you like to be imprisoned within your own mind?

 

The other terrible thing about Alzheimer’s and like dementias is that there are not treatments for them, and they are not a normal part of aging. Research suggests that Alzheimer’s comes from lower levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors. Here is a slideshow with more information on the possibility. For those of us who don’t speak Doctor, here’s a decent translation. Here’s another.

 

The statistics are not good. By 2030, we may see the numbers of those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s double. However, this does not mean that we cannot help prevent or slow down mental disease. Here are some great ways to do so:

 

 

Most of all, live and enjoy life. One thing that one of my yoga instructors said to me that profoundly impacted my thinking is this. The more we think it will happen to us, the more likely it will. Our bodies internalize our thoughts via the enteric nervous system, a subdivision of the parasympathetic nervous system. It is often called “the second brain.” The nerves and neuropeptides in our gastrointestinal tract function separately from the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).(Source: Lecture, Yoga for the Brain, by Stephanie Shorter)

 

Ever wonder why you do a detoxifying cleanse and, by day three, you’re a grouch. That’s your liver breaking down the neuropeptides–emotion signals from the brain–that have been stored in it. With our tendency to focus on the negative, to beat ourselves up (a big one for me), to desire to relive what cannot be undone, it’s little wonder we produce so many negative emotions. In and of themselves, they are not necessarily bad, but they should be let go of as soon as possible. It just isn’t healthy to hold onto emotions that are so powerful, they lead to anxiety attacks, shortness of breath, nervous breakdowns, heart attacks and strokes, depression, and even obesity. Emotional eating, anyone?

 

I don’t know if the enteric system plays a part in Alzheimer’s. What I do know is that we all are given a certain time on this earth. Use it well. Don’t fret so much. Instead, try to take care of yourself the best you can, and in doing so, reach out to others. It may benefit you in the long run. Even if it doesn’t, at least you’ll have better memories and leave behind your touch upon the world: a remembrance.

I thought and thought and thought some more about what to write this week. In the end, I decided to go with the flow. A friend of mine showed me this video. It’s amazing. Go Jane! Go Jane! Go Jane!

And yes, you’ll add 7.68ish minutes onto your life just by watching this video! Talk about a boost to health. Scientists have been looking for the fountain of youth for years. We may not be there yet, but we can be happier in the time we have left.

Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

More information on SuperBetter here.

This year has gone by extremely fast for me! I have gotten two fitness instructor jobs, have gone from teaching a few classes to at least 7 a week, have reached the halfway point on my yoga certification with YogaFit (they’re awesome!), and immensely enjoy the groups for whom I volunteer. I have made friends with instructor and student alike, have watched my students grow in their yoga and Pilates practices, and have learned more from them than I could ever hope to teach.

 

I am truly thankful for the people brought into my life at present: they are fun, witty, personable, supportive, and loyal. (I could not help but laugh when they emitted a roar of disappointment over my stretch class being changed to a Zumba class.) I hope that 2013 brings them further into their lives’ journeys, however those may unfold; likewise, I hope that this coming year–and it approaches with haste–brings you challenges that make you a better, stronger person, and the rewards of the fruits of your hard efforts, whatever they might be.

 

As we prepare for the new year and its promise of renewal, take the time to consider making S.M.A.R.T. Goals instead of resolutions. If you are unsure of what S.M.A.R.T. stands for, it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. These are key to make sure that your 2013 goals are met with success, while leaving enough room for alteration or change when Life’s customary interruptions occur, which they will.

 

On that note, here are some great articles to get you excited for the new year!

 

Best Triceps Exercises

3 Most Effective Chest Exercises

StreetStriders Research

The Energy Balance Equation

Sleep Deprivation (repost)

10 Triggers That Changed Eating

Navigating Restaurant Menus

Moderate Exercise a Key to Weight-loss?

SmartApps for Smart Appetites

Portion Distortion

 

I wish you all a Happy New Year with hopes of your (and my) success this coming year!