October 2010


If your family is like ours, you’ll have far more candy by the end of tonight than you could (or at least should) possibly eat in the next couple of weeks. Here are a few things you can do with all that candy so that you aren’t tempted to eat it all:

Freeze it–Pick out the best candy for blizzard-type shakes and sundaes and freeze it until the warm weather returns for a delicious addition to ice cream desserts.

Trail Mix–Mix M&Ms, candy corn, skittles, etc with mixed nuts and dried fruit for a snack that’s healthier than straight sugar.

Flavored Vodka–Drop one or two mini-candy bars into a bottle of vodka and let it soak for awhile for your own flavored vodka. Who says Halloween is just for kids?

Flavored Coffee–Drop a chocolate into your morning coffee for a quick (and less expensive) mocha.

Gingerbread House–Christmas is just around the corner. Separate the candy that can be used to decorate gingerbread houses and set it aside until then.

Bake it–Candy stored in airtight containers will keep for months. Save it and bake it into cookies and cupcakes during the holiday baking season. Think cupcakes with chocolate-candy filling or candy-chunk cookies.

Gratitude Gifts–Put together small baskets or tins of candy with thank you notes and deliver them to the staff at your local nursing home, charitable organization, police and fire department, or the businesses you frequent (dry cleaner, coffee shop, bakery, etc) as thanks for the work they do all year round.

Chances are good your kids will be open to using their candy for at least some of these things (except maybe the vodka and coffee), so ask them to help sort their candy for these purposes. With any luck at all, you can spread the sugar highs over a couple of months rather than a couple of days. Happy Halloween!

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Just in time for Halloween, recalls have been issued for the following candies:

photo courtesy of US Food and Drug Administration

Nestle Raisinets–Nestlé USA has issued a recall for Raisinets fun-size bags with a production code beginning with 02015748. Some of the candies may have peanuts in them. In the US, the candy was sold at Target, Shop Rite, and Don Quixote stores. Nestle is recommending that people with peanut allergies not consume the Raisinets. For more information and a refund, contact Nestlé Consumer Services at 800.478.5670.

photo courtesy of US Food and Drug Administration

MegaPops Lollipops–A limited number of Mega Pops™ brand lollipops may contain traces of foreign particles and metal. Manufacturer Colombina S.A. is voluntarily recalling MegaPops, asking customers to return these lollipops to their retailer and instructing retailers to recall the product. Colombina believes the product presents no health risk. The lollipops come in 14-ounce and 28-ounce bags containing watermelon, cherry, orange and grape flavored pops. Affected Mega Pops contain UPC Code numbers 0 14272 10873 9 or 0 14272 10862 3, and are in lots marked as Lot #1240695, Lot #1209708, or Lot #1209796. A 24-hour hotline has been set up to answer customer questions at 888.317.3686.

Let me count the ways…

There are a couple of supermarket products that frustrate me more than most–in all honesty, more than they probably should–in terms of how they are marketed (as healthy) versus what’s actually in them (not). One of those foods is yogurt. What annoys me about yogurt is how manufacturers have mucked up what should be a pure and simple, healthful food. Unfortunately, what many parents serve their children as yogurt is full of sugar (in various forms), artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, along with thickeners–oh yeah, and a little bit of what was once milk.

Not Fage (pronounced fa-yeh) Greek yogurt. Short of making it myself, this is the best yogurt I’ve found. It’s so rich and creamy, it’s hard to believe it’s good for you. Add some fresh seasonal fruit and maybe a touch of honey, and Fage easily passes as a dessert.

Unlike most store-bought yogurts, Fage has very few ingredients: milk, cream and active cultures. Seriously, that’s it. No sweeteners artificial or otherwise, no thickeners or preservatives, no powdered milk or protein. Fage easily fits within Michael Pollan‘s rule against eating manufactured food with more than five ingredients.

And, while Fage isn’t made with organic milk (the only thing that’s missing, in my humble opinion), it is made with milk from cows not treated with rBGH.

According to Fage’s website, it’s their straining process that makes the yogurt so thick and creamy. It’s also the straining process that prevents it from separating at high heat, making Fage great for cooking.

Speaking of Fage’s straining process, the company has a cool history. Founded in 1926 by Athanassios Filippou in Athens, it’s still run by the Filippou family. In 1964 they opened their first factory. In 2008, they opened a yogurt production facility in upstate New York. Today, Fage is Greece’s largest dairy company and sells yogurt worldwide.

In addition to eating it plain, with fruit, or with ground flax seeds, I use Fage in place of sour cream and mayonnaise in recipes. It’s lower in calories and sodium than either of these (mayonnaise has almost 10 times the calories of Fage), higher in protein, and tastes delicious.

Grace isn’t a big yogurt girl, so she mainly eats Fage in recipes and sandwiches (chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, etc). The first time I served it in place of sour cream with chili, Grace was skeptical. “Why is there yogurt on the table?” she asked. I explained that it tastes just like sour cream and is better for us. She reluctantly put a dollop in her chili. After a taste, she proclaimed “It’s better than sour cream. It’s creamier!”

Be well!

The holidays evoke memories of family gatherings, traditions, warm hues of orange and brown and the deep reds of the changing leaves of fall and Thanksgiving, or the warmth of candles and scent of evergreen in December.

And, of course, food.

Preparing the Thanksgiving feast, baking Christmas cookies with recipes handed down from Grandma, looking forward to the holiday potluck at work, and holiday parties galore where appetizers and cheer abound.

The dictionary defines “healthy” as vigor of body, mind, and/or spirit; enjoying prosperity, flourishing; being well, fit, hearty, robust, sound, whole, wholesome.

“Healthy Holidays” doesn’t have to be an oxymoron!

The holidays are a time to celebrate the people we love and the blessings we share. Health is almost always among the things we express gratitude for during the holidays, yet it is often ignored when we plan menus and prepare food for our friends and families–the folks whose health we care most about.

Why not make this year’s holiday season health-improving time for you and those you love rather than a break from healthy habits? Contrary to popular opinion, healthy holidays don’t sacrifice taste, fun, or convenience. In fact, healthy holidays can be delicious, joyful, and filled with love…not to mention beautiful.

We have combined our passions–Jen’s passion for celebrating good food and Faith’s for improving health and well-being–to bring you a two-part series of classes called Healthy Holidays: Cooking Well and Choosing Well. In them, we’ll show you how to prepare healthy appetizers and foods for the holidays, as well as make the best choices at holiday gatherings and celebrations. It’s the perfect marriage of the celebration of food and wellness!
Healthy Holidays: Cook Well & Choose Well
Part I: Cook Well: Sunday November 14, 3-6pm, Cave Vin Restaurant $30/class or Parts I & II for $50
A hands-on class focused on how fresh, local, whole foods can contribute to your healthy holiday without sacrificing taste or convenience! You’ll leave class comfortable preparing healthy and delicious recipes you’ll be proud to serve your friends and families. Sample your creations and enjoy an afternoon of fun, cooking and inspiration.
Part II: Choose Well: Monday December 6, 6-9pm Southwest Mpls $30/class or Parts I & II for $50
The holidays don’t have to mean the undoing of your healthy habits. Learn how to make healthy choices at holiday gatherings, substitute healthier ingredients in traditional holiday recipes, enjoy yourself without sacrificing your healthy habits, and reduce stress for your holiday! Sample healthy holiday fare and enjoy an evening of fun, learning and inspiration.

Cook well!

So, I’ve been working on a post about my personal definition of wellness. It was prompted by my friend Jen asking what wellness means to me, and I’ve been working on it off and on for awhile. Her question inspired me to talk to others about their definitions of wellness, so has actually grown into what will be a blog series. Clearly, I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

Anyway, I’ve been working on the post, and I think it’s finally just about finished. And, it’s good. Or, at least it’s decent. It talks about my values and priorities in life and how that translates into my personal wellness journey. And, it’s kinda, sorta my personal definition of wellness.

But as I read through it this morning, I realized it sounded far too complicated and not very fun. And that’s not at all how I feel about wellness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

To me, wellness equals happiness. Yep, it’s really that simple.

Being well makes me happy.  As I’ve said before, during the happiest times of my life, I’ve also been the most fit. Physical fitness is a big part of wellness, but I’m also talking emotional, attitudinal, spiritual, relationship, financial and occupational health and wellness.

Being active with my daughter and my friends, feeling good about myself, and knowing that I’m doing what I can to prevent illness makes me happy. I love having energy and a positive attitude, feeling healthy, and being good to myself and those I love.

Grace and me after running Grandma's Half Marathon 2009

Note that I said wellness equals happiness. I did not say wellness equals pleasure. Happiness versus pleasure. HUGE distinction. Huge.

During my 41 years, I’ve learned that the choices I make today directly influence my happiness in the future. (Believe me, I didn’t learn this easily or with only one lesson. Seems I needed numerous lessons to get it and I still sometimes forget.) When I make choices based on what will bring happiness tomorrow instead of what will only provide pleasure today, I am well. When I choose pleasure first, not so much.

Also note what isn’t part of my definition: Deprivation. Depriving myself doesn’t make me happy. Instead, healthy, wise, moderate choices make me happy. Healthy doesn’t totally exclude unhealthy choices; instead it requires consciously deciding when and which unhealthy choices are worthwhile.

So, that’s it. My definition of wellness is happiness. Yep, it’s really that simple.

 

What’s your definition of wellness? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear what wellness means to you.

Be well!

So, I’ve been working on a post about my personal definition of wellness. It was prompted by my friend Jen asking what wellness means to me, and I’ve been working on it off and on for awhile. Her question inspired me to talk to others about their definitions of wellness, so has actually grown into what will be a blog series. Clearly, I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

Anyway, I’ve been working on the post, and I think it’s finally just about finished. And, it’s good. Or, at least it’s decent. It talks about my values and priorities in life and how that translates into my personal wellness journey. And, it’s kinda, sorta my personal definition of wellness.

But as I read through it this morning, I realized it sounded far too complicated and not very fun. And that’s not at all how I feel about wellness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

To me, wellness equals happiness. Yep, it’s really that simple.

Being well makes me happy.  As I’ve said before, during the happiest times of my life, I’ve also been the most fit. Physical fitness is a big part of wellness, but I’m also talking emotional, attitudinal, spiritual, relationship, financial and occupational health and wellness.

Being active with my daughter and my friends, feeling good about myself, and knowing that I’m doing what I can to prevent illness makes me happy. I love having energy and a positive attitude, feeling healthy, and being good to myself and those I love.

Grace and me after running Grandma's Half Marathon 2009

Note that I said wellness equals happiness. I did not say wellness equals pleasure. Happiness versus pleasure. HUGE distinction. Huge.

During my 41 years, I’ve learned that the choices I make today directly influence my happiness in the future. (Believe me, I didn’t learn this easily or with only one lesson. Seems I needed numerous lessons to get it and I still sometimes forget.) When I make choices based on what will bring happiness tomorrow instead of what will only provide pleasure today, I am well. When I choose pleasure first, not so much.

Also note what isn’t part of my definition: Deprivation. Depriving myself doesn’t make me happy. Instead, healthy, wise, moderate choices make me happy. Healthy doesn’t totally exclude unhealthy choices; instead it requires consciously deciding when and which unhealthy choices are worthwhile.

So, that’s it. My definition of wellness is happiness. Yep, it’s really that simple.

 

What’s your definition of wellness? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear what wellness means to you.

Be well!

Each year I volunteer at my daughter’s school to teach Bravo, a fabulous music appreciation program. Although I really know nothing about music–seriously, I can barely work my iPod, let alone play an instrument or sing–I love the program. Not only do I get to learn about music, I get to spend time sharing what I’ve learned in my daughter’s class. I attended Bravo training yesterday morning.

The following was included in the Bravo training manual. It was written by Spanish cellist and conductor Pablo Casals, considered by many the greatest cellist of the 20th century, and was intended for parents and teachers. I thought it was worth sharing.

Pablo Casals

Pablo Casals

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment in the universe, a moment that never was before and never will be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two are four and that Paris is the capital of France.

“When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed, there has never been a child like you.

“And look at your body–what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move! You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. We must all work to make this world worthy of its children.”

Be well!

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