Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Enjoy The Holidays The Happy and Healthy Way

The holidays are a time of family and friends, good cheer and expanding waistlines. They are a time of twinkling lights and honey-glazed hams; a time of jolly old St. Nick, the guffawing guy in dire obvious need of angioplasty. Sitting and Eating run neck and neck as the season's most common activities. Face it — the holidays are a time of sedentary gluttony. And truth be told, we love it.

But if you aren't careful, the holidays can put you into a hole fitness-wise, and it can take a while to climb out of it. This year, we recommend taking some minor steps to help keep in shape. We're not talking about ultra-marathon, circuit-training-round-the-Christmas-tree kind of shape — these are just common sense ways of limiting the effects of holiday excess.

Here are some tips to help you stay a little healthier around the holidays this year. We've even asked Eric Wytiaz of leading health and wellness website Lifestyle Network (www.lifestylenetworktv.com) to weigh in with his thoughts.

Get out there and do something! Don't let yourself off too easy during the holidays. Yes, it's a busy time, but that shouldn't give you an excuse to do nothing. Going to the gym will make you feel better physically and mentally — and you will have earned your indulgences.

If that's not possible, get active in other ways. "The holidays are a great time for touch football, sledding, or snowboarding, and all of them can help burn off all those extra calories," says Wytiaz. If all else fails, go for a walk in the winter wonderland — you can warm up with a hot chocolate when you get home.

Be aware of what you eat: There are way too many good foods available during the holidays for any reasonable human being to abstain completely. The most important thing is to be cognizant of what you're eating. Don't just eat because there is food somewhere in the vicinity — smaller portions and eliminating needless snacking can make a big difference.

Drink a lot of water: Hydration is always a good idea, but particularly at this time of year (to counteract the effects of too much wine, for one thing). In addition to being an essential part of healthy living, water is a noted appetite suppressant. "Staying hydrated is a key factor in your metabolism," according to Wytiaz.

If at first you don't succeed: You might get off track at some point in the season. An extra slice of pie, an eggnog binge, a day spent gleefully couch-bound in front of the fireplace--this kind of thing can happen. If it does happen, don't just throw your arms up and concede to your apathetic tendencies. Acknowledge that it wasn't the healthiest thing you've done, and move on undeterred. One bad day does not necessitate another 20 to follow it.

Relax: The holidays may be a stressful time, but keep in mind that it should actually be a relaxing one. Less work and more free time can make the holidays a time to recharge. "Take some time for yourself," says Wytiaz. "A healthy mind means a healthy body. Workout, yoga, or even stretch for a few minutes. Just a little bit everyday can make you feel better all around."

10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

It's that time of year when extra calories lurk around every corner -- frosted cookies at the office, eggnog at your neighbor's, jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah or chocolates in your stocking. All these extras add up, and if you're like most Americans, you'll put on a pound or two by New Year's Day.

So what's the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it's just a pound? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.

But you don't have to fall into this trap. It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single pound. "Portion control is the key," says Susan Finn, PhD, RD. Finn serves as chairwoman of the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition. "I don't believe you can't eat food that you like -- even indulgences -- but it is the amount you eat," she tells WebMD.

Of course, it's not easy to go on portion patrol when the temptations are endless. That's why WebMD compiled these tips to help you avoid overindulging.

1. Never Arrive Hungry

New York psychologist Carol Goldberg, PhD, says planning ahead can help you maintain discipline in the face of temptation. "Don't go to a party when you're starving," she warns. Try to have a nutritious snack beforehand. If you do arrive hungry, drink some water to fill up before filling your plate.

2. Divert Your Attention

Many people forget that there's more to a holiday party than food, Goldberg tells WebMD. "Don't look at the party as just a food event," she says. "Enjoy your friends' company or dancing. Focus on something other than food."

Finn agrees. She says chatting is a great diversion, whether you're at a small family dinner or a large party. "Take your mind off of food and focus on the conversation."

3. Pace Yourself

Have you ever tried telling yourself you'll only eat during the first half hour of a party? Goldberg says this strategy is a mistake. "If you cram in as much as you can in half an hour, you chew faster. Chewing more slowly will fill you up with less food."

To munch at a leisurely pace, Finn recommends putting your fork down between every bite. "This puts you in control."

4. Count Your Canaps

When there are canaps, it's easy to lose count of how many you eat. Keep track by stashing a toothpick in your pocket for each one. Set a limit and stick to it.

5. Outsmart the Buffet

When dinner is served buffet-style, use the smallest plate available and don't stack your food; limit your helpings to a single story. "Go for the simplest foods on the buffet," Finn says. "Fresh fruits and vegetables and shrimp cocktail are good choices. Watch out for sauces and dips."

6. Limit Alcohol

Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. "It's not just about calories but about control," Finn explains. "If you drink a lot you, won't have as much control over what you eat."

If you feel out of place without a drink, Goldberg suggests sipping water or club soda, "so you have something to carry like everyone else."

7. Be Choosy About Sweets

When it comes to dessert, be very selective. "Limit your indulgences to small portions and only what is very sensual to you," Goldberg says. Her personal rule on sweets: "If it's going to have calories, it has to be chocolate."

What about sampling several desserts, if you only take a tiny bite of each one? "You have to know yourself," Goldberg says. "Some people can eat one bite of something and stop. I don't think most people can do that. "If you know you're the type who can't stop at one bite, you're better off taking a small portion of a single dessert than piling your plate with several treats you plan to "try."

8. Bring Your Own Treats

Whether you're going to a friend's party or an office potluck, consider bringing a low-calorie treat that you know you'll enjoy. Bringing your own dessert will make the more fattening alternatives less tempting.

And don't feel your dessert has to be typical holiday fare. "Get away from rigid thinking about what holiday food has to be," Goldberg says. "People love fruit."

9. Limit 'Tastes' While Cooking

If you do a lot of cooking during the holidays, crack down on all those "tastes." "People lose their appetites when they've been cooking because they've been eating the whole time," Finn tells WebMD. Instead of tasting mindlessly every few minutes, limit yourself to two small bites of each item pre- and post-seasoning. "Just put the spoon in and taste a little bit," Finn says. "It's not grounds for a big scoop."

For tried-and-true recipes, dare yourself not to taste the dish at all until it is served.

10. Walk It Off

Make a new holiday tradition: the family walk. Besides burning some extra calories, this will get everyone away from the food for awhile.

"Get people off the couch and move," Finn says. "Go out for a walk as a family before or after the meal." She says walking not only benefits you physically but also puts you in a mindset to be more careful about what you eat. "There's something about activity that puts you in control."

Food Safety Tips for Healthy Holidays

Parties, family dinners, and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer. But the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill.

Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, which often start a few days after consuming contaminated food or drink. The symptoms usually are not long-lasting in healthy people—a few hours or a few days—and go away without treatment. But foodborne illness can be severe and even life-threatening to those most at risk:

  • older adults
  • infants and young children
  • pregnant women
  • people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or any condition that weakens their immune systems

Combating bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other contaminants in our food supply is a high priority for FDA. But consumers have a part to play, too, especially when it comes to food handling in the home.

"The good news is that practicing four basic food safety measures can help prevent foodborne illness," says Marjorie Davidson, consumer educator at FDA.

1. Clean: The first rule of safe food preparation in the home is to keep everything clean.

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food. "For children, this means the time it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice," says Davidson.
  • Wash food-contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops) after preparing each food item and before going on to the next item.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water and use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
  • Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking. "Washing these foods makes it more likely for bacteria to spread to areas around the sink and countertops," says Davidson.

2. Separate: Don't give bacteria the opportunity to spread from one food to another (cross-contaminate).

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood and their juices away from foods that won't be cooked while shopping in the store, and while preparing and storing at home.
  • Consider using one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked (raw meat, poultry, and seafood) and another one only for ready-to-eat foods (such as raw fruits and vegetables).
  • Do not put cooked meat on an unwashed plate that has held raw meat.

3. Cook: Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

  • "Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness," says Davidson. Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. To check a turkey for doneness, insert a food thermometer into the inner thigh area near the breast of the turkey but not touching bone. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches 180ºF. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should be 165ºF. Make sure oysters in oyster dressing are thoroughly cooked.
  • Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making your own eggnog or other recipe calling for raw eggs, use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg products, or powdered egg whites.
  • Don't eat uncooked cookie dough, which may contain raw eggs.

4. Chill: Refrigerate foods quickly because harmful bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature.

  • Refrigerate leftovers and takeout foods within two hours.
  • Set your refrigerator no higher than 40ºF and the freezer at 0ºF. Check both periodically with an appliance thermometer.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Food can be defrosted safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
  • Allow the correct amount of time to properly thaw food. For example, a 20-pound turkey needs two to three days to thaw completely when thawed in the refrigerator. If a turkey is not properly thawed, the outside of the turkey will be done before the inside, and the inside will not be hot enough to destroy disease-causing bacteria.
  • Don't taste food that looks or smells questionable. Davidson says, "A good rule to follow is, when in doubt, throw it out."



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Tips for a Heart-Healthy Holiday Season




The holidays can play havoc with your health regimen. Between parties, late nights, feasts and traveling, healthy habits can go right out the window. But the American Heart Association has tools and tips to help you enjoy yourself this season and still respect yourself in the morning.

The weather outside is frightful, but finding time for physical activity is delightful! When the weather cools and the season gets festive your free time gets shorter, use the tips below to help manage your daily fitness routine. After all, any exercise moves you toward a healthier heart.

  • ‘Tis the season for spending time with family. Share your workout time with visiting relatives. Are you at different fitness levels? See what activities you can share and be active together.
  • From holiday shopping, to party planning, to the kids’ evening play rehearsal, you can still find some time and place to fit in physical activity. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. Instead of sitting while watching winter play practice, march in place – keep your knees high. Or try speed shopping. Lace up those sneakers and move! Before you know it your shopping will be done.
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones . . . some alone time maybe?

Gaining weight is one holiday tradition that no one wants to keep. Mastering a few cooking techniques can help you create a healthier diet without losing out on flavor. Here are tips from the newest book in our library of best-selling cookbooks:

  • Cut down on saturated fat in creamy dressings by mixing in some nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt.
  • Use non-stick cookware so you can cook with a minimum of oil or vegetable oil spray.
  • For a wonderful flavor enhancer, sprinkle food with vinegar or citrus juice. Add it at the last minute so the flavor is at its strongest.
  • Substitute chopped vegetables for some of the bread in your stuffing recipe.

Make the holidays healthy…

  • Take time to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends. Gather around the fire to enjoy lower fat hot chocolate and share favorite holiday memories.
  • Offer vegetables in addition to traditional side dishes such as stuffing or mashed potatoes at your holiday meals.

Set the stage for success…

  • Don’t starve yourself the day of the party so you can fill up on food that evening. If you eat normally throughout the day, you’re much less likely to overeat at the party.
  • Remember: The point of holiday gatherings is to celebrate, not to eat. Mingle with friends and loved ones instead of hovering around the buffet table.

Be selective…

  • Don’t load up at the buffet table. Keep portion sizes small by putting your snacks on a small plate instead of a large one and limiting your trips to the buffet.
  • Wait 20 minutes before getting another plate of food from the buffet. You’ll often find that you’re no longer hungry.

Be a health-conscious hostess…

  • Set out bite-sized, healthy snacks such as popcorn, raisins or nuts in brandy snifters. That way your guests won’t be tempted to keep reaching for the snacks – they’ll have to pick up the glass and pour a few into their hand.
  • Present food in various locations to encourage activities and mingling as well as eating.

The holidays can play havoc with your health regimen. Between parties, late nights, feasts and traveling, healthy habits can go right out the window. But the American Heart Association has tools and tips to help you enjoy yourself this season and still respect yourself in the morning.

The weather outside is frightful, but finding time for physical activity is delightful! When the weather cools and the season gets festive your free time gets shorter, use the tips below to help manage your daily fitness routine. After all, any exercise moves you toward a healthier heart.

  • ‘Tis the season for spending time with family. Share your workout time with visiting relatives. Are you at different fitness levels? See what activities you can share and be active together.
  • From holiday shopping, to party planning, to the kids’ evening play rehearsal, you can still find some time and place to fit in physical activity. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. Instead of sitting while watching winter play practice, march in place – keep your knees high. Or try speed shopping. Lace up those sneakers and move! Before you know it your shopping will be done.
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones . . . some alone time maybe?

Gaining weight is one holiday tradition that no one wants to keep. Mastering a few cooking techniques can help you create a healthier diet without losing out on flavor. Here are tips from the newest book in our library of best-selling cookbooks:

  • Cut down on saturated fat in creamy dressings by mixing in some nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt.
  • Use non-stick cookware so you can cook with a minimum of oil or vegetable oil spray.
  • For a wonderful flavor enhancer, sprinkle food with vinegar or citrus juice. Add it at the last minute so the flavor is at its strongest.
  • Substitute chopped vegetables for some of the bread in your stuffing recipe.

Make the holidays healthy…

  • Take time to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends. Gather around the fire to enjoy lower fat hot chocolate and share favorite holiday memories.
  • Offer vegetables in addition to traditional side dishes such as stuffing or mashed potatoes at your holiday meals.

Set the stage for success…

  • Don’t starve yourself the day of the party so you can fill up on food that evening. If you eat normally throughout the day, you’re much less likely to overeat at the party.
  • Remember: The point of holiday gatherings is to celebrate, not to eat. Mingle with friends and loved ones instead of hovering around the buffet table.

Be selective…

  • Don’t load up at the buffet table. Keep portion sizes small by putting your snacks on a small plate instead of a large one and limiting your trips to the buffet.
  • Wait 20 minutes before getting another plate of food from the buffet. You’ll often find that you’re no longer hungry.

Be a health-conscious hostess…

  • Set out bite-sized, healthy snacks such as popcorn, raisins or nuts in brandy snifters. That way your guests won’t be tempted to keep reaching for the snacks – they’ll have to pick up the glass and pour a few into their hand.
  • Present food in various locations to encourage activities and mingling as well as eating.





Friday, August 8, 2008

Tips and strategies for a healthy eating plan

How do you actually implement all this information on healthy eating into your life? The following tips can help you ease your way into a healthier diet.

1. Read the labels – Always look at the first ingredient listed - seeing sugar, corn syrup, salt, or some other unhealthy ingredient high on the list probably means it isn’t the healthiest choice.
2. Keep a food diary – For one week, write down everything (no cheating!) that you eat or drink every day. If you can, keep track of serving sizes. At the end of the week, review your diary and decide where you need to make improvements.
3. Set goals – Your goal can also be as simple as ordering a salad rather than a less-than-healthy appetizer or side whenever you go out to eat.
4. Take baby steps – Try one small change at a time, and build on it. If you aren’t getting enough fruit, you can add berries to your cereal in your morning. Or switch to low-fat dairy, and easily eliminate some saturated fat from your diet.
5. Make smarter choices within food groups –For example, choosing whole fruit rather than juice will save calories and earn you extra fiber. Or, switch to whole grain bread or pasta in place of your usual refined carbohydrate choices.
6. Don’t be the food police – There’s no need to cut out all of your favorite foods. You can enjoy sweets and fried foods in moderation, as long as they are an occasional part of your overall healthy diet. Food is a great source of pleasure, and pleasure is good for the heart – even if those French fries aren’t!
7. Get moving – Exercise will make any healthy eating plan work even better. While a healthful diet can reduce your risk of many diseases, adding regular physical activity can do even more.

Walking Can Be a Bone Booster

Experts have recommended high-impact aerobic exercise as a means for increasing bone mass, but a review of 24 studies on aerobic exercise and bone mineral density in women suggests that walking just 30 minutes per day a few days a week is enough to moderately increase overall bone density.

A team of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston analyzed studies that followed predominantly sedentary women assigned to aerobic exercise programs lasting 16 weeks or more. Walking was the preferred form of exercise by most participants. Compared to non-exercisers, the regular exercisers increased their bone mass by about two percent.

Exercise helps strengthen bones because it forces them to bear weight, which is why high-impact exercise elicits even greater gains in bone density.

The fact that walking and other low-impact activities are also beneficial, however, is particularly encouraging given that many women find high-impact exercise painful or difficult to master.

Experts recommend women follow a program that combines both aerobic activity and weight training, which also increases bone mass, to lower their risk of developing osteoporosis.

How To Reverse Hair Loss

These are helpful tips to help regenerate hair follicles, but they do not cure any underlying conditions, or stress-related hair loss:

* Try drinking this- blend bananas with honey, yoghurt and low-fat milk. A drink rich in biotin can help keep your crowning glory firmly rooted.
* Take dietary supplements such as Vitamin B6 and Zinc. Supplements are useful when you can't get enough from natural food sources.
* Invert your head while you shampoo and massage your scalp.This helps promote blood circulation to the head.
* Eliminate stress or else it can be disastrous to your precious hair.
* Get enough sleep.


10 Tips to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity For You

Start your day with breakfast.

Breakfast fills your "empty tank" to get you going after a long night without food. And it can help you do better in school. Easy to prepare breakfasts include cold cereal with fruit and low-fat milk, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit, whole-grain waffles or even last night's pizza!

Get Moving!

It's easy to fit physical activities into your daily routine. Walk, bike or jog to see friends. Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, do homework or watch TV. Climb stairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator. Try to do these things for a total of 30 minutes every day.

Snack Smart.

Snacks are a great way to refuel. Choose snacks from different food groups—a glass of low-fat milk and a few graham crackers, an apple or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, or some dry cereal. If you eat smart at other meals, cookies, chips and candy are OK for occasional snacking.

Work up a sweat.

Vigorous work-outs—when you're breathing hard and sweating—help your heart pump better, give you more energy and help you look and feel your best. Start with a warm-up that stretches your muscles. Include 20 minutes of aerobic activity, such as running, jogging or dancing. Follow-up with activities that help make you stronger such as push-ups or lifting weights. Then cool-down with more stretching and deep breathing.

Balance your food choices—don't eat too much of one thing.

You don't have to give up foods like hamburgers, french fries and ice cream to eat healthfully. You just have to be smart about how often and how much of them you eat. Your body needs nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat and many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, iron and calcium from a variety of foods. Balancing food choices from the Food Guide Pyramid and checking out the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels will help you to get all these nutrients.

Get fit with friends or family.

Being active is much more fun with friends or family. Encourage others to join you and plan one special physical activity event, like a bike ride or hiking, with a group each week.

Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables.

These foods give you carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. Besides, they taste good! Try breads such as whole-wheat, bagels and pita. Spaghetti and oatmeal are also in the grain group.

Bananas, strawberries and melons are some great tasting fruits. Try vegetables raw, on a sandwich or in a salad.

Join in physical activities at school.

Whether you take a physical education class or do other physical activities at school, such as intramural sports, structured activities are a sure way to feel good, look good and stay physically fit.

Foods aren't good or bad.

A healthy eating style is like a puzzle with many parts. Each part—or food—is different. Some foods may have more fat, sugar or salt while others may have more vitamins or fiber. There is a place for all these foods. What makes a diet good or bad is how foods fit together. Balancing your choices is important. Fit in a higher-fat food, like pepperoni pizza, at dinner by choosing lower-fat foods at other meals. And don't forget about moderation. If two pieces of pizza fill you up, don't eat a third.

Make healthy eating and physical activities fun!

Take advantage of physical activities you and your friends enjoy doing together and eat the foods you like. Be adventurous—try new sports, games and other activities as well as new foods. You'll grow stronger, play longer, and look and feel better! Set realistic goals—don't try changing too much at once.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Healthy Tips!

*Set a goal of trying one new fruit or vegetable every week
*Keep a bowl of fruit on your desk at work
*Switch from ice cream to frozen yogurt
*Substitute sweet potatoes for regular baked potatoes or fries. You'll get more Vitamin A.
*Get more fiber. Add canned beans or a handful of nuts to your salad.
*Take the stairs, not the elevator.
*Don't e-mail your office mate. Walk down the hall and deliver the message personally.
*Get a dog. Commit to walking 10 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night.
*Buy a soccer ball. Kick it with your kids or a neighbor.
*Buy shoes at the end of the day when your feet are more swollen from use.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How to prepare delicious Vegetable Kurma ?

Ingredients to prepare Vegetable Kurma:

2 cups Vegetables
2 Onions cut length-wise
2 Green chilies cut length-wise
1 tsp Coriander powder
one pinch Turmeric powder
1/2" Cinnamon stick
2 Cloves
2 Cardamom
2 tbsp Coconut powder
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp [3 cloves] Garlic
1/4 tsp powder (or 1/2" fresh) Ginger
1 1/4 tsp Salt to taste

Method to prepare delicious Vegetable Kurma:

Put a reasonable sized vessel on the range and heat oil. Add cinnamon,cloves and cardamom and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add onions and greenchilies and fry till onions turn brown. Add garlic + ginger paste and fry for a minute or so. Add vegetables and fry for about 3 minutes.

Add Water[about a cup or two]. Let the vegetables and turmeric powder cook.If you are using canned or frozen vegetables skip the above step.Add coconut paste, Poppy seeds, salt and wait until cooked.

Note: Cook on low heat.

Enjoy now delicious Vegetable kurma !!