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Healthy Living: Magnesium


MagnesiumOne of the few supplements I take each day is magnesium.

When I was filtering out my supplement needs, magnesium emerged as one of the few individual minerals that I needed to make sure I was taking enough of.

Magnesium can help hypertension and cardiovascular disease. It can also help correct kidney and liver damage. It can rectify peroxynitrite damage that can evolve into migraines, glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. It can help with restless leg syndrome, PMS, insomnia, osteoporosis and fungal infections. It can contribute to an improvement in muscle weakness, cramps and impotence. Check with your physician to find out if you are magnesium-deficient and what kind of magnesium to take as a supplement.



Healthy Living: Using Sunscreen


Using SunscreenWe should all REALLY wear sunscreen all year long. Let’s be honest. How many of us don’t even think about it until the warmer months when the sun beats down a little more intensely than at other times?

I know I don’t (although I use a facial product with an SPF every single day, all year long).

As I was taking out the sunscreen today before a trip to the state park, I realized that I need to be a little more diligent about using sunscreen all year long.

Using sunscreen is the best way to help prevent melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It also takes the consistent, proper use of sunscreen to make it most effective.

Use sunscreen every time you’re going to be outdoors, even in winter and on cloudy days. Ultraviolet rays can damage your skin under both conditions.

Use about  1 1/2 ounces of sunscreen each time you apply it, which should be about every 90 minutes in the sun, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks all types of UV rays, with a number of 15 or higher.

Use sunscreen or wear protective clothing over every inch of your body. Adding a hat helps, as does wearing a cover-up over your swimsuit for beach days. Use a special sunscreen on your lips, and don’t forget behind your ears and on your scalp.

Remember, tanned skin doesn’t look healthy if it’s riddled with melanoma!

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Healthy Living: Cauliflower Rice


Cauliflower RiceI resisted the craze of making cauliflower into rice for a long time, a very long time.

Now I regret every, single, solitary minute of my stubborn holdout.

Cauliflower rice is the best thing since sliced bread, without the carbs, that is.

Cauliflower rice gives you the impression you’re eating rice without the starch.

It’s simple and amazing. Use in place of your fried rice, your Mexican rice or whatever other kind of rice you fix. It’s faster to cook, too. No fluffing with a fork required.

Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
2 Tbs coconut oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Remove florets from the head of cauliflower, and pulse in food processor until it has formed small “grains.”

Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Sauté cauliflower until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or use in another dish.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 75, Fat: 7 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 601 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Healthy Living: Whole 5® Puree


Whole 5® PureeWhen I saw this product on the shelf in the refrigerated section of Brookshire’s in the produce by prepared salads and bagged greens, I figured it was a juice.

It’s not. They’ll be the first to tell you that Whole 5® is a puree in which one serving contains the same antioxidant properties as five servings of blueberries. If you know your health facts, you know that’s a lot.

Whole 5® is not a juice or an energy drink. According to their website, “It is pureed whole food. It is dense nutrition that provides health-giving antioxidants and phytonutrients, plus natural sustained energy without stimulants.”

Whole 5® contains 15 super foods, including (all whole foods) grapes, apples, acai, pomegranates, blueberries, aloe, noni, cranberries, elderberries, bilberries, goji, nopal cactus leaf, plums, carrots and sweet potatoes.

It also contains two herbs: Chinese Skullcap and whole gentian root.

Finally, there are 13 trace minerals essential to overall health, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, chromium, iodine, vanadium, molybdenum and sodium.

Adding an ounce of Whole 5® to your diet each day can give you more energy, help you sleep better, help you fight infection, and help you feel better overall. Recommended use is one ounce in the morning and one ounce in the evening.



Healthy Living: Roasted Garlic Green Beans


Roasted Garlic Green BeansGrowing up, my mom cooked green beans frequently. They were flash-frozen, which is the healthiest way to buy them if you can’t get them fresh, and boiled (which kind of defeated some of the health of the flash-frozen status). I can’t say they were my favorite.

When I was old enough to cook green beans, I only bought fresh beans, and I steamed them. They were healthy, but they did not have a lot of flavor.

My boyfriend likes them simmered with bacon. Super tasty, but I’m not sure there’s any health value left whatsoever.

However, these beans are the best of both worlds. They’re fresh and healthy with heart-healthy olive oil as the added fat, and they’re full of great taste and flavor. I also love the texture from roasting the beans instead of cooking them with liquid.

Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, rinsed and ends cut off
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
sea salt and pepper, to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss green beans with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 17 to 20 minutes, stirring once. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 74, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 12 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Healthy Living: Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Peppers


Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed PeppersAlthough March in the Deep South gets warmer and warmer (as evidenced by the long-sleeved T-shirts I routinely trade for a short-sleeved version all month long), April is really the first month I consider to be true springtime. With the warmer weather comes the inevitable need to shed some hibernation weight from the winter months.

The fresh flavors of springtime just say “healthy” to me. More greens, more colors from the garden, and more fresh fruits and veggies.

While this recipe does have cheese (you need dairy, you know), it’s based on bright, fresh green bell peppers and filled with brown rice and other bright bursts of spring flavor, like garlic and basil.

These would be delicious served with a colorful salad as a side dish.

Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs garlic, minced
5 oz fresh spinach
3 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 large bell peppers

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is fragrant and shimmering. Sauté the spinach and garlic for about 2 minutes.

Season with basil, red pepper, oregano, salt and pepper.

Add cooked rice to the skillet; stir in cheeses.

Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.

Remove tops from peppers, and scoop out seeds and pith. Stuff peppers with spinach/rice filling. Top with extra cheese, and place peppers in a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 357, Fat: 11 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 30 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Carbohydrates: 52 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 15 g.

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Healthy Living: Sinus Allergy Relief Drink


Sinus Allergy Relief DrinkIt’s allergy season in the South, and it feels like it came back a little sooner this year than most.

Allergies are a histamine reaction to things in the air this time of year, like grass, pollen, ragweed, mold and any other host of things that are blooming nearby.

You might need to see your doctor about combatting seasonal allergies, but there are natural home remedies you can also use to alleviate symptoms, such as a stuffy nose and sinus congestion.

One of them is this drink.

Made with all natural ingredients, a wise, older woman that I know swears by this concoction. She drinks one portion daily and swears that it helps keep her sinuses from becoming inflamed, thus keeping her breathing easily.

Even if it doesn’t have magical, medicinal properties, it IS healthy for you, no matter why you’re drinking it.

If you don’t have a juicer, peel and chop all of your ingredients. Add about 1/2 cup sparkling water, and process in a food processer until desired consistency.

Sinus Allergy Relief Drink

Ingredients:
2 large carrots
2 oranges
1 green apple, cored
1 small piece ginger, peeled

Directions:
Put all ingredients in juicer, and process according to manufacturer’s directions.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 437, Calories from Fat: 23, Fat: 3 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 95 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 21 g, Sugar: 65 g, Protein: 7 g.

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Healthy Living: Healthy Oat Cookies


Healthy Oat CookiesMy 13-year-old son told me he wants to eat healthier.

Big picture, he IS a healthy eater, but that kid can also put away some junk food after school.

We had to come up with a solution that would still let him feel like he was having some of the treats he likes but in a healthier way. Now, after school, he reaches for fresh fruit instead of the little, square, orange crackers he used to favor. I love that he’s doing this, and it’s motivated the rest of us to reach for more fresh fruit and vegetables, too.

Every once in a while, he wants a cookie or something sweet.

These are the perfect solution. Originally they were called “Three-Ingredient Cookies,” but I throw in some extra ingredients!

Healthy Oat Cookies

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or nuts, crushed

Directions:
Mash bananas in a large bowl. Stir in oats, raisins, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds or nuts.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Scoop dough into 16 balls, and place evenly around a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Makes 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 60, Calories from Fat: 12, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Healthy Living: Pomegranates


PomegranatesPomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits on earth, and they’re still in season now.

Pomegranates are red and are about the size and shape of an apple, but really only their seeds (and the pulp and juices attached) are edible.

One cup of pomegranate arils (seeds) contain 7 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, 36 percent for vitamin K, 16 percent for folate and 12 percent for potassium. That’s a lot. Also, one cup contains only 144 calories which is not a lot at all.

Pomegranates contain two compounds other fruits do not: punicalagins and punicic acid.

Punicalagins are the powerful antioxidants found in the juice and peel of a pomegranate, providing three times the antioxidant power of red wine or green tea. Punicic acid, or pomegranate seed oil, is the fatty acid from the arils, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Pomegranates can help fight against heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. It can also help fight prostate and breast cancers as well as lower blood pressure and fight arthritis. It improves memory, helps fight fungal and bacterial infections and can improve erectile dysfunction. It has also been shown to improve exercise performance.

Whether you eat the seeds or drink the juice, pomegranate packs a mighty punch.



Healthy Living: Mardi Gras Salsa


Mardi Gras SalsaToday is Fat Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in to the excess and temptation that is synonymous with Mardi Gras.

You can eat healthy and still celebrate with family, friends, and a lot of beads and trinkets (necklaces are zero calories, after all).

I love this salsa because it’s the colors of Mardi Gras: gold, purple and green. It combines fresh flavors with a lot of healthy ingredients.

The pineapple is great for vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene, thiamin, B6 and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.

Black beans provide protein.

Garlic, limes and onions provide antioxidants.

Serve this with whole-grain pita wedges or other veggies like cucumber rounds or celery.

Mardi Gras Salsa

Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pineapple, cored, peeled and diced
1 large bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (to taste)
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 limes, juiced
1 jalapeño, minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss gently to mix. Refrigerate for several hours while flavors meld. Serve with pita wedges or veggies.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 377, Calories from Fat: 14, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 7 mg, Carbohydrates: 72 g, Fiber: 16 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 22 g.

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