Have you ever wondered how to develop healthy habits? Maybe you’ve thought about changing your eating or exercise habits for the better, but didn’t know if you would stick with a plan. A study from the University College Londonshows that when a behavior is performed over and over along with a cue, after about 66 days the behavior will become automatic. For example, after walking for 66 days after breakfast, it becomes so ingrained that you are automatically ready for that walk, without any discouraging self back-talk.
It took me about that long to automate my new healthy habits. One thing that really helped me to develop new habits was to keep a record of what I did. Keeping a record keeps one accountable and on track. I set up a calendar and in each day’s box I marked down how long I walked, how many minutes I practiced yoga, and how I felt on that day. I marked this information into my calendar just before going to bed and it took less than 30 seconds. I used letters as symbols, like Y for yoga, B for bike ride, or W for walk; numbers indicated how long the action was performed. I also used a single word to evaluate how I felt on a given day: poor, fair, or good. See the example below. The study shows it is ok to miss a day as long you are, on the overall, consistent with the practice.
I recommend following the 66-day concept to anyone trying to develop healthy eating habits, or trying to get into an exercise plan. At the beginning of the time period, write down how you are feeling and what you hope to accomplish. Check back when the 66 days are up and compare. Who knows, maybe you will have created a new healthy habit for life!
*Note – See the example below. The important thing is consistency.
The most popular blog entry on My Healthy Eating Habits is my post about no-knead bread whole wheat bread. I developed a recipe based on Jim Lahey’s technique from his book “My Bread“. Now I’ve come out with a video to make the steps more clear. My sister-in-law Mary is ready to make it—she was just waiting for this video. And I hope it makes you want to go out and bake some delicious and tasty whole wheat bread, that’s good for your healthy eating habits, that is of course, if you don’t eat too much of it.
One book that I can recommend to people who like great taste without complications, is Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa how easy is that?Her recipes are familiar, easy to prepare, tasty, and elegantly served. This week for the Ina First Friday blog group I chose her recipe for Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad, which many people by the name of fattoush. Fattoush is an Arabic salad, like the Italian bread salad Panzanella, it incorporates dried bread, but this one uses dried pita (see Kayln’s Kitchen). Other ingredients the traditional salad often incorporates are sumac, and purslane. Sumac is a spice that has a lemony taste, and purslane is an edible weed. I prefer Ina’s way of toasting the pita bread and serving it on the side, especially if there will be leftovers. One thing I can’t stand is soggy bread in a salad. This is a good alternative to tabouli for those on a grain-free diet. Anyone will appreciate this summer salad because it’s healthy, nourishing, and very tasty. Enjoy this slightly modified recipe!
Preparation Time: 25 minutes Servings: 4 Large Yield: 6 cups
Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad
6 to 10 thinly slice wholescallions
1 pound ripetomatoes, seeded, cored, and diced to 1/2inch
1 Hothousecucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced to 1/2-inch
10 to 12 ounces cookedchickpeas, rinsed and drained (if using canned)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped freshmint
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 to 4 cloves)
3/4 teaspoonKosher salt
Freshly groundblack Pepper
1/3 cupvirgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 teaspoonKosher salt
4 to 8 ouncesfeta cheese, diced to 1/2-inch
ToastedPita bread bread (to accompany the salad)
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon mustard, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a little black pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion.
Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to gently coat all the vegetables.
Add the feta, check the seasonings and toss gently. Serve the salad with toasted pita bread.
Recently, I got a call from my niece, Heather, who just learned that the overwhelming fatigue she feels, the butterfly mark on her face, the lesions in her mouth, and the rashes on her body are due to Lupus. She feels terrible knowing that she has this disease, but she said, “At least I know what it is now.”
From reading medical studies, books by respected and well-known Doctors, and from my own personal experience, I know that the way a patient responds to illness can greatly influence their recovery. People who are more positive are more likely to have a positive outcome with their illness, while people who tend to be negative are more likely not to show much improvement, or may even spiral down. I also know that food plays an important part in the recovery process. Eating healthy food is important for anyone, but it’s especially important for someone who is ill, and certain foods can either exacerbate the problem, or help to improve it. Taking a stand to eat healthy foods is a positive action.
On the phone with Heather, I told her there are certain foods she should choose to eat, and there are other foods that it’s wise to avoid. It’s about thinking any time you reach for something to eat, “Will this food harm me, or help me?” For me these choices mean the difference of having pain, or little to no pain with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Like RA, lupus is an autoimmune related illness and many of the treatments used for RA can be used for lupus, and visa versa. It’s no different with food. It’s all about choice for both illnesses. It’s possible to go into more depth on the subject of food as medicine, but the following are some basics to get started, and it should be complemented with walking, low-impact yoga, or some other low-impact exercise. Also one should avoid smoking and stress. You will find that most of the recipes on MyHealthyEatingHabits.com use the better food choices.
Better food choices:
Fish, Turkey, tofu, tempeh
Whole grain brown rice, quinoa
Soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk
Olive oil, cold-pressed olive oil, or avocado oil
100% whole wheat bread, or gluten-free
Natural sweeteners, dried fruit
Toasted raw nuts, and nut butters
Lemon and olive oil dressings
Foods to avoid, or severely limit
Sodas, alcohol, most bottled juice (high in sugar)
Beef, Pork, and meat products
All fried foods
Cow’s milk, cheese
White breads, rolls and pastries
Roasted and salted nuts
Potato chips and corn chips
After working so hard to eat right and to exercise, some people may feel anxious about how to keep healthy eating habits on vacation. Vacations are filled with temptations, and those who are not careful risk putting on a few pounds while away. However, being proactive can arm vacationers with the skills they need to avoid extra weight gain. Here are a few skills and strategies to consider.
Avoid Some Restaurant Trips
Eating out is an essential part of vacations, but there is no need to go to a restaurant for every meal. By bring along some healthy snacks, vacationers can make sure that they are not starving every time they sit down for a meal. In addition, a trip to a local grocery store or health store can allow vacationers to eat at their hotels for a few meals. Doing so will make it easier to avoid eating excessive calories, and it will also save vacationers some money. Vacationers will also want to avoid one of the most dangerous temptations of staying in a hotel: the minibar. By refusing the minibar key and bringing along snacks, vacationers can avoid the calorie-rich food and drinks contained in their minibar.
Fortunately, most vacations make it easy to exercise. By walking to destinations instead of taking taxis or other forms of transportation, it is possible to burn calories. In addition, walking often gives vacationers access to sites that are rarely seen by visitors. As more people become aware of the importance of exercise, more opportunities for fun forms of exercise are now available. Morning jog on the beach can be invigorating, and a guided tour of an area can help vacationers burn some calories.
Plan a Stategy
One strategy vacationers may wish to use is to decide where they will eat before going on vacation. By finding menus online and determining what you will order, you can help yourself avoid the temptation of eating too much while dining out. Planning beforehand can also help you research how many calories are in particular meals. Reading reviews of restaurants and finding healthy alternatives in areas like the Las Vegas Restaurants, where buffets are plentiful, can be the difference maker in a healthy week. Eating at restaurants is important while on vacation, and it is possible to enjoy delicious meals without eating too many calories.
Fortunately, companies are finding a some ways to help those looking to control their weight stay healthy. As a result, those who travel to popular vacation destinations will find options available to help. With a bit of research, vacationers can ensure that they do not pack on extra pounds while away.
Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Some people plan a trip to “get away,” while others realize benefit of adding something greater to their current repertoire of knowledge, thought and emotion. Through my writings, I hope to influence the earlier, and connect with the latter.
Did you know that April is Soyfoods Month? I didn’t know this until just recently. The Soy Association of North America (SANA) chose my blog and sent me box of samples so I could try them and let my readers know what I think about soyfood products; that’s where the tofu pumpkin pie with yogurt topping comes in. You might remember that I do like soy products as shown by these delicious recipes: zesty lemon tempeh, scrambled tofu, spicy marinated tofu, and miso soup with vegetables. But, it’s my impression that there are still many people out there that think tofu, tempeh, and miso are for vegetarians. As part of my healthy eating habits I aim to eat a variety of foods and soy products are a part of that mix. Though I eat little meat, I’m not a vegetarian. I eat soy products because they are high in protein and calcium, and low in fat and cholesterol. And as far as tofu tasting bland, well…there is a remedy for that—it’s called marinade. Look for organic tofu and tempeh. All organic products are non-GMO, but not all non-GMO products are organic (Wildwood Foods); they might still be sprayed with pesticides. If you’re not sure about a product you can check the verified foods on the Non-GMO Project website.
So you’re probably wondering what goodies SANA sent me. I got a small box with Soyjoy bars, Nutz (honey toasted soy nuts), and coupon for a Wildwoodsoy product—which I picked up at Whole Foods Market. I’m not the best judge of bars since I prefer to eat foods with minimal processing, but my husband liked the chocolate cherry bar. The family favorite was the Nutz. These roasted soybeans make a nice little snack to take along in your lunchbox. The baked tofu tasted great in a whole wheat sandwich I made with roasted bell peppers, avocado and Miso Mayo. To test out the Wildwood Sproutofu, I decided on a tofu pumpkin pie with a yogurt topping.
Cut the pie with a professional look
About the recipe – The recipe below will give you a dense pumpkin pie. If you prefer a more custardy pie omit the firm tofu and use firm silken tofu in its place. The yogurt topping is optional if you prefer a dairy-free pie, buy I like it because it tastes like pumpkin cheesecake. For a vegan pie use a butter alternative in the graham cracker crust and omit the yogurt topping.
Kitchen Tip – I recommend cutting this pie into small pieces. For a professional look when cutting, press a 2 to 2-1/2 round cookie cutter in the center of the pie. Next cut the outer cake into quarters, and then cut each of the quarters into 3 pieces. This will provide you with 13 servings and no straggly tips at the end of each piece. After cutting the pie remove the cookie cutter from the center.
Tofu Pumpkin Pie with Yogurt Topping
Prep Time: 25 months, 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours (some unattended time)
Yield: 8 to 13 pieces
12 ouncestofu, firm or silken (*See note above about the recipe)
1 can (15 ounce) solidpumpkin
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoonground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoonground ginger
1/4 teaspoonground cloves
1 small bag, (1 oz.)finely chopped NUTZ (optional)
2 tablespoonscyrtallized ginger, minced
For the pie crust:
1/4 cupmelted butter, or dairy-free
1-1/4 cupground graham crackers
For the pie topping:
1-1/4 cups Greek yogurt
Pre-heat the oven to °375
Prepare the pie pan by mixing the melted butter with the ground graham cracker crumbs and then pressing the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan. Cover the edges of the pan with tin foil to avoid burning.
Squeeze as much water out of the tofu as possible and then place it in a food processor and blend it until it is very smooth, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.
Put the tofu in a large bowl and add the pumpkin along with the salt, sugar and spices. (Reserve the yogurt and honey for later.) Whisk the pumpkin mixture together well.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie pan, smooth the top with a spatula and then place it in the oven to bake. Start watching the temperature after it has been in the oven for 40 minutes. It should reach an internal temperature of 160°, 45 to 50 minutes.
When the pie is done, remove the pie from the oven, discard the tin foil shield, and allow the pie to cool for 20 minutes.
Grind the NUTZ in the food processor until it looks like chunky sand, and then mix with the minced ginger.
Mix the yogurt with the honey and spread this over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the NUTZ and ginger all around the edge of the pie and then bake it for 5 minutes to set the topping. Once the pie has cooled down to 70° put it in the refrigerator to cool at least 4 hours.
Hey there. It’s Ina Garten Friday, which means that the members in this blog group will be making and posting one of her recipes, or making a food item inspired by one of her dishes. Do you know who she is? Ina is host the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. You may have seen some of her books at the bookstore or at the library.
She goes by the name “the Barefoot Contessa,” after the specialty food shop she bought with that name. She owned it for over 20 years. Throughout her life Ina Garten has proven to be a multi-talented woman who has worn many hats: wife, Washington budget analyst, political activist, pilot, specialty food shopkeeper, magazine article contributor, New York Times bestselling cookbook author, and Food Network television host (Wikipedia).
What I like about much of Ina’s food is the simplicity of flavors and preparation, and the fresh flavors of the food. She’s not big on heavy cream and overdoses of butter, though she does favor cheese. Her overall theme is ease of preparation and her standard is delicious.
I chose to do a variation of her recipe sausage-stuffed mushrooms from her book barefoot contessa how easy is that? She serves these stuffed mushrooms instead of traditional stuffing along with the Thanksgiving turkey. That way, she says, the turkey won’t end up being dry. Good tip Ina! I have adapted the recipe for my healthy eating habits by using non-fat yogurt instead of marscapone cheese, chicken sausage instead of pork, fresh whole wheat bread crumbs instead of panko crumbs, and I’ve used less salt and less Parmesan cheese.
The instructions below are Ina’s minus the ingredients that I’m substituting with something that I feel is a healthier choice. My substitutions or changes appear in parenthesis.
16 extra-large mushrooms, caps and stems separated
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2-1/2 tablespoons Marsala win or medium-dry sherry
¾ pound sweet Italian (chicken) sausage, casings removed
¾ cup minced scallions, white and green parts
2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup (fresh whole wheat bread crumbs)
5 ounces (non-fat Greek yogurt)
(1/4) cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325°
2. Trim the mushroom cap stems and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushrooms caps in a shallow bowl and toss with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the Marsala. Set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bread crumbs, stirring to combine with the other ingredients. Finally, (remove from the heat and) swirl in the (Greek yogurt) and continue cooking until the (yogurt) has melted and made the mixture creamy. …stir in the Parmesan and parsley and season to taste. Cool slightly.
4. Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in baking dish large enough to hold them all in a snug single layer. Bake for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.
Last night a documentary called The River of No Return was on Nature, a PBS presentation. A wolf biologist named Isaac Babcock and his wife Bijornen, took a year trek along the Frank Church-River, in the Idaho Wilderness. As you can imagine, much of the show dealt wolves, but the biologist also spent time filming other species like birds and fish. The mountainous area is so pristine and the photography is gorgeous. It was especially moving to see the images of the salmon swimming upstream against the full force of the river having to jump into and over the waterfalls in their struggle to return to the spawning grounds. Salmon are born in fresh water then they live most of their lives in the ocean. They return to fresh water to lay their eggs. Their journey home is Homeric.
Watching that show last night made me feel that salmon was the perfect finish to our 38th power foods blog group. This fish is a symbol of power and strength. As a food it provides our bodies with essential anti-oxidants and vitamins. It has both DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which are omega 3’s that help lower cholesterol, and are the components you’re looking for when you buy fish capsules. Check with your doctor to see the amount of DHA and EPA you should be taking. The salmon’s pink hue comes from the krill the fish eats which is full of powerful antioxidants like selenium, and astaxanthin. It’s also rich in vitamin D, B6, and B12. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, it’s best to eat wild salmon. Farmed Atlantic salmon should be avoided because it poses environmental problems and doesn’t the same nutrients. Check the Monterrey Bay Aquarium page to see best choices when choosing.
If you’re looking for an easy, but delicious and memorable dinner to prepare, try wild salmon with pesto wrapped in filo. It’s easy to put together and it bakes in just 20 minutes. In this recipe the dough is brushed with olive oil, which is a healthier choice than brushing with butter or using puff pastry. And the pesto is dairy-free, cutting back on the additional fat and calories as these pouches are very filling.
4 salmon filets, skin removed (5 to six ounces each)
1/3 cup pesto
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Procedure for the Pesto:
1. Place the garlic in a food processor and process 10 seconds. Add the salt, basil, and the pine nuts and then process a few seconds. Next, slowly add the olive oil.
2. Scrape the sauce into a small bowl and cover with plastic.
Filo dough with oil
Procedure for the Salmon:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°
2. Line the sheet-pan with aluminum foil and then place the cookie rack in the pan.
3. Wash the fish filets and then pat them dry.
4. Lay down one sheet of filo dough horizontally on the counter and brush it with a thin layer of olive oil.
5. Lay a second layer of filo dough on top to the first sheet and brush it with the oil. Next, take the side end and fold it over so the corners meet. Brush the top with oil and lay a ½ sheet of dough over the top.
Salmon before wrapping
6. Spread 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of pesto on top of the dough about the same size as the salmon filet. Set the fish on top of the sauce and then brush the dough with oil. Fold in the sides of the dough, and brush the top with oil, and then set the fish pouch on the cookie rack. Make two angular slits in the top of the dough, each about 2 inches long. Repeat this whole procedure with the remaining filets.
7. Bake the fish pouches until they are golden brown —about 20 to 25 minutes.
Today is the last day of our blog group which has been talking about and writing about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine). It’s been a lot of fun! I’d like to thank all the participants who have taken part in this collaborative effort, and especially to those who crossed the finish line. I’m looking forward to our next group hosted by Alyce at MoreTimeattheTable.blogspot. It will be a once monthly post and the subject is Ina Garten. If you would like to participate please contact Alyce at afmorgan53(at)yahoo.com.
This week while researching rainbow trout for the 38 Power Foods blog group, I realized that some grocers and fishmongers don’t understand the —what appears to be folklore term— “salmon trout”. They call the pinkish to reddish colored fish by their proper names: rainbow trout, or steelhead trout, whereas, I have always known pinkish-reddish fish as salmon trout. I’ve learned, there is a slight but important difference between the two. Both rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the same species and are closely related to salmon, and both share a pink to reddish colored flesh. But the rainbow trout that leaves freshwater rivers to spend 2 to 3 years at sea before returning to fresh water to spawn, is called Steelhead trout. These fish are larger than rainbow trout and have a deeper red color, closer to that of salmon. Both Steelhead trout and rainbow trout taste close to salmon, but the last one has more of the trout undertones.
According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, farmed rainbow trout and steelhead trout are a “best choice” based on abundance, well-managed environmentally friendly farming practices, and health benefits. These fish offer the important inflammation fighting omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and they are also loaded with B vitamins, niacin, and selenium. While rainbow trout and steelhead trout offer many of the same benefits as salmon, they are more affordable, and in most cases can be prepared in the same delicious ways.
About steelhead trout with bacon and rosemary: My family and I used to enjoy trout with bacon and loved it, but when we started to eat healthier that recipe went out the window due to the quantity of saturated fat. This week I had the idea of using turkey bacon, which contains 50% less fat than pork bacon, and has half the calories. It’s a healthier choice and it’s better for your healthy eating habits.
Servings: 4 to 6 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: about 10 minutes
2 pounds steelhead trout (2 filets for a total of 2 pounds)
6 bay leaves
6 sprigs rosemary
4 slices turkey bacon
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
1. Preheat the oven to broil, and set an oven rack 5-½ to 6 inches below the broiler.
2. Wash the fish filets and then pat them dry.
3. Put the filets on a roasting pan, rub a teaspoon of olive oil on each filet and then sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them.
4. Evenly space 3 bay leaves over each fish filet, and then put 3 sprigs of rosemary on each filet. Top each filet with 2 slices of turkey bacon.
5. Bake the fish about 10 minutes until it is no longer raw in the center, or until a thermometer reaches the internal temperature of 145°.
To serve: garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges.
Yogurt is a winning healthy food choice, and it’s one dairy product I eat knowing it’s doing my body good. It’s the topic of this week’s 38 power foods and on my list of foods for healthy eating habits.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order for a refrigerated product to be called yogurt, it must contain the live active cultures Lactobacillus bulgarius and Streptococcus thermophilus. The National Yogurt Association (NYA) goes even further and has created its own standard. In order for manufactures to carry their seal of approval, a yogurt product “must contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture” (aboutyogurt.com). Some yogurts also contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidus. If you are looking for the benefits of yogurt do not buy a heat-treated product because the processing kills the cultures. The same goes for making a warm sauce, the beneficial cultures will be lost.
“Yogurt improve improves bioavailability of other nutrients.”
“Yogurt can boost immunity.”
“Yogurt aids healing after intestinal infections.”
“Yogurt can decrease yeast infections.”
“Yogurt is a rich source of calcium.”
“Yogurt is an excellent source of protein.”
“Yogurt can lower cholesterol.”
“Yogurt is a “grow food.”
For more detailed description of these reasons to eat yogurt, click on this link at Askdesears.com
A good piece of information to pass on to you is this anecdotal story: A friend was in the hospital for a certain condition and the doctors put her on antibiotics. She began to have terrible stomach pains but she did not associate it with the antibiotics, nor did the doctor. After several days of intense pain, a friend of hers told her to eat yogurt while she continued to take the antibiotics, which she did and the pains went away. See this article at Livestrong.com, Why Eat Yogurt with Antibiotics.
Be aware that the yogurt in pretzels and candy do not have the live cultures.Another important pointis thatwhen making with yogurt, avoid using copper, brass or tin pots, pans and ladles, because the acid in the yogurt will react with them and you can get toxic poisoning. This includes tin foil.
Check out my recipe for easy and delicious homemade yogurt, and see these other tasty recipes: