Zucchini, Again?

zucchini etc

Looking for a way to use seasonal zucchini and tomatoes?   Try this quick and easy meatless main dish.  It’s colorful, flavorful and a little bit creamy.  What’s not to like?   

Fettuccine with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Basil

4 oz fettuccine

3/4 c chicken broth

1 med zucchini, cut in 1” by 1/2” strips

1/2 t basil, dried

1t garlic, minced

1/3 c cream

1/8 t pepper

1/8 t salt

6-8 cherry tomatoes

2 T Parmesan cheese (fresh grated is best)

In a large saucepan, cook fettuccine as directed.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat chicken broth.  Add zucchini, basil and garlic.  Cook and stir until tender.

Drain fettuccine, return to pan.  Stir in cream, pepper, salt and vegetable mixture.  Heat through.  Gently stir in tomatoes and 1/2 the cheese.  Spoon into a pretty bowl, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and serve.

Signature Recipe from Luanna Diller, RD
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Cowboy Advice

cowboy-and-sonI grew up in Eastern Montana. 

Cowboys, and most men, really, have a certain way of viewing life.  When they have something to say, they say it point-blank.

 

Cowboy Advice for Those Who are Not

1. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

2. Turn your cap right, your head ain’t crooked.

3. Let’s get this straight: it’s called a ‘gravel road.’ I drive a pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you’re gonna get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

4. They are cattle. That’s why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us. Get over it.

5. So you have a $60,000 car. We’re impressed. We have $250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It’s called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese/pheasants/ducks are comin’ in during a hunt, we will shoot it outta your hand. You better hope you don’t have it up to your ear at the time.

8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar? It’s available at the corner bait shop.

9. The ‘Opener’ refers to the first day of deer season. It’s a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

10. We open doors for women. That’s applied to all women, regardless of age.

11. No, there’s no ‘vegetarian special’ on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the Chef’s Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup.

13. You bring ‘Coke’ into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice.

14. College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don’t hit the water hazards – it spooks the fish.

16. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump ain’t music, anyway. We don’t want to hear it anymore than we want to see your boxers. Refer back to #1.

wild-west-facade

Just so you know, I did not make these up. (But I may have tweaked the original list a bit.)

Thank you to my family in Montana for sending me this reminder of my roots.
 
 
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Maintenance = Action


old fashioned gardenAccording to the dictionary, the word maintenance means “the action of continuing, carrying on, preserving, or retaining something” also, “the work of keeping something in proper condition.”

What are you trying to maintain? Physical fitness? A job? Your marriage? A healthy weight? Your garden? Your sanity?

It seems maintenance doesn’t just happen, it requires ACTION and WORK.

Take action today!

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Weight Management is Tough – Encourage Yourself with Motivational Words

images-12Managing your weight is hard work.  Finding ways to keep it upbeat, rewarding, encouraging, and from a positive point of view makes it a little easier.  If you’re ready to discover your own encouraging words to enhance your motivation, you’re in the right place.

Let’s say you struggle with staying positive.  Maybe you need help finding the right affirmations, motivational messages, encouraging words and positive thoughts that inspire you to strive towards or maintain a healthy weight.

Sometimes a few optimistic words can boost your morale – affirming and reinforcing your progress.  Positive thinking can propel you toward your goals and is important for long-term success.

You’ll find some self-affirming statements for physical activity, eating well, and a healthy lifestyle below.  When you find that certain motivational message that inspires you, remember it, and repeat it often.

 

Motivational messages to inspire physical activity

  • I will do what I can.  It would be a mistake to do nothing just because I can only do a little.
  • Exercise is a priority in my life.
  • My muscles are becoming lean.
  • I am limber and flexible.
  • My muscles are becoming better fat burners.
  • Exercise is coming to me easily and effortlessly.
  • Exercise is becoming more and more enjoyable.
  • I am replacing fat with muscle.

Motivational messages to encourage eating well

  • I control my food choices – food does not control me.
  • I enjoy the refreshing, cleansing qualities of drinking water.
  • I am able to leave food on my plate.
  • I eat slowly and enjoy every bite.
  • Healthy eating is coming to me easily and effortlessly.
  • It’s OK for me to enjoy a yummy treat from time to time.
  • I eat when I am hungry.
  • I love fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
  • I am in control of sugar.
  • I enjoy a healthy eating style.

Motivational messages that affirm a healthy lifestyle

  • Wellness is a choice – a decision I make to move toward optimal health.
  • Wellness is a way of life – a lifestyle I design to achieve my highest potential for well-being.
  • I am finding new non-food ways of nurturing myself.
  • I am becoming more responsible for my health and well-being.
  • There’s no room for guilt in my life.
  • I can learn from my mistakes.
  • I am successfully managing my weight.
  • I choose to be free of feeling deprived.
  • It’s OK for me to take time for myself.
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People, Bugs and Whole Grains

OatsI was chatting with a friend today.  We were commiserating on our struggles with the extra time and dedication needed when we set our sights on eating high quality whole grains instead of the pasty, white refined grains.  Our dilemma was that even though we wanted to avoid refined grains, they are what we find more of in our neighborhood grocery stores.  Regardless of how we sliced it up, we concluded that whole grains were better by far but refined grains were often more convenient.

It makes one wonder (ok, maybe just me), why are refined grains this readily available?  Why do they take up so much more shelf space than whole grains?  Why aren’t whole grains more common?  I mean, a refined grain once started out as a perfectly good whole grain, right?  What happened?

Here’s what I believe was a big part of the problem.  At one time when whole grain, let’s say wheat, for example, was being transported in its natural state, bugs were attracted to it.  As they happily munched away on the wheat bran and germ, it was pretty much ruined before it got to the people.  So, of course, the powers that be, stripped it of bran and germ, successfully removing fiber, B vitamins and essential fatty acids — the good stuff.  Low and behold, no more bugs!  It could then be transported bug free.  The bugs moved on to find something else while we were left with what the bugs didn’t want.  I’m wondering.  In this scenario, who was smarter?  Bugs or people?

The bugs may have won that battle.  But we’ve learned a lot since then and I think we are winning the war.  Whole grains are making a strong comeback.  If you really want to eat whole grains, you can.  Even gluten free grains are easier to find.  Branch out a bit when you grocery shop.  Rolled oats, steel cut oats, brown rice, barley, popcorn and bulgar are common whole grains.  Find even more variety at a whole foods store.  Look for wheat berries, quinoa, spelt, buckwheat and wild rice.

Do the smart thing.  Eat whole grains!  (The bugs will take care of themselves, I promise.)

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Calorie Density Counts

biteHere’s another conundrum with eating portions that are larger than we need: It’s not only the larger portions but the larger portions of calorie-dense foods that can lead to weight gain. Calorie density is essentially the calories per bite or per any given portion of food. Lower the calorie density in a meal and you lower the overall calories.

On the most basic level, a higher amount of water content in foods adds volume but not calories. It follows logically then that increasing the amount of water in a food lowers the calorie density. Are you with me so far? An example would be to take a casserole and increase the water content by adding extra vegetables since they are mostly water. A key element here is that the low calorie density casserole must be as palatable as the original higher calorie density casserole. In other words, for this to work, both casseroles would have to be equally tasty. In the world of food research, this took a fair amount of food testing and experimentation.

Barbara Rolls, PhDMuch of the early research on calorie density, sometimes referred to as volumetrics, was spearheaded by Barbara Rolls, Ph. D (see photo). One of the most recent books is The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. You’ll find oodles of recipes and menus that support the notion of low calorie density foods. They’ve done extensive recipe development and testing, saving you a lot of kitchen time.

On a very practical level you can choose lower calorie dense foods in your every day meals, at home or dining out. Say, a pizza with more vegetables and less cheese. Or choosing a broth based soup or a salad with light Italian dressing before eating the main course. Even an apple before a meal will help you eat less calories because of its low calorie density.

There’s really no down side that I can see. You get more food volume (which we all appreciate), more nutrient rich foods (as in vegetables and fruit), and you’re less hungry. An added bonus just might be better weight management.

Give it a try. What have you got to lose?

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Big Food

food-word-cloud-illustration-graphic-tag-collection-40665304Do you remember when our vehicles had no cup holder?  Well, unless you count the dash.  Now, not only are cup holders standard, to accommodate larger drink sizes, the car manufacturers have increased the size of the cup holder over time.  Why does that matter?  It’s just one example of how portion sizes have changed.  Portions began increasing in the 70’s.  Compare a serving of fries in the 50’s at 2 ounces to today at 4 to 6 ounces.

Over the past couple decades the average calories consumed per day has increased from around 1,850 to around 2,000.  If you look at no other factor except calories, an extra 150 calories per day turns out to be slightly more than 1 pound of weight gained per month.  You can do the math from there.

We just don’t tend to be that good at judging the amount of food we eat.  If 1 regular slice of bread (think the size of Wonder bread) is 1 serving, 1 slice of large deli bread is 2 servings and 1 hoagie roll is 3 servings.  If you have been considering 1 hoagie roll = 1 serving of bread, you can see the ‘innocent’ mistake often made regarding how much we eat.  That hoagie is going to have about 3 times the calories (and carbs) of a regular size slice of bread.  Understand, this does not mean that you shouldn’t eat a hoagie.  The point here is that we really don’t know how much we’re eating.

If you find yourself in this boat, you may be joining the 80% of people surveyed who thought the meals they eat at home are the same size or smaller than they used to be.  Even trained dietitians have a tendency to underestimate calories and fat in foods.  Guilty as charged!

As you can see, the amount people eat is usually more than is intended or needed.

Weighing or measuring your food is the most accurate way to determine food amounts.  But, let’s be real.  We need an easier tool.  Below is a visual help for estimating a single portion size.  The idea here is to be aware of a portion so that you can make a more thoughtful choice regarding how many portions you’ll have.

  • 1 cup potatoes, rice, pasta – is a tennis ball
  • 1 cup cereal – is a fist
  • 1 piece cornbread – is a bar of soap
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter – is a Ping-Pong ball
  • 3 ounces cooked meat, fish, poultry – is palm of the hand, deck of cards
  • 1 1/2 ounces cheese – is a 9-volt battery
  • 1 cup ice cream – is a baseball
  • 1 ounce nuts or small candies – is one handful
  • 1 ounce chips or pretzels – is two handfuls
  • 1 teaspoon butter – is a fingertip
  • 3/4 cup juice – is a small Styrofoam cup
  • 1/2 cup broccoli – is a light bulb
  • 1/4 cup raisins – is one large egg

So, your job is to just pay attention.  Do not over think this.  When you’re faced with the choice of a single or double patty hamburger – one palm of the hand or two – you might decide on a single.  When you’re serving yourself broccoli at dinner, you might choose two light bulbs instead of one (just a suggestion).  As for that handful of almonds, you’re on your own.

my scroll

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Wait Control

stop sign

What can you do when the urge to binge or overeat strikes?  Imagine a big, red STOP sign.  Then take a moment to regain control and decide if you’re really physically hungry.  If you’re truly hungry, choose to eat slowly and enjoy every bite.  (It takes the average person 90 seconds to eat a hamburger – yikes!)  It takes 20 minutes before satiety hormones kick in to make you feel full.  So, slow down!  Cooperate with your body’s natural ability to feel satisfied with food.

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Don’t Throw in the Towel

ornaments and candlesHere it is.  Almost Christmas.  Maybe your weight is not right where you want it to be and you’re a bit concerned.  OK, panicked.  But this may not be the best time to set your sites on dropping 10 pounds.  This may, however, be a great time to focus on keeping the scale steady.  Perhaps, even giving yourself permission to gain a pound or two (no kidding!)

When January comes around you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t throw in the towel over the holidays.  Something to be applauded!  And you’ll have started off the New Year without having to start all over.

So, keep an eye on your weight over the holidays.

Enjoy the Season.

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John’s Parrot

ParrotYou may have heard this one before.  Fortunately, your face won’t crack if you smile just one more time today.

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift.  The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.  Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.  John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “cleanup” the bird’s vocabulary. 

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot.  The parrot yelled back.  John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder.  John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the  freezer.  For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.  Then suddenly there was total quiet.  Not a peep was heard for over a minute.  Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.  The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said,  “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions.  I’m sincerely and humbly remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.  As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

 Happy Thanksgiving!

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