Monthly Archives: March 2016

9 Reasons I Hate to Cook

Frustrated Woman Baker with Rolling Pin Covered in FlourOk, I finally admit, I hate to cook. I used to love it, but as I get older, forget it. I’m not the only one around who hates cooking.  Just turn to Twitter and search “hate to cook” and plenty of Tweeters pop up with the same aggravation! I don’t know their reasons, but here are my top 9 reasons why I can’t stand cooking.

  1. The time involved – Who really has time to prepare ingredients, combine them all in the appropriate amounts, and go through the process of cooking them? Do you realize how long it takes to cook chicken with the bone in? At least 1 ½ hours. A pork roast is just as bad! Who has time for that when you have kids who need to be to practice, dance class, etc.?
  2. Peeling, chopping, dicing, cubing – No thank you! I understand some like the monotony of this task, but I think it’s achieved much faster by someone besides myself. I cringe at the time lost and the cut fingers of the past.
  3. Grocery Shopping – another choredesigned for those who love to cook. I know when I go to the grocery store, I never know if I’m selecting the freshest fruits and veggies or the right cuts of meat. I question my choices and wonder if I’ve picked items with too much fat or gristle. Yuck!
  4. Selecting Recipes – I love Pinterest, but I can’t stand going through the recipes for meals. I get distracted so easily, but I digress…I can’t decide on a recipe. I never have the right ingredients (which usually means a trip to the dreaded grocery store), some of the items in a recipe that sounds fantastic are something I’ve neverheard of, or it’s just too complicated to put everything together.
  5. Clean up – I’m not sure which is worse, making the mess or cleaning it all up. No one in my family likes doing theBook lover. Ready to study hard!dishes! I’d much rather have something quick and easy on paper plates to just toss in the trash when we’re done! Then we can just move on with what we need to get done.
  6. Lack of the correct tools – My knife collection is worse than inadequate. It’s seriously pathetic! I suppose all the chopping and dicing would be easier if I had the proper tools, but it’s just not a priority. Why would it be since I can’t stand cooking?? A whisk is also missing from my kitchen “toolbox”.
  7. Figuring out what to cook – this goes beyond just selecting a recipe. None of us can decide what we want to eat. It’s either that or we all want something different. I’ve tried the menu thing on Sunday evenings for the entire week. We never stick to it, so what’s the point?
  8. No one is available at the same time – this kind of goes with the time issue, but it’s a bit different. Everyone has some activity during the week that makes sitting down together literally impossible! It’s go, go, go around here, as in many families! Homework, sports, dance, dates (for my teens), late meetings, all make it very difficult to pin down a time when we can sit down as a family and unwind together.
  9. I can order healthy, prepared meals – there’s several places online where I can order healthy, prepared meals and have them delivered. MagicKitchen.com is my favorite! They have meals for all types of dietary needs and they are easy to heat up, they are healthy, and they are delicious! I see it as simple, quick, perfect!

IStuffed_BellPepper’ve learned there are some great ways to get around the hassles that go with cooking and the subsequent clean up. Having our meals delivered to us by www.Magickitchen.com solves most of our problems. Everyone can select what they want to eat, preparation is a piece of cake…just warm it up, and clean-up is just as easy! We can also manage to grab a meal and quickly eat together before most activities…or we wait until after.
Have you tried MagicKitchen.com meals? If not you really should! Let me know which meals are your favorites!

Valerie, MagicKitchen.com Blogger

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4 Lifestyle Changes for Seniors That Will Improve Mental Health

Approximately 20% of adults ages 55 and older have some sort of mental health concern, yet nearly 33% of them do not receive treatment. The first step in improving mental health for seniors is recognizing the signs and symptoms and talking with health care providers about diagnoses and treatment plans. Seniors also can take some steps toward improving their mental health, and some of those steps involve making lifestyle changes. Here are four of the best lifestyle changes for seniors that will improve mental health, so they can get started on the right path to better mental wellbeing today.

1. Get More Exercise

seniors-exerciseExercise is known to reduce anxiety and depression in people of all ages, and getting more exercise is one lifestyle change for seniors that will improve their mental health. In fact, getting more exercise helps to improve seniors’ cognitive performance and to reduce memory loss due to age. Exercise has shown to improve seniors’ ability to transition from one task to the next quickly, plan activities, and ignore irrelevant information, Additionally, regular, moderate physical activity helps seniors manage stress and improve their mood, and leads to reduced feelings of depression.

Exercise and physical activity for seniors also improves their mental health in indirect ways. Exercise helps with arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes, plus high blood pressure, balance issues, and difficulty walking. These health improvements lead to better health, and seniors who are in better health are at lower risk of depression.

2. Make Diet Changes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeniors’ diets is not just about their waistlines. In fact, research shows that diet affects mental health in positive and negative ways, regardless of age. Seniors who want to improve their mental health should make the lifestyle change to enhance their diet by eating more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables now are associated with better mental well-being, including being more optimistic and happier and having more self-esteem and resilience.

Fresh linguini smothered in a light marina and loaded with baby clams.
Fresh linguini smothered in a light marina and loaded with baby clams. MagicKitchen.com

Reducing the amounts of bad fats in seniors’ diets helps them to reduce the risk for anxiety, impaired memory, repetitive behavior, and brain inflammation. On the other hand, increasing the amount of healthy fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids like those in salmon, helps to battle some forms of depression in seniors.

Finally, seniors should watch their sugar intake. Not only does sugar lead to weight gain and possible food addiction, but it is responsible for higher rates of depression and worse mental health symptoms.

3. Reduce Your Stress Level

Stress affects seniors’ mental health by leading to depression, anger, and irritability. That’s why seniors need to make lifestyle changes that will reduce their level of stress, in order to

Senior Woman Relaxing In Chair At Home With Pet Cat

improve their overall mental health. Reducing stress often involves participating in activities that are fun and relaxing. There are various ways for seniors to change their lifestyle in order to reduce stress, including playing with a pet, reading, meditating, and finding ways to express gratitude.

Other ways to reduce seniors’ stress level to improve mental health include changing their routine and getting out of the house. Many seniors enjoy window shopping and people watching at shopping centers and malls. Others enjoy taking a walk in the park and enjoying time in nature. Still others enjoy gardening, sitting on a porch to enjoy the weather, or going to see funny movies.

4. Actively Maintain a Sense of Purpose

two senior ladies chatting friendly to the parkSeniors who maintain a sense of purpose and have a reason that motivates them to get out of bed in the morning have better mental health. This includes making lifestyle changes such as consistently connecting with friends, family, and interests, or volunteering. There are even special service dogs that can remind seniors that others love them and count on them, resulting in a sense of purpose that makes them feel worthwhile and needed. It also helps to stave off the loneliness that leads to depression. Eating well is important for seniors, to keep their bones healthy, to stay energetic, and to stay heart-healthy.

The key to making lifestyle changes for seniors that will improve mental health is to take better care of themselves and to spend more time doing things that they enjoy and that get them actively involved with others. Seniors don’t need to make all of these adjustments at one time; making a couple of healthy lifestyle changes at a time will set them on the right path toward improving their mental health.

Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support. Their site offers elder-positive resources and other helpful information on aging. In his spare time, Jim loves fishing, reading, and spending time with his kids.

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Frozen Food is as Healthy as Fresh!

frozen berriesAnd sometimes frozen produce is even healthier. That fact flies in the face of the common misconception out there that fresh produce from your supermarket is somehow healthier than frozen, and that’s simply not true. In fact, two recent studies conducted in Britain found that some frozen fruits and vegetables were “…richer in health-boosting vitamins and antioxidants.” These studies found that, for example, frozen broccoli had four times the beta-carotene and frozen carrots had higher levels of vitamin C and polyphenols than their “fresh” counterparts.

limp celerySo how could we all have gotten this so wrong? What the British studies, and similar studies conducted by Rice University and the University of California at Davis discovered was that “fresh” does not always equate to picked yesterday. Supermarket produce is almost always picked prior to becoming ripe and permitted to ripen in storage and during shipment. Thus, these fruits and veggies were picked weeks before they reach your kitchen and the longer they sit off the tree, bush, vine or out of the ground, the more nutrients they lose.

oranges-1117644_960_720On the other hand, much of the produce that’s destined to be frozen is permitted to reach the peak of ripeness, which is also its time of optimum nutrition, prior to being picked. Think of this as cryogenic freezing that keeps the produce perpetually young, immortal, if you will, until it’s thawed and ultimately enjoyed.

The nutrient studies cited above also found that florescent lights, such as those in a supermarket, and the darkness of your fridge, where much of your produce sits for days prior to being consumed, can screw with the circadian clocks of the fruits and veggies. This artificial light and darkness causes the peaches-825564_960_720produce to “produce” (couldn’t resist) fewer cancer fighting glucosinolates.

So, unless you own an extensive fruit and vegetable garden on par with a small farm, or visit a farmer’s market on an almost daily basis (and that’s often impossible during the winter and early spring months), freshly picked and quickly frozen produce, such as the type used here at MagicKitchen.com, can more than meet your nutritional needs.

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Health News at Your Fingertips

news-portalReal quick…Google (I love the fact that “Google” can now be used as a verb) “health articles” and see what comes up…never mind, I’ll tell you…almost 2 BILLION results that cover the very general topic of “health.” OK, get a bit more specific and Google “heart health” and the number of results is reduced to the relatively low number of 292,000,000! Who has the time or inclination to sift through those results looking for articles that apply to you and deliver usable advice? Well, maybe Lance Armstrong…he seems to have lots of extra time these days.

The good news? MagicKitchen.com now takes those results and pulls the articles our professional, in-house nutritionist deems to be most relevant to our users. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve added a new page to our site entitled “health news” which is an article portal to health articles that offer practical health advice to our customers.

Simply click on the “health news” tab located along the right side of all MagicKitchen.com pages to access the article portal.

doc2On the portal page, the articles are broken down into eight categories for easy reference. Those categories are: Health, Senior Health, Diabetic Health, Heart Health, Renal (CKD 3 & 4) Health, Dialysis Health, Gluten-free Health, and Weight Control. This categorization permits you to quickly locate the articles that apply to your specific needs…no time wasted perusing three gazillion articles on Google. The search has already been done for you.

New articles are added to each category on a regular basis and if your device has RSS (Really Simple Syndication …yeah, I didn’t know what it stood for either until I “Googled” it, but those who use it love it a lot)  capabilities they can easily be put into your reader so that you don’t miss a single one and they can be read at your convenience. Look, we understand that you’re a busy person, that’s why we now deliver easy to understand, categorized health articles to go along with our nutritious, home-delivered and delicious meals.

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