Monthly Archives: September 2016

World Heart Day- 10 Things You can do to Improve your Hearth Health!

Today, Sept 29, 2016, is World Heart Day. Cardiovascular Disease is the world’s number one cause of death. Not so cheerful, but there’s so much you can do about it!

  1. walk-dogExercise daily. Getting your kids involved means that they will grow up with healthy heart, body and bones, and the right habits to keep their hearts healthy. Work slowly up to 2.5 hours per week of moderate-level exercise, like brisk walking.A great way to start walking is to get a dog. You’ll never forget it’s time to go for a walk if your pet gets used to it. He or she will remind you quite insistently!You should do some muscle building exercises as well. You don’t have to go to a fancy gym, although if you enjoy that time, you should absolutely spend the money and go! There are plenty of ways to build muscle at home.|
  2. Lemon Rosemary Pork
    Lemon Rosemary Pork

    Eat Right. Eat lean meats, including poultry with no skin, fish,  nuts, legumes like beans and peas, and lots of fresh vegetables. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. And keep the sodium low.  MagicKitchen.com features lots of low sodium meals in both its A la Carte menu and it’s complete meals offerings.

  3. Read Labels. Part of eating right is looking at the labels of the items you buy in the grocery store.  Make a game of this- look for an item that says, “Lower Sodium!” Or “Low Fat”, then look at the nutritional label. Chances are you’ll find that it’s lower sodium, all right. Lower than it used to be, but still way out of the ball park, and far too high. You’re much better off going with fresh or frozen items than with canned.
  4. Practice Dental Hygiene. Believe it or not, teeth that aren’t taken care of properly can cause all kinds of health problems down the road, including heart disease! Floss, mouthwash, and frequent dental checkups are a good rule of thumb!
  5. smoke-killsDon’t Smoke. If you smoke, believe me, I know how hard it is to stop. But there are a ton of ways now to quit smoking that are a lot easier than going cold turkey. There are medicines, quit coaches,  and ebooks galore out there.Personally, I used Zyban, almost 20 years ago. Here’s what it did for me: Instead of wanting a cigarette roughly every half hour, I would go four or more hours without even thinking of one. After that, it was will power, but computer games helped with that.
  6. Avoid Secondhand Smoke. Inhaling second hand smoke is a risk factor for having a heart attack. Most people smoke outside now, but avoid it when it’s there, ad stay healthier!!
  7. Get Yearly Checkups. Talk to your health care team and get your cholesterol checked, your blood pressure monitored, and control how you eat if you have diabetes or other health issues. Keep on top of it, it’s the only life you have!!
  8. Lose weight if you need to. I’m one to talk, I’m probably 25 pounds overweight right now. But I know that I’ll get on top of it soon. I use weightwatchers, they teach you how to eat. Don’t use fast weight loss plans.I know a couple who got on the pregnant horse hormone diet. (The HCG diet). Thorse-laughhey ate a meager 500 calories a day for a few months, and they lost weight fast. But the day afterwards, they were stuffing themselves with chicken wings and french fries.They hadn’t learned anything about how to eat healthy, and they gained it all back almost as quickly as they lost it.Take the time. It didn’t go on in a week, don’t expect to lose it in a week. They say it take 29 days to break a habit. They also say in 25 days or so, you’ll start to feel the difference in your body. So a good rule of thumb is to give your healthy new lifestyle a full month. You can do anything for a month, right?
  9. Limit Alcohol. Let’s face it, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably over 30, right? It’s time to settle into a more healthy lifestyle, and that means drinking less. A glass of wine with dinner’s fine. A cocktail once in a while is fine. Moderation is the key. ‘ Nuff said.
  10. sleep2Get Enough Sleep. Seven hours a night shouldn’t be too hard.  You might have to give up Stephen Colbert, but you can PVR him.  Getting a sleep routine down is important, too. You sleep more soundly (important for heart health) if you go to bed and get up about the same times.

Here’s to World Heart Day!  Thanks to that organization for their work towards a healthier lifestyle for all of us!

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

 

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Enjoying the Single Life and Meals for One

aloneThere has been quite a bit of recent attention devoted to the benefits of living alone (remember, being alone is NOT the same as being lonely). Studies now reveal that one in four households in America contain only a single individual and in Manhattan that ratio jumps to one in two.

This growing popularity in living alone is borne out by the arrival of books (Eric Klinenberg’s Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone) and websites (quirkyalone.net) devoted to this growing trend. And one area that receives a great deal of attention among aloneists (made up word) is eating and the joylessness of preparing meals for one.

Yes, while living alone you can pretty much do as you please without having to worry about pleasing anyone. Vacuum naked? Have at it. Endlessly practice your beat box technique? Knock yourself out. Hold conversations with yourself? You and yourself will be the only ones who know.

portabella-ravioliBut spend time grocery shopping, preparing, and cooking meals for just one? Most singles usually avoid this like a Zika carrying mosquito. Most people prepare meals with others in mind, usually friends and/or family and cooking for one every night loses its appeal quickly. As a result, aloneists usually aren’t the healthiest eaters as they opt for quick and convenient processed food over healthy and vibrant fresh meats and produce.

Delicious, rich, tender pot roast and lots of gravy.
Delicious, rich, tender pot roast and lots of gravy.

But it doesn’t have to be this way…you can eat delicious and healthy meals, every night of the week if you like, without any prep work what-so-ever with the help of MagicKitchen.com. MagicKitchen.com has a whole category devoted to what we like to refer to as “Meals for One.”

Within that category (go ahead, explore it at your leisure) there are eight meal bundles with six options to choose from that get delivered to your door,  apartment or otherwise, flash-frozen and ready to be enjoyed after just a few minutes in the microwave (which you can operate in a thong, if you so desire, without the fear of offending anyone since you live alone).

So to sum up, if you’re alone and loving it, but refuse to spend your valuable alone time preparing and cooking meals for you and you alone, then check out our meals for one bundles. You can do so while standing on your head and singing your favorite show tunes because, you know, there’s no one there to tell you that’s weird.

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Picky, Picky, Picky

picky eater
Copyright: zlikovec

Picky eaters…we all have either been one, will be one, or know someone who is currently picky about what they eat. There are so many different factors that make people picky eaters. They could have started life just not liking the flavor of much, maybe the textures of certain foods drive them away, or maybe lack of adventure has left them only having a palate for the tried and true.

Regardless of the reason, when a medical condition, such as diabetes – either type 1 or type 2, is added on, things become even more difficult at meal and snack times. One thing that we need to realize is that not all picky eaters are children. Many adults are as well. How can one combat this issue and break out of the “ho hum” routine? Here’s some tips on making meal time livelier.

  • Consider new recipes. With the world essentially at your fingertips, it has become so easy to find new ways to cook. Searching the Internet for diabetic friendly meals brings up a ton of different pages. Pinterest is always a great resource, as is Allrecipes.com. They both have hundreds of recipes to help bring new tastes to your palate.
  • ground-turkey-noodles-IMG_3995-(2)
    Ground Turkey Noodles

    For those with young picky eaters, consider having them help you cook. Start from the very beginning by taking them to the grocery store. Have them pick out the ingredients for a meal. When preparing dinner, let them do the chopping if they are old enough. Most kids are happy to pour things into something else, and they love to stir. By allowing them to do this, they are more likely to try new things. It also teaches them to cook, which is a great skill to have.

  • Let them know that it’s okay not to like certain foods, but they still need to eat healthy. Leave the diabetes out of it. Their palates will change as they grow older. If they aren’t getting enough protein, offer them a chocolate protein shake. Toss in some fruit with a vanilla protein shake. Switch it up, let them help you make it.
  • Lemon Rosemary Pork
    Lemon Rosemary Pork

    Another option is having healthy pre-cooked meals delivered to your door. MagicKitchen.com is the perfect answer to this. The internet allows that picky eater to see what their meal will look like and exactly what is in it.The best thing is you don’t have to worry about fumbling about the kitchen trying to prepare something you’ve never worked with before. It’s quick and easy. The options are plentiful for those needing a diabetic meal. It’s almost like having your own private chef in your kitchen preparing foods you and your family will love.

Cooking for a choosy eater can be pretty tough. It gets discouraging when you’ve worked hard to make a meal that is good for your whole family. Turned up noses are never the desired outcome of your efforts.

Chile con Carne with Peas & Carrots
Chile con Carne with Peas & Carrots

Finding ways to help that fussy eater in your family change their mindset is a challenge, especially when they are diabetic. Now you have a few more tools to help you get through this battle. The tips/hints listed above are only a few ways to help please the finicky eater. Do you have a situation like this in your home? If so, what are the strategies that you use? I’d love to learn how you make sure your picky eater tries new things.

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The History of Meal Delivery

father and daughter in kitchenI learned to cook when I was a young teenager. My dad was a wiz in the kitchen and he taught me how to make great meals. Like he did, I taught my children their way around a kitchen. They are much better than I am at some recipes. Home cooked meals are truly fantastic, however there doesn’t seem to be as much time to cook as there once was.

Thank goodness we can order from certain restaurants and have them deliver dinner (and sometimes lunch). Most people in the U.S. have had a pizza or Chinese food brought to their front door. Food delivery is a common occurrence for a lot of homes.

Who was the brilliant person to make the first home delivery? When did having hot meals delivered spark the idea of delivering pre-cooked, frozen meals? In order to figure this out, let’s take a look at the history of meal delivery with the facts below:

  1. The first meal delivery most likely was conducted somewhere between 3000 – 700 BC. It wasn’t exactly pizza they were delivering, but something very similar. The crust portion consisted of a breaded type pastry with different herbs, veggies, and cheeses. Surprisingly, people paid the exorbitant price of an entire herd of sheep. If the patrons wanted extra cheese, no problem. That would just be one more sheep, please.
  2. Butchers in 14th century France would send their wares from the block to the homes of the families who could afford it.
  3. Photo from http://www.theskinny.co.uk
    Photo from http://www.theskinny.co.uk

    Cohorts of dabbawalla in Mumbai began feeding hungry workers across the city with home-cooked lunches, back in the 19th century – and they still do it today. Such dedication is astounding.

  4. Food delivery became very popular during World War II, as the Women’s Volunteer Service delivered food to those who had their homes bombed so badly, their kitchen was no longer in working service.
  5. Of course, the Americans took this one step further. During the Colonial era, some of the restaurants in hotels provided patrons with additional plates for the guests’ servants.

The American form of take-out is something more than just delivering boxed lunches and additional plates of food. The way the country has embraced this exposes changes on a larger scale as far as social, economic and tech history. When American troops were over in Japan and China, they would purchase boxed lunches on the trains they had to take.

This showed the locals that the U.S. troops weren’t wealthy, but laborers. Restaurant delivered meals were in the sphere of the wealthy, normally. The deliveries the soldiers received signified they weren’t part of the wealthy.  Eventually, African American women took over the scene by selling take-away. It was a great entrepreneurial stance and it helped feed their own families.

Jamaica_sweetsDelivery and take-away food was soon started down a new path. Fast food joints were popping up all over town and pizza was being sent home, extremely hot, dripping with cheese. Now, there are grocery deliveries, trucks with freezer compartments bringing food to your door, and companies like Magickitchen.com with their meals to go. This adaptation allows for those who can’t leave their homes to grocery shop or who are on very specialized diets to be able to order meals to go right from their computer screens. They can order a meal at a time, enough meals for a week, and some even order a 2 to 3-week supply.

family_diningVery smart people started the delivery and take away food services for the world. I’m sure when they first started in that business, they never thought  that it would never take on wings and fly like it has. Not only has it filled empty bellies of young families, starving college students, and those oh so wonderful romantic scenario dates; it has also allowed those who can’t grocery shop or cook for themselves an opportunity to order tasty and healthy meals.

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Seniors: Fall is the Best Time to Get Out and Get Active

Guess what’s just around the corner…that’s right, season seven of the Walking Dead and season six of Game of Thrones, but viewing those two blood-spattered shows is an indoor activity and involves little to no physical activity.  No, the autumnal equinox is just around the corner (September 22nd, actually) and that means fall is just around the corner as well.

fall1The autumnal equinox is when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the sun (same thing occurs in March with the vernal equinox).  It is also the day with almost equal amounts of light and dark and ushers in the season we call fall/autumn.  And it means the temperature begins to moderate permitting outdoor activities without sweating away half your body weight.  So, all you seniors out there that have been enjoying air-conditioned, indoor activities for the past few months, it’s time to get outside, enjoy the cooler temps and get active.

Go for a walk.  But not just any walk.  Turn it into a nature walk, also know as a hike.

group of senior hikers doing outdoor sports

Please don’t simply walk around an idle high school track or your block or housing complex.  Get out into the woods every once-in-a-while and enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells the forest has to offer and take a friend along…or not, there are times when solitude is nice.  Use the internet machine and learn how to identify the local flora and fauna your woods have to offer.  You’ll be amazed by the variety within just a few dozen acres of forest.

And if you’re feeling really adventurous, try a little geocaching…it’s like Pokémon Go! for adults.  Google it and see if it’s for you (you can Google Pokémon Go! as well if you’re curious, but be warned.  It can be as addictive as crack).

Take up bird watching.  Yes, bird watching.  It is certainly linked to the above activity as it birdwatchgets you out into the wild, but there can also be a competitive component involved as well…just watch the 2011 movie “The Big Year,” which stars Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson and you’ll see what I mean (and yes, I was as surprised as you to discover that Hollywood had produced a movie about bird watching, of all things).

Use the help of the Audubon Society or the American Birding Association to get you started identifying the birds in your area by both sight and sound, as the auditory component is perhaps more important than the visual.  Better yet, join a local birding club…you’ll be astounded how many people are involved in this hobby.  Start small and simply identify the birds you see in your neighborhood and then expand your range, walking in search of your avian friends as much as possible.

Become an amateur outdoor/wildlife photographer.  Once again, grab your camera or photogsmart phone (no professionals here), head outside and simply observe.  Snap pics of anything that seems interesting…a dew-soaked spider web, sunlight streaming through the clouds, a small brook meandering through leaves of red and orange, a chipmunk on a log, fog rolling along a forest floor…whatever YOU find appealing.  Remember, you’re just doing this for fun, relaxation, and to get out walking during those glorious autumn days.  And with today’s digital cameras and the storage capacity of home computers, it’s easier than ever to snap and store as many pics as your heart desires.

So did you sense a trend with the suggestions?  Get out of the AC and get into the woods as the temps cool and the leaves turn and discover the calming catharsis that is the forest and wild spaces.

fall3

 

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