Category Archives: Health

Super Healthy Eating Ideas for the Super Busy (aka all of us)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before, from friends, spouse and especially from my inner-monologue (if you have an inner-dialogue, seek professional help).  And what I’ve heard from these people this person (me) with delusions of self-importance is, “I’m waaaay too busy to take time out of my day to prepare, cook and serve a healthy meal for myself, let alone my annoying loving family.”  Well, at the risk of sounding slightly vulgar and eloquent at the same time, that’s a load of nonsense.

To prove my last statement, here are 10 simple, easy and quick ideas…I’m reluctant to use the term “recipe” as it usually elicits audible groans and thoughts of, “recipes = time (which I don’t have) + effort (which I can’t waste on cooking due to my hectic schedule).  And while these ideas call for ingredients and instructions, they’re kept to a minimum and written in an easy to understand narrative style.  Yeah, I know, that sounds like a load of claptrap, but I’m the author and I’m going with “ideas.”

ground-turkey-noodles-IMG_3995-(2)1. Portion controlled meals from MagicKitchen.com

Hey, look, no ingredients or instructions required here!  Well, apart from microwave and enjoy.  MagicKitchen eliminates the shopping, prep, and cooking with our healthy, yummy (yes, I said yummy) portion controlled meals that come in 11 different meal packs, including 2 dedicated to breakfast, and dozens of individual choices.  Check them out here: http://www.magickitchen.com/menu/MKMWL.html

2. Pina colada yogurt parfaits

Ok, three simple ingredients required for this one: Greek yogurt, pineapple, and shaved coconut.  Simply slap some Greek yogurt in your favorite wine glass (or leave it in the container, like my lazy a$$) and throw in some fresh pineapple and coconut and consume.  The sweetness of the fruit balances out the bitterness of the yogurt quite nicely and you’re getting some proteins as well.

3. Peanut butter breakfast toast

pb-toast-chiaDo I really need to list the ingredients and instructions for toast?  I thought not.  Just slather some peanut butter (or almond butter) on your whole-wheat toast and top with banana slices, blueberries, raspberries, chia seeds, etc.  Just be sure to push the toppings into the peanut/almond butter as this will hold them in place when you invariably tip the toast up to eat.  My dogs were quite unhappy when I learned this little trick.

4. Broiled grapefruit with honey and brown sugar

Yes, “broiled.”  Ok, here come the dreaded instructions…ingredients are listed in the title.  Halve a grapefruit, broil for 4-6 minutes and top with honey, brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon.  See what I did there, snuck in an extra ingredient…don’t freak.  The grapefruit gets just slightly crunchy on top and the heat melds the honey, sugar and cinnamon into a delicious syrup.

5. Easy roasted sweet potatoes

Or yams?  There is a difference, isn’t there?  Anyway, nuke (see: microwave) your sweet potato 6-7 minutes after stabbing it with a fork a few times.  Halve it, segment each half into ½-inch squares without cutting through the skin…if you measure each square, seek professional help.  Place a few slices of butter in between the cubes, sprinkle with some Parmesan and then broil for 6-12 minutes depending on desired crispiness.  Then, garnish with some chives and a dollop of sour cream and chow down.

Thanks to Savory Simple for photo and recipe.
Thanks to Savory Simple for photo and recipe.

6. Open-faced grilled cheese with a fried egg

Yeah, I know, this title needs some work, bit unwieldy, isn’t it?  Regardless, this one’s simple too.  Butter a side of whole-wheat bread, place butter-side down in frying ban and top with a slice of Swiss cheese, roasted red pepper, and arugula leaves.  Cook about 4 minutes.  Fry an egg to your specifications (sunny side up, over easy, over hard…you’re in charge) and place it upon your recently cooked, open-faced grilled cheese and gorge or delicately consume…you’re in charge.

7. Turkey and hummus club sandwich

If you haven’t shopped for hummus lately, you’ll be surprised at all the flavors now offered, garlic, red pepper, chili sauce…this ain’t your bubbe’s hummus.  Anyway, purchase your preferred flavor, or mix your own if you’re the ambitious type, slap it on some bread, add a few slices of turkey and arugula and voila, turkey and hummus club.

8. Risotto cakes

Ok, I’m not going to explain how to make risotto in order to adhere to my claim I made at the start of this blog…I’m sneaky that way.  Deal with it.  After your risotto has cooled, mash it into patties about 2-inches in diameter, press in some bread crumbs and then fry in some olive oil for about 5 minutes per side.  They can then be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months and enjoyed later.  Simply warm in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes if they came out of the fridge, or 30-35 if you froze the little suckers.  Serve over some arugula with a little parmesan and a spritz of lemon juice.  They’re also great as a snack on their own or as an appetizer.

9. Crispy ham and egg cups

Ham and Egg cups from Addicted to Recipes
Ham and Egg cups from Addicted to Recipes

Spray a standard sized muffin pan with that non-stick stuff and then line it with a slice of your favorite ham…yes, the edges of the ham are supposed to hang over.  Then plop an egg in each ham-lined cup and bake until the whites are cooked solid but the yolk is still a bit runny…about 13 minutes.  Then season with some salt, pepper, chopped basil, scallions or parsley, or go crazy and use all five!

10. Mini oatmeal cakes

Break out the muffin pan again and place a paper muffin liner in each cup.  Then fill each with your favorite oatmeal, mixed with milk to your desired consistency.  Then top with chopped walnuts, or dried cranberries, or blueberries or anything else you like to mix into your oatmeal.  Just be sure to press your topping down into the oatmeal.  Then bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  These little cakes of joy can then be taken on the go and enjoyed wherever.

There you go my hectic, harried and hurried friends.  Ten solutions on how to eat healthy while pulling your hair out.  Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you, or your family, need to settle for fast food.  Anyone who tells you any different is simply feeding you balderdash.  And wouldn’t you rather have food?

facebooktwitterpinterest

Quit Messin’ Around: How to Eat Healthier in 2017

Yes, devoted reader, it’s time to set yourself up for failure once again by making a non-specific (eat healthier) and unattainable (cut out ALL junk food) New Year’s resolution.  Those two reasons, setting broad and impossible to achieve goals, are why 92% of all resolutions made are doomed to failure.

Look, a resolution is nothing more than a goal and we (or someone else…think boss or significant other) set goals for ourselves all the time, either in our professional or private lives.  And the rules for goal-setting also apply to end-of-year resolution-setting, and they are: make your goal/resolution as specific as possible and make it attainable.  Therefore, let’s combine those two rules with your vague resolution to eat better in 2017.

vegetables-449950_640Rule number one: make your “eating better” resolution as specific as possible.  Instead of “I resolve (sounds like you’re on the floor of the Senate) to eat better in 2017,” resolve to “eat five helpings of fruits and vegetables most days of the week…that would be four or more for the numerically challenged out there like your esteemed author.  Why only “most” days of the week?  DUH!…remember rule number two…make your goal achievable.

Or how about printing a list of healthy “superfoods” you’ve never eaten and resolving to try at least one item on that list every week of 2017?  Better yet, turn it into a checklist, then, check each item off and make a few notes about that item, such as “If anyone is trying to torture me for information, just threaten me with Brussels sprouts and I’ll tell them everything.”

Ok, last example of a specific goal: “I resolve to eat at least one meal per day that contains

Flaxseed
Flaxseed

no processed foods.” Like a meal comprised of roast chicken and potatoes with a side of green beans.  In fact, we here at MagicKitchen offer a number of meals that fit this category in our portion controlled and signature meals sections.  It’s a great way to keep your resolution as we do most of the work, all that’s required of you is to heat and enjoy!

Rule number two: make your goal achievable, but not too easily achievable, there must be an element of resolve (hence the term “resolution”) and sacrifice involved.  Please don’t resolve to adopt a diet of nothing but kale, honey and quinoa for all of 2017.  My guess is that you’re going to fall off the wagon with that resolution.  How about, “I resolve to

substitute either kale, honey, or quinoa for an unhealthy item I usually eat at least every other day.  Or if you can’t stand kale, (which is perfectly understandable), try one of these new superfoods for 2017.  And then track each time you make that substitution on a calendar.

Here are a few other tips to help you achieve your specific resolution that involves eating healthier in 2017:

  • Take a grocery list to the supermarket and stick to it.
  • Choose fresh or frozen food over canned.
  • Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from MagicKitchen.com
    Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from MagicKitchen.com

    Plan ahead by making menus and, as with the rule above, stick to them!

  • Don’t drink your calories…stay away from the sugary drinks.
  • Patrol the edges of your grocery store where the fresh produce, meats, dairy and whole grains are located.
  • Try out MagicKitchen.com complete meals for a change of pace. No rules, no sign-ups, no commitments required, try one or many.
  • Eat a lot of different colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
  • Replace dessert with fruit or at least add fruit to your dessert.
  • Accept the fact that you’re going to backslide a few times during the year…get over it and then get back on the horse or wagon or both. I’m not sure which.
  • Publicize your resolution to all who are willing to listen and tell them to nag you throughout the year. Also, write it down and stick it to both the doors of your fridge and pantry.
  • Finally, remember that doing something towards attaining or keeping your resolution is better than quitting and doing nothing…little steps matter!

So, good luck as you resolve to eat healthier in 2017 and remember to follow the two main rules (and various tips) and perhaps you’ll be part of the 8% that successfully stick to their resolutions through the entire year. May your New Year be a healthy and happy one!

 

facebooktwitterpinterest

Holiday Tips for Seniors

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when families come together to spend the Winter Holidays celebrating. In November, we enjoy a huge meal giving thanks for the truly wonderful people and things in our lives.

This is quickly followed by another family gathering complete with gift giving and delicious goodies in abundance. In spite of all the festivities, families can’t always manage to be together due to large distances, financial hindrances, or illnesses. These things certainly don’t mean our friends or families are pushed by the wayside. On the contrary, we tend to go out of our way to make loved ones feel loved, needed, and thought of during these special days.

Some of the most important people need our help the most during the Holiday Season. They are the elderly citizens of our communities. Here are some great tips and gifts for Seniors and their caregivers for the 2016 Holidays.

  1. walkingparkLooking Good, Feeling Good – We all seem to feel better when we look better. This is at any age, but it is especially true for the elderly. Gift certificates for a beauty treatment or to a barber shop can be just what is needed! Having a fresh hair cut or a beautifully coiffed style can put a spring in the step of aging family members.
  2. A Health Evaluation – This is the perfect time to really evaluate the health of your older family members. Some things to consider when determining how safe they are, include – if they are experiencing things such as memory loss or mobility problems, can they take care of themselves (i.e. bathing, eating, drinking, staying warm, etc.), can they take their medicine regularly, if they can safely drive, and how high are their spirits? Keep in mind that sometimes elderly people are reluctant to give any information letting on that they can’t handle daily life like they used to. Look for clues and signs when talking to them.
  3. Take a Load Off – Many miles can really put a strain on you when you’re concerned about your parents or senior friends. Meal time can be especially difficult. A perfect way to pitch in from across the country is by having healthy meals delivered to them. holiday-dinnerThis will enable you to feel like you’ve contributed to an important part of their day. Any meal can be delivered through MagicKitchen.com. There are many choices on the website from specialized dishes for particular dietary needs to comforting soups and delectable desserts. They will be sure to become favorites quickly.
  4. Give Great Gifts – Sometimes it is a challenge deciding what to gift to the mature members of your family or close friends. Perfect options include: meal delivery (see #3), a photo album of memories from the early days of their lives until the present, consider a clock with large numbers for the days when their eyes aren’t at peak performance, warm socks with a non-skid surface on the bottom, a bird feeder can bring many hours of delight…step out of the box and make it a hummingbird feeder.
  5. senior-man-on-laptop-smallThe Greatest Gift of All – This year, why not give the greatest gift of all to those wise, aging people in your life…the gift of your time. It can be something as simple as a phone call or a card you dropped in the mail for those miles away. Make sure to include all preparations for the festivities, as if they were going to be there with you. If these wonderful seniors are going to be joining you for the holidays, include their opinions and allow them to spend the time helping with the decorations or baking. Even if they have physical limitations, engage them in conversation and describe what you are doing. Ask them to tell the stories of their childhood at this time of year. Please, don’t forget to thank them. This will mean the world to them!

As you gather your family together this year, try to create new memories and traditions that all ages can participate in. Make sure to include some where the youngest are making memories with the oldest. These will carry in the hearts of all your loved ones for years to come. It is certainly time for our country to join together to care and love one another.

Wishing you and yours a Happy, Healthy holidays!

facebooktwitterpinterest

Sweat the Small Stuff: 5 Small Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Life.

Yeah, I know the quote is usually “DON’T sweat the small stuff,” but sometimes the small stuff matters.  If you think about it, our entire lives are comprised of “small stuff,” in the form of the thousands of decisions we make on a daily basis.  Should I eat just one more?  Binge watch The Walking Dead or work on the house?  Wear these yoga pants or not?  Hit the snooze again?

These seemingly small decisions add up and become who we are.  So why not make a few small decisions that, when done consistently, can actually improve your life for the better?  That’s what I thought, you have no argument…and “I don’t have the time” counts as no argument.

  1. pedometerGet (and use) a pedometer – But just don’t wear it around and look at the total at the end of your day. Set benchmarks (or goals if you prefer) and break them!  Make small bets with your friends, family and coworkers.  For example: “I’ll bet all of you a tarantula that I take more steps than you over the weekend.”  Or create a contest with a prize for the winner.  For example: “whoever takes the most steps today gets the last MagicKitchen.com Panna Cotta.” Of course, there are plenty of pedometer apps for your phone, too.
  1. Breathe deep…the gathering gloom (sorry, I regressed to my teenage years when I kept trying to figure out those strange lyrics to “Nights in White Satin”). Research has shown that deep breathing exercises (just 5 minutes a day) reduces stress producing hormone levels, decreases anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and improves sleep.
  1. scrabbleDo a crossword, or Sudoku, or play Scrabble – In other words, exercise your brain as if it were a muscle (Is it a muscle? Or an organ?…Does it matter?). No, it doesn’t matter.  The brain ACTS like a muscle and the more you exercise it, the more efficient it gets.  Of course, the obverse is also true.  Your brain will atrophy like any other muscle if it remains sedentary for an extended period of time.  Studies have shown brain exercises can extend its cognitive reserve…aka its ability to withstand damage due to aging, such as dementia.  Learning new things, such as a musical instrument or foreign language does the trick as well.
  1. Read nutrition labels – Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is NOT bliss when it comes to your nutrition (sorry for contradicting so many popular idioms in this post). Your body knows what you’re putting in it even if you keep it from your mind and the results (good or bad) happen regardless.  You might set that Snickers bar aside when you find out it has 280 calories, 14 grams of fat, 30 grams of sugar and contains trans fat.  Look at it this way, after eating that Snickers, you’ll have to run about 2.5 miles to burn it off (and that doesn’t even take into account the effects of the saturated and trans fat consumed).
  1. hug2Hug someone…just make sure it’s consensual. The hugging of loved ones reduces stress, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and releases anti-depressant hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin.  Regular hugging has also been shown to aid in healing and recovering from illness.  Hugs also increase self-esteem, ease tension, teach the concepts of giving and receiving, and encourage empathy and understanding.  All these benefits apply equally to the hugger we well as the huggee.

So, to recap: work the heck out of that pedometer, breathe deep the gathering gloom (or just do deep breathing exercises), work the heck out of your brain, flip it over and read that nutrition label, and get and give plenty of hugs…and don’t forget to do all these things on a consistent basis.

facebooktwitterpinterest

Trouble at Blue Apron

blue-apron1The rumor mill and news agencies are twittering away about the problems multi-billion dollar start-up Blue Apron is having. As we keep our ear to the ground regarding food safety and nutrition, we couldn’t help hearing the news.

In case you’ve been living in a cave and haven’t heard of Blue Apron, let me bring you up to date. They are the company who sends you a box with all the ingredients for making several meals, along with the recipe cards for doing so. Everything is packaged so that you get exactly as much coconut milk or butter as you need to create the meal. Just dump it into the pan according to their directions.

They were founded in 2012, and already they deliver 8 million meals per year. That’s a huge growth spurt, and like most adolescents, they’re having growing pains.

Most of the reports have to do with violence and predatory behavior between employees,  including bomb threats being called in at their Richmond warehouse.

There have been at least four people arrested, and employees have complained of being punched, groped, bitten and even choked by other employees at various times. Bomb threats have been reported as well.

There are some complaints about the work environment as well.  People are hired, fired and quit regularly, causing some chaos.

Buzzfeed’s report states, “All told, interviews with 14 former employees describe a chaotic, stressful environment where employees work long days for wages starting at $12 an hour bagging cilantro or assembling boxes in a warehouse kept at a temperature below 40 degrees.”

The same facility in Richmond has been visited multiple times by OSHA officials, and some complaints have been registered as to employees’ safety. Buzzfeed adds, “In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Blue Apron said it appealed some of these violations and the case has “yet to be fully resolved.””

So all is not rosy in Blue Apron land.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger.

facebooktwitterpinterest

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

 

facebooktwitterpinterest

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.

facebooktwitterpinterest

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

 

facebooktwitterpinterest

Why Isn’t Dad Eating? Senior’s Changing Nutritional Needs

elderly-handsIt is estimated that there are over 3.7 million malnourished seniors living in the United States at the current time and even more with various vitamin deficiencies. The reasons for this are varied and range from loss of appetite due to medications to depression to dental issues.

Whatever the cause, not eating properly as we age can become more serious due to the changing nutritional needs of seniors. Thus, determining exactly why the seniors in your life aren’t eating properly as well as knowing what they SHOULD be eating can go a long way to getting them back on the road to proper nutrition.

lemon-herbsAs we age, we suffer from (among other things) appetite loss due to diminished taste buds and sense of smell. Add to those two causes the side effect of loss of appetite from medication and it’s easy to understand why some seniors have lost the interest they once possessed in food.  One way to combat this is cooking with lemon juice, vinegar and different herbs rather than butter and/or salt. These tastes will often be discerned where more subtle ones won’t.

depressed-senior-manSome seniors tire of cooking for one and eating alone and, therefore, do less of it. Depression, especially after the loss of a loved one, can also cause many seniors to eat less. Finally, dental issues, such as tooth loss and the pain associated with it or ill-fitting dentures can be the reason some seniors avoid eating certain foods.

Now, once you’ve figured out why the senior(s) in your life aren’t eating the way they should, the next task is to determine what they need to be consuming to meet their unique nutritional needs. Generally speaking, a proper diet can aid in preventing or treating heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, constipation and certain forms of cancer.

Essentially, just about everything seniors eat should provide some nutritional value…no empty calories! Of course we all immediately think of fruits and veggies, but there’s one simple rule to remember: when it comes to fruits and veggies think “color.” Yes, color. There’s a reason they come in a variety of hues. Their color is derived from the fact that they’re packed with a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. So don’t just think leafy greens, think yellow peppers, orange carrots, red raspberries, blueberries, red apples, white asparagus, and blackberries. It’s a simple way to ensure seniors get a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

hippocrates

Lean Roast Turkey from MagicKitchen.com
Lean Roast Turkey from MagicKitchen.com

Also, seniors need plenty of lean protein, vitamin D and calcium from varied sources such as seafood, poultry, legumes, nuts and fat-free or reduced fat dairy, while avoiding red meats and fried foods. They also require plenty of whole grains (think quinoa, brown rice, popcorn) and fiber (which can be derived from fruits and veggies) and they should stay away from trans and saturated fats as well as sodium. Just remember, when it comes to eating, food consumed by seniors should provide nutritional value. If it doesn’t, they shouldn’t eat it. (Although an occasional piece of dark chocolate wouldn’t go amiss.)

MagicKitchen.com provides Senior Meal Plans and individual senior meals, so if you’re worried about your older parents eating right, visit us.  Order a la carte or see our complete meals. Either one provides good nutrition and great taste, wrapped up in a convenient package.

facebooktwitterpinterest

Diabetic Diet Ideal for All

For the 21 million Americans with diabetes, losing and/or maintaining weight is of critical importance in order to avoid complications caused by the disease.  Most of them manage their weight through exercise and diet…and by diet I don’t necessarily mean being “on” a diet, because that implies their diet is temporary.  It is not.  It is the permanent state of making healthy food choices out of necessity.  It is a lifestyle, not a diet in the traditional sense, and we could all benefit from rethinking what the term “diet” entails as most diabetics already have.

carImagine, if you will, that you’re a car and you’re required to drive up a long, steady incline, which you complete without too much trouble.  Now imagine having to complete the same task with some “junk in your trunk,” say the concrete remains of a sidewalk that was just torn up.  You manage to make it up the hill, but your engine had to work a whole lot harder and as you climb that hill, day after day, parts begin to fail.  The same can happen to humans with excess weight (or too much junk in the trunk).  Complications ensue…heart disease, high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, cancer, and type II diabetes.

scaleSo, as you can see, being overweight should be a concern to us all, not just diabetics. And one way to lose or maintain your weight is to follow the lifestyle choices most diabetics follow in terms of what and how they eat.  As always, most of us already know what’s healthy (fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein) and what is not (a venti cinnamon dolce latte, muffins the size of your head).  After all, this isn’t rocket science here.

One thing many diabetics do is strictly monitor and track what they consume.  In other words, they COUNT CALORIES…gasp!  And it’s a good idea for all of us.  Just count your caloric intake for a few days.  My guess is that the difference between what you believe that number to be and what it actually is will surprise you…in a bad, OMG way.  Another thing most diabetics do is plan their meals ahead of time and then stick to that plan…no spur of the moment stops at DQ for a $5 nail to place in your coffin. A diabetic diet just makes sense.

supermarketMany diabetics also limit the intake of their carbohydrates and consume non-starchy vegetables (avoid potatoes, corn and peas).  They also eat whole grains and avoid refined or processed flour and sugar (avoid Twinkies and Chips Ahoy cookies).  They eat only lean protein (fish, skinless chicken, pork, beans and soy products).  They eat fresh fruit and avoid the frozen or canned variety as they often have added sugar.  And lastly, they eat “healthy” fats such as those derived from avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.  Just remember, the best diet is one you can stay “on” forever.

facebooktwitterpinterest