Friday, December 31, 2010

Lucky Foods for New Year's Day

I am currently (for the 6th year in a row) working on New Year's Eve.  I am running the controls for STAR 102.5's Downtown Countdown.  No complaints, it's a complement to be entrusted with a 6 hour, live party show. (Or at least that what our old program director Jim said.)

While I am punching button I thought, 'Hey, this really gives me time to hunt down the info for tonight's blog'.  It did.  One search of Google and I found that Epicurious has already done a fantastic job with "Lucky Foods for New Year's Day".  In fact, for years I have searched out something this thorough. 

It covers foods and dishes considered lucky from around the world AND offers some of the recipes. I am really impressed and rather than recreating I thought I would give them props and share theirs.  I brought over their picture as well. :)

So, here's hoping your 2011 starts lucky and stays that way.

Yours in Health,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Healthy New Year's Eve Drinks

I like to call New Year's Eve, "amateur night".  It's that time when everyone thinks you should drink in celebration.  Maybe you are looking to rid yourself of the memories of 2010 or you want to get 2011 started with a bang.  That's great, do whatever floats your boat - but don't drink and drive.

Now here's the dose of reality you didn't ask for - alcohol has calories.  (It's one saving grace is NO fat.)  Yes I know, you know, but do you know how many?  I bring you this handy calculator that the government has set up to discourage college binge drinking.  While I don't believe you have plans to get completely faced, you should still be aware, alcohol calories add up.

A couple of examples - 

Drink Ounces Calories
Light Beer            12                110
Martini 3.5               140
Manhattan 3.5               164
Margarita            4                  168
Champagne 4                  84
Red Wine   4                  80

I am laughing at those a bit, because other than the serving size and calories on the wine, the Manhattan and the champagne, these are likely inaccurate compared to what people may imbibe tomorrow night.  Beer is frequently 16 ounces now; that's a straight vodka martini, it doesn't account for juices or chocolate (my fave); and if you ever got a 4 ounce margarita, you would probably send it back as too skimpy.

With all of that said, there is nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks on an occasion.  If all else fails, it's a social lubricant so you can put up with your cousin Gary who decided to tag along.  The key really, like any other food, is moderation.  (Are you sick of being told that yet?)

I have rounded up a few drink recipes to add to your festivities.  If you drain the alcohol from them, most are kid friendly and all will be lower in calories.

Mojito Fresco
Poinsettia Mimosas
Golden Sparklers
Champagne Ginger Cocktail
Cava Cocktail
And this is a whole website of "Mocktails", so you don't have to worry about taking out the alcohol.
Just some ideas to mix things up for you.  My best advice is, when watching calories, this is not the time to try something new or do shots (which average 100 calories a piece).  This is a time to go with a favorite that you can savor and really enjoy, making every little drop count.

Tomorrow: New Year's Day recipes to bring you luck.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Healthy New Year's Eve Munchies

Here we are again, holiday food.  And here I remind you again, that 'healthy' is relative when it comes to anything labeled holiday.  With that said and my assuring you that one glass of bubbly, to toast the New Year, will not lay waste to your waist, I have come to share some snack recipes.

These are the little goodies that are placed on warming trays, in dishes, on platters, and even though healthier, will add up if you overindulge.  So, remember key things like - fill up on the veggie tray (without the dip), drink a glass of water once an hour to fill tummy space and choose one thing to really enjoy or you may run off the rails without intending to.

Since I am going to give you several, they will be in list and link form:

Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Lemon-Caper Sauce
Spinach-&-Brie-Topped Artichoke Hearts
Tyler Florence's Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
5-Minute Guacamole Recipe
Black Bean Dip
Turkey Cocktail Meatballs
Alton Brown's Mulled Wine
Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

That should get you started and all of the websites I linked you to have many other recipes.  Tomorrow 'better for you' cocktails. :)

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where Did 2010 Go?

I have been working away today on the January/February issue of !ntuition Magazine.  As in 2011.

It hadn't really sunk in until a little while ago when a friend shot me a "Happy New Year" as she headed to Barbados to celebrate a belated honeymoon.  Wow. Yep, Saturday is a whole new year.

It's now weighing heavily on my mind.  Not so much what I didn't accomplish (which was plenty), but what I need to do, to make sure 2011 is better.  And by better I am talking about, more meaningful.

I spend many days working away, not really having a life, doing what I need to do to get by - we almost all do this.  I want that to change in the New Year.  I will do what I need to, but I will also address the wants.  The wants that have a positive effect outside myself will take priority and that will feed my soul - as I mentioned yesterday, it's one of the keys to survival.

In the end, it doesn't matter where 2010 went, so much as where I am going in 2011.

Yours in Health,

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Soul

This was the post I was planning for a week ago last Saturday, before being side tracked by the 'ick'. 

Throughout the holidays we talk about food.  We eat too much, we want to try a recipe, someone brought cookies again, we giggle at Aunt Mable's annual fruit cake and we are thrilled with chocolate delights.  In fact, as most of our butts and thighs can attest, we are awash in a sea of fat and carbs from November to the New Year.  While these meals and treats feed our stomachs, we miss the most important thing - nourishing our souls.

We rush through life, especially the holidays - shopping and working and parties and cards - hoping all the while, we will have it done on time.  Sometimes losing our minds a little in the process and mostly missing the point of the season.  It doesn't matter your religion - the end of the year is about reflection, appreciation and grace.

Without a doubt you reflect on where you came from - your family, a favorite Christmas, your first game of dreidel or when you first celebrated Kwanzaa.  Perhaps you take the time to bake cookies for the teacher or mail carrier to express appreciation.  But do you embrace grace?

Grace is the one that matters most, it is becoming the embodiment of the goodness you seek in the world.  We all crave favor, kindness, friendship and forgiveness.  Yet, can we expect this to befall us if we aren't willing to endow these things just as freely?  The short answer of course is 'no'.

The full response takes years to unfold and embody.  It's a personal journey toward letting go and being willing to grow.  However, all of the pains we take are washed away as little lessons are learned and it quietly gives sustenance to our soul.  And that's what I want to impart this holiday season.

I am not perfect, in fact it's a daily struggle with my imperfections. (Hence the blog.) Still, I try to keep my eyes open and be trained by the universe to soak up what I need to improve in any way I can.  I know what you are thinking, "Okay all knowing one, how is this 'feeding of the soul' done?"

I'm but an apprentice, but I do have a few ideas: 
  • Send an unexpected card or make that call you have been putting off.  Imagine the relief from years of pressure brought on by the unknown.
  • Reach out to someone you don't even know.  A random act of kindness gives the feeling of accomplishment all day.
  • Go overboard on a gift for that friend who has had a rotten year and be sure the note with it promises you're going to be there whether it gets better or not.
  • Read to someone.  It can be a child, an ill friend or a senior at the local care center.  A warm voice can move anyone from despair.
  • Give to a charity that touches your heart.  And if you can, give your time too.  Even $5 makes a difference and hours are worth more than money.
  • Say 'please', 'thank you' and 'I love you'.  Simple words that will be shared in an endless chain.
I know you have many other ideas for becoming more graceful.  Put them in words, pass them on, but mostly do them.  And then see just how nourished your soul can really be. 

Yours in Health,

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Food-borne Illness - The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Friday night and yesterday I had nice holiday time with my family.  But...

Wow.  It has been an ugly and long week.  My apologies for not following through with my plans to post recipes every day, but I got really sick.

Last Saturday I woke up feeling good, my wallet had money and it was time to finally start my Christmas shopping.  First things first, a good brunch to stoke the engine.  I went the healthy route and got an egg white omelet with fresh spinach (at a restaurant that will go unnamed), it tasted pretty good and I was off to the mall.

I hadn't been in the mall very long when I became soaked in sweat.  I thought, well the mall is packed and I am rushing around, no big deal.  Even though no one else was soaking their shirt.  Anyway, I went about trying to get things done and slowly felt worse as the day wore on.  I tried to write it off to a lot of things, but by early evening I knew - I was getting very ill.  I let the boss know and then hoped that my fever and chills would pass without much incident. Uh, nope.

I will save you the details, other than to say, it was fever, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, headache - horrible.  And it didn't last just 24-48 hours like a nice flu.  No, this drug on.  It was traced back to the spinach in my omelet.  It wasn't fully cooked, but I thought nothing of it until much later.  They even briefly thought I had e. coli.  By the way, this is a food-borne illness, not food poisoning.  The food hadn't gone bad, it was tainted by bacteria.

I finally made it back to work on Thursday, 15 pounds lighter and weak.  I was able to eek out some time to Christmas shop so everyone had gifts, but that spent the 'extra' energy I had.

Yesterday I thought I was feeling a bit better, so I ate a regular Christmas dinner.  Turns out, I am not fully recovered.  As I tried to go to bed last night, my body balked at the amount of food I had enjoyed.  It wasn't an insane amount, but compared to the rest of the week, I ate like a queen.  So, I spent most of the night writhing in pain and sweating, very little sleep too.

So, I came to work early.  I have been drinking some gingerbread tea and it is helping.  Going forward for the next week I have a new plan - very small amounts of food and BLAND.  Knowing my body, it will find a way to throw a fit anyway, but I have to give it a try.

Yours in Health,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sorry no post today

I'm running on empty.  My best guess is a long week with long hours just came to roost.  I have tried several things and nothing.  So, I am going home and possibly to bed.

Post tomorrow as was promised for today.

Yours in Health,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Dinner Planning 2010 - Healthier Appetizers/Dip

Today's subject - the meal before the meal.  This can be one of the biggest pitfalls of any person trying to be healthy, not just now, but all year round.  You go to any event and the appetizers can be a calorie bomb.  I have decided to combine the concept of dip with appetizer.  I pulled together two healthier, but hearty, options that will compliment the always necessary crudités (veggie plate).

I will skip the elementary - fat free sour cream with Lipton Soup mix - because you know those tricks.  These two appetizers/dips are currently both popular and trendy AND they are healthier because they have veggies and fiber.

Kate’s Healthier Spinach-Artichoke Dip - Yes, it's really my reworking. :)

1 (14 oz.) can of artichoke hearts in water
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach
6 oz. - low-fat or fat free sour cream, your preference
½ cup - shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
½ cup – 2% mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons non-fat Greek style yogurt
1/8 teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground black pepper and fresh ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon of crushed red peppers (if you want it spicier)


Heat oven to 400°F.

Drain and finely chop the artichoke hearts and place them in a medium bowl. Add spinach, sour cream, yogurt, the mozzarella and spices – mix well.  Add half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano (we use this cheese because it’s really flavorful). 

Now taste – this is where you add more spices to your preference.  When you are happy, spread the mix into a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

Serve warm or at room temperature with carrots, endive leaves and pretzels for dipping.

Makes about 3 cups dip.

Our other dip is a lower fat version of hummus.  I hesitated on trying this one forever, with my roomie constantly saying, "Hummus is Yummus!"  I finally tried it and she's right, although I prefer it warm.  When it's warm I LOVE it.  The benefits are the fiber in the beans and as it was pointed out the other night on "Bones" - the B6, which helps with morning sickness among other ailments. It's from's Middle Eastern Foods section.   It's traditionally served with warm pita wedges, but it's great with veggies, keeping your calories down.  

There you are, your shield for the hoards who will be chomping at the bit to get dinner underway.  And a healthier nosh for you to stave of the mega-hungries so you don't over indulge during the main event.

Tomorrow:  A health break - how I improved my outlook during the ever stressful holidays and it might help you too. 

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Dinner Planning Begins - The Breakfast Smoothie

I have been putting together recipes for a "healthier" holiday dinner.  I have used parenthesis because, as you know, we could cut all the fat and calories in the world and if you binge, it no longer matters.  With that in mind today we start with the most important meal of the day, breakfast.  It's particularly important on a holiday - you know why.

What? You're going to make me explain it?  LOL.  Okay, fine, eating breakfast has many benefits:  it fires up your energy, which you are going to need to get through the day; it gives your brain the fuel so that you remember to put the salt in the potatoes, not the sugar; and it helps stave off binges when dinner is finally ready.

This recipe for Emeril's Yummy Wake-up Smoothie is super easy and very healthy.  It's full of fruit, fiber and a little protein.  Use non-fat yogurt and it's even healthier.

I went with a smoothie because all it requires is a blender and a little time AND it's for YOU.  Yes, Y-O-U, the one who will be up before the crack of dawn making sure there will be food for everyone else later in the day.  Plus, there are a couple more servings for the little ones who couldn't stay in bed because there are presents under the tree.

Tomorrow, "healthier" appetizers and a reasonable dip.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Update on My Health - Stress Can Make You Sick

I work too much, I stress too much, I don't get enough sleep.  Sound familiar?  You are probably exactly the same.  But after weeks of recovering from my time in the hospital, doctors visits and tests, that is the conclusion.

Basically, my body does not navigate stress as well as it once did.  So, doctors orders are - "Don't stress as much".  Um, how much did I pay for that?

I know, the upside is - they say my heart is healthy, I do not have a brain tumor, I do not have an ulcer, I do not have arterial damage, I do not have leukemia, I do not have high blood pressure, I do not have diabetes, I do not have a lot of things.  And I am grateful for all of the above.

The one struggle I have is, how do I deal with this?  I mean on any given day I have so much to do for work, that if I wasn't borderline ADD, I would never be able to switch gears and make it all happen.

It's been suggested I workout more, take up meditation and find a hobby outside of work.  All very good suggestions.  But then I stop and think, how?  Where does any of this fit?  By the time I get home, I am exhausted.  If it doesn't involve a remote control, I don't feel capable.

The problem is, if I don't find a way to bring my life under control, I will end up back in the hospital.  In fact, last week, in the middle of a very stressful day at work, I almost passed out again.  This time I noted everything that had happened leading up to it and concluded that the doctors are right - I stress on my own and then I feed off of everybody else's stress.  I literally empathize my way to illness.

The funny thing is, doctors have been telling me this since I was a teen and I'll be honest, I laughed it off.  The first doctor who told me that, I spent years thinking he was a quack.  Counselors have been blunt and told me most of my mental pain comes from taking on the issues of others.  And now, not one but four doctors, have recently told me the same thing - I feel too much.

That's really hard to hear because I pride myself on helping other people, trying to assuage their pains, having a killer work ethic and basically taking care of the world.  I now must seek a way to be myself and yet close off enough to keep my health.

Just writing this helps, at least for the moment.  I feel like I am at my first meeting of some sort - "I'm Kate and I am a care-oholic".  So, I am open to any ideas you have, 'steps' I might take to stop this spin.  For now, I better go home, been here too long again.

Yours in Health,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Inspiration to Maintain Your Weight During the Holidays

I'm going to be brutally honest - losing weight during the holidays is HARD.  Sometimes we need to be more realistic, especially since this is peak season for the multiplication of food pushers.  (People who want you to 'just have one'.)  Realistically, if you maintain during this precarious time, I think you should be proud.

So, once again, I turn to the trusty internet to find a story of weight loss to inspire both you and me.  This one is from Des Moines based Fitness Magazine.  While she didn't lose a ton of inches or pounds, she lost almost 11% body fat and that is a BIG deal.  She went from 40%, which is obese, to 29%, which is considered just a few percentage points over norm for a regular woman.  And she did it in just 3 months, impressive.

That's it for today.  I am exhausted and have been here for 11 hours, again, so it's time to go home.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookie Week - Macaroons

The biggest calories here are the coconut and sugar.  The upside, most of the fat in coconut is healthy.  There is also just a smidgen of shortening and a drizzle of chocolate.  Overall, not too bad and you get little snowy puffs for your holiday table.

This one comes from Better Homes & Gardens via Kitchen Daily.  When I went looking for the final treat for Cookie Week, this made me salivate a little and that's how it was chosen.  (Very scientific.)

I also like this one, because unlike most macaroon recipes, this doesn't require you to bake them two or three times.  One time in the oven, then move to cool.  In our time strapped lives, this seemed like a good fit.

Well, that's it for Cookie Week.  For the next couple of days I will give you some inspiration, update you on my health and get you ready for THE week. :)

Yours in a Health,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cookie Week - Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Over the past ten years or so, cranberries have come into vogue.  Sure, they've always been gelatinous for a turkey side, but for a decade this berry's profile has been raised by research into its nutritional value.

Cranberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants.  These properties have been shown to help with everything from bladder infections to heart health.  Plus, their tartness is a great compliment to sweet.

Today's recipe is from Cooking Light Magazine.  My roomie made it last year and, though cranberries aren't my favorite, this cookie was awesome. 

The recipe mixes cranberries, whole wheat flour, egg white, walnuts and mini chocolate chips with some of the standard ingredients.  In the end this healthier little treat is a bundle of complimentary tastes.  Enjoy!

Yours in Health,

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cookie Week - Low Fat Gingerbread Cookies

This cookie's silhouette just says 'holiday' and his spicy demeanor closes the deal.  Gingerbread men (or women) bring smiles to the faces of even the biggest kid.  Case in point, I had a friend over for dinner recently and offered him either cannoli or a gingerbread man for dessert, he smiled widely and asked for the guy with the buttons.

Whether you roll them out and decorate them, or make balls for circle cookies these are a classic.  This recipe is from Prevention Magazine's website.  It uses only 6 tablespoons of butter.  I think that's especially good in the case of this recipe because I have had some greasy gingerbread men and well, yuck.  They also use a nice amount of ginger as compared to the other complimentary spices.

By the way, a couple of quick facts about ginger - it can help with nausea and aid digestion.  I have used it when suffering from the flu and friends have used it with morning sickness, it's a home run.  And that's just one of its many medicinal uses.

Yours in Health,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cookie Week - Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today it's the year round favorite - Chocolate Chip Cookies.  In fact, when we had the Cookie Walk last week, those were the ones that ran out first.

Today's recipe is from Eating Well and goes healthier with whole wheat flour and canola oil instead of shortening.  The are called Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies and I picture Bev as being as smart as her cookies.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cookie Week - What Can I Substitute to Make Cookies Healthier?

So far this week I have shared two recipes, that have been made a bit healthier by others, to help fill your holiday cookie jar.  But today I am going to give you the tools to slim down your favorite family recipes without taking away the taste that makes them a holiday staple.

This list of substitutions has been put together by my friends at the Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center.  It covers the baking of sweets, one of the hardest things to transform, but it also offers tips for the savory dishes in your arsenal.  Some of these are common sense, others are downright creative.

Instead of using:                                                    Try:

Whole milk ............................................................ Skim milk
Sweetened condensed milk .................................... Non-fat sweetened condensed milk
Cream ................................................................... Evaporated milk or fat-free half & half
Whipped cream ..................................................... Light or fat-free whipped topping
Cream cheese......................................................... Light or fat-free cream cheese.
*Note: fat-free cream cheese may change the consistency of finished product
Butter, margarine or oil ........................................... Fruit puree (unsweetened applesauce)
Whole egg .............................................................. 2 egg whites or a ¼ c. egg substitute
White or brown sugar ............................................. Splenda® or decrease the total amount by 1/3 to a 1/2
1 oz. baking chocolate ............................................ Three Tbsp. of cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp. oil
Sour cream ............................................................. Low-fat or fat-free sour cream
                *Note: fat-free sour cream may change the consistency of finished product
Mild Cheddar Cheese ............................................. Reduced-fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
White rice ............................................................... Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat couscous
1 c. chocolate chips ................................................. ½ c. mini chocolate chips

Hopefully this helps you create magic in your kitchen and your family never misses the calories.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cookie Week - Low-Fat Oatmeal Cookies

Today, the good old fashioned oatmeal cookie.  The oats are the bulk of the calories in this one. This recipe has been reworked with whole wheat flower, lower fat shortening and egg whites.  It also has lots of fruit and a good amount of spice.  These two are the keys to enjoying a cookie that doesn't come from your traditional recipe.  A lack of fat can sometimes distract you, but these tastes give you the satisfaction you are looking for.

This recipe is from  It has been well reviewedtoo,

Tomorrow, it's a great list of tips for making your holiday foods, including baking, healthier from my friends at Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center.

Yours in Health,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cookie Week Begins

Ah, the holiday cookie.  It doesn't matter what you are celebrating, it calls to you.  And because it's often snazzily dressed, it's hard to turn it down.  So this week I am going to share the recipes I have hunted down to create slimmer cookies.

To be clear - no cookie is "healthy".  Yet, most can be healthier.  Some recipes cut the fat, some sugar and some substitute ingredients that are a healthier option. 

Today it's the basic sugar cookie.  This gem can stand on its own or it can be the foundation to dozens of other cookies.  Taste of Home Magazine has lightened it up and even has ways to use it with other recipes.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Bucket of Cookies and An Ounce of Growth

Yesterday was the Cookie Walk to benefit "Shoes That Fit", an organization that helps get warm clothes for underprivileged kids in the metro.  Des Moines' Holiday Music Station LITE 104.1 (my station), Mediacom and West Glen Town Center put on the event with donated cookies from a long list of generous businesses.  For a first time fundraiser, it went very well.  A lot of fans of the station came out and it was really fun.

Since it was for a good cause, I had to buy a bucket of cookies.  I bought a bucket for Monica, one of our part-timers, as well and with my gloves on she braved the chilly wind and went business to business collecting the cookies.  She also later donated money herself, good kid!  She brought them back and I looked inside, yum, they looked fabulous, but I didn't eat any - yep, you read that right.

I realized I hadn't had real food to eat in a few hours, so I needed lunch before I put sugar in my tummy.  After the event was over, I grabbed a healthy lunch and then got back in the car with the open bucket of cookies.  Oddly, though I was fully aware they were there, lunch was satisfying and I wasn't even tempted.

Long story short, the open bucket of cookies was in my presence for at least 45 minutes of driving from location to location and I never ate one.  They made it all the way home, except the one I 'tipped' my hairdresser with during my up-do for the Christmas party.

I walked in the door to change for the party, put the bucket on the counter and walked straight upstairs.  By the time I was ready I had forgotten about them.  When I came down the stairs Lori drooled, "A bucket of cookies..." and I said, "Oh yea, I forgot."  I explained where they were from, told her she could have as many as she wanted and asked if she could please bag them up because I was running late.

The common thread here is that my old behavior would have had me stuffing those suckers back one or two at a time, especially when no one was around to witness it.  Even as I am typing, they aren't really tempting me.  I am kind of feeling like the Grinch's heart right now - I have grown.

Yet, I will admit, at some point I will savor the gourmet goodies.  But I don't feel rushed to do so, I don't have that fervor that has taken over so many times - 'I better eat it or somebody else will'.  If they do that's okay, I know the name of each store that donated and they will happily make more.

Yours in Health,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Noted: Alcohol and Acid Reflux are NOT Friends

I rarely drink.  In fact, I can count on one hand the number of drinks I have had this year.  I don't need alcohol to have a good time and I don't want to use it to release stress.  (Bad habit to start.)

Tonight however was the company Christmas party and I couldn't resist.  Just a chance to loosen up a little with my friends.  I had a rather weak, but tasty cranberry and vodka for cocktail hour and then during dinner half a glass of wine.  Finally, after dessert, we convened to watch the band play and I had a Bailey's and coffee.  Spaced out over 3 hours, not too bad.  Afterward I switched to water and regular coffee.

But, as time passed, I started to have weird pains in my chest and didn't feel well.  It took me a few minutes and then I remembered - if I drink more than one alcoholic beverage, my acid reflux rebels.  And it sure did.  What happens is that the acid overwhelms the stomach and basically starts jumping up the throat.  That causes the esophagus to spasm and press against the heart, sometimes causing pain - it can even mimic a heart attack.

Since I needed to come to work anyway, I left the party.  I came back here and took an antacid and drank some more water - all better.  So, the moral of the story is, I will go back to my non-alcoholic drinks and be perfectly content - and without pain.  :)

Yours in Health,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Think It's Bubble Bath Time

It's only Thursday and yet, it feels like it should be next Wednesday.  It has been a hard, stressful week of everyone else's problems being mine.  I was even mean to one of my favorite people here at work today.  She bore the brunt of my frustration and it wasn't fair.  I will try to make it up to her, but it made me look hard at my stress level.

They still have no answers as to why I landed in the hospital, they say they may never know.  With the way the week has slowly worn me down, I'm leaning toward the guess the emergency room doctors proffered - yep, stress.  Feeling overwhelmed, overworked, lacking sleep and faltering.  I have been working hard on the sleep, but the work has risen again.  So, I will attempt to correct.

My parents are going on vacation next week and this may be a good chance.  You see, I am dog-sitting three furry children who need a little more attention than my lifestyle usually allows.  But I am thinking that I will try to telecommute from my mom's house as much as possible.  That will cause those most in need of my help to e-mail me or call my cell for assistance, thereby limiting interruptions.  Hey, I might actually accomplish something.

For now, I am serious about that bubble bath.  I am grabbing dinner, going home and sinking in a tub-o-bubbles. :)

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The "C" word for those attempting to eat healthy.  It pops up everywhere during the holiday season.  Sometimes left in dishes off by itself with no witnesses to see you indulge.  If no one sees it, it never happened, right?

Well holiday candy is like everything else in life, you can have it in moderation.  But unlike other things, a little candy that weighs less than an ounce can be, not only a calorie bomb, but full of really bad fats.

Today I went forth seeking a healthier option and Martha Stewart has come through.  (No surprise there.)  I wanted dark chocolate because it's heart healthy and nuts for the same reason.  These Chocolate-Nut Patties fit the bill and they couldn't be more simple.  The only thing that might be a little foreign to you is tempering the chocolate, but the recipe explains that as well.  Enjoy!

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Inspiration as We Head Into the Holidays

The holidays can be incredibly overwhelming when you are trying to lose weight and get healthy.  Cookies everywhere, pressure to indulge and the assurance from everyone that you can 'start again in the new year'.  Well, you and I both know that's how we got here in the first place.

So today I am sharing some inspirational stories from Ladies' Home Journal.  These five women found their inspiration and then set forth on their journey.  You may relate and even get tips, a reminder that you are not alone.  Think of these stories I will share over the next few weeks as your 'mental cookies' that may help you bypass the ones in the break room.

Yours in Health,

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mary Poppins Pop-in

Just popping into work briefly after Mary Poppins at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines.  Really a spectacular show.  While, as a fan of the original movie, the moving around of the plot through me off a little, the show was flawless.  The sets were jaw-dropping, the dancing outstanding and the voices beautiful.  If you get a chance to check it out, you really should.  I walked away feeling more relaxed than I have in weeks and if you have been following the blog lately, you know that's almost a miracle.

Tomorrow it's more things to feed my soul, like a Christmas tree and doing laundry.  No really clean undies will help feed my soul. :)

Yours in Health,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Sorry no post yesterday.  I worked all morning yesterday, then to my mom's for dinner, my dad's for dessert and then fell asleep on the couch watching "Elf".  When I woke up after a half-hour, the sensible thing would have been to go straight to be, but with 30 minutes left in the movie, I stayed up to watch instead.

Not my brightest moment because 4 a.m. came far too soon.  I went and made an appearance at Valley West Mall, had fun with the crowd - gave away 3 iPads with STAR 102.5.  Then a quick nap at home and then here to be on three radio stations and do assorted other duties.

I am about to go take care of KIOA and then home.  Long two days.  Tomorrow, just one station and an appearance at West Glen Town Center for LITE 104.1's Ugly Sweater and Egg Nog party.  Then I have two quick shopping stops and home to do laundry and collapse.

With all of that behind and ahead, I thought I would share one last Thanksgiving link and then move into Christmas mode.  (Although it pertains for any dinner that is made up of similar components.)  My friend Erin Crawford at the Des Moines Register shared this fun slide show with me, so I thought I would pass it on.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Week - Recipe 3

It's time to talk turkey.  This is the one holiday dish that, short of deep fat frying it, you can enjoy heartily.  While you should avoid the fattier, higher calorie dark meat, the white meat is your friend.  Here's the breakdown according to the National Turkey Federation:

3 ounces
Total fat grams
Protein grams
Iron % DV
Turkey Breast
Saturated Fat grams
Cholesterol milligrams
Sodium  milligrams


Not bad at all.  Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird and while the bald eagle is more regal, the turkey makes up for it by being most people's centerpiece on the national day.

If you haven't already chosen a recipe for your turkey or are looking for something new, here is an option that doesn't require brining and is very tasty.

Roasted Turkey
1 (10-12 Pound) WHOLE TURKEY, fresh or thawed if frozen
1 Bunch fresh thyme
4 Whole navel oranges
As needed salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 Medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 Cup cold water

Place oven rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
Slide fingertips between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Place 1/2 bunch of thyme under skin.
Thinly slice one orange and slide slices under turkey skin. Season turkey with salt and pepper.
Quarter remaining oranges and toss with cranberries and onions in large bowl, place inside both turkey cavities.
Tuck wing tips under and tie legs together with kitchen string to hold shape.
Place turkey on a V-shaped rack in large roasting pan with water in bottom of pan. Cover loosely with foil. Roast turkey in preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours, remove foil.
Continue to roast, basting every 20 minutes with pan juices until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 170-175 degrees F.
Remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand at least 20 minutes before carving. Remove fruit stuffing and discard.
Garnish with Dried Fruit Stew and serve on a platter.

Autumn Fruit Stew
2 Cups tart apple, peeled and diced
1/2 Cup golden raisins
1/2 Cup dried apricot
2 bay leaves
2 Cups TURKEY STOCK or low-sodium chicken stock
2 Tablespoons brandy or substitute 2 tablespoons apple juice/cider

While turkey is roasting, combine ingredients in saucepan.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
After turkey roasts, add any accumulated pan juices to stew. Reheat before serving.

Recipe Source: Recipe and photo kindly provided by Perdue via the National Turkey Federation website

That's it for today.  Tomorrow a last minute dessert recipe.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week - Recipe 2

Green bean casserole is way yummy - it's also pretty bad for you - 250 calories, 20 grams of fat. Of course, that's the full fat traditional dish created 55 years ago. Today we have a couple of ways to cut that - you can use light or fat-free ingredients or you can cut out some of the offending ingredients - but both still leave you with a lot of sodium.

In the end there are only two true answers - eat this and go easy on everything else or (and I may be about to blaspheme) embrace a new healthier dish that takes its inspiration from the classic. That is today's recipe. I LOVE green bean casserole, but this is yummy too. And you might be surprised by how refreshing a crisp vegetable is during your meal.

Buttered Green Beans and Mushrooms from Cooking Light Magazine

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons butter
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic


1. Steam green beans, covered, 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Plunge beans into ice water; drain. Pat dry with a towel; set aside.

2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 8 minutes or until mushroom liquid evaporates. Stir in garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and green beans; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, tossing to combine.

Nutritional InformationCalories:44Fat:3g (sat 1.8g, mono 0.7g, poly 0.2g) Protein:1.7g Carbohydrate:3.9g Fiber:1.9g Cholesterol:8mg Iron:0.4mg Sodium:198mg Calcium:23mg 

Sandra Simile Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2010
Yours in Health,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

A week and a half ago I was laying in a hospital bed.  As I lay there I began to feel very alone and sorry for myself.  I had ended up in the emergency room after almost passing out at work.  They couldn't figure out what was wrong with me (and still haven't) and I was at a loss.

I began to cry.  But then my cell phone began to beep - text after text starting coming in from friends and co-workers checking on my status.  I stopped, took a deep breath, and began counting my blessings.

My friend Mary had driven me to the hospital and stayed until my mom dropped everything at work and came to be with me.  I had medical coverage that would help take the sting out of my hospital bills.  And while there was no one physically in the room with me at that moment - the phone calls and texts assured me I was loved.  I was suddenly full of gratitude, I was truly thankful.

So, as this week begins and I face going to yet another doctor in search of answers, I will not hold a pity party.  Instead I will embrace the abundance of my life and move forward with appreciation.

One of the things I appreciate is YOU - those who have stuck with reading my blog and giving me feedback.  Through illness and falter, happiness and loss - you have been here. The way I will say thank you is giving you daily recipes this week.  The Holiday Season is officially beginning and for anyone trying to be healthier there are more pitfalls than can be counted.  Hopefully these recipes will ease some of the stress of making good choices.

Thick and Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Dip

If you have an aversion to mayonnaise, like I do, this is a great take on a classic.  Add a giant platter of veggies to this and you have a healthier snack while dinner readies.

1 (14-1/2 oz.) can quartered or whole artichoke hearts in water, drained
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 (7 oz.) tub 2% fat Greek style yogurt, such as Fage
¾ cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1/8 teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly ground nutmeg


Heat oven to 400°F.

Finely chop the artichoke hearts and place them in a medium bowl. Add spinach, yogurt, ½ cup of the cheese, sour cream, pepper and nutmeg.

Mix well and spread into a 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cheese over dip and bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 3 cups dip.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I have run out of time

Sorry, the day got away from me.  I am just leaving the office and have no time left to blog.

Preview of tomorrow: TRX.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Missing: 13-year old Des Moines Girl

I will be the first to admit, Tiffany Speck could simply be a runaway.  But at just 13-years old, she is still in danger.  Even though I don't know her family, something about this girl feels personal and that's why I am posting it.  

I remember 13, it sucked.  My parents had split up a few years before, I was helping raise my two younger brothers, I got my curves before all of the other girls (and was made fun of for it) and I was depressed.  The last in that list was the hardest, because nobody put a name on it.  Instead I was sent to a psychologist who told me, "You are a rebellious brat who is trying to make things more difficult for your parents.  You are not special.  You should be drugged until you cooperate."  Nice. 

I don't know Tiffany's world.  Her life could be idyllic, she may have never had a blue thought.  On the other hand, even in the best of homes, you can sometimes feel alone.  And that loneliness can lead you down a path on which you may be too young to see the danger.  Personally, I am praying she's safe, tucked away at a friend's house that is great at keeping a secret.  Either way, let's find her.  Her picture and info are below.

13-year old Tiffany Speck

Tiffany Speck was last seen November 5th around 8:30 am on the corner of South Union and Kirkwood on the Southside of Des Moines, IA.

She was wearing a black sweatshirt with a McKee School logo on the left shoulder, jeans and grey sweater boots. Tiffany is 5’ 2”, 145 lbs., brown eyes, her hair is blond on top, brown on the bottom.

If you have any information on her please contact Detective Jeff Shannon at 515-237-1550 or the Des Moines Police at 515-283-4811. A witness reported seeing her coaxed into a red Cadillac after missing her school bus.

Yours in Health,

Monday, November 8, 2010

ActivTrax, a New Tool for the Y

The YMCA Healthy Living Center has added a new benefit for members - ActivTrax.  It's like having a computerized personal trainer.

My trainer Gwyn helped guide me through baseline tests to see where my fitness was, then we entered it in the system.  From there the software extrapolates what my workouts should look like.  Now I can use the prepared workouts when Gwyn is out of town.  Or like I did yesterday - I still can't put my head underwater and decided it was a sign to try it out.

I was able to not only print the workout at the kiosk, but there were a couple of moves I didn't recognize by name, so I was able to print out pictures and instructions.  It's really pretty sweet.  I am hoping to really take my workouts (on non-Gwyn days) to a new level.

Here's a link to their website.  You can't really dig too deeply without a sign-in, but it gives you an idea.  I haven't been able to look at the nutrition section, because it's not set up for me yet, but I am interested in what that has to offer too.

Every new tool gives me higher hopes and better results.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday, that's all

I didn't really get an 'extra' hour of sleep last night.  I stayed up watching a "Dr. Who" episode I had not seen before.  It was really good, so no regrets.

Today I have been at work.  In a little while, it's a trip to the YMCA Healthy Living Center for a workout. Because of my double ear infection, no laps until at least Tuesday.  That's what I do for at least a half hour on Sundays, swim laps.  I really love it - great cardio and, while hard, somehow relaxing.  Instead I will do weights and running in the water.

Then dinner at my mom's.

Then a quick trip to Target and Half-Price Books.  The former has "Robin Hood" with Russell Crowe on sale.  The latter is to see if I can finish a collection for my nephew for Christmas - a project I started in April.

Then home to laundry.

I am boring.  But today, boring is okay.

Yours in Health,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Holidays Have Begun - Low Fat Oyster Stew

I know... you don't want to hear that.

You didn't want to hear it when Younkers put up their display in August or when the Christmas commercials started the morning after Halloween or possibly even two weeks from now.  But, it is inevitable, so why not be prepared.

That's why I will be posting recipes on a regular basis between now and the end of the year.  I plan to search out healthier versions of my favorites.  Today is oyster stew or in this recipe, bisque.  I beg my mother to make it every year for Christmas eve.  No one else in the family likes it.  But my mommy loves me and most years I get a small batch.  However, her recipe is all butter and cream - y-uh-ummmm!

Knowing that we should be a little better than that, I went digging at Cooking Light magazine and found this version.  Substantially less fat and it looks pretty good too.  In fact, it sounds good now, fall weather makes me constantly want soup.

Your in Health,

Friday, November 5, 2010

Food Safety - This Means You, er.... Rather Me

Experiment:  I ran through the door after 8 on Wednesday night.  I was too impatient to wait out the food in the oven and looked to the fridge for a 'quick fix' to the gnawing in my stomach.  Me: "Hey Lori, you think these (pause to count days in head), 5-day old shrimp Rangoon would be okay if I microwave them."  Lori: "Yea, they're only 5 days old, it should be fine."

Result:  The FDA, CDC and USDA would be disgusted.  Ugh.  About 90 minutes after I ate them I 'felt funny'.  I tried to go to bed with sweats and stomach bulging.  I had no idea what it was.  Even crawling from bed to bathroom to be ill, didn't clue me in.  Duh.  Yes, it was food poisoning.  Though sadly, not the worst case I have ever had.

Lesson:  The 5-day old crab Rangoon in the refrigerator is dead! DO NOT EAT IT!  Almost 40 years into my time on Earth I should know better.  Chances are a combination of shrimp and cream cheese left uneaten for more than 48 hours could turn toxic.  We now have plans to be much more careful at our house.

So, I decided to share this link for any questions you may have about food safety.  It answers all of your basics and I am going to reiterate one more - don't go more than 48-72 hours on leftovers.  That way you will never have to fight the kitten for the water in the toilet bowl.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Inspiration is like Chocolate - You can never get enough

Stam's Fall Bon-Bons
It's time for our weekly dose of - 'if they can do it, I can do it!'  Today I am sharing a link to one of my favorite places to pop inspiration like bon-bons.

It's Women's Health Magazine. Each month they feature another woman who took control and made the change.  These women may have lost 30 pounds or 130 pounds, but the thing they have in common is empowerment.

So, flip through and see if you don't just find someone that makes you feel like you are looking in the mirror and inspires you to be better.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Feel Better - Vote

This blog is about my journey to be a healthier person.  I workout, I try to eat better, but there is a mental health aspect as well.  I address it briefly from time to time, but today is a good day for a reminder.

Sometimes we feel like everything is out of our control - truthfully it often is - but you can do your part to effect your preferred outcome.  Voting is one of those things.

You may never have met a candidate for governor or congress.  You may not have been following all of the issues that will appear on the ballot.  But you are an intelligent person who, with a few clicks on news sites and a Google search or two, can catch right up.

Using your intelligence and just a few minutes, you can release the pent-up frustration often felt when you don't believe anyone is listening.  Marking that ballot can be like letting the air out of a balloon, suddenly you don't feel so full - you feel looser, more pleasant and the stress is no longer pushing against you.

Will your candidate win?  Will your issue pass?  Maybe, maybe not.  The important part is that you participated, you released.  Plus, you can have a sense of pride because you showed your respect to our founders and every generation since that has fought for that right to vote.

And who couldn't use a little more feel good?

Yours in Health,

Monday, November 1, 2010

How Many Calories Does That Mini Candy Bar Have?

I vowed I would not be a Halloween Grinch and ruin the frivolity of the weekend with the reality of the calories.  But, it's Monday and November, so now is probably a good time to tell it like it is.

Candy, like everything else, can be consumed in moderation.  But when the portions get smaller, the reality meter is distorted.  They're so small, so I can eat 10 right?  Um, yes and no.  Yes, if you are accounting for them in what you eat.  No, if you are just blindly shoving them down because they seem harmless.

Besides a look back at what we have eaten, I wanted to blog this because most of these candies don't go away. On the contrary, they are repackaged featuring snowmen and reindeer and become 'holiday treats'.  That means this information isn't late, it's early. :)

I was going to go dragging around the internet and find calorie counts and serving sizes and then lay them out from best to worst.  Instead this morning I opened my Twitter and I found Hungry Girl had already done all the work.  In fact, she did an awesome job.  So, I have decided to share her hard work with you - Hungry Girl Halloween Candy Guide.   (I am a big fan of work smart and you don't have to work hard.)

Yours in Health,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Restoring Sanity

I admit it, I wish I was in Washington, D.C. right now at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.  I have been watching the stream online and can feel the power of the people.  It is enlivening and gives me hope.  We all need more sanity.

I don't think politicians and the media realize how much their saber rattling and pontificating fray reasonable people's nerves.  Or sadly (and more likely) they do.  It's what gets them support and ratings.  If that's the case, it's sick.  And it's not just one political party or one network, they all pander to our emotions.

We need to take that power back and call for reason.  My friend Maxine Sieleman from PRAISE 940, gave me a great quote for an article I wrote about her, “You can lead me, but you can’t drive me.  I don’t want people telling me what to think, I’m not stupid.  Instead I want to tell people what is happening and let them make their own decisions.” - YES!  

Give me the facts, not your opinion of the facts, not a spin on the facts, the ACTUAL facts, I can take it from there.  Everyone can.  We are intelligent people, common sense tells us to ask questions if we are confused or need more information to form an opinion.  Trying to sway me or scare me will only make me mad and disenfranchised.  I guarantee if you talk down to me like I am three in an attempt to impress upon me your self-perceived intellect, I will balk.  

So, let's bring back reason.  Speak kindly, discuss don't argue.  Smile even when someone says something ugly, it will confuse them. 

And the greatest thing about restoring sanity?  You feel better.  Your stress drops, you eat less and you have time for yourself instead of worry.  

I'm watching the Rally, even as I go to the gym today.  I feel like I can breath a little more each time I see someone embrace reason.  Perhaps by the end of the day my worry lines will have released and I will even look a little younger. :)

Have a sane and sensible day,


Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I promised earlier today on LITE 104.1 that I would post pictures from our Halloween Potluck.  The first one is me as a cowgirl.  The second is my hugely creative friend Calvin as a sock monkey!  This is the same guy that made a complete replica of Floppy as a costume two years ago.  We want to drag him to bars and win money with him, but he won't let us. ;)  The final shot is all but three of the people who dressed up today, missing are Tom Selleck, another cowgirl and a deviled egg.

You can see I have lost weight too!

Calvin is so cool, I want to be him when I don't grow up.

Most of our motley crew.

Bonus picture: My current Facebook profile picture
featuring my very own Obi-Wan Kenobi.
If you are a fan of LOL Cats, you understand the meaning.

Also, I am still working on finding an example of that killer move from Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center.  Maybe by tomorrow.

Yours in Health,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This and That and the Other Thing

The last 48 hours have been a blur.

Work has been crazy, but we put the next edition of Intuition Magazine to bed this afternoon, so that was huge.  Really like this issue, it's fun, very holiday.  The cover is beautiful, which has everything to do with our model Lindsey, great photography by Paige and design by Jolene.

One of my bosses and dear friends is leaving, we had her going away breakfast this morning.  I ate too many eggs AND had hash-browns - I know, I let my emotions eat for me.

Yesterday, I had a strenuous workout with Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center.  Tomorrow I am going to find a video of the torture exercise she likes to have me do, um, it's hard.  Whine. But I also know my abs greatly benefit, so I am torn. ;)  The day before that it was a water workout.  Those are really hard, but I love them.  I have even taken to doing an almost identical one at least once over every weekend.  I am seeing nice results.

Today, no workout, but then Thursday has become my day off.  Tomorrow it's back in the pool or maybe upstairs with weights because I missed Monday.  (No voice.)

I just finished writing a press release for a special concert that will be announced tomorrow morning.  That's all I can tease, but I promise details over the weekend.

Okay, that was enough rambling for three people, so I am going to wrap up and finally go home.  Good night.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chilly Day Calls for Chili

I am going to regularly post recipes again.  This one is a favorite that is lower calorie and tasty as heck.  With the cooler weather it seemed the time to share this one.

White Chili with Ground Turkey

Yours in Health,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laryngitis - I don't think it's fatal

Yesterday I told you I was hoarse from yelling at the Race for the Cure.  Today I woke up and my voice was barely audible.  With the help of much coffee I was able to do my shift on LITE 104.1, but then I had to go home. 

Radio is not a business you can be quiet in and everyone was at my desk.  So, I am finishing out the day at home.  I did not go workout because I am also not feeling that hot.

There are people who think I might stop breathing if I do not talk - you know who you are.  But don't worry, it's not fatal.  I'll be back at work and gym tomorrow, even if I don't have a voice.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Race for the Cure - Des Moines 2010

My voice is gone.  I stood at the finish line of the Race for the Cure yesterday with the ladies from the Mercy Cancer Center.  We were cheering on the 25,000 heroes who were helping raise money and spirits in the fight again breast cancer.  I cheered loudly, used my clapper, gave high fives and was inspired.

Thousands of people streamed past me - women, men, children, dogs - all with one purpose, the eradication of a deadly disease.  A disease that will infect 1 in 8 women and 1 in 100 men and affect hundreds more who love those people.  With early detection it doesn't have to be a killer, but it still has to be battled - a team makes that easier.

And that's what you saw yesterday, team after team - Testes for Breasties, Amanda's Army, Team Fight Like a Girl and many other creative efforts put forth for a little fun in a sea of serious.  People walked and ran for victims who had lost their fight.  Women came in wheel chairs because they were too sick from chemo.  It wasn't a place to extol traditional physical beauty - many were bald from radiation, no make-up, one breast - instead it was beauty of spirit that caused cheers and claps.

I was moved, not only by the vast swath of pink that was moving in unison through downtown Des Moines, but by the power of love.  I was honored to be on the side of the street where survivors walked by in a special chute, just for them.  They smiled, they cried, they cheered, they hugged, they danced in pride - they made us all believe.

Thank you to Mercy Cancer Center for inviting us to be a part of the cheer section that welcomed everyone back to the capitol, it was wonderful, even if I have no voice to say it out loud. ;)

Yours in Health,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inspiring Stories of Weight Loss

I wanted to start sharing stories about other people on the path to health again. Today I was on the Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center website and found Dave's story.

I have been to the site many times and seen his face, but never clicked. It's a great story! He set realistic goals, sought help to make it happen and is nearly at his goal. He looks great and feels even better.

Some days are harder than others. Some days you look at your car keys and the gym seems too far away. Sometimes the burger wins. But if you look around, someone has been through it too. Hearing their story can help.

I figured I would start in our own backyard.  So, here is the link to the video of Dave.

Mercy - Center for Weight Reduction

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Staring at a Blank Page

Staring.  Nothing.  In fact, I have come back several times over the last couple of hours and nada.

So, I will just quickly note that I had a great workout today with Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center.  She made me whine.  That means she pushed my limits and that's a very good thing.

With that I think I will go home for the night.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do you pay her to do that?

When I train in the pools at the YMCA Healthy Living Center with my personal trainer Gwyn, we are quite the draw for those with a natural curiosity - today was no exception.

I had put in 25 minutes doing laps and then Gwyn came to join me in the lap pool.  We took over the lane as she had me run up and down the length of the pool.  I did tons of jumping jacks, ab work and swam with water weights as my arms made their windmill through the water.  Between my laps and her workout, I am sore and tired, but invigorated.  I have come so far and it feels great.  The little ladies at the pool have a different view....

Most of the ladies are older, especially since I workout during the day, and they aren't rockin' the killer attitude I am.  They are there to stay fit or if they are trying to get fit, throwing a punch under water never passed through their mind.

I fully admit, we draw attention to ourselves, we splash around like a herd of horses drowning.  But I love their reactions, it really makes my day.  They sometimes stare, sometimes laugh and often comment.  The most popular question is "Do you pay her to do that to you?"  I always smile and says, "Yes, I want to work this hard."  That's met with head shakes, further quizzing or people wanting to ask Gwyn about training.

I actually love it.  I love telling people about how hard work pays off.  About how great Gwyn is.  And when I hear the words that make me go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week, not "you are looking good", instead - "you are inspiring."  If I can help one person feel the urge to go to the gym or eat healthier and therefore they live longer, I have done my job and yes, I would pay for that.

Yours in Health,

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Did You Say? Some Exercise Terms - Part 2

Sorry I didn't post over the weekend.  I worked 13 hours on Saturday and just rested and did laundry yesterday (never happens), so I didn't get a chance to blog.  That said, here is part two of our glossary of terms heard around the gym.

Fiber - From Dictionary.comthe structural part of plants and plant products that consists of carbohydrates, as cellulose and pectinthat are wholly or partially indigestible and when eaten stimulate peristalsis (moving along the waste) in the intestine.  Basically it helps fill you up AND helps keep you regular.  It can also help control blood sugar. 

Free weights - Any weight not attached to a machine.  Dumbells are the most used, but barbells and heavier weights are available as well.  Do not use the latter without someone to 'spot' you.  Spotting means standing there to catch the weight if you lose your grip or footing, so the weight doesn't crush you.

Glutes - The shortened name for the muscles in your buttocks.  Real name - gluteus maximus.  

Lats - latissimus dorsi muscles.  Working this muscle helps whittle down your sides and back.  

Ligament/Tendon - I have combined these because they have similar purposes.  Both are bands of tissue that holds things in place - ligaments connect bone to bone, tendons connect muscle to bone.  Years ago I had a guy run over me playing softball and he tore up those and every other part of my knee - proving the two thick fibrous strands are good neighbors.  Famous tendon - Achilles (up the back of your leg).  Famous ligament - anterior cruciate (in your knee).

Brad Pitt as Achilles - okay, couldn't help it.
Lunges - A move to strengthen lower body muscles, especially helpful with quads (see below for meaning) and glutes.  You start in a standing position and then lunge forward with one leg to end up in this position.
Lunge position
Machines - You hear "I'm going to hit the machines".  That's any machine that involves a weight bearing exercise.  On a rare occasion someone will say that when they are going to a cardio machine like a treadmill or stair-stepper, but most of the time they mean weights.  And remember, even if the weight is controlled by a machine, you can still injure yourself, so have someone walk you through them the first time.

Protein - Again, from - They consist of long chains of amino acids connected by peptide bonds and have distinct and varied three-dimensional structures, usually containing alpha helices and beta sheets as well as looping and folded chains.  In layman's terms - this is the building block of muscle.  It's can be found in meat, beans, seeds, nuts, grain, fish, dairy and a number of other sources.  DO NOT lifts weights without eating protein, your body will revolt.

Quads - Quadriceps femoris.  A large group of muscles in the legs.  Most commonly referring to the muscles on the upper front of your legs - aka- your thighs.  

Rep - Any complete motion in a set of exercises.  Each complete motion is one rep, these are often done in sets of 12 to 20 depending on what you are trying to accomplish.  This is not just s reference to weights, it can be non-weight exercises like sit-ups too.

Shin splints - Pain at the front of your lower leg or just to the inside front of your lower leg.  This can be caused by a number of strains, the most noted are overuse and sudden change in workout.  Examples - Overuse happens when you run everyday and a sudden change would be going from walking to running out of nowhere.  I have had bad shin splints before.  Only three things fix them - rest, anti-inflammatories and ice.

Squats - Imagine sitting, without a chair.  That's the basic idea behind a squat and encourages the idea of not bending your knees more than 90-degrees, which is better for your knees.  In fact, I was kind of scared scrolling the Internet looking for a picture of a proper example for you.  There are a lot of people that are doing them wrong!  You can do them with or without weights, against a wall, with a ball and one legged, but you should consider not going lower than 90-degrees, unless you have really awesome knees.

Beginner squat - the chair is a great safety net.
So there you go.  Between this entry and this one, you have the basics of 'gym speak'.  If there are other things you overhear and wonder about, let me know.

Yours in Health,