Category Archive for: ‘Eat Well, Be Well’

It’s the great pumpkin

Summer has come and gone and fall is here with treasured treats like apples & pumpkins. It is not even November yet and I have already made my pumpkin cookies more times than I can count. While arguably not the healthiest way to serve pumpkin, these cookies are one way to ensure a hefty serving of this nutrient rich vegetable. Why do I love pumpkin so? In addition to the multiple health benefits, the combination of dark chocolate & pumpkin is divine. Rich in cocoa phenols, dark chocolate contains potent antioxidants (i.e. disease fighters) Not to be outdone by chocolate, pumpkin offers a healthy dose of Vitamin A (great for vision) is a great source of fiber, is low in calories (only 49 per cup) & rich in the (cancer fighting) antioxidant beta-carotene.

Enjoy, but remember indulge in moderation (although easier said then done when it comes to this moist morsel),

Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (you can also do half all purpose, half whole wheat)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (can use fresh)
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla
¾  cup dark chocolate chips (optional) or dried fruit

- Preheat oven to 350 ˚ F
- In a medium bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter & brown sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, molasses and vanilla, beat until smooth.
- Add flour mixture and stir by hand just until combined.  Add chocolate chips and stir just until blended.
- Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough 2 “ apart on a cookie sheet (I bake on silpats).
- Bake for approximately 12 minutes.

Nutrition Facts: (one cookie):
Adapted from One Smart Cookie

Got Sleep?

Drink the Spinach Water…Food Rules – Part 9

  • Traditional wisdom with some science behind it
  • The water from cooked vegetables is nutrient rich!

Be Mindful of Marketing


Cut the Calorie Counting

Recently I have shared my quest to eat more mindfully & must admit that it is still an uphill battle at times.  As I reflect on my healthy living goals, the top priority is to remain active (check) and be mindful about what I put in my mouth (maybe half a check on that one).  I have tinkered with the idea of recording what I eat for a few days.  However, given the obsessive nature of my personality, I am afraid that calorie counting may become my 3rd job.  While I am certainly an advocate of food records, there is a fine line between being aware of what we eat and being obsessed with what we put in our mouths.

As I reflected more on the process of calorie counting I realized that this might not be in alignment with my goal of low stress healthful living.  It was serendipitous that I stumbled upon this article from The Stone Soup arguing against calorie counting. The article goes on to talk about mindful eating and though I think there are certain situations where calorie counting is warranted (certain medical conditions that require calories for weight gain/maintenance, etc) this article is pretty spot on.  I encourage all of you to read it.

  1.  Calorie counting takes the joy out of eating
  2. Counting calories encourages you to eat packaged, processed food
  3. Counting calories doesn’t guarantee you will get the nutrients you need
  4. Counting calories teaches you to ignore your natural satiety cues
  5. Calorie restriction doesn’t work for maintaining weight loss in the long term
  6. Cutting calories doesn’t address the root cause of your problem

Food Rules­, Eat Your Colors, ­Healthy Plates – Part 8

  • The colors reflect antioxidants (think disease fighting)
  • Offers protection against chronic disease in many different ways
  • Think variety!

Source:   Michael Pollan: Food Rules

Fall Apples

The fall season is upon us and my to do list includes attending a University of Virginia Football game, making my favorite pumpkin cookies & apple picking.  Apple picking happens to be one of my very favorite seasonal activities.  I am very fortunate to live in such a beautiful region of the country which offers breathtaking mountain views as we pick our delectable treats..  My old favorite, Fuji, are ripe for the picking in October.  Recently however, I have discovered a variety that rivals my old favorite, Gold Rush.  Gold Rush is a late maturing apple with outstanding fruit quality and long storage ability.  Though not ripe for the picking just yet, November will be the perfect time to stock up on these golden beauties.  The first Gold Rush seedling was planted in the year of my birth, 1973, so it must be fate.  If you happen to live in my neck of the woods, here is a link to apple picking paradise.

7 Foods That Help You Fill Up, Not Out – Part 3

  • Eggs: There are a dozen reasons to love eggs like high quality protein to help you feel energized. On average breakfast egg eaters consume less calories (one study reported 330 fewer calories).
  • Nonfat or Lowfat Greek Plain Yogurt: Thicker than regular yogurt & more protein per serving (up to 23 grams per cup). Top with fresh fruit & enjoy.

Source: Michael Pollan: Food Rules

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules Part 7

Food Rules… Eating what stands on 1 leg
(mushrooms & plant foods) is better than eating what
stands on 2 legs (fowl), which is better than what stands
on 4 legs (cows, pigs & other mammals).

- This proverb offers a good summary regarding the healthfulness of
different types of foods.
- Notice the absences of fish (very healthy & totally legless)
Source: Michael Pollan: Food Rules

3 Diet Rules to Live By

I admit struggling with what to write about for this week’s blog; with a big birthday coming up (yikes) I have suddenly become more mindful of not only what I eat, but how much I move.  I will be the first to admit this is not a glamorous topic to write about.  Sadly, I no longer have the metabolism of a teenage girl (nor the fashion choices) and I have to make extra effort every day to eat less & move more.

To assist in my pursuit for daily healthfulness, I recently purchased a Fitbit, which tracks the amount of steps I take each day.  This device has been a great reminder to move more after my daily exercise is done.  It is easy to achieve your 10,000 steps when you go out for a run, but don’t forget what you do the rest of the day matters almost as much. Research has shown that we are healthier when we move throughout the day, not just during our daily exercise routine.  Additionally, other habits such as alcohol consumption, sleep & screen time make a big difference in our quest for weight management. I am aware that extended couch spent watching DVR Downton Abbey reruns won’t do much for my derriere.  So for now I will relish the end of my 30’s, move more and only watch one Downton Abbey episode at a time.

Check out this great link from Appetite for Health 3 Diet Rules to Live By

- Limit alcohol

- Get enough sleep

- Limit screen time

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