Friday, December 31, 2010

About BMI

What is BMI?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and is a number based on your weight in relation to your height. Although it is not a measure of body fat, it does assess your health risk for weight-related conditions.

Find your BMI  
The calculation for BMI produces a range of healthy weights. There are also many charts available. To read this one: Find your height in inches on the left column. Then find your weight to the right.  Go upwards to find your BMI.

 Link to this Chart

The weight ranges for each height are generous (ex. 5'2" is 104-131); the weights on the higher end for each height is for those adults with a larger body frame.

What does your BMI Number mean?
As BMI goes up, your risk for weight-related diseases goes up as well.

For people who are considered obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) or those who are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and have two or more risk factors, it is recommended that you lose weight. Even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity. People who are overweight, do not have a high waist measurement, and have fewer than two risk factors may need to prevent further weight gain rather than lose weight.
Talk to your doctor to see whether you are at an increased risk and whether you should lose weight. Your doctor will evaluate your BMI, waist measurement, and other risk factors for heart disease.
The good news is even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing those diseases.

National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Chutney

You only think you don't like Brussels Sprouts! 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Cranberry Chutney

You’ll Need
Fresh Brussels Sprouts (~15-20)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Coarse Sea Salt / Kosher Salt
Cracked Pepper
1/4 c. Dried Cranberries
1 tsp. Fresh Orange Zest
1/4 c. Slivered Almonds
1/4 c. Orange Juice (freshly squeezed from the orange you used to zest is fine)

Optionals:  Fresh garlic cloves, apple cubes, walnuts, hazelnuts, fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400. Wash spouts and cut the base (stem) off each sprout, as you're doing this cut each sprout in half or quarters, from top to bottom. Place sprouts (and optionals) on a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes; sprouts will be fork tender.

Place sprouts (and garlic) in a bowl, pour in orange juice and stir. Add almonds and cranberries and stir. Plate and top with a touch of orange zest. Can be served cold or hot.

When you roast Brussels Sprouts the bitter taste is reduced, trading it for a nutty taste!

Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins K and vitamin C: 156 grams (just over 1/2 cup) of Brussels sprouts contain 273% of the RDA for vitamin K, and 161% for vitamin C. They are also a very good source of folate, vitamin A, manganese, dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin B6, and a good source of tryptophan (an essential amino acid), thiamin-B1, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, riboflavin-B2, vitamin E, copper and calcium.There is a growing body of evidence pointing to Brussels sprouts as a powerful cancer prevention food. Plant phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts enhance the activity of the body's natural defense systems to protect against disease, including cancer.

10 Reasons to Move

Whether you're involved in sports or just want to live a more active lifestyle, physical activity pays big for just about everyone. Research has proven that moving can pay off in these and many more ways:

  1. Trim Body -- if you're physically active, you'll have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight, or losing it and keeping it off. 
  2. Less Risk for Health Problems -- studies show that regular physical activity improves several health risk factors, including lowering LDL "bad cholesterol", lowering triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, increasing HDL "good cholesterol". These are all implicated in Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and some Cancers!
  3. Strong Bones -- regular, weight bearing activities (walking, running, weight lifting, skiing) help make your bones stronger, reducing your risk for fractures and osteoporosis.
  4. Strong Muscles -- strength-training just 2 times a week keeps your body strong, making it easier to move during daily activities. Don't forget your heart is a muscle too; it needs strength to pump blood and oxygen through the over 60,000 miles of blood vessels.
  5. More Endurance -- you won't tire as easily over time as you become physically active, and you'll have more stamina.
  6. Better Mental Outlook -- active people have more self-esteem, feelings of well-being, and a positive "can-do" attitude.  Read More
  7. Stress Relief & Better Sleep -- research shows that exercise helps your body relax and release emotional tension, which in turn, promotes longer, better quality sleep, and falling asleep faster.
  8. Better Coordination & Flexibility -- your body will move with greater ease and range of motion.
  9. Injury Prevention & Recovery -- when you're active, you can more easily catch yourself if you slip or trip, and more quickly move away from danger. Recovery is also aided by maintaining your doctor's recommended activity levels.
  10. Feel Younger, Longer -- research suggests that physical activity will actually slow the physical effects of aging. active people will also have more strength, mobility and fewer limitations as they age!
Just remember, moving now will help later, and it's never too late to start!

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    What is a Phytonutrient?

    Phytonutrients and Functional Foods: Super Foods for Optimal Health

    Guest Author, Kathleen Klotzbach, Rutgers University Extension

    “Let food be your medicine and  medicine be your food” was a tenet espoused by Hippocrates in approximately 400 B.C.1 Almost 2,500 years later, this philosophy is once more of utmost importance, as it is the “food as medicine” philosophy that is the core of functional foods.

    What are Phytonutrients and Functional Foods?

    “Phytonutrients and functional foods” is a broad term that has attracted significant attention from scientific  researchers, health professionals, and journalists. Although there is no consensus on an exact definition,  “functional foods” usually refers to foods containing significant levels of naturally occurring, biologically active  components that impart health benefits beyond the basic essential nutrients. These components may play a vital role in disease prevention and health promotion, but there is no Recommended Daily Allowance for them. Such substances may have a defined effect on a person’s physical, mental, or physiological well-being.
    They could impact people’s metabolism and immune systems, protecting them from disease. They could also affect their risk of heart disease, cancer, or other illnesses, as well as aging and mood.

    What are the Benefits of Phytonutrients & Functional Foods?

    Phytonutrients and functional foods components have been associated with the prevention and/or treatment of at least four of the leading causes of death in this country, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, along with the prevention and/or treatment of other medical ailments including neural tube defects, osteoporosis, abnormal bowel function, and arthritis. In recent years, the focus of nutritional research has shifted from the prevention of nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin C deficiency with scurvy, or niacin deficiency with pellagra, to prevention of chronic diseases. Researchers have only just scratched the surface of the identification of various compounds, their disease preventive properties, and their efficacy against certain diseases. Many questions still remain. Although the mechanisms of action in a variety of phytonutrients have been uncovered, many more need to be investigated. The National Cancer Institute estimates that one in three cancer deaths are diet related and that 8 of 10 cancers have a nutrition/diet component. These figures alone suggest that the potential impact of  phytonutrients and functional foods on the health of Americans is worth examining.

    What are Examples of Foods with Functional Components?

    These are just a few...
    • Oats contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease via the lowering of blood cholesterol, a recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
    • Garlic are rich in allicin and related compounds, it appears to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. These compounds may also stimulate immune function and slow the growth of cancer cells.
    • Tomatoes get their red color from lycopene, a carotenoid that fights the uncontrolled growth of cells into tumors. Consumption of tomatoes and tomato products such as sauce, catsup, and tomato paste may reduce risk for cancer of the colon, prostate, bladder, and pancreas.
    • Soy Products (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, miso, etc.) contain genistein and other cancer-fighting isoflavones. These compounds suppress formation of blood vessels that feed cancer cells and interfere with the body’s synthesis of estrogen, possibly reducing the risk for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
    • Flaxseed contains lignans, powerful antioxidants that are believed to stop cells from becoming cancerous. It also contains alpha-linolenic acid, the plant version of omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
    • Broccoli contains indoles that may protect cells from damage by carcinogens and help the liver inactivate estrogen-like compounds that may promote breast cancer.

    At this point, scientific data is incomplete to argue that any one food prevents or cures disease. Experts agree that scientific evidence related to functional foods is still unfolding. The best dietary advice is to follow the recommendations of the food guide pyramid and consume at least the minimum of 3 vegetables and 2 fruits per day.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Roasted Green Beans

    Roasted Green Beans
    You’ll Need
    Fresh green beans
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Balsamic Vinegar
    Coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
    Cracked Pepper

    Possible garnishes: Grated cheese sprinkle, chili pepper, black sesame seeds, slivered almonds, Japanese pepper sprinkle

    Pre-heat oven to 350 Trim green beans by cutting off ends. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle liberally with salt and cracked pepper. Roast in a 350 oven until beans are cooked to desired. For extra flavor, allow the beans to blacken a bit, take about 20-30 minutes.

    You can trim green beans relatively easy by grabbing a handful, making 1 end even in your fist by tapping them on the counter. Trim with kitchen shears. Reverse the beans in your hand to make them even on the other end. Trim 2nd end with shears.

    For a snack that will feel like you’re eating French fries, leave the beans as long as possible. You can even arrange them in a “haystack” or in a short drinking glass.

    Roasted Beets w/ Blue Cheese

    Roasted Beets w/ Blue Cheese

    You’ll Need
    Latex Gloves (keeps your hands from turning pink!)
    4-5 Whole Fresh Beets
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Coarse Sea Salt / Kosher Salt
    Cracked Pepper
    Blue Cheese Crumbles

    Preheat oven to 350-400. Wearing latex gloves, to prevent staining your hands, scrub the beets under warm water with a vegetable brush. Keeping the gloves on, cut the leaves and stalks off of the beets and discard. Cut the beets into quarter wedges. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Arrange the beets on the cookie sheet and drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.

    Bake beets about 1 hour, or until fork tender. Allow to cool slightly and sprinkle with blue cheese after plating.

    Roasting the beets will bring out the nutty flavor and remove some of the tanginess associated with raw ones.
    Serves well with white meats such as fish, turkey or chicken.

    Can be served cold or hot.

    Beets are an excellent source of heart-healthy folate (About Folate) and a very good source of the antioxidant manganese and heart-healthy potassium. Beets are a good source of digestive-supportive dietary fiber, free radical scavenging vitamin C and copper, bone-healthy magnesium, and energy-producing iron and phosphorus.  For more information on the benefits of beets: Info about Beets!


    Chicken Breast in Simmered San Marzano Tomatoes

    Chicken Breast in Simmered San Marzano Tomatoes

    You’ll Need
    1, 16 oz.  Can of San Marzano Tomatoes or other Whole or Diced Peeled Tomatotes  (but trust me, the San Marzanos are heavenly!)
    2-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
    2-4 Cloves Chopped Fresh Garlic
    ½ to Whole, Coarsely Chopped Medium White Onion
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Coarse Sea Salt / Kosher Salt
    No-Stick Cooking Spray
    Parmesan cheese “curls”

    In a large frying pan, heat about 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Simmer the garlic and onion until the onions are translucent. In a grill pan sprayed with No-Stick Cooking Spray, grill the chicken breasts until completely cooked through.

    Once the garlic and onion are cooked, add the entire can of tomatoes, crushing them with your hands or with a wooden spoon as you add them. Cook until heated.

    Plate the chicken breast and spoon tomatoes onto the chicken. Garnish with parmesan cheese curls. Add dried red peppers for some heat!

    Because canned tomatoes have been cooked in the canning process, their volume of Lycopene is increased. Lycopene is a carotenoid (a phytonutrient) with antioxidant, cancer-preventing properties. Canned tomatoes is one of the 14 Super Foods.   Mayo Clinic Article About Lycopene


    How to Submit Your Own Recipes

    How to Submit Your Own Recipes

    If you have a healthy recipe you'd like to share, email us!

    There are a few criteria:

    - Give us some idea of why you think it's healthy.  You could include the calories/fat/protein per serving (get this from  The cooking method is healthy... stuff like that!

    - You must have had someone else try it, and liked it.  We don't want any random recipes out there!

    - We love basic ingredients! The Superfoods are great! "Whole" foods are good! No processed foods is super!