Friday, December 30, 2011

Kick-start 2012 with these 5 simple tips

Each year, millions upon millions of us swear that this is going to be the year we achieve our weight loss goals only to give up in frustration a few weeks in.  By applying these five simple steps, it truly is possible to change the way you look and feel about yourself.

1)  Get out of those sweats!  Get dressed for the day even if you aren't planning on going anywhere. Put your face on!  It doesn't have to be a lot, a swipe of mascara or a freshly shaved face for a man is just enough to start your day feeling confident and in the mind frame to make good decisions all day long. 

2)  Eat breakfast within the first hour of waking up to kick-start your metabolism; but despite what everyone says about making it the biggest meal of the day, don't.  Don't waste calories in the AM. Save those calories for nighttime when you are more likely to find yourself with cravings. Instead, make it nutrient rich meal with as few calories as you can without depriving you of essential nutrients. I try to keep my morning breakfast between two and three hundred calories.  The following are a few of my favorite morning staples.

a) Half a whole-wheat English muffin with a smidgen of peanut butter, banana slices if I have any, and honey (I love my honey). 

b) One or Two eggs fried with olive or coconut oil sprinkled lightly with salt, pepper and onion powder until cooked but yoke is still runny. Place eggs on top a slice of extra toasted whole wheat bread and just before eating prick yokes so it soaks into the bread.

c) Fry an egg and if desired, an additional egg white on olive or coconut oil. Once yoke sets, pierce yoke with a fork and continue cooking until yoke is solid. As egg cooks, heat a slice of Canadian bacon in egg pan until ham is nicely brown on both sides. Place ham and egg on a slice of English muffin and top it with the other.  I often eat mine open face to save a few calories and if I have spinach and bell peppers, I add those too!

d) Half a cup of Greek yogurt (I like Fage 2%) topped with honey and fruit of choice. 

3)  Pay attention to fiber and drink LOTS of fluids.  Fiber makes you feel full.  Plus, foods high in fiber are typically healthier options and have the added benefit of fewer calories.  Translation, eat more with less guilt!  

4)  Don't deprive yourself!!!  You can still have that cookie, cupcake or whatever makes life worth living for you.  The key is moderation. Tell yourself you can have that cookie in x amount of hours or after a walk so long as you set some sort of delayed stipulation for the treat.  You may find once the stipulation is reached, you don't actually desire it anymore and will decide to save it for another day.

5)  When cravings take over, distract yourself!  Call a friend, go on Facebook or Twitter, take a walk or just go to bed.  Personally, I've learned I'm more likely to mindless eat when I'm tired or just plain bored.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tea Tree Oil—A Natural Acne Remedy with Clinical Results

by: Jacqueline Fuller

The use of tea tree oil for medicinal purposes dates back centuries. Eastern Australia aboriginals discovered the oil from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant could treat a wide variety of ailments including skin cuts, burns, infections, and sore throats. This powerful traditional medicine even holds up to modern science. Tea tree oil contains organic chemicals called terpenoids which have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial qualities. Many claim topical application can cure almost anything from athlete’s foot to yeast infections to head lice. However, the recent buzz surrounding tea tree oil is about its ability to treat acne.

With its antibacterial and immunostimulant properties, tea tree oil boosts the body’s natural defenses while fighting pathogens. This makes tea tree oil especially useful in treating bacterial infections of the sebaceous glands, otherwise known as acne. The first clinical study of tea tree oil’s treatment of acne was conducted in 1990 by the Department of Dermatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in New South Wales. Researchers compared the effectiveness of 5% tea tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide (the most common agent in acne treatment) in 124 people. Over three months, they found both treatments “had a significant effect in ameliorating the patients’ acne by reducing the number of inflamed and noninflamed lesions.” While the tea tree oil had a slower onset of action, it was found to have far fewer negative side effects than benzoyl peroxide. Seventy-nine percent of patients who used benzoyl peroxide experienced itching, stinging, burning, or dryness. Other than a few mild allergic reactions, patients’ negative reactions to tea tree oil were negligible.

A 2007 study conducted by the Department of Dermatology in Iran had similar findings. One group received 5% tea tree oil while the other group was given a placebo. After 45 days, researchers determined the tea tree oil significantly reduced the number and severity of acne lesions. A smaller scale study in 2002 by the British Journal of Dermatology also concluded tea tree oil works as an anti-inflammatory agent against acne.

Like all acne treatments, tea tree oil will not work for everyone. Use of all essential oils including tea tree oil is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. People with eczema or sensitive skin should be cautious when using tea tree oil. The risk of developing an allergic dermatitis from tea tree oil is rare; however, discontinue tea tree oil use if prolonged negative side effects occur. Most importantly, tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed and should be kept safely away from children and pets.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Does housework really constitute a workout?

by:  Tara Fuller 

Everyone knows housework is work, but is it also a workout?  It certainly can be.  The following are common household chores based on calories burnt over 30 minutes of continuous activity.
           Cooking:   85-100                                      Raking Leaves:  146-225
           Unloading Groceries: 190                            Scrubbing Floors:  100-200
           Dusting:  50-85                                           Scrubbing Tubs:  150-200
           Dish Washing by Hand:  160                       Sweeping:  112-125
           Ironing:  69                                                 Vacuuming:  90-119
           Loading Dishwasher:  105                           Washing Windows:  102-125
           Making Beds:  130                                      Washing Car:  143
           Mowing Lawn:  187                                    Weeding:  115
           Painting:  90-160
Any vigorous activity that raises your heart rate for 20 minutes and longer strengthens cardiovascular health in addition to burning off unwanted fat; but many of these activities are also good for your muscles too. Ironing for instance helps to tone and strengthen the upper body, especially those pesky underarms that seem to have a mind of their own.  And who doesn't want a firmer backside?  Weeding is fantastic for toning thighs and butts.  The key to turning those everyday chores into an efficient workout is to keep focused on your goals and stay moving.                           

Friday, December 16, 2011

Get rid of those yellow armpit and ring around the collar stains for good!

by:  Tara Fuller

Photo Credit:
Who hasn't had a shirt they've tossed out because of those pesky yellow perspiration armpit and ring-around the collar stains?  I know I certainly have, and  it's annoying!  A couple months back, my favorite white t-shirt was in motion to the garbage can when I spotted a bottle of Tilex Mildew Remover and thought, what the hay, what do I have to lose?  So I dowsed the armpits, threw it in the washer and washed it on the hottest cycle I could.  What do you know, it came out clean and white all over.  I can't describe my elation!  Originally, I posted my happy revelation on my personal Facebook wall and several of my friends gave it a try with fantastic results. 
I had forgotten about this trick until this morning when I walked in my daughter's room and saw she was going to throw away a white skirt she obviously let dry next to something dark and probably black. I sprayed that skirt with Tilex Mildew Remover as well as a white t-shirt I remembered seeing in her closet that was in desperate need of armpit revival.  I put both in the washer and what do you know...PERFECTION. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Science behind Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are the most widely used non-permanent method of contraception. A recent study found that nearly one-third of U.S. women practicing contraception are currently using hormonal birth control pills. However, the scientific mechanics behind the pill are largely ignored in sexual education classes and rarely explained by doctors. Many women find themselves daily taking a drug they know very little about.

At its core, hormonal birth control (HBC) uses synthetic hormones to regulate the monthly cycle. There are two types of birth control pills: The combination pill, which contains both estrogen and progestin (a class of progesterone) and the progestin-only pill. Both types suppress ovulation and prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterus, but differ in how this occurs.

The combination pill inhibits production of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH releases two hormones from the anterior pituitary essential to the monthly cycle: Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These two hormones are required for ovulation (the release of the ovum or egg from the ovary) to take place. Without them no ovum matures, no ovulation takes place, and no pregnancy can begin.

Because the combination pill stops these hormones at their source, it is extremely effective at preventing ovulation. However, the combination pill has other contraceptive effects that become very important when using emergency contraception. Synthetic estrogen speeds the rate of ovum transport through the oviduct, decreasing the window of time fertilization can occur. Progestin stimulates the production of thick, pasty cervical mucus that makes sperm travel difficult. It also prevents adequate growth of the endometrium (layer of tissue along the uterine wall), creating a hostile environment for implantation.

Progestin-only pills, often called the mini pill, inhibit LH and FSH levels at the anterior pituitary. These pills are just slightly less effective than the combination pill at preventing ovulation. Without LH and FSH, no ovum matures and no ovulation takes place. This method also has a number of secondary contraceptive effects. Like the combination pill, progestin thickens the consistency of cervical mucus and decreases endometrial growth. However, progestin has an opposite effect on ovum transport. Slowing down the ovum’s movement through the oviduct means the endometrium will begin to break down before it arrives, further preventing implantation.

Mini pills are a slightly less effective contraception option than combination pills. Chances of getting pregnant on the combination pill with perfect use are 0.1% versus 0.5% for the mini pill.  The chances of getting pregnant on both the combination pill and mini pill with standard use are around 5%. The drastic drop in effectiveness with typical use occurs when women do not take their birth control pill at the same time every day. Blood levels increase as the synthetic hormones are absorbed into the bloodstream and then decrease over the next 24 hours. It is very important to take the next pill before blood levels return to normal and natural hormone production begins.

Both birth control pills decrease the risk of endometrial, colorectal, and ovarian cancers. Recent studies find women are still at a lower risk for these cancers years after they discontinue use. A woman on HBC will have reduced menstrual flow because of reduced growth of the endometrium. This also results in reduced production of prostaglandins. Fewer prostaglandins mean decreased contractions of the uterus during menses, lessening the severity of dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps).

There are risks associated with both the combination pill and mini pill. The estrogen in the combination pill increases the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack. These risks are higher for women who smoke, are over 35 years old, have a family history of heart attack, or are already at risk for blood clots. There also seems to be a correlation between breast cancer and estrogen, though results are inconclusive and more testing is needed. Mini pills increase the risk of high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease caused by plasma lipids. Yaz, a specific brand of progestin-only pills, contains a new form of progestin called drospirenone, and has additional safety concerns. These pills raise potassium levels and can lead to kidney, liver, and heart problems. Both pills can cause irregular menses or amenorrhea, the absence of menses, and do not protect against STIs. Every woman should consult with her doctor to find the birth control pill that best fits with her medical needs.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

by:  Tara Fuller

This is a very special cookie recipe that I got from a friend a couple of years ago.  The original recipe called for shortening and only canned pumpkin. Although I am including that recipe for those wanting the original,  less healthier and albeit guaranteed delicious version, I have substituted virgin raw coconut oil for the shortening and added sweet potato in place of some of the pumpkin. These cookies freeze very nicely and taste great right out of the freezer*.
Frosted cookies

3c Sugar
1c Butter, Coconut Oil or not healthy Shortening
2c canned pumpkin (or substitute some for sweet potato)
2 eggs
2 tbs Vanilla
5c Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1tbs Salt
2 tbs Nutmeg
2 tbs Cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Beat sugar, oil, pumpkin/sweet potato, eggs and vanilla in large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth; gradually add dry ingredients (dough will be sticky).  Form into small balls (I like to use a fruit ball scoop) and place on a cookie sheet (I like to line cookie sheet with parchment paper). Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.  Once completely cooled, frost with Cream Cheese recipe below or your favorite store bought variety. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz pkg Cream Cheese, softened
1/4c unsalted Butter (softened)
2 to 3 tsp of unsweetened vanilla flavored coconut or almond milk (regular milk can also be used)
1 tsp Vanilla
4c Powdered Sugar
1 to 2 tsp of Lemon Juice

Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in mixer until smooth and creamy.  Gradually beat in powder sugar, 1 cup at a time on low speed until smooth and spreadable.  Frost cookies and refrigerate. 

*To freeze.  Place cookies single file in a Tupperware or similar bowl.  Freeze 15 minutes or until frosting is firm.  Place another row of cookies onto of the previous row and freeze until second row cookie frosting is firm.  Continue process until container is full.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Coconut oil is the new healthy

Credits:  coconut‑oil.png
by:  Tara Fuller

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the use of coconut oil in recent months; some even touting it as the "healthiest oil on earth."  A simple Google search will return page after page on the health benefits of using coconut oil as a topical application for improved hair and skin to consuming as much as 3 or 4 tablespoons per day to enhance the immune system, promote heart health and weight loss.  For those who have been around the block once or twice, this information is likely to be completely contradictory to what you have ever heard or thought you knew about coconut oil. So what's changed?

The use of coconut oil prior to World War II for baking and frying were prevalent among western countries until  the 1950s when saturated fats were linked to raise bad cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease; and like most things, politics were hard at play.  As many of us learned from watching Food Inc., the United States is the largest exporter of soybeans and therefore, by uniting with the American Heart Association to promote the substitution of saturated fats for polyunsaturates, made it quite profitable for soybean and corn industries to use marketing strategies that encouraged the public to abolish all saturated fats including tropical oils.  

But as time passes, researchers are learning not all saturated fats are created equal.  Unlike other oils high in saturated fats, studies show that natural, non-hydrogenated coconut oil (Virgin) does not raise serum cholesterol or contribute to heart disease as previously thought.  Instead, studies show evidence that coconut oil actually raises HDL, the good cholesterol, thereby improving LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, resulting in decreased risk of heart disease.

Besides breast milk, coconut products, especially coconut fats contain the highest source of lauric acid, a medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which are more easily metabolized by the body than are long-chain triglycerides (LCT) most common of saturated fats and oils.
"Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid." -Mary Enig, Ph.D
Because MCTs are more easily metabolized in the body instead of hanging-out in the bloodstream like LCTs, some believe the body is able to convert the fat into energy before being stored in the body as fat, resulting in weight loss.  However, to date, there are no studies to back these claims.

In a nutshell, adding virgin coconut oil to your cupboard may be a wise investment.  It has one of the longest shelf life of any cooking oil, lasting up to two years before the risk of rancidity; and has a smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  There are many ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet such as into your pastry recipes or in popcorn; but to help you out, here's a great Web site that provides free coconut recipes!

Health benefits are only attributed to unrefined virgin coconut oil because low-quality oil is made from copra instead of fresh coconuts, which loses its health-promoting qualities in the refinement process.  

Health benefits attributed to using Virgin Coconut Oil as part of a healthy diet
  • Improved balance of good/bad cholesterol
  • Helps to prevent:  heart disease, senility, cancer and other age-related diseases
  • Increases metabolism 
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Boosts immune system
  • Aids digestion
  • Improves skin hydration and increases skin surface lipid levels.
  • Fights acne and other skin conditions
  • Reduces signs of aging such as wrinkles and liver spots 
  • Moisturizes hair 

Friday, October 7, 2011

The healthier pie crust

by: Tara Fuller

About This Crust:  On a quest to find a healthier but tasty pie crust was difficult to say at the least.  Not finding what I wanted, I took recipes I thought had potential, combined what I thought would work and adjusted where I saw needed, and Vavoom, a pie crust that's flaky and buttery although no butter is used.  This is the perfect crust for any recipe requiring a pie crust.
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Unbleached Flour
1/4 cup Grapeseed oil
1 pinch of salt or 1/16 tsp
1 tbsp of sugar (for sweet pie)
1/2 cup of chilled water

Whisk flours and salt together in small dry bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Pour oil in separate container and freeze both flour and oil for 1 hour.

After removing from freezer, combine flour and oil until mixture is crumbly.  If making sweet pie, add sugar.  Add chilled water (colder the better) into mixture until dough binds and isn't too dry. Roll dough between your palms to create two round balls and cover each with plastic wrap; and freeze 5-10 minutes.

Place dough between plastic wrap or wax paper (I prefer wax paper on bottom and plastic wrap on top) so dough won't stick to the counter.  Roll dough with rolling pin until desired size and thickness.  Bake as directed for pie recipe or on 350 for 5-10 minutes.  Dough makes enough for one 9" double crust pie.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Does buying Organic really make produce safer?

by:  Tara Fuller

Mom always said: "Eat your veggies" and that's exactly what you did.  You may not have liked the vegetables selected for you, but you ate because frankly, what other choice did you really have?  Now a mother, you likely find yourself mimicking those same words to your own child, if not to yourself as you scoop up a bite of your not so favorite vegetable or fruit.  This on-going battle continues from generation to generation because the health benefits of a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables are key components for improving health and reducing many prevalent health ailments. 

However, unlike the days of our parents, shopping for produce has become much more complicated. No longer can we just grab and go but instead, we must weed through isles upon isles of produce bins labeled with terms such as conventional, organic and local.  And if this weren't enough, now we throw GMOs in the mix.  Yes, deciphering which apple is the healthiest has become quite complex and can be very time consuming and expensive.

So does buying organics really make them safer? In theory yes, because when you buy organic produce it means the food was grown without synthetic pesticides, genetic engineering or irradiation; which when given in high amounts (significantly higher amounts than commonly found in food) to animals, are proven to cause cancer and birth defects among other serious health issues.  However, despite these studies, the amount of these substances consumed from food has not been linked to any adverse health effects in humans.  Some experts go as far to say, just because it's organic doesn't mean it's going to be better or cleaner.  The argument is that because many farms use manure as a fertilizer as well as 100 different pesticides, which can be used on organics, doesn't eliminate all contamination.  This is why, despite whether or not that cantaloupe was grown organically or not, it is important to wash the melon thoroughly before slicing into it. 

Knowledge is power.  And you may think to yourself that just because scientists haven't proved a link between non-organic foods and adverse health effects, you would rather avoid what you can just to be safe.  But, you can't afford the cost of organics, so what can you do?  There is another option.  Buying locally grown foods are usually less expensive than organic and although not certified, often meet the same standards as does organically grown foods.  The reason many small farmers don't label their products as organic is because they aren't able to afford USDA certification.

Another reason to consider locally grown foods as opposed to organic are because they are local.  First and foremost, buying locally grown foods typically taste better because they are harvested at just the right time for consumption.  Whereas many conventional and organic products are picked well before their maturity and left to ripen on trucks, boats and planes as they make their cross-country and/or intercontinental journey to your local grocer.  In a nutshell, buying local keeps harmful toxins out of your body, supports your local economy and reduces environmental pollution caused from transportation; and it tastes good!    

Unfortunately, buying organic and locally grown foods aren't viable options for many people struggling in today's difficult economic condition.  It can be costly and outright unobtainable for millions of families.  And it is important parents understand that buying conventional doesn't make them bad parents!  Above all, the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you possibly can!  The benefits of consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetable far outweigh any risks of pesticide and hormone exposure.

If you can afford to make some changes, each year, Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases the  "Dirty Dozen" fruits and vegetables that they recommend should be bought organic as well as the "cleanest" fruits and vegetables; which contain the least amount of pesticide exposure.  EWG recommends shoppers use the lists as a guide when shopping for produce as a way to lower pesticide intake. 

Print your own EWG's 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Helping homeless youth in Southern Oregon just got a whole lot sweeter

Credits:  www.webnuggetz.c
 by:  Tara Fuller

The Cupcake Daily is a quaint, mother and daughter business enterprise in the hub of Talent, Ore. The women have made it their mission to make giving back to the community, the earth and their customers
evident in their day-to-day practices. Keeping true to their mission, The Cupcake Daily is earmarking all its tips for the month of October to the Maslow Project.
Maslow Project is a small, grassroots, nationally recognized outreach center for at risk and homeless school aged youths through age 21.  The organization depends on the generosity of its community members to ensure homeless youths' basic needs are met.  In addition to food, clothing and hygiene products, Maslow Project provides on-site access to a variety of services from community partners and assists youths' educational, employment and personal development goals while providing them the tools to succeed in those goals.
Maslow Project provides support and services to over 14-hundred youths in the Rogue Valley. 
"Maslow Project’s mission is to help youth build strong foundations by fostering self-sufficiency, removing barriers to services and education, and providing centralized access to resources. We are committed to treating youth and families with integrity, compassion, and respect. Through community collaboration, we empower youth to grow into healthy, productive, and independent members of society." -Web site 
Please show your support by tipping generously on your next visit to The Cupcake Daily.  If you are not able to make it to The Cupcake Daily but would like to make a donation to the Maslow Project, you may do so at their website.   

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has - Margret Mead


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

E. coli contaminated beef products RECALLED

by:  Tara Fuller

Due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are recalling approximately 131,300 pounds of Tyson Fresh Meats products sold at Kroger.

Products under the recall are stamped with Best Before or Freeze By date of Sept. 12, 2011; and 245D along the package seam. The products were produced on Aug. 23, 2011.  

  Recall includes the following:
  • 5-pound chubs of Kroger-brand ground beef packed in 40-pound cases containing eight chubs. Cases bear product code D-0211 QW. These products were shipped to distribution centers in Indiana and Tennessee.
  • 3-pound chubs of Butcher's Brand ground beef packed in 36-pound cases each containing 12 chubs. Cases bear product code D-0211 LWIF. These products were shipped to distribution centers in North and South Carolina.
  • 3-pound chubs of a generic label ground beef packed in 36-pound cases each containing 12 chubs. Cases bear product code D-0211 LWI. These products were shipped to distribution centers in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin
"E. coli is a bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, very old and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider."
If you have questions or concerns regarding the recall, please call 866-328-3156 or visit FSIS Web site. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fundraising for Haitian orphans: Runninng Waters 5K

Running for Water
by:  Tara Fuller

More than a year and a half has passed since Haiti's devastating earthquake that left millions homeless, displaced with no access to clean water. Many relief organizations continue dedicating their time and resources to make clean, parasite free water accessible for Haitians.

The Haiti Orphan Project (HOPE) has organized "The Running Waters 5K" fundraiser to raise money to build a well for children at Philadelphia Orphanage in Haiti. 
"The Running Waters 5K will raise money to purchase the materials and manpower to build this much needed well. 100% of every entry fee goes straight to the children at Philadelphia Orphanage! Come on out to the Keane Insurance Group building on October 8 and Run for Running Water!"--HOPE webpage.

If you are interested in making a donation to bring clean, parasite free water to orphans but aren't able to make the run/walk, donations can be made on online.

Event Details:  135 W Adams Ave, Kirkwood, MO 63122 
Date/TimeOctober 8, 2011 at 7:30 am
Registration Cost: $25 Entry Fee (Before Oct 1) and
$30 Entry Fee (After Oct 1)
Shirt: Cotton T-shirt of Your Choice!
Packet Pickup DatesKeane Building Lobby
10/6 – 4:00pm-7:00pm
10/7 – 3:00pm-6:00pm
10/8 – 6:30am-7:30am

Best Chilled Pear Salad


1 large Lemon Jello
2 cups Boiling Water
20oz can Pears*
8oz Cream Cheese
1 cup Pecans
1/2 pint Whipping Cream

Directions: In clean dry bowl whip cream until firm peaks form, set aside.  In blender, add boiling water, Jello (left Jello dissolve), Cream Cheese, Pear Juice and blend on low speed until incorporated.  Pour mixture in a bowl, gradually and gently fold Whipped Cream, pecans and sliced pears into mixture. Chill 8 hours or until mixture sets.  Toss gently with spoon before serving.  

*If anyone finds a way to utilize fresh pears, please share. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Keep your kids safe online

The Oregon Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General, John Kroger want parents to stay proactive in keeping their children safe online.  Drawing attention to the many advancements technology has brought to the classroom  by enriching the educational experience has also inadvertently, introduced dangers that were non existent just a few short years ago.

Most parents are aware of the dangers associated with social networking sites as a means for child predators to find victims, but unfortunately, it is not the only danger. There has been a lot of attention in the media lately focusing on the rise of cyber-bullying. Often peer-to-peer instigated.  There are tools parents can use to help negate this destructive, abusive and dangerous use of social media.

Get wise: Parents should review their child's privacy settings on social networks and Web sites commonly frequented and used; and limit who can view the child's profile. Make sure personal information is limited if at all, such as phone numbers, email addresses and where they live and go to school. Help kids understand what information is okay to share and what is not.  A lot of information about a person can be inferred by what a person posts despite the strictest privacy settings.

Keep the computer out in the open:  By having computers used out in the open can help discourage children from visiting unapproved and inappropriate Web sites.

Open Communication:  It may feel like you are talking to a wall when speaking with your children, but kids really do listen.  Let them know you accept them and are always there for them.  It is important to stay cool even under the most uncomfortable subject matter. Children are more willing to hear what a parent thinks if the parent stays approachable.

For more information on how to keep your kids safe online, please see DOJ also offers free presentations on internet safety.

If you are a member of your local PTA or another school or community group and would like to learn more about this opportunity, please contact Or your state's Department of Justice.

Should you soak nuts before eating?

by:  Tara Fuller

Whether you are a raw-food proponent or just trying to boost your health, eating nuts may help you get to where you want.  Studies show eating a handful of almonds, 30 minutes prior to a meal can substantially decrease the amount of calories a person consume at that meal. This is largely due to the nut's fiber, protein and healthy fat components.  It is a trick, I myself have used for years to help with my weight loss goals.  But it is not the only reason a person should inculcated nuts in their diet.  

Although tiny in size, nuts are packed with heart healthy nutrients.  According to the Mayo Clinic, almonds, walnuts and other nuts, help lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a healthy diet; and apparently it doesn't really matter what nut you choose so long as it isn't a Coconut.
"Walnuts are one of the best-studied nuts, and it's been shown they contain high amounts of  omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are other nuts that appear to be quite heart healthy. Even peanuts — which are technically not a nut, but a legume, like beans — seem to be relatively healthy. Coconut, which is technically a fruit, may be considered by some to be a nut, but it doesn't seem to have heart-healthy benefits. Both coconut meat and oil don't have the benefits of the mono- and polyunsaturated fats."
As it turns out, what you do with that nut before you eat it can make a difference on how much of its powerful nutrients are absorbed by your body as it digests. This is why many choose to soak raw nuts overnight before eating.

The main reason to soak nuts before eating is to neutralize the Enzyme inhibitors.  These enzyme inhibitors, such as phytic acid are nature's way to protect the nut until proper growing conditions are met with the right amounts of rain and sun; but left as is, makes it difficult to digest and therefore, limiting its nutrient absorption.. When you soak nuts, it mimics nature by releases toxic Enzyme inhibitors that help break down gluten for better digestion and the absorption of more vitamins and minerals. This may be why many people with gluten intolerance are able to eat nuts without a problem.

Soaking times vary depending on the nut.  This chart  by Veggie Wave may be useful for finding just the right amount of soak time.  However, suggested soaking times for your particular nut can easily be found via a simple browser search.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Does everyone's pee smell bad after eating asparagus?

Picture:  Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board © 2000.
by:  Tara Fuller

In truth, less than half us are able to detect what many refer as the "stinky pee" effect after eating asparagus.  Only about a quarter (more or less depending on which study you read) of people carry a special gene that allows them to smell the "asparagus odor" shortly after consuming this nutrient rich, spiky green vegetable.  But just because you can't smell it, doesn't mean it doesn't stink.

 Researchers  believe the vegetable's sulfurous amino acids break down during the digestion process that produces the pungent chemical component, occurs in everyone.  Meaning, even if you aren't able to smell it, rest assure, your pee does stink!  This unfavorable smell can be detected in urine as quickly as 15 minutes after consumption.

Fortunately, most of us are able to enjoy this vegetable without having to wear nose plugs.  But those special enough to carry the gene, doesn't mean you should refrain. Asparagus is a highly nutritious. It is chalk-full of naturally occurring phytochemicals of gluthathione, folic acid and rutin; and is a great source of protein, vitamin A and C, iron and calcium.  In fact, beside the orange, it is the second best whole food for folic acid; which is known to reduce risks of certain cancers, liver disease, heart disease and spina bifida.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Winner's of Allure magazine's 'Best of Beauty', 2011

As featured on TODAY, Allure magazine releases the cream of the crop in beauty product winners of its October 2011 'Best of Beauty'.  Which products have you tried and do you agree?  

1)  Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock, $10*, is a winner they say due to its breakthrough formula. This product can be applied directly onto wet skin without the white streaky mess common among sunscreens. The difference, tiny molecules penetrate through moisture and adhere to the skin, providing a protective barrier from harmful sun rays.

2)  Sally Hansen Salon Effects, $10, are polish stickers that Allure say "look like real nail polish." The stickers use a medical grade adhesive that can last up to 10 days; and are easily removed with nail polish remover. 

3)  Nars Blush Orgasm, $27, makes the 'Best of Beauty' list for the twelfth consecutive year. Its universally flattering shade has hues of peachy-pink and subtle hints of gold shimmer, which is why Allure say it's the color for women of all skin tones.

4)  Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, $24, is fragrance free, sunscreen free and antioxidant free moisturizer that Allure say works great alone under makeup or as a layering product that won't peel or cause problems.

5)  La Roche-Posay Redermic [R], $55, is a breakthrough anti-aging treatment for wrinkles because it works under the skin, eliminating redness and irritation often resulting from retinol treatments. Allure say they received unsolicited recommendations by eight dermatologists who believe in this product.

6)  Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner, $24, developed by MIT scientists to eliminate frizz by binding to the hair creating a shield to keep healthy moisture in and bad moisture out. 

7)  Maybelline Volum'Express The Falsies Mascara, $8, this super inexpensive drugstore mascara wins the 'Best of Beauty' award because it creates the illusion of false lashes without making them look spiky or spidery.

8)  L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in British Red, $9, red is the must have lip color for fall and L'Oreal Colour Riche in British Red is an inexpensive option that also wins 'Best of Beauty' award for lipstick because the color is beautiful and so is its packaging. 

9)  Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Pur, $30, Allure awards this gloss as the 'Best of Beauty' in lip gloss because it lasts long and is never sticky.

10) Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash, $8, creates a barrier on the skin to keep moisture locked in so skin stays soft.

Read in detail Allure magazine's 'Best of Beauty' in the October 2011 edition.

*Prices are approximate and may vary depending on store

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nut Absorption

Nuts and Body Weight 

by:  Tara Fuller

Nuts are sort of strange nutritionally. On the one hand they are generally very nutritious, they provide a decent amount of quality protein and, although sometimes high in fat, the fats they contain are generally of the healthy kind, nuts are generally high in fiber as well. Nuts are also a good source of magnesium, Vitamin E and research indicates that they may contain important phyto-chemical compounds beneficial to human health; diets containing nuts have also been shown to improve blood lipid profiles. On the other hand, they can be extremely nutritionally dense (that is, providing a lot of calories in a very low volume). This gives them the potential to negatively affect body weight.

However, a fairly large body of research indicates that nuts don’t seem to impact body weight negatively, at all. That is, various research studies have provided some amount of nuts in addition to the normal diet to see what happens to body weight. In general, the addition of nuts has had limited or no impact on body weight. Phrased differently, despite the addition of calories from nuts, weight doesn’t change/isn’t affected. What’s going on?  Research has identified three possible mechanisms to account for the observed results.

Satiety: Nuts appear to increase fullness and calories from nuts seem to be compensated later in the day. That is, it’s suggested that the calories from nut intake results in a spontaneous decrease in food intake later in the day such that total energy balance is unchanged.

One type of study, called a preload study has examined this, providing a fixed number of calories from nuts and then seeing what happens to spontaneous food intake at a buffet type meal later on. Invariably, nut intake (one study tested almonds, chestnuts, and peanuts) causes people to eat less at the buffet meal
However, despite the impact of nuts on fullness, this still isn’t sufficient to account for the lack of an impact on body weight from nut consumption and other mechanisms must be at work.

Increased Energy Expenditure: Some work has identified an increase in energy expenditure due to nut intake; some research has found an increase in resting energy expenditure with chronic nut intake as well. This could be due to the protein content (protein has the largest effect on TEF for example), the fatty acid profile, or both.

Increased Fecal Energy Loss: With nut consumption, there is increased energy loss in your poop, that is, some proportion (one study found a 7% increase) of ingested calories are excreted without absorption. This is likely due to the fiber content of the nuts or some other compound that limits digestive/absorption capacity for nuts.

The three factors above have been shown to account for 95% of the total energy value of the nuts so there are still small amounts unaccounted for. In any case, nuts, despite their high energy content, simply don’t seem to have the negative impact on body weight that one might expect. Which, mind you, doesn’t mean that you can eat them with no attention to portions or intake of other food, recall that a big part of the above effect is due to caloric compensation. If you’re adding a ton of calories from nuts and don’t end up reducing your intake from other sources, the potential for fat/weight gain certainly is there.
Which is basically a long way of saying to eat them, just not without paying some attention to overall intake.

Reference:  Mattes, RD. The Energetics of Nut Consumption. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr (2008) 17 (S1): 337-339.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Perfect Guilt-Free Dessert

by:  Tara Fuller
The 17-day diet has become the rage with many of my friends trying to adapt a healthier lifestyle.  And although everyone seems to be pleased with their increased energy, clearer skin and weight loss, sugar cravings continues to be a battle.

Here is a healthy, no guilt treat that is chalk full of probiotics, fiber and protein, all of which are all allowed during cycle one of the plan. It is so delicious I've been making it for years with the exception of Truvia in place of sugar.

1c Greek Yogurt
1 Apple
1 Packet of Truvia

Place yogurt in a bowl and sprinkle with Truvia.  In a separate bowl, wash and chop 1 small apple into bite size pieces and sprinkle with cinnamon, which is one ingredient that has been linked to boost metabolism. Microwave a minute or so until soft.  Pour onto cold yogurt, stir and ENJOY. If you sprinkle a little granola (just a little, it's very high in calories) on top, it tastes just like apple pie without the guilt.

Please let me know what you think?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How Many Calories Does Jumping Rope Burn

by:  Tara Fuller

How many calories does jump roping burn? On average, skipping rope burns about 11 calories per minute. If you crank up the intensity of your jumps, you can burn in the neighborhood of 20 calories per minute.
It’s easy to see why this exercise is easily one of the best cardio activities you can try.
You can jump rope anywhere – indoors, outdoors, on a side of a road – all you need is a jump rope. Jumping rope builds cardiovascular endurance and works almost every muscle in your body.

Unlike walking, which incidentally is another great calorie-burning exercise, jumping rope is not considered a low-impact activity, but it nicely complements walking.
Whether you need to lose some weight or just want to maintain or even improve your fitness level, try this exercise routine: walk at your top speed for 5 minutes, then jump rope for 1 minute, keep switching between walking and jumping rope for a total of 30 minutes.
Aim for three walking/jumping sessions three times a week for two weeks.