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Posts Tagged ‘heart’

11:59 am - Posted by Gregg

Visiting the farmers market during summer months is always a delight because one of my favorite farmers picks out a watermelon for me to enjoy during the next week. When fresh, crisp and sweet, I find watermelon as enjoyable as a bowl of ice cream. And yes — I still enjoy naturally made ice cream or frozen yogurt from time to time. But I balance those treats out with fresh fruit. And during the summer, I do everything I can to enjoy watermelon for all it’s worth.

Studies have revealed that besides being delicious, watermelon delivers several health benefits, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamins A and B6. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which can help neutralize free radicals and help prevent prostate cancer. Watermelon has been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well. Plus, its high water content makes it great for hydration. What’s more, it’s a terrific dessert or snack for kids and can help them understand that not every “treat” has to come covered in fudge.

When given the option at the farmers market, I always go for seedless watermelon. I’m not a happy camper if I must interrupt my chewing with spitting seeds into a nearby napkin (even though I suppose it burns a few more calories).

According to produce specialists, Mid-June through mid-August is when watermelon is at its ripest (with July being the most prized month of all). So let’s go watermelon shopping, shall we?

When picking a whole watermelon, size matters since 80% of a watermelon is water. Pick one of the largest you can find, while making sure the exterior doesn’t have any visible cuts, bruising, dents or soft spots. Experts also suggest looking for a yellowish area on the melon’s exterior, which indicates its ripeness after sitting in the sun.

Next, do what you’ve likely seen other shoppers do — knock-knock on the exterior with your knuckle. You’re listening for a slight echo to your knock, which indicates that the fruit is ripe. A dull thud could indicate otherwise.

When preparing watermelon for guests, or myself, I make sure to make the eating experience as relaxed and “special” as possible — therefore I don’t usually serve it in wedges. Giving food a more delectable presentation is something I strive for almost every time I eat. This helps my brain, eyes and other senses know that I’m eating, which helps ‘up’ the enjoyment factor — and, therefore, the satisfaction and fullness factors.

I suggest slicing watermelon into quarters, length wise, then taking a quarter and carefully running a knife along the red center’s outer edge and the whiteness of the rind. Cut all the way around on both sides, so that the whole quarter of the red stuff could slip out. But don’t slip it out just yet. Next, cut the fruit from side to side, on both exposed sides of the quarter. Finally, cut across your long slices, from left to right, leaving about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch between each slice.

Next, slide your perfectly prepared chunks into serving bowls. But before you serve the fruit, put the bowls into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to give the fruit an extra kick of crispiness.

When time to serve, pull the bowls from the freezer and serve with a napkin underneath (to keep the bowl from being too chilly to the touch). The watermelon chunks should have a minimal layer of frost that kicks up the flavor and the crunchy quotient, making for a texture-y, sweet and delicious eating experience. (Careful not to keep the chunks in the freezer too long or the pieces will freeze and require a little defrosting before being comfortably edible).

Saving the uneaten portion of the watermelon can be handled two ways — either by “chunking up” the remaining portion and putting it into airtight containers and storing in the fridge; or wrapping up the other half or quarters (rind and all) in cellophane wrap and then wrapping them in an additional plastic bag before putting into the fridge (to avoid having to clean up leaked watermelon juice at a later time). Plan on consuming the leftover fruit sooner rather than later to enjoy it at its freshest.

Watermelon. When enjoyed at its peak, it can kick ice cream’s butt anytime. Or, at the very least, tie it in deliciousness.

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November 7, 2016

Excuse the language

10:29 am - Posted by Gregg

Good Reminder JustStopEatingSoMuch.com

Please excuse the coarse language… But I am really moved by this meme and thought maybe some of you would be, too. How many thoughts and voices are we carrying around in our heads that are telling us we’re not good enough or that our dreams and goals don’t matter? Yes, we’ve all been through a lot of stuff in our past. Some of it good. Some of it very challenging. And some of it we wish we could do-over. But that was then and this is now.

Today is a new day — a real chance to let that old crap go and move forward with a free and spirited heart. What we can see, we can be. Whether or not that has to do with our commitment to healthy eating, exercise or another dream or goal that we deserve. So let go of what was and celebrate what is: beautiful, wonderful you.

(And yes, you matter!)

For a helpful PDF you can download and/or print featuring goal setting worksheets, click here.

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5:41 pm - Posted by Gregg

Halloween seems like a perfect time of year to confess that I often compare myself to a zombie. And not because I’m on a constant quest for “Brains… Brains…” — although certainly some people who know me might argue that a mission like that would be appropriate. But no… For me, the “zombie comparison” comes from my commitment to constantly moving — and often stumbling — forward, no matter what kind of odds or circumstances I’m facing.

Picture, if you will, a zombie in a field, moving toward its goal — one (often ungraceful) step at a time. Although this zombie might be missing a limb or two — or even if it’s being shot at — it just keeps on going. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny — only with more blood and guts. Still, there’s something to be admired about the zombie’s drive. And that’s why I often liken myself to one of these undead creatures (even during times of year when All Hallow’s Eve isn’t nigh).

Believe it or not, this comparison can be especially helpful if one has suffered a crisis of spirit due to a recent loss or disappointment. It’s tough to stay committed to one’s goals after experiencing a setback (no matter what aspect of life it pertains to).

Similarly, it’s sometimes tough to walk out the front door when your heart and spirit are heavy — perhaps feeling like you’ve gone one step forward and two steps back (feel free to insert your own analogy here). We all have days where matters of the heart, our health, our career or another seemingly crushed desire (even if just temporarily crushed) seem to weigh us down due to original intentions evading us (no matter how hard we’ve worked to achieve said goals).

Some days it feels almost impossible to keep on moving in the direction we’d originally intended for ourselves. It’s these kind of “down days” that seem to call out for staying in bed and hiding under the covers. Or cheating on our diets. Or picking an argument with a loved one. Or telling our boss off. Or giving up completely.

Again, this can all be likened to the life of a zombie.

After all, it’s not any easier to reach a lofty life goal than it is to dig yourself out of a grave — not to mention move across a large field fast enough to catch up with someone who has two working legs and can likely run faster than you can stumble. Think about it… Neither we nor the zombie totally knows exactly what he or she is doing. And yet the zombie just continues to stumble forward, sure that his or her goal will be worth it. In other words, zombies never give up. And this is something we can definitely take a cue from — whether wanting to reach our goal mindset, goal weight, goal promotion, goal marriage or goal whatever.

Just as a zombie is committed to stumbling forward to reach those sought-after brains — even when being shot at, attacked or even pulled apart (torn limb from limb, for crying out loud) — we can do the same when approaching our goals.

Sure, we don’t always know what obstacles lie ahead of us (setbacks that we can’t predict — even ones that seemingly block our efforts and require us to rethink our strategies from another starting point). But no matter what knocks us down, we have the option of considering it to be a temporary thing and then getting back up and recommitting to stumbling toward our goal. Because eventually — even when stumbling — as long as we’re moving forward, we’re going to reach our desired destinations.

So this Halloween, whenever you happen to see a zombie on TV in The Walking Dead, in a movie or at a costume party (hopefully as opposed to seeing a real one that’s sizing you up like a Thanksgiving dinner), take a moment to acknowledge that you have something in common with the walking dead.

And, of course, if you do happen to see a real zombie, run (don’t stumble) the other way. After all, we need all of the brains that we can hold onto. Besides, the run will potentially do your heart — and spirit — some good.

Image Source: InstaWebgram

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11:19 am - Posted by Gregg

Did you know that September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month? Don’t worry if you didn’t. I didn’t know this either. But turns out it’s a great time to raise our awareness about heart health whether or not we know someone directly affected by heart disease. After all, Atrial Fibrillation is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths every year. And, as usual, prevention is the best remedy for heart health.

Want more information? Check out this helpful infographic below. Then join me in making healthy-minded decisions (such as deciding to eat less fried food and take more walks) that will benefit our hearts (and all of our body parts).

Help spread the word by using this hashtag throughout this month and even during future months: #RhythmicResolutions. The heart you save may be your own! (P.S. Sending a special shout out and thank you to Judy C. who wrote to me about this important issue!)

 

Infographic Source: Atrial fibrillation infographics on Pinterest

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August 31, 2015

Watermelon 101

12:58 pm - Posted by Gregg

When it comes to eating “cleaner” and “fresher” foods, it’s no secret — doing so usually means re-training your taste buds. There are so many additives, food substitutes and chemicals in over-processed junk food that often when we start a healthier eating regime, so-called ‘healthy’ foods taste like cardboard.

In my first book, I write about giving taste buds a couple days (or more) to adjust to the new way of eating – while assuring readers that eventually the healthier food will taste better. And yes, this means the unhealthier foods will begin to taste worse. In fact, I can tell when food is overly processed with too many additives, too much salt or (heaven forbid) has trans fats as an ingredient. It’s not a matter of not eating this junk to avoid going back to weighing over 450 pounds – I simply hate the way these foods taste and hate how I would feel (lethargic, nauseas, physically ill) if I still consumed them.

Thankfully, nature has some goodies of its own that can rival even the sweetest cakes or frozen treats. And one of these bounties is good ol’ watermelon. When fresh, crisp and sweet, I find it as enjoyable as a bowl of ice cream. And yes, I still enjoy naturally made ice cream or frozen yogurt from time to time. But I balance those treats out with fresh fruit. And during this time of year (just before the winter months hit), I do my best to enjoy watermelon for all it’s worth.

Studies have revealed that besides being delicious, watermelon delivers several health benefits, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamins A and B6. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which can help neutralize free radicals and help prevent prostate cancer. Watermelon has been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well. Plus, its high water content makes it great for hydration. What’s more, it’s a terrific dessert or snack for kids and can help them understand that not every ‘treat’ has to come covered in fudge.

When selecting watermelon, I always go for seedless. I’m not a happy camper if I must interrupt my chewing with spitting seeds into a nearby napkin (even though I suppose it burns a few more calories).

According to produce specialists, Mid-June through mid-August is when watermelon is at its ripest (with July being the most prized month of all). Good watermelon can still be found even now. But its time is growing nigh. Even if imported from warmer climates during the winter, it’s likely not as delicious as the fruit the summertime month’s offer. So let’s go watermelon shopping, shall we?

When picking a whole watermelon, size matters since 80% of a watermelon is water. Pick one of the largest you can find, while making sure the exterior doesn’t have any visible cuts, bruising, dents or soft spots. Experts also suggest looking for a yellowish area on the melon’s exterior, which indicates its ripeness after sitting in the sun.

Next, do what you’ve likely seen other shoppers do – knock-knock on the exterior with your knuckle. You’re listening for a slight echo to your knock, which indicates that the fruit is ripe. A dull thud could indicate otherwise.

When preparing watermelon for guests, or myself, I make sure to make the eating experience as relaxed and “special” as possible – therefore I don’t usually serve it in wedges. Giving food a more delectable presentation is something I strive for almost every time I eat. This helps my brain, eyes and other senses know that I’m eating, which helps ‘up’ the enjoyment factor – and, therefore, the satisfaction and fullness factors.

I suggest slicing watermelon into quarters, length wise, then taking a quarter and carefully running a knife along the red center’s outer edge and the whiteness of the rind. Cut all the way around on both sides, so that the whole quarter of the red stuff could slip out. But don’t slip it out just yet. Next, cut the fruit from side to side, on both exposed sides of the quarter. Finally, cut across your long slices, from left to right, leaving about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch between each slice.

Next, slide your perfectly prepared chunks into serving bowls. But before you serve the fruit, put the bowls into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to give the fruit an extra kick of crispiness.

When time to serve, pull the bowls from the freezer and serve with a napkin underneath (to keep the bowl from being too chilly to the touch). The watermelon chunks should have a minimal layer of frost that kicks up the flavor and the crunchy quotient, making for a texture-y, sweet and delicious eating experience. (Careful not to keep the chunks in the freezer too long or the pieces will freeze and require a little defrosting before being comfortably edible).

Saving the uneaten portion of the watermelon can be handled two ways – either by “chunking up” the remaining portion and putting it into airtight containers and storing in the fridge; or wrapping up the other half or quarters (rind and all) in cellophane wrap and then wrapping them in an additional plastic bag before putting into the fridge (to avoid having to clean up leaked watermelon juice at a later time). Plan on consuming the leftover fruit sooner rather than later to enjoy it at its freshest.

Watermelon. It’s not just for summer picnics anymore.

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