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7 Jul

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Well-Researched: Exercise and Mental Health

6 Jul

Reported in today’s edition of the New York Times: “People who are physically active appear to be at lower risk for cognitive impairment late in life, and for women, a new study suggests, physical activity during the teenage years may provide the greatest benefit.” The study sample was comprised of women, so take the results with a grain of salt if you are one of the other 49% of the population (males). “Researchers concluded that physical activity during the teenage years was associated with a 35 percent lower risk for cognitive impairment later in life.”

Supporting Research on Aging and Maintaining Mental, Physical Health

  • Physical Activity Over the Life Course and Its Association with Cognitive Performance and Impairment in Old Age
    • Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
  • Prevention of Dementia: Focus on Lifestyle 
    • International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 
  •  Debunking the Myths Surrounding Exercise and Older Individuals
    • 2010 New Directions in American Health Care Conference

Later this week I will be dedicating a post on the importance of mental health, which also captures the realm of cognitive impairment. 

Check back later today/tonight – I’ll have more time to summarize the findings from  the following recently posted research areas and if/how they apply to your life! Additionally I’m throwing the results of these two research reports in just for fun :)

  • Coffee Drinking and Cardiovascular Health:  Mostly Good News
    • Journal of the American Association of Integrative Medicine
  • Health Choices and Heightened Awareness: The Art of the Nudge!!
    • Holistic Nursing Practice

4th of July, Part II – Recipes!

5 Jul

First – we had a wonderful sunny afternoon for the beach. High winds & waves equated to sunning while watching sailing and (attempted) surfing!

Then it was back to our place for some napping, relaxing… and more food and beverage consumption! Between beach and meal we snacked on Brie, pepper crackers, olives, apples and a delicious red pepper spread courtesy of our wonderful guests.

AND!!! Installation of my TRX (thanks to my wonderful man!)! Everyone has been trying it out. I’ll be taking it for a more formal exercise period this afternoon.

Here’s a few shots of the meal results and everyone enjoying! All of the recipes are posted below. The grilled meal feeds 6 very hungry people or 8 people with rational appetites!

Please leave feedback if you come up with ways to improve on the meal – I’m always trying to tweak recipes in progress, which some of these are at this time. You’ll see one modification I learned yesterday re: marinades.  Also… I’m not very good at giving specifics in some instances – email me if you need more details and I’ll try to work them out!

Red-White-n-Blue Smoothie {breakfast}  

    We didn’t make this one yesterday, but the servings and tips are as follows. One cup of frozen fruit to one cup of liquids is the basic ratio I use for a one person serving. Red = strawberries, White = bananas, Blue = blueberries. If you use frozen fruits you don’t have to add ice, which makes your smoothie even more filling, in my humble opinion. 

    Fitnessista is a Smoothie Queen and sent out a “call for smoothies” from her readers earlier this year. Check out the awesome readers submissions using the link above. 

    Strawberry, Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette


    • 12 oz bag of baby spinach
    • 1 pound of strawberries, sliced
    • 1/2 pint of crimini or baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 4-6 oz. of crumbled goat cheese (use an amount you like)
    • 1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds 

    Layer all of the ingredients in order – wrap tightly and leave in the fridge for a few hours, if you like.


    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 2 T dijon mustard
    • 2 t shallots
    • 2 t basil
    • 1 t olive oil
    • black pepper to taste

    This makes extra dressing (it’s the P90X dressing!); I used 3/4 of the final dressing. Drizzle over the salad, toss and serve! 

    Grilled Seasonal Veggies with Fresh Herbs – Eggplant, Red Peppers and Tomatoes 
    • 2 red peppers
    • 1 large eggplant
    • 2-4 tomatoes, quartered

      Marinade for Veggies: 

    • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    • + Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on the veggies 

     Slice the peppers into thick (about 1″) strips. Cut the eggplant vertically after cutting off the bottom and top. 

    Place groups of eggplant, pepper and tomatoes into foil packets, brushing with 1 Tbsp of the mixture and then topping with 1/2-1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese. Wrap, place on low heat and cook for 20-25 minutes. You can remove and place directly on the grill at the end of their time, if desired.

    I did not add tomatoes in our veggie packets last night, but placed them in a bowl and added the extra marinade and some Parm cheese as our hors d’oeuvres! Yum! 

    Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter  

    In case you weren’t aware, corn on the cob comes with it’s own wrapper! Buy it whole with the husk in tact, place on the grill for 20-25 minutes (lower heat) until you have nice charring and grill marks on the husk.

    Add BUTTER!! Make this ahead of time, at least a few hours before your meal.

    • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
    • 1/2 pound butter, softened
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

    Grilled Orange-Teriyaki Chicken Drumsticks

    When I did this yesterday I doubled our batch and added 6 oz. of beer to the marinade (time for marinading was roughly 8 hours). After doing a little research this morning I found that I shouldn’t be adding alcohol, so I’m going to skip that for now – but I do love a little beer flavor, so I may rework the “secret sauce” to include some beer.  

    • 10-12 chicken drumsticks

     Make a double batch of the following. One half is used to marinade; the other half is boiled and simmered until it is reduced to a thick liquid used as sauce on the meat while grilling.  

    • 2/3 cup Orange Juice (we like full pulp for this)
    • 1 T Teriyaki Sauce
    • 2 T Brandy
    • 1 T Sweet Soy (this is a thick, sweet sauce – find it at Asian food stores)
    • 1 T Garlic Powder
    • 1 T Onion Powder
    • 1 T Mustard
    • 1 T brown sugar
    • 1 t cayenne
    • 1 t salt

      Grill chicken over low-medium heat. Chicken cooks low and slow; chicken should be on grill 45 minutes to an hour and the temperature should be 230-250 degrees. Add the reduced marinade – now a sauce – in the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, brushing over the chicken. 

    Grilled Peaches with Berry Compote

    4 large peaches, halved – grill at medium heat until they are soft and have grill marks. Then add berry compote and 1/4-1/2 cup of frozen yogurt (my FAVE pictured – love love love Trader Joes!).

    Berry Compote

    • 1  tablespoon  butter
    • 3  tablespoons  honey
    • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
    • Dash of ground cinnamon
    • 1  (12-ounce) bag assorted frozen berries

     Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add honey, juice, cinnamon, and berries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Keep warm.

    Dish the compote over the peaches halves and top with a little frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream. 

    ENJOY any or all of these and feel guilt-free eating lots of veggies, fruits and healthy fats!

    Freedom, Fireworks & Food!

    4 Jul

    Happy 4th of July to all! Thank you to everyone who fought and continues to fight for our country!

    Our 4th is off to a wonderful start, with a trip to the grocery store and prep for a mostly grilled meal! As promised, I will be posting the recipes and pictures later. I have a few of the prep work… just to entice!

    The menu in progress pics! Recipes will be posted this evening!

    • Strawberry, Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette
    • Grilled Seasonal Veggies with Fresh Herbs – Eggplant, Red Peppers and Tomatoes 
    • Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter  
    • Grilled Chicken with a Teriyaki-Orange marinade (+ secrets to making perfect grilled chicken – hint: it’s all about the marinade, which includes a little beer to help break down the proteins; low heat)

    We also have a 90-minute yoga session lined up, but I have to cut this short as I’m holding up our time on the beach the longer I sit and write.

    Happy 4th & Healthy 4th to all!

    And So It Goes

    2 Jul

    Looking forward to the weekend! Here’s what is coming up on Well-in-L.A!

    Magic Castle. Yes! A friend of a friend is getting us into this exclusive Los Angeles venue. Word on the street is you must know a magician to get in… or be famous enough to warrant entrance. Neither of which apply to us. Fun will be had!

    Your true colors!

    Research is a little fuzzy on color evoking specific moods or providing motivation. Anecdotally colors have associations. For instance, red can be equated with danger and energizing (think stop signs, fire alarms, ) things; green with serenity and peace (trees and nature; health is associated with green); blue with color and security (the big beautiful sky)… and on! What colors you choose may say more than you think and impact your daily life from things like your dietary choices to your motivation and work habits.

    Making a healthy-n-well 4th of July menu!
    Cheers to independence and thanks to all who fought hard for this country! I try to show my gratitude for life and everything that makes this country wonderful by staying healthy & well!

    Here’s the menu du jour! Prep + pictures will follow each recipe entry. I’ll try to post recipes the day before.

    • Red-White-n-Blue Smoothie {breakfast}
    • Strawberry, Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette.
    • Grilled Seasonal Veggies with Fresh Herbs – Eggplant, Red Peppers and Tomatoes
    • Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter
    • Grilled Chicken with a Teriyaki-Orange marinade (+ secrets to making perfect chicken – hint: it’s all about the marinade)
    • Grilled Peaches with Berry Compote; topped with FroYo, fo’sho’

      The Pursuit of Happiness
      “Dear You,
      Are you happy? How are you getting or staying there?
      With love,
      Your mental health”

      Mental health is equally important to the other components of health. A little coverage required in here!
      Week One of P90X-lite starts 
      (I’m two weeks behind the man of the house)…I think I might need to add a barometer for my level of pain… ha! Updated meal plan will be posted to my online spreadsheet (shhh… don’t tell BeachBody), as well as my work-out plan. 90 days of planned workouts, here I come!

      {{well}}Researched – highlights from the weekly research feeds! 

      PLUS…A little reformatting and working on the site… integrating social feeds and making the site easier to access and read. I love writing and engaging with people on the topic of wellness. Now I need to learn how to streamline things and be an online maven!

      "F as in Fat"

      2 Jul
      A real entry to come a little later today… something BIG to share in the interim (sigh):

      F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010


      RE: That Milk Mustache!

      1 Jul
      Wow! Thanks for the great responses via Facebook to the post on milk I wrote a couple of days ago! Maybe the guy on the left can handle milk, but then he’s good in any situation with the exception of green rocks in his vicinity.  In seriousness, this demonstrates the far-reaching campaigns of the Dairy Council. Think of the countless number of celebrities and athletes who have endorsed the milk mustache. It’s been a successful campaign for milk money-makers, but I wonder how many of the ‘stache wearers cannot stomach milk in their everyday lives.
      Again – thanks for all the comments posted to FB! {{I know it will take a little time to be comfortable using comments directly on this site, but things will get there in time!}}

      First, the lovin’! (blushes!)
      Then the questions! 
      “Where are the stats from?” was a query I received. 
       Legit sources are muy importante when researching! Here are a few I found information from for this post:
      Additionally there was a question about the mention of cancer in the post… not intended to trigger alarms! The last line of the passage below about “more research needed” is an important point to take away!  
      Here is a re-post what I found on Harvard’s School of Public Health site on the milk-cancer linkage. You can find the sources they cited by clicking on the numbers in parentheses.
      “Possible Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

      High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer. Although such associations have not been reported in all studies, there may be potential harm in consuming high amounts of lactose. A recent pooled analysis of 12 prospective cohort studies, which included more than 500,000 women, found that women with high intakes of lactose—equivalent to that found in 3 cups of milk per day—had a modestly higher risk of ovarian cancer, compared to women with the lowest lactose intakes. (15) The study did not find any association between overall milk or dairy product intake and ovarian cancer. Some researchers have hypothesized, however, that modern industrial milk production practices have changed milk’s hormone composition in ways that could increase the risk of ovarian and other hormone-related cancers. (16) More research is needed.

      Probable Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer
      A diet high in calcium has been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer. (17) In a Harvard study of male health professionals, men who drank two or more glasses of milk a day were almost twice as likely to develop advanced prostate cancer as those who didn’t drink milk at all. (18) The association appears to be with calcium itself, rather than with dairy products in general: A more recent analysis of the Harvard study participants found that men with the highest calcium intake—at least 2,000 milligrams a day—had nearly double the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer as those who had the lowest intake (less than 500 milligrams per day). (19) Clearly, although more research is needed, we cannot be confident that high milk or calcium intake is safe.”

      If you’re looking for an alternative to milk, try almond milk – it’s smooth and creamy! My favorite brands are Silk, Almond Breeze and Pacific. Stick with the unsweetened varieties or you’re adding sugar that negates the otherwise healthy source. The calorie range is 40-60 calories per cup (8 oz). The fat is negotiable since it comes from a good food source. 
      I’ve also learned some people have an easier time digesting unpasteurized milk, but I would say go at your own risk with raw milk sources. 
      P.S. Because the Silk variety is newer than the other two you should be able to score some coupons in-store or online. Prices for all varieties are pretty comparable to the same volume of milk here in California.

      Welcome to continue these discussions on food and your well-being!

      Happy July – any fun plans for the 4th? Any fit plans?? The boy and I are trying to enjoy all the celebrations and stick to our routines and dietary guidelines over the long weekend (P90X). Wish us luck!