Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

Health and Wellness Associates

Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

 

News Picture: Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in SeniorsDiets heavy in red meat and fatty foods could help spur a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, new research suggests.

The study found that people who ate more typical Western diets were three times more likely to develop an eye condition that robs you of your central vision — late-stage age-related macular degeneration.

“What you eat seems to be important to your vision, and to whether or not you have vision loss later in life,” said study lead author Amy Millen. She’s an associate professor in the department of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, in Buffalo, N.Y.

“People know that diet influences cardiovascular risk and the risk of obesity, but the public may not know that diet can affect vision loss,” Millen said.

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when a part of the eye called the macula is damaged. Sometimes this happens when deposits called drusen grow on the macula. Or it can occur when new blood vessels keep forming and leak blood, scarring the macula, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Genetics and smoking are known risk factors for age-related macular degeneration.

The study included almost 1,300 people from a nationally representative sample. Most did not have macular degeneration. There were 117 who had early AMD, and 27 had late.

All of the study participants completed surveys about their diets twice during the 18-year study.

The researchers sorted the foods into 29 categories to measure the quality of the diet.

They found that people who ate a more Western diet were much more likely to develop late-stage AMD. Foods linked to a higher risk included:

  • Red and processed meats
  • Fats, such as margarine and butter
  • High-fat dairy
  • Fried foods.

“Diet is one way you might be able to modify your risk of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration,” Millen said, especially if you have a family history of the disease.

She noted that since the study was observational, it couldn’t prove that eating healthy foods would reduce the risk of AMD, but she said it did show the foods you probably don’t want to eat often.

Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City, wasn’t involved with the study, but said he wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“This study shows what we’ve suspected. A diet high in fatty foods, processed meats and refined grains makes the more severe form of macular degeneration more likely,” Deobhakta said.

Both Millen and Deobhakta said inflammation caused by a less healthy diet and stress on the cells in the eyes (oxidative stress) are likely behind the increased risk.

“The eyes are a sentinel for the rest of the body. In the tiny blood vessels of the eyes, even small changes that you would not otherwise notice in other organs, you will notice in the eyes,” Deobhakta said.

So can you make up for a lifetime of eating poorly? That’s not known. But both experts said that a healthy diet — full of vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens) and fruits and fatty fish — contains important nutrients for eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin.

“It’s difficult to switch the way you eat overnight, but this is almost certainly a decades-long process, so try to slowly move toward more virtuous behavior with food. Try to supplement your current diet with more leafy vegetables and increase your consumption of fish,” Deobhakta said.

And both experts strongly advised no smoking.

The study was published in the December issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?

Health and Wellness Associates

Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?

Remembering to drink enough water is easy during the summer, when higher temperatures and outdoor activities drive the point home. But staying adequately hydrated is just as important during the winter.

Environmental humidity plays a role, said Stavros Kavouras, who directs the Hydration Science Lab at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Central heating causes drier interior environments during the winter, which can lead to increased water loss simply from breathing.

That’s not the only challenge. In cold environments, the kidneys actually excrete more urine, said Joseph C. Watso, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas.

“It’s a small change that could potentially make a difference,” he said. “If you’re not sweating, you might forget to drink adequate water.”

Dehydration sets in when the body loses more water than it takes in.

Even minor dehydration – the level at which people begin feel thirsty – is linked to difficulty concentrating, poor memory and bad moods. And studies have shown people who chronically consume a low amount of water seem to be at higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and urinary tract infections. “High urine flow seems to be protective,” Kavouras said.

News Picture: AHA News: Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?  Kavouras and his colleagues found mild dehydration impaired the function of cells that line blood vessels almost as much as smoking a cigarette. Dehydration also has been linked with inflammation, artery stiffness, blood pressure regulation and other factors that can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Research also has linked poor hydration to diabetes. “Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that’s associated with what we eat, what we drink and how physically active we are,” Kavouras said. “Hydration seems to be part of this recipe.”

Exactly how much water people need can vary.

“Our water needs change from day to day based on factors such as environmental temperature and activity level,” Kavouras said. “If you are an Ironman athlete who trains four hours per day, your water needs are higher than somebody who is sedentary.”

In general, the federal Institute of Medicine suggests women take in 2.7 liters and men 3.7 liters of water per day. That might sound like a lot, but because food contributes about 20% of the daily water total, women should drink 8, 8-ounce glasses and men 12, 8-ounce glasses.

“It’s underappreciated that many fruits and vegetables are 90 to 95% water,” Watso said. “Eating more fruits and vegetables can certainly help you stay hydrated.” Soup, an old winter standby, also counts. “Just be sure to avoid soups with very high amounts of sodium.”

Watso recommends people keep a refillable water bottle with them and sip on it all day. “Your body can only process water at a certain rate, and if you drink too much too (quickly), the excess will be excreted,” he said.

Experts say fluid from tea and coffee – even that eggnog latte – counts toward hydration. Even soda and juices technically contribute to one’s daily fluid intake, although experts do not recommend them because of their high sugar content. Alcohol, however, doesn’t make the cut.

Kavouras advised people to pay attention to how often they use the bathroom. Adults should urinate six or seven times per day. Dark yellow or orangish urine is a sign to drink up.

“Drinking water throughout the day is one of the most effective things you can do to improve health and well-being.”

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Foods, Uncategorized

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

 

Every time I make bread pudding, I chastise myself for not making it more often! Maybe it’s because I don’t always have extra bread around, or perhaps it’s because I’m never quite sure if bread pudding is supposed to be for breakfast or dessert. The last time I made this fall-flavored Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I realized something: I don’t have to have a plan for it! It’s delicious hot out of the oven for breakfast, and the leftovers can be served for dessert later in the day.

This hearty dish is perfect for cold fall and winter days. When the days start to get shorter and the air crisps up a bit, I find myself craving sweet, rich food. That doesn’t always work out too well for my waistline, though. Luckily, with recipes like this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I can have my cake and eat it, too! You see, most bread pudding recipes are loaded up with excess sugars. It takes a lot of sugar to sweeten something as savory as whole-wheat bread. But, we found a brilliant workaround. Want to know how we did it?

You might be surprised to learn that cinnamon and cardamom aren’t exactly sweet on their own. They sort-of trick our taste buds into thinking they’re a sweet spice. That’s because baking recipes almost always pair them with sugar. If you were to taste a pinch of them on their own, you’d find that they’re super pungent, slightly spicy, and a touch earthy.

But, when you combine them with something sweet, these spices really bloom. They actually help fill out our palates, allowing us to really taste any sweetness in the dish. Using these spices is part-one of our super-secret hack to make this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding recipe more healthy. Part two: applesauce!

Instead of using a ton of processed sugar, we swapped in applesauce instead. It gives the bread pudding extra body while allowing the naturally sweet apples to shine.

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 6 slices whole-wheat bread , using gluten free works too
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk (or, milk of your choice)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped apples

options:  raisins, cranberries, nuts all work well

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Cut your bread into 1-inch cubes and place them in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, eggs, applesauce, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat the mixture with a whisk until everything is well combined.
  4. Fold the apples into the mixture before pouring the contents over the bread cubes. Press the cubes down into the mixture to make sure each one soaks up the liquid.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until the pudding is set and no longer jiggles when you shake the pan. You can also insert a knife into the middle of the pudding to make sure it comes out clean.
  6. Allow the pan to cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
  7. This pudding can be served hot or cold. Store it in the refrigerator (covered) for up to two days.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

 

At a party over the holidays, someone informed me that spinach and artichoke dip is no longer “in.”

I had no idea that food, especially near-universally crowd-pleasing food, could fall so easily out of vogue.

Then again, this came from my sister, the same one who has insisted for years that no one gets acrylic nails anymore. All I can say is last time I went in for a full set, I was in line behind plenty of other ladies waiting to get plastic glued to their fingertips.

Likewise, my sister imparted this sage wisdom over none other than a spinach and artichoke dip that she herself had made. So whether or not it’s still “in,” we all still love it.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach, cooked and liquid squeezed out
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese on high until fluffy. Add the artichokes, spinach, garlic, cheese, half the salt, and half the pepper. Mix on low speed just until combined.
  3. Carefully cut open the side of the chicken breast to create a pocket. Stuff each with the cream cheese mixture. About 3 to 4 tablespoons per chicken breast.
  4. In a large oven safe skillet, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is very hot, add the chicken carefully so the filling does not fall out. Cook each side about 1 to 2 minutes or until each side golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 10 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked though.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Yields: 4 servings | Calories: 389 | Total Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 806mg | Carbohydrates: 16g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Protein: 54g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

5 Triggers to Autoimmune Diseases

I couldn’t believe what the consultant was telling me.  He couldn’t see anything on the MRI scan that could be accounting for my pain, but as it was December he wanted to help me throug…Autoimmune diseases are increasingly common. About 50 million Americans are suffering from a least one kind.

If you have an autoimmune disease, it means that your body is basically attacking itself. Your immune system goes into overdrive and sees everything as a threat. Trying to protect you from this perceived danger, it starts fighting and attacking its own tissues and cells, mistaking them as hazards. This can lead to pain, discomfort, and all kinds of issues depending on the autoimmune condition you have.

So what are the top 5 triggers common in almost all autoimmune diseases?

 

5 Autoimmune Disease Triggers 

1. Sugar.  Processed sugar is a common offender for anyone’s health. It leads to inflammation and can trigger autoimmune symptoms. Use organic honey and eat dates, fruits, and root veggies for sweetness.

2. Quinoa.  Though it is gluten-free and a trendy protein-rich pseudo grain, in large amounts, it can actually provoke your immune system. Limit your quinoa consumption and stick to other gluten-free products instead.

3. Gluten. Gluten is a well-known offender of health. People with Celiac disease know to stay away from it, however, it is destructive to anyone with any other autoimmune condition as well. Switch to gluten-free to stay safe.

4. Dairy.  Due to molecular mimicry, casein in dairy can act like gluten in your body. It can cause your immune system to go haywire and trigger your symptoms. Switch to plant-based alternatives.

5. Milk chocolate.   It may be yummy, but all the refined sugar, dairy, unhealthy fats, and possible artificial ingredients make milk chocolate the enemy. Switch to dairy-free, extra dark chocolate, raw cacao, and carob products. If you need sweetness, fruit and root veggies are your best options.

 

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Making Lifestyle Changes You Can Live With

                       Making Lifestyle Changes                           You Can Live With

News Picture: Making Lifestyle Changes You Can Live With

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights two important steps for improving diet and exercise habits. The first is getting practical and personalized tips for making changes that you’ll permanently adopt. The second is developing the inner motivation needed to help make the first step stick.

The study recruited adults from a rural area in the South with limited access to a gym and other health-oriented facilities. To help them make positive changes, each had four sessions with a wellness counselor who gave recommendations tailored to their lifestyle. These included making realistic changes to the typical southern diet they normally ate, with an emphasis on how to make better fat and carb choices.

They were also given a fitness goal of 30 minutes a day, such as walking at least 7,500 steps at least five days a week, plus information on where to find farmers markets for healthier food as well as local parks and schools where they could walk.

Although researchers thought that rural participants would have a harder time making healthy changes than city dwellers, those who lived in the country lost more weight and became more active than those in healthier, more supportive environments. In fact, some became so motivated that the farther they lived from a gym, the greater the number of steps they took.

Everyone trying to lose weight can apply these findings to meet key goals. Consider a personal evaluation from a dietitian to get tips you can easily put into action and which, in turn, can boost your inner motivation. And this can be especially helpful if you live in an area with few resources.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Just 2 Weeks On The Couch Starts To Damage Your Body

Just 2 Weeks On The Couch Starts To Damage Your Body

News Picture: Just 2 Weeks on the Couch Starts to Damage Your Body

A new study proves that the old adage “use it or lose it” is definitely true when it comes to fitness.

After just two weeks of sedentary behavior, formerly fit people had:

  • A decline in heart and lung health
  • Increased waist circumference
  • Greater body fat and liver fat
  • Higher levels of insulin resistance

“The study showed that two weeks of reduced physical activity — from approximately 10,000 steps per day down to 1,500 per day — caused changes in health markers that are associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said study author Kelly Bowden Davies. She’s a lecturer at Newcastle University and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

But the good news from the study is that the body seems to quickly bounce back once you start moving again.

“It’s important to note that when people resumed their normal activity levels after this period, the negative health changes were reversed,” she said.

The researchers recruited 28 healthy, regularly active adults. Eighteen were women. The average age of the study volunteers was 32. Their average body mass index (BMI) — a rough measure of body fat based on height and weight measurements — was just over 24. A BMI under 24.9 is considered normal weight.

The study volunteers had been quite active, normally clocking about 10,000 steps daily. Bowden Davies said most of this was just from daily activity, rather than structured exercise. She said they usually participate in no more than two hours of structured exercise weekly.

The researchers asked the volunteers to cut their activity drastically. They dropped an average of just over 100 minutes a day, the researchers said.

After two weeks of couch potato life, the study volunteers underwent a battery of testing. These results were compared to findings measured when the study started.

Bowden Davies said cardiorespiratory fitness levels dropped by 4% in just two weeks.

Waist circumference rose by nearly one-third of an inch. Liver fat increased by 0.2%. Total body fat went up by 0.5%. Insulin resistance increased and triglyceride (a type of blood fat) levels went up slightly.

Fourteen days after resuming activity, these measures all bounced back, the investigators found.

“Even subtle increases in activity can have a positive effect on health. Moving more and breaking up sedentary activity is encouraged,” Bowden Davies added.

Dr. John Osborne, an American Heart Association spokesman, said this was a very interesting, and somewhat surprising, study. The findings validate advice he gives his patients. “If you can be a shark or a turtle, be a shark — always moving. This study showed you can lose the benefits of exercise very quickly, but the good news is that when they became sharks again, all the benefits came right back.”

Another expert who reviewed the study, Dr. Edmund Giegerich, chief of endocrinology and vice chairman of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in New York City, was also somewhat surprised by the magnitude of changes that happened in just two weeks.

Giegerich said the study confirms how important it is to stay active.

“Going from being sedentary to more active can help a great deal in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Just try to be more active. You’ll feel better, and if you’re trying to lose weight, it can help a little. You don’t have to run a marathon. Walking is fine. Just get up and get moving,” he advised.

Both experts pointed out that the study was small, and in a larger group, the findings might be different. The study was also only done for a short period of time.

Bowden Davies, Osborne and Giegerich all suspect that if people who are at a lower fitness level stop almost all of their activity that the results might even be worse.

The study was presented Wednesday at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting, in Barcelona. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’re published in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Top Five Kidney-Friendly Foods

Your Top Five Kidney-Friendly Foods

 

Are you looking to add some kidney-friendly foods
to your diet? Do you want to try a variety of tasty,
healthy, nutrient-rich foods? Try the following top
five foods that are friendly for those with kidney
disease (or at risk of developing it).

Produce of the Month Guide: Cranberries is an informative guide on cranberries and includes a round up of 35 fresh cranberry recipes!
1. Cranberries
If you have not heard it before, cranberries are
a great natural way to help prevent and treat
urinary-tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries contain
an abundance of proanthocyanidins (PACs), which
are a type of compound that prevents infectious
bacteria—especially E. coli—from sticking to your
urinary-tract lining. Fortunately, this prevents the
bacteria from populating and, therefore, prevents
infections from developing.
Cranberries are even thought to play a role in
maintaining good heart health by lowering your
bad cholesterol levels and increasing your good
cholesterol levels.
Cranberries can be found fresh in season between
October and December; however, it is likely that your
grocery store may be importing them from elsewhere
year round. Choose berries that are firm, plump, and
rich in red color. The deeper the red coloring, the
more anthocyanins are present. Cranberries can be
stored up to 20 days in your refrigerator—or for years,
if kept properly frozen. Discard any berries that end
up soft, discolored, or shriveled.
Cranberries are a rich source of manganese,
vitamin C, and fiber, as well as lots of phytonutrients.
Remember: the extra fiber can help manage those
blood-sugar levels, thus reducing your risk of kidney
disease.
You gain their maximum nutritional benefit
while enjoying them fresh, as many of their nutrients
are destroyed in high heats. Consider replacing

vinegar or lemon juice in recipes and incorporate
cranberries into your salad dressing. They can even
be added to your salads, with their tartness balanced
out by something sweet like mandarins. You could
also use dried cranberries in salads and trail mixes or
add them to hot or cold cereals.

Raw salmon fish fillet by karandaev. Raw salmon fish fillet with spices cooking on cutting board. Top view#fillet, #karandaev, #fish, #Raw
2. Fish
Fish that are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids
(such as salmon, mackerel, rainbow trout, and
herring) are kidney-friendly protein sources. Their
healthy fats help reduce inflammation, lower blood
pressure, decrease bad cholesterol, and increase
good cholesterol. All of these are important factors
not only for improving your heart health but for
improving your kidney health, as well.

 

This is perfect garlic. Photo by DonnaTurner Ruhlman
3. Garlic
Garlic is an excellent way to add great aroma and
flavoring to many dishes. More so, it is a great way
to reduce your sodium intake by avoiding salt and
replacing it with garlic. Just make sure not to use garlic
salt. Since your kidneys are responsible for regulating
a healthy balance of minerals, including sodium,
this kidney-friendly alternative helps relieve some
pressure from your kidneys without compromising
any flavor.
Garlic is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6
,
and vitamin C. It may moderately reduce your blood
fats and your overall cholesterol levels. Furthermore,
it can help protect against oxidative stress and
inflammation, which are both responsible for causing
damage to your blood vessels. By incorporating garlic
into your diet, you can improve your heart health
and ensure that you are keeping your blood vessels in

top condition. You want them to be able to properly
filter your blood!
Garlic bulbs are available year round in your local
grocery store. You can store garlic uncovered in a
cool, dark place for about a month. Make sure that
when you are selecting bulbs, they are firm and free
from any mold or sprouting. You also want them to be
free from cracks. Avoid bulbs that appear shriveled
and feel soft.
Garlic can be easily added to many dishes—
especially when pureed. Add it to sauces, soups, or
mashed potatoes, or incorporate it into a hummus dip
in combination with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and
lemon juice. You can even sauté it along with steamed
spinach and a drop of lemon juice.

Putting Eggs On Your Face - DIY Beauty Remedies You Should NOT Try - Photos
4. Egg Whites
If you are looking for a pure protein source with all
of your essential amino acids, then look no further
than egg whites. They’re a great protein option that is
lower in phosphorus than other good-quality protein
sources such as egg yolks and meats. Remember that
phosphorus is one of those minerals that the kidneys
need to regulate in your blood. If you have kidney
disease, you want to account for food choices that
have higher levels of these minerals to help manage
your disease.

You can purchase egg whites in a carton or
separate the eggs on your own. Egg whites can be used
in omelets, mixed with veggies, enjoyed on their own,
or incorporated into a sandwich. You can also add
them to shakes or smoothies to increase their protein
content.
If you are using whole eggs, consider hard-boiling
them, removing the yolks, and adding them to your
favorite green salad.

Cabbage | eCurry - Soma.R - Soma Rathore
5. Cabbage
Cabbage is known to help reduce your cholesterol
levels. Upon consuming foods containing fats, your
liver releases bile into the small intestine to help
break down and digest the fats. Cabbage binds the
bile salts, which contain cholesterol, preventing
it from being reabsorbed by the small intestine.
Therefore, the cholesterol is eliminated through
your feces.
Cabbage is rich in many different types of
antioxidants, including phytonutrients, polyphenols,
and anthocyanins, as well as being a rich source of
vitamin C and manganese. These all help reduce
inflammation and oxidative stress, thus reducing
damage to your blood vessels, and play a protective
role for your kidneys.

 

Dr Victor Marchione

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

The Drink That is Killing Your Night Vision

The Drink That Is KILLING

Your Night Vision

People Share The Scariest Thing They've Seen Driving At Night - Odometer.com

Driving at night can be downright scary.

You could see halos around every light…

Passing headlights can blind you…

And, sometimes, you just can’t see cars, pedestrians, or other objects in the road.

This can be pretty serious and could signal that your night vision is getting worse – and not better.

And although aging does lend a hand in poor night vision, there is something else – a common drink – that could make it much harder for you to see at night.

And that one drink is…

Alcohol!

Of course you know that you should never get behind the wheel when you have had too much to drink…

It’s just common sense.

However, sometimes you have a drink or two and head home to your family.

But here is the problem…

Alcohol interferes with your normal tear development and the size of your pupil.

This could make it much harder for you to see in general – let alone see at night while you’re driving.

This just adds another layer to the harmful impacts of alcohol and your health.

Now, if you want to improve your night vision, then you should limit your intake of alcohol…

 

Remember, we are in this together!

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
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Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

 

 

Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that’s lower in fat and calories but still thrills the crowd isn’t hard. All it takes is a few ingredient substitutions and some clever fat-busting techniques. Let’s take a look at how to make a delicious, healthier Thanksgiving meal.

The Turkey

If you’re hosting a small gathering, buy a turkey breast rather than the whole bird, as breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

“This is simple and delicious, and certainly not rocket science,”  “No need to really add anything or change anything other than the cooking time — mine was done perfectly at 5-1/2 hours. The meat is tender, juicy, and delicately seasoned.”

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Photo by Lori

 

 

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. With a sharp knife, butterfly breasts open to lay flat. Place each breast between two sheets of waxed paper, and flatten with a mallet. Spread the prepared stuffing to within 1/4 inch of the edge of each breast. Sprinkle each one with chopped pecans and dried cranberries, reserving some of the cranberries for garnish. Roll up tightly in a jellyroll style, starting with the long end. Tuck in ends, and tie in sections with string, about 4 sections around the middle and one running the length of the roll to secure the ends.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully brown rolls on all sides.
  4. Place skillet in oven, uncovered. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature is at 170 degrees F (78 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Do not let these get overly dry.
  5. Allow rolls to set for 15 minutes before removing string, and slicing into 1/2 to 3/4 inch circles. Leave one roll whole, and slice the other for presentation. Stuffing will be spiraled into meat. Present on your prettiest platter on a bed of curly lettuce, and garnish by sprinkling with the remaining 1/2 cup pecan halves and the reserved dried cranberries.

“This one is a keeper,” “I make it every thanksgiving instead of the whole turkey — it turns out beautifully every time! Very pretty presentation, too!”

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts
Photo by lutzflcat

 

If you do buy a whole turkey, avoid “self-basting” turkeys, as they often contain added fat. And, it goes without saying, stay away from the deep fryer this year, and roast or smoke the turkey. Stuff the turkey cavity with whole or halved onions, halved lemons or apples, and sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, marjoram, thyme, and/or rosemary. Rather than rubbing the skin with butter or oil, spray it with an oil spray and season it with salt and pepper.

Guilt-Free Gravy

Gravy is one of the biggest calorie culprits on the table. Use vegetable oil rather than turkey drippings when making the gravy — it’s still fat, but vegetable oil is lower in saturated fat and is cholesterol-free.

If you use turkey drippings to add flavor, use a gravy separator. Pour the gravy into a separator and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Some of the fat in the gravy will rise to the top of the glass where you can skim it off easily. Better yet, make a low-fat broth-based gravy or a vegetarian gravy instead.

Lightning Gravy

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a microwave safe dish heat water and bouillon on high, stirring occasionally until just boiling.
  2. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water and mix together; stir into the hot broth and cook on medium for about 1 minute, or until thick, stirring at 30 second intervals.

“This is awesome because it’s low fat, low cal, (for gravy!) and quick,” “I added a black pepper and a small pinch of ground sage.”

Lightning Gravy
Photo by Marianne

 

Slimmed-Down Sides

Instead of loading up your mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream, add some of the starchy water you used to boil the potatoes. The starchy water will give your mashers a low-cal creamy texture and help cut back on fat.

You can also add turkey or chicken broth, evaporated skim milk, or fat-free sour cream to your mashed potatoes. For extra flavor, stir in roasted garlic and herbs. For added nutrition, add pureed cooked cauliflower, parsnips, or turnips — or replace the potatoes entirely with Mashed Parsnips or Mashed Turnips.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine potatoes and chicken broth in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook potatoes on Low for 3 hours. Add cauliflower and continue cooking on Low another 3 hours.
  3. Stir milk, butter, sour cream, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and salt into the potato mixture. Mash with a potato masher or blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency.
  4. Continue cooking until hot, about 10 minutes more.

 

“This was good and a great way of adding extra veggies into a meal,”  I had mine along side some corn and stuffing. It was the perfect accompaniment and easy to make.”

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Photo by bd.weld

Cndied sweet potato casseroles in favor of a low-fat, naturally-sweetened sweet potatoes. Try a cranberry relish or cut down on the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce by adding fruit juices or apple sauce.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool until potatoes can be handled, about 20 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large baking sheet.
  3. Meanwhile, place olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook and stir until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Set shells aside. Place pulp into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, ginger, and sugar to the blender; blend until smooth.
  5. Return potato mixture to a bowl; stir in shallots, Parmesan cheese, and sage. Spoon mixture back into potato skins. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

“These were absolutely fabulous,” says “We aren’t fond of sweet potato dishes that have a lot of added sugar, so this was really to our taste.”

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

y, where it absorbs fat from the turkey as it bakes. It’s hard to slim down a stuffing recipe, so take a small serving if it’s your Thanksgiving favorite. If you can avoid recipes using too much sausage or bacon; wild rice and grains are more nutritious than bread stuffings.

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cook and stir sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, crumbling coarsely, for about 10 minutes. Remove sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Empty pan of grease.
  2. Into the same pan melt the butter. Add the leeks or onions, apples, celery and poultry seasoning; cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, dried cranberries and cooked sausage. Mix all with the dried bread cubes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Moisten with the chicken stock.
  3. Stuff turkey with about 5 cups for a 14 pound turkey. Add additional chicken stock to moisten stuffing if needed. Remaining stuffing can be baked in a covered buttered casserole at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes to brown top.

 

LivinOurLuvSong. “I left out the sausage and used veggie broth. I baked it in a pan and it was perfect.”

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Photo by alexandra5

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Most of the fat in a pie comes from the crust. Try a crust-free pumpkin pie recipe or a reduced-fat graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in flour. Fold in oats. Press into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, until set.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs with white sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour over baked crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, until set. Let cool before cutting into squares.

 

“This is a great recipe,” raves LAURA J JOHNSON. “It makes homemade pumpkin pie much easier and it tastes great.”

Pumpkin Pie Squares
Photo by CC
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