Happy Thursday!

Let’s kick off 2018 with one healthy habit change! How about we start with breakfast!

Eating a good breakfast makes sure there is plenty of blood sugar in your bloodstream that your body converts to energy. For many of us, when our blood sugar dips, our body responds with food cravings. These cravings tend to lead us to unhealthy choices.

When it comes to breakfast, which group do you fall in?

  • “I’m a champ and I eat a healthy breakfast every day!”
  • “Do you call coffee and a donut breakfast?”
  • “Who has time for breakfast, lunch is my first meal of the day!”

Eating breakfast is a great way to fuel up and energize your body! The key is what type of fuel are you putting in?

A healthy breakfast should include one starch (grain), one dairy (high calcium), one piece of fruit and/or vegetable. 

Examples of one starch (grain)

  • 1 cup cereal (think baseball size)
  • 1/2 cup hot cereal (think 2 golf balls size)
  • 1 slice toast (whole grain preferably)

Examples of one dairy or high-calcium food

  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt

Example of fruit

  • 1 orange
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cup berries

Here are some ideas for healthy breakfasts:

Breakfast 1

1 English Muffin
1  scrambled egg
1 orange

Breakfast 2

1 slice of toast
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup berries

Breakfast 3

1/2 cup low-fat granola
1 cup low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup mixed fruit

For breakfast on the go:

Breakfast 1

1 hardboiled egg
1 apple
4 Whole Grain Crackers

Breakfast 2

1 low-fat cheese stick
1 4 oz glass of 100% juice
1 Slice of whole grain toast

A few healthy breakfast recipes:

Low-Carb Breakfast Enchiladas

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. low fat milk
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 c. baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 c. black beans
  • 1 c. quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. Shredded Monterey Jack
  • Chopped avocado, for serving
  • Cilantro, for serving
  • Pico de gallo, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a square baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until very froth. Season mixture with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook “tortillas”: In a small nonstick pan over medium heat, melt about a half tablespoon of butter. Add about 1/4 cup of egg mixture and swirl pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the middle of the eggs are set. Remove from heat and repeat, adding more butter as necessary.
  3. Make filling: In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon. Remove bacon pieces from skillet and drain most of fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add spinach, black beans and cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. On a cutting board, lay one egg tortilla. Top center with spinach filling and bacon then roll up tightly. Repeat with other tortillas and filling.
  5. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce into baking pan. Add enchiladas in a single layer. Drizzle more sauce on top, then top with cheddar and Monterey jack. Bake until cheese has melted, about 15 minutes.
  6. Garnish with cilantro, chopped avocado and pico de gallo. Serve warm.

Recipe Source: Delish

Carrot, Cranberry, and Pecan Muffins

  • 1 c. wheat bran
  • 1 c. whole-wheat flour
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt
  • ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium parsnip
  • 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ c. pecans
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-hole muffin pan with 10 paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the wheat bran, flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, buttermilk, oil, and egg. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix to combine. Fold in the cranberries, carrot, parsnip, and ginger.
  3. Divide the batter among the lined muffin cups, sprinkle with the pecans and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Recipe Source: Good Housekeeping

Peanut-Apple Crunch Balls

  • ⅓ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup rice and wheat cereal flakes, coarsely crushed
  • 1 cup bran flakes, coarsely crushed
  • ⅓ cup finely snipped dried apples
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts
  • ⅛ teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 2 ounces white baking chocolate (with cocoa butter), chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon shortening

In a medium saucepan, combine peanut butter, butter, and honey. Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in cereals, apples, peanuts, and apple pie spice until well mixed. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and chill 30 minutes (mixture will be a bit loose and crumbly).

Using slightly wet hands, form mixture into 1-inch balls by gently pressing mixture together (does not work to roll the mixture into balls). It is important to keep your hands slightly wet for each ball formed. Let balls stand on a parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet about 15 minutes or until firm.

In a small saucepan, combine white chocolate and shortening; cook and stir over low heat until melted. Drizzle balls with melted white chocolate. Cover and chill at least 15 minutes. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from: Eating Well

 

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Protein Frappucino

  • 3 cups Ice cubes
  • 1 cup Almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup Brewed cold coffee 
  • 2-4 tbs Sweetener of choice (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tbs Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup Protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp Peppermint extract

In a blender add all of the ingredients together until well combined and frothy.

Pour into two glasses and garnish with chocolate syrup, whipped topping and/or crushed candy canes if desired.

Recipe Source: Dashing Dish

DID YOU KNOW?

Alzheimer’s disease is

  • One of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.
  • The 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
  • The 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65–85 years.

In 2013, an estimated 5 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimer’s disease. This number may triple to as high as 13.8 million people by 2050.

In 2010, the costs were projected to fall between $159 and $215 billion.4 By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 and more than $500 billion annually.

Death rates for Alzheimer’s disease are increasing, unlike heart disease and cancer death rates that are on the decline. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, has been shown to be underreported in death certificates and therefore the proportion of older people who die from Alzheimer’s may be considerably higher.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • The most common form of dementia.
  • A progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.
  • Involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
  • Can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Although scientists are learning more every day, right now, they still do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease.

What is known about Alzheimer’s Disease?

Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease. There probably is not one single cause, but several factors that affect each person differently.

  • Age is the best known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Family history—researchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Changes in the brain can begin years before the first symptoms appear.
  • Researchers are studying whether education, diet, and environment play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Scientists are finding more evidence that some of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low levels of the vitamin folate may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Evidence is also growing for physical, mental, and social activities as protective factors against Alzheimer’s disease.

How do I know if it’s Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.

Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of cognitive loss.

According to the National Institute on Aging, in addition to memory problems, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may experience one or more of the following signs:

  • Gets lost.
  • Has trouble handling money and paying bills.
  • Repeats questions.
  • Takes longer to complete normal daily tasks.
  • Displays poor judgment.
  • Loses things or misplacing them in odd places.
  • Displays mood and personality changes.

If you or someone you know has several or even most of the signs listed above, it does not mean that you or they have Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to consult a health care provider when you or someone you know has concerns about memory loss, thinking skills, or behavioral changes.

  • Some causes for symptoms, such as depression and drug interactions, are reversible. However, they can be serious and should be identified and treated by a health care provider as soon as possible.
  • Early and accurate diagnosis provides opportunities for you and your family to consider or review financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.

How is Alzheimer’s disease treated?

Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, active medical management can improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

Treatment focuses on several different aspects:

  • Helping people maintain mental function.
  • Managing behavioral symptoms.
  • Slowing or delaying the symptoms of the disease.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease visit National Institute on Aging for more information.

Eight years ago, I heard the words no one wants to hear, “I’m sorry to inform you that you have invasive ductal breast carcinoma.” What? Not me, I was only 40 years old. I didn’t smoke. I didn’t have a family history. I lived a fairly healthy lifestyle. I  nursed my children. I seldom drank alcohol. I was a nurse and health coach and trying to do everything the magazine’s told me to do to prevent being the 1 in 8.

But…YES…it was me.

I had had my first mammogram in May that year–a birthday gift to myself for turning 40. Six months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. (This is one time being an over-achiever wasn’t such a good idea.)

As a cancer survivor, I have asked myself the question~was there anything I could have done to prevent breast cancer? Maybe. Maybe NOT. And guess what? We’ll never know.

Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence your breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways—

  • Keep a healthy weight.
    • Research has shown that being overweight or obese substantially raises a person’s risk of getting endometrial (uterine), breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. Among postmenopausal women, those who are obese have a 20% to 40% increase in risk of developing breast cancer compared with normal-weight women
  • Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).
    • Many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women; in a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12%
    • Lowering the levels of hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, and of certain growth factors that have been associated with cancer development and progression
    • Helping to prevent obesity and decreasing the harmful effects of obesity, particularly the development of insulin resistance (failure of the body’s cells to respond to insulin)
    • Reducing inflammation
    • Improving immune system function
  • Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens) and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body.
  • Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.
  • If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.
  • Breastfeed any children you may have, if possible.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about more ways to lower your risk.

Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.

Source: cdc.gov and National Cancer Institute

 

With all the back to school madness, end of summer celebrations and not to mention just daily living, it’s easy to put self-care at the bottom of our to-do list. For today’s Try-It Thursday, we are sharing some simple ideas for self-care that don’t take much time or money.

  • Take a 15 minute leisure walk after dinner. Stop and admire your neighbor’s lawn, or stop to smell the roses. Spending time outdoors is a great way to rejuvinate and refresh.
  • Or if strolling the neighborhood isn’t your thing, hop on your bike and go for a short spin. It really doesn’t matter the activity. What’s important is taking the time. Challenge yourself to spend at least 15 minutes participating in active movement~doing something you love.
  • Take a nap. It’s amazing how refreshing a quick cat nap can revive us.
  • Grab a healthy snack. Instead of inhaling your snack on the run, sit down, put away the phone and just enjoy your snack. It’s amazing how wonderful food tastes when we slow down enough to taste it.
  • Pick up your favorite book. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Enjoy getting lost in a story.
  • Turn on the tunes. Sit on a chair, close your eyes….and listen…
  • Go cloud watching. Lay on your back, relax, and watch the sky.
  • Be goofy. Keep a “silly” box that you can pull out when you need to have a laugh.
  • Be selfish. Do one thing today that makes you happy.
  • Unplug. Switch everything to airplane mode and enjoy the silence.
  • Take a deep breath. Spend 5 minutes deep breathing.
  • Create an at home spa experience. (Come back next week for ideas.)

Taking care of ourselves is key to living a healthy lifestyle. What is your favorite way to practice self-care?