Archive | February 2015

Best Medicine?

Sarah

Research shows that women who walk three hours a week lower their risk of heart attack, coronary death and stroke by 34 to 35 percent.  Where are my shoes?  A woman who lives down the street from me walks six miles six days a week, and I recently met a man who walks two hours every day.  Impressive!  According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, walking increases bone density, manages the negative effects of osteoarthritis and eases back pain.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General recommend taking 10,000 steps a day which translates to about five miles.  The pace of the walk should be between 90 and 110 steps per minute which is pretty brisk.

Not only does walking result in better health and a longer and fitter life, it also makes for a sunnier outlook.  Walking, particularly when walking with good company and in pleasant surroundings, reduces depression and anxiety. Walkers also tend to be good sleepers.

As to what to wear for the daily walk, don a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.  Your skin and your eyes will thank you for that protection!  Comfortable shoes will keep your feet happy too.

Walking seems to have it all. Simple and natural, it doesn’t require any instruction or skill. It can be a very modest form of exercise or it can demand enough skill and intensity to be an Olympic sport. You can walk alone for solitude or with friends for companionship. You can walk indoors on a treadmill (not my favorite) or outside in the city or country, at home or away. You can get all the benefits of moderate exercise with a very low risk of injury. And to boot, walking is inexpensive. All things considered, Hippocrates was right:  “Walking is a man’s (or woman’s) best medicine”.

Beans–and More Beans

Sarah

Pinto beans, lima beans, cannellini beans, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans—they’re the staples of my diet!  We all know that beans are an anti-inflammatory food, high in fiber and a great source of protein.  I eat dried pinto and/or dried lima beans every week.  I also eat canned black beans in salads.  I’m not too fond of chick peas (there’s something about the texture.), but I love hummus.

For a quick dip, purée a 15-ounce can of chick peas (drained), ¼ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt with olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of paprika. Serve with toasted whole wheat pita triangles and fresh vegetables for dipping.

In Texas we eat black-eyed peas, which are actually beans, on New Year’s Day for luck, but many of us eat them year round.  I’ve also added dried lentils to my diet.  No soaking required!  Have you noticed canary beans (also known as mayacoba beans) in the rice/bean aisle at the grocery store?  I think they’re from Peru.  Reportedly canary beans have a unique taste and can be substituted for pinto beans in recipes that call for that ingredient.

Peanuts, which are high in healthy fat, magnesium and fiber,  are considered a bean because  they are in the legume family.  My favorite peanut butter (Laura Scudder’s) contains only peanuts and salt.  A spoonful (or two) of peanut butter makes a great snack.  Yum!

Beans are healthy, versatile and affordable and a food you can always have on hand.  Guess I’ll keep eating them, and I think I’ll try the recipe below.

Smoky Black Bean Soup from Eating Well

1 lb. dried black beans, soaked overnight

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped (reserve 1/3 c. for garnish)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 T ground cumin

4 c water

2 c brewed coffee

1 bay leaf

1 t salt, more if needed

Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt & chopped cilantro for garnish.

Sautee onions, peppers, celery & garlic in oil.  Add cumin and cook a minute more.  Add remaining ingredients except garnishes.  Cover and simmer until beans are soft.