Tips On Keeping Your Brain Healthy… From Dr. Oz…

Image:http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/5-tips-to-keep-your-brain-young#cmpid=em052113

Who doesn’t love Dr. Oz and all the information he shares?? His television show DR. OZ covers a myriad of topics, most of which affect us personally or someone that we know. When I go to the healthy grocery stores (EarthFare, Whole Foods) I hear customers asking about certain products that were shown on a recent episode of Dr. Oz. Everyone wants to be healthy so they can age gracefully. If you haven’t signed up for the Dr. Oz Newsletter, I highly suggest it! Lots of great info delivered to your inbox… for free! Here is one of those topics that most people truly care about… this came from a post of his called “5 Tips to Keep Your Brain Young” – click the link for the entire article, but here is the gist of it…

Take FISH OIL – it contains high levels of Omega 3 which is known to help heart health, and more recently cognitive health… Studies show that those who take Omega 3 have less age-related brain shrinking. Omega 3’s also can lower blood pressure, which is good for the brain.

Eat a handful of ON THE GO ANTI-AGING TRAIL MIX – they suggest  a mixture of walnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, along with dried goji berries, apricots and blueberries. Mix those together and put in a container. Have a handful each day to bump up your Omega 3 for the day.

Eat MICROALGAE – good for the brain – try adding blue green algae, chlorella and spirulina to your smoothie. These are high energy, high protein supplements that support cognitive function.

USE your brain – and use it differently… challenge yourself. In addition to puzzles, reading, games, learning a new language or how to play an instrument, try using your non-dominant hand to do everyday functions. I can tell you from experience, you can feel the pathways in your brain opening up… for about a month I had to use my left hand to do everything because of a wrist injury. Talk about slowing down! I was fortunate that my left handed writing is surprisingly legible (I think I may really be left handed’ish!), but tasks like eating and brushing my teeth took actual THOUGHT. You take for granted how easily everything is with your dominant hand, but widen those brain pathways and use your other hand on occasion! Bonus… when you eat with your non-dominant hand you will slow down significantly and you might even get full before you finish, woohoo!

EXERCISE – now I knew exercise was very good for your brain (and basically every other body part) – its kind of like insurance that you will live a healthier life as you age, you have a better chance if you exercise (not occasionally) but always, make it part of your daily routine. If you can possibly do it earlier in the day, that’s best so that you actually get it done… here’s the blip from the Dr. Oz blog:

More good news about exercise: New studies suggest that exercising your body can help fuel your brain. During exercise, we’re rapidly activating and stimulating neurons in our brains, which send and interpret the messages that enable our bodies to move. Also, new studies with animals have suggested that when starved of blood sugar, neurons are actually able to maintain their energy levels by absorbing glycogen, a stored carbohydrate, from helpful neighbor cells. In these studies, after rats worked out on treadmills, they immediately ate, and the food seemed to go right to their brains – asometimes increasing brain glycogen levels by 60% in the areas of the brain associated with learning and memory. After 24 hours, the glycogen levels returned to normal, unless exercise was repeated every day. In the rats that ran for four weeks, these special stores of glycogen built up in the parts of the brain that support memory and learning.

Translation: You may be developing a sharper brain by increasing your glycogen stores through regular exercise that is immediately followed by carbohydrate consumption. What this looks like: Exercise daily, and after your workout, feed your brain with a healthy carb, like a banana. Then reap the brain benefits!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

IMAGE via Dr Oz Blog

Coconut Oil… what’s looking to be a very healthy oil that doesn’t get stored in the body as fat!

Image: Amazon

Coconut Oil… have you heard the rave reviews about all the wonderful things it can do? From what I’ve read this past weekend it can aid in losing weight, help prevent or even help those with Alzheimer’s, moisturize skin and hair, increase HDL (good cholesterol), decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), decrease triglycerides, the list goes on and on. We’ll have to wait for long term studies, but for me, I’m jumping on the bandwagon, and taking 1 tablespoon a day. It can’t hurt. Let me know if you’ve tried it. WHY are YOU taking it?  HOW are you taking it? I tried eating it off the spoon (it’s like lard), that was a little difficult, so I heat it ever so slightly and swallow… a tablespoon is doable, I personally chase it with a Triple Ginger Cookie from Trader Joe’s 🙂 some people but it on toast, in coffee, in oatmeal, in smoothie’s, use it as oil and topping when making popcorn… AND the reason I bumped into the health benefits about coconut oil was because I saw a recipe for Double Coconut Muffins on the Smittin Kitchen website… whoa, they sounded good, and I had just spoken to my mom who told me about a video that someone just told her about (click HERE to see it) about how it’s helping Alzheimer’s Disease, and also helping to prevent. I’m sure long term studies are a ways off, but if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s you know how devastating it can be. I vowed to try this, it’s worth it to me… so now, I think everyone I know is taking this for one reason or another. I just didn’t want you to be left out of the loop!

Google Coconut Oil  and you will see so much information it will make your head spin. Try to read from reputable sources and realize that anyone can post anything to the Internet… From what I’ve read, you should buy VIRGIN coconut oil. Ideally Organic virgin (or extra virgin) coconut oil. UNREFINED, since they alter the makeup of the oil when it’s refined. Refined is good for using as a moisturizer for skin and hair. One more thing… you can often find it in the grocery store in the baking aisle, however, often times these are NOT the virgin organic varieties… those are mostly found in the health aisle… ask if you are unsure. Read HERE the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil by Charles Mattock, I got this from Dr. Oz’s website

Here is a blip from Nutiva (extracted from Amazon):

A deliciously healthy cooking oil. Better than butter. USDA organic. Unrefined & no trans fats. Rich in lauric acid. A soothing body oil. The coconut oil myth. Coconut oil has been mistakenly described as not healthy. The fact is, coconut oil is cholesterol-free and rich in medium-chain good fats that doctors recommend. Why is it that baby formulas often include coconut oil? Because coconut is one of the world’s most nourishing super foods. Nutritionists suggest enjoying up to 3 tbsp of extra-virgin coconut oil each day, so help yourself to this heavenly, creamy taste of the tropics. Nutiva’s cold-pressed Coconut Oil is: Extra-virgin & pure white: not refined, deodorized or bleached! Organic: so it’s free from pesticides, GMOs and hexane. Versatile: Ideal as high-heat cooking oil (up to 350 degrees), as a nutritious substitute in baking, a better-than-butter replacement on bread, vegetables or popcorn, and as a luscious oil for skin care, hair care, and massage. America needs an oil change. While doctors suggest we consume a 4:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, the average American diet provides a ratio of 20:1 or more – contributing to heart disease, skin disorders, and arterial inflammation. So avoid out of balance soy, corn, and canola oils with their trans fats, oxidation, and GMOs. Cook with coconut oil (with only 1% Omega-6), and use olive oil (also low in Omega-6), and hemp oil (with the perfect 3:1 Omega ratio) for unheated recipes. Nature’s ideal all-purpose cooking oil. No trans or hydrogenated fat; no cholesterol or hexane. Unlike other brands, we press our coconuts within 2 hours of chopping. No refrigeration required. Solid at room temperature and melts at 76 degrees. Any coconut husk fibers at the bottom of the jar are indigenous to the processing and harmless. Coconut oil contains medium-chain good fats with 50-55% lauric acid – a healthful nutrient that supports the metabolism. Certified organic by QAI. Product of the Philippines.

A disclaimer… I in no way am trying to provide medical advice, only passing along what many others have told me. Ask your doctor if you need to know if this is OK for you…

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Restaurant Secrets Revealed… thank you Dr. Oz!

Image: DoctorOz.com

The thought of a lemon in my water at a restaurant makes me queasy… I used to love it, but now, unless I have it at home I simply can’t do it… My thanks to Dr. Oz for letting us in on some of the SHOCKING RESTAURANT SECRETS. Many are common sense (did you really think restaurants have the time to wash the lemons, cut them up and serve them to you with a gloved hand?)…

This is from the DoctorOz.com website (click on above link to see from his site), it will change the way you eat out… Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t STOP me, it just helps me make wiser decisions… Like how the h#!! can a lemon be truly that nasty?? Oh, heavy sigh…

Secret: Restaurant lemons are often as dirty as the floor.

Most restaurants never wash their lemons. They stay in the box that they were shipped in until they end up on your plate. In an independent test, Dr. Oz discovered five out of five lemons from five different restaurants were coated with germs including mold, bacteria, staph and Candida yeast – the type found in the mouth and vagina.

Ohmygosh! Enough said… No more lemons out… EVER.

Solution: Always order your lemons on the side and squeeze them into your drink or onto your plate yourself. Make sure that the juice doesn’t touch the germy lemon rind.

Secret: A dirty bathroom means a dirty kitchen.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to associate a restaurant’s bathroom with their kitchen, these two places often share the same level of cleanliness. If a restaurant can’t be bothered to keep the toilets and sinks clean, then imagine what their refrigeration and workspaces look like in the kitchen.

Never really thought about this one… but it makes sense, if they can’t keep the places that you see clean, then holy cow… No more restaurants unless bathrooms are C L E A N !

Solution: Do not eat at a restaurant where the bathroom trashcan is more than half full. This means the bathrooms are not being regularly monitored and cleaned.

Secret: Buffets are breeding grounds for bacteria.

Part of the danger of buffets is that the food sits out at inconsistent temperatures. The food on the bottom is burnt, while the food on the top is too cold. Additionally, you don’t always get real ingredients at buffets. A recent test from West Virginia University concluded that scrambled eggs from two restaurant buffets were not made from real eggs. Instead, the samples were made from liquid egg substitutes containing less protein and more water.

Thank goodness I’m not a buffet type gal… never liked em… I call it ‘achhoooooo food’ – of course there are exceptions, but for the most part, this is a good rule. And eek, those eggs you think have lots of protein may not have any at all… 

Solution: If you want to eat at a buffet, go when it first opens to ensure the highest quality of freshness. For for lunch, aim for noon, and for dinner, go at 5 p.m.

Secret: The daily special is often a bad choice.

Restaurateurs know that many diners will order a special, and consequently raise the price. Sadly, the daily special may not actually be special; instead, they are usually made of the food the chef needs to get rid of fast. This includes aging meat and fish, old veggies and leftover sauces – all of which could cause a nasty case of food poisoning.

This one is N E W S  T O  M E ! Since the “specials” usually cost more, thought there was something “special” about them… 

Solution: If the day’s special appeals to you, don’t be shy about asking the waiter questions about the ingredients.

Secret: Veal is often actually pork.

Veal is expensive meat; often, restaurants will swap it out for pork. Once the meat is pounded and slathered in breadcrumbs and sauce, only a discerning diner can tell the difference.

Eyeeeew, I don’t care for slathered meat… so I don’t have to worry about this one, whew!
Solution: Ask for veal to be grilled and never breaded. It’s healthier and you can more easily assess the quality of the meat.

Secret: All-you-can-eat deals contain low-quality foods.

When it comes to food, you get what you pay for. Anything that’s all-you-can-eat is usually either low quality or food made from starch or heavy in fat.

Makes sense! I don’t like all you can eat places… I don’t like big portions, therefore thought of it as a waste, without realizing it’s super cheap to start with…

Solution: If you want to get an all-you-can-eat option while dining out, order pasta, grains or veggies; avoid any meat.

Secret: Decaffeinated coffee masks as caffeinated coffee.

If you order coffee past 8 p.m., it’s most likely decaf. Restaurants don’t want to wash two pots so they often use one and fill it with decaf. It saves them time and money to serve only one option.

For this one I say…. YAY! On the show they mentioned that it’s better this way, than to order decaf and get regular… So true! THANK YOU RESTAURANTS FOR DOING THIS!! I can’t tolerate any caffeine at night and a cup of regular coffee would do me in until morning. I know. It’s happened.

Solution: If you need caffeine, order an espresso or cappuccino. Because these options are made when you order them, there is a better chance they are caffeinated.

Eat smart y’all, catch you back here tomorrow!

Keeping your memory sharp – a game!

Image: DoctorOz.com 

Who doesn’t love Doctor Oz? I appreciate his information, and there’s tons of it! If Alzheimer’s is a concern for you, I highly suggest you visit his website, there are amazing video’s, tests you can take if you suspect you may have Alzheimer’s as well as plenty of suggestions to help PREVENT it from occurring in the first place! One of his suggestions to PREVENT it in the first place is to not only exercise your body, but EXERCISE YOUR MIND. Click HERE to go to Doctor Oz’s website where you can easily print this game above.

From DoctorOz.com: Studies have shown that keeping your brain challenged and engaged can actually help to prevent Alzheimer’s. Try games like crossword puzzes that work both the visual and language areas of your brain while combining decision-making and motor coordination. You can also try brain games like the card above. As fast as you can, read out loud the color that each word itself is printed in – not the word itself.

Whoa, that’s a challenge. Do things that are foreign to you, drive a new route to work, learn another language, learn another type of puzzle if you’ve mastered the sudoku or crossword. Learn to knit, crotchet, paint, play the piano, the possibilities are endless. What we don’t want to do is sit in front of the TV and become zombies.

Keep this little puzzle handy, use it until it becomes easy and fast, then move on to something else!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Paula Deen’s Healthier Macaroni and Cheese recipe…

Image: DoctorOz.com

Healthier Mac and Cheese recipe… hmmm. I know right now you’re thinking well how good can THAT be? Low fat cheese, yuck. Well, actually I’ve been making mac and cheese for years with Cracker Barrel 2% Extra Sharp cheese and it has FLA-VOR! I don’t quite have it down pat when it comes to making a rue and adding the cheese, it curdles, from what I’ve read I need to use a combination of different cheeses to prevent that from happening, and that’s exactly what she does. So give it a whirl! Thanks to the Doctor Oz Newsletter that sent this out and of course, thanks to Paula for another fabulous recipe!

Paula Deen’s Healthier Mac and Cheese

Dr. Oz challenged celebrity chef Paula Deen to transform her favorite dishes by cutting the calories and fat in half. By using low-fat cheese and milk, Paula Deen’s Healthier Mac and Cheese keeps all the cheesy flavor of the original recipe without destroying your diet.

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Ingredients

Makes 4-6 servings

2 cups whole wheat or regular elbow macaroni (8 oz)

2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (8 oz)

1/2 cup low-fat evaporated milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain well and transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Add the cheddar and stir until the pasta is coated and the cheese has melted.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, sour cream, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the milk-egg mixture to the macaroni and cheese and stir well to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the top. Bake until golden brown and crispy around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes.

From PAULA DEEN’S SOUTHERN COOKING BIBLE by Paula Deen with Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2011 by Paula Deen.

Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc, NY.

Catch you back here tomorrow!