Monthly Archives: March 2010

Easy Beans and Greens

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans (or pinto, red, kidney-your choice) (or approx. 2 cups cooked beans)
  • 1 bunch collard greens (or kale, spinach-your choice)
  • your favorite toppings, such as salsa, avocado or guacamole and sour cream

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat drained beans. Add your favorite seasonings, if desired.
  2. Fill a separate medium saucepan with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Wash and chop greens (you can use the stems, too) and add to boiling water.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes until greens are bright green and tender. Drain off water.
  5. On a plate, arrange a portion of the greens, top with a portion of the beans and finish with toppings of your choice.
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S – T – R – E – T – C – H – I – N – G

Movement Tidbit

S – T – R – E – T – C – H – I – N – G is very important especially in the morning. If we could remember to stretch a little before getting out of bed in the morning it would be beneficial to our movements throughout the day.

Have you ever noticed what an animal does after waking from a nap? They tend to stretch their front legs, chest, stomach, and then back legs before walking about. Stretching helps to loosen the muscles and prepare them for work. Loosening muscles that we do not think about using such as shoulders and hips can make a big difference in how we feel.

One such stretch called the “Hippie” (I Do not recommend this if you have a bad back) is where you will stand with your feet together and slowly walk your hands down your legs. You will feel the stretching in your lower back and your hips.

Just hang your arms and your head for a count of 15, with your arms and head still hanging slightly bend your right leg for a count of 25, now change legs and bend the left one for a count of 25.

With both legs straight count to 15 again then slowly bend your legs and start to raise up a little at a time until you are standing again.

I learned this exercise from Joel Harper who teaches equipment free work outs. Check out the quick link to his web site if you would like to learn more.

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Chew, Chew, Chew because I love you!

Did anyone’s parents say this when you were a child at the dinner table? This phrase has a lot of meaning and I think we need to say this more often and not just to children. 🙂

When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted-working, reading, talking and watching television-and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems.

There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food. Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets. Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food. More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings. It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full. In fact, chewing can promote increased circulation, enhanced immunity, increased energy and endurance, as well as improve skin health and stabilize weight.

The power of chewing is so great that there are stories of concentration camp survivors who, when others could not, made it through with very little food by chewing their meager rations up to 300 times per bite of food. For most of us 300 chews is a daunting and unrealistic goal. However, you can experience the benefits of chewing by increasing to 30 chews per bite. Try it and see how you feel.

Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. It helps us to give thanks, to show appreciation for the abundance in our lives and to develop patience and self-control. Try eating without the TV, computer, Blackberry, newspaper or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing.

This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of advertising, news, media, email and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day – why not learn to savor and enjoy it?

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Posted in Vigorous Foods, Vigorous Living | Tagged , | Leave a comment