Monday, September 30, 2013

Exercise? Well, physical activity

Segway Riders in Cincinnati
Here I am (on the right) with two of my friends, doing a Segway tour of the Cincinnati riverfront. Segway tours are a great way to see a town -- I've also gone on such tours in St. Petersburg FL and Washington DC. You are standing still for a couple of hours on the thing, but somehow you do feel tired and as if you've exerted yourself afterward. It's not being sedentary! While it's also not aerobic exercise or strength training, and certainly not a workout, it's an outdoor activity and, well, loads of fun. Try it sometime!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stay home if you're sick--here's why

I thought this was an interesting story from the CNN website about reasons why we shouldn't go to work (or school) when we are sick. Some of it might be obvious -- we'll get other people sick, duh -- but this article also might help reinforce the idea to stay home if ill.  Show it to your boss?!?
This is written by Dr. Jennifer Shu:

Even though it can be tempting to go to work while you're sick, here are some reasons why you are better off staying home:
You'll get other people sick
Germs can spread from direct contact with a sick person or his or her secretions (such as from handshakes or touching shared objects like doorknobs). Some viruses can live on the skin or other surfaces for at least a few hours and continue to infect others.
In addition, viruses can spray a few feet following a cough or sneeze. Especially in the earliest part of illness, when you are most contagious, stay home if you work in close quarters with other people or if you handle food.
It's also important not to go to work if you work with young children, the elderly or people with weak immune systems. The relatively minor illness you experience may cause more severe symptoms in these groups of people.
You'll be less productive
It is hard to know the exact financial and physical toll that an illness takes on an individual or employer. Sure, you'll be more productive than if you stayed home and didn't do any work at all, but you may not be as sharp or efficient when suffering from a cold.
It may take longer to recover
Pushing yourself and working too much in the early stages of illness may actually prolong your recovery time. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds.
Conversely, getting enough sleep can boost infection-fighting cells and antibodies so you can get well faster. Do yourself a favor and stay home and rest.
Ideally, we would all be able to rest and recuperate during a cold. If that's not possible, see if you can work from home so at least you won't spread your germs.
If you must go to work, try to keep your distance from others, wash or sanitize your hands often, and cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or elbow. You can also cover with a tissue but be sure to throw it away immediately and then wash your hands.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Health benefits of vegetarianism: New study results

Vegetarian Diet Linked to Decreased Mortality 

An all-vegetarian diet is responsible for lower death rates associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study.

A reader sent an infographic with this information, including tidbits such as that vegetarians are more likely than meat-eaters to be regular exercisers, highly educated, thinner, and moderate users of tobacco and alcohol.
And here is my best effort to reproduce the graphic within this blog.......obviously, not readable. So if you want to know more, click on the link above!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

EAT WELL CAFE: Fresh, healthy and delicious

At Eat Well Cafe & Takeaway
For lunch and gourmet-to-go, one of Cincinnati's best options is Eat Well Cafe and Takeway in O'Bryonville. They're also open in the evenings so you can grab dinner there, too, up until about 8:30 most weeknights. I've been impressed by the high quality, fresh ingredients in everything I've tried there, almost always at lunch with a friend -- the restaurant is just off Madison Road and is a good halfway meeting place for us. The menu focuses on soups, salads, sandwiches and "bowls," with plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices as well as meaty options, too. A few months ago I couldn't find them on the Web, but now they have a nicely designed, informative website:
My most recent visit marks my first time trying a sandwich -- pictured. This one was twice as much as I could eat so I brought half home to give to my always-hungry husband. It's called "Swell Veggie" and consists of marinated, baked tofu, avocado slices, cucumber, greens and a ginger chutney. With any sandwich you get to select one side dish, and I went with a portion of the (excellent) roasted cauliflower. That stuff was so good, I brought a pint of it home to go with one of our dinners.
Eat Well is at 3009 O'Bryon Street and is open Monday - Friday 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sister Restaurant to Jean-Robert's Table (French Crust) Set to Open

Jean-Robert de Cavel
Great news for fans of the fine chef and excellent citizen of our city, Jean-Robert de Cavel.
This just in -- FRENCH CRUST CAFE opening tomorrow. Here is the meat of the email from JR's Table:

"Opening Tuesday, September 17 is our second restaurant French Crust Cafe. I am partnering with my longtime friend, pastry chef and chocolatier Jean Phillippe Solnom. Just two blocks from the Table, at 915 Vine Street, the Cafe will offer coffee, breakfast, lunch and delicious French pastries. French Crust Cafe will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m"

 All I have to add is -- VIVE LA FRANCE et les patisseries francais. (Pardon my French if it is in error....)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Get a great body -- AND protect the planet. Win-win!

I'm talking about protein sources here, which doesn't sound very sexy....but in fact if you want to be trim, fit and yes, sexy, you need to eat a lot of good-quality protein. My trainer tells me I should shoot for 75 grams a day, which is way beyond my abilities (though I haven't admitted that to him). Web-MD, on the other hand, suggests about 46 grams for adult women and a little more (56 grams) for men. If you're a meat-eater, it's not that hard to rack up that amount. But there's the rub: meat is something we should minimize, especially red meat, for health reasons alone.
And then there's the planet. The worldwide surge in the popularity of beef is horrible for the environment. Rain forests are being cleared to provide land to graze cattle, and the beasts also emit gases that further pollute the air and water.
So what's a girl to do? Well, here's a list of non-meat/fish protein sources that are low in fat (thus the sexy body) and "green" in terms of environmental impact. In many cases, you might want to choose organic products over conventional ones, if you can afford the price hike.
1. Beans and lentils
2. Nuts and nut butters
3. Low- or non-fat milk and yogurt
4.  Tofu
5. Brown rice, quinoa and other high-protein grains such as millet

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mexican recipes for the Healthy Foodie

Mexican pizza -- healthy version
While it can be hard to "eat healthy" at most Mexican restaurants, the main ingredients in Mexican cuisine actually are full of excellent nutrients. It's just that at restaurants we tend to load up on fried tortilla chips, sometimes in the over-the-top form of nachos, followed by fried entrees and/or dishes with too much high-fat cheese and sour cream. But it doesn't have to be that way!
Corn, avocado, fresh salsa made with tomatoes, garlic and onion, crispy cabbage-based slaws -- those are foods that should be in every healthy foodie's diet.
If you're interested in making nutritious AND delicious Mexican food at home, check out this set of recipes from Food & Wine. Try fish tacos, corn-tortilla soup, smoky beef fajitas, salmon in tomato-olive sauce, Mexican pizza and more. They're each easy to make, kid-friendly and hard to beat when the weather persistently stays hot through September!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Healthy Fast-Food Meals. Really.

Looking for something healthy from the drive-through? Here's a list of "seriously healthy" fast-food meals, courtesy of Prevention Magazine:
Guacamole Salad at Chipotle

1. CHIPOTLE: Barbacoa and Guacamole Salad
"Make your own salad with no-hormone-added barbacoa, which doesn't use unnecessary antibiotics (chicken, pictured here, is also a great choice). Add romaine lettuce, guacamole, a little sour cream, and tomatillo-green chili salsa. It's definitely a sodium splurge, but full of MUFAs and quality ingredients." [Note from the Healthy Foodie: No surprise here, as Chipotle is my #1 favorite fast-food chain, and I can't even think of what might come in second place.]

2. DOMINO'S PIZZA: Veggie pizza with gluten-free crust

3. STARBUCKS: Protein bistro box (with herbal iced tea or coffee) -- Not sure all Starbucks have this option, but the box contains hardboiled egg, cheddar cheese, multigrain bread, peanut butter, apple slices, and grapes. [I'll have to look for this one, although I'm not a fan of hardboiled eggs.]

4. MCDONALD'S: Premium Southwest Salad

5. WENDY'S: Sour cream and chive potato. [I've never eaten at Wendy's, as far as I can recall, but Prevention says this is a healthy, filling and yummy dish.]

6. PANERA: "Power chicken hummus bowl." Apparently, this is available if you ask, from Panera's "hidden menu." 

Go here to see the entire list of ten healthy dishes.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Toxins -- such as arsenic -- in our foods

This potentially scary problem is just now getting on my radar: the alarming rise in measured levels of arsenic and other toxins in the U.S. food supply.  Discover Magazine's current issue features a cover story on the hard-to-explain spike in such contaminants.
Apparently, rice and rice products have tested with the highest levels of arsenic, but Discover reports similar findings in, of all things, baby formula. Along with rice, another type of food likely to be contaminated beyond trace levels with arsenic are some types of juice, especially grape juice.
Here's a link to Discover, although it's one of those magazines that only lets subscribers read entire articles online. And here's what Web MD says about the risks of too much arsenic in our diets (bottom line: if your kids drink a lot of juice, dial it back -- a good idea anyway since juice is just sugar, in the opinion of this healthy foodie). 
I found this infographic about arsenic:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Restaurant Review: Local 127

If you haven’t eaten at Steve Geddes’s downtown restaurant, Local 127, recently – or at all – you need to remedy that.  As you may know, Geddes is the ONLY head chef in America who is also a master sommelier. While his wine savvy thus is terrific – even the short by-the-glass list is incredibly thoughtful and fairly eccentric—it’s his deft cooking that keeps me coming back.

Truth be told however, we had somehow let a year or more go by since our last visit.  And I’m happy to report that his kitchen is still firing on all cylinders. While you definitely can get some relatively indulgent dishes here – such as the deliciously rich “Porkopolis” entrĂ©e – my husband and I had no problem enjoying a healthy-foodie meal. That is, pretty guilt free and at the same time, yummy.

If you're interested in a drink before dinner, the choices here are excellent. Along with the aforementioned wines, there's also about a dozen beers on tap -- including some adventurous, unusual choices along with a couple of more common ones -- and a lovely reminder of the cocktail b lounge that used to be next door to Local 127 before it moved to this location. That is, a short list of classic, carefully crafted cocktails. I had one of my favorites, the Liberal Liberal (bourbon, high end sweet vermouth, Campari and bitters) -- not that different from the Manhattan I can make at home but somehow much better.
My cocktail & his beer @ Local 127
Open for dinner, Monday - Saturday
Participates in OPEN TABLE 
Or call 513-721-1345 for reservations

Menu highlights include White Onion Soup and a Bibb-lettuce Waldorf Salad with roasted hazelnuts -- our healthier choices. There's also a roasted beet salad with goat cheese and bacon, smoked trout, potato skins and wings -- none of which will remind you at all of skins or wings you've had in most restaurants. Appetizer prices range from $9-$13.
Our entrees were even tastier -- I had the chicken as I often do here because Steve just has a way with chicken. The menu describes the dish as "Chicken Breast, napa cabbage, mushrooms, mustard sauce" but doesn't begin to approximate the range of flavors and textures in this dish. One of the best things about Steve's cooking, to me, is the way every dish has an element of crunch. Toasted bread crumbs is what I think gave this chicken its crunch but in any case the total effect was marvelous.
George loved his sea scallops -- pictured in the background -- which are always on the menu here, just with varying preps. 
Chicken, and Scallops Entrees
We opted out of dessert, but I've had the panna cotta and loved it before. And I've also ordered the well designed cheese plate as a dessert. Entrees cost $14 (a burger) - $28 (striped bass), with most in the $22-$24 range. Desserts are $11-$13.
It's not an inexpensive night out, but once in a while, it's sure worth considering!