Holiday Hype: November/December 2016

November 1st, 2016

leaves

By November, more & more trees have shed a blanket of leaves onto the ground, BUT……

As we enter the last two months of the year (already?), stores have Christmas holiday items for sale, almost bypassing Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. Why? Because it is about being thankful and can be celebrated by all people living in the USA whatever  race, religion or political persuasion.

Additionally, Thanksgiving comes during my favorite season of autumn, with leaves clinging to the branches and piles of leaves already on the earth’s floor. (See photo above.) Actually, I feel as though most of the fall has been a busy holiday season with Jewish holidays occupying many days in October, capped with Halloween over the week-end, and now the “getting ready” for the Big Three: Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

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Starting with Halloween, sweet treats seem to be high on the list of foods to buy, make, and serve. This overlaps conveniently or inconveniently, depending your point of view, with November’s American Diabetes Month. I have an introductory post on the 5th about this important issue. Since I believe Type 2 Diabetes is preventable, and it is one disease that responds to a cleaner diet, I hope to post several articles on this topic with recipes that reflect the guidelines of a generally healthier lifestyle, which include diet.

 

……. there are still trees in “full fall bloom,” like these in our condo backyard rimming the pool.

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My first recipe for November/December will be one I made recently with quinoa and veggies. I searched the ‘Net to see if quinoa is a good food to use for preventing or treating diabetes, and this is what I found (direct quote):

Quinoa is an excellent addition to a diabetic diet. A whole-grain with a low glycemic index to support an even blood sugar, it is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Quinoa is easy to cook and flavorful, and you can incorporate it into a healthy diabetic diet through a variety of ways.

Source: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/quinoa-good-grain-diabetics-eat-1759.html. (When I clicked on this today, Nov. 2nd, the address did not work correctly, even though I asked the same question: Is quinoa a good grain for diabetics to eat? If the link does not work, try the question to get to the source.)

The article gives an excellent profile of quinoa, a food native to the Andes Mountains that, in addition to the quote above listing its attributes, is also gluten-free. My recipe (photo below) includes hearty vegetables in season for additional fiber. Watch for it! I also plan to search my archives for other quinoa recipes that I will reprise. (I now use spouted quinoa for additional nutritional benefits.)

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I also have several books that I read during the summer and into the fall to review that may help you maintain a healthy balance and lifestyle as well as one (photo below) that has links to Election Day. All eyes will be on the race between Clinton and Trump as well as other major offices on the ballot and your voice can be heard on Election Day by voting.

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I know you won’t be thinking about food as much as politics next week, but keeping yourself healthy with good food, exercise, and reduced stress is good advice any time of year, especially as we approach the end-of-year holidays with all the media hype, present buying, cooking, and visiting family and friends. Traditional foods that may not be so healthful need not be eliminated, but balance these with foods that do support your immune system, like fresh fruits and (more green) vegetables.

Balance! I think it has become one of the most important words today.

I also notice that almost all the nutrition books recommend eating lower on the food chain (exceptions: Paleo and Atkins diet books), eating more fresh foods and less processed commercial foods, and eating more organically grown foods. I think a healthier diet as part of a healthier lifestyle is finally hitting mainstream media and hopefully that will mean better health for everyone, regardless of age or income!

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I did not see a visual that said:  Happy, Healthy Holidays! so I am adding it as a                        reminder that this website is about health: mental, physical, and spiritual.

P.S. the icons for Facebook & Twitter will soon be at the bottom of each posting.

Free FALLing: Sept./Oct. 2016

September 1st, 2016

While looking for the word for the changing colors of the leaves in Japan,  known as kouyou (紅葉) or momiji when referring to maples (Source: kyuhoshi.com), I came across photos such as the one below, taken in Japan during their fabulous “flaming foliage.”  If you search the word “autumn in Japan” you will find many wonderful photos such as these. I never knew Japan rivaled New England in the autumn leaf department, but I stand corrected!

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Fall is my favorite season of the year, and since it is too early to capture such photos here in Pennsylvania, I am featuring a photo I found on the Internet. Soon, but not yet, I hope to find such lovely photos such as this one, a perfect example of kouyou, noted above.

As the leaves begin to turn and the air becomes cooler, my thoughts turn to denser foods, such as stews and soups, although the late summer weather can still be warm, so there are some crossovers, with light salads on the late summer days, and warming soups on the chillier days. Here is photo from one of my previous soup postings. New ones are still on the  drawing board….

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Here is an Internal link for Simple Squash Soup recipe that I posted in 2014: http://www.menupause.info/archives/15319

Shifting to another food topic: During the summer, I experienced a bout of laryngitis that was diagnosed as LPR reflux or laryngitis reflux and I am now on a high alkaline diet/low acid diet, which I had written about before I knew I had this problem. Here is an internal  link to two books I reviewed on the topic of balancing acid foods with mostly alkaline foods that lists the top 10 alkalizing foods: http://www.menupause.info/archives/5019. (You can also type in alkaline foods in my search box for more links on my site.)  I will be posting some recipes that are more alkalizing once I receive two more food books I ordered.

Speaking of books, I just finished reading The New Mediterranean Jewish Table by Joyce Goldstein and hope to have it reviewed in a larger magazine and reprint the link here. Basically, the 400 recipes are based on foods from countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea (21 countries in all), so the 400 plus recipes can be enjoyed by everyone, not just people who are Jewish. Here is the beautiful cover from University of California Press:

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Perhaps the most important fact apropos for September is that it is Menopause Awareness Month (MAM).  The website I just found that you might find helpful is menopauseawarenessmonth.org. I plan to look it over before making any comments, but the mission posted on their homepage looks promising:

MAM’s goal is quite simple: educate people about menopause, and shine light on innovations in menopausal science and technology. We want to be the go-to online source for everything menopause. From general information about symptoms and treatment to anecdotal relief and support systems, MAM is here to help.

Here is a tidbit from the site you might like:

COMEDIC RELIEF 

menopause-ahead

SIGNS THAT YOU MIGHT BE
EXPERIENCING MENOPAUSE
You sell your home heating system at a yard sale.
The person you sleep with complains about snow piling up on the bed.
Your husband jokes that instead of buying a wood stove, he is using you to heat the family.
You write post-it notes with your kid’s names on them.
You take a sudden interest in “Wrestlemania”.
Everyone around you has an attitude problem.
You’re adding chocolate chips to your cheese omelet.
The dryer has shrunk every last pair of your jeans.
Your husband is suddenly agreeing to everything you say.
You’re using your cellular phone to dial up every bumper sticker that says “How’s my driving-call 1-800-****.”
You’re convinced there’s a God and he’s male.
You’re sure that everyone is scheming to drive you crazy.

Again, go to the website for more information: menopauseawarenessmonth.org.

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I will be posting more about this next month as I gather more information this month. There was a rally right here in Philadelphia by Breast Cancer Action (bcaction.org), which I support because they examine companies that produce products that are carcinogenic and work to expose them. Ironically, when they came to Philadelphia for the rally, I was in the S.F. Bay area, which is where they house their headquarters, so I missed the rally right here in Philly. This is a photo from their site that was taken in Philadelphia this summer.straight-on-shot-of-beverly-alyssa-karuna-marching-880x440

 

There is a lot going on in the fall, but I hope you will take time to enjoy the leaves turning their gold and red and russet. When I was a youngster, one of my favorite movies was Good News with June Allyson and Peter Lawford, and one of the songs from that movie was “The Best Things in Life are Free.”  That’s how I feel about Fall. Leaf peeping doesn’t cost a thing. You can go to a park or if you live in the suburbs, just stroll on any street and watch the trees become transformed. It’s FREE! I am dazzled by Fall every year. Even though I grow older, leaf peeping never grows old for me!

japan-image-353This photo from the Internet was taken, I believe, in the evening with ginkgo leaves in the foreground, possibly being reflected from a lake. I love it!

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