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March 2007

Welcome to the Veg4Health newsletter.  This inaugural issue is going to be fun.  Hopefully you will find it exciting, educating and entertaining. 


Hot Health News 

As Trans-fats are systematically eliminated and outlawed, don’t expect processed foods and take-out to automatically get healthier.  There is a new fat on the horizon which is worse than trans-fats.  Manufacturers and food outlets love it, but the human body doesn’t.  The new fat is call interesterified fat and recent research shows that it lowers insulin levels, raises blood glucose levels and adversely affects HDL levels.  The Food and Drug Administration recently ruled that food companies can label products containing these new fats as "high stearate" or "stearic rich" fats, or as "interesterified fats," thus avoiding the politically negative buzz word, "hydrogenated," which is associated with trans-fats. What’s a person to do?  I’m going to continue eating as many fruits and vegetables as I can, as close to how nature made them.  I’m also going to continue to be very wary of all processed foods and most anything served at a restaurant which is fried. 


We all know that exercise is important, but when it comes down to doing it, we most often fall short.  Perhaps getting ourselves up and moving is difficult due to timing, fatigue, boredom and/or prioritizing.  None of us really want to exercise.  In the words of Scalett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, “I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.”  However, if we really look at the facts, exercise is something we all can do to significantly decrease our risk of many diseases.  In fact, according to the Women’s Health Initiative Study, regular exercise can reduce a women’s risk of breast cancer by almost 40%.  If that isn’t enough to get us all up and moving, I don’t know what else would get us up and out. 



 Lately I have been reading “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Waver.  I have truly enjoyed reexamining the dialogue between Martha and Jesus when he arrives unexpectedly at their house for dinner.  As Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens, Martha is busying scurrying around making what I can only imagine to be preparations for a formal dinner.  I feel so much like Martha, that it’s even hard to imagine that anyone could be like Mary when there is obviously so much work to be done.  I love the fact that Jesus did not rebuke Martha for being irritated with Mary, nor did he rebuke her for “tattle telling” on her when Martha asked Jesus to make Mary help her.  Jesus simply told her that Mary was choosing the better thing.  This is a lesson I need to remember everyday.  There are plenty of good things to do, but only a few make it to the “better” list.


I love my kids!  Just last night, after a long day helping a wonderful family prepare to move, we were all exhausted.  The children had played hard all day, and the parents had worked hard.  All of us were laughing and enjoying the moments spent with our cherished friends.  Once home, we all showered and prepared for bed.  Normally we stay up for an hour or two after the kids are in bed.  Not last night!  We were so tired that we climbed into our own bed after sharing a nice hot cup of decaf coffee.  Much to our surprise our 6 year old son came into our room to see if we were asleep yet.  We told him to go back to bed and thought nothing else of it.  However, this morning I awoke to find a loving hand written note from him on our bedside, and a rubber coiled snake at our doorstep.  He had stayed awake long enough to leave us a love note and to play a practical joke.  Needless to say, I made sure he awoke to the same thing!  What a way to start a day!



Did you know that most recipes can be easily modified to be much healthier?  I love looking at all kinds of cookbooks, not just supposed “healthy” ones.  Regardless of the book, I have found both health building and health sabotaging recipes in all of them.  Often the books with the most health sabotaging recipes have some real gems, if they are slightly modified.  The other day I made some double chocolate banana muffins.  The original recipe was not something I would willingly serve my family.  However, with a few minor modifications, I was able to transform the original recipe into something I found acceptable.  They might still be a little high in sugar, but they still provide a good alternative to most deserts and treats. 


Double Chocolate Banana Muffins   

(A  palate pleasing recipe for leftover ripe bananas.)

  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • ½ tspn salt
  • ¼ tspn baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Egg replacer – equivalent to 1 egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.  In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg replacer.  Stir into dry ingredients until moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Fill greased or paper-line muffin cups ¾ full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.  Makes about 12 muffins. For more recipes, click here.

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