Who wouldn’t love a 10-minute walk on a day like this!
Does the thought of taking a 30-minute chunk of exercise time out of your busy day to improve your health put you off doing anything at all? What if you broke it down into three 10-minute sessions? Could that also have a positive impact on your health? More and more studies indicate that multiple short sessions of exercise provide the same health benefits as a comparable workout completed in one go. And some studies indicate that shorter sessions are better!
Better health backed by science
A number of universities from around the world presented research results in May at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting. A few highlights:
Researchers in China compared arterial benefits in men riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes to men doing two 15-minute sessions. They discovered that the benefits provided by the shorter sessions lasted longer.
In a 2012 study on exercise and blood pressure control, researchers found that among adults with borderline hypertension a 30-minute afternoon walk or three 10-minute walks spaced throughout the day improved overall blood pressure just as effectively. However, the 3x 10-minute routine also reduced later spikes in pressure.
Scientists also reported almost identical endurance improvements in college students, whether they jogged for 30 minutes on the treadmill or broke it down into 3 sessions.
Don’t let the ’30-minutes of exercise advice’ scare you off!
If you think 30 minutes of exercise is too much – or if it takes up too much time – break it down. Head out for a brisk 10-minute walk or bike ride. Or jump on that treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bike haunting you from the corner. You may need to bundle up against the cold. Or depending on your choice of exercise, you may not even need to put on your sweats! Opt for three short sessions, morning, noon and night.
Do you go for long or short workouts? What’s your favorite 10-minute workout?
Lebanese Butternut Squash is so hearty and tasty that it could serve as the basis for a Meatless Monday Meal!
On Sunday we made Roast Chicken and cooked enough for leftovers on a busy weekday evening. Tonight is the night. I’m serving the chicken with a healthy side dish I discovered in the Volkskeuken recipe section of my Dutch newspaper, the Volkskrant. Lebanese Butternut Squash is a perfect accompaniment for any roast meat and it cooks while I set the table and make a fruit salad for dessert. Lebanese Butternut Squash is so good, that I find myself walking around thinking of excuses to make it and eat it! Hmm…there’s a Thanksgiving meal on my horizon. This’ll be on the table.
5 tablespoons of olive oil (I use only enough to lightly coat the squash)
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
½ teaspoon chili flakes
4 tablespoons/ ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 clove of garlic, pressed
Juice of ½ lemon
Here’s how to prepare the squash
Preheat your oven to 190˚C/375˚F. Wash the squash and cut it in half lengthwise. You don’t need to peel it. Scoop out the seeds and slice the squash into wedges. Put it in the roasting pan, drizzle it with up to 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and add the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle with salt and chili flakes. Roast 40-45 minutes in the oven.
And here’s how to make the Tahini Sauce for your Lebanese Butternut Squash
Mix the tahini, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and 5 tablespoons of water in a bowl. Serve the Lebanese Butternut Squash with the Tahini Sauce and enjoy!
Roast Chicken looks like a lot more work than it really is!
Nothing used to intimidate me more in the kitchen than a whole chicken. Unless it was a whole turkey. I just didn’t know what to do with a raw bird. And I certainly didn’t know how to roast chicken or carve it. But I live in the Netherlands and decent pre-cooked roast chicken is hard to come by. Luckily, I also have an exemplary English mother-in-law to learn from. She produces fantastic ‘Traditional Roast Lunches’. So, I bit the bullet and took the plunge into cooking Roast Chicken. What a revelation it was! Slap that bird in the oven and it takes care of itself.
Here’s Roast Chicken the easy way
Pre-heat your oven to 450˚F/230˚C.
Spray a roasting rack with Pam or lightly grease it to make clean-up easier.
As far as clean-up goes, I line the roasting pan with foil to catch the drippings.
Put your chicken on the rack.
Pop it in the oven.
Turn the oven down immediately to 350˚F/180˚C.
For birds up to 6 pounds/3 kilos cook for 20-25 minutes per pound.
Optional Roast Chicken extras
Squeeze and stuff some lemon halves or garlic cloves in the cavity. Or add some sprigs of rosemary, thyme or other fresh herbs.
Some people like to salt the skin before they roast the bird. I don’t because I’m trying to limit added sodium.
Some people swear by basting every 10 minutes or so after the first half hour. I’m lazy, I hate to clean my baster and I’ve never noticed it making much difference to the taste anyway.
If you like to use a thermometer, insert it into the meaty part of the thigh, but make sure it’s not up against the bone.
When is Roast Chicken roasted?
When you prick the skin of the thigh and the juices run clear.
When the temperature reaches 180˚-185˚F/82˚-85˚ on your thermometer.
Here’s what to do when your Roast Chicken is in the oven
Relax, read a book, go for a walk, call your Mom or Sister.
We like our Roast Chicken with roast veggies like butternut squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts and onions. But generally speaking, they need to cook at a much higher temperature than the chicken. So if you’re going down this route, you may want to roast the veg to almost-but-not-quite done while your oven is very hot (before you put the chicken it). Then pop the veg into the microwave to heat them up just before serving.
Can’t be bothered to fiddle around with roast veggie timing? Fine. Just steam some veggies. Green beans and carrots go great with Roast Chicken.
How to carve Roast Chicken
Cut the drumsticks, thighs and wings off.
Slice from the breastbone down and remove the white meat.
It’s very easy when you use a sharp knife.
What else do you need to do?
Well around these parts, the chickens are tiny – usually only about 2.5 pounds/1.2 kilos – so I always roast 2 or 3. That way we have plenty of leftovers.
After your meal, remove any extra chicken from the carcasses and save the pretty pieces for a proper meal.
After removing the bones and skin, pre-package the rest into freezer bags in the amounts you need for your favorite produce-a-meal-fast recipes. We like:
Curried chicken salad pitas made with light mayo and fat-free plain yogurt, pears, celery, dried cranberries, some slivered almonds and alfalfa sprouts.
Chicken tacos and fajitas.
When we’re really in a hurry, nothing beats a kid pleaser BBQ Chicken Sandwich: mix 2 cups of shredded chicken with 1 cup of grated carrots and ½ cup of your favorite bottled barbecue sauce. Warming this chicken mix is optional, but we pop it into the microwave to heat it a bit and soften the carrots. Serve on a crusty bun with a fresh green salad. Fast as lightening and tasty, too!
For a long time it was made out to be a baddie, but now science is proving coffee to be our friend. I usually skip the icky-sticky flavor add-ons from the big-name barista-run joints. When I’m travelling I go for café au lait, caffè latte, cappuccino, café con leche, koffie verkeerd, milchkaffee. You get the picture. My cup of perk-me-up comes with milk. On a normal day at home or the office, I use coffee to help me meet my protein quota by adding one of my favorite protein sources: skimmed milk. Half a mug of the milk blasted to piping hot in the microwave and topped off with a healthy splash of dark roast and I’m good to go. If the wonderful taste isn’t enough reason to drink it, here are 11 more reasons to have a cuppa Joe:
Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than anything else.
Just smelling coffee could make you less stressed.
Coffee could lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Coffee is great for your liver (especially if you drink alcohol).
Coffee can make you feel happier.
Coffee consumption has been linked to lower levels of suicide.
Coffee could reduce your chances of getting skin cancer (if you’re a woman).
Coffee can make you a better athlete.
Coffee could reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Drinking coffee could help keep your brain healthier for longer.
Coffee may make you more intelligent.
Moral of the story? Coffee is a superfood. Keep drinking it!!!
For all the steamy details and science behind the claims, check out the full story in this great article at the Huffington Post
Served with a salad Chickpea Falafel Burgers make a tasty meat-free meal
Full of exotic aroma’s and flavor, these fiber-filled Chickpea Falafel Burgers are a favorite vegetarian alternative at our house. They’re packed with all the wonderful health benefits of chickpeas and rich, aromatic spices. They go together quickly and easily – and while you’re at it, you can make extras to freeze. Adapted from something we saw years ago on the BBC. 4 servings and take around 30 minutes. You’ll need:
For the sandwich
15-ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ cup parsley (flat leaf, handful)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon harissa paste or chili sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons chickpea flour, or regular all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
4 whole wheat pita breads
For the sauce
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove (minced)
To prepare sauce:
Combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley and salt in medium bowl.
To prepare burgers:
Pat chickpeas dry with paper towel. Tip into a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt. Blend until fairly smooth, and then shape into four patties with your hands. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, then quickly fry for 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden. In the meantime, toast your pitas. Serve the Chickpea Falafel Burgers with toasted pitas, garnish and perhaps a green salad.
According to our calculations, each serving has about 400 calories and almost 8 grams of fiber.